Discovering the Beauty Behind the Walls of the Mentally Ill (Part I of II)

 

Update (November 28, 2012): I saw this video which helped me to better understand why I did the unthinkable (to my human ego) and the illogical and even insane (to my surrounding society): 

Abe ~ Alignment, your main priority

A post about a soul’s wish, perfect events, insight, and a new perspective:

  • Part I: Spiritual Reasoning (The Personal Experience)
  • Part II: Logical Reasoning

Part I: Spiritual Reasoning (The Personal Experience)

Have you ever wondered would it would be like to experience in person (rather than through movies) the inside of a mental institution? Call me crazy, but I did. I also wondered what it would be like to get to know someone who was diagnosed with certain mental disorders, just to get a feel of what it’s like behind the cold, cement walls of a mental institution and behind the walls of another soul’s deep, warm thoughts and feelings. Getting in touch with the unfamiliar or even the unknown seems fascinating to me. Granted, I’m not talking about adventuring into deep, dark, unexplored, bat-filled caves where I end up getting devoured by creepy and sneaky, albino cannibals. No. Nor am I interested in spending a weekend camping out with some passive-aggressive serial killer with mother issues. No. Thanks to movies like, “The Descent” and TV shows like, “Criminal Minds”, I’ve been highly discouraged to even go there. I’m fascinated with the little less dark side (like various shades of gray)…like life after death and why human beings behave the way they do.

Anyway, watch what you quietly wish for and then forget about, because it’s when it’s least expected that God grants you your wish…sometimes in the most unusual manner, and even in the most undesirable way. Its only hindsight that brings you the wisdom as to why certain “undesirable” things happened the way they did in order for you to ultimately experience what you had wished for. At the moment, you’re like, “Why God? I’m pretty sure this is not what I had wished for. At least this is not how it was suppose to play out. I don’t like this experience.” You would think that after many experiences of saying, “Ohhh, that’s why that happened! Thank you God!” that I would learn to just trust God and have strong faith that everything happens perfectly; therefore, there’s really no need to ask God, “Why is this happening to me?” as I raise my fist in the air.

It’s like the kid who wanted to see some gorillas at a zoo, but ended up falling into the gorilla pit and temporarily passing out. I’m sure that’s not how he envisioned his experience of seeing a gorilla, but he sure got a close-up…a very “personal” experience if you will. Fortunately for him, the gorilla, who decided to be protective, held the kid like a mother rocking her baby. I’m sure the kid will use the You-Tube video to his advantage as an adult, like melting away his girlfriend’s heart by telling her how scared, yet, happy he was to be the boy that got rocked by a gorilla. How many of us get to experience such a slightly traumatic, yet, priceless moment?  Soul-touching moments like that make me want to shout with joy, “God, you sure know how to create an amazing story!” Just like the gorilla story, my story started with an innocent wish, stemmed from curiosity, and then transformed into what I defined at the time as an undesirable situation. It was only until the end that I was able to truly see the beauty of God’s amazing work of perfection.

Throughout the majority of my career in the Army, I witnessed several soldiers who had to be seen by a mental health facility due to various reasons such as extreme anxiety and major depression. During those times, I couldn’t understand why these soldiers (who were supposed to be mentally, emotionally and physically tough) chose to get help from a mental health facility for their personal problems instead of talking to one of the instructors, platoon sergeants, Chaplain or any other mentor figure available. Unfortunately, at the time, there was a stigma about mental health. It was basically considered being weak. If one decided to get help from a mental health facility, he/she was considered hypersensitive or a fake who was trying to get out of training, work, or even the Army. Granted, there were some individuals who didn’t seem genuinely unstable because they indeed hated being in the Army, but there were others who seemed to show some unusual behaviors. Due to my ignorance on the subject matter at the time, and my adamant belief that psychologists and psychiatrists were overrated, I allowed my judgment to be clouded by the surrounding (to include my own) close-mindedness, discrimination, hatred, stereotypes, overgeneralizations, exaggerations, lies, and/or  rejection. So where did all that negative energy stem from? Fear of the unfamiliar.

