I couldn't believe it. My whole world was ending, and it felt like my heart was being sucked out from the inside. My whole life was flashing before my eyes. Everything I had ever known for a little over three years was about to be over. Of course, my life for the past three years had been nothing less than full of fear, pain, and depression. But the one thing that hadn't changed, my rock, was about to be broken. It was leaving and the only man to ever have looked my way was going to be gone. He was my only friend, my only family, my only confidant, my only everything. Even my sisters and brother wouldn't look my way. My parents hated me, and I had done nothing to change their views. If he left, then everything I had would crash down. I would be left with nothing but a couple broken pieces of my life. I would only have a few of the pieces of my heart because I had given most of them to him. He had everything of mine, and he knew it. Why would he leave me?
But nonetheless, I was on the phone with him, listening to his harsh voice tell me that he was gone. He couldn't handle this life anymore; he needed something new, something without me. He couldn't handle being with me anymore – I was too clingy, too horrible, too selfish, too stubborn. I was crying so hard that my chest physically hurt and I was hacking, trying not to throw up over my floor. I was curled in the corner of my room. The hell I had been through in the past three years had meant nothing to him. It meant nothing to him that I had stayed by his side when he needed me; when he found out that he had a sister from his father that was his age. When he needed a kick in the pants to get up and find a job. When he was depressed and needed to be held, or when he needed encouragement. It meant nothing to him that I had stayed by his side when he hurt me, when he accused me of being unfaithful, when he told me I was nothing, that I was lower than the dirt he walked on. It meant nothing to him, all the good times we had, like when we went to those two concerts and danced and sang and laughed. The three prom dances we went to didn't matter. The vows of love were nothing but words.
Without him, I had nothing. I was nothing. My family didn't want me. I had no friends; he was my only friend. We were going to get married; he was going to be my family too. But there was nothing I could do – the only rock in my life, the only thing that was constant, the only other person in my life was leaving me, and he was determined this time. It was over. My life was over.
I told him goodbye, and he knew what I meant. For three years, he had gotten to know me. He learned my fears, my strengths, my weaknesses, and my mind. How could he not know what I was going to do? He knew that he was my only everything. I couldn't live without something, without someone. I needed him because I had no one else. No friends to lean on. No family to love. He cursed, and got into his car and drove to my house. But when he arrived, it was too late.
"How many?" He demanded to know. "How many of those fucking things did you take?"
I shrugged. I had lost count, but the bottle ran out. I just wanted to sleep now. Sleep my life away, literally. Maybe I was insane…
"I'm waking her up." He informed me, and a shot of panic ran through my chest. My mother was sound asleep in her room. She had to work tonight, so I couldn't let him wake her up. She needed her sleep. He was almost four hundred pounds, and six foot three. I couldn't physically keep him from her, though I tried. I finally convinced him I was okay, and he went to leave, while I sat on the front porch watching feeling him trample my heart more and more with each step to his dingy blue-ish green grand am. I saw my vision blur and felt my body sway and half-fell, half-sat down on the ground. I laid my head down, it was hurting. I was so tired; I needed sleep. But he saw this, and perked up. He jumped back, and he was pissed.
"Whatever, I'm waking her up." He told me. I felt the panic run through my chest again.
"No, don't." I argued. "She needs to sleep. Leave her alone. Just leave." But I still felt some joy in my heart because he came back. Maybe he didn't want me to die…
"How many did you take?" He demanded an answer this time, and he wouldn't stop asking me while I fought to keep him away from her. He was so much stronger than me.
"I don't know." I said honestly. "Eight? Twelve? The bottle ran out. Not enough to kill me."
He cursed again, and pushed me out of the way. I wasn't able to grab him again until after he had punched the window a few times – enough to make a lot of noise but not to break it. I knew it woke her up. She came to the door, and I sat down on the couch as he started to explain why he had just woke her up. She looked at me, and I could see the hurt in her eyes. But what did she care? She hated me anyway. She yelled at me for a second, asking me why I did it. I don't remember what exactly she was saying. But I remember glaring at her. She hated me anyway.
