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Inside the Mind of Someone on Their Way to the Psych Hospital

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Things have gotten bad again.

My command hallucinations are out of control, and I’m finding it extremely difficult not to listen to them. I want to kill myself. This morning I woke up next to my partner, knowing he has a busy day at school ahead of him. I know he’s been worried about me, but it’s been hard to communicate with him. I don’t know how to explain what I’m experiencing or feeling. Do I even know what I’m feeling? I’m lying in bed trying to sort this out for myself, and he wakes up. He rolls over to kiss me before pulling himself out of bed to start getting ready for his day. He’s getting dressed, I’m watching his tired, slow movement as he leaves the bedroom to go make coffee. After what feels like forever, but in reality has probably been less than an hour, my partner is ready to head out the door. Before he leaves, he comes to my bedside and breaks the silence we had fallen into this morning. He asks me the dreaded question, “Is it safe for me to leave you home alone all day?” I stare at him silently, feeling empty. I answer honestly, “I don’t know… I don’t think so.”

With this response, we both know what has to happen next. I crawl out of bed and begin packing a bag. What do I bring? I’ve done this before, but my mind is distracted. I make a mental list: Leggings, t-shirts, soft socks, underwear, a hoodie without a drawstring, a book which is soft-cover of course. I’ll make a list of phone numbers because my cell phone will surely be confiscated. I’m moving slowly, aware that my partner has a schedule to keep, but he doesn’t rush me. I accept that my packed bag is the best I’ll be able to do, so I put on my shoes and say goodbye to my cat, then we head out the door.

We get into the car and plug the emergency room address into Google Maps as we sit quietly. We start to drive, not speaking at first, and then trying to talk through what will happen next. The conversation is difficult for me because I’m distracted by the voices and my thoughts. I force myself to speak as much as I can, and we remind each other this is what needs to happen, we’re just following my safety plan.

I wonder what my partner is thinking, and I feel the urge to punish myself for wasting so much of his day. He looks over and faintly smiles at me, and I remind myself he loves me and always does what he can to support me. Still, thoughts are racing through my disorganized head. What will happen when I get there and how long will I have to wait to be seen? I hope the nurses and doctors are nice, I’ll probably cry when I talk to them, and I’m worried I won’t be able to articulate what I’m feeling.

The drive is coming to an end as we pull into the emergency room parking lot. I start to panic, my anxiety has been building up inside of me for the whole car ride. My partner notices and reaches for my hand, and we sit there in the parking lot for a few minutes. It’s time to get out of the car, and we’re still quiet the way we have been for most of the morning. As we walk to the front doors, I feel dizzy thinking about how the short walk from the car seemed so long yet too quick. We stand in front of the loud automatic sliding doors embraced in a hug, my partner assuring me this is the right decision; I’m not so sure.

We finally walk through the doors, and I’m guided to a kiosk to check myself in. I look at it with a blank face, confused about the process for a minute before I get started filling out my personal information. When asked about my reason for being here, I’m given a list of options ranging from runny nose to chest pain. I select the depression and/or anxiety button because it seems like the closest fit for what I’m dealing with.

Now it’s time to wait.

Getty image by Antonio_Diaz

Originally published: January 23, 2022
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