Monday, April 02, 2012

sunny day, sweepin’ the clouds away.

Have you ever witnessed something so raw, so base, that you realized that everything you thought about what "the bottom" looked like was not only wrong, but truly ignorant? Friday found me in the mental health ward of my local hospital. Not because I was being checked in (like I have often joked about and made light of), but because I was trying to figure out where the psychiatrist I was supposed to have an appointment with was hiding. Turns out my appointment time had been changed and nobody had told me. As I felt myself start to get irritated with the nurses sitting behind the safety glass, I looked behind me and saw a woman dressed only in a hospital gown.

She said nothing, her eyes were vacant. I smiled at her, not knowing what else to do, and she tilted her head slightly and shifted from one foot to the other. She was a wisp of a thing, and I could taste her sadness. Before long a nurse arrived and handed her two small plastic cups and told her one was shampoo and the other was body wash. The woman accepted the cups in a way that told me this was not the first time her toiletries had been doled out in suicide safe receptacles. She turned and disappeared through a pair of doors, and my heart hurt for her. Without thinking I sent out a prayer to her that she would get better and get her life back.

The reason I was there that day was merely to discuss my medication and a get a second opinion for my doctor. I've been feeling "not myself" (it's been a while, I'm not sure I'd recognize her if I saw her) for a long time. I'm not thinking of doing anything radical like harming myself, but I have days where I struggle to function. If it weren't for my kids, I would probably have become a hermit by now. Most of the time I'm exhausted, I have a lot of trouble focussing, my motivation is out the window and get extremely anxious about things that I can't control. I manage to cover these fun symptoms up when duty calls, but after the fact, I'm so tired from pretending, it takes longer than it should to pull myself together to do it again.

I'm writing this, not for you to think "Wow, Kat's a nut job" or "How unprofessional of her to smear her public persona with this type of information". I am writing this because for far too long, when asked "How are you?", I have answered "Great". And I'll probably continue answering "Great" because that's what people want to hear. But at least in one place, I have started to say what is really on my mind. That I'm not so depressed that I need to be checked into a hospital, but I do need to keep a close eye on it and be truly honest about how hard I struggle.

By the way, when I finally tracked down my doctor, he apologized for the mix-up and I responded "If this is the worst thing that happens to me today, than I'm doing okay". He gave me a funny look, and didn't respond. Go figure. I guess he isn't phased by seeing what I saw. I think I'll stop joking about checking myself into the hospital.


  1. Loriana Puglielli11:52 a.m.

    Hi Katrina, no we've never met, just chatted about Kim, are children and your lovely works of art on facebook. Strange how I thought you and I were so different, even though we have our challenge with autism in common. I guess we always see other peoples lives as better, until we see someone much worse off.
    The sun is always shining, even when its hiding behind a few clouds, thank you for your special words.

  2. Anonymous3:04 p.m.

    Thank you for your honesty. Sometimes without knowing it you can help so many people realize they are not alone feeling they way they do.

  3. Anonymous4:32 p.m.

    Even though we don't speak every day, on behalf of those of us who love you - thank you for sharing.