"Fuck you." I told her, and I flinched before her hand connected with my face. It stung for a few long moments after she had slapped me, and I was crying. I looked at Matt. He had betrayed me to my parents. But it didn't matter because my only rock, my only friend was leaving me. I could forgive him, if only he would just stay for a little bit longer. He looked at me in pity, not in love. He said he was sorry, and I asked why he was leaving. He told me he had to. My mom got off the phone with my dad, and I ended up in the van. She was going to take me to the emergency room, but it all felt like a dream now. Everything was fuzzy, and I was lightheaded. I asked him not to leave as I got into the van.
"Come with me," I begged, but he gave me a pitiful look and walked off. He was disgusted with me, I could see it in his eyes and I could feel it in his heart. But he was free from me now. He could go to all the strip clubs that he wanted, and look at his magazines in peace. I remembered how he told me I was pathetic earlier that day, when he saw me crying. I remembered the names he called me before he walked off to his car, before he turned me in to my parents. Maybe I was insane. Oh well.
We got to the hospital and the lady at the front desk glared at me when my mom told her why we needed to be there. She abhorred me, I could tell. She hated people like me, people who used up rooms because they hated their lives. Because they felt broken and wanted to stop. As we walked on, I felt her eyes burning a hole into my back before she turned back to her computer. I wondered briefly if she even cared about my story and shrugged it off. The nurse asked me some basic questions, like my name, and I answered them all in monotone. Everything was hazy and I just wanted to sleep. I felt like I was in a dream sequence. But she wouldn't let me sleep. She made me sit in an uncomfortable chair while she talked about some random things that I really didn't care about. I wasn't really listening. She left, and my mom told me to put on the gown that the nurse had put on my lap. I started to undress, and my mom finally got a good look at my legs and what I had done to them. I didn't care. She started to cry, and I put my gown on. It was uncomfortable and stiff.
The nurse came back in and tried to put an IV in my arm. She kept missing, and when I finally looked at what she was doing because the pain was starting to get to me, I saw blood everywhere. I felt my stomach churn and my head feel like it's going to float. My gown was completely soaked in blood, and almost all red. I was going to pass out, and everything got dark for a split second. She shook me and told me not to go to sleep, but she didn't understand how tired I was. She ended up giving up on me, my veins weren't good enough for her to handle, and she got someone else in the room. The new nurse was a guy, and he was entirely too happy. He looked at my legs, and asked what happened as he stuck the needle into the veins on my wrist. I shrugged and he sucked up my blood and put it into little bottles.
After he did that, I was overcome with a need for some water. I needed a drink because I hadn't had anything at all in the morning time, and it was early afternoon. They had just taken my blood, and I needed something to replenish myself. I told my nurse, and she shook her head.
"You can't have any water until the tests are run in case we need more of your blood." She told me in a matter-of-fact tone. I argued with her, and told her that I needed some water. She didn't understand. My whole body was parched, and my throat was so dry I feared it falling apart. I couldn't make spit anymore. My stomach was started to curl in on itself. I needed something to drink. She said something about my kidneys and the ratios of Tylenol to blood cells or something as an excuse so she didn't have to give me anything. Minutes became half-hours and I felt like I was going to die. I needed water.
Finally, the guy-nurse brought me a small cup of ice-cold water to drink, and I was beyond grateful. I liked this guy much better than that girl that was in the room earlier. At least he understood, no matter how fake and happy he was. But there was an ulterior motive for everything. Now they wanted me to pee in a small cup that they provided for me. So I drank some more. I didn't need to go to the bathroom yet, and sticking a huge needle up my body parts wasn't something I wanted. So, I went to their little square bathroom. One of the female nurses stood outside my door to wait for me. I wasn't allowed to be alone. I thought about the sharp edges of the paper-towel dispenser, but brushed those thoughts away. If I did anything to myself while I was in there, I would have to explain to the guy-nurse, and he had brought me water.
