Hope in the Loneliest Place: The Mind
Is it possible for the mind to be the loneliest place on the planet? How about the loneliness of a mind disturbed by various mental diagnoses? For me, the lonely place in my mind that had been inhabited by mania and psychoses led to the loneliness of being helped by our medical community’s typical way of dealing with such conditions. I was placed in the hospital.
A mania that quickly morphed into a psychosis brought me to my first experience in an American behavioral unit. On May 22, 2008, I was admitted to the lockdown unit of a South Jersey hospital. There, I was like everyone else, except that I wasn’t. I was me. Many contributing factors mixed together to create that crisis, which lasted four years. If genetics could play a role, I certainly had people on both sides of my family tree donating the necessary DNA. If loss and grief could help to bring about my dilemma, I had known that as well through the loss of my sister to ovarian cancer at thirty-four. But what role did trauma and years of intense fear play in this crisis of my mind? Our last tour as missionaries in Congo was one of daily fear, since the place where we rented was surrounded by ex-rebel soldiers and their leader. So, in many ways, I was different.
I was not admitted for issues with depression or self-harm. I was not treated for drug or alcohol abuse (another form of self-harm). But my story, though different, still had me shut away. In that place, what I was dealing with was my own. My family was not there with me. My friends were not in lockdown with me. I was alone. Alone in my disturbed and scary mind.
And yet, I was not alone. My lifelong Friend, Jesus was there with me. I had my Bible. I had my journal. And the same routine that had made up my daily life on the outside made up my daily life there. For twelve days, I read my Bible and journaled in that behavioral unit of a South Jersey hospital. And after a few days, I found friends. They were different than those that I had known before, but they were sharing my new journey.
The Apostle John wrote: “Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.” (2 John 2) Despite the strange behavior of my mind during those four years of acute mania and psychoses, my soul was still healthy. I still loved Jesus and was solidly confident that He dearly loved me too. Like John’s hope for his friends, it was my hope to see my mind healed. And it was.
My story of healing and balance is not miraculous. I was admitted for a second time in March of 2010 in Niagara Falls, New York. There, I was placed on just the right blend of medicines. Within twenty-four hours, the rollercoaster had stopped. I regained balance and my family regained peace. It’s been nearly ten years since that time. Ten years of time to enjoy my family and friends. Yes, the mind can be the loneliest place on earth, but there is always hope that our Friend Jesus can move into that place, comfort, heal, and restore balance