Content warning: This post deals with anxiety, depression and hospital and may be triggering for some readers.
Psych wards and laugher?
It starts with the ‘why’ are you here?’ questions and usually ends in fits of laughter.
The most healing medicine. Laughing. It fills the chilling reality of the white walls, 15 minute checks, group counselling and hidden contraband.
I remember nights where we would gather around tables at supper and laugh about the ironic things people would tell us ‘maybe you should exercise more’.. ‘be more thankful..’ ‘others have it worse off than you’… Oh the lists. Like thank you, I didn’t already feel bad enough.
The sharing of horror medications, deluions , misdiagnosis and relapsing. But I have never felt more heard, more understood or so accepted in my life. We knew the frustration of our illnesses, we knew how to be present with each other.
In a room full of ‘crazy people’ I felt at home. We would laugh until the nurses told us to go to bed or they will call Security, we would laugh at our thinking, we would laugh at our new found diagnoses, we would laugh.. we would laugh at the odd looks from the nurses when we all went quite.. when we realised where we all were again. How could depressed people be laughing?
We found comfort in each other’s stories, where tears fell, were lonliness stood.. we knew. We understood. We made friends for that moment.
I found healing in the gathered living room moments, the days spent around the art table. I found freedom in my laughing.. right when my world was full of grey. I began to know peace in the safety of my bedroom, I found comfort in being heard.
I found healing in the midst of terrible pain, in the struggle to calm anxiety, between the breakdowns and the psychosis.. it was all in our laughter.
If you or a loved one need to talk to someone please consider the following organisations:
lifeline: 13 11 14
Suicide helpline Victoria: 1300651251
Suicide call back service- 1300659467
or visit your local GP
For the people who help, you seriously don’t have to have any answers, don’t be scared, just listen. Help your person find a place they can talk and find helpful tools to assist in their processing.