Peeing in a cup was insanely difficult. My stream wouldn't stay still and eventually I caught what I could and cleaned the cup up. I was disgusted that some had gotten on my hands, and washed them four times before I decided they were clean enough to go back to my room with. The nurse took the cup in gloved hands and another nurse showed me back to my room. My mom waited there for me, without words. I sat back down on the paper-covered bench they had for all the patients, and waited. A nurse came by to say that I wasn't allowed to leave the room until the test results came in. I was still dizzy and tired, but all the excitement kept me from going to sleep.
My mom and I made small talk and waited for minute which turned into hours. I eventually started wandering down the hallways of the hospital while my mom sat in my room patiently. I started to feel more normal again, and wondered why I was there in the first place.
"Do you think I'll be here all night?" I asked her.
"I don't know." My mom answered. "They'll probably want you here overnight anyway."
"I'm sorry." I said, and I meant it. I had seen too many of her tears that day already. Finally, the guy-nurse came by and told me that a woman was going to come into my room and ask me a bunch of questions to determine whether I was sane or not. Everyone looked at my legs whenever they came by. I was tired of it. My mom left the room, and a firm-looking lady came in. She was older, and had a clipboard with her. She didn't look very friendly, but when she sat down and introduced herself I realized that she really didn't care. She just wanted my answers so she could leave. She wasn't mean, but she wasn't nice either. She was just unemotional and calm with everything. She glanced at my legs and pursed her lips before she glanced at her clipboard.
She asked me silly questions, like how to spell world backwards and told me to tell her my ABC's. I answered all of those questions right, and she asked me to count by twos to twenty. So I did that too. She made marks on her clipboard every time I said something, so I made sure not to elaborate on anything too much in case I say something wrong. But I was honest.
"Before today, have you ever thought of killing yourself?" She asked. I nodded. Of course I have. Didn't everyone? It must have been a trick question for all the people who wanted to make sure everyone thought they were sane. Because thinking about it is common, and everyone does it. She must have asked that to make sure that I wasn't going to lie to her.
"Have you ever tried to act on it?"
I remembered the time when I was younger, before I met him. I had taken some pills and foolishly thought that it would be enough. I threw up in the toilet later that night, but ended up okay. It hurt when I threw up though, and I was so miserable. While I was throwing up, I hated myself for ever trying it. I always told myself that I would never do it again, and that if I did, I would make sure that I took enough that time. I remember praying that the throw up would stop and hoping that I would live. I remembered the fear that had coursed through my veins when I was hunched over the toilet.
"Yeah, I guess. Once." I told her. I didn't really want to stay all night, so I elaborated. "I was little, and I didn't know anything. I just threw up that night. That was all."
She didn't react, just wrote more things on her little clipboard before she asked me more questions.
"How long have you been depressed?"
"A long time. I don't know," I said, and thought. I tried to remember back when I used to think in color and life was okay. It was almost too long ago. "Before I was twelve, I think. I've been depressed since I was twelve. No, I was un-depressed for a while too when I was fourteen, but got depressed again at fifteen, I think."
Her pencil moved again, and I wondered what she was writing. Maybe I was beyond help, maybe that's what she was putting down on her paper. Maybe she thought I was insane for not knowing how long exactly I've been depressed. Maybe she was going to stick in me in the psycho ward they had upstairs. I sat on my legs. I didn't want her staring at them anymore. It was making my stomach churn, and I knew that she thought I was crazy. Normal people didn't write on their legs with razors, and normal people didn't take all the Tylenol PM in the bottle. Then again, normal people didn't have their lives ripped from them so suddenly and so without warning like I did.
She asked me more silly questions, and I tried to answer them right. She asked what color the sky was, and I told her it was blue, and that the sky didn't change colors, but the clouds did depending on where the sun was at the time. She looked satisfied with that answer. So I felt hope course through my body. She asked other questions, and sometimes she tightened her lips and sometimes she nodded, and sometimes she just looked at her clipboard with no emotion on her face at all.
Finally she stood up and said thank you. I felt like I had just been in a job interview, the way she had stood up and held her clipboard. She looked straight at me and didn't sugar coat the news that she was about to give me. The door was still closed and I gave up hope the moment I saw her face set into a firm, unforgiving position. I was going to be sent away. I was too insane to go back to my life.
