It is early June 2015. I am almost 34. I have written my note to my husband (which I still have in my crisis keepsake box) and I am leaving my usual acute ward, en route to a city ward. There is someone driving and a nurse passenger escorting me. There are two people in case I try to escape. I am sat in the back of the car, manually locked in. I study the new building that will be my temporary home. The nurses are evidently expecting me as I arrive and give me a warm welcome as though I am a welcome guest in their locked in double bolted accomodation complex. For access to the garden (which has no grass and playground soft bounce surfacing all around, I require one to one supervision. Quite what they expect me to do out there if left unattended I’m not really sure, but I guess other guests have tried dangerous things with risk to health/life, so I follow the nurse out obediently to survey my new prison. The nurse chats to me as though I am giving off the vibes that I want to chat, when in reality I want nothing less than to chat to a psychiatric nurse who I know will feed everything I say straight back to the duty psychiatrist. She asks me why I’m there and why I transferred and how exactly I’m feeling. She is jolly in a way most incongruent with the vibe I’m feeling at that moment in time.
Nobody wants psychiatric hospitalisation. But people who write suicide notes with suicide plans tend to end up in places like this, along with the rest of the forgotton and suffering hidden mentally ill underbelly of society.
It’s always a informal game I’ve played when I’ve been in there…who is the sanest. It’s similar to ‘who wants to be a millionaire’, except the questions are easier and there is no money changing hands.
Anyone who hasn’t compared themselves to the other co-habitants in the psych ward is either not human, or lying.
I looked at them. I looked at me. Who was worse off? I don’t know really. In first glances the bipolar disorder patients in their manic episodes seemed happier than their opposing pole depressed counterparts. But were they? The patients suffering psychosis seemed very entrenched in their delusional belief systems and they tried to convert me to their belief systems during the bizarrest conversations I’ve ever had. Their type of poorly was not my type of poorly. But we were all poorly so I suppose making comparisons was fairly nonsensicle. It didn’t stop me though.
I made my observations and comparisons because I was searching to find someone who was just like me and who felt like me, and over three seperate admissions I never ever did. I always felt my crazy was not their crazy. I was acutely suicidal and in a state of dysregulated emotional chaos, but I was not manic or psychotic. I was also not completely catatonic and shut down and regressed like the other class of patients. Those were the patients that did the classic stereotyped mentally unwell patient behaviours such as shuffling, staring and dribbling mouthfuls of their dinner down their laps.
I didn’t throw things. I didn’t swear and shout. I didn’t bother anyone else on the ward or try and talk to them about why I was there or how I was feeling. I imploded mainly silently, apart from the crying outbursts where I’d summon up the attention of a nurse and ask them to hold me while I crumpled up and shook all over. “I’m having a flashback. Help me”. I’d say. And they dropped their admin and helped. The suicidal conversations I had in the hospital were my most desperate conversations ever. The crying outbursts while I breathlessly hyperventilate my way through full and frank descriptions of how much I wanted to die were my worst moments, not only of my ward admissions, but of my life.
I’m thinking of this tonight, in my French paradise holiday. I’m thinking of when I hid under the covers with a toothbrush charger cable wrapped tightly round my neck. I’m thinking of the time I tried to squeeze my body through the upstairs window because I was so desperate to jump. I’m thinking of the drowning attempt, the two overdoses, the knife blade running along on my throat when the CPN came. I’m thinking of the blade I managed to smuggle into my luggage, and how I tried to climb on top of the wardrobe in the hope I could dangle to my death off.
That is where me head is at.
And this is my suicide song that chills me everytime I hear it and takes me right back to that ward.
This is all me. Damaged. Broken. Thriving. Coping. Struggling. Plain sailing. Drowning. Everything mixed up into one mixed up person who gets tired of the pain but never gives up hope for her future.
I don’t know why I had to write this tonight, but I felt the need, so I did.