Elizabeth Montegrande
June 2018
UCLA Westwood
Los Angeles
United States




I am a young adult diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder and saying that is already a big change on my part. My mom drove me here to UCLA early this year after learning that I was planning on hurting myself. We drove all the way from home because my mom felt so desperate that I was not getting any better in spite of seeing specialists for years. I did not agree with driving all the way to LA but on the other hand, I also did not care.
Everything changed when I met my favorite nurse, Elizabeth. I had intrusive thoughts, thoughts of overdosing on my medications for months until the first week that I was at UCLA. Elizabeth was very attentive to these thoughts and acknowledged and validated that I was truly experiencing them, without judging or just telling me to stop. She taught me to also acknowledge them but find ways to not act on them. One particularly stressful day, on my second day of being in the hospital, the intrusive and dark thoughts just kept gnawing on me. I must not have slept the night before and was pretty terrified of what has to come. I do not know what kind of superpowers Elizabeth has, but she walked into my room just at the right moment. She sat down near my bed and told me that today we are not letting the negative thoughts to win. She told me that I should get up and eat breakfast and that she would sit with me so I would not feel awkward and uncomfortable around the other patients.
Elizabeth also told me that it may seem too impossible for me to be hopeful but she told me to focus on one day at a time and that she would continue to hope for me and help me get through each day. I knew Elizabeth had other patients to take care of, but I am so impressed and relieved that she had the time to care for all of us, especially that day. Elizabeth later made an agreement with me that she would meet with me often but I also needed to come out of my room and participate in at least two groups each day initially. Elizabeth personally introduced me to the group leaders to prepare them for my struggles. During group time, I could see her checking up on me to make sure I had not melted away. Yet again, I don't know how she was able to find the time to always be there for me. Elizabeth also made sure that I had enough tools to help me with intrusive thoughts, especially once I left the hospital. She explained the importance of transitioning to the outpatient program here at UCLA for my continued recovery. She even went as far as looking up different hiking trails near my hometown to make sure that I would not have the time to entertain the negative thoughts when they do come and appreciate nature with all of its beauty and imperfections, just like me.
With all those moments that I spent with Elizabeth, I felt like my days went faster and my desire to live grew stronger. There was another day when I did not feel like getting up and seemed like giving up was the easier route. Well, Elizabeth came into my room announcing, "I found another trail- you will love this one!" She showed me the google map and some pictures she printed and also Yelp reviews (yeah, she printed them too because she's not allowed to use her cell phone on the unit to show me those things online). Guess what, with the energy and hope that she carries for me each day, how could I be in despair? I do not know how else to describe her, I am a Psych major and if I can even become half the person she is, I can be truly helpful to someone like myself in the future. I look forward to saving lives and living with better intentions no matter where my illness takes me. Elizabeth truly saved my life, she is an angel and a true DAISY Nurse.