"You will be going to the hospital's psychiatric wing." She told me. "Now, you can either sign yourself in, or we can make you go. If we have to force you into it, we are required by law to not keep you in our hospital's wing for more than three business days. "
I knew what she was expecting from me. She wanted me to sign myself in, and I didn't want police or any kind of law involved right now, so I took a deep breath and waited for her to say something else.
"So are you going to sign yourself in?" She asked and looked at me with interest. I nodded.
"Yes." I muttered, and she nodded at me. She turned and left and my mother came back into the room, an anxious look on her face. She was waiting for me to tell her the news, and I told her that I would be staying at the hospital for a while. Her expression didn't tell me whether she was disappointed or relieved, and she asked me what I needed. I called my dad and told him to bring clothes, music, my schoolbooks and notebooks, and something to eat. He did.
More minutes turned into more hours, and I was finally able to go upstairs to their psycho ward around nine at night. My parents followed me until we got to the desk, where an overweight lady was waiting for me and knew my name. She had a sweet face, and smiled a lot when she talked to me. She told me that they would have to go through my bags, and that I couldn't have music because of the emotions that the music might have, and I wouldn't be able to have my notebooks because of the sharp, metal spirals in them, but I could have loose-leaf paper if I needed to write. I told them that I wanted them to tear paper out of my notebook so I could use it, and they did.
While my parents talked to her, I was taken into a room and told to undress again so they could see my legs and check my pockets. I could keep my underwear on though. So, I took off my pants and the nurse winced at my legs. She looked at them closer, but not too close.
"Why did you do that?" She asked, and checked my pockets. She wasn't a mean lady, and was very patient while she waited for my answer. She gave my pants back and I put them on.
"I don't know." I said. "I was really depressed and it made me feel better." It was the truth, and she nodded and gave my shirt back. I put my shirt back on and she took me to a little room so I could talk with a psychiatrist. The man seemed nice; he shook my hand and didn't give me a look of pity like the nurses did. I liked that. He asked to see my legs, and I pulled my jeans up so he could. He looked at them curiously, and looked back at me. He didn't give me a look of sympathy or anything when he asked about them.
"Why did you cut those horrible words into your legs?" He asked.
"Because," I said. "I was depressed and it made me feel better."
"That's why most people cut." He said. "But why did you cut words into your legs?"
"Because that's what my boyfriend called me. Ex-boyfriend, I mean. I guess. He broke up with me today." I told him. He just looked at me.
"He called you those things?"
"What do the words say?" He asked, and he meant it. The words were hard to read, because cutting words was hard to do. The blood kind of distorted them too.
"Just stuff like bitch and whore and things." I said. He nodded, and wrote something down. On his paper was a picture of a uni-sexed person and he drew a line from the person's leg. He was trying to write what my injuries were. He asked where else I cut.
"On my calves," I said, and thought of the other places. "on my thighs too, that one right there. Yeah, and I did it on my chest sometimes and on my stomach. There's this small one here on my arm."
He wrote it all down, but looked at my wrist and upper arm. He pointed to my bruises.
"How did you get those?" He asked.
"My boyfriend. I mean, ex-boyfriend." I corrected myself. I had to remember that I was single now…I had to remember that I had lost everything I had ever had. "He grabbed me."
"They look pretty fresh."
"Yeah, they happened today, when he grabbed my wrist and my arm. He was trying to wake my mom up." I felt foolish now. "He was just trying to wake her up because I took the pills."
"Do you have any other bruises?"
"On my thighs." I said, and looked at my feet. I didn't have shoes on. We weren't allowed to have shoes, because they had shoelaces. I didn't want to take my shoelaces out, so I had just told them to keep my shoes until I left. I was thankful when he didn't press on.
"How many pills did you take?"
"I don't know, really." I said and shrugged. "Eight, I think. Maybe twelve. Not enough to die. I just wanted to sleep."
"Why that number?"
