My Whole Expanse I Cannot See…

I formulate infinity stored deep inside of me…

Dec 9

A pink bracelet

Category: Life

So, last December, right now, I was in the hospital wearing a pink bracelet that said, “elopement.” It’s a little piece of jewelry they give you that means you’re a little off, that you might hurt yourself or run away. I wasn’t going anywhere, but I got a little pink bracelet anyways. I went in and talked about my insomnia, loneliness, all my darkness and suicidal ideations.

I was in a bad way, and I didn’t see a way out. It was my first post-Sara December, we’d been together almost three years, and I just couldn’t cope. I mean, the December before was like a fuckin’ romantic Christmas dramedy, then a year later she was so gone. I was sitting in my room alone, listening to Aimee Mann singing Calling On Mary, sobbing, feeling like no one would love me ever again. I’d have gladly put two vertical slits down both wrists listening to that song. A year before, Sara had her arms around me while we saw Aimee singing it live in concert. A year later, my mom and brother were screaming at each other about putting up Christmas lights, while I was alone listening to sad Christmas music. The contrast was too sharp.

Sara was gone, she wasn’t coming back. I knew she wasn’t coming back, I wasn’t hoping she would. I knew our future was done, I was just terrified that I’d never feel that connection to anyone else again. Six months later, I was still really into blaming myself entirely for the break-up. Yet, I did meet someone just after Sara took a walk, we met absolutely by accident. She saw me on the TAL episode, found my blog, decided to IM me. We talked for two hours that first night, then the next night. We started talking every-day. She turned out to live near me, we started hanging out. We were just supposed to be friends, but we had this connection, like we’d known each other for years. Out of nowhere, I was falling for her. The longer I knew her, the harder I fell. I’d catch certain glances, certain looks from her, but despite the way it felt every single time our eyes met, I couldn’t imagine her falling for me. I had this amazing woman in my life for half a year, and I couldn’t see why she even liked me. We’d hang out talking in my room for hours, she’d leave, and I’d promptly talk myself out of the idea that she could ever have any feelings toward me.

So, by the time December rolled around, all I could do was think about the ghost of Sara, hate myself, and want to die. Which is why I found myself wearing a pink bracelet, hoping a few days of psyche care, care away from everything, would help me sleep again. I told them everything, every dark thought. I showed them all my poems about suicide and death. I built a solid case against my sanity, I really wanted to stay. One of the doctors asked, “Have you ever asked anyone to help you die?” To which I replied, “Of course not. I’m not crazy.” The doctors conferred for a bit and decided I should stay for seventy-two hours of “aggressive treatment.” Now, in this situation you can’t sign up, then change your mind and go home. Once you’re in, you’re in. I wanted it though, I was dumb enough to think checking myself in was a spectacular idea.

I pictured three days of warm blankets, talking to therapists about everything that was dragging me under, lots of rest. The first few hours were really great, I felt almost optimistic. I was listening to Kurt Cobain and Elliot Smith, live blogging and tweeting about the irony of listening to Lithium in a psyche ward. It was great, until it wasn’t. Until I got to experience the aggressive treatment. They pumped me full of anti-psychotic drugs until I couldn’t see straight, let alone type. I didn’t feel real. It felt like I was dead, but conscious. No therapists came to listen to my troubles. I just kept thinking, “Way to go, Michael. You’ve fucked yourself nicely.” I felt stunningly alone, completely isolated. Though, I didn’t want to die anymore, not in some psyche room, not anywhere. I wanted out. I wanted to see that woman again, the one who found me totally by accident. I wanted to talk with her for hours, and tell her things I’d wanted to tell her, but didn’t know how to say.

When a psychologist came to visit on the third day, I told her I was fine, I felt so much better. Sure, I still had problems, but they were outpatient problems. I’d have told her the sky was fucking purple if that’s what she needed to hear. Anything to get out of that place. Anything to get back to my life, my odd, dark, amazing, fucked up life. A life that’s up and down, and still in progress.


10 Comments so far

  1. James Bobik December 10th, 2009 1:18 am

    I rather enjoyed reading this. I would not want to be you but from the writing it seems its good for your inspiration. You are a very good writer. Sara seemed to be right for you. Quite an adventure in the hospital. Mundane, True and Captivating. Ever think about writing a life story from your perspective?

  2. concrete_bubble (kelly) December 10th, 2009 3:56 am

    This made me cry so hard my dogs howled. The mental health system is fucked.

  3. concrete_bubble (kelly) December 10th, 2009 4:18 am

    Don’t worry, it was a good cry 🙂

  4. jimmy December 10th, 2009 4:53 pm

    have u ever checked these folks out?

  5. Steph December 11th, 2009 5:21 pm

    This is so bullshit. Your hospital stay, ANYONE in that state should be wrapped in blankets and encouraged to talk it all out.

    Of course you’d tell them whatever they want to hear by day three. Hell, I’d tell them I was the Easter Bunny.

    But I do believe that you have proven me right. I told you love was waiting for you. You are loveable. Every woman deserves a partner as fabulous as you.

  6. Jez December 13th, 2009 2:52 am

    I spent time in a mental ward when I was 13 after I tried to kill myself. After a week in there, I wanted to kill myself just to get away from them. Nothing about that experience was helpful or “healing” at all. Absolute hell. The mental health profession is seriously fucked.

  7. Kitty December 15th, 2009 1:44 am

    When the love of my life, my little Holstein-cow looking sheepdog, got congestive heart failure, they put him in what the veterinary ICU staff called the “golden bubble” – a cage that had oxygen pumped into it. I think the “golden” just related to the price. Anyway, I come to visit him on the second day and they’ve put a laminated sign by his name reading “Cage Jumper”.

    Because why would he want to stay there anyway?

  8. Deb December 22nd, 2009 12:24 pm

    you’re an amazing writer. Your story was so sad and painful. I hope you know what a gift you have. Thanks for sharing and please keep writing.

  9. Erin December 30th, 2009 9:29 am

    “A life that’s up and down, and still in progress.”

    I think that’s a very beautiful sentence.

  10. Irina January 7th, 2010 10:46 pm

    I have been in the psychiatric ward twice in my life. It’s never as relaxing or warm or comforting as you hope it will be. I think those images are more from films. Reality is they check you ever 15 minutes to see if you’ve attempted to off yourself. They do pump you full of drugs. There is no one-on-one time with a therapist. Someone once told me that they make it unpleasant so that you won’t want to stay long, so that you’ll make the effort to get yourself out. Still, warmth and comfort and therapy, even for just one day, would be nice.