This morning my colleague and I accompanied our 51 university students for a visit to Mental Hospital. It was not my first time to be there. But for the first time, I saw them with different point of view. The usual visit to mental hospital was for business affairs – data collection or seeing clients. But this time, I was a mere observer.
My students were full of awe, questions, excitement and boredom too – for some. They asked questions, nudge here and there, being loud and happy. And I was happy to be there and observe.
One scene that caught me deeply was when my students sang with the patients. They would dance and make any movements based on what they feel. Rock-star-shaking-head style or even, a catatonic way of dancing. When I saw that, I realized that no one can strip their humanity. Even if they have to suffer from schizophrenia and other psychotic symptoms – they still have that sense of humanity. One woman begged the psychiatrist to send her home because she wanted to meet her 4-month-old baby. One old man came to me and asked me when he could go home and meet his family again.
When we take our family for granted – they are looking forward to be reunited. When we think that their sickness stripped their humanity – they teach us about the true meaning of being a human being. Their honesty, their suffering, and their way of coping – teach us how someone is strong enough to stay alive.
Have a good day!