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.


I wonder if life outside a psychiatric ward is actually madness

This first post may set the tone of things to come – my struggle with being alive – also my joy at it. I revel in some of the wonderful distractions science, music, relationships but sometimes find it hard just to breathe in and out.

So I live and work in the ‘real’ world, i.e.  not in a psychiatric ward. But I have spent as a patient and came swiftly to the conclusion that the patients were the sane ones but people outside are all slightly mad.

Because……… because people admitted to a ward to treat their mental health are in a state of forced honesty about their demons. Visitors say they are fine and at a glance the superficial dishonest world of work and social life come flooding back to me.

Life outside flies by at a pace stopping only when someone else gives me a nod of acknowledgement that they too are aware of an inner landscape and struggle with it. Those moments of being present with another, are so life affirming and rare.