So this one day a while ago I was at the mall. It was a Tuesday or Wednesday I think. You see, I used to go to an “alternative school” inside the mall like a badass. It was for people who had babies or dropped out or did drugs or got expelled or were named Jocelyn Ressler. Since it was a school day, I was in the mall around 11 in the morning. At 11 AM, the mall is basically filled with old people. I don’t know why. It just happens. This one particular day, my anxiety was going crazy and I had also had a significant amount of caffeine when it hit me: all old people are orphans.
This shocking realization threw everything I knew down the toilet. It was like my mind had been blown into pieces. Now think about it. The mall at 11 AM is filled with old people, old people are orphans, so the mall at 11 AM is an orphanage. My mom had dropped me off at an orphanage.
I started panicking. I looked around at the orphans. Lots of old women were sitting alone. I started to feel sorry for them. They seemed too lonely. I decided right then and there to be best friends with all the old people. I decided that I was going to talk to one of them and make their day a little bit brighter. Too bad it didn’t work that way.
In my peripheral vision, I noticed an old woman sitting right next to me. “She will be my first best friend” I told myself. I turned to face her and almost choked on my own saliva. She had no legs and had a shocking resemblance to Yoda. I imagined how I would start our conversation.
“So how did you lose your legs?”
“How does it feel to have all of your loved ones begin to die of old age?”
“Did that hurt?”
“Did you know we’re in an orphanage?”
“I loved your performance in Attack of the Clones!”
Luckily I bit my tongue. I couldn’t possibly start a conversation with this poor woman.
She eventually left the area and I was alone with my ridiculous racing thoughts. I started shaking after a while of my anxiety only escalating. I googled anything that popped into my head.
After many Internet searches, a guy from my school asked me if I wanted to go back to his apartment with him and a pretty large group of kids to drop acid. It was weird and also exciting because it was like the big kids were inviting me to play with them. I’m pretty sure the reason he asked me was because I was shaking and probably looked like I was on meth. But I was pretty pissed at the moment because according to WebMD, I was either experiencing Parkinson’s or a mental illness. The second part of that seemed rude because literally all it said was “mental illness” and it’s kind of a bummer when even WebMD is like “whoa calm down crazy bitch”.
But yeah, anyway, so this guy was just standing there waiting for an answer and I sort of freaked out because my brain was going really fast and I couldn’t follow it to anything that made sense and also because he always wears Insane Clown Posse shirts and anyone that wears that band’s shit terrifies me. But then my social filter stalled out I told him that I think Janis Joplin looks kind of like a toad and that I’m allergic ergoline, which is a lie, but when he asked me what the hell I was talking about, I was already a million thought lines away and before my social filter kicked back in, I said “did you know we go to school in an orphanage?” I may or may not have sort of yelled it because it had been bothering me for a couple hours at that point. Then he left.
I feel like that was a giant run-on sentence. Sorry if you’re a grammar Nazi. Also, sorry if you have a normal brain and couldn’t follow that story. Good for you.
1. When I took ballet, there was a girl in my class with a fake leg that didn’t really bend. My goal was always to be better than her, and I wasn’t.
2. I do not know how to whistle.
3. Both my lock screen and my home screen on my phone are pictures of me by myself.
4. I frequently mistake fat women for pregnant women.
5. I hate shaving my legs, but I keep doing it because I don’t want to become one of those kinds of lesbians.
6. In first grade, I threw up during a story time. I got vomit all over the carpet and the kids in front of me.
7. I have a MeetMe account. Enough said.
8. I only pretend to like iced tea because some of my friends drink it. I really think it’s disgusting.
9. This past November I developed an addiction to watching Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew and Family Guy.
10. One night I convinced myself that there was a little man with a machine that released carbon monoxide living in between my bed and the wall and slowly poisoning me.
On a cheery note, I will introduce you to my three pets. My family has a twelve year old Australian shepherd, a three year old Bernese mountain dog, and a cat that no one can remember the age of.