So what happens when we judge another? One magical day, we get to experience what it’s like to be the one being judged. This is not because we’re being punished by God, it’s because God and our souls desire for our souls to spiritually evolve. Sometimes we experience being judged first, so that we hopefully learn not to judge others. For instance, when I was in 5th grade, the most popular, James Dean-looking boy in my class walked by me (as I opened the door for him at the Teen Center) and said with a disgusted look on his face, “Get out of my way you ugly, flat-faced Korean!” Although this very brief moment made a huge impact on my self-esteem until my adult years, I’m grateful that I had that experience that I didn’t initially welcome. I’ve learned how hurtful “mean” can be and was determined not to make anyone else have such an experience. My girlfriend (from my early twenties) on the other hand, chose a different route. One day, she was very rude to our waitress while we were at a restaurant. I asked her why she was treating her so bad, and she said that that’s the way she was treated when she was a waitress. I explained to her that because she had a hurtful experience, that she should ensure no one else had it, but she just shrugged her shoulders. It’s understandable why your “true” friends list starts shrinking as you get older. Anyway, whether or not we choose to evolve (be closer to God) by making loving decisions with a particular situation, God will continue to give us many golden opportunities/gifts/blessings…sometimes, blessings in disguise, the so-called “undesirable” experiences.

One day, God gave me the opportunity to help one of my soldiers who was going through a very difficult time. One of my squad leaders approached me and expressed how frustrated he was trying to help one of his soldiers. He continued that he often listens to her multiple problems and offers possible solutions, but nothing seems to work. He also added that she often behaved strangely, which would affect her work performance. He even tried to counsel her in writing, but she wouldn’t follow through with certain expectations. So I offered to help. After work, on a nice cool evening, SGT Chattigurl (fake name) and I went outside our company building and sat on a bench. A conversation began. SGT Chattigurl had a lot on her mind, and she spoke from her heart. While I listened to her very descriptive stories, which she shared with a full range of emotions, I began to understand why she behaves the way she does. Granted, I’ve listened to numerous personal stories from many soldiers and always tried to help them, but she was different. She was very aware of her own behavior. She had unique perspectives, often interconnecting her multi-layered stories with her spirituality. I was also impressed with her ability to analyze people and situations, as well as notice the beauty in them. Her words, although seemingly endless, were intriguing. I felt a deep, spiritual connection with another soul in such a short amount of time, which I’ve missed for a long time. It was almost as if she was telling me about my troubles, thoughts, and feelings that I suppressed for so long. Around three hours later, our conversation ended, only to be continued next time.

That same week, I received a phone call from a doctor informing me that she had checked SGT Chattigurl into the hospital due to her suicidal state. My heart felt like it dropped to my stomach. Back-to-back thoughts such as, “Was I not helpful enough?” and “Did I say the wrong things?” were racing through my head. Her squad leader made a snide comment about how he thought she was faking to get out of work. I snapped at him and put him in his place by reminding him that she was still one of his soldiers whether or not he believed her, and that it was his responsibility to support her like a leader should. He apologized. Although I wasn’t her direct leader (i.e. her squad leader), she had to be supervised by another female soldier according to regulation, so I went to the hospital. For the first time in my entire life, I was about to experience a new process. After multiple procedures (administrative and medical), my soldier was transferred to a temporary mental facility. It was there, during visitations, that I got my first glimpse of a world which I was not familiar with at all. Upon completion of the evaluation process, my soldier was transferred to the main, mental health facility/treatment center.

Throughout her outpatient treatment process (on a few occasions) she failed to show up to the daily, morning accountability formations which were mandatory for everyone. She was on medication which apparently made her too drowsy to be able to wake up so early every morning. I explained her status to my First Sergeant (my boss), and asked if she could be exempt from coming to morning formations, and he denied my request. He also made it pretty clear that he was skeptical of the whole situation. One day, I found myself standing in the Command Sergeant Major’s (my boss’s boss) office explaining to both him and my First Sergeant why I believed that she should be able to keep her privileges, like being able to live off post. When my Command Sergeant Major complained about her and how he thought she was full of shit, I told him, “Sergeant Major, she’s a good soldier.” They left it as that and informed me that I needed to fix the problem. I informed my soldier that she had to continue coming to early morning formations and that there was no way around it. Disappointment overflowed in her eyes, and I could only imagine how she felt. I was now probably the “bad guy” who didn’t care for her soldier’s welfare and didn’t even try to fight for her. I felt bad and helpless, but I had to be stern with her so that she wouldn’t end up digging herself a deeper hole.