"I don't know. The bottle ran out. He asked me out on February 8th." I felt the need to mention that. He nodded and wrote more things down. He had a doctor's handwriting, and I couldn't read what he wrote. But I thought it was cool that he wasn't hiding his paper from me like the woman who sentenced me here did. He asked me some more questions, and when he was satisfied that I had answered them all, he shook my hand and smiled at me. He told me to have a good night and that he'd see me again tomorrow.
The psych ward was not what I expected at all. There were tons of rooms down a curved hallway, and an office in the middle of the huge hallway room. At the end of the hallway, there were three bigger rooms. One for doing laundry and it had dressers with drawers full of bed sheets and pillow cases. The blankets were all being used because the people there loved using extra blankets when they went to bed. The room by that one was scary and there was a huge table in there with leather straps. The straps were positioned so that if someone were to lay down on the table, their wrists would be strapped, their upper arms, their ankles and legs, and their forehead. It was for solitary confinement. I felt a pang of fear whenever I looked at it and hoped that the people there would realize that I'm not a horrible girl. I hoped I would never know what it was like in there. The third room was the "group" room. It was where they had group therapy. There were a lot of fluffy comfy chairs in there, and a television.
At the end of the hallway-room, before the three rooms, there was just a huge common area. It had some couches and magazine racks full of happy, healthy magazines. There was a table in the middle of all the couches and chairs. Off to the side was a room that had a sink and a pantry. It was their kitchen, and it was an ugly shade of green. It was closed when I arrived though. Lights-out time was at nine. After being showed around, they put me in a room with another woman who had been admitted.
There were two small, twin-size beds on either side of the room. They had sterile sheets and pillows, and night stands next to them. There was one large window near her side of the room, and my side of the room had a bathroom that we were to share. On one wall, there was a huge dresser to put your clothes in, but I kept all my stuff near my bed, in the nightstand. She introduced herself as Denise, and asked me why I was there. I told her it was because of depression, and she nodded in understanding.
Then she started to tell me her story about her depression. She told me about her biker boyfriend, and her daughters, and her entire life. She turned to the bed a lot, and started to pet her pillow. And as she went on, I laid down on my bed. My eyes stung, and I was exhausted. I tried to listen, but ended up nodding off. Later in the night, I woke to drawers banging and her grabbing all of her clothes and shoving them into a basket. It had to have been eleven at night or so, and I was exhausted. I was pissed and glared at her as I turned around and stuck the pillow over my ear. She ran out of the room, leaving the light on, so I gave up on sleep as I listened to her yelling at the doctors.
I grabbed the loose-leaf papers they had let me have and a pencil, and began to put my thoughts on paper. I had to do it quick, though, because I was supposed to be asleep, and they would be done with her in a while.
Dear Temporary Journal (TJ
Today's been a long day. Yesterday was my birthday, February 27th, and I thought things were going to be okay. NOT!! The next day, after I told Matt that he was the only thing that I was sure of was him. So today, he broke up with me.
She was screaming at the doctors and ran back into the room with her clothes. She folded them exactly as they were and put them back into her dresser. Then she put her basket right back into the corner of the room, just where she had found it. She turned off the light, and sobbed in her bed about her laundry, so I turned back over with my papers and pencil and shut up eyes. I was crying as well, and I put my papers underneath my pillow for safe keeping that night. Eventually, I fell back to sleep.
She woke me up again, as she was fighting with her bible. The light was on, and she was wrinkling the pages loudly. She threw her book against the wall and cursed at it, and cried like a child. Eventually, the doctors came in and asked her to come with them, and when she refused they dragged her out of the room. I hid under my covers, and hugged my pillow as I heard her screaming and cursing the entire way down the hallway. I tried not to cry.
A nurse came in, and smiled at me.
"I'm sorry about that," She said. "Here, let me turn the light off for you…"
She did, and I went back to sleep. I woke up again when Denise came back into the room, with silent sobs racking her shoulders and crawled back into her bed. She didn't say anything for the rest of the night, and turned her back to me. I turned my back to her, and curled up with the pillow, facing the wall. It took two hours after that, but I finally fell back to sleep.