Holly, Hope, & Healing

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I wrote this some weeks ago and intended to post it here then never got around to it.

I tried posting it and it would not go through and then later I posted other stuff.

 

In January, 2008 I met a girl named Holly. In the extremely short amount of time we knew each other for, she impacted me in an incredibly positive way. I loved meeting Holly and will always be so very grateful our lives crossed and touched. Holly was/is one of the most beautiful, sweetest girls anyone could ever be blessed to know or meet.  

But the circumstance in which we met was very, very unpleasant. We were both admitted to the same mental hospital, her for Schizophrenia, me for severe depression. We shared a hospital room together.

It was my first hospitalization in that kind of hospital and I was unsure what to expect. I am extremely claustrophobic and have an immense fear of small and closed in places especially if I’m alone in them or with someone I cannot connect with for some reason.

This was my only fear about the hospital. I’m generally not a fearful kind of girl.

Even regular hospitals don’t scare me. I wasn’t even scared when I was about to have emergency kidney surgery when I was twenty one years old.

Just the anesthesia stuff scared me until the doc assured me that the Anesthesia would not paralyze me while I was conscious when I asked her. So it did not surprise me that I wasn’t scared of this hospital. 

I was admitted to that hospital in the middle of the night, taken in an ambulance after leaving an emergency room at another hospital where I was for eight hours. When one of the friendly psychiatric technicians took me to my room, I was afraid. Afraid that he would lock the door and I would be locked in. I was starting to protest the fact that I had to go in that dark room. I started to get loud even though I am and always have been a very quiet girl in general. Other patients were sleeping, including my roommate, Holly. I told the technician I did not want to be locked in that room and he promised I wouldn’t be locked in there and he told me gently and warmly but firmly to be quiet so I would not wake Holly. I saw her laying in bed sleeping and as he was closing the door I turned around, pulled it all the way back opened and asked “Can she talk?”. I had no idea what was wrong with her or what state or condition she was in. She may have been in an immobilized depressive state, in a catatonic state like I am sometimes or she may have been suffering with Catatonic-type schizophrenia or some other condition that would render her unable to talk or connect with me on a level that would make me somewhat at ease being in a closed room with her. The technician smiled warmly with a quick laugh and said “Yes, she can talk.”. I instantly felt at ease and a bit calmer. He closed the door and I got into my bed next to her bed.

Words will never do justice to express the true depth of my loneliness or level of my suffering that day and the other days I have struggled with depression. The loneliness was so suffocating I felt that itself would kill me or drive me to insanity if I wasn’t already there. My depression often leaves me with a sense of loneliness so deep I feel that I am the only one in this world no matter how many people are near me and talking to me. And in a sense I am the only one in the world, my own solitary world of painful confinement. Like layers and layers just covering me and I cannot truly be touched in any way. Nothing can penetrate. There is no connection with anyone or anything.

But I am the kind of girl who is always thrilled to meet new people and even through my pain, despair, loneliness, and depression that day, deep inside me there was some small tinge of wonder about Holly, sparkling through my pain and despair. I wanted to meet her.

I wanted to wake her up, as tired and exhausted in every way imaginable that I was. I wanted to know her, I wanted her to know me.

I wanted her to break through my sheer walls that no one could see and ease the pain for at least a little while.

I instantly felt some sort of connection already as she laid there sound asleep.

We were both girls struggling, suffering with some wretched sickness that landed us in that hospital.

But I knew I couldn’t wake her. So I laid in my bed and eventually drifted off to sleep. Then before I knew it I was waking up to voices in the room with me. “Who’s that?” I heard a curious young woman’s voice ask. “That’s your new roommate, Kimberly.” I heard the technician answer.

We had to get our vital signs taken and get ready for breakfast. I finally got to meet her. She had the biggest, brightest smile that lit up the room.