During the next few months, I became overwhelmed, probably due to stress overload. Not only was I dealing with all my soldiers’ problems (e.g., administrative, personal, financial, disciplinary, etc.), but I was having my own load as well, work related and personal. Being the only female platoon sergeant (senior Noncommissioned Officer) in a company of alpha-male, dominating, good ol’ boy platoon sergeants and First Sergeant is quite interesting. One day, while I was in my First Sergeant’s (boss) office discussing soldier issues, he gently said to me, “You know, we could really be good friends.” I didn’t say anything, but made some excuse and left the office. Ever since then, I avoided being alone with him in his office like the plague. He then did the oh-so-familiar 180 degrees…he became a major asshole to me. One of the not so nice things that I’ve learned in the Army is that when certain male soldiers don’t get what they want from a female soldier, they start treating her like crap. What’s crap is when you have nothing solid on him that could get him in trouble because he does these things in a subtle manner; plus, if he outranks you, it’s your word against his word…and he’s buddy-buddy with the whole Chain of Command (higher leadership). I despised him for making my life a living hell, and I didn’t look forward to deploying with him, even though I had re-enlisted at my last unit to come to a deploying unit.

I wasn’t myself anymore. What I didn’t realize until later (during therapy), was that my First Sergeant had triggered something that I had suppressed for a long time. His behavior reminded me of another so-called leader that I once knew. I had never told a single soul for over six years due to self-blame, shame, and anger. At my first unit in the Army, I was raped by my first platoon sergeant. It was right after a platoon party when I was ready to head back to the barracks. I won’t go into detail since I already wrote a post about it titled, “Manipulation.” I eventually reported him, and an investigation took place; but as expected, he denied everything. It was too late because there was no physical evidence, even though I had told my squad leader the next day and he was interviewed during the investigation. Anyway, I didn’t realize how much the incident affected me. Anger repressed over time turns into rage, and even depression; both of which I experienced throughout those years. I was a mess. In addition to the bullshit at work, I had marital problems at home. It was just a continuation of our unhealthy, rollercoaster relationship that was ongoing for almost two and a half years. At one point we almost got a divorce, but didn’t. Looking back, I’m so grateful because we both ended up receiving individual and marriage counseling which improved our marriage a great deal.

At the time, neither my husband nor I cared to receive any marriage counseling. It was just a vicious cycle of an unhealthy relationship, which was like our dysfunctional family traditions being passed down to our generation. It seemed as if love, peace, and happiness were once again nowhere to be found. Whenever I called my kids, they usually sounded like they were annoyed that they had to talk to me. Granted, they were soon-to-be teenagers, so I should’ve understood, but I just took it personally because I felt they hated me because I wasn’t a good mother. But I was happy for them because they had a great father and step-mother, as well as a stable home. I no longer cared about my mother whom I had a love-hate relationship with or my father (who raised me) whom I haven’t talked to in years (who ended up passing away). I also didn’t care about my biological father who rejected me as a baby and again after seeing me 35 years later. I felt useless for not being able to help my relatives financially. I even became detached to the only true friend I had (who lived thousands of miles away), as well as my own dog.  Last but not least, my faith in God was diminishing. I didn’t feel like I mattered to Him or anyone else, and didn’t understand the purpose of my existence.

Then, one day, I did the unthinkable. I woke up in the middle of a weekday and decided to just go somewhere far away. As a traveled by bus to a major city, I noticed a huge load come off my shoulders as I looked out the window. I felt free. I couldn’t believe how calm I was considering how extremely anxious I become by merely being close to late to formation or work. I was always very hard on myself for even making a small mistake while I was in the Army, so to think that I had the audacity to intentionally make an enormous mistake such as going “Absent While On Leave” (AWOL) for a day was just unbelievable.  But for some reason, I experienced peace. In my mind, my life was over. I thought about going to a firing range, or maybe even staying the night at a high-rise hotel. I could get pretty creative I thought.

