The glass touched my lips and red poison flowed steadily down my throat. I knew it mixed poorly with my antidepressants but the way alcohol makes me feel is too wonderful to sacrifice. Drinking wine was a risk I was going to take, even if it meant I was risking putting myself at harm. One glass down and another to go. I eventually drank the entire bottle without even realizing it. I didn’t feel it and assumed I would be fine. Moments later, the alcohol broke the dam of my mind and flooded my brain to the point of black out. I don’t remember much but I do recall trying to escape to the roof of a building to jump off. When I was stopped, I remember grabbing the sharpest object I could find and stabbing myself as hard as I could with it. I believe I used a protractor. Next thing I know, I’m at home with no idea how I got there and my friends are ushering me to the car. My beautiful roommates led me to the hospital. My mind thought we were going to Mexico so when we pulled into the emergency room and I was admitted on suicide watch, I was angry. I remember threatening to sue for harassment, yelling obscene things at the doctors and eventually ending up in restraints. My arms and legs were both tied to the bed and I couldn’t move. Hopelessness and tiredness flooded my system and I gave up struggling after trying to break my thumb multiple times to get out of the restraints. I stayed there for a couple hours, eventually making friends with those around me and meeting people who were just like me. I met a man next to me who had attempted suicide four times and understood where I was coming from. After several hours and begging to pee, I found myself getting the trust of the doctors and going from four to two restraints. I was even allowed to go to the bathroom alone!
I was surrounded by friends and family. It was shocking and I didn’t know what to do with that. My dad stayed with me all day long, keeping me company on the psych ward of the first hospital I was at. We played cards, talked and I thought about ideas for redecorating the place. It was miserable. They could really do with a paint job, pool table and maybe a mini bar. I was talking to the doctor when a kind man walked back and forth outside my door. The doctor left and he immediately introduced himself and complimented me on how pretty I was even though I was in clothes I had been wearing for close to twenty-four hours, my hair was greasy and gross and my glasses were tilted because I broke them in my drunken state. It was strange being treated with kindness here, he was so normal even though he had schizophrenia and other disorders. I found myself making friends with everyone around me and had never felt so comfortable. Here I was, in this place I saw as an insane asylum, surrounded by people just like me. I saw hurt and pain but also kindness. There is no pity among us, only genuine care and understanding. These people who society views as the outcast, crazy, deranged, and even dangerous are nothing but people who are suffering. Their brain chemistry may be off but their souls are more intact than a lot of so called normal people I’ve met. This asylum was turning into a haven.
After waiting for hours and hours, I was finally moved to a better facility with my own room. The floor was beautiful, the staff kind, the programs way too cheesy and the food actually edible. The first activity I participated in was Pictionary. I thought it was the dumbest thing I had ever seen. I refused to participate and draw. I sat there thinking everyone was crazy and I didn’t want to be there. Some people started talking and joking about feeling old, and one guy pipes up with, “I’m pretty sure none of us want to feel the way we feel right now.” and I laughed so hard. This was my crowd of my people. Instead of seeing these people as crazy and being angry I was there, I saw that they were there for help. These people also suffer like I do and we are all in it together. They have a sense of humor even though the situation is dire. My dad showed up and I sobbed, begging to go home because I was afraid. He hugged me back, dropped off my things and promised to visit me the next day. I dragged my feet back to Pictionary and continued to roll my eyes.
When the game was over, people moved to the cafeteria for snacks and I sat down and began eating with a group of people. We began chatting and I found that I could joke about anything with them. Suicide was something we joked about together because we were all in the same boat. One girl was suicidal. The two men had attempted suicide and been in ICU. We all had come voluntarily. You know what? These guys were great at poker. Okay one of the guys was good at poker, the rest of us got lucky. We played Blackjack, laughed at inappropriate jokes, and started a Facebook chat. I could joke about killing myself without fear of scaring anybody or getting pity eyes; they listened and got it. Of course, they tell me when I’m going too far but there is a mutual understanding that we have all been there and are there now. We’re in it together and that’s a good thing for us. I’m currently laying on a hospital bed, recounting my day, thinking about the friends I have made, and smiling. I have never felt so safe and loved. I know there are tons of people visiting me tomorrow; well I don’t necessarily believe it, but I have a feeling they’ll follow through. This place that was once so frightening is suddenly so calming. I’m safe in this community of other people who are just like me. I’ve tried all my life to be like everybody else, to be normal, to fit in. Here, I don’t even have to try. I’m me and that’s all I need to be, suicidal and all.
This time in my life has shown me who is willing to stay by me through the real thick things in life and it’s more people than I ever thought. I owe so many people an apology for taking care of me when I was drunk but I owe so many more people a thank you for continuing to stay by me. While I still dream of ending my life, I can’t help but look forward to tomorrow when I get to hang out with my friends I’ve made here and continue making inappropriate jokes. I am on suicide watch, checked into a hospital voluntarily seeking help and I’m not ashamed of that, not anymore. I may be stigmatized but I know that my soul is intact even if my mind is not. This place, this asylum, has become my haven.