I wish more people would just say it: “wow.” I can tell when people are surprised that I spent a twenty day stint in inpatient. There is a lack of grace in their lack of response. Some people are better than others at masking reaction. But everyone has a reaction—don’t deny it.
A counselor once said it: “wow.” I respected her so much for it. No. Respect. I still do. Yes, wow. Eight days in, ten days out, twenty days in. Yes, wow. A whirlwind.
Sure, people are hospitalized for longer periods of time. If it isn’t a wow to you, then react accordingly. But if it is, I won’t be offended. Say wow. I can take it. Be honest with yourself and me. If that’s shocking, let both of us know. It will only become acceptable if you can admit that it doesn’t fit into your box of normalcy. That it is a wow. Admit to where you are now so you can walk with me to where I’m trying to go: to where twenty-eight days of thirty-eight days is not just shocking—it’s acceptable, it’s necessary, it’s reality.