The final part of this essay …
That night in the hospital was easily one of the worst nights of my life. I knew this was where I needed to be, but at the same time, I had wondered if I’d made a mistake by voluntarily committing myself.
I remember walking up with the guy I’d talked to about Heidegger and other philosophical anomalies, and then being committed. It was interesting, because at first, things seemed familiar, but then, something seemed off. Something felt wrong. I couldn’t quite explain what it was, though, that was off. In retrospect, I assume it was my mood that was off, my feelings, the raging psychosis. I assume indeed it was my feelings that were off: I was in survival mode and I didn’t realize hwo much longer I was going to stay alive. I’d just experienced way too much, and I needed time. But unfortunately, the situation only devolved, because I felt out of my element, by being in the hospital, and I felt sad that I had committed myself when I had made it for so long without hospitalization, on my own. It seemed unfair to me that I would do this to myself, when I had done so well for so long; that doesn’t mean I did literally well, it just means that I survived my mental illness long enough and hard enough to be proud of myself and believe I could do it.
In retrospect, I realize that it was my body screaming for help. What I was experiencing wasn’t normal. I thought it was normal because I thought my mental illness was normal, but I know now how much suffering it was causing, and that if I’d dealt with it sooner, potentially it could have been stifled sooner, with me healed sooner. I don’t know, I don’t know for sure, but I do hope that I can stay strong and be strong. I can’t imagine what my stress levels were because of the toll my mental illness was taking on me.
I remember the nurse giving me my medications. They gave me a huge dose of something, and I remember being at the window and telling them how sad that I was, and wanting to cry, practically crying. Because indeed, I was very sad, and the medications made me feel worse. I almost collapsed on the ground. I didn’t, thankfully. One of the psyche techs, though, got impatient with me in this moment, when I was about to fall down from sheer exhaustion, and grabbed me in a rough way and carried me to my bed.
I felt humiliated at this encounter, and I felt weak. I felt weak that I couldn’t be stronger than my medications. So, speak to me, freely, came into my head, and that’s when I knew I’d give it another shot, fighting for my livelihood and fighting to survive.
I went back out into the hall with the desire to pace in a manic fashion, and the guy who’d picked me up and put me roughly in my bed tried to stop me from walking down the hall, and I told him, “This is how the mania works.” Because, it was true. That is what mania is, unfortunately. Even when I’m doped on medication I want to stay awake and do things.
He let me be for a while, I suppose because he realized he couldn’t stop me. You can’t reallys top mania and psychosis.
Then, things took a turn for the worst, in one of the worst nights of my life to top off one of the toughest days I’d ever experienced, if not the toughest. I remember looking in the mirror and begging The Snake Angel to talk to me, give me some kind of comfort. But, there was no comfort, as I looked into the mirror with my eyes wide open, manic and crazy, even bloodshot. I said over and over again, in the mirror, as I shook, as I trembled, as I seemingly convulsed, “I want to die! I want to die! I want to die!” I didn’t yell this because I didn’t want unwanted attention (the stifled whisper making it all the more tragic …), but nonetheless, I felt extremely suicidal in this moment. I wanted it to be over. I really needed it to be over. And that was when The Snake Angel calmed me down, and told me, calmly, “Phoenix … I’m so sorry. I didn’t know you suffered this much.” To have an imaginary friend caused by delusion tell you that they didn’t know you suffered this much, and do what they can to make you happy, to help you survive: Well: It tells me just how much I was hurting and just how bad I needed help and intervention. I don’t know how things got this bad, but they did. It was then The Snake Angel’s resolve to ease the suffering from this point on, and help me stay calm and collected, and understand that everything was going to be okay.
I remember telling them earlier that I wanted to be in seclusion, because I deserved it. I deserved the punishment. I ended up in seclusion when they all they sudden told me to go into seclusion and sleep there. I wondered how the fuck I was going to sleep on a mere mattress in an awful isolated room, and was shocked when they said people can do dangerous stuff with sheets. I was suicidal in this moment, but I yelled at them that there is a difference between suicidal ideation, the idea of suicide and the fixation, and actually wanting to hurt yourself. I said this for two reasons. One, because I didn’t want them to know how much I wanted to die, especially if they used it against me later, punished me for it. And second, because I was trying to affirm to myself that I still wanted to live, even though I didn’t feel this. I didn’t want to violently self-terminate myself. I wanted to give it another shot, and so somewhere, I believed I would make it another day. I had to make it another day. Just one more day, and then I could continue with life the way I was meant to.
After more verbal fighting with the staff member who wanted me to go to bed so bad, he made up the bed to where it was semi-comfortable. I told him, after he said something angry at me, “Thanks … sugar,” flourishing my sense of humor in this moment of bleak desperation for me. He then let me sleep, and then … at last, I finally slept. In seclusion, but at least … safe: from myself.
So, what do I think about all of this? It certainly wasn’t what I expected, and yet, it was exactly what I expected. I hate the mental hospital. But I knew it was a necessary evil. Too much suffering, my body and mind crying for help, suicidal obsession: I had to do something. I had to change something. I hope I never end up that low again, because, if you have followed this essay from beginning to end, you can probably see how I was in Hell. I was in Hell. No other word for it. I was suffering more than I thought I could, and it honestly seems that the hospital was the only place for me at this point if I was going to survive and eventually, thrive. Live fully. Live real, and perhaps even, live happy.
I want to cry just thinking about all of this. Completing this essay is a milestone for me because it came from so much pain and struggle, blood, sweat and tears, such a deep-rooted pain. But, I know … I know that the world is beautiful, and I have been given a second chance. Even though I want to cry, I’ll be okay. Yes, I am sorry, that I had to experience this. I’m sorry that I had to suffer. But sometimes, we don’t get to decide. When things go wrong, they go wrong and you have to do everything in your power to change courses. Which was what I decided to do. I needed to. I needed a second chance.
So, I relapsed. But: I’m going to recover.