The Awakening After the Psych Ward

“Life can change directions even when you didn’t plan it it. All you can do is handle it. The worst thing you can do is panic. Use it to your advantage. Avoid insanity, manage to conquer every obstacle, make impossible possible. Even when winnings illogical, losing is still far from optional.” – T.I., No Matter What

When I got released from the psych ward I started to listen to that song on repeat. I had just been locked up in there for 2 1/2 half weeks, which most people would think was hell. Although I was in a manic state and the delusions of grandeur made me higher and more euphoric than I had ever been in my entire life. I had experimented with many different drugs before I ended up there and trust me there is no greater high than a manic episode, especially when you think you are Jesus Christ.

So did I enjoy myself in the psych ward? I was loving it up until the end when the medications started to win and the reality of the situation came to be. The entire time I was in there all I wanted was for someone to affirm to me that I was Jesus Christ, but of course that never happened. I thought the entire world was watching me on television and I was just waiting for that day, my day. When I finally realized that day would never come I got on my best behavior and eventually I was released. So where was I at now? I was at the bottom, rock bottom. I had just spent the past few months living a dream life far from reality having the greatest party of my life. Now it was time for the recovery.

I was released on election day in 2008. I left the psych ward and went into cash in my vote and then went on to reevaluate my life. I promised myself that I would not go back to that lifestyle and now it was time to move forward. I was put into a partial rehabilitation program for the next 3 1/2 weeks where I would spend my time in group therapy, art therapy, music therapy, and other programs just to learn how to deal with everything that life can throw at you. Through this I learned that we all have our own problems but most importantly I learned how to deal with them and how to stand up to life’s greatest challenges.

A new type of euphoria took over and it was one that drove me to re-create and reimagine my life. I spent another three weeks in drug rehab, which really only convinced me to stay away from hard drugs and alcohol but obviously down the road I did not see the dangers of marijuana. I worked hard to pay off the massive $15,000 in debt that I had accumulated in the two months prior to ending up in the psych ward.

One of the most important and helpful things that I did was write reflection letters on Facebook. I reflected back on each day and what I learned from each day. It was very interesting for me to read through these just now and to see how clearly I was thinking. I found clarity through a dramatic situation, which is exactly what happened again after my accident where I decided to always live in the moment. 

When I returned to Ohio State in the spring I was a completely different person. People really loved the new me. I was no longer reckless and actually thought about things before I did them. I was much calmer and more mellow. When I was locked up in the psych ward and then got out I realized how special it was to have your freedom. So I told myself that I would do what I wanted, when I wanted from now on, but I was going to think about what I did before I did it to avoid getting myself in trouble again.

I realized how important it was to keep a sound mind so I stopped drinking and I hadn’t smoked marijuana since before the psych ward. I took my medications religiously because I was very afraid of another manic episode. My psychiatrist told me if it would happen again I would end up living under a bridge for the rest of my life. That I would never get my mind back. I took his advice, but being surrounded by people that smoke marijuana, I eventually fell back into my old ways. I stayed away from harder drugs and alcohol but drug rehab could never convince me that marijuana would ruin me in the end.

I created one dream for myself that I wanted to accomplish more than anything before I graduated college. That dream was to win a national championship for waterskiing. Our team was a semi-competitive drinking club that was more interested in going to football games them and partying than actually accomplishing things at a tournament. I wanted to turn this all around and after some heavy recruiting, training, and training of the woman’s team we won that national championship two years later. Everything that I ever wanted to accomplish in college had come true.

As I got further and further away from my time in the psych ward I started to resemble more and more of the person that I was before entering the psych ward. Marijuana had consumed my life and three months after winning the national championship I decided to go off my medications for five days. Then the accident happened and instead of living under a bridge for the rest of my life I found myself laying dead in a cornfield in the middle of Indiana and paralyzed for the rest of my life.

I should have listen to my psychiatrist and what everyone else was saying. But you can’t change the past and on January 22 of this month it will be three years since my accident. I now find my accident and the paralyzing injury resulting from it to be a blessing in disguise. If I would’ve kept going down the path that I was heading who knows where I would’ve ended up.

It’s crazy looking back and reflecting on all that I’ve been through and trying to comprehend all that has happened. I would not change the past if I could. It has molded me into who I am today and I am very happy of the person that I am today. I choose to live every day as if it’s my last. The paralysis no longer bothers me but is now normal to me. I now live in a constant state of euphoria like I had when I got out of the psych ward. I now truly know the importance of keeping a sound mind and will never go off my medications. I now know how important it is for me to stay away from drugs especially marijuana.

“Impossible is nothing your environments irrelevant, just don’t let your emotions overpower your intelligence. Refuse to give up, your mistakes don’t define you. They don’t dictate where your heading and they remind you that time keeps ticking. Let your mind keep clicking. Never stop thinking be aware of your positions. Be aware of the collisions and the potholes sitting on the road that you travel on your lifelong mission. Everyday is like a snapshot taken. If you live you can learn to be patient.” T.I. – Slideshow

My mistakes do not define me, but they have helped to grow into who I am today. Every day is just one little snapshot of your life and in the end the entire slideshow will show your story. I’m just trying to take one of those snapshots every day and every day I want that picture to show that I fully took advantage of every day in my life. It took so much for me to learn to live life this way. After given a second and even third chance at life, I promise to you all that the final slideshow of my life will tell a story of redemption that I will be forever proud of.

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