The Aussie is named Kipper. His other names include Kippins, Kip’n’dip, and Bubbles. My mom calls him Condoleezza Rice. He’s fat. Like another-dog-could-be-made-from-his-stomach fat. He also has a tumor on his leg. It used to be the size of a softball. Now it’s more like a partially-deflated balloon. It wobbles back and forth when he walks. We call it his cancer-ball, or CB for short. Because it actually is cancer, pretty much the only route to take would be amputating his whole leg. Too bad the doctor said bluntly that Kipper is too fat and old to be a tripod (turns out the three-legged animal community is like a fancy country club, except they like fat old men). He also doesn’t have a tail, so he wags his whole butt when he’s happy. I like to call it the Kipper-twerk. He can’t walk very easily anymore, so there’s a lot of slipping and tripping and face-planting. I always imagined him as being clinically depressed. His eyes always seemed to moan “another day…” unless there was a treat involved. I talk to my lardful (I don’t care that that’s not a word) friend frequently. I don’t remember a time when we didn’t have him. I can’t tell if it’s because of my repressed childhood or because he really has always been there. I tell him I love him every time I leave the house or even just go upstairs (he fell down the stairs too much, so he just gave up that fight) just in case he dies while I’m gone. He’s deaf though. I like to think my affirmations pierce his world of silence because that’s how hearing impairments work, right?
The Bernese mountain dog is named Sasha Fierce (yes, she is named after Beyoncé’s alter-ego). She belongs to me, and her other names include Sasha, Chubs, and Ta-Ta. She’s a real fucktard. She’s one of the stupidest animals I’ve ever encountered. She always has a blank smile that’s just like “uhhh”. In the picture above, she was watching a fly instead of looking at me. She is deathly afraid of flies because she is an idiot. She also has extra toes, and extra toes on her extra toes. I am not making this up. It is a real thing. Google it. They’re called dewclaws. Occasionally, she tries to rip off her dewclaws. I have no idea why. It’s gross, and it can never end well. I got Sasha as a birthday present less than a week after I was released from my first stay at a psych hospital. Oh, the memories. When I got her, my twin brother got a fish tank. Guess who won out that year. She was born on the day that Michael Jackson died, so I’m convinced that she’s his reincarnation. My mom makes a Taylor Swift stank face every time I say that though. I guess she’s just not a fan.
My cat is the Mayor of Dick City. Its name is Zoey. I begged my parents for a cat for months, and then I got this lump. Don’t get me wrong, it was adorable at first. We got it when it was 4 weeks old and couldn’t walk or eat right. Kipper quickly became its role model/mother. That’s probably where we went terribly, terribly wrong. An unknown number of years later, it now lunges at whatever moves, tries to sharpen its de-clawed paws constantly, growls, and has a problem with what we’ll just leave at spiteful urination. My mom doesn’t like me talking about that last one in case we ever decide to sell this house, but YOLO.
I just want to lay here
This is her body
Which one am I?
What right do I have to live or die
or sink or fly?
to destroy myself when I am not mine
or be the one to decide if things are fine?
And if things are fine
why the destruction?
corruption of construction
Blood-filled gashes too late to salvage
so limbs lost in this battle of mine
this fight to find a piece of mine
some peace of mind
And sleepless night by sleepless night I wrestle
with this idea of being such a tortured vessel
this mass built up only to contrast
a pointless past where nothing lasts
Because all of these memories that cease to be
must come back
but for what?
None of them can prove to me what I’m worth
if worth a birth and life on earth
Red lights cut through the sky
on the night that the best part of me died
But why does that matter?
This dope can splatter
through the veins of the hopeless
And hope can grow in the brains of the dopeless
And when one of your worst fears
that person who for five full years
you put above anything else in life and yourself
to take that step
that final step off a chair
away from those who care
and now only wish that they would’ve been there
And everyone longs for a time that was less polluted
before the feelings were so convoluted
And you can run all you want
you can smoke some weed
you can take some E
you can cut yourself
you can fuck your health
but none of that can fix it
Because at the end of the night
after all the visitors have come and cried
and all the flowers have wilted and died
and the prayers have stopped humming
and the cards have stopped coming
you go into that room
that empty room
Where not a single heart remained unbroken
by the name that will remain unspoken
and nothing has been touched since the day that he bailed
the day that all the demons growing inside prevailed
And you cry
not because you are sad but because he was sad
and too sad to see
all of the things he was offering
and it’s like the ground beneath you has cracked and caved
to an emptiness that you dare not brave
and all of the outsiders look at you and expect a show
with tears from a place that you still don’t know
and cannot go
because somewhere in the collapse you lose him
and the pictures and plaques
can bring nothing back
because he’s gone
but you don’t admit that because it makes no sense
and there is no defense
from this truth that you fight
because none of it’s right
so you shut it all down
and your lips refuse to frown
because none of it happened
none of it’s real
not the pain that they feel
not the tears that stay here
not that one final moment of fear
and you just keep on laughing
because there was never any sorrow
your consciousness was borrowed
and he’ll be back again tomorrow
Transitions suck. Let’s be real. They make me want to stomp on puppies. I’ve had to do a lot of adjusting in the last month and a half, and some of it is still going on.
