Ward Stories
(Column: Ward Stories)
Cindy Sostchen, Poetry Editor
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In this issue we have two very special "ward stories." Both attest to the importance of family -- and of faith; in ourselves, and/or a higher power. Both speak to the importance of achieving and sustaining recovery, and the fact that doing so can be achieved through different approaches.

First we have Reconciliation, written by A.M. Devote, who has been hospitalized multiple times for schizophrenia during a 20 year period. He wrote this poem as a reconciliation to his mother, who endured much travail during his extended times on psychiatric wards. Despite much abuse in the system, and through answered prayers to a Beloved Guru after 9 years of great desperation, this poet lives successfully today, and is at peace with himself.

Next, we have The Road to Discovery by Linda Speaker, who shares her innermost thoughts with us about achieving and sustaining recovery through her own special strategies. Ms. Speaker previously shared her story in narrative form in NYC Voices.

by A.M. Devote

Through countless hospitalizations
You've always remained by my side.
Lost to the world and to you was I --
But you've always stood by me believing.

The many times I debased you, mocked you and antagonized you,
You've always answered me with sheer love and kindness,
The many times I've cursed you and cruelly deceived you,
You gave me compassion and unmitigated understanding.

I apologize Dear Mom
And thank you forever --
I thank you for the love and the help, and yes the cigarettes too.
Though I pray to God I have never hurt you.

The Road to Discovery

by Linda Speaker

Take baby steps
Moving one at a time
First step
Take your medicines
Medicines are antidotes
Second step
Gain control of your feelings
Become one again
Regain family and friends
Somehow, somewhere down the road
Third step
Trust again
Not an easy step
But vitally important
Fourth step
Keep faith in god
Do what you can
Motivate yourself to do more
Push, push, push
Until all the steps come together
But, the opposite, is even worse
It's lonely, clumsy, and irritable
Not like anything you've ever
Experienced or want to experience
In your life.
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