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COMMITTED

Guest Blog Post


COMMITTED

By Molly Grace Daniels


Committed at age 18.

I brought my things.

They went through them.

Took away some of my possessions.

Took away my rights, my freedoms.

Told me I had no privileges.

I had to earn them they said.

I was a zero.

Zero is the starting rank.

Locked in. No way out.

My little sister. Committed too.

At least I would not be alone.

But ...They separated us.

She was away in another room.

My sister. I wanted my sister.

She did not need to be here.

I knew it. But I stayed silent.

Selfishly, I stayed silent.

It was my fault.

That first night, alone in my bed,

I cried with fear.

What? Why?

This is not what I thought it would be like,

at all.

Afraid. Guilty. Without dignity.


Committed - To a psychiatric hospital.

They took me from my family.

My home. My friends. My school.

My crime?

Depression.

Most of my life I had been plagued with it.

I did not want it.

I did not choose it.

I did not understand it.

The darkness. The pain.

Was it my fault?

Why did they lock me in here?

Why did they take my things?

My freedom?


My sister?

I never hurt anyone.

I never hurt myself.

It did not make sense.

It was not fair.

I was sad, not a criminal.

I came to get help. Not violated.

I was faithful. Obedient. Innocent.

Why would they treat me this way?

I had done nothing wrong.

This was horrible. This was wrong.

I lay there alone and helpless.


Committed to God

Always. With fervor.

I was a good girl.

The gospel was my happy place and hope.

I felt the spirit often in my life.

I witnessed miracles.

I prayed.

I obeyed.

I read scriptures.

I went to church.

I listened to gospel music.

I had and bore a strong testimony.

I gained it in my early years and struggles.

There was no mistaking God in my life.

Even if I was sad. Even if I was alone.

He was always there.

I was a good student at school.

I excelled.

Because that would make me look good.

And give me value.

Ironically, to look good and have value,

sometimes I cheated.

Not outright, just not completely honest either.

I had to excel.

Mom and dad would love me.

And notice me. Approve of me.

I would succeed at something.

Was I bad? I must be bad.

Look at me.

I was often angry.

My temper and moods uncontrolled.

So sorry. So confused.


Good people do not act that way.

I would never be perfect. Or good.

I could not be. I tried.

I did all the right things.

I had faith. Just not enough.

I faltered every time.

Alone in my bed, I cried.

I cried in pain. I cried with guilt.

Oh yeah. There was that one thing.

That one awful thing.

Shameful.

I was evil. I did not want to be.

God knew my secret.

He knew I was bad.

I remembered everything I had ever done

wrong.

I was not good enough.

No matter how hard I tried.

Mom did not like me.

Dad was always angry.

I cried to my God.

He has heard me before.

Please hear me.

I need thee.

Forgive me.

Help me.

Please. I need thee.


Committed and ignorant.

I was assigned to the adolescent unit.

The other patients there were a lot younger.

I was an adult, not a child.

I was a hurting, sad young woman.

Protected. Without experience. Naive.

The other patients; beyond experienced.

Without morals. I could not relate.

My innocence violated listening to the stories.

I never did that or even knew about it.

Nothing like that ever happened to me.

I would never do that, nor even think of it.

Sickened and traumatized by what I heard.

Things I could not imagine.

And outside of therapy ...

the conversation, the jokes.

So disgusting.


Adolescents with one-track minds.

Sad lives. Sad stories. And no desire to change.

Then I met them. The youth from the I.D. Unit.

I was afraid of them.

Repulsed and sickened.

They kept them separate on their own unit.

They had committed unthinkable crimes.

And so young.

I could not wrap my mind around it.

Then I heard their stories as they shared them

with me.

I saw and heard their cries and regrets.

Their pain.

I heard their own histories.

And hopeless futures.

Those who had done the most vile acts;

Became my greatest friends.

They had taught me.

Humbled me.

Opened my eyes.

And my heart.

