In Which I Am Very Bored at a Psych Ward

I’ve always prided myself in being open about my mental illness,  so I’m here to talk about the past three weeks of my life. On Nov 4th I voluntarily checked myself into the local hospital for suicidal thoughts. That’s what it said on the paperwork at least. It’s such an odd thing to say, as it implies that this was the only time in my life I had them. I’ve been suffering from massive depression since I was 11 years old and having thoughts like “I’m a horrible person and I don’t deserve to live” is a bit old hat. I have attempted suicide in the past (which I am not ready to talk about, but needless to say it didn’t stick) so none of this is new to me.

Depressive thoughts (like I’m horrible, I’m a fuck-up, I don’t deserve friends, I don’t deserve to be loved, etc) have been the constant background noise of my life. Most days I can drown it out. Sometimes I can go months without them interrupting my thoughts. But they’re always there, a constant ticking-clock right on the edge of my hearing. Most of my adult life has been spent finding ways to turn the noise off or at least turn it down. On Nov 4th the noise became loud enough to drown everything else out. I couldn’t hear anything else but the long droning list of personal failures of the past six months. I had lost my job, had a negative bank account, way overdue bills, my friend’s cat had gotten into my meds and I was overwhelmed with guilt (kitty is okay, but it was touch-and-go, i still feel horrible) and I was crippled with self-hate over my inability to do anything right. So I pulled into a random McD’s parking lot and began writing out all of my passwords, important account information, who to contact and where, everything anyone would need to help clean up my mess. It wasn’t until I took a picture and sent them over to my friend did I realize I had written a suicide note.

When the thought “I will kill myself” first popped up in my head years ago it never went away. Like the depression it always stuck around no matter how well my life was going. I always likened it to unlocking a special conversation topic in a video game. You know, like your charisma stat is high enough that you can talk the palace guard into letting you in, or your intelligence/wisdom stats are so low most of the dialog options are greyed out so all you can do is say ME HIT YOU NOW before attacking said palace guard. For me, once the desire to kill myself was rooted within me the dialog option popped up every time something bad happened. Take these examples:

  1. Oh no! You burned dinner! What do you do?
    1. Throw it out and order pizza
    2. Eat it anyway
    3. Eat nothing
    4. Kill yourself since you can’t do something as simple as cook dinner without fucking up
  2. Bad day at work. How do you vent?
    1. Have a drink
    2. Scream in car
    3. Ruin everyone’s day in Overwatch by just playing Bastion
    4. Kill yourself because there’s so many people who can handle jobs, you must be a real fuck-up piece of shit for not being able to handle a job, you don’t deserve to live.
  3. It’s 3am and you can’t fall asleep! What do you do?
    1. Lay in bed and stare at the ceiling
    2. Play video games until you pass out
    3. Go online and yell at your friends for also being awake so late
    4. Be unable to do anything but cry because the voice shouting Kill Yourself is so loud its drowning out absolutely everything else.

And so on and so on.

So when I found myself in my car with nothing but every inch of my brain screaming at me that I should die my options suddenly all became “kill yourself”. It was physically impossible for me to remember all the reasons why I should live. My family, my friends, my fans, my stories,  everything I ever wanted to do was just *gone*. That’s why people commit suicide. It’s not because the bad outweighed the good, it’s because the good wasn’t there anymore. The only reason because I’m alive and breathing right now is because my therapist gave me a card to a Crisis Hotline, which opened up a second option.

I called. They sent a man over to talk me about what was happening. He convinced me to follow him in my car to the local hospital and gave me instructions on what exactly to say to the nurses to let them know I needed help. And I did. I sent a message to my friend letting them know where I was, walked in, said I wanted to kill myself and I didn’t trust myself to not go through with it. Not even ten minutes later I was in a small room with nothing but a bed, a TV, and a nurse right outside my door to make sure I didn’t try to hurt myself. I was safe. I was safe from myself.

