As the nurse wheeled me down the long and lonely corridor and through the locked doors of that ward, I felt hopeless and humiliated. But after coming to the end of myself, I see how the church and the psych ward have several similarities and benefits.
It’s been four years since my suicide attempt. For the longest time, I thought my week on the psych ward was pointless. I saw it as a frustrating waste of time. Now, I can recognize the value of what we did during those days.
My wife spent a week on a psych ward following the birth of our first son. She had a miserable fight with postpartum depression and sleep deprivation. One year later, nearly to the day, I landed in ICU and then a psych ward following a suicide attempt.
After living through it, here’s my take on what to do when you decide to stay married to someone with mental illness.
As a first-timer on the psych ward, it appeared that we were focusing on basic things,like eating right, getting plenty of rest, and talking with a professional. In retrospect, I see that we were working on a much deeper level. We were engaging with a community of people with similar struggles and similar goals, setting boundaries, and learning about self-compassion.
As the nurse wheeled me down the long and lonely corridor and through the locked doors of that ward, I felt hopeless and humiliated. But on the other side, I found help for my anxieties, rest for my soul, and practical ways to walk toward my new life. On my own, without the hope Christ brings, I also find myself at the end of the rope, but in the context of healthy community, wrestling alongside others who have their own burdens to bear, I know I can keep going.