In the hospital they tell me not to worry, but I suppose it’s what they are supposed to say. I am not a special person, oh no, not to them. I am sure this same emergency room nurse that led me down the hall, crying and screaming and shaking, has said the same thing to countless people like me, people who’ve lost the hope.
“It’s going to get better now,” she told me as she passed me off to the security guard in the behavioral hallway. “This is as bad as it is going to get,” she says, patting my arm as I watch my hand pass my keys and cell phone to the guard and he waves a wand up and down my body, checking me for weapons. “If you made it here, that means you’ll make it,” she says. “It’s just going to get better from here on out.”
I take off all of my clothes and trade them for pants and socks that are too big and for a gown that chokes me in the front. The guard wands me again for weapons, they lead me to a gurney in the hallway because the rooms are all full – there is just too much crazy going on there.
I sob and sob and scream and I think all I am saying is “Someone help me, someone please help me.”
A nurse holds my hand and tries to get me to do deep breathing. “I don’t want you to hyperventilate,” she says, but it’s too late. I haven’t been able to breathe for days.
A man comes and stands in front of me with a plastic cup filled with ice water and he makes me take it from him. He rips the foil of some packets and then he takes my right hand, puts it palm up and gently forces my fingers open to drop two pills into my waiting hand. “These won’t knock you out, they will just calm you down. Then I am going to come back and ask you a few questions.”
I take the pills.
The nurse stays with me for a few minutes. She lets me squeeze her fingers while I cry, then she makes me lay down, not by asking me whether I want to, but by lowering the back of the bed. I curl up like a baby and grasp onto the pillow and cry into it. She rubs my arm and tells me “do your breathing” and I can’t fathom how this woman expects me to catch my breath.
Minutes pass and the nurse moves away, leaves me there. I cry and cry and cry and cry and cry and cry and cry and cry some more. Inside my head I know I’m still screaming. Inside my head I know I’m fighting.
It feels like I’m being taken out of my body. Like the self part of me is detaching from my flesh. I am thinking but I am not feeling. I am not feeling at all. I am gasping instead of crying. Then the gasping stops and I am just breathing. I am not crying anymore, but tears are still falling out of my eyes anyway, of their own accord.
The man who gave me the pills comes back and he crouches down next to the gurney I am laying on and I see his face through a haze of tears between the metal gurney railing.
“Do you wish you were dead?”
“Yes,” I answer.
“Do you know how you will become dead?”
“No,” I answer.
“Have you thought today about how you would become dead?”
“No,” I answer.
“Rest,” he tells me. “Someone else will be coming to talk with you soon, but now, just rest. You are safe here. We are going to help you now.”
So I lay there and I rest.