In silence in a psychiatric ward

This lady really annoyed me. I avoided her on the ward. Weeks in this psychiatric ward and I now was clear on the people to avoid and the people whose company I sought.

One day something was different about her. Coming off her was fear, agitation, vulnerability. She was usually so brash and loud.

I couldn’t understand why nobody else seemed to notice this loudest presence in the room exuding distress. Waiting for help from the staff she asked if I would hold her hand. Of course…. we waited.

The world stood still.

I had the experience of such connection, to feel presence of another sentient being and them to feel my presence.

It was one of the most life affirming moments of my life. It happened in silence in a psychiatric ward.


5 thoughts on “In silence in a psychiatric ward

  1. Wow. I’m still reverberating from the wave of emotion this post is sending through me. On some level it’s “wish fulfillment,” like, I wish one day my mother the narcissist would wake up and REALLY need not the avatar of me that she has created in her mind, but the actual ME. I have no hope of that ever actually happening, but that’s the process your post triggered. How did things play out with this lady? Did she stay open, or was that just a peek inside an open window that later had to close?

    • The moment when this lady was having a psychotic episode and, ironically, I had one of the most sane moments of my life. I think she did too. But the openness and vulnerability of the moment was not sustainable for her. The next day she was back to her ‘normal’ self, but was always nicer to me than she had been. I don’t know if she actually remembered the moment or not.

      Yes ! I get it. The thought of my mother being that unguarded…. Other people in my life too.
      What a good way of putting it – the ‘avatar’ that people interact with instead of the real person.

      The whole experience left me with a strong desire to re-find that moment of connection, but with people in my life – I had never thought of my mother…..

      • Yikes, I am way too traumatized to imagine that I would even know that my mother was sincere, even if she did want to reach out to ME and not my avatar. Even when my father was dying and she was demanding hugs, from ME, I recoiled from her like I would from any viper. She has added this on to her list of my sins, but aside from remarking on that it no longer affects me. Like your lady on the ward, even if my mother’s window opened briefly, it would slam the next moment, on my head, as it has so many times before. Nope, let her have her avatar of me, and I’ll leave her in her den and keep my distance. We have a duty to protect ourselves from known dangers! Oh, how well I do know that one…..

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