May 13: 12 Facts About the Hospital

  1. I am one of the oldest ones there, a situation I am not used to, having skipped eighth grade a long time ago. There is a 10-year-old who keeps shoving a toothbrush down her throat, a 14-year-old who has cuts all down her wrists, a 16-year-old who lost his younger sister to gang violence. At first, this is all I see in them.
  2. It smells like some kind of detergent and months later, I still gasp whenever I smell that particular smell, or when I see a police car driving on the same road as me.
  3. There is no going back. No outside, no open windows. 72 hours. No offense. It’s just the law.
  4. They won’t give me my medication for a day before switching it, so I am mostly crying.
  5. Me and another girl, Emily, are both carrying around Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson.
  6. The peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are small pockets of purple and brown squished in a circle of very dry bread.
  7. After I talk to my mentor, needing to hear the sound of her voice, I cry and cry.
  8. Air hockey is fun, though. These kids are fun to be around.
  9. Sadie still has flashbacks, 4 months later, of Gary bursting out and screaming at a nurse, sending us all into panic attacks. Mandy, the girl with so many cuts, still has nightmares. And I panic over hearing the song “Timmy Turner,” and people taking my blood pressure, because they wake us up early every morning to check vitals and make sure we’re all still alive.
  10. I have never felt so powerless.
  11. On Annie’s last day, she sings Scars to Your Beautiful. Everyone smiles and we want to hug her, but touching is not allowed. Annie has a beautiful, strong voice. When the rec leader tries to sing the song, we laugh at her.
  12. All these names have been changed.
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