Judge not.

I saw that hurt people, hurt people.

They were not animals, they were very human.

Forgive me for judging in my ignorance.

My heart ached.

My mind was conflicted.

Everyone had a story. A reason. Real pain.

I wanted to heal all of the pain.

My whole paradigm shifted.

And before me a paradox.

Back at our unit.

My sister and I had forever changed.


Committed and blessed.

We were kept on a schedule.

Busy with things to do.

Tasks to complete.

Ranks and privileges to gain or lose.

Individual therapy.

Group therapy.

Tai chi.

Art therapy.

Outings in the vans ...

The crazy people vans.


School. What a joke.

Teacher taught us all about the commonalities

of male and female anatomy. Really?

He was a creepy guy anyway. In therapy

groups and even as he taught.

Where is the work my school was to bring?

My music theory, my math, my books?

Back to the unit.

Back to the filthy language and disgusting remarks.

That kind of language was against the rules.

Used by patients and staff alike anyway.

I could not take it. No more.

In group therapy I stood up for myself.

I told them how I hated it.

How offensive it was.

The posted rules backed me up.

It was so hard. Hard to stand up for myself.

Hard to put myself at risk.

Anything could happen.

And something did happen.

The language cleaned up.

Around me anyway.

The harshest of them all,

became my greatest defender.

She respected me and protected me.

She notified newcomers to stay clean around

me.

Then God sent me an angel.

A friend of sorts. Much older than me.

He was staff.

He was there in therapy that day I spoke up.

He let me know I was not alone in my faith.

What a comfort that was.

He watched over me.

He wrote poems to comfort and help me.

The papers just showed up in my room.

Rules, honor and ethics kept him at a distance.

But always I knew I had a friend with like

beliefs and values.

And he gave me courage to be me.

He was rarely there.

How safe I felt when he was.


Committed. For two months.

Two months!


I watched people come and go.

All of the time.

I stayed.

But they left.

Went home.

And I stayed. And stayed.

Was strange to me.

Why were they able to go home, but not me?

It truly did not make sense.

Anyway, I did the work.

I earned my ranks, easily.

And with that more privileges.

I got to have visitors! My family!

Sweet, sweet reunions.

How I missed them.

I loved their letters but seeing them was best!

I also had received cards from the ward young

women and my friends.

Even my creative writing teacher at school wrote.

I was missed. I was loved.

Phone calls! I got to have phone calls.

I was allowed to go to my school dance.

My date would call. We made plans.

I was approved two leaves.

One to shop and one to go to the dance.

Oh, it was wonderful. So fun. So normal.

So free.

And my date had been a dream come true.

I wondered again. Should I be here?

Did I really belong here?

As it turned out, No. I did not.

The powers that be had talked.

It was not right. My maturity, my age.

I had such different “issues”.

“The adolescent unit is not the place for her.

Put her in the adult unit.

Fit school time in somehow.”

With no say in my fate, off I went.

They went through my things again.

I was back at the bottom.

I was a zero.

I had to leave my little sister behind.

I missed her so. That was the worst.

And my angel friend.

I never saw him again or received another

hopeful, faithful poem.


Committed. A new world.

There, now in the adult unit, I found a whole

new set of experiences.

And a whole new population of people and

problems.

The rules were different and less restrictive.

The unit was not locked unless someone came

on that would run.

I met some interesting people and observed

various diagnoses there.

Some I came to adore.

My friend with schizophrenia always looking

for her Easter bonnet.

The Stake Presidency member from another

state.

There to kick his prescription drug addiction.

The kid with curly hair like springs.

The guy from the south with his southern drawl.

Anorexia! I was shocked at what I saw.

Some there to avoid jail or court ordered.

Anxiety. Depression. Addiction. Bipolar.

Personality disorders. Suicide attempts.

They came and went too.

I stayed.

It did not make sense.

My problems and issues were relatively easy

and mild.

I met depressed people there.