She asked me what I was in there for and I told her depression. “What’s that?” She asked, “Is it like sadness?”. I was in no mood at all to explain what depression is or why I was so devastatingly depressed and I actually wasn’t sure exactly why anyway. “Yeah” I said, “Something like that.”. I was too lethargic to get out of bed and I laid back down.

Holly told me to get a lot of rest and I instantly sensed her caring, generous, beautiful nature.

I told her my intense fear of being in closed places and Holly was kind enough to open the door for me and she told me she doesn’t ever want me to be scared or sick. But it turned out that Holly was struggling with Paranoid Schizophrenia and was suffering with horrible hallucinations and delusions.

She saw things and heard things, often extremely unpleasant and terrifying things, that weren’t really there. And she was under the impression that people were trying to hurt her and get into her head and steal or mess with her thoughts.

She suddenly became terrified having the door open and the noises in the halls were affecting her negatively so she told me that she would close the door and that she was sorry for me and that it would all be ok because we would be together and she wouldn’t let anything bad happen to scare me.

I was no longer afraid of the door being closed.

Holly was in that hospital for a very long while and was in and out of hospitals for many years.

Holly made sure all the patients got what they wanted and needed. We were allowed to eat hard candy throughout our stay there and when one girl did not get any candy and wanted some but was too afraid to ask, I could see that it actually hurt Holly to see that. Holly, an extremely empathetic person, wanted everyone to be happy. So she made sure the girl got her candy. She showed me pictures she made with toothpaste that she hung on the walls in our room.

Because of my depression I stayed in bed frequently so whenever the other patients were getting ready for a fun movie night or activity, Holly would come running to our room to let me know and make sure I was included. I was so accepted, so included, so pleased that she thought of me. ❤

One night I was extremely depressed and lonely and felt I was suffocating. I went to my room and laid in bed writhing in so much pain I felt like I was dying. The loneliness was so immense I felt I could not go on living. I truly believed it would never end, never get better. My world was collapsed on top of me and I felt buried alive, crushed and so broken. 

It was like an endless nightmare but I was awake.

It was Hell on Earth.

And for no specific reason.

All of my flaws, real or imagined, magnified and came speeding at me with so much force, piercing my very essence.

 

I laid there alone with the lights off, endless thoughts swirling around in my head. Endless agonizing thoughts. Holly came into the room and turned the lights on.

She told me about a dream she recently had while she slept and I told her one of mine. I saw her eyes light up with amazement. She was so thrilled to hear my dream.

She was so genuinely interested in other people and the welfare of others.

So sensitive to everyone else’s needs and desires.

And we talked that night for hours in our beds about our pain and also about lighter topics. Girly things like body mist and lotion and Bath & Body Works, which we both love, and all the stuff we did for fun and all the stuff we dreamed of doing and wanting to want again if we weren’t so sick. The stuff we did, loved, before incredible sickness took over our worlds, ravaged our brains.

 

For a few moments we were just two ordinary girls having a fun “sleep over.” Chatting and giggling, the way girls are supposed to be, not stuck in hospital beds wanting so desperately to die.

 

I actually smiled and even laughed and for once in so so long I felt a deeper connection to someone, her.

And she was telling me of something funny that happened with one of the other patients and I told her about how hilarious it was when a boy with a spiral notebook that was his journal got it and his pen taken away and the pen replaced with a pencil and the sharp metal spiral thing removed out of the pages and then he got it back.

It was falling apart now.

I still laugh at that when I think back to those days. And even through the painful memories I can feel amusement and light.

🙂 😀

We laughed hysterically over the silliness we felt and how they took away our clothes and things and our shoelaces and belts and anything else that may be a potential weapon against ourselves or others.

Replacing everything potentially dangerous with safer things. Pencils as opposed to pens, smaller towels, plastic forks & spoons, all the strings and laces in clothing, and wiring in girls’ bras, all taken away.

