It was Day 1 of my menstrual cycle from hell, and after months of things being better, the pain has returned and returned with a vengeance. It was early evening on Wed and I was at a park when I started bleeding. I headed home, took some Panadeine Forte, made a hot water bottle and curled up in bed. The pain subsided and so did my emotional pain too. I felt better than I have ever felt before. I felt calm and my depression lifted. For once in my life I felt normal. I wondered how long this pain-free existence would last. Not long at all, unfortunately. Little did I know it was the calm before the storm. Mum went to bed and that is when I started feeling faint when standing. I lay down on the couch for a while and almost fell asleep. I then got up, did my teeth and went to bed. I still felt faint. Shortly the pain came back as well but in a different part of my body. I couldn’t figure out where it was, whether it was in my stomach, in my side, in my chest or in my heart. I have never felt this kind of pain before. It was sharp and constant. I couldn’t get to sleep and it seemed to be getting worse. I could barely move. I got up and woke my mum up. I sat hunched over on the floor beside her bed and told her there is something really wrong with me. She called the nurse-on-call number. We just got automated messages for ten minutes until someone finally picked up. After describing the pain to the nurse she told us to go to the emergency department. I waited for Mum to get ready. I was getting annoyed at how long she was taking. I sat on the floor by the door moaning and vomiting into a bucket. Finally she was ready. I staggered into the back seat and lay there while she drove me to the hospital down the road. It took us a while to find the emergency department as it wasn’t clearly sign posted. Finally we found it. The pain was so bad I could barely make it to the door. I vomited again. We entered through the glass doors and once I was finally inside I collapsed. I lay withering on the floor hugging a pillow from the car. The person at the desk told me I had to sit on a seat as the floor was not clean. I couldn’t believe that while I lay there dying all they cared about was a bit of dirt. I couldn’t sit up so I sat at the desk with my head on the desk. There were a few other people in the waiting room. I knew it was going to be a long haul, and I didn’t know if I’d make it. My mum eventually left and I continued waiting. They said they needed to do some blood tests so I staggered into a back room and lay on the bed. I was angry that my mum hadn’t packed a tshirt and all I had was my stupid black pyjama singlet which is too big and doesn’t cover my boobs. The nurse kept prodding my arms looking for a vein but couldn’t find one. She stuck the needle in and continued moving it about. I have never had so much trouble with a blood test before. It was truly the worst blood test I’ve ever had. I broke down crying and she eventually gave up. She then got a man to come in and try. He couldn’t find a vein either. He stuck the needle in and out of my other arm. It was the most painful blood test I’ve ever had and I cried and cried. Eventually he got some blood out of me but commented afterwards that it had “burst”. I kept asking what that meant but no one would tell me. He stuck a bandaid over the point and left. My arm started turning deep purple. I was shuffled back to the waiting room. Hours passed and no body came for me. I could have died from a heartattack right there in that miserable room for all they cared. My condition could have been lethal, they didn’t know. The TV was on and it was “vaccine” this “vaccine” that, as if we haven’t heard enough about the fucking vaccines. The air conditioner was roaring and the sound was consuming my every cell and bone. I asked the receptionist if I could sit in the back room. She said she’d ask one of the other staff members but no one was around. I was getting more and more agitated. My physical pain started to be replaced with mental pain. Finally I broke. I started screaming and sobbing. Everything I felt inside was finally coming out. I have dreams where this happens but rarely does it happen in real life. It all felt like a dream. Suddenly a bunch of nurses appeared around me. I couldn’t see any of them though as I had no vision, and I could barely catch what they were saying to me either. “What’s your name?” pounded one of the nurses. I couldn’t answer her. “Hello????” She continued. I wished so much that my psychologist was there as she would have known exactly what was happening to me. I was like one of those little kids with autism completely losing it in a shopping centre. I was having a meltdown. Finally I screamed my name and I screamed that I was autistic. One of the kinder nurses led me to another room which was empty and said I could wait in there. I went to the far corner and lay down on the floor. She then invited me to lie on the couch instead. I got up and lay on the couch and she covered me with a hot white blanket, which I appreciated despite being boiling. There was a loud air conditioner in this room too but I must have been dissociating so badly by this point that I switched off from the noise. It didn’t get to me like it did in the other room. I spent the rest of the night lying in this room staring into space or with my eyes closed but not sleeping. Finally at about 6am a nurse came in and told me there was a bed. By this point my physical pain had passed on its own, but I still went hoping there was something they could do about my mental health. I cannot go on like this any more, it is clearly taking a toll on my body now.

In the emergency department the nurse asked me some questions. I answered them with no emotion, my gaze vacant and fixed on nothing. She moved my arm and then it stayed in that same position like putty. Some doctors came and asked me some questions. There were long gaps between people talking with me. I regained some movement and I hid under my white blanket which smelt of chlorine. It was woven with X’s, so there were little gaps in between. I liked to peak through the gaps and watch the people passing by knowing that I could see them but they couldn’t see me. The nurse said I could wait an hour and speak with one of their psychologists. So I did. As I waited I could hear the conversations of those around me (there was nothing but a curtain separating the beds). The poor man next to me needed to pee but was unable to leave his bed. The woman on the other side was taking vitamin D and zinc supplements to protect against covid like me. At 9am I was told that the psychologist didn’t feel the need to see me as I was due to speak with my case worker and psychologist later in the day. As I got to the end of this whole ordeal, my emotions finally came back and I cried again under my white blanket. I wondered if anyone would notice me crying, and one of the doctors did. He was the kindest one there.

Life is temporary. I realise that more than ever being surrounded by people on the border of death, and feeling close to death myself. The world doesn’t feel the same anymore. I don’t feel the same. There is a hint of sadness to everything. I don’t feel part of life going on around me… families and friends swimming in the lake or dining now that lockdown is over. I don’t feel part of any of it. Coming out of hospital is like crossing a veil, a veil between the land of the sick/dying and the land of the healthy/living. I shouldn’t be here. Why am I here? I feel like an observer, a visitor, an outsider.