Then, reality hit when my only battle buddy (friend-like co-worker) continuously sent me text messages throughout the day about my children, and how they need me, and how I should be in their lives, etc. At the end of the day, he convinced me to come back, which I didn’t want at the physical level, but what my soul (and God) wanted on a spiritual level. It was as if God said, “I love you Bobbie, but since you continuously chose to be stubborn and not take the opportunities I gave you to get the professional (and free) help that you could use (to better yourself and others), I helped you by flipping your world upside down to eventually lead you to your destiny. Whether you realize it now or not, your soul chose the experience of going to a mental health facility/treatment center (in order to have an even larger spiritual experience) even though your body refused to go along with the choice since it would “lose” face (respect and admiration from others) and material things like an Army career. You will thank Me later, I promise.”

When I returned, my First Sergeant and battle buddy checked me into a mental health facility/treatment center. Then, my First Sergeant informed me that even though he tried to fight for me by informing the Battalion Command Sergeant Major that I had checked in during a certain time—hence, I wasn’t technically considered AWOL—the Sergeant Major still insisted that I receive a negative, formal evaluation, which was completely understandable to me. However, that was the least of my concerns. It was almost as if I had no more fears, not even about how my actions negatively affected my precious career that I had worked so hard to excel in. I was just ready to go with the flow of the universe. And indeed, the journey began.

After all the administrative and evaluation process, I found myself in a world I had always wondered about. It wasn’t exactly like how the media typically portrays a mental health facility. Granted, I realize that one facility doesn’t necessarily represent every other one in the nation. However, there was no one yelling or screaming in the background (at least not yet) or zombie-like people aimlessly wandering around and drooling all over themselves. It was actually pretty quiet and boring (at first). There was a good mix of interracial people, ranging from what looked like brand new adults fresh out of high school to very old folks like Vietnam veterans. We all had to participate in individual as well as group sessions, so I did, but I had no desire to stay there. I had always thought that psychologist, psychiatrists, and group sessions were overrated. I thought, “I’m not about to share my personal stories, thoughts and feelings with a group of strangers.” Plus, I had convinced myself that no one could help me except me.

As I sat in my part of the circle, probably looking like I had a major attitude problem, I kept thinking about wanting to leave. One day, during another group session, we had to fill out this worksheet and then go around and talk about whatever bothered us the most at the moment (or something like that). Then, this older lady, who looked like she was in her early fifties, started telling her story. She became emotional in a gentle manner and she appeared very genuine, which caught my attention. I could tell it wasn’t easy for her to talk about it. She had been raped, and she was blaming herself for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. As she shared further details, I began to empathize with her at a deep level. It felt like I could literally feel her pain. Then, two other people told their stories. As my turn approached, I felt my anxiety level skyrocketing. But I was confident that I had everything under control, so I started reading what I had filled out on my worksheet.

All of a sudden, my voice cracked, and I felt my emotions wanting to explode out of my heart. I desperately tried to control myself, but I couldn’t. I broke down crying uncontrollably. At that point, I gave up trying to stop the pain. I just let it go, and it felt good. The young lady sitting next to me rubbed my back while some older man handed me some tissue. Everyone comforted me with their kind words and hugs and assured me that it was okay and safe to share my story with them. They were not there to judge me. I felt a sense of belonging, which I haven’t experienced for so long. Finally, I felt love, peace, and joy once again in the least expected place. “How is it that I feel such a strong bond with people I don’t even know, in such a short period of time?” and “How is that possible?” I thought. Looking back, I know why.