I spent somewhere around 4 hours in there and all I remember is:

  • I drank around 6-8 glasses of water because I kept crying myself to the point of severe dehydration
  • My friend showed up, rubbed my back, thanked me for being alive, I apologized for my car being a mess
  • Someone was watching a Star Wars moving in another room but it was just distant enough all I could hear was the soundtrack and I could not for the life of me figure out which movie it was
  • I kept getting told “you’ll know the South Campus Counselor when you see him” and low and behold a 7 foot man with a HUGE red beard and hair everywhere showed up to give me a blanket and take me to South Campus, aka the psych ward, where I would stay for the next two weeks.

First important note about the Psych Ward: They’re boring. More boring than you can possibly imagine. Remember being a kid stuck in a doctor’s waiting room with nothing but old highlights and that one wood bead puzzle all waiting rooms are required to have? That level of boring.

Second important note: Everyone there is surprisingly laid back considering all the other patients were also there for not only suicidal thoughts but drug abuse, alcohol detoxing, walking up and down the street because their girlfriend dumped them, and the one guy who was getting weened off heroin and spent most of his time singing Insane Clown Posse songs. Just people down on their luck looking for help to get back on the right path. And, this is very important, who are also very very VERY bored.

(I am happy to say that we did in fact have one white guy in his mid-20s who claimed that he was the only sane one there. Just like in the movies!)

Have I mentioned it was super boring? Good God, the psych ward was super boring. I get it, like, you’re supposed to be taking that time to work on bettering yourself/talking to a social worker/getting your meds adjusted/detoxing/figuring out what to do next but all of that takes about 4 hours a day, max. And that’s only if the doctors or social workers were around that day! My days there were very important but MAN I missed my Nintendo Switch so much. Here’s what my average day was:

6am: Meds, go back to sleep

8am: Breakfast, sit in day room coloring with other crazy peope

10am: SNACK TIME, sit in day room watching daytime tv holy shit sitcoms are so bad

Noon: Meds, Doctor/Social worker shows up, talks to you for like five minutes, leaves you to the bad sitcoms

1pm: LUNCH, back to coloring

3pm: SNACK TIME, sometimes a group therapy session. By my last day there the consular let me do part if his speech because I had it memorized. After that back to coloring.

5pm: DINNER, by now there’s probably a ghost or bigfoot hunting reality show on.

8pm: Meds, SNACK TIME, maybe work on a puzzle to change things up.

9pm: lay down in bed and hope sleep comes sooner than later.

11pm: Go bug the nurses for a sleeping pill why are you shocked I am here EVERY NIGHT just let me have my sleepy-pill and go dream about some weird shit for a bit.

Every day for fourteen days.

I do deeply appreciate the help I gotten from everyone there, and them doing everything they could to help me get my life together. But if I see another coloring page or a puzzle of a bird I’m going to try out that running up and down the street naked thing. Ooo, maybe I could get into a padded cell this time! Just like in the movies!

So after all of that where does that leave me? Answer: Homeless, jobless, juggling a new set of medications and trying to figure out how to put my life back together. I’m currently going to a day program called Safe Harbor that not only is helping me find housing/employment, but also gives me a place to wash my clothes, take a shower, and get a hot meal once a day. My depression is still as loud as always, but at least I have new weapons (well, meds) to help drown them out as I work on my life. I am also very, very thankful for my friends, family and fans for being there for me and making my struggle a bit easier. For example. with everyone’s help I am now staying at an airbnb through December instead of a homeless shelter.

I’m not really sure how to wrap this all up. I’m alive, I’m doing better, but I know I’ll have bad days. I’ll always have bad days. But now I have the resources to get through them. And hey, at least this is great research for my second book, right?

huuuuuuuugg

Also: If you want to help me get through the winter please consider donating to my Ko-fi and if you haven’t please please PLEASE download and read my short story The Midwife and the Lindworm and leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads! I need at least 50 reviews to get noticed by Amazon and their unforgiving algorithms and hopefully get more of my writing out there.

 

 

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