The knob turned gently as I gripped the cold metal in my hands. The familiar door squeaked as I eased my way back into my kitchen. I looked around and saw pizza boxes, cups, a beautiful table cloth and heard the familiar ding of my kitten’s collar. My living room looked the same, one roommate on the couch doing homework, surprised to see me and our neighbor on the other couch with his eyes closed. My kitten leaped off the couch and ran to me. I smiled wide as I saw people’s shoes on the ground, my kitten’s favorite purple wand sprawled on the carpet, bags and coats thrown everywhere and notebooks stacked miles high. It’s close to finals week and the stress is coming. I breathed in the familiar smell but it wasn’t familiar anymore. The smile faded quickly. I hadn’t been home for almost two weeks. The smell is new and I couldn’t quite pin my finger on it, I just know it was comforting but also threatening.

My bags were brought in and when they were put down, the reality sunk in. I’m home. But I don’t feel like I’m at home. Suddenly what was familiar was completely strange and I feel like a house guest. I look around and see decorations that are mine, roommates I know and love, friends I adore and my beautiful kitten. I know they’re familiar yet somehow, I feel like I’m meeting them again and I’m not off to a good start. Maybe it’s just really early or something and I’m sleep deprived but I don’t know. Am I just really awkward? Are they judging me? Can they even see the person I am beyond suicidal? Or do they only see me with my hospital bracelet on, a suicide waiting to happen? As I’ve traveled and met different people this short weekend, peace seemed to have followed. I wandered and found joy everywhere I went. I didn’t think about school, work or any responsibilities; I simply got to live and enjoy life before I had to enter the real world. I didn’t have to be the girl that was on suicide watch and thinks about suicide too often, I could just be the girl that laughed a lot and likes Netflix. A lot. Now it’s a dreary, wet, Monday morning and I’m back.

My question is this: How am I supposed to readjust?

Let me rephrase it: How the heck am I supposed to go back to the way it was before and pretend everything is okay when it’s not because I wanted to die and attempted?!?!? With about ten thousand more punctuation marks.

What was happening before wasn’t working. I see that. But I don’t understand what needs to change. Does anything need to change? Am I the only one that feels out of place and uncomfortable?

I am so angry that we have so many resources for drug and alcohol abusers to recover but we have next to none for people who’ve attempted suicide. When someone attempts suicide a second time, they are almost guaranteed to be successful. I think this is why people attempt a second time; they try to go back to life the way it was before and pretend it’s working. I can’t just pick up the script book and continue standing on stage. My costume feels itchy, the lights are too bright, and I swear there’s a couple laughing at me in the front row because the moves don’t feel natural anymore. My legs don’t work like that, my arms don’t look that graceful, I think I’m supposed to smile and I’ve never heard this song before. I don’t understand. I used to be so good at this, right? What happened?

Oh yeah, I tried to quit.

I think everybody is trying to overlook that fact. I am so appreciative of the love I’ve gotten, but something is missing. Who do I talk to about my pain? Everybody wants to talk about moving forward but I don’t know how to do that without looking at what happened. I need to talk and process through the dark paths I walked and am currently walking. I need to sit here, pound my fists and be angry people saved my life. How selfish of them to keep me around! I need someone to sit there and understand that I don’t want to be here right now. I’m angry that I am saved. I try and be smiley because everybody wants me to but I don’t want to right now. I’m not one for pretending so I’m going to cut the crap. I can stand here and tell you I’m alive but each second I smile I feel myself dying inside. I think that attempting suicide is kind of a big deal and traumatic. I can’t just get over that so please don’t tell me to. I’m not selfish for wanting to die; I’m simply trying to jump out of a burning building.

I’ve even had people decide they didn’t want me in their life. What a boost to my self-esteem, right? Like I wasn’t feeling worthless before, thanks for adding to that pile. I can’t help but think it’s because they don’t want to feel responsible if I am successful. Well, monsters, you are the selfish ones and I’ll be sure to say hello in my note.

Sorry that was mean.

Okay I’m not that sorry and I would pay a hundred dollars to slap each one in the face.

This is the part where my therapist tells me to meditate and plays a cheesy video on rivers and relaxation and I nap.

Where’s my support group for this anger and pain? I have so many happy, positive people but man, I am so exhausted from happiness. That might sound strange but happiness is not a natural feeling I get all the time, that’s kind of the point of depression. I want to sit and be sad, you know? I can’t bottle it up anymore. I want to talk about the pain and every detail of the night I was admitted. It haunts me daily, I have dreams almost every night and I am suffering from insomnia. I find myself unable to sleep because my mind keeps replaying the scenes over and over.

So far, the only people I can talk to about that part of recovery are the people I met on suicide watch. They are my crisis line, my haven, and my friends. I know I am lucky to have them but my heart is angry and crushed at those who are trying to adjust to society again all alone. The thought of this makes me so angry as I read about another successful suicide, yet part of me is so envious that they got to escape and I’m stuck here.

The turmoil is so exhausting I want to hide forever in my blanket cocoon. I’m happy to be asked out to coffee and to hang out but I don’t want to talk about moving forward and God and stuff, I want to process what happened and sit in the darkness for a while. I can’t ignore it and I think society is trying to so hard to make all of us in the darkness pretend it’s light. We’re stumbling around in a dark room but told to pretend that we can see where we’re going. Oh ignore the banging around on the furniture, we just tripped, no big deal. We know exactly what we’re doing. They nudge us with their elbow, trying to get us to get with the program but I can’t even see what just hit me in the face. I just wanna sit down.

I sit here looking around this familiar place. The smell, decorations, everything are the same. I think I’m the one that’s different and that’s okay. Maybe I need to be different this time around. I don’t know.

All I know right now is I feel like I’m still in the shackles I entered the hospital with except they’ve been painted a different color in hopes that nobody notices I’m still trapped. I know I was discharged on Thursday, but did I really leave?


2 thoughts on “Shackled

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