I write this post from the corner desk of my bedroom in the psych ward. I was in this ward when I was 24, and here I am again six years later. I’m in here for the exact same reason: losing a mental health worker who I love. Most people would not understand the bonds I form with mental health workers. But this mental health worker was so much more to me than a mental health worker. He was like a best friend, a brother, maybe even a parental figure. When people ask how I am, I think I will just tell them I’m sad because I’ve lost someone I love. I won’t tell them who it is. Or that they are still alive, that I am grieving the living. Even though he is not dead he may as well be as I will never be able to see him again. I am being offered two “closure” sessions with him and that’s it. My life feels like a broken record repeating over and over.
The layout of the ward has changed a little bit. The piano has been moved and there is no gazebo in the courtyard anymore. Unfortunately there is a basketball court now, so I sometimes have to put up with the banging of the ball outside my window. I may just have to sneak it into my bedroom so nobody can use it anymore. Thankfully the nurses are nicer than when I was here last time, and the vibe feels quite different. My first time here was extremely scary as I didn’t know my rights, but this time I am ok. I’m actually relieved to be here.
I have continued to feel suicidal while in here. I have been frustrated that I’m stuck in here unable to kill myself. My first two days here I spent in bed. Today I