What, me scared?

6 Jul

In the comments somewhere, Eden asked a question that has stuck with me for the past few days.

Why was I so scared to go into the hospital?

I really wasn’t sure myself-I’ve just always had this guttural fear of being considered crazy enough to be hospitalized, like it would leave a mark on me that would always be there, that it would break me, or turn me into an unthinking, unfeeling person. I’d rather feel too much than too little.

There’s also the matter that on a certain level, hospital=death. Nothing good has ever come from a hospital. My mother spent many, many days lying weak in her bed, skin yellow, with me sitting with her, not knowing what to say, but knowing not to make trouble, not to make too much noise. My mother came home to die, but we said our final goodbyes in a dingy hospital room one late April afternoon.

That smell is everywhere, in everything. I’m sitting at home and I can still feel it on my skin-it’s that greenish hue, the grey mint stench that I’ll need to wash off myself later. And it’s this smell that, more than anything, scares me. It’s everything in my childhood that terrified me and saddened me, everything that signified my time as a child coming to an end. It’s the big bad WRONG in my life.

And let’s face it. No one wants to be the crazy person. So long as I could pull of real life by myself, so long as I could continue my myth of “I don’t need no stinkin’ help”, I wasn’t crazy. A little bent, but not lost to the world. Admitting to myself that I needed more help than I could give myself was a sign of weakness, and for awhile, I couldn’t afford to be weak. Quite honestly, a lot of it was my need, my wish for someone to take the time to notice that I wasn’t as ok as I pretended to be, that having it together at 12 or 13 was a big fat smelly lie. I wanted someone to pay attention to me for once, and ask if I was ok, if I needed help. I grew tired of having to call out for attention so much.

All I’ve ever wanted in my life was for someone to play the role of my mother, and watch out for me, help me when I was sick, allow me the pleasure of weakness. But I haven’t had this in a very long time. Capitulating this need to someone else is one of the hardest things I’ve done in a very long while.

I was scared because at the heart of it all, I’m still just a scared little girl curled up in a ball in the corner. Allowing someone inside to help her out meant exposing her to the daylight, melting the broken wings that kept her so firmly anchored to the ground.

But it seems that finally, that little girl is being allowed to leave her cage, and move on. It couldn’t come at a better time.

15 Responses to “What, me scared?”

  1. Bon July 6, 2007 at 6:45 pm #

    oof. my heart.

    i thought your fear of hospitalization was perfectly reasonable from the perspective of my own craziness…which is my OCD about control. about having it all together, because if anyone sees behind the facade, i think i might crumble to dust. or so i always thought through all the years of my own self-damage. and like you, i was always just waiting, hoping someone would ask “are you really okay?”

    i think the fact that you went despite your fear took great courage. i also think that giving up the “control” of your self-made cage was an act of great self-respect, Thor, and i hope one that brings healing.

    in a sense, i think – with maybe our chorus out there pushing a little – you played mother to yourself, by going in. by doing the responsible thing, by caring for yourself despite the fear and cost to yourself. i am proud of you, if you’ll let me say that.

    and yeh, hospitals still stink. but…good.

  2. Jennifer July 6, 2007 at 7:10 pm #

    We hold memories frozen at the time of their happening.

    So, for instance when I was 9 and my mother held a knife at her wrists asking me if I wanted her to kill herself….I have a rush of those 9 year old terrified feelings, of begging and crying and pleading with her that I loved her and that no, I wouldn’t go stay overnight at Lori’s house.

    You well know that smells have a trigger, so the smells combined with your early memories make a bad combo.

    I’m glad you went though. You know I felt guilty for badgering you? Then when you were admitted, all I could think of is that it was the worst outcome. I admitted it to Glen and he read me the riot act saying “better there than dead” and he carried on to say that it must have been really bad, which it was. 😦

  3. Jennifer July 6, 2007 at 7:11 pm #

    Ok, that post didn’t make a lick of sense.

  4. thordora July 6, 2007 at 7:15 pm #

    Tell Glen that I said you rock. Cause you do.

    And I don’t ever want to be your mother. Ever. Your stories, Eden’s stories and others, remind me why I admitted myself.

