A Love Letter to Myself for When I Need to Go to a Psychiatric Hospital
This is an not-fun truth to all these mostly funny anecdotes: Sometimes, you are going to have to bite the bullet and go to the fucking hospital. This is not a fun chapter, it will never be a fun chapter, and you know what? It doesn’t fucking have to be. Yes. I am a little angry about the hospital because honestly, it’s my least favorite place. However, it does its job. Sad fact but it’s true, folks. I do not agree with our current approach to mental health but it has saved my life four times and I would do it again in a heartbeat. So, let me start this a little different. I’m gunna make this a love letter to myself:
I have been watching you (no stalker, I swear) for a little bit now, and I feel like it’s important that we talk.
I want to start off with something easy, something finite. You are so very loved and appreciated. I know you don’t believe me. You have a hard time believing anything good right now. That’s OK. I am patient and I will wait until you can hear me loud and clear again. In the meantime, it is important for me to say it. Well … write it, I guess. You have so much going for you, woman. You have a beautiful support system, and your disability is keeping you afloat. You
have tons of animals waiting to love you at any second. You write.You art. You game. You have interests. They are still there and they love you too. You can’t tell me you don’t look at Carrie’s butt painting and not know that that thing loves you. Same with your weird esoteric drawing: “As Above So Below.” You know the one I’m talking about! We have so many good times, you and I. Sometimes they are hard and sometimes they are easy and every moment is spent knowing without a doubt that I love you.
So then why, my dearest love, have you let yourself get this far? It’s been days. First, you lost your basic motivation. We haven’t done the dishes or cleaned the kitchen in days. I don’t care that it’s dirty but I know you do. I know it is eating you up inside. Your motivation has been stolen. Then came something harder — the anhedonia. You were relying on those few things you love to do, so why did they stop bringing you joy? Or what about those hallucinations? They have been getting worse and worse. They make you fearful. I’ve watched you go from watching TV to being fixated on the spot you thought you saw it. “It was there, right?” you think to yourself, eyes wide. “I’m not ‘crazy’ … it was there.” Then, it got worse. You feel nothing. It’s like watching paint dry, but things are going on around you and nothing stops but you don’t feel any of it. No joy. No fear. No anger. You feel nothing.
That was when it happened. You thought for one second that you might be better off dead. Your brain has one job: To keep you alive. Mountain climbers in the snow-driven hills will saw through their own arms in an attempt to survive, but your brain is telling you that you might want to die. I watched it happen. I watched you think about hurting yourself. I watched you think about all the ways you could do it.
It’s time, Katie. It’s been days that you have suffered through this. You keep telling yourself you don’t want to go back. “Please don’t make me go back,” but the only reason anyone wants you to go is so you don’t go forever. They want you to stay — I want you to stay. I know you are having trouble believing me. You feel like a burden but you aren’t. I want you to stay, Katie. I want you to live and not be hurt.
So I am asking you kindly, now, to go to the hospital. I want you to go to the hospital because I love you and want you to stay. No, it isn’t easy, but the moment you get placed in a facility, they will give you everything you need to get better. The meds will change. You will get more sleep. Your food will be healthy and cooked for you. The only thing you will have to focus on is you and getting better. That’s what I want for you. I want you to get better not because I’m telling you to, but because you deserve it.
Please go to the hospital if you feel like you can do impossible things, if you feel like you want to hurt yourself, if you can’t stand the paranoia and unsafeness any more. If you want to die, go to the hospital. You are worth more than this.
Please take care of yourself.
Photo by Lucas Mendes on Unsplash