Like a wise, older sister-like friend once told me, “It doesn’t matter how long you know someone in order to feel connected with that person. You could know someone for years and not feel really connected. It’s when souls truly love one another unconditionally (to even strangers) is when a spiritual relationship/bond forms. Once it develops, it becomes unbreakable.” From that moment on, I understood why everything happened the way it did. God wanted to help me get help from other souls, which would also brings us together and help us to grow spiritually. Of course, I’m sure He could easily say, “You’re healed now”, but He’d rather have us souls (parts of Him) come together like a perfect and beautiful puzzle and be the amazing beings that we are by sharing blessings like love, peace, wisdom and joy.

I noticed that I had formed a sudden desire to get to know the patients. During my stay there, I had an opportunity to meet some amazing people who shared their unique stories. There was even a homeless man named Ron (fake name), the one who offered me some tissue when I was upset in group. He was an Asian man, around 5’3, possibly in his late forties or early fifties, with medium length wavy, salt and pepper hair and a mini, Fu Manchu mustache. What I liked about him the most was his genuine kindness, his giving nature and his willingness to make others smile. He told this one vivid story about how he was sitting in his car (also his home) one day, with the windows rolled down where he could feel the cool breeze gently blow across his face and through his luxurious hair (then he winked), and even smell the aroma of the lovely flowers. He looked up at the crystal clear-blue sky with small, puffy clouds floating by the sparkling sun. As he leaned back on his cushiony seat, he took a bite out of his leftover peanut butter sandwich and said, “Thank you God! It doesn’t get any better than this.” It was beautiful, and it reminded me of how much most of us probably take for granted the simple pleasures in life that God has blessed us with. I thought, this man may be homeless on a physical level with hardly anything material in his name, but he was most certainly wealthy on the soul level, which is priceless.

To my surprise, one day I noticed a whole other side of Ron. He looked as if the darkness of the night instantly consumed his sunny world. Granted, everyone has their bad day, but he seemed like a totally different person. The once chatty and animated man was now silent and isolating himself from everyone else. When another patient approached him to make conversation, he didn’t even bother to look his way. Instead, he sat on a coach sideways, somewhat curled up in the fetal position. I then realized that we should give him his space. So when the same patient, who approached him earlier, couldn’t take a hint and continuously asked him if he wanted to talk, I decided to intervene. That’s when I met Don (fake name), the new adult straight out of high school. At a first glance, Don looked like a scrawny, 5’6 twelve year old, who acted like an extremely hyper nine-year old. All the other patients avoided him like the plague. I managed to get Don to sit with me and talk on a coach across the room. He was frustrated and in tears because he couldn’t understand why nobody wanted to talk to him. I explained to him that everyone there was there for a very good reason, just like me and him. I continued that we’re all in the process of healing from various issues, and sometimes we just don’t feel like talking or just want to be left alone. I then added as I gently poked him in his arm non-stop (to make a clearer point), “Also, how would you feel if I kept asking you if you wanted to talk while I did this?” He looked down and replied as if he finally understood what he had been doing, “Annoyed.”

He then acknowledged why so many kids at school either ignored him or said mean things to him. He didn’t have any friends, although he desperately wanted some. I told him that sometimes people, even kids, can be cruel when they don’t understand why someone is different. However, once in a while a true friend will appear in our lives and accept us for who we are. I also assured him not to be discouraged to talk to others anymore, but rather, approach them in a manner that he would like to be approached by others. And even if they still don’t want to talk or become friends, to not take it personally. It just wasn’t meant to be. A conversation continued and the next thing I knew, he often followed me around like a lost duckling. Some of the patients teased me saying that their hearts went out to me, or they would ask me questions like, “How do you do it?” I must admit, it wasn’t easy. Patience is not my virtue, but boy was I getting some hands-on experience. It’s almost like I could picture God nodding his head up and down while smiling and then saying, “Hang in there Bobbie, you’ll be just fine. I promise you will experience happiness.” There were times when I would shout, “Time out!” to maintain my sanity while Don would talk a hundred miles per hour. He thought it was funny, but I was dead serious. Otherwise, resentment would build up for having to listen to his super hyper, chatty-ass for hours on end. No sir, not me. I like to keep it real.

