Women of the Ward.

Psychiatric hospitals in literature and media are typically a medium for horror and mystery, sometimes humor towards the absurdity of the behavior conducted by people we cannot relate to and do not identify with. In spending my recovery from trauma in a modern, healthy, liberal, and woman-centric locked unit, I become a better person- yes, in adaptive and coping ways, but also in that I learned that there was no distinct difference between me and anyone else. Though I always considered myself almost unconditionally accepting, I had never considered that I would be "one of those people." I placed people in two categories, unconsciously. But when I learned that I could take on any label or identity, and still remain myself, I permanently learned there is no difference between me and anyone else in this whole world. We are all the same, wearing different forms of diction.

The women I met there were people you would see at the grocery store, working with you at your job, students at your college, helping you in a store. These are the people who I live to honor, who made me feel beautiful and honest things about the world and myself.

The purpose of this story is to record vignettes about everybody I can remember, so that they are never lost to me. Nominal pseudonyms will be applied for privacy. I have since not experienced a significant span of hours during which I have not thought of them.

Please know that this will contain rough topics like self-mutilation, suicidal ideation, sexual assault, and psychiatric disorders. The women that I spent time with in this particular unit were mostly trauma survivors, with dissociative, anxiety, or depressive disorders that had resulted in danger of self-harm or suicide. They are among the strongest and most loving people I could ever hope to interact with.