Amanda Rosenberg

@amanda-rosenberg | contributor
Writer. http://amandarosenberg.org

5150: My Experience Being Hospitalized After a Suicide Attempt

I didn’t know what “crazy” looked like until right now. I’m watching myself have a nervous breakdown, half-naked, in front of a mix of friends and strangers. This isn’t good. I’m crying and writhing around on a bed. I’m screaming and hitting myself. My fists are balled up, white with fury. I’m holding onto pills, lots of pills. This isn’t good. People I know and don’t know try to calm me down. I don’t listen. I just grip the pills and continue to scream and cry. I look different. I look wild. I look like a Jack that’s just popped out of its Box. A voice says the ambulance is coming. This isn’t good. I wake up in the hospital. I’m tired. My brain is sizzling and my throat is splintered. I am happy. I am laughing. My best friend is here. She looks perturbed. I look at her, relieved, like “Well, I’m glad that’s over!” It’s not. She leaves and I’m left wondering why I’m here. I close my eyes. I wake up in a small, cream-colored room. I’m sat at a table opposite two women. They are stern, wearing navy blazers, and asking me why I tried to kill myself. I’m confused. I wasn’t trying to kill myself. I was trying to make it stop. They question me for an hour. I tell them I can’t answer any more right now. I’m tired and not able to think straight. They stop and diagnose me with borderline personality disorder. I’m taken to another room. It has a bed and a small desk. A stocky, black lady called Angela tells me to remove my clothes. I’m still confused. “Why?” “You have to shower.” “I have to go home.” “You’re on a 5150 hold. You have to stay here for the next three days.” “I’m not staying here. This is a fucking nut house and I’m not fucking crazy!” “How about you shower first and we’ll talk after?” “I’ll shower first, then I’m going home.” I wait for her to give me some privacy. She doesn’t. She leads me to the shower. It’s more of a wet room. The walls are lined with small, dark blue tiles. There’s no curtain. There’s nothing but a faucet. Angela stands in the corner of the room. I turn on the faucet and let the lukewarm water run over me. I stare at Angela. “This is ridiculous.” She says nothing then hands me a small bar of soap. I half-heartedly rub the soap over the tops of my arms and nothing else. I will not wash my genitals in front of a stranger. I turn off the water. Angela hands me a towel. I dry off and we return to my room. There’s a hospital gown on my bed. This is what I wear now. This is my uniform. I put it on and begin to cry. Crying turns into screaming. I want out. I’m not crazy. I’m normal and I want to go home. A short, white lady with red hair comes into the room. She tells me her name is Nina and hands me two pills. Ativan. I swallow the pills and continue to cry. Nina leaves, and I turn to Angela. “Where am I? Why am I here?” “You’re in a psych ward. You’re on an involuntary psychiatric hold because you’ve been deemed a danger to yourself on account of you attempting suicide. ” “I wasn’t trying to kill myself! I don’t know what I was trying to do. My brain was melting out of my fucking ears. I was trying to save myself. ” I cry harder. After a few minutes, the Ativan takes hold. My tears come to an abrupt stop. I don’t know what time it is, but it’s dark now. The only light is the light coming from the hallway that shines through my always-open door. Angela is reading a trashy magazine. I stare at her. I study her face. She must be in her early 40s. She looks like she’s seen some shit. “So what, you just going to watch me sleep?” “Yes.” “This is what you’re going to do for three days?” “No, someone else will take over from me in the morning.” I realize I don’t know what day it is. Angela goes back to reading her magazine and, in that moment, I hate her. I hate her for no reason other than she’s the only one here and I’ve maxed out on hating myself. I glare at her as she turns the pages of her gossip rag. Who does she think she is? Keeping watch over me? I lie down on the bed and turn to face the wall away from her. My body is heavy with fatigue. I feel myself sinking but my mind is fighting the Ativan and wins. A deluge of anxiety and despair hits me. I hear the frantic wails of other patients. My throat tightens. I can only hear static, static from hundreds of televisions at top volume. I scream a silent scream. My mind collapses on itself. I go to throw myself on the floor but Angela catches me. She’s on the bed. She’s holding me. “Get off me!” She holds me. “GET OFF ME!” She holds me. “GET YOUR FUCKING HANDS OFF ME!” She holds me. Everything is so loud. The static. The screams. My skull feels as if it’s about to explode and just like that, it stops. Silence. Angela is still holding me and I hold her back. I’m exhausted. I feel my body slipping away from me. I cling to Angela for dear life. There’s a rush of hands on me now. They’re pushing me down and giving me Ativan. I scramble to get back to Angela but there are too many hands, and the pills are taking hold. My vision blurs. I flail my arms one last time, but I’ve lost her. You can follow Amanda Rosenberg on Twitter @AmandaRosenberg . We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here. Image via Thinkstock.