When you’re admitted to a psychiatric hospital, it’s like your life on The Outside is put on hold, and you have to do a complete 180 to cope with your new conditions. In my case, I had to change my entire mindset.
I was put in the hospital for having a plan to kill myself. Despite my impulsive tendencies, deep down, I really do like plans. To have a plan so overthrown by something like a hospitalization kind of knocked everything down for me. I don’t know if you’ve ever thought of or attempted suicide, but it’s quite an extreme thing. To think one minute that you’re going to be facing your death soon, and all of a sudden you’re put in a place where they want you to work on your life is like being thrown into a freezing lake while you’re asleep and being expected to swim.
Something I always thought psych wards should have is an emotional shock center. I’ll never forget talking to a girl that explained her problems to me and then said “But I don’t know what to do about that because I thought I’d be dead right now. I didn’t think about having to deal with this.” I think it would be incredibly beneficial for treatment to involve processing through the shock of suddenly being expected to live. That’s what they do in hospitals. They expect you to live and to be able to deal with the simple act of living. They also expect you to make efforts to better your life even though everything you did up to that point was to ensure the opposite. It’s going from one extreme to the next, and it leaves a lot of people paralyzed.
Many people aren’t able to ever change their ideas because of the emotional strain after a failed suicide attempt or suicidal ideation. Luckily, this time, I somehow managed to force myself to turn my depressive ass around. With the help of staff support that I was surprised to have, I accepted the harsh reality that I have to live for more people than just me. I struggled with that idea for a long time while I was away. For anyone who’s experienced suicidal thoughts for a while, turning your back on that idea is really hard. It’s like closing the door on an ending, a perceived “solution”. It feels like you’re being trapped. I won’t even pretend like my struggle is over, but now that I’ve established enough of a will to live for my psychiatrist to discharge me, I have to adjust to a whole new situation.
Today is my fourth full day out of the hospital. I’m still trying to rebuild my life on The Outside. As I said earlier, first thing after my discharge, I had a therapy session. I expected it to be a cheery welcome home session. But no. Oh no, it was not. My therapist (I realize the possibility of her reading this, and that is a risk I’m willing to take) was less welcoming than I had predicted. As it turns out, she didn’t want me home. She said that she was angry they sent me home so soon, and that she had planned for me to be in the hospital for at least three more weeks. My internal reaction was like “what?” Not exactly what I had been hoping for. I was happy to be home, and I hadn’t even considered the possibility that other people wouldn’t be happy to have me back.
I’m still living in a type of a bubble. My mom is very much on high-alert right now. I’m not allowed alone very long if at all, I’m not back in school yet, my room door stays open, I’m not allowed to have sharps or a belt, etc. My mom has adapted our house to be my own step-down hospital.
Despite her efforts, transitioning back into society is always rough. It can be anything from waving your hand in the sink because all of them are automatic in the hospital to having a panic attack thinking about the vastness of The Outside. A psych ward is it’s own little padded, walled-in world where safety is priority and you never have to wear shoes. Suddenly, outside those walls, all the problems in life are real and not just a story you tell in group.
Four and a half days may not seem like a long time, but it feels like far longer than that. A lot can go down in four days. I’ve reconnected with friends and family that before were just memories or brief letters sent to me during my stay. I’ve eaten what feels like a million meals of “normal food”. I’ve told the same stories and jokes from the hospital enough to be sick of them. I’ve straightened my hair at least six times. I’ve probably sent a thousand text messages (thank god for unlimited texting plans). I’ve been to all my usual places – more than once for some of them. It feels like I’ve been home for weeks, but I’m still not used to it.
It took me close to a month to feel completely comfortable in the hospital. I have no idea how long it will take to make it back to “normal” in The Outside.
