This is the second installment of my Three Days Crazy series. You can read the first installment here.
I stopped crying long enough to notice how hungry I was. I had no idea what time it was, the small rooms didn’t have clocks and my cell phone was locked away, along with my other belongings.
I assumed it was around ten. I normally ate a snack right about now. But here, in the loony bin, they fed us dinner at five and snacks at seven. Suddenly crying wasn’t as important as the empty place in my stomach.
I hated being hungry. It made me feel so weak and human.
I scanned the room, looking for something to distract myself with.
I shuffled around the cold floor, running my hand along the bumpy wall. I found a light switch, flicked it on, and bright fluorescent light flooded the room.
I flicked it back off. Darkness was better than the icy white light.
I ran my hand back along the wall. It found a plastic shape. A hook, probably for a towel. I wrapped by finger around it and pulled down. It collapsed downward under the weight. Of course. I let go and it popped back up. They think of everything……
My brain flickered back to the night before.
“Alright! We’ll need you to pull the strings out of your hoodie, you know….for safety.” the young tech grinned at me, almost as if we were sharing a joke. He was clad in dirty old jeans and black t-shirt. I wondered how he’d gotten a job at a hospital dressed like that.
I rolled my eyes and yanked the grey string from the holes by my neck. When the end finally broke loose, I eyed the strings in my shorts.
The tech looked down, then back up again, embarrassed. “Yeah, they’ll have you take those off upstairs, no worries.”
I gave an annoyed look to my friend and room mate, sitting quietly in the corner. Sitting quietly isn’t something she normally does.
She was the one that brought me to the emergency room. She had been two hours away, eating dinner with her mom, when she heard my shaky voice over the phone, “I think you need to take me to the hospital.”
Her training as a nurse kicked into gear immediately. “Do you have a plan?”
“I’m leaving now.”
My eyes caught on a two lighting fixtures above my bed. I walked through the dim light and inspected their structure. Just two plastic spheres jutting from the wall.
When it was finally time to say my farewells, I hugged her and laughed, “See ya in a few days, I guess?”
She nervously laughed back and promised she’d watch the dog.
Her face looked different now. As if a part of her was shut down, the space behind her eyes that normally glimmered was dark. Even her naturally crooked smile looked strained, and well…..crooked.
She had listened to it all. Every bit of it.
“You say you’ve been having suicidal thoughts, what is the plan you had in mind?” The very matter of fact question came from a doctor so young I wasn’t convinced he could buy cigarettes, let alone talk to me about real problems.
“Well…uh…you know.” God. I really don’t want to say this out loud. I really don’t want my best friend to know how dark and twisty I really am.
“I was planning on using my yoga strap to strangle myself.”
I looked down. God that sounds desperate.
A few days later, when I’d find my yoga strap hidden away in a cabinet, I’d realize how hard that was for my friend to hear.
I flopped down on my bed and smashed my face into the pillow.
Had it really gotten this bad?
Am I the only one who thinks about just disappearing?
It’s not that I wanted to die, I just wanted to…not exist anymore. I didn’t fantasize about the pain, actually the pain was the only part that scared me.
It started off as punishment, for when I’d done something wrong. Dammit Sarah, you really screwed up, you should just kill yourself.
And over time, it became my day dream of choice. It moved past a last-resort option, into a full blown fantasy.
I think the planning calmed me down. Knowing I had options and something I could control was soothing. I would walk through the steps, planning each detail carefully. The time of day, what my note would say, who would find my body, what I would do with my dog, how I would prevent any messes. I was constantly scanning whatever room I was in, analyzing my options for making my escape.
The day I was admitted to the hospital was the day I realized I couldn’t remember why I shouldn’t kill myself.
My stomach growled again. I wrapped my arms around my belly and pressed in, hoping it would confuse my hunger pains.I laid there thinking about that night, how it already felt so far away. Almost humorous. How does a perfectly healthy girl end up admitting herself into the psych ward?
They’d asked me if I’d wanted to admit myself. It felt rather cruel. Giving that option to the person who is obviously not in a position to be making decisions.
Ultimately, I knew I couldn’t put the burden of keeping me alive on my sweet, red-headed friend. Imagining her laying in her bed, wondering if she should go upstairs to see if I was still alive, that just seemed like too much to put on someone I loved.
My arms were falling asleep. I pulled them out from underneath me and fingers caught on my shorts.
The string. They forgot to take the damn string from me.
They had one freaking job and they messed up.
I’d fooled them too. My smiling, my jokes, my totally-sane attitude caused them to let their guard down. I was on suicide watch and they’d essentially left me in a room with a rope.
I pulled on the string until it was free from my shorts.
I wrapped it around my fingers and felt the course nylon.
I took a deep breath in, then out, then tossed the string onto the floor.
If I’m going to blow money on this damn hospital stay, I might as well make it worth it.
And I went to sleep.