All I see are ashes. And all I feel is pain. As words ricochet like bullets. Through the soft part of my brain. “You’re not here to make friends.” The rats that scurry in the hallways of my mind stop chewing on the insides of my skull for a moment. I know my limitations. And this is one of them. We’re just a group of strangers forced together in our broken lives. but friendships happen, sometimes when we least expect them. Love comes like water trickling through a dam. We see ourselves in someone else and if we’ve been burned enough, we bristle or else melt like snow and run in salty rivulets. “What is she to you? You barely know her!” Words like cold iron in my heart. Clinical people say clinical things which we echo faithfully. We wear thei labels, like dogtags clutching our hope, holding ourselves, through the endless stretch of days trudging through our time here. Together, we focus on ourselves and so do I and that is right but in the cocoon of my dreams. Fellow patients live. And they are strong. And happy. And I love them. This is compassion Which cannot be contained. This is music that laughs merrily in the darkness. This is joy. The crash is like a wave. Over everything. Bringing the willingness to sacrifice myself. To serve another. And it is not my limitation. But the way that I was born. Love always comes in waves connected to the eternal ocean infinitely deep and wide with spray that catches the sun and glints like happy eyes and the foam that can scour us clean. These things I offer and you are free to walk away at any time for any reason but I warn you – that never stopped the sea before. This was written while I was in the psychiatric hospital. The were a lot of people there who had emotional pain in their lives, and I remember feeling so much that I wanted to help them. I wanted to take each person and give them a big hug and tell them how special they were and how happy I was that they were alive, despite their suicidal feelings and even suicide attempts. The counselors kept telling me that I needed to focus on my own problems and not try to help other people, but I couldn't help it – and I somehow thought that that was wrong, that we should help each other. I wanted to be friends, but after the hospitalization, none of us kept in touch. I wrote to people, but they didn't write back – and I didn't press it. I felt that maybe people wanted to forget about being in the psych ward, because of the stigma because of how painful emotionally it was to be there. I think that's understandable – but I still wish I could've stayed in touch with some of these people.