Today marks the anniversary of an experience I never wish to repeat. The earth was in full mode of Spring: beautiful pink blossoms on my tree out back, flowers gorgeously blooming, grass picturesquely green. The beauty seemed to mock the inner storm in which I was caught: I was barely functioning. I lay under the blossoming tree with my son feeling so guilty that I wanted to end my life. It was all I could think about. The dichotomy of my surroundings and what I was thinking and feeling made my heart break all the more. I was barely holding on to life – hanging by a thread.
On the 22nd of April, 2017, my husband and I went to my therapist’s office. It was such a warm, beautiful day. That morning I had packed a bag. I was going to the hospital. It was the last resort: I had been trying for a week to get my head above water but I was drowning. My husband took me after our meeting with my therapist.
I sat in the waiting room of the E.R. with my head on his shoulder. Tears flowed down my face. He sang hymns softly to try to calm me and it brought me a little peace. He left and I curled up on the seat. It took forever to be called back.
I was numb. I was a robot. I did what I was told. The medical professional asked if I had a plan. I calmly and succinctly described it.
Trapped in a bed for nine hours and watched continuously as if I had the means or the energy to follow through with my plan right then and there. It was eerie being watched every moment. I was doubled up in pain: my body was revolting against my neglect and my stomach was agonizingly turning and churning from starvation and stress.
Nine hours. 11pm. I was wheeled through back halls and up an elevator to the top floor. I was beyond broken. The intake process was horrible: traumatizing, violating, humiliating . . . I felt like a criminal. My possessions were combed through. I fought for my most precious things that were a “threat”: my large bible, the bookmark ribbon on my journal. They cut the ribbon. It seemed so ridiculous. Hardly any of my things were returned to me. It was too much to bear. I was crying and shaking and tired and ashamed.
I finally saw my doctor. It was a sad meeting.
I could not fall asleep and was sobbing – overwhelmed by fear and shame.
A week of shame, loneliness and triggers. A week of constant supervision and groups and strangers. A week of aching to see my sons and feeling like such a failure. A week of getting by, following the rules, wanting to get out and looking out the window at the beautiful world and vowing to never think of leaving it again.
At the end of it I came home numb and empty. Nothing around me was familiar. I was moving in slow motion in a world that was going in fast forward. I was in what would feel like home again after some time passed. I was with my precious children. I was eating again. I was alive. I was alive.
Some of you have gone through this: once, twice, three times or more. You have stayed for more than a week. You have felt like a prisoner in your mind, body, spirit, and your surroundings. My heart breaks for you. Often getting help hurts so much. You are not alone.