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The simple gesture of writing get-well cards

Guest Author: Amber

This content contains explicit and sensitive information that may not be suitable for all ages.

People from near and far are admitted to the Regional Hospital into the Adult Psychiatric Unit and the Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit.

There are some patients that have a lot of support, be it friends or family, and some have none.

And to make matters worse their psyche is hanging by a thread or they may have totally lost touch of reality or lost all hope.

I was somewhere in between those scenarios when I was admitted to the adult psychiatric unit. It was not easy because I thought no one cared and felt that I was a burden to the persons that did care about me. There were patients that were at the beginning of their mental health journeys and others at the end and some were somewhere in between — it was a surreal experience.

I was the only one who is going through hell

While I was working on myself, I was longing for a person who has been in there to say, “You got this” or “Hang in there” or “I have been thinking about you” but sadly, that did not happen. It felt like I was the only one who is going through hell and no one cared. It was hard to connect with anybody because the patients were so into themselves working on their issues, they were not there to make friends. The longing for another human connection (one who is not paid to be there) was surreal.  Although there was a peer support worker that had lived experience that I could talk too, which was helpful while I was admitted to the hospital, but it was not the same.  So, I continued working on myself and finished up my ECT treatments (shock treatments) and reconnected with my social worker before I finally got discharged from the hospital.

After a few weeks I saw on social media that a person was sending get-well cards to persons who are battling addictions in various rehabilitation programs and/or facilities.  I thought I could do that for the patients on the psychiatric unit I stayed at. I know if I had received a card it would have made a big difference because I felt so alone.

Sadly, I had not heard of anybody getting a get-well card on the unit. People send flowers and gifts if you have an operation or procedure done but nothing when you are admitted to the psychiatric unit.  This is unfortunate that society still thinks mental illness is taboo. I acknowledge there is more awareness of mental illness but still there is a lot more work to be done.

Doing something for another human being is uplifting.

I thought I could make a difference in someone’s world and hopefully make their stay on the unit a little more tolerable and bring some hope to them which I was lacking. I know I could not address a specific card to a specific patient, but I could still send a get-well card(s) that could go to anyone on that unit.  So, I decided to use the blank note cards that I created which feature photos that I have taken of various landmarks around the local area and sunsets to use for the cards.

I sat down and wrote 60 handwritten get-well cards, each with an uplifting note from myself and a different quote from various sources that touched my heart inside.  I try to write and send a batch of 60 get-well cards once a month to the psychiatric unit.

I know that simple things or gestures can have far-reaching implications that I will never know on a patient’s mental health journey and that is okay.

Writing these get-well cards makes me feel good; it helps me get out of my head. Doing something for another human being is uplifting.

Comments

sally
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What a lovely, lovely idea. I also had an 8 month stay in the mental health ward and didn’t receive any communication from co-workers or friends (I think I would have, had i had cancer). So bless your heart, you are doing a wonderful thing.

melanie
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I remember visiting when you were in hospital. You seemed to have such potential and you have such a happy pretty smile. You were so thankful for our visit…. and now it is such a blessing to see you helping others and bringing them cards with those so inspiring and motivating words to help with their healing and self acceptance. Congratulations. love the article.

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