September 01, 2019
I was ready, I was brave. My body and mind finally gave up and realized again, that I needed to work on this. This is your life, your life is worthy. So we packed a bag of spare clothes and toiletries and headed out. The time in no traffic to get to the hospital is usually around 10 min max but this ride felt like an hour to me. The amount of emotion I went through during that car ride... admitting defeat against my mental illness and that I wasn't strong enough to fix it by myself grew as we rolled closer and closer to the emergency room. I broke down in absolute tears not knowing what to do, who to talk to or what to say.
I was in my own mind feeling suicidal but hiding it to everyone else. I didn't want to be here, I didn't want to go to the hospital, but deep down I knew I needed to go. As we parked the car we sat and waited a couple of minutes while I grabbed the courage to go head in. I waited in line it wasn't too long probably about 5-10 minutes. When I was next in line the line behind me started to grow. Different people came in with many different situations but a younger person in their mid 20's came in with a large gash on their leg.. The triage nurse called my name so I proceeded to head in and as I sat down I made sure the nurse knew I wanted the other person who seemed more severe to go first. I can wait. She replied to me and said the person would be taken care of.
"How about yourself?" the nurse asked.
I began to break down, looking at the nurse I said, "I would like to check myself into the psychiatric ward please, I'm feeling suicidal." This struck deep as the realization set in my mind that this was the first hospital visit I would have to do where I'm not physically injured or sick. I looked fine on the outside but felt so imbalanced on the inside. So confused in my thoughts and what to do. The triage nurse began to take my vitals and ask me questions along the way as usual. But she ended by asking me very sincerely, "Can you wait?" I didn't understand... she said again, "will you wait? I need you to know that the nurses are currently assisting other mental health patients and it may take up to an hour or so to see a mental health nurse." I agreed to stay not knowing what I would have done if I left the hospital.
I was directed away from triage and waited for them to call me up to register. It didn't take long and a new lady started to do a more formal interview about what was happening and so forth. I began to break down in front of this lady as she asked me the general questions about myself and explained further that it still could be an hour or so and she really wants me to try and wait.
So I sat back down with Rebecca by my side, wondering why both of the nurses asked so genuinely for me to stay? Sitting in the chair I began to get fidgety as I was very much in a state of mental illness that felt like it wasn't okay for the public. I watched the clock, played with my phone, talked with Rebecca but I just wanted to be admitted at this point. They said they wanted to help me right? So why weren't they? My anxiety started to make me panic about this, questioning is it worth it, they're not gonna help you, you're just as safe at home... With about 30-60 minutes of sitting in the waiting room for a mental health nurse, I deeply understood why those that come in for help at the hospital turn away and leave.
I wanted to leave. This was pointless. I could be asleep and reset tomorrow. I kept repeating in my head, any words that were gonna make me leap out of that hospital chair and leave. But I was lucky, I had Rebecca walking me through this a step at a time being aware of how I was feeling and what was the best situation for me.
I was angry
I was upset
I was tired
I didn't want to exist.
I was at my lowest I've been yet. And about to give up on everyone.
Then I saw a nurse enter from a different door and head in my direction.
She approached me with a smile and said, "hi are you, Michael? I'd like for you to come with me and we will bring you to an area more comfortable than the waiting room okay? You're going to be okay, we are all here to help you!"
So up I rose from the lobby chair with Rebecca's hand in mine and we walked past the emergency area to a private room where the mental health nurse assessed me and had me wait for the ER doctor. It was probably more than an hour in the room waiting for next steps, she brought me some food and orange juice I really had no appetite for. When it was finally time to see the ER doctor I opened up to Rebecca who was able to relay the information for me .. I had thought about a plan, and I probably wasn't going to be safe at home. She signed a sheet, found a bed outside the ER room where I could see a lady in her mid 60's staring through the glass in a brownish colored hospital gown.
This is it I guess I thought to myself. I'm finally here!