Waiting patiently, staring out the window, I could feel a warm tear falling slowly down my cheek.
My eyes burning from the previous two days of crying, I wasn’t supposed to be in here. What did I do wrong to get placed in an inpatient behavioral health unit? My mind was an intertwined mess of no hope, emptiness, hopelessness, and the want to be done with life. Let me die, please. I don’t want to hurt anymore and I’m exhausted from trying.
He’d be coming soon. He has always been so loyal and punctual. Memories of my husband soared through my mind and were quickly interrupted by my mental monster. What if something happened to him? My mind is racing with those damn thoughts again. Am I going crazy? Sliding the ottoman up to my feet, I could feel the warm, tingling rush through my chest. Shit. Not again. Why do my thoughts always lead to this feeling? I thought the medicine was supposed to help, but it doesn’t feel like anything is calming down this hell monster.
Anxiety. Anxiety and Depression. That’s what I have now; I guess I might as well get used to these feelings. “Where is he?” Visiting hours are only two hours long. Reaching for a Kleenex, I caught a glimpse of his car pulling up outside of the window. Thank GOD! He made it. I don’t think I could go another day not seeing him.
I quickly pushed aside the ottoman, pulled up my new hospital grip socks, and headed toward the nurses’ station. Usually, I’m the one on the other side of that desk. Usually, I’m the nurse, but not now, not today. I’m here in a behavioral health unit for suicidal ideation. Great, just what I needed. More stress to deal with.
“I’m here in a behavioral health unit for suicidal ideation. “
As I approached the nurses’ station, I heard, “it’s time for your meds, again. May I see your bracelet?” I held out my arm while I was scanned, like another book checked out in a library. “Are you having any pain?” This normal routine nursing question filled my eyes with tears. I thought to myself, “Are you fucking kidding?” Of course I’m in pain! I hurt to my very inner being. I feel like I have lost everything in my life. I’m in a hole that continuously spins deeper and deeper. I don’t want to live right now, please just let me go!
The thoughts of being done with it all started about two months ago and with each medication change a new thought process emerges from the depths of hell to greet me. Sickness. Pure sickness. Nauseated, can’t eat, vomiting, fear, hopelessness, worthlessness, little interest in anything, withdrawn, and that horrible chest tightening had consumed me. Diabetes would be better. I wish I could have had diabetes! No one understands and the phrase “snap out of it” makes me want to throat punch someone. Oh, yes, then there is the anger part of all of this. Why the hell do I have to deal with this? It is too much!
“Your husband is here to see you”, stated the nurse, as I held another banana flavored pill under my tongue. Yuck, seriously, they need better tasting medications. I reply with a simple “Thank you” and head to the door where they have to give him access to see me. I’m so happy to see him come through those doors. He quickly apologizes for being late. That’s my husband. Honestly, I don’t care if he was late or not at least I can talk to him. Being apart is so very hard because I want to be home and share my thoughts. However, right now, my thoughts are not good. Thus, maybe this is where I need to be at this moment in my life.
We sit in the hallway next to the window I once looked out to find him. I tell him about my day in the unit; group therapy sessions with the therapists, what I ordered for breakfast and lunch, and that I have spent endless hours coloring with colored pencils. Trying to keep myself and my mind occupied is a challenge as it wants to race all day, but I feel I’m not strong enough to stop the cycle. Watching the clock in the other room for the time, I’m suddenly alarmed by realization that soon time would be up. He was going to leave again like he had to yesterday. I would be alone again in that hospital room. We played UNO, in which we both ended up winning. Most of the time he held me close as he knew this was horrible for me as I knew it was for him.
My therapist wanted me here because of my thoughts of wanting to end my life. She watched me spiraling down the dark hole and although I was taking antidepressants, I was also tapering off of another antidepressant. All hell broke loose and I couldn’t control the constant influx of chatter. Stressors of everyday life had become too much for me to grasp. Grasping for strings, not straws would be an accurate description. I had but one string and it was burning like an Olympic torch.
“It’s okay, Al. You are going to be okay and we will get through this”
As the clock reached 5 minutes until visiting hours were over, I lost it. “I want to go home!” Please. Just let me go home! As my husband held me closer than he ever had before, he whispered “its okay, Al. You are going to be okay and we will get through this”. “We.” That’s just what I needed. As he helped dry the tears off of my eyes, I was reassured that he was there for me. He would come back again tomorrow. “This is only temporary, you’ll feel better soon”.
I watched him leave the unit. The nurses let him out of the door. Waiting at the window where we had once sat together, I gazed down below at the busy street. He walked slowly down the sidewalk to his car and I watched him leave, again in slow motion.
Dedicated to my rock, legend, superhero, husband.