On Monday my friend took me to A&E becuase my head had fallen apart, and I was admitted to the psychiatric ward for the third time in 6 months I was discharged today (short stay – woo!) and just got home.
Let me start from the beginning…
A very emotionally difficult event took place on Sunday night, and so I was over the edge on Monday morning. I attempted suicide, but did not/have not told my friends this, but did tell the hospital staff who could see the evidence anyway.
I don’t really remember much of Monday, the other personalities were doing most of the work…I “woke up” mid-afternoon in a cafe with two friends, and feeling damp all over. I’d obviously been outside at some point after the failed suicide attempt. After that failed attempt I’d resigned myself to being so useless I couldn’t even die properly, and so now just wanted to be alone. I felt furious that I wasn’t alone in my house, where I wanted to be, and that now decisions were being made for me about what should happen next. I knew that they were right, but I didn’t want them to be. I just wanted to be on my own but soon realised this request wouldn’t be adhered to.
My friends tried asking me questions but I wouldn’t look at them and responded very little. I didn’t care anymore. I didn’t see the point. I was taken home, and I went into the back room and sat staring out of the window. I could hear low murmurs coming from the other room and chose not to listen. I heard someone’s phone ring and heard my friend talking to them, “she’s just looking out of the window…” ah, that’ll be me then. I closed my eyes briefly and tried to imagine there was music in my head. I just wanted the whole world to disappear and leave me in my silent prison. I felt like I’d just been shot, and I was in that split-second frame in mid air before I crashed to the floor and finally died; I felt in extreme pain, and a lot of fear, but a weightless sensation and the calming relief that the pain would stop soon. I wondered how long this pause would last; when could it all stop finally?
One friend came and spoke to me about safety plans. I knew I was going to end up in a psych ward. I knew it and knew resisting was just prolonging the inevitable. So I put up a very small fight but gave up quickly. Their minds were made up, and they had a lot going on in their own lives, and couldn’t be worrying about me as well. I stared out of the window sadly, I need to be locked up for the sake of everyone else. If I’m locked away then everyone else is better off. That’s how this is. After everything, it’s me that needs to be locked up. I didn’t know how to deal with that feeling, so let it hang in the air for a bit and decided to work on it later.
In the car my friend said “I’m sorry Jade, I don’t want to be taking you here. There’s just not enough of us.” I nodded and stared at out of the window. EEnough of you for what? I thought. I don’t need any of you. I want to be on my own so I can die. That’s all I want. That doesn’t require ANY of you…not unless you’re actually willing to help me die.
Then I realised what she meant. There weren’t enough of them around to make sure I didn’t kill myself. There weren’t enough people to babysit me, so I needed to be passed on to the professional babysitters to make sure my friends had a fighting chance at living their own lives. And just like a baby, it wouldn’t have mattered how much I screamed my protests. And truthfully I couldn’t have let them push themselves over the edge trying to babysit me, even though I didn’t want the babysitting in the first place. If I was honest, I wanted to go to hospital so I didn’t have to feel as guilty. I just didn’t want some doctor to try and make me better. I didn’t want to get better. Everytime I get better, something awful happens and I go back to square one. The road ahead looked dark, with potholes and frightening corners…and was long. I didn’t have the energy to go along it anymore. I was waving my white flag.
I told the staff “I feel like I’m on a life support machine. I’m in a coma and nobody knows I can hear. I can hear everyone planning how to keep me alive, when I’m trying to scream at them… no, please don’t; you have no idea how much pain I’m in and I can’t survive this. Please just turn the machine off.” But nobody can hear my screams. My head echoes with them but they can’t come out of my mouth. I’m in a coma. A psychological coma.
Why did people want me alive? The staff were strangers and my friends already stressed. If I was dead then everyone’s lives would be far easier. I didn’t understand. I wondered, as I have done in the past, whether it was because if I died there would be a court case, and my friends certainly didn’t have the time for that. The staff also had to simply do their job, that’s the only reason they tried keeping me alive. Plus finding a body is pretty frightening. I daydreamed about ways I could die and not leave a body for some poor person to find.
My experience in hospital was quite different to before. I felt a sense of hopelessness when I stepped foot into the ward; like I’d gone back 6 months and the progress in between was now meaningless. I was back where I had been, if not worse. I glanced wearily at the patients, all who seemed quiet. There were no loud personalities this time. The ward felt dead; it was calm but full of depressed people. A calm depression. It unnerved me. I needed someone who wouldn’t ask me questions, wouldn’t push me to talk, and who knew the ward and who was loud enough to make me laugh. I knew just the person; a friend I made whilst on the ward previously. I text her: “hey…guess who’s back in the house of fun?”
Her reply alone made me smile slightly – “oh NICE! How is it? I’ll come in tomorrow with goodies. Yep I bet you’re not eating but I’m bringing ’em anyway! That ward lacks laughter. I’ll bring it! Hang in there!”
She did come the next day and as expected, asked no questions. Instead she talked about her own life, laughing a lot about silly things that made no sense to me, but her laughter was contagious. It struck me how well she looked; tanned, styled hair, manicured nails, lost weight. I looked awful in comparison. I looked pretty crap anyway, but hey… she even said so – “wow, well you look like the walking dead. They already zombified you?”
