I’m a little nervous, writing this. I wonder if it could lose me readers. If it’ll open me up to judgment. If I’ll receive hate mail. My mind is blowing up with what COULD happen.
But – I’m going to write this anyway. It’s important to break the stigma. It’s important to talk – honestly and openly – about mental health. The Army always taught me to lead by example… how can I refuse to do so now?
On Sunday, 10/06, I was hospitalized for severe depression and suicidal ideation. As many of you know, I have two serious psychiatric diagnoses – PTSD and schizophrenia. Life was overwhelming. Living seemed impossible. And so – I’m proud of this – when it was too difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel, I raised my hand and asked for help.
The hospital nurses were compassionate and professional. The therapist I saw was wonderful. My psychiatrist was amazing. I’m now on new medications, learned new coping skills, started a new manuscript, and even made a few new friends. In the hospital, the masks come off. People tend to be very honest and open about why they’re there… and I think that’s a strength we need to bring to the outside world.
To anyone out there who is suffering – I’m going to quote one of the hospital nurses, Patrick. He said, everyone has something. Raising your hand and asking for help is brave, not weak. So today, I’m going to challenge you: how can you be brave?