“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”Deuteronomy 3:16
I remember the feeling of helplessness and despair the first time I went into the hospital. I had taken a box of sleeping pills and fell asleep inside an empty, broken down car in a sub-zero weather streak. It was an attempt to take my own life.
The paramedics said that it wasn’t just the pills, but the temperature that would have helped me succeed with my morbid wish. I was blessed to have been found even if I didn’t think so at the time.
After being forced to have my stomach pumped, drink a bottle of charcoal, and spend a night in the emergency room, I was told I was being admitted to the children’s psychiatric ward. I was only 17 years old.
I’ll never forget the absolute fear I felt, and the tears I shed as my parents left me in that foreign place. Looking back, I think it may have been harder on them than it was on me. I believe that now. I understand, today, they had to leave me there my own safety, but it was terrifying at the time.
In that moment, I felt abandoned. I was scared and hurting already. Part of the reason I was there to begin with was because I felt betrayed and deserted by someone I thought I could trust, but THIS felt like it was sending me over the edge. I literally cried out in between sobs as they headed for the door, “don’t leave me here.”
The doctors escorted them out and I wasn’t allowed to see them for another couple of days. It was part of their strategy.
I felt traumatized and discarded by everyone I knew. Worse than that, I was locked away in some institution I once heard was only for crazy people. I had visions of people in padded rooms wearing straitjackets. I imagined them yelling and crying in the middle of the night. I even anticipated them trying to hurt me if they could. I didn’t think I belonged there, and I regretted everything I did to land myself in such a nightmarish place.
Just then, one of my new doctors came in ask me to come out of my room, only when I was ready, for a tour of my new home. Yes, she said home.
I laid there shaking and crying for almost two hours or so, until something inside told me it was time to face my circumstances. I couldn’t erase it. I couldn’t take back the attempt on my life. I was going to be there for a while and that fact wasn’t going to change or simply go away. It wasn’t a nightmare I was going to wake up from. It was real. It was time to accept my punishment.
I finally got up, wiped my eyes and opened the door. The same doctor, who had been outside the room waiting for me patiently, smiled and asked if I was ready. Almost immediately, I felt a sort of peace as I came out to explore.
I was introduced to all the staff and patients first. Everyone was kind to me, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out the crazies I heard about were just normal teenagers, around my age, who were all dealing with similar issues. I can’t begin to tell you how comforting it was to meet them. They weren’t weird, violent or insane. They were just different versions of myself.
After being introduced, she gave me rundown on how it all worked in the wing and it didn’t sound so bad. Aside from counseling, evaluations and certain group therapies, we could play video games, use the community phone to call friends or family, hang out together, watch movies, do our schoolwork, and be kids. She even told me we’d get to go on outings for ice cream and swimming! Sure, we had rules and schedules, but there was a sense of normal and home.
I felt welcomed and accepted instantly. This wasn’t going to kill me. I was going to be alright. I knew I had this. I was in a place where I could heal some of my broken pieces but feel completely comfortable doing so.
I could go on and on about how amazing this place was for me. It was place of safety while I intensely worked through some of my personal issues. To this day, I remember almost every bit of my time there. I look back fondly, not ashamed.
Even though I first felt abandoned by my family, friends and the world I knew, I found a new hope within these walls.
Looking back, I can see at the moment I got up from my bed, wiped my tears and decided to leave my room to meet the people who would be there for me in this period of my life… God was the one who calmed me. He was there. He was in it. He was in every aspect of my time there.
I believe God gave me the peace and strength to say, “I got this. I’ll make it through.”
He is always right there. Yes, people can and sometimes do abandon us, but God never will.
HE was the hope I felt. HE was the acceptance I longed for. HE was the world I needed. HE was the ultimate comfort that wrapped itself around me that day. HE was there. Still is.
He’s there for YOU, too. He will never abandon you.
Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”
Whatever your days bring, remember that always.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank you for your faithfulness and for always being with us even in the midst of our darkest moments. Lord we praise your name for your consistency and your concern for us. Lord, we ask that you remind us of your presence when we struggle to see you and keep always on our mind that though we may face hard times, we are never abandoned. In Jesus’ name, Amen
About Melissa Labieniec
Born and raised in Connecticut, Melissa has always loved to write stories and book reports in school. Today, she carries on her love of writing. She is an enthusiastic blogger and published author, who enjoys writing devotions and encouraging articles for online magazines and other publications. She has one published devotion in print with Proverbs 31 Ministries and another to be published in the fall of 2021. She delights in spreading God’s joy, love and hope whenever she can to women of all ages and in all stages of life.
Melissa earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Leadership and Ministry, with a concentration in Human Services from Grace Christian University. Always desiring to learn and grow, she is a current member of Compel Training- which is a place for writers to hone their skills.
A Christian for just over 20 years, she still resides in Connecticut with her wonderful husband and two daughters. She attends Victory Church where she likes to spend time serving in a variety of different ways.
You can find out more about Melissa by visiting her blog at pajamaperspectives.wordpress.com.