Guest Blog Post
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.
This is not what I thought it would be like,
Afraid. Guilty. Without dignity.
Committed - To a psychiatric hospital.
They took me from my family.
My home. My friends. My school.
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?
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 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
I saw and heard their cries and regrets.
I heard their own histories.
And hopeless futures.
Those who had done the most vile acts;
Became my greatest friends.
They had taught me.
Opened my eyes.
And my heart.
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.
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
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.
I watched people come and go.
All of the time.
But they left.
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.
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.