I never met one person who was there just to

get on meds in the safety of a psych hospital

like me.

I never met another person who was there for

as long as I was.

Most, less than a week.

It did not make sense.


Committed and breaking rules.

I did find that I felt more connection and

related better with the level and complexity

and understanding of the group as a whole

rather than a room full of traumatized,

disrespectful teens.

One strange thing though.


Here I found there were several men who paid

attention to me.

How unusual for me.

How flattering.

I was not interested, just intrigued.

And then it happened.

Against the rules.

My first kiss. He caught me off guard.

What a thrilling surprise that was.

Here I found my first love.

His crime: Attempted suicide.

He had a family. Sort of.

Divorce was in the works.

Yeah, he was older, so what?

It has happened before.

I was always mature beyond my years.

I had never felt such feelings.

I had never been given such attention.

He was most gentle and kind.

Compassionate and caring.

He had a beautiful heart.

He was a good man.

We connected in our experience and feelings

and interests.

The attraction was strong.

His chiseled jaw and cheek bones combined

with his puppy dog eyes.

The way he looked in my eyes.

His tenderness, his kisses so soft.

A gentleman.

Strong and handsome.

I was surprisingly smitten and swept off my

feet.

This was all against the rules there.

Perhaps being forbidden only made it that

much more exciting.

And, it was against my rules. I did not care.

I felt alive. I felt happy.

He owned and loved horses.

A long-time dream of mine.

My cowgirl boots would attest to that.

I had always felt that I was born in the wrong

age or wrong place.

He seemed to verify that.

Oh, and his truck, that added to my intrigue.

How did I ever find a man like this so attracted


to me?

We met and our facades were down.

Like everyone else in those groups, we were

exposed and vulnerable.

There was no pretense.

Our choices, mistakes, our regrets.

Our distorted thinking, truths told.

Full acceptance and understanding.

From all of that, we found healing and growth.

This was not someone I only knew in his

Sunday best.

This is someone I came to know inside and

out.

The good, the bad and the ugly.

He was honest and real and humble.

And courageous.

I had great respect for him.

He was a member but not a church goer.

He came to Sunday services with me.

We took the sacrament.

It had been years.

It felt good to him.

I shared my faith.

Before long, he got out and into normal life.

I got a day pass. He picked me up.

It was the best day.

As I dreamed and allowed myself to be

vulnerable in my feelings, I found hope and

adventure and joy and love.

We had a bond and a good time together.

We discussed future plans.

We lived far apart. That was hard.

My family liked him. My mom adored him.

We had months together and dreams.

Then he broke my heart and abandoned me.

Out of the blue.

The last time I saw him I cried.

He cried too.

The love was there.

So were the realities.

I was left heartbroken and shattered.

In time I learned that love was not enough.

It had to be right. It had to be smart.

He loved me enough to leave me.

He was the honest, courageous man I knew.

I am grateful now.


Committed. Manipulated. Used.

It was late. Outside it was dark.

He talked me into it.

He talked my parents into it.

It would help he said.

It would save my life.

It was urgent.

It had to be tomorrow.

Shocked. No time to think.

He was our family therapist.

We trusted him.

We believed him.

“She needs medication.

It is best to have her where they can monitor

her with these kinds of medications.

Discover what medication works.”

I was desperate. I was afraid. I was depressed.

Would medication work?

I was getting worse. It was hard to function.

It sounded like hope.

Ok. Take me to the hospital.

Give me medication if it meant relief.

Maybe I did not have to live like this anymore.

I was so afraid. It was so sudden and rushed.

We called the neighbor to help with blessings.

I was gone the next morning.

Suddenly disappeared from my life.

The medication was not quite the magic they

promised.

The side effects were terrible.

I tried one after another.

In two months, they never found a medicine

that would make me feel better.

“It is time for you to leave.

You cannot stay anymore.

We pronounce you better.

What a success.

We are happy for you.

Your sister will go home first.

