The Scales in My Eyes


Photo cred: Natalie Johnson

By: Nick “Tapobu” Rohlf


The Scales in my Eyes 

“In my distress I called to the Lord,
and he answered me.
From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help,
and you listened to my cry.
You hurled me into the depths,
into the very heart of the seas,
and the currents swirled about me;
all your waves and breakers
swept over me.
I said, ‘I have been banished
from your sight;
yet I will look again
toward your holy temple.’
The engulfing waters threatened me,
the deep surrounded me;
seaweed was wrapped around my head.
To the roots of the mountains I sank down;
the earth beneath barred me in forever.
But you, Lord my God,
brought my life up from the pit.

“When my life was ebbing away,
I remembered you, Lord,
and my prayer rose to you,
to your holy temple.

“Those who cling to worthless idols
turn away from God’s love for them.
But I, with shouts of grateful praise,
will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good.
I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’”

Jonah 2:2b-10

The four days I spent in confinement were surreal to me.  Like a dream.  Like a nightmare.

I was brought in by darkness.  I arrived at around midnight and received about a half hour of questionings.  My first of several psych evaluations.  I was asked not to text during the evaluation, but I assured the woman that I was perfectly capable of doing two things at once.  She doubted me.  She was proven quite wrong.  I told her briefly the story of what had happened but continued steering the conversation away.  I figured I could play normal, play healthy.  I almost pulled it off.  She told me that I could stay the night or receive outpatient treatment.  Why I chose to stay, I don’t know.

By the next morning, my case had been more carefully reviewed and leaving was no longer an option.  During that time, I was questioned by various doctors a few times a day.  The rest of the day, I sat at a table putting together puzzles.  At first, I barely spoke to people unless absolutely necessary.  As I came to realize I’d be there for a bit, I started to talk to other patients.  At first I was afraid.  At first I  judged them as Jonah had judged the people of Ninevah.  In little time, however, I realized that they were no different than myself.  A few were in there for reasons similar to my own, but a lot of them had recurring mental illnesses.  For a long time I’d judged people with such illnesses, believing that such things could be controlled if a person tried hard enough.  Now, it seemed as though I was one of them.  I either had to rewrite my schema or label myself as a failed experiment.  And so I rewrote.  And so I spoke.  And so I began to trust.

By day four, I was ready to go back to school.  I’d missed a week, and we were two weeks out from finals.  I packed up my things, said my farewells, and returned to school Friday afternoon.  I had actually for some time planned an event at the college – an evening of board games, video games, rock band, and dance dance revolution [look it up, kids] at the theatre building.  I’d kind of invited the entire campus, and so this is why I insisted on getting out Friday.  When I arrived, there was an hour and a half to set up, and so I hit the ground running.  It was a great night.  It was a night that reminded me I was human.  Even then I began to trust my fellow classmates.  Even though I would not be seeing them again for some time.

Monday morning, I was again called into the office.  I told them I had play rehearsals in the evening.  I was told that I would be out in time for rehearsal.  Indeed I was.  The doctors at the hospital had strongly advised that I should be sent home immediately.  At the time, it felt as though I had been stabbed in the back.  Looking back, I know I needed that time off.  I packed up as much as I could into my car and set off toward home.  I pretended to hold out the hope that I’d be allowed back in at the start of second semester, but in my heart I knew that it would be some time before I again could see my beloved campus.

A few days after I’d gotten home, I received a message on Facebook asking what was going on.  It was from someone that I didn’t really know that well.  Someone that I never really considered a major part of my life.  It was a freshman theatre girl, and I was a senior.  How did she even know I existed, and why did she care so much?  I answered her questions as much as I dared at the time.  As Christmas break continued, I began to receive more such messages.  Slowly the scales began to fall from my eyes, and I discovered a world I had never known existed.


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