Updated: Mar 11, 2020
I woke up in a hospital bed with a door that only opened from the outside. There was a bed bolted into the ground in the middle of the floor. There were cameras at every angle. I was wearing my clothes from the night before. I remembered everything. A therapist stepped in and started asking me a series of questions. Do I remember how I got
there? Am I comfortable in my room? How long have I been this sad? Am I in danger of harming myself? What emotion was I feeling most?
I’d been feeling exhausted for a few years, but I’d always found a way to shove the
overwhelming feelings of worthlessness to the side. I had work to go to, I had homework to do, I had friends to see, I had family members to call. There was always something I could do to push those feelings away. But those tasks were always temporary, and my depression and anxiety was never temporary.
Two nights before my episode, I’d had a panic attack. My roommate made a dick comment to me. My friends at school seemed annoyed with me. I called my mom and went to my then-boyfriend’s house and let it all out. I was fine.
The next night, I went to the city to go to bars. I was having fun, it was fine. But I had a few gin and tonics and suddenly, the feelings I’d suppressed for so many years were ready to make their mark. I sat in silence in my Uber on the way home and called my brother, a licensed therapist, when I got home.
“I don’t want to do this anymore. I do not fit here. I do not belong in the world and everyone else seems to belong perfectly, they fit well. I do not fit.” I sobbed into the phone.Funny thing about licensed therapists, if you tell them you want to die, they kind of have to take it seriously. All joking aside, my brother did his job and he called the police.
For the next four days, I was 51/50’d and kept in a psychiatric hospital. I looked to the right of me in group therapy and a young woman who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia was highlighting the events that led her to this spot, next to me. I looked to the left of me and a middle-aged father with three kids expressed his desire to stop living. For lack of a better word, I always assumed people who would be here were “crazy”. There’s no such thing as crazy. We just all operate differently and for some, myself included, the pressures of everyday life can become so overwhelming difficult that it really doesn’t matter what differences you have with someone. We were all there together, tackling the issues we faced everyday. We weren’t crazy. We all got here somehow. We are all broken somehow.
I didn’t realize at the time, but my bottom had passed and now was the time to put in the work. I needed medication, I needed therapy, and most of all I needed support. I went on antidepressants that made me feel like a zombie, so I decided I’m going to work solely with a therapist and battling my feelings. Another funny thing, nothing happens if you’re not honest with yourself or your therapist. You can act like everything’s fine on the surface, but until you realize how much help you need, you won’t fix anything.
Today, I’m in a healthier relationship. Not with anyone else but with myself, the most important relationship you can have. Sounds cliche, I know. If I don’t want to do something because I’m simply happier at home, I don’t. If I don’t want to do something because my anxiety is getting the better of me, I go. Stepping outside your comfort zone and stepping outside the narrative of your disorder is crucial.
You’ll never find the feeling of normalcy that you crave. We, who have mental health disorders, will never feel normal. I’ll always yearn to be like the most outgoing person in the room, but it’ll never be me. I will always remind myself that without my disorder, I wouldn’t be myself and that that would not be normal.
Keep going to therapy. Keep seeking out help. Keep doing things that keep your soul happy. It’s your life, it’s your disorder. You can keep going. Just remember to breathe every once in awhile and don’t forget to reach out to those who will listen