Then you a week later.

Follow up with your therapist and

psychiatrist.”


Committed. Home again. Truth.

A week later, I left.

Now afraid of the world outside.

That horrible hospital had become my world.

After two months, it was my safe place.

I knew the rules.

They were constant and sure.

Life was predictable.

How do you begin life in the outside again?

I was never the same after being there.

Never.

I was not the same and the world was not the

same.

I reappeared and returned to the last two

months of my senior year.

“Where have you been?”

“I was committed.”

And now here is the truth.

We were discharged not because we had

finally hit that milestone of success and

healing after two months.

We were discharged because our insurance

ran out.

Our lifetime max for mental health care.

Still we had not learned.

My mom was committed soon after me.

For two months.

Two incredibly unbelievable months of chaos

and unprofessional behavior.

Mom was the life of the party and the mother

to most of them there; patients, staff and

doctors.

Her personal hell came alive there; we had no

idea.

She brought it home with her; they had no idea

what to do with it.

A total of four family members within months

of each other were committed for months at a

time.

He took advantage of our desperation and

pain.

Using it to earn kickbacks for sending us there.

With no insurance money left to pay for

mental health care, he suggested we reach out

to the church to help us continue in our

therapy.


With his hand out to the church and starting

each session with prayer, he continued to

“help” us.

When the church paid all they could for our

combined family, he was no longer able to

help.

Neither could we afford help elsewhere.

The max had been paid. Twice.

First insurance and then in fast offerings.

And now we were left to ourselves.

Interestingly enough, it turned out that we

were better off that way.


Committed to help.

Those days are long, long past.

Decades have gone by.

Some things in the profession have changed

for the good. It continues to move in a good

direction. It gives me hope.

After the hospital we each carried on.

With difficulty at first.

Scarred by our experiences. Changed by them.

Life was different.

Those who surrounded us were different.

After being discharged, I learned more from

my own study than I ever learned there.

I committed to live the best life I could.

I had much to be thankful for.

My dream was to become a social worker.

I was committed to help those with mental

and emotional challenges.

I was committed to fixing the system.

I was committed to overcoming the stigma.

We all have our things that need healing.

Hurt people, hurt people.

Life’s trials beat us up and take us down.

Our environment and society can be

unhealthy.

Relationships can be toxic.

Natural disasters and accidents change the

brain.

War and its atrocities take their toll.

Drugs and alcohol, abuse and neglect cause

mental and emotional pain.

Surviving is not enough.


Not when there is help.

Not when there is overcoming.

Not when there are tools.

Not when there are ways to manage.

Not when there is healing.

Not when joy is available to all.

Not when we continue to learn about the

mind, the body and the brain.

Not when there are so many committed to

bringing forth truth, light, healing, help,

and a community that accepts, supports,

loves, comforts, heals and embraces.


Commited to family.

Life does not always go as planned.

I never became a social worker.

Still, I became a student of my own through

experience and study.

I remain passionate about it.

I became a medical assistant, which I loved.

I became a wife.

I became a mom.

A grateful mom.

I am a mom who would first face infertility;

becoming a mom through adoption; witnessing

Gods hand. Tiny, beautiful souls; drugs in utero,

traumatic beginnings.

I am a mom who experienced the trials of life

while helping those who were most vulnerable

and hurt by hurt people.

I am a mom to children with disabilities, many

invisible; unwittingly becoming an advocate.

I am a mom to children with mental illness.

I am a mom social worker without a degree;

but with plenty of life experience.

I am a mom who experienced trauma

through my journey. At the same time,

I continued to carry the traumas of my

past into the present and future. Slowly

weakening and pushing through with an

increasingly injured brain, mind and body.

Surviving at all costs.

There were good times and for years I was

a strong, independent and passionate woman,

happily striving for my dreams, finding myself


doing things I never imagined I would do.

I was also a woman successful at hiding the pain

and fear inside; protecting my family from