That first Tuesday

13 Jul

Something about that day turned it into a bad one.

Nothing happened. No new stress. No problems. But a mess of a month-mania morphing to depression morphing to blinding rage and back to mania. I can barely remember June clearly.

But I remember the nervous bus ride to the hospital, the anxious flutter in my stomach, the voice telling me I could always run away. It poured rain as I waited for the bus, fittingly. At least if it rained, no one could see me crying.

In my head I reviewed what I would say when I got to the ER desk, the ways in which I could say it. My 15 year old self clamoured for attention and told me I was only looking for attention, normal people don’t say they want to kill themselves out loud. Normal people.

I need your help because I want to die.

I want someone to help me before I kill myself.

I will kill myself without help.

I don’t remember which one I actually used, but I was comforted by the fact that the nurse didn’t bat an eye, and continued to be friendly and soothing to me as my eyes filled up with unbidden tears at the terror, the fear, the ache I felt.

At first the triage nurse made it seem that there was nothing for me there, nowhere to put me, and I blubbered “I just didn’t know what else to do” and she figured out why I was confused, and clarified things-I just needed to wait, could I wait? I sat crocheting a baby blanket as my hands shook, not looking around. People would be able to tell that I wasn’t really sick, that I was just mental. They would know.

I got in quickly. And when that first doctor was kind to me, I fell apart into hysterical sobbing to the point that I couldn’t breathe. The Ativan came quickly then, and I fell into a lulled quiet as I waited for the shrink to see me.

Time passed, not long, not short. Just time. I lay on the bed thinking ‘I’m ok, really-I can go home”. But I knew I was past going home. I had committed to this course of action, and even in my weak drugged state, I knew this to be true. I stared at the rubber gloves, the tongue depressors, all the things to protect doctors from the germs their patients carried. Were they protected from me? Did they laugh later, thinking about the sad fat girl who snivelled her way through a conversation?

When the shrink came, and I had to recite the pertinent details of my life for the 400th time ever, I felt a tiredness roll over me. I nakedness I cared not about. She reminded me of someone I had worked with long ago, bossy, old, crinkled. Not for the first time, she mentioned how tight space was on the ward, the hidden message being that I should be grateful to be received.

Someone brought me to the psych ward. I don’t remember who. I remember they tried to make me laugh, and I couldn’t even play along. Coming into the ward, was just like many of the movies you’ve seen. A common area for eating and TV. Someone rocking back and forth, someone talking incessantly. Someone sad. I signed my life away, made some toast, and laid down in my room.

10 Responses to “That first Tuesday”

  1. sweetsalty kate July 13, 2007 at 9:04 am #

    You’re so engaging. Do you know that?

  2. thordora July 13, 2007 at 9:05 am #

    Really? Man, compared to your writing, I always feel so flat…. 😛

  3. tulip July 13, 2007 at 10:23 am #

    I am still amazed/jealous at your ability to share your experience while SO clearly communicating how it feels. I bet the letting go of control was the hardest part. I know it would be my hell.
    Thanks again for sharing this part of your struggle with us.

  4. bine July 13, 2007 at 11:20 am #

    i have trouble swallowing while i read this. i can still feel the fear of admitting i needed help once.

    the one year in my life where i would have needed therapy i had no idea how to ask for help. i was not clinically depressed or schizophrenic or otherwise mentally ill. i have just felt close to the edge all my life, and that one year when grief and confusion threw me off the track i was scared shitless that if i’d see someone i would lose it completely, drop everything, be carried off to some prison-like psych ward like i had in my mind from i never promised you a rose garden or even one flew over the cuckoo’s nest.
    i know that was silly, it doesn’t happen like this. but i can still feel that fear and i’m not sure if i would act more rational if something like that ever happened again.

    i know you don’t see yourself as exceptionally brave or courageous, but i admire you for being able to take that step back and look at yourself and decide what was right, as well as for being able to reflect everything so clearly and calmly now. you may feel a mess, but you sound like you’re more the master of your thoughts and emotions than many people i know.

  5. Jennifer July 13, 2007 at 12:37 pm #

    I wish I had something witty or strengthening to say.

  6. Betsy July 13, 2007 at 12:50 pm #

    You were so brave and strong to go.

  7. cherylann July 13, 2007 at 1:14 pm #

    I always wish it to rain when I’m crying for the same reason…

  8. Jason Dufair July 13, 2007 at 2:28 pm #

    I do also think you’re brave. And self-aware. That combination will save you, I think. Salvation, salve, healing. You’ll be there.

  9. CharmingDriver July 13, 2007 at 11:28 pm #

    Thinking of you.

  10. Nat July 15, 2007 at 1:03 pm #

    Glad they didn’t act like asshats when you admitted yourself. It took a lot of balls but you did it! And that was the first step! 🙂

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