  5. PrettyMomma July 6, 2007 at 9:00 pm #

    Oops, I missed this whole thing. Sorry, I have been tied to my bed with Tonsillitis. I am REALLY GLAD you went to the hospital and got some help. I have spent time visiting my brother in the psych ward, lots of time. I know how much it sucks, I also know that sometimes it is what is necessary.

    Take care of yourself, eh!

  6. Marcy July 6, 2007 at 9:14 pm #

    Wow, I lose the internet for a few days and look what happens! I’m sorry I wasn’t here to add my voice to the big chorus of support you’ve had. I’m so glad you got what you needed, and I hope the new med works wonders for you.

  7. thordora July 6, 2007 at 9:25 pm #

    Marcy, I’m still traumatized at the thought of using dial-up. EEK!

  8. Amy July 6, 2007 at 9:43 pm #

    Wow. Amazing that it was so difficult and you still did it. You are an incredibly strong woman.

  9. jkdufair July 6, 2007 at 9:58 pm #

    Thor – you are so goddamned beautiful. Glad that girl is being let out. I can understand your reluctance to do so. We are so inclined to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps in our culture – I think it’s pathological.

    Huge hugs from me and mine. You are brave to do this and brave to tell us. And wise to know it was the right thing to do at the right time.

  10. tulip July 6, 2007 at 10:03 pm #

    It’s amazing to me that even today after all you’ve been through in life and in this WEEK, you can still articulate your feelings so well. I can only say, YES, that’s exactly what I feel like. Wanting desperately for someone to break through the facade and take care of ME already.
    You are amazing and I am so glad to “know” you. Thank you for your words and I’m thinking of you.

    Of course now I have that weird mental image too!!! 🙂

  11. misspudding July 7, 2007 at 1:00 am #

    It’s totally understandable the way you feel about hospitals. I feel the same way about the audiologist’s office. The only thing that I got out of going there was a fear of the “special” kids (the audiologist was usually in the same building/office with people who deal with speech/language disorders) and an incredible fear of admitting that I couldn’t hear anything.

    Of course, your situation is a little, um, more life-changing than mine but, hey, it’s all about witty anecdotes, right?

    Have I mentioned lately how proud I am of you! Damn girl, that took some guts to march yourself down there! SO PROUD.

  12. jen July 7, 2007 at 1:20 am #

    we are all scared little girls curled up in the corner. you, see, are one of the braver ones of all of us.

  13. bine July 7, 2007 at 4:53 am #

    hospitals alone, with all their smells and memories, do strange things to us. i had so many bad memories of hospital before i ever had to stay there myself (for surgery) that i was scared shitless the whole time. my lover came to see me every day for support although his memories of hospitals are even worse and he told me afterwards that he had to fight nausea every time he entered that building.
    but a psych ward – i can really imagine that the crazy-enough-to-be-hospitalized thing is the worst. i even balked long ago at the crazy-enough-to-see-a-therapist hurdle. there was no one to give me that little push.
    so i guess all the nagging and pushing and shouting here was good for something. sometimes it’s really hard to admit that you just can’t pull it off on your own. you showed so much courage.

  14. radicalmama July 7, 2007 at 10:44 am #

    thor, I remember my mom talking about suicide a LOT. How she wanted to get into the bath tub and slit her wrists. But she couldn’t do it because she was afraid my sister and I would find her. I know that sounds like she was rational, but actually she made us feel guilty about it. Like she really wanted to be dead but because of US she wasn’t and we owed her big time.

    Of course, people didn’t talk about mental health like we do now. I know it is still hard for you to come to terms with, but it definitely taken more seriously and more socially acceptable to need help than it was 20-30 years ago, so I am no longer angry with my mom, just glad she is still around.

    I WISH she would have done what you are doing. I am so proud of you. Ros and Viv will be too, when they understand what could have happened.




  1. I grew tired of having to call out for attention so much. « Becoming Three - July 6, 2007

    […] Filed under: PPD — Marcy @ 8:07 pm While I was offline my friend Thordora had a crisis and got out of it […]

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