“Do you think you need to be admitted?” My psychiatrist asks, looking at me very seriously.
“Yes.” My reply is fast.
Faster than I had time to think of the repercussions of my words.
Things were bad, but were they admission bad? A few thoughts about tossing myself off of my 6th floor balcony made things bad, right? I mean, non-mentally ill people don’t have those thoughts. I don’t even know why I have them. For all intents and purposes I have a happy life and I wish I could just rise above it all, but I can’t. I’m drowning in the depression that up until 3 days ago I didn’t even want to admit that I had. So I agreed to once again be locked up because I could no longer trust myself.
But now that I’m here I regret my decision. Unlike on TV there is nothing glamorous or relaxing about the psych ward. There is no nurse played by Whoopi Goldberg offering you tough but sage advice about getting better. There are no arts and crafts. No group therapy. There is nothing but meals to punctuate the long hours of the day. To be honest, I’m mostly ignored. The only time you get any attention is if you’re a problem. I mostly bide my time by keeping to myself and wondering what I did in a past life to deserve this broken brain that I’ve been handed.
I try and I try to get better but it seems like every time I take a step forward I’m falling 10 steps behind. It feels like I’m forever mired in the gunk that clogs up my neurotransmitters and makes me the way I am.
My psychiatrist sent me directly to the psychiatric ER at the mental health hospital. My legs shook as a security guard rifled through my bag and waved his metal detector over me. I had to even give my scarf to my husband to put in the car. I guess because I could hang myself with it? Or maybe someone else could hang themselves? Whatever the reason, my shit was confiscated and that thing that I use to hide myself with was taken leaving me feeling naked and vulnerable.
I approached the admission window handed over my health card and said, “My doctor told me to come here for admission.”
“I receive nothing,” the nurse’s reply was curt in her broken English. She rifled through some papers to make it appear as though she cared. I didn’t have the energy to speak let alone argue with her, so I let my husband take over as I just stared at the wall. The incompetence of the mental health system always baffles me. People come to the ER in crisis and are met with questions about paperwork, health cards, and catchment areas. Like, I have this broken brain can’t you just fix me up without giving me the third degree? But they’re doing their job, so whatever. There was some confusion over fax numbers and the documents that my psychiatrist sent over were inadequate.
I was then ushered into the ER and left to wait, and wait, and wait. I waited 3 hours without anyone acknowledging my existence. As I waited, the realization that I was being admitted (again) were slowly starting to sink in. Maybe this wasn’t the best idea. Maybe I had made a mistake. Maybe things weren’t as bad as they seemed. Maybe if I kept trying harder, kept pushing through then maybe I wouldn’t have to be in here with people much sicker than myself. People who saw things, heard things, had no concept of time or where they were. People who are so overly medicated that their heads bob up and down like they’re on a boat. Their shuffling feet echoing down the hallway as they try and walk off the side effects of the drugs that they’re on.
These are the people who belong inside. Not me. Not the sad girl with the fleeting thoughts of flinging herself off of her balcony. And that’s not to say that I’m better than the others because I’m not. I simply mean that their conditions are worse than mine. My depression is taking up space for someone else who could really use a bed.
I’m just really depressed. I don’t belong inside just because of that. But apparently I do. And I had agreed to it. That was the worst part of it all. So many people are court mandated into treatment facilities because of their behaviour and here I am, signing away my own freedom like it was no big deal.