About ten years ago, during college, I was hospitalized after many months of deep depression turned into suicidal thoughts. After years of trying to put it into words, I think I finally nailed it. This is what my experience on the psych ward was like, when I look back on it today:
It’s the way I jumped when the doors buzzed shut,
And the macaroni and cheese I couldn’t swallow because I was crying too hard.
It’s the prick of the needle that drew my blood at the crack of dawn,
The one tiny towel allowed for the shower.
It’s the roommate whose head hung so low that she almost fell over,
And the crossword puzzle I helped her finish.
It’s the man who ran back and forth down the hall, talking to the voices in his head,
And the woman whose guilt over the suicide of her boyfriend was eating her alive.
It’s the box full of “calming” things I covered with inspirational quotes from magazines,
The tiny un-stuffed bear I filled with lavender and beans.
It’s the woman covered in cuts and scars,
And the episode of Law & Order that played in the common room.
It’s the girl who tried to kill herself because her daughter died,
And her dismay at finding out that she had not succeeded.
It’s the phone call I made, struggling to remember my best friend’s number,
And the voice of her roommate answering the call.
It’s the silly games they made us play during group therapy,
And the therapist who tried to pin it all on my cheating boyfriend.
It’s the pills, which I had never had to take before,
And the misdiagnosis, which would last for many years.
It’s not getting any fresh air for two weeks straight,
And the phone call I made when I got out
To my roommate, who would not be leaving anytime soon.