It’s funny how things change so quickly–feelings, perceptions, stories, memories, dreams, beliefs. My world keeps shifting. There are things I can’t undo, unsay, unbreak. I am only here. This scares me. That there are scars that will always be there even as I get better and move on.
In that moment, no one could tell how fast I was falling. By the end of the meeting, I found myself battling three choices. I could go home and cry and cry, talk to a suicide hotline, write notes, and let the hurt fall asleep with me. I could walk or drive myself to the hospital, or call an ambulance. Or I could go to the pharmacy and buy some strange assortment of pills. It would be quick.
Three things, I mean. I could tell someone.
1, 2, 3. 123123123123. There were things I could never undo. I couldn’t redo my childhood and be happy this time around. 1, 2, 3, 4. I needed an out.
I walked to a bench on campus. I looked up ways to kill myself. The hotline popped up, but I had talked to them so many times before. I watched girls walk around campus in groups, laughing. I thought of texting Amy, but I don’t know her all that well.
“Are we still meeting up tomorrow morning?” I texted my mentor. “Can’t wait :),” she responded. “Did you say there’s parking in the back?”
“I don’t know if I can make it,” I wrote back. “I’m having some problems.”
I finally called 911. A couple of officers drove up, and an RA. They asked me questions and joked about paramedics as we waited for the ambulance, even though, realizing the seriousness of it all, I had told them nevermind. When I called my mom, she thought I was joking at first.
In the ambulance, I tried to focus on crafting a final message to my mentor as the paramedic checked my vitals and asked me whether I was allergic to any medications.
“I’ve been having MH problems–a lot since November–and had to call 911. But I’m okay. Everything’s fine.”
They took me to the hospital, where sick and homeless people who had been left in the cold were everywhere. The RA, whom I had just met and who quickly became my legal guardian, sat with me as another person took my blood pressure.
Then they guided me to the psych ward. They took my clothes and even broke into the bathroom when I took too long changing and peeing into a cup. They put me in a small, windowless, bare blue-walled room. They forgot to feed me at first. It felt like hours passed before I saw a psychiatrist. I heard screaming.
When the psychiatrist came, it was nice to be with another human being again. I told her everything. She said everyday situations shouldn’t trigger me so much, but that it could get better.
I got to see my mom at about midnight. The normalcy of our conversation felt unreal.
After they separated us, I slept a little amidst the noise and loneliness and confusion. A doctor woke me up in the middle of the night to listen to my heartbeat. She was pretty and her touch felt warm, but I was too tired to form words.
The paramedics who drove me to the ward in the morning hadn’t slept in 24 hours. When we made it, the man doing intake asked me questions but barely met my eyes. I waited and waited for my mom to come, but she never came. On the elevator, it hit me that I was giving up all my autonomy. I could not leave no matter how much I begged.
The kids were so young. A woman took everything from me, even my necklace, while I begged her to let me out and told her that I promised not to kill myself. She explained what the law requires: 72 hours for a 1016. Not including weekends.
I stripped so they could examine my skin for cuts, too much in shock from it all to care.