Motivation, Inspiration and Life

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Leaving Mental Health Behind

Today was the last day in my full-time position at the Community Mental Health Center. As I was cleaning out my incredibly messy office I realized that after three years I managed to accumulate A LOT of crap…from home-made thank you cards from clients to handouts on DBT skills and suicide assessments. After packing everything into boxes, going through all of my files, and saying all of my goodbyes I began to look around. Now that I no longer had professional obligations to the individuals within the building I began to look at the place with an observant, yet judgmental, eye. I realized that the upstairs of the building is crappy; it resembles an unwelcoming jail cell that is doused with the stench of unshowered bodies and individuals who unknowingly defecated themselves. They walk around with a far-off stair while they mumble to themselves about the aliens or secret agents disguised as other humans sitting in the chairs next to them. From downstairs I can hear a female screaming that nothing in her life is getting better and how she just swallowed a bottle of her pills to “make the pain stop”. Within minutes an ambulance swerves up, sirens blaring, and the EMT’s thinking “not this crazy borderline again…” Their faces show all of the signs of frustration and their mannerisms express the apathy that they have developed from responding to call after call to save the lives of individuals who never really wanted to die in the first place.

At that very moment in time, realization hit- I am done. I get to leave this place. I have things to look forward to in my future. Today is the day that I am walking away from these urine and body-odor stenched halls and from the agonizing pain and suffering that torments these people on a daily basis. And they… the people in these jail-cell like waiting rooms… will never be able to leave… and that is what saddens me the most.

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4 comments on “Leaving Mental Health Behind

  1. suzanloa
    May 20, 2012

    I love your honesty in the picture you paint in this article with words. I can feel your sense of freedom. Good luck on your new beginning and blessings to those left behind at the Mental Health Center that they find rest from their pain.

    • JenBoudreau
      May 20, 2012

      Thank you so much- I considered deleting this posting all together- I suppose it can come off to some people as insensitive- but for me it is a really meaningful thing. A lot of things I experienced there saddens me and makes my heart go out to the people I worked with. However, there also needs to be a small part of everyone who is in that environment that is able to pull away and detach or use a sense of humor in certain situations or else they will burn out.

      • suzanloa
        May 20, 2012

        I’m glad you didn’t delete it … the honest expression of your feelings is a mirror to others in the same boat, on the front lines of despair. Bless you.

        I can speak from the other side as one of the residents, because when I was young I was suicidal. I was abused and felt helpless and hopeless. The turning point came when a friend killed herself, and I realized what a waste it was. From that point on, I started doing what I called “fighting back” which was really participating in my life, taking control to make it better, instead of letting it beat me down.

  2. Pingback: On the Borderline of Life – Guest Post by Mike. Part 2 | mikeg12

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This entry was posted on May 18, 2012 by in Personal thoughts... and tagged , .
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