One day though, while I was taking my dried clothes out of the dryer, Don was standing right behind me. Without hesitation, I said, “Don, you are not about to stand there and watch me take my underclothes out of the dryer, knucklehead.” He looked confused and then apologized with a laugh. After witnessing the situation, Ron was no longer speechless. He said with a smile, “Wow, you were so direct with him?” I replied, “Why not? It breaks the ice, right?” He agreed. I think other patients walked on eggshells around Don because he was more “different” than the typical patient. I just wanted to treat him like a normal human being. Apparently it worked, because he thanked me one day for being like his mother, which I was old enough to be. He said that he loves his mother very much because she’s the only person who ever loved him, since he grew up without a father. That very sentence touched my heart because he believed that no other soul ever loved him. I instantly connected with him at a deeper level because I, too, felt as though my current husband was the only person who ever loved me unconditionally. Don also said that he loved how his mother is always very straightforward with him, like shouting, “Get your jumping, hyper ass off the bed!” or “I love you son, but you need to calm your ass down.” Whenever he talked about his mother, he smiled from ear to ear and his starry, brown eyes lit up.

Then, one day, while a group of us were quietly waiting in the living room-like area for our group session, we suddenly heard some yelling and screaming coming from another section. My heart skipped a beat because I recognized that the yelling came from a familiar voice…it was Don. We all rushed to the double doors of the other section, but weren’t allowed to enter. I was so worried and curious as to what had happened. Later, I found out that Don had bit his own arm after losing it, and they had to pin him down. He had mentioned earlier that day that he was supposed to take his medication at a specific time, which was very important, but that the staff had told him that it was in route. I didn’t think it was a big deal until I learned what could happen. I found out that Don had been diagnosed with Bipolar Type I (the most severe type of bipolar disorder) before he arrived at the facility.

His change of behavior to the other side of the spectrum was very apparent. He was no longer overflowing with intense, positive energy. He became a Ron, but much more depressed. Once during group, he refused to talked, but instead wept as he sat, curled up in his chair. I tried to comfort him, but he was non-responsive. He then shared a story about how he was sexually abused by some man, whom he didn’t want to further describe. He was so ashamed he said, and then he started punching himself in the face, which we managed to stop. He had to be temporarily removed from group sessions. I felt so angry at the ugliness of the world. I had homicidal thoughts. If anyone did something like that to one of my children, I was determined to bring the pain tenfold; the monster would experience the slowest, yet, most painful, death imaginable in recorded in history. Ironically, the very act would make me a “monster” as well, but I didn’t care. I always knew at some very deep level that with a particular incident, such as the one mentioned above, I could quickly snap and go down a path of pitch darkness. Don felt like a son to me, and when he shouted out to me one day at the cafeteria, “I love you Barbara!”, my soul smiled with joy.

Speaking of my children, I saw this one patient who I ended up apologizing to because I couldn’t stop staring at her. I felt like I was in another universe or something. She looked like a young, adult version of my daughter. She even talked like her and had similar mannerisms. It then hit me. I felt like I was definitely in the Twilight Zone. Ron’s real first name is my biological father’s name, and they even look alike. It was weird and interesting. Was this God’s way of trying to get me to take a step further to connect with other souls whom I was attracted to by their familiar appearance, I thought? Wow. Anyway, Kay was very outspoken and confident. She was usually the spotlight of the facility, joking around with the staff and other patients, making them feel noticed and special; hence, sharing the spotlight. She would also blurt out things that you knew everyone wanted to say, but didn’t. I even saw her tell another female patient what the true meaning of beauty is, and that she (the other patient) should never allow anyone else define her as lacking beauty. Her honesty was refreshing, her encouragement contagious, and her witty or sarcastic (yet funny) sense of humor was invigorating.  Then, there was the very quiet and insecure Kay, who just wanted to sleep all day and didn’t want to participate in group sessions. I later found out that Kay had come from a very emotionally and physically abusive family involving drugs, which explained one reason why she was unable to see her own inner and outer beauty as well as self-worth. When she was down, she became her own worst enemy.

