“Have you ever had a random encounter or fleeting moment with a stranger that stuck with you?”
In short answer, yes. However, that wouldn’t be very interesting if I only answered yes, so I will elaborate.
In the year 2008, I fell deep into my depression. I ended up spending a week in the psych ward of the local hospital. Upon arrival, I was nervous, upset, and shy. I thought my life was going to be over because I had to spend time there rather than at home. I didn’t think anything would come from my stay there and that it was just a waste of time and money.
However, truth be told, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I still had to follow plenty of rules: lights off at 9pm, all meals served a certain time, participate in group meetings, go to art classes, meet with a specialist one on one. But what took me by surprised was the other patients there.
My first night there, I encountered a friend I knew from outside those walls. We weren’t close, but we knew each other and together we embarked on our week long stay together. He made it slightly better because I had someone there who I felt comfortable talking with and during our group meetings we decided to pretend we were the only ones in the room.
However, our little duo quickly became bigger as more patients arrived throughout the week. By the following Monday when I was released, we had a total of four members in our little group that spent time together during our free time playing cards, talking about life, and sharing snacks.
The third member of our group came roughly two days after my arrival. He was as young as me and just as crazy. He told us tales of his adventures on the outside, famous people he met, and was extremely funny, resulting in much giggles between our small trio.
The next day, a young man arrived. He was a veteran from Iraq, but still had a rather decent sense of humor on him. He matched my dark side of humor, therefore he was invited to sit with us. He was the master of card games, jokes, and other various hilarity.
Our group was considered the “in group” of the psych ward. Even though the four of us were considered outsiders while in the “real world.” It was the first time I felt like I belonged with a group of people. The four of us learned to get past our troubles that landed us in the psych ward in the first place.
If it wasn’t for the three others, I’m not sure I would have “healed” as quickly during my time there. They made things a lot more bearable. Sadly, after our time was up there, we lost contact, but I still think about them once in a while. I wish I could remember last names or phone numbers so I could catch up with them, but I don’t. I just hope they are doing as reasonably well as I am these days and will continue to pray for them for years to come.