A Change in Perception

It has been 6 days now that I have been assigned in the only Psychiatric Ward here in Zamboanga City and probably the whole of Region 9.

How can I describe the experience. One word. Life-changing. Well not exactly. At least my perception on many things changed.

First of all, I realized how cheap human life is in this country. Never mind the fact that they are mentally ill. They are still human beings and as such should be dignified as one.

To make you cringe a bit, let me describe the conditions inside the psychiatric ward. Patients in the non private rooms don't have any privacy. They are forced to relieve themselves in public using a small container. The whole place smells bad. There are flies everywhere. You don't have immediate access to water. The whole area is dirty. They are confined in their rooms most of the time. By the way, when I say rooms I mean prison cells because their rooms are comparable to prison cells. Lastly, when they eat they aren't provided spoons and forks. I'm not very articulate and a good writer and so I can't seem to make the psychiatric ward at the ZCMC look very very bad.

Anyway let me put it this way. The first time I saw the place, I was in tears.

Another perception of mine that changed during the time I was 'inside' was on mentally ill patients. Before, my only exposure to mentally ill patients are those that we see in the streets and on TV (which of course does not give a good picture of a mentally ill patient). But now, I learned that they are just human beings who has chemical imbalances.

Anyway, I can say that among all the RLE exposures I've had, this one is the best!