Dear I: Stigma & Move on?

How are you, CS? I am glad and terrified to sit down and stare at the white blank screen. What is that overwhelming for you to stop writing to yourself? You talk to yourself all the time. You never thought to yourself that you were “crazy” because you speak to yourself about your day, clients, children, work, father, sister, and anything. How do you see yourself differently than before because you talk to yourself? You always heard God’s voice from everywhere. You knew your God was real and spoke to you through the Bible, movies, songs, and books. Most importantly, you knew your God communicated with you through people.

You learned to listen and discern His voice from others, especially your own. Learning to discern His voice from yours took you the separation from your family and your home in Korea twenty years ago. When you thought your life was right, it took a detour. Since then, it took almost eight years to stand on your own feet. You finally felt genuinely confident about who you are and what you are in nearly twenty years. What happened to you? Where is your brave, smart, and beautiful lady that I used to know?  What are you afraid of, CS?

I am not overwhelmed by the piles of paperwork, bills, emails, and phone calls to make after my chaotic summer, my dearest friend, I. I know you are mad at me, especially when I feel overwhelmed and alone. I am not afraid of failing. I am not scared of dying or living. This summer was the most challenging time of my life so far that pushes me to the edge. At the peak of that edge, as you know, dear I, I lost my way. The biggest mistake I made at my edge point was my extreme sense of protection over my loved ones. I should have reached out to them. Dear, I, I learned my lessons, and it is all good now. However, this summer also brought me to one area that I have never known how to embrace.

As you know, dear I, I am afraid that I have no memory of my life, even if it is a blink of a minute. This summer, I had one of those moments. I do not know what happened to me. Somehow, my memory loss frightens me. How come? Do you know why? Why is that momentary loss of my memory scared me? For whatever cause of that, my experience of memory loss planted a seed of possibility that I could be actually “crazy.” Am I immune to mental illness? Not really. Then what? Aren’t you a counselor and advocator for people with mental illness, CS? If your “psychosis” indeed a part of who you are, aren’t you supposed to glad to find out about you? Aren’t you a hypocrite, then? You are the one telling everyone to stand against the stigma against mental illness. Am I not right, CS?

Dear I, you are right. That is who I was and who I will be. I do not doubt in my mind. I struggle with right now because I could not accept that my other hypothesis, leading to my hospitalization, was not considered an option for my unexplainable memory loss and bizarre behaviors. Like many different experiences I had, my opinions do not count, even if I am an expert on the subject matter. There was also an error in my medical chart. I deserved a thorough investigation, but it did not happen. I was treated as if I was a drug addict or a psychotic person. Do you understand that, Dear I? It is my sadness that I never doubted my conversation with my God could be a “hallucination.” How dare you speak to me that way? You do not know me well enough to say my God is simply a part of psychotic symptoms. My anger screams at me to stand up against whoever disgraces my God. There were bizarre parts about my voices that do not resemble my God. Those voices were not from Him, for sure. How could that be?

Then, another part of me speaks in a gentle voice to let go. You read your medical records with me, Dear I. You know there was a documentation error. You see the craziness at the emergency room, especially during this COVID-19. I was often confused with another Asian; thus, it is not that big of a deal for my psychiatrist or social worker to make an error on my medical history. Is that what happened for my attending doctor to decide that I should be in the psychiatric unit? Is that how my attending psychiatrist, Dr. P, at the psychiatric unit, told me that she did not understand why I was at the psychiatric unit? Is that why Dr. P said that it is rare to see an intelligent person like me to be in the psychiatric unit?

Dear, I. I know you are also sad to me and for me. Like I do, you have a life to rebuild. Move on. Move on. Should I, dear I?

Talk to you soon,

C.S. Taylor

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