From a Mental Hospital


3 For the enemy has pursued my soul; he has crushed my life to the ground; he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.”

Psalm 143:3

Some time ago,  I was hospitalized for my mental illness. (Actually seven times.) And though each time was bitter, but the Lord carried me.  They would take me of shoelaces, and belts, and fingernail clippers.  Basically, I was stripped of everything, anything that I might use to harm myself. But I was creative, I took a clock off the wall and rolled it in a blanket,  I smashed it and used the shards of glass to cut my wrists.The nurses were exceptionally observant, and within moments they intervened.

I had already been stripped, searched, and then brought into a ward full of very sick people.  Much of all of this is a terrible glazed blur.  There was a real awareness of unreality.  I was quite confused, and it would take several weeks before I could reconnect.  Things were no longer ‘reasonable’ and I could discern nothing.  But I didn’t know I was so confused (but I did suspect it). The staff were quite aware and accommodating.  They let me be, so time could take care of the rest. I needed to unravel things  And, besides, Jesus knew exactly where I was if I didn’t.

Days rolled by, quite slowly.  The tedium of a mental hospital is the worst— much more difficult than jail or prison.  You walk in a very limited corridor, back and forth.  You wait for your shrink, and wait, and wait.  You pace, and pace. You pray, stupidly.  The other patients were equally disturbed.  There was a great variety among them.  One guy would urinate in any corner. Once he jumped up on the nurses station, and took a “whizz.” It was hysterical.  He almost shorted out their computer.

In all of this, there was a very bleak and strange awareness, of being incredibly ‘detached,’ and only remotely aware that something was not right with me.  I tried to get well, but I was mentally lost.  I paced, and I remained confused.  I was most definitely in an ugly place.  Desperate and increasingly bewildered, I knew I had no place to go.  A fine place for someone who used to pastor, and teach at a Bible college.

If you have been in this place, you will recognize the ‘lostness’ of being on a ward of a mental hospital. It is confusion mixed with despair,  and without a part of very strong drugs, and there is nothing you can do to be released.  And really until you come to this fact, they will never let you go.  They wait for you to snap out of your confusion, unfortunately that takes time. Sometimes many weeks and whole months. Sometimes never.

It’s worse when you have a family.  In my case it was my wife, and two small children.  This at times, would twist my heart.  I would get a very short phone call, once a week.  But this was quite difficult.  I gained very little from those calls, and I found myself quite disturbed after each call.  Being on this ward tinged me completely. It was like being dipped into darkness.  I was very much affected.  Now on the outside, I admit I was quite disturbed, but at the time I honestly did not understand a way out.

Dear friend, having a mental illness is cruel and disturbing.  And being committed to a mental hospital is a desperate thing.  Having passed through its locked doors is something you will never forget.  The way I figure these seven hospitalizations have stolen over six months of my life. Its work is irrevocable, its fingerprints will be on your life, for as long as you live.  But God will bring good out of this. This I know.

“Do not gloat over me, my enemy!
    Though I have fallen, I will rise.
Though I sit in darkness,
    the Lord will be my light.”

Micah 7:8

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10 Responses to From a Mental Hospital

  1. brentnz says:

    Lily we have the assurance that when we believe on the name of Jesus Christ we are saved thats what grace is we dont have to do anything else he saves us because he died for our sins.The other part is that he empowers us with his holy spirit to be overcomers.It is real simple we just say to the Lord that we cant do it in our strength and that we need his help when we do that he strengthens us with his holy spirit.Our identity is found in him and in him we live and breathe and have our being.I can see that you are courageous and strong just trust him.He promises he will never leave you nor forsake you and nothing can separate you from his love.regards brentnz

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  2. brentnz says:

    How the Lord has helped me that may help you is that the Lord helps us in our weakness he doesnt judge and he loves us for who we are and where we are at.Then if we are willing he will help us.But how do we get from being a victim of circumstance to being an overcomer.Its a process that he takes us through for me i was broken completely and for a while i wondered who i was i lost my self confidence i was full of doubt as he broke my pride in my strength until i realised that my identity is in Christ once we realise that it changes everything because we often define ourselves by what we do or if we are ill by our sickness whether its physical or mental.So if you are a christian see your selves in him and trust the holy spirit to lift and empower you to be like him when you are feeling weak that is how we are called to walk by faith.regards brentnz

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  3. Anonymous says:

    J here. MA, MSN, once Pre-Med, once nursing school, minor in education, minor in theology, psychotherapist, former Pastor’s wife. Survivor of ritual abuse/mind control. Survivor of shaming, blaming, mental health professionals, church members, family & society. 8 suicide attempts. Life support 4xs. 31 hospitalizations. Diagnosed: Anxiety Reaction, Major Depression, Schizophrenic, Bulimic, Borderline Personality Disorder, BiPolar, Complex PTSD, Multiple Personalitues, Dissociative Identity Disorder. Currently honored, humbled & blessed to being allowed to sit with beleiver’s & holding secrets, shames, & the emotional pain of our brokenness. Grateful to God for you, Pastor Bryan. …my hardest spiritual battle is to follow the command to “be angry” but “sin not”… Daily choices are hard when being given a choice as a child meant between being beaten first versus next, being caged in an open toilet or gang raped. 12 step recovery & therapy taught me I was only as sick as my kept secrets & to recover I needed to be open & rigorously honest….that can get you killed too! My mantra is One Day at a time, Sweet Jesus even when the enemy reminds me that mantras are no more Christian than Karma & I’m gonna get bad Karma for saying it! Thanks be to God for His sense of humor.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yes sense of humor. xxb