She bought me some lovely flowers, and some sweets. I put the sweets in the lounge, as she knew I would, and let the other patients devour them. They were gone within an hour.
Other friends visited too, until I decided I just needed some space and requested no visitors. But it was nice when they did visit; calming somehow.
I was, and am, a mess. Last time on the ward I determinedly tried to laugh, and to make other patients laugh. I did things to keep up a routine; drawing, painting, music, TV etc etc. On this admission, I did not. I had no energy to do so, and couldn’t see past the black fog anyhow. I still felt in this strange coma with no control over whether I could die sooner, or keep having to live through the pain of the bullet.
Hours would pass, and all I’d done was sit on a chair and stare at the wall opposite me. Patients and staff would bumble by in front of me, grey blurs against the wall. Everything looks grey. Nothing looks colourful. Colours look grey. I kept hearing people remarking on how beautiful it was outside, and how annoying it was we were trapped inside. I walked very slowly over to the window but was disappointed; it didn’t look lovely to me. It looked grey and miserable. Everything did. I sank back in my seat and stared at the wall. Sometimes, if I was alone, I’d turn the TV on just to make the silence more bearable.
For the first couple of days mealtimes followed the same routine. A member of staff would ask if I wanted food, and I’d shake my head. Sometimes I’d make an effort and say “no, I don’t want to eat” and other times I’d just shake my head. By Thursday I was no longer being asked every mealtime, and would be allowed to sleep through some. One member of staff came in and said “don’t shoot the messenger, but do you want any dinner?” I smiled slightly at his humourous tone, and said “no, thank you.” He frowned and said “I wish you would eat…” I said, “I’ll get something later.” I always got a piece of toast at supper. He nodded thoughtfully and said “I know, but you need something hot, and with more nutrients.”
I said nothing. I stared at him, me still in the seat and him at the door. I felt emotionally drained, in a lot of emotional pain and very sad. I made no attempt to disguise these feelings, but just met his eyes wearily. He sighed and said “okay. Maybe tomorrow.”
It’s not that I’m on a “don’t eat at all” campaign. I know that’s a fairly pointless method of suicide; I’d be hospitalised after collapsing and force-fed through a tube. I just can’t eat a lot, for several reasons. It’s the only tiny glimmer of self-control I have left in a world where I feel in a coma on life-support. I hear the abusers when I eat. I’m scared of my body; scared of womanhood, of what the unknown future has in store. If I don’t eat, it will make my fertility less efficient. If I don’t eat, I’ll be so weak that I’ll die if the abusers get me again. If I don’t eat…people will think “she’s ill and hurting” and they’d be right. If I don’t eat…then the world is blurrier and more daze-like. If I lose weight, I win. But I have something small everyday. So it’s fine.
One of the patients was called Hollie – I met her and came to know her a bit. She found me in hysterics when one of my friends had gone AWOL and I didn’t know what to do. She calmed me down. For some odd reason one of the male patients kept getting us mixed up; despite our stark differences in appearance. She was of medium-build, with very short hair, and tall. I am small, reasonably slim, with medium-lengthed hair. But anyway, everytime I walked through the foyer he’d be there and he’d shout “Hey Hollie! How’s it going?”
I could never respond. I’d think of my own Holly and feel bile in my mouth. I’d turn around and leave him shouting “Hollie…Hollie!?” after me.
The doctor was concerned that me being in hospital had made me feel even more like being on a life-support machine with no agency, and that it wouldn’t make a difference how long I was in here…but the longer I was here would make normal life more difficult. I agreed with him. I certainly felt even more like my agency was gone, like I’d handed it on a plate. I’d given up resisting to people because it had been pointless. I asked him when the machine could be switched off, and he looked at me and gently said “you’re not braindead…” My eyes filled with tears and I said “but I’m in pain. I want to be braindead.” He nodded slowly, sadly somehow. I later said “nobody can hear my screams,” and a patient said to me “they can Jade. Anyone can see how much pain you’re in. But would you turn the machine off if the person stood even the slightest chance of pulling through?”
I couldn’t answer her. I started crying and went to bed.
So here I am. Home. Better? No, but the place isn’t there to make people fully better. It’s to put people into a position where they can test their wings. I feel dazed, still. I am in so much unbearable pain, and still feel stuck on life support…still stuck in the weightless moment after being shot…still wary of my future and still staring into a black fog, and still with a diet of…well. I’m going to be checked in on over the weekend by professionals, but other than that I AM having my own space now. I definitely need it. And a glass of wine and a silly film.
It was weird walking through town. I was aware of being slow, and watching the world bustle past me, without any clue as to what was in my head. Just as I was blind to them. I wondered, “how many ill people do we walk past everyday, and we don’t even know?” It felt like I was disjointed from the world somehow, that if I fell over people would just walk over me as though I didn’t exist. That’s what I felt, like I didn’t exist. Like a ghost.
I am a ghost of myself. That’s who I am at the moment. May this ghost get through the next week…do I want to be alive? No. Do I want to kill myself? No – I haven’t the energy of motivation, or power to do so. I’m stuck in a coma, remember? I’m just stuck, not wanting to live but having no choice…so now I just have to make the most out of being a ghost, or a girl in a coma…