Hotel Psych Ward: The day I chose not to die.

Reader discresion advised*

Please note that the contents of this post may be considered triggering. The advise given in this blog is not an opinion of a licensed professional, but advise purely from personal experience. If you are contemplating suicide or having thoughts of hurting yourself or others, please seek medical attention immediately.

 

I can’t believe we’re here again. It’s 2019, the 90’s are back, the Backstreet Boys are going on their final tour this year, and… I still have my Christmas lights up. Yes, I’m well aware that it’s February.

In my last thinks (Life Update: PTSD, Depression, and not leaving my house. (Written Jan/11/18 Published 9/30/18), I briefly mentioned to you about what happened December of 2017 (I was Baker Acted in a psychiatric facility due to suicidal behaviors.). Today, I would like to share with you a little bit more about that day, what lead up to that point, and reflect on what has helped me fight through a very dark period of my life.

The Voices

Around April of 2017 my depression was getting completely out of hand. We had just moved to Florida from Delaware and it seemed like everything had become uncertain. Seth was out of active duty military, his new real estate career was not going well, and I felt alone in my new environment. The culture was so much different from up north and when I had lived in Atlanta. I didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere.

My anxiety and depression from issues I had not yet dealt with (Healing from Spiritual Abuse and Forgiving My Abusers) seemed to continue to pile until it was absolutely overwhelming and unmanageable.  The dark clouds that had once lay stagnant turned into smoke.

I was suffocating in my own past but was unable to see the way out. 

It seemed like no matter what I did, somehow I would be brought back to the same ledge with the same question every single time, “Do you want to end it all and jump, or hang on for dear life?”
There were some weeks that I felt like I was finally getting a break. Maybe I could crawl back to safety. But each time, it was like another boulder would fall down, provoking me to want to let go again.
Eventually the echoes from the falling rocks started to sound like taunts. “Just let go.”, “No one will miss you.”, “Your struggle is a burden on everyone around you.”, and the most powerful one, “Nothing will ever change anyway.”.

It was like a sick twisted game that my mind continued to miserably fail at.

I went to a counselor in spring of 2017 only to feel like a currency and treated in what I would call a inappropriate way. Let’s just say the counselor I saw was only interested on preying on vulnerable women. And what blew the final straw for me was when I had finished sobbing my eyes out and explaining my pain, I looked up to see my “counselor” playing with his gas station slurpy cup completely oblivious to what I had just told him.

As I checked out from the clinic, my counselor was having a not so very professional conversation with two of the office staff as he was massaging one of the woman’s shoulders… Needless to say I cancelled my “followup” appointment and never went back to his office.

The next two months I called and emailed various offices to try to get appointments.. But was either on a 6 month wait list or received no feedback.

Giving up

By the end of summer, I had completely given up on the idea of getting help. It seemed like nothing was going to change anyway. I was also in severe denial of how bad my depression had actually gotten.

I became extremely busy with volunteer work as well as a campaign I was managing to deliver gifts to those who had lost everything from Hurricane Harvey. Although I enjoyed both, I had purposely chosen to not listen to the warning signs that my body was trying to tell myself.

“You need to get help, NOW!”

After Seth and I came home from Texas, I felt that I no longer had anything to live for. Circumstances around me as well as triggered memories left me feeling exhausted and hopeless.

I would try to sleep, but nightmares would play over and over in my mind. I would try to stay awake during the day but would not be able to concentrate on the present. My mind was either trapped in a flashback while I was awake, or locked in a horrific scene from my childhood when I was asleep. I often woke up screaming or truly believing my abusers were in my house. It felt like there was no way out. And if there was a way, it wasn’t going to be in this life.

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Psych Ward

On Dec. 29, 2017 something inside of me broke. Some might call this “rock bottom”. But for me it felt like the end of the world. I had gotten my old flight attendant scarf out that I was planning to hang from. I had done this many times before, but this time was different. I tied it around my neck and looked into the mirror. My hair greasy and straggly from not showering. Had it been 3 days? 4, no maybe it was a week. My face was stained with tears, and my eyes that had once been filled with life were completely hollow.

I didn’t even recognize myself.

I sat back on my bed wondering what was next and how one would prepare to end their life. As I was thinking this, Seth walked into our bedroom to see me in complete distress. I told him that I couldn’t do this anymore and that I didn’t want to be here anymore. He told me I should check in with a mental health emergency clinic and that he would go with me. I willingly went, still in complete denial that I needed help.

I composed myself and went to the ER. But when the nurse asked why I chose to come, I lost it again.

I had never vocalized to anyone other than Seth that I was thinking of killing myself in the moment. It was a shock to me to hear myself say these words. My vitals were taken as well as my phone, keys, and personal belongings. I said goodbye to Seth still believing that I would be released after a simple checkup. I later found out that I had been Baker Acted and had my rights removed under a surveillance bases.

The Preacher

If you’ve read my poem Psych Ward, you might have figured out by now that it is about my personal experience in this situation. I had a conversation with one of the staff that told me his story. How many years ago he was stopped from making what he called the “worst decision of his life”. He had tried to jump from a bridge when he was stopped by a police officer who had been patrolling the area. Now many years later he was given the nickname “Preacher” by his fellow colleagues and worked in the psychiatric unit as a nurse.

He listened to my pain as I told him about all the heartbreak that had happened in my past as well as the abandonment by my own family (Healing from Spiritual Abuse and Forgiving My Abusers). He was heartbroken for me as he told me that he had a daughter about the same age as myself. And that he would never want her to take her life. He also said that no matter what my family thought of me, that he personally would not want me to end my life either.

I didn’t sleep much that night. There were patients constantly being released and admitted. Some had to be sedated due to violent behavior. It was not a peaceful place.

But it was the safest place I could be, From Myself. 

Therapy

After I was released from the psych ward, I had to inform my boss as to what happened. Thankfully he was very understanding and encouraged me to use my work’s EAP program. I was then immediately connected to a virtual therapist (she is still my therapist now).

I wouldn’t say that everything is “perfect” now. However in the last year therapy has been able to guide me in a positive direction. I traveled more in 2018, created a vision board, and began living for my dreams again.

Although being admitted to a psych ward was probably one of the scariest things I have ever done, I do not regret that this happened. It had to happen. I was in too much denial to realize the level of help that I actually needed.

 

Now

As of 2019 there is still so much that can improve with my mental health. However with the right therapist, medication, and support group I feel that I have come a long way since that night in the psych ward.

If you are currently in a place where you wonder if you should continue living or are having difficulty functioning due to depression or any other mental health issue, please know that there is never a point that is deemed “serious enough” to get help. Any struggle with mental health is still a struggle. And the best thing you could possibly do for yourself is accept that your feelings are valid and seek help.

 

I love you guys so much! Please do not hesitate to reach out. I’d love to hear from you!

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Joy

 

 

 

 

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