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    • brentnz says:

      Anonymous there is one person who understands what you are going through and that is the Lord i cant imagine the horror that you have been through but he loves you and. knows all those secrets you have been hiding.When he wept for Lazarus he was weeping for you and all those who have been trapped in hell today he speaks your name come forth from death and darkness.In Christ there is peace and joy from shame guilt bitterness and condemnation for he is the way the truth and the life.May he bring comfort to you for he wants to bring healing and restoration into your life.brentnz

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  4. As a young teenager in the 1960s, I spent nearly two years in a notorious state insane asylum. Built in the 1800s, it was the largest building in the state, more than a mile in circumference. Even so, during my incarceration it was packed to overflowing with people.

    This institution was closed and torn down in the 1990s. Two years ago, my husband and I drove to the site where the asylum used to be. It was very eerie, walking on the empty park-like grounds. I remembered… so many things. I kept wondering, Where Did They All Go?

    The state hospital may be gone, but it still lives on inside my mind.

    God bless you, fellow awesome survivor. 🙂

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  5. Gary says:

    I pray for you all, I have had two hospital visits before. You have to be aware as can be in the hospital to make sure your getting the right care. Pray for all those who are mentally ill and this ministry which has been here in good times and bad. Many lose meaning by being sick, I share the gospel with those who need a doctor and are willing to listen.

    May Jesus bless all the people writing here and Bryan and his ministry.

    In the holy name of Jesus

    Amen

    Liked by 1 person

  6. M says:

    I so understand, Lily. I was abused in a cult, too. I have endured judgement from churches as well. It is very hard to find people who truly understand and love. But they do exist! There are siblings in Christ who understand this deep and abiding trauma. I struggle daily. I want to go home too. I am fighting. Keep fighting too! Please don’t give up! My heart breaks for you as it breaks for myself. Your words have touched me and echoed mine. I am praying for you! And I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus loves and accepts you right where you are at. That the father’s heart breaks for your pain. That the Holy Spirit will bring you comfort and healing. You are so brave!

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  7. I have schizophrenia and over the years have been hospitalized 11 times. With each visit, I began to learn the routines and expectations and though I can’t say I looked forward to the visits, I did become very thankful for the acute care. I thank God for mental hospitals now, a visit stabilizes, gives pause for reflection. I have made it six years without a trip to the hospital, thanks to the fact that for the first time in all my visits, I was sat down by the Doctor in his office and it was explained, my diagnosis, and before I left a follow-up appointment was scheduled. There were a couple of times I probably should have been hospitalized since then, but I chose to take to my bed and rely on the medication. There comes a point with mental illness, at least with mine, where you have to take the reins. Since that time I have had many new doctors and two medicine changes, the last one being quite hopeful, so far so good. But I have had to change my expectations. Now my only goal is to eat and sleep on time. If I can do this, day in, day out, then I have a shot at more activity. Schizophrenia ruined my life, to be sure, but it has a life of it’s own. I’m on disability now – I was a film director. I live in a house with my brother, also schizophrenic, who has refused meds. With my new med I can think more clearly and I am more motivated to do things, but still, I have episodes and this week my hallucinations have returned. But I’m hopeful. This site was recommended to me by a missionary cousin, and it’s very interesting. I cannot attend church, I have tried, but I find it too upsetting – “triggering”, it is called. So I find my spiritual information online mostly, and follow those “clues”. Thank you for this blog and I wish the author of “from a mental hospital” deep peace and a comfortable pace.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lily Amongst thorns says:

    Dear Brother Bryan,
    I’m frightened…I Love Jesus with all my heart soul and mind and do not understand why His perfect Love has not cast that fear aside. Sometimes I feel like I am not going to make it. I thought twice in the hospital was bad…..I can’t imagine 7. I’m so sorry you and your family had to go through that. I have the deepest of empathy.

    From the disparity comes wisdom, courage, and enlightenment but with it also comes the condescending attitudes of people who have never been spoiled with the privilege of being there. And, I know you understand what i mean by privilege.

    I have complex PTSD and have suffered from a catatonic depression. I had family members in the occult and I did not have the freedom to worship unfettered as some do. I have had unspeakable things done to me and yet God has used every single one to His glory.

    It is other believers I don’t understand. They pass judgement. They see scars. I see courage and the strength of Christ to hold on to my beliefs.

    I don’t feel like I belong anywhere. My husband seems to be coming on board but refuses to attend Church as well. it Almost feels sacrilegious the way so many take their liberties for granted. It is sad how there are more Jesus clubs than there are churches that practice true Agape and not just phileo love.
    I need strength to carry on.I just want to go home to my Jesus. I’m tired. i’m tired of trying to figure it out. i know I am not perfected in Love because of my hard feelings over the rejection of other believers.
    How did you manage to be whole again? How did your family?
    In Him

    Liked by 1 person

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