Christmas in the Loony Bin

Christmas this year was filled with unexpected gifts. Unexpected gifts displaying imperfect labels, reading: anxiety, bipolar and personality disorder.
Tonight I'll Sleep Under the Stars - by Henry Baker (tumblr)

Tonight I'll Sleep Under the Stars - by Henry Baker (tumblr)

Christmas Eve was spent being injected with anti-psychotic medication. Christmas Day was spent eating ham and salad in a psychiatric hospital. Christmas was not OK, yet it was filled with a lot of valuable lessons, more lessons than real wrapped presents could ever teach.

Christmas lunch, as horrible as hospital food is, could have been one lonely and not-enjoyable time, but it was OK because I had my flatmate and another friend sharing it with me. I mean, who chooses to spend Christmas in a loony bin? Not me. But my friends chose to show me they really do care and that they give a shit about me. I was shit scared having my injection, but it was OK because I had my flatmate there holding my hand.

Dan from the charity Live More Awesome popped in to the ward with his partner to give me unexpected but amazing hugs. I spent this Christmas unwell yet it was filled with so much love. It was filled with friends who understand that mental illness happens to the ones we love and who understood the important role support, and well, just being there, plays in ones recovery. I was discharged on New Year's Eve.

The gifts I received this Christmas are as follows:

The gift of understanding.
The gift of love.
The gift of trust.
The gift of vanishing stigma.
The biggest gift: support.

These gifts outweigh all the gifts that money could by.

And so my Christmas was a good one. And my path to recovery has begun.

- Chanelle Haffenden