Transparency: A Major Key
Stereotypes and stigmas stagnate our culture. Instead of truly making attempts to understand each other and relate, we often take the option to assume and condemn.
A typical day consisted of me going from work to class, to another job, to theatre and back home to do homework all while attempting to still be social. Sometimes I'd even do extra hours at job one. I was running low on both sleep and food, but I was pulling it off. Looking back, I didn’t realize just how little sleep and food I was getting, all that mattered was that I was getting my shit done. With only a few days left until Spring Break, I could totally go hard then go home.
Ideas, ideas, ideas, love, love and love were all that were on my mind the weeks before my 20th birthday. I couldn’t wait to hit SXSW with my friends. We had all been hanging out at my house chilling having electrifying talks about introspective and enlightening subject matter. It was awesome... but I was talking too fast for the comfort of some of my friends.
Being close to my mom, one of them called her and noted my symptoms. My mother, having years of personal mental health experience, degrees in Chemistry and Counseling and gas, decided it would be best to check me out herself. She secretly drove from Houston to Waco in the dead of night, stopping in Killeen on the way to scoop my little cousin.
I’m sharing this with you all, not because it’s easy, but because it's necessary. Because the truth shall set you free and I can only help others navigate life’s realities by shedding light on them.
In reality, if you’ve been a friend to me over the past two years, you’ve been a member of a support system that allows me to take control and live fully.
I’ve learned that my mom, though I love her, is a huge trigger for me. Does your mom know how to push your buttons? Of course she does. In short, that night was traumatizing as fuck. After refusing to eat a burrito I had just ordered from Taco Bell, she decided I needed hospitalization.
There, my rights were abused. I was traumatized further. I was told lies, belittled, gas lighted and given medicine I didn’t want. This was medicine that would negatively affect me for months, even after I stopped taking it. There, I saw major flaws in our mental health system. I saw major flaws in how we treat mental illness.
It was there in the DePaul Center that I met two other really typical Baylor Bears. I wasn’t the only one. One was biology major that seemed super intelligent, but was stressed with her workload. We joked until her release to the other side about how she thought she was Jesus upon admission.
I waited patiently for days to be administratively processed to the other side with less severe cases. The side I was on was bare, white and purposefully stimulating. It was everything I hated. I felt betrayed by my mother and frustrated, but I didn’t want to express anything there. Any expression of impatience or restlessness was marked a symptom.
They did shit like have me sleep in an observation room, uncomfortable, cold and surrounded by windows that pour in light. These are conditions that I can’t sleep in and they’d note that I wasn’t sleeping and irritable. I spoke with one nurse who agreed I probably didn’t need to be there, but reminded me that we had to wait on the paperwork.
The faces on that side of addiction, schizophrenia, depression and suicide attempts stay with me. The stories of the few patients who could even manage string words together stay with me. There was definitely a purpose behind my experience.
Eventually both my mother and I were sorry I had ever been brought there. After intervention on my mother’s part, because no one would listen to me, I was moved across the hall to attend group therapy. The other side was full of people who needed to check out of life and committed themselves, and where I met another student.
This girl ironically embodied Baylor University and was captain Christian Life Group USA. She was a sweet, chic, sorority girl whose depression had led her into a cycle of guilt. She didn’t feel she was good enough, had an eating disorder and was disappointed in herself as a Christian role model for causing herself harm. No matter how low she felt she knew her life group was lifting her up. She had to sort her head on her own, but she felt supported knowing that her healing was embraced.
We all have battles and we should fight back. Since my diagnosis, I have fought to study in London, graduate from Baylor University, moved cross country and so much more. I hope that by sharing this experience, that some would consider out of character for me, I help develop a greater understanding within you. So that when your time comes to be supportive or feel like Jesus, you’ll know that needing care is nothing for anyone to be ashamed of. 🔑