Shannen See shares her experience at the IMH outreach on 23 Aug 2015
Thank you Shannen!
“I really did not know what to anticipate for this visit to IMH as I had not interacted with mentally ill patients before. I think I kind of expected that the patients would be hard to manage or difficult to communicate with.
Hence it was quite a shock to me when the one of the first patients ushered into the event venue came up to me, greeted me with a smile and shook my hand.
I know that I would not have the courage to step up to a complete stranger and shake his/her hand upon our first meeting. Perhaps I could, but I would be much more hesitant and awkward about it. Yet, this patient, who is considered “less” than a normal person due to her mental illness, did not hesitate to approach me as if she already knew me. It was such a simple action that cheered me up and put me at ease.
Many other patients did the same, and their enthusiasm was constant throughout the activities. It was heartening to see so many of them eagerly sing in front of everyone during the karaoke session, because this would be unheard of in a situation involving healthy, ‘normal’, self-conscious teens/adults. I for one would not be brave enough to volunteer for something like this.
I find it amazing that these patients are burdened by illness but still live with more joy and zeal than I do. God has blessed me with good health and functional mental capacity, but I am not as appreciative of the simple pleasures in life as the IMH patients are. I am not as grateful for the many gifts He sends my way.
Although the visit to IMH was a short one, it was a eye-opening experience that showed me I have a lot to learn from the patients. They have taught me to place my trust more fully in God, so that I can find courage in Him and be more open to the blessings He sends my way — supportive family, friends, faith communities, and the many other people I encounter in life (including the IMH patients), as well as all the opportunities I am granted.
I definitely look forward to doing more of such service with GII:)”