If There Were Olympics for Depression: the 2016 Depression Olympics

Commentator 1: Welcome back to the 2016 Depression Olympics, where you’re joining us live at the Women’s “Getting Out Of Bed” Final. Commentator 2: And what a final we have for you today. We have some strong contenders from the U.S., U.K., South Korea and Hungary, all vying for that sweet Depression Gold. We heard just this morning that the Swedish team has been banned from the competition after testing positive for feeling positive. A real shame. Commentator 1 : It really is. But now, all eyes are on Team Great Britain’s surprise choice, Amanda Rosenberg. Commentator 2: That’s right, after a successful run at London’s 2012 “I’m Fine” Tournament, Rosenberg failed to qualify at the World Anxiety Championships last year. She placed sixth in “Crying at Work,” fifth in “Crying Everywhere Else,” and eighth in “Sitting Alone in the Dark While Thinking of the Worst Things.” Arguably, her strongest event. Commentator 1 : Let’s hope she’s up to the challenge when we return after these messages. [commercials for six hours] Commentator 1 : And we’re back. This is it. Amanda Rosenberg for Team Great Britain. Commentator 2: She’s starting with the classic Head Under the Covers. There’s a little bit of movement, so there’ll be a deduction for that. Really breaks the illusion of death, and that’s what the judges are going for. Commentator 1 : Here’s the first peep… looks around… and a smooth transition back under the covers. Nicely done. Commentator 2: And now for the “No’s!” The trick is to start by saying them quietly then build to a crescendo. Here’s the first “No!” soft…distressed…nice…a little harsher…good…and now we’re getting to the last “No!” loud and with a cry at the end. So pained. Magnificent. This is text. book. crying. Commentator 1 : And she goes straight into Stare at the Ceiling and Contemplate Death. This move requires maximum concentration and sadness…and…and it looks like….. yes! She’s clearly numb and wants to die! A real pro. Commentator 2: It’s like watching her back in 2008 where she stormed it at the Beijing Bipolars. Commentator 1 : Next up, the Stay Here for Three More Hours. It’s important that we see some self-loathing here. Commentator 2: It ain’t great if you don’t hate, ain’t that right? Commentator 1 : Yes it ain’t. [three hours pass] Commentator 1 : OK. Preparing for her final dismount… a triple twist and turn in the sheets, she launches herself. Commentator 2: And yes! Rolled onto the floor face first… absolutely stuck that landing. She has got the be happy with that. And by happy, I mean distraught. Commentator 1 : Watch out, South Korea! Rosenberg is back and more depressed than ever. Commentator 2: She got an impressive amount of  air in that dismount despite gaining 30 pounds from Abilify. Commentator 1 : There is very little to critique in this routine. It had everything you could want — darkness, misery, with just a touch of existential dread. Flawless, absolutely flawless. Commentator 2 : And I think the judges agree with you there… 9000 points! That puts her at the top! Commentator 3: Amanda. A stunning routine and 9000 points. How do you feel? Amanda Rosenberg: I’m fine. Commentator 3: What a pro!

Bipolar Disorder: Ridiculous Lies Mania Tells You

I was watching a documentary about the effects of crystal meth. One of the people with the addiction described how she (on a meth high) spent three days, non-stop, cleaning her entire house. When her high subsided, she realized she’d only spent a couple of hours cleaning a single smudge on a table. Sadly, this is the best way I can describe my mania. It can make me feel productive, and confident, and goddamn invincible. But when the episode is over, I’m left with nothing. Everything I thought I’d been achieving is bullshit. It’s frustrating. You spend so much time and energy on all these things and then what, have nothing to show for it? Nothing. It’s like running a marathon in one spot. My mania lies to me. It convinces me to do nonsensical and potentially dangerous things without thinking about the consequences. Mania is like a drunk best friend…who’s trying to kill you. I have type 2 bipolar and here are some of the lies my mania tells me: 1. Write your memoir. Write it. You’re writing it. You’ve written half of it already. Oh my god, you’ve written your memoir. Truth: Wrote “nrovwndiefhui” in a Google doc. 2. Don’t stop talking. If your friend talks, talk louder. He doesn’t mind. He loves being interrupted. Just keep talking. Truth: He does mind and he doesn’t love it. 3. Read all the books. Truth: Even if I did read them, I wouldn’t have remembered what they were about. 4. Accomplish all the goals from your five-year plan in one day. You can do it. It is very possible. Truth: Don’t even have a five-year plan. 5. If you fall asleep now, then you won’t be able to write your memoir and talk to your friend and read all your books and accomplish all your goals so do not fall so DO NOT FALL ASLEEP STAY AWAKE FOREVER. DO EVERYTHING. IT IS VERY POSSIBLE. Truth: I stay awake, but don’t do anything. This post originally appeared on Medium. You can follow Amanda Rosenberg on Twitter@AmandaRosenberg.

What I Do When I’m Consumed by Anxiety

Overthink everything. Sweat. Suffocate. Cry. Let it take over. Have a panic attack. Lie down. Stand up. Hold an ice cube till it melts. Kind of breathe. Take a walk. Feel anxious on the walk. Go back inside. Write. Sit and stare at a fixed point. Call a friend. Hang up before they answer. Cry a little more. Try the walk again. Walk for longer. Break into a jog. Tire after four blocks. Walk back inside. Take a shower. Feel a little better. Get on with the day. Wait for it to come back. This post originally appeared on Medium. You can follow Amanda Rosenberg on Twitter @AmandaRosenberg. The Mighty is asking the following: Imagine someone Googling how to help you cope with your (or a loved one’s) diagnosis. Write the article you’d want them to find. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.