The doors open with a strong breath of air. Rushed chatter and muffled weeping. A place filled with both hope and grief. I go up to the desk and with trembling hands and a shaky voice I whisper the reason I’m here. “I’m suicidal.” Shame. Embarrassment. Guilt. Emotions rush through my veins in a way they never have before. I want to run or hide. Anything to ignore the overwhelming pain. But alas, here I am. On a hospital bed in the middle of the night waiting to be assessed. I watch the clock as my eyelids grow heavy.
I overhear that someone just died. Is it wrong that I wish it was me? Hours go by before my brain caves into the need for sleep. The night is long, dark, and cold. Constant noises keep my brain alert. Babies crying, couples laughing, hearts beating. All reminders of life.
Exhausted I sob alone waiting for someone to tell me I will be okay. That I did the right thing by coming in. Hours go by before a human face comes into view. They tell me I’m being admitted. Once again, I am alone with my broken mind finding reasons for why I shouldn’t have come in.
I follow behind the lady who came down to get me. Down a back hallway, into a grey elevator and finally through the locked doors where I will live for the time being. We sit down and I empty out every part of my life onto the table. Cell-phone, wallet, clothing. The contents of my once private life now displayed in front of me. They take everything that could be harmful and lock it up. My access to the outside world has been stripped from my being.
A short tour around the ward. There is laundry, a fridge, televisions, couches, etc. Everything you need to live in this enclosed space. I settle in my room until a nurse knocks on the door. I couldn’t have prepared for the questions. Five pages of questions. Do you know why you are here? Are you suicidal? Do you hear voices? Do you want to hurt other people? I don’t want to answer or talk anymore. Then she tells me about the treatment program I am on. GROW. Rules, rules, rules. I cannot wear my own clothing. I cannot leave my room except for meals. No visitors. Only one supervised phone call. I feel like a child who is not allowed to do anything on my own.
Curled on my bed with a pool of tears around me. My throat aches from the sobs that shake my whole body. I tried to muffle them with the blanket pulled up over my face. The blanket was my only comfort from home. I was alone. Really alone. Why would anyone care about the crazy girl in the psych ward? Who would want to associate with that? I know my tears echoed through the beige walls for others to hear, but I was alone.
Meeting with my counsellor. Someone who makes me feel safe. Acknowledge. Heard. Still curled under my blankets with red eyes. She looked at me and said, “so it got worse.” I couldn’t deny that. I was sitting on a hospital bed when I should have been living in my dorm. I was worse.
My dinner is placed in front of me. It’s no 5-star meal. I pick away at the food on the plastic plate on my tray. Meanwhile, listening to the others talk and laugh together. Their stories are incredible. Heartbreaking. Raw. So many broken hearts all found in one room. How could they not see how precious they are? How could they think that it would be better if they were gone? How don’t they understand that they are worthy of getting help. It’s so much easier to see worth in others than within yourself.
My eyes are tired. They drift in and out of sleep. The nurses check in on me one last time to make sure I am alright and give me my medications. The main reason I am here. The sound of the clock becomes prominent in the silent room. I am not annoyed at this sound. I am relieved. Each second that goes by means I am a little closer to leaving this place and finding life out in the world again. I count the seconds until reality is replaced with dreams. I am safe.