Although I have decided to resign from my position at West Springs Hospital, I will still be sharing my perspective with you. Working at West Springs has helped me become stronger, wiser, and gave me an abundance of coping skills that I will use throughout my life. I have learned so many aspects from so many different walks of life that will never be forgotten.
The experience with patients and patients’ family members is why I want to continue on my journey in the mental health field and share everything that has helped me overcome and persevere.
Because of my experiences at West Springs, I have the tools now to go further in my life and reach more people. I am able to communicate how I feel, I am able to stand up for myself without feeling like my voice doesn’t matter, or even stand up for someone else. I have built more dreams and goals for myself because has working at West Springs has made me feel like I can do something in this world to make a difference. My confidence is way better than when I started.
The hospital is a safe place to be, whether being an employee or a patient. I still struggle with my own mental health, sometimes the days can be really bad. I have received nothing but support from the Hospital and its leadership, including former Administrator Kim Boe and her successor Brandi Kroese. They are definitely two very important people that I have looked up to. There was never a day that I didn’t feel safe or uncomfortable and expressing my needs. Knowing how much they care about what they do is so comforting and makes me proud to be a part of this organization.
Being in a psychiatric hospital – whether patient, family member or employee – can be hard. Although I’ve found that sometimes the most helpful thing is the harder to do. And it helps us keep going, to persevere through the next challenge. There is nothing wrong with needing help, needing a safe haven to recollect our thoughts or even just talk to other people to know that we aren’t alone. As a patient, I actually enjoyed activities and group talks that we had throughout the day. It was helpful for me to know that I wasn’t the only one hurting or going through a rough time.
I enjoyed the staff and environment as a patient and as an employee. My experience was nothing like the movies, nothing like what you read about in scary books. It is a hospital where people care about you and your safety, a place to talk or just be safe until you feel safe, a secure place to feel freely but safely.
Going to a psychiatric hospital may be because we are really down, can’t figure out what it is exactly and nothing seems to be working and we or a family member is concerned; we can go in because we are overwhelmed with life, nobody to talk to, and having scary thoughts, or family issues that make us have bad emotions taking us down a path we don’t want to be down. If I feel unsafe with myself, or unsafe with others around me and I am having a hard time controlling my thoughts, I would go to West Springs.
I have learned that everyone goes through something and we all handle it differently, and we all deserve help. We deserve to be able to feel freely and not bury ourselves because of the stigma of mental illness.
I have learned that there is so much fear in asking for help and being placed here, and I want to share that there is nothing wrong with it. New places are intimidating of course, and it helps to know what to expect, but if I’m sick- I go to the doctor or the hospital for an emergency, a physical pain. Like a regular hospital, I would go to a psychiatric hospital because I am mentally having a hard time, or don’t feel safe. I know that there is nothing wrong with it.
Being with other people that understand a little bit more of what I am feeling is comforting. I have learned that as a former patient and from other patients, we all just want to be heard and acknowledged for what we were going through. We want to know that it’s normal because the normal we see, the normal that we have been told is normal- is not what we feel. Then we feel disconnected or pushed to the side, we make ourselves feel worse because “it’s not normal” but I have learned we are so much more normal than we think. We are human and we feel deeply or have gone through deep waters and try to survive, everything about that is normal. We are all trying to figure life out, but we have each other to lean on as well. That is why the hospital is important.
Even though I am resigning, I hope this isn’t a goodbye, more of a “see you later.” I would love to grow in my career and come back to continue reaching people that have struggled like me. I hope I have helped you understand a little bit more about what it’s like being in a psychiatric hospital and enjoyed reading about what I have learned from the patients I have met, as well as their families. It will be impossible to forget the many good memories I have made at West Springs Hospital. I have appreciated everything that I have experienced here and I am looking forward to the new adventure. I know that if I need someone to talk to, I have a perfect place to go and some of the best people to help.
Thank you for taking the time to read. I hope everyone has a great day!
Molly Spomer was previously a patient at West Springs Hospital and then became a valued staff member. She recently moved on from her position here, but continues to blog regularly about life and dealing with mental illness from her insider perspective.