 

Suddenly for a few minutes our pain that caused so much devastation and grief and the seriousness of being in a mental hospital turned into

Something funny. We made fun of ourselves instead of dwelling on the seriousness and darkness of our circumstance. How crazy we are, we told each other, being dragged into a mental institution in the middle of the night. Getting all of our things taken away.

 

Holly told me she hears voices no one else can hear and people just call her crazy.

“I know” I told her. “I hear them too.”

She told me how much it hurt her. I know. It hurts me too.

I have also met other amazing people in that hospital those days. ❤

Michelle. Melissa. Lamont. Latrina. Kelly. Chris. Gina. Frank. Patricia. Aquanetta. And many, many more.

Yesterday and the day before were kind of sad days for me for a reason I know not what. Yesterday I felt much sadness for no known reason and then I have been struggling with a loneliness so deep, deeper than I have felt in so so long. The kind of loneliness that even great company cannot cure. It’s not as bad as it was then. And there’s another difference. I am stronger now. And I know this pain and loneliness are only temporary.

I know this pain. I know it well.

  It will come and it will go. I now know that I can live. I did not know then what I know now.

I will always think of and remember Holly and the others. I haven’t seen her since I left the hospital. I know nothing of her now other than what I knew then. I have been thinking of her and the rest a lot yesterday. How they inspired me so deeply and let me see hope and light through so much darkness.

If I can laugh with a girl while we sit in our hospital beds being accused of being “crazy” hearing crazy voices, having disturbing thoughts, being locked away, I can sure sit here and laugh now! 😀

 

I am in a much, much better place. I am actually very proud of my great accomplishment. Being able to be strong enough and knowledgeable enough to not let my mood sink deeper into the depression I used to live then.

The depressive episodes are so much easier to handle now.

It’s weird but in a beautiful way. Weird to feel the same old pain sometimes but still be able to stay positive to a certain degree and even feel a shred of happiness amidst the pain and not want to die.

Before, sometimes even beneath the happiness I still felt a kind of lingering sadness. Now even through the sadness I still feel a kind of happiness.

So beautifully weird. It feels weird but beautiful to live voluntarily and not just because I have to or out of fear.

I will healthily mourn all my days/years lost to pain but I will move on and embrace the now I am blessed with.  

❤ </3 

 

Depression is not always for a specific reason. Sometimes it just is. Sometimes there are days when everything is wrong. Everything. My hair color is wrong. My face is wrong. My age is wrong. I am just wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

But what’s even worse than the days where everything is wrong is the days when nothing is wrong, everything is right, and yet I still cannot get out of bed, still cannot be happy, still feel wretched mental anguish.

An agony so strong it feels it’s connected to nothing on this Earth. The sun can be shining brightly. The weather can be beautiful. I can have lovely friends. But still there’s that ache, that pain, that loneliness. That’s how I know I’m in a bad way.

But, I sit here now and I feel as if I will never go back there. I am strong now and I know that depressive episodes are temporary. I will conquer them; they will not conquer me.  

A clinical episode has a certain amount of symptoms and lasts two weeks or longer but an episode can last less than two weeks and have less symptoms but still be very bad, no less painful.

 

Wherever Holly is, I hope she is well and this goes for everyone else too. I hope everyone who is at a low point can find some consolation, hope, beauty, & light. Remember when you’re at your lowest point, the only way is up! 🙂

 

“Bless the broken road that led me straight to you.” ❤

 

“I may be lonely but I’m never alone.” ~Alice Cooper ❤

 

“To love life, to love it even

when you have no stomach for it

and everything you’ve held dear

crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,

your throat filled with the silt of it.

When grief sits with you, its tropical heat

thickening the air, heavy as water

more fit for gills than lungs;

when grief weights you like your own flesh

only more of it, an obesity of grief,

you think, How can a body withstand this?

Then you hold life like a face

between your palms, a plain face,

no charming smile, no violet eyes,

and you say, yes, I will take you

I will love you, again.” 

 

Ellen Bass

 

Xoxo Kim ❤ 😀

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