I know it’s cliché, but it’s worth it: if you or someone you know is considering or has experienced suicide or self-injury or homicide or anything like that, tell someone. Reach out. Ask for help. If one person doesn’t listen, tell another. Don’t give up.
Date written: May 23, 2013
Time: 10:40 AM
Days Inpatient: 35
Today is my discharge day. I’m getting out of this hospital that I’ve been in for over a month. I will be outside for the first time since I ran away from here. It’s exciting and terrifying. Similar to when friends are discharged, there is always a fear of relapse. It’s almost inevitable, but will it be instantaneous? Will I screw up as soon as I leave? I don’t know. Most of me hopes not. There is still a part of me that doesn’t want to get better. It’s similar to a drug addict that wants to be sober, but doesn’t want to give up getting high. Those two forces clash even more at discharge. I will suddenly have access to all of the things that the hospital has been shielding me from. It’s overwhelming.
Everyone asks “are you ready?” when you say you’re leaving. My response is typically “as I’ll ever be” or “I kind of have to be”. When your doctor decides to discharge you after thirty-five days, you’re going to take the opportunity. I’m not saying that my only reason for leaving is the fact that I wanted to get out of there. That would be incredibly irresponsible. In case you can’t tell, I am a very responsible person. The other thing people ask is “what’s the first thing you’re going to do when you get out of here?” Everyone has answers like “take a shower and shave” or “eat normal food” or “see my boyfriend”. I’m going straight from here to yet another therapy session – the only difference being that this one is on The Outside. I guess technically the first thing I’m going to do is get all my stuff back. Remember that time I made a break for it into the woods, got caught, and got all my possessions taken? Yeah? Me too. Then I’m going to turn on my cell phone. If my mom forgets to bring my phone when she picks me up, I’m going to punch her in the throat. And if my phone is not flooded by texts and calls, I will be thoroughly disappointed in my so-called friends.
For my sixth hospitalization, there is a lot of pressure on this one to make a difference. I’m so freaked out by the question “what makes this time different?” it’s ridiculous. I don’t have an answer. That’s probably what scares me so much.
That’s getting too serious though. I am so pumped to blow this popsicle stand. It’s even planned this time, and I hope I’m not coming back.
Day written: May 21, 2013
Time: 10:10 AM
Days Inpatient: 33
One of the hardest parts about inpatient treatment aside from the actual treatment is saying goodbye to the friends that you’ve made. Being here for over a month, I’ve watched a lot of people come and go. Only a few people have actually gotten close to me.The problem is that when that person then gets discharged, you have to say goodbye after a short period of time. I know what you’re thinking – “How close can kids get after 7-10 days?” The answer is “extremely close”. Some of my best and worst relationships were formed in hospitals.
When you’re in a hospital, it’s not like slowly getting to know someone. You’re thrown into a situation where you are literally living with these people. If you have a roommate, time alone is a very rare thing. Hospital food is sub-par at best, but you all eat together in the cafeteria. Even one adult unit is in there at the same time as us. My friends think that they put the adults in with us so that we see what our future could be and are scared out of our behavior. We all talk together. There are some cliques here – which is weird. I guess it just happens everywhere. We share our secrets together. Well, some people do. I don’t speak in group if it can be avoided, but a lot of people spill their guts out. To me, it feels like vomiting my angst on everyone around me. We sleep together. Roommates are extremely common. You don’t have a lot of time to get on the same terms as your roommate before you two are in the dark and expected to go to bed in each other’s presence. You just overall live together. It’s easy to form bonds and stronger friendships than you may ever have again.
Today, a good friend of mine was discharged. It sucks. There are a lot of mixed emotions whenever someone you’ve grown to care about is discharged. There is the gladness you feel for them that they are getting out and going back home or to a placement. That’s about the only positive. There’s a lot of sadness with the realization that you will probably never see that person again. Yeah, you exchanged Facebooks and phone numbers and all that, but you’ll never talk to them the way you did or have the same relationship again. And then there’s the anxiety – the fear. There’s the worry and concern. It’s impossible not to worry that that person will relapse or go back to their old ways. Whether you see them or not, you still want them to feel better than they did before getting to the hospital.
A discharge date is what every patient waits for. but it’s the date that all of their hospitalized friends dread.