A person who isn’t able to feel self-worth and self-love truly debilitates himself/herself down to the core of the soul. I know, because I’m one of them, and that’s how I was able to recognize it in Patty. It takes one to know one. Patty had really short, brown hair, looked like she was in her mid-fifties, and had what appeared to be a permanent expression on her face. If I could paint a picture of apathy, she would be it. Someone could yell, “Fire!” and she probably wouldn’t even blink or make an attempt to evacuate the building. Whenever it was her turn in group, she would simply state her mood status (which was always the same) and nothing more. She never said anything in group other than what she was required to say. She was definitely not a social butterfly, even during down time. She didn’t talk to anyone, and always sat by herself. One day, despite being hesitant to try and talk to her (due to fear of being turned away), I decided to start a conversation. To my surprise, she didn’t shoo me away like some mosquito. She didn’t say much at first, or even in the next few, short conversations, but she eventually opened herself. She reminded me of a fearful turtle who was reluctant to come out of its shell because it had many prior experiences of being attacked by various predators out in the dangerous world. I was right, or close to it.

Patty’s husband of over thirty years had recently divorced her after no longer being able to deal with her cycles of depression. At that moment, I thought how grateful I was for my husband to love me through my rollercoaster dramas. Granted, had I not chose to receive professional help (to include marriage counseling) and get better, I’m sure we would’ve gotten a divorce as well. I also intuitively knew that something really bad happened to her during her childhood, because she mentioned that her husband was so good to her, which made her happy, but she couldn’t understand why she wasn’t at other times. I strongly felt that she was still repressing something, a dark secret, that she wasn’t willing to face for a long time in order to move on in life. I wondered if she had been sexually molested or raped as a child or something horrible like that. However, I didn’t want to pressure her into talking about something she wasn’t ready to talk about. So, I was just there for her to be free to express whatever she wanted to at the time. I never got a chance to see the brighter side of her, except when she smiled a quick smile once when she thanked me for being there with her. I so desperately wanted to make her happy, but it wasn’t something to be forced. So I thanked God for looking out for her.

We all had our moments of low energy, but the major shift between the high and low energies is what made it more noticeable I suppose. One night, as I was lying in bed in the silence, I thought about all the other souls I had encountered. As a pondered about their wonderful stories that they had shared with me, one by one, I suddenly came to a realization that I was surrounded by several, if not all, bipolar (different types) patients. It then hit me, “Was I part of this equation?” I thought. No one had informed me that this was a “bipolar” department so to speak. So be it I thought. It didn’t change the way I felt about them in any way, shape or form. They were like family to me. I loved the “all” of them, and I would never forget them.

Well, like I mentioned in the beginning, I wondered would it would be like to experience in person (rather than through movies) the inside of a mental institution, as well as what it would be like to get to know someone who was diagnosed with certain mental disorders. My wish came true. I had a priceless opportunity to get a feel of what it’s like behind the cold, cement walls of a mental institution and behind the walls of another soul’s deep, warm thoughts and feelings. By experiencing the lives of other souls, whom I was able to connect with at a deep level, I was finally able to see my reflection in them, that we truly are ONE. Not only did their pain become my pain, but their happiness became my happiness as well. Last but not least, by loving them unconditionally, I was able to love myself more. It was an amazing journey that helped me to grow as a person by reminding me to always remember to trust my soul’s desires (which may be different from what I desire on a physical level) since my soul knows what’s best for me spiritually since it is closest to God. Therefore, embracing every person, place, thing and event as perfect (regardless of how different, strange, and unacceptable they may appear) is trusting our souls and God. The more we trust ourselves, others, and God, the more we can love ourselves, others and God unconditionally; hence, creating a more loving world.

Thank you God for loving us all unconditionally, and helping us to remember who we truly are (souls of God/parts of the whole) and that We are all ONE (like you mentioned in Neale Donald Walsch’s series of books). Thank God for all the wonderful opportunities so that we may experience in the physical what we intuitively already know (as concepts) at a soul level. Also, thank you for the amazing blessings, to include the blessings in dark disguise.

I would also like to share with you two, short videos that are relevant to this post (added on August 13, 2012):

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~ by Bobbie on February 21, 2012.

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