God and the psych ward.

(This story is told with full permission…and many of you have loved this one in sessions.)

It’s not true that lesbians stay friends with all of their ex’s, but I have remained friends with my first girlfriend. She’s known as my sort-of girlfriend in many of my books. We talk on occasion, then irritate each other and fall back to silence, like only old friends and ex-lovers can do. There’s safety in that love and though we may not have been able to commit to each other in our 20s, it’s better as it is now. I’ve always said that she is in my core and she regularly has visions about me. She is one of the most brilliant, insightful women I know.

With that brilliance and creativity comes a struggle with mental illness / imbalance that runs through her family. She’s dealt with it since teen years and has stayed in psych wards on more than one occasion when life overwhelmed her. A couple of years ago as she cared for her beloved father as he died, she found herself losing grip on “reality” and checked herself into the hospital before the state could Baker Act her.

As she entered on a stretcher, a man on a bench in the psych ward noticed her right away. My friend was paranoid and thought that he was there to hurt or guard her. Later, she told me that she thought he was an angel. But as my friend struggled to ground herself, the man thought, That’s my person. I’m going to love that woman.

He was in the hospital from an accidental overdose of painkillers for his back — he’s a retired detective — and during the next few days, they began to talk and my friend started to trust him because he was so kind to her.

It’s been nearly two years since that meeting and they are happy as clams living together, though my friend refuses to get married or sell her condo (that’s my girl lol). We laugh when she says that she wishes they had met under different circumstances but he is good to her and I have never seen her more happy and grounded — and I’ve been around for over 30 years of her life.

So, whenever clients ask me about love, meeting someone, going on the dreaded apps and if they’ll ever find love again at whatever age they are, I tell them this story and wrap it up with We think we’re in control but if God wants to bless you with a partner, God will find you anywhere, even in a psych ward.

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