It is 10pm. Night is my favourite time of the day. I lie on one of the seats in the small hospital courtyard. It is cold, which is strange for summer. I guess winter doesn’t want to let go just like my trauma. It’s like they’re both really mad and keep storming out of the room and then coming back yelling, “And another thing!” I cover myself under some of the hospital’s white blankets, but the hairs still stand up on my arms. I gaze at the hazy starless sky, or what can be seen of it behind the shade sail. I am in a rut, literally. There is a path above and sometimes people walk by. I don’t see them, only the shadows they cast on the wall of the courtyard. We must be careful not to befriend a shadow, for we don’t see their face. And most of all, we must never, ever love a shadow, because shadows don’t love back. We cannot touch or hug a shadow, and the people behind the passing shadows are out of reach. Just like everything in life, the shadows come and go. You are just a hopeless romantic hanging onto the shadow, latching onto someone or something you don’t even know. It is love from a distance, like loving a celebrity. You will be heartbroken over a love that didn’t even exist.
That is who my mental health team are. Shadows passing by. I have been with them for years and they know everything about me yet I barely know anything about them. In our last team meeting I told them I went to an ecstatic dance party recently. Jordan, my case worker, said he knew what ecstatic dance parties were. I asked him teasingly whether he’d been to one. “Do you really think I’d go ecstatic dancing?” he said, apathetically. We laughed. I guess we are quite different people, I’m learning. Maybe it is time to find my tribe. People as wild as me. I still love Jordan though, even if he will sit there in the corner thinking we’re all twits. He has seen me through so much. There is not a single person on the planet who knows me as well as Jordan does. He is funny but knows when to be serious. He is smart. He is kind. He is different. And he is just one of the best people I have met. It even feels like he’s part of the family as he talks to my parents as well and they both like him.
When my mental health team started talking about discharge last session, I couldn’t stand to hear it. Since Friday I have suffered the worst pain in my life. I have been though this before but it only gets worse each time, not better. My bed is surrounded by tissues, bottles of alcohol and pills, which I’ve been recklessly taking altogether. I’ve been screaming, and all that’s on my mind has been suicide. My routine is simple: sleep, wake up and suffer. Let me tell you, there are ways of dying that don’t end in funerals. People who kill themselves have often already died a long time back. They have lost their spirit or personality, like a person with Alzheimer’s has lost their mind before their body finally follows suit. That’s why I don’t like it when people say “oh, Mary took her own life”. No, Mary didn’t take her life. There was no life left to take. Maybe she had Complex PTSD and never had a life to begin with. It has just been one long painful decline. A life time of traumas which finally broke her. This is the point I have come to. My life, if you can even call it a life, is incredibly impoverished emotionally and socially. It has been this way for a very long time. Jordan is the best thing that’s happened to me. Nothing matters without him.
I am in hospital now, finally. I had to do something to get people to listen. It wasn’t enough to just be in agony and it wasn’t enough to say I wanted to kill myself…. I had to walk to the train tracks and threaten to jump for people to finally put me in hospital. I should have been admitted last Friday. A good Samaritan found me on the ground outside the clinic unable to get up or speak and called an ambulance. There is, still, kind people in this world. When the ambulance arrived they had to pinch my finger several times for me to respond. I then wailed like I’d lost someone I loved. I still couldn’t speak. But I was still not taken to hospital because Jordan came out and told the ambos he was not concerned about my mental health and to get Dad to pick me up. A few days ago I wrote Jordan and the doctors a letter to tell them how negligent they are.
On Tuesday I was transported to hospital in the boot of a police car. I felt like a criminal. It was my first time in a police car and I panicked as it was claustrophobic. There was not really any seat, no cushions, just hard plastic. I slid around whenever the car turned a corner or went over bumps in the road. At least there were two small barricaded windows, a light and a speaker though which I could communicate with the officers in the car. I was taken to the emergency department and I felt exactly where I belonged: surrounded by people in serious conditions. I spent the night there and in the morning Jordan and my doctor visited me. The doctor wanted to give me more useless meds. At least he didn’t send me home but sent me to the short stay psychiatric unit. He said they might come back to see me as it will be a bit of a wait before a bed comes up. They didn’t come back to see me. I was strapped in a stretcher and taken to the short stay unit at dinner time. I have spent 2 nights here and am going to be sent home tomorrow. I hope the events that have unfolded has given my mental health team second thoughts about discharging me.
The most frustrating thing about all this I’ve found is knowing I’m going to get through it. I know I am too gutless to make the jump or a suicide attempt that would kill me. I am an angel without wings to take me home. I am trapped. Trapped in this dreadful life which I hate and have no say over the things that are important to me. Entrapment has been a theme in my dreams lately. In one dream, I was lured into the lives of some people who, at first, I thought were good people. Then they started doing all these terrible things to me. I was at a shopping centre and I was climbing all the escalators to the very top where I thought I would be free. But then, just as I climbed to the very top, I was dragged back down to the bottom again. It was like a game of snakes of ladders where you’ve almost won but then land on a giant snake that takes you all the way to the bottom again. It reminded me of my marijuana trip where I thought the people I were staying with were raping me and I couldn’t get away. It also reminded me of Stranger Things where Dr Brenna got Eleven to go into her trauma at the lab with “One”. She couldn’t get away, and just when she thought she had, it all started again. It is a loop that repeats over and over.
I think the dream is symbolic of the way I thought I was finally doing a bit better, only to find the light at the end of the tunnel is the headlamp of an oncoming train. I am stuck in this misery, the same trauma repeating over and over, and I’m not even sure if death will relieve me. Some people in spiritual circles say people who die by suicide end up in similar lives to give them another chance at leaning whatever lesson there is in their pain…. That there is no “skipping” lessons. Though I think saying everything happens for a reason (e.g. to learn a lesson) is a horrible thing to say to someone suffering trauma. What is there to learn from never having enough to eat and starving to death? What is there to learn from things like ritualist abuse? You get the gist. I don’t know what happens when we die but I’d like to believe we are finally relinquished from our suffering.
In another dream, I became stuck in the dream. I couldn’t wake up. I popped into a house where kids were sitting at a table staring at me and their mother was there too. I was calling out for Dad. I had this feeling that I was dead, and perhaps this was my new life. The lady said something about having passed over. I kept calling out for Dad. I kept trying to wake up but I couldn’t. I couldn’t feel anything. I was losing feeling in my body and everything was tingly. I couldn’t feel the sheets of my bed either. I feared I had lost connection to this world. I thought of Jordan and thought it severs him right, it was negligent sending me home like this and now I’ve died. But the revenge wasn’t worth it. I missed my dad too much. I knew no one would hear me calling out. No one would know I am lost. No one would know I am dying. My dad probably thought I was sleeping. I thought I’d never make it back. But finally I clawed my way back to this world. I was relieved to be back. I thought dying would be peaceful but it wasn’t. But I still hate my life and the pull to suicide is still there. But unlike other times I’ve been suicidal, this time I can see there are still some things worth staying around for. I love my dad and the way he collects tiny pinecones and shells. I love our beautiful planet. I love good food (and miss it while in hospital). I love collecting unusual clothes and dressing up. I’m about to be the godmother of my best friend’s baby; after several miscarriages she is now four months pregnant. There are kind people, like the man who found me lying on the ground last Friday and told me he was going to get me some help. Maybe I don’t truly want to die, but I am tired. I am tired of the pain. I am tired of the same kind of trauma happening over and over. I know I will probably get through it. I’m just tired of going through it. I don’t want to keep on swimming, keep on fighting the tide. As Moby sings, when it’s cold I want to die.
One of the songs which I’m playing right now is “Evil Angel” by “Breaking Benjamin”. I’m coming to the sad realisation that the people I feel closest to in my life such as Jordan aren’t my friends. They’re friendly, but they’re not friends. They may be there for the worst, but they won’t be there for the best. They are stuck in a box, in a service which is designed to patch people up and send them on their way. In this service people are treated like objects rather than people who have feelings. People get attached but they are just passed them onto someone else and expected to transfer their attachment. Sadly I’m coming to accept Jordan is not a long term companion, a partner, all the things I long from him. He will not find me wandering the streets at night, take my hand and bring me home to his place where he will make me a hot chocolate, hold me and snuggle on the couch. Soon I may not even be able to see him at all, even as a case worker.
“I’m a believer
Nothing could be worse
All these imaginary friends
Driving the nail
Hoping to find a savior
Don’t leave me to die here
Help me survive here alone