I lay there; alone on the stretcher in the hallway of the ER.
No recollection of how I got there.
My body aches, my head is pounding.
How did I get here?
The fluorescent lights above beaming directly in my eyes.
I can move my neck – I look to the left, to the right.
I see no one that I recognize.
I’m alone besides the doctors and nurses rushing past – the hustle and bustle that is the ER.
I hear a familiar voice, and look up to see his worried face.
The Ex (who was not The Ex at the time) comes rushing to my side.
As if I have no control over myself, my body, or my emotions – the tears begin to fall, both on my face – and his.
Sitting by my side cradling my tiny hand in his enormous hand, he wipes the tears from my cheek.
Staring at me, he just kept asking me, “Why?”
Over, and over, and over.
It was more that he was pleading with me to open up, to finally open up – than it was he questioning me.
Finally I looked at him, and said, “I just don’t want to live anymore.”
The pain and sadness in his face is a look I will never forget.
I couldn’t deal with the fact that I was inflicting this much pain on someone I loved.
I turned away, crying to myself.
Eventually the doctors and nurses moved me into a small room.
So small that literally only two or three people would fit around my bed.
Just like in the movies – the walls were padded and the room made me feel even more claustrophobic than I already felt.
My wrists being restrained probably didn’t help either.
The doctors would come and go, talking more to The Ex than me – because I was in no shape or form to make my own decisions.
I didn’t care what happened.
“They’re putting you on a Form 1,” The Ex said sitting by my side.
The Ex told the doctors that I was depressed.
He told them that my car accident wasn’t really an accident and it was me attempting to take my life.
That I had drove myself into that pole hoping the pain would finally stop.
“Everyone just wants to help you feel better,” he said, attempting to sound reassuring but I could hear the fear in his voice.
Again I just stared.
I stared at the padded walls, at the even brighter fluorescent lights above my head.
I stared at the restraints around my wrists.
I stared at the security guard who was positioned outside my door…as if I could run away when I couldn’t even lift my own arms.
But – apparently I had to be guarded.
I didn’t even acknowledge what he was saying.
I didn’t care.
I didn’t care about anything anymore.
A Form 1 meant they were holding me for up to 72 hours.
I was not legally allowed to leave.
Apparently, this was common practice after a suicide attempt.
Now the guard outside my door made a little more sense.
“I’m just so sad,” I whispered. “I can’t do this anymore. I don’t want to.”
Family came and I could see the fear in their eyes.
No one expected this.
No one knew what was going on.
Everyone was so confused as to why I didn’t mention anything before.
Why hadn’t I told them what I was going through?
How could I be expected to explain what I was feeling – when I didn’t even understand it myself?
Moving from my padded room – thankfully the restraints were removed – I was put in a semi-private room with a young lady who was adamant that she was being followed.
She screamed all day and night.
She screamed at the walls, the curtains, the nurses, the windows, the other patients, the people she believed she saw but were not actually there – but never me.
I wondered why.
Could she sense that I was already broken enough, that she didn’t need to break me further?
Eventually – her incessant screaming got to be too much for those around us and they moved her.
I’d see her again, eventually – but not over the next 60 hours.
The doctors and nurses would come and check on me periodically over the next couple of days.
I’d be asked how I was feeling and no matter what I said – they would force me to take different medications.
Those first 72 hours were mostly spent crying and staring at the walls.
I’d lose myself in my thoughts as I followed the cracks with my eyes for hours on end.
No phone, no TV – no distractions.
I had attempted to take my life, and now I was forced to sit there alone with my thoughts for 72 hours.
My eyes were swollen from the endless crying.
My entire body wouldn’t stop shaking.
I felt utterly alone.
That was a common feeling in my life.
I felt stripped…stripped of my dignity, my pride, my everything.
Alone with my thoughts I missed my old roommate.
I missed her irrational yelling.
Her raised voice filling my ears was so much better than being alone with the thoughts that were running through my mind.
Eventually, the 72 hours came to an end and the doctors came to my room.
“Jennifer – you are not ready to leave. You are not healthy enough, mentally and emotionally, to leave. We’re suggesting you stay in the psychiatric ward and get some much needed help.”
The Ex pleaded with me to stay, my family pleaded with me to stay – they wanted me to get this help that was being offered.
Every ounce of my being said run.
Run away as far away as possible.
That was my go-to, my escape.
Run from my problems.
Run from the pain.
When things got tough – I ran.
But where had that gotten me?
It got me to here.
Eventually – I agreed to accept the help.
“I’ll stay,” I whispered, staring at the cracks in the wall, hoping that The Ex and the doctors couldn’t hear the overwhelming fear in my crackling voice.