Erika Faass
July 2019
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
The Johns Hopkins Hospital
United States




Although it was my fifth psychiatric hospitalization, being there is always stressful and overwhelming. I had a rather severe panic attack where I actually lost feeling in my hands. Ms. Erika was my nurse that day, and she didn't tell me things I didn't want to hear, she didn't put any pressure on me, she just sat with me, listened to me, and validated everything I was feeling and made sure my hands were okay. That was such a meaningful experience for me because she made me realize that it was okay to feel what I was feeling. Having that made such a difference because I've always been taught to try and get rid of negative emotions, and she gave me a safe space to let them out. She was calm and comforting.
Later on, in the day, Ms. Erika came and sat with me and just let me cry and just gave me everything I needed at the time. No advice or throwing anything at me, nothing I didn't need, just, "I know this hurts and I'm so sorry." And that's what I needed. For someone to tell me they were sorry and mean it. I was suffering immensely but she never left me.
Even though I was not physically ill, the compassion and patience that Ms. Erika has shown me, repeatedly, has made all the difference in my recovery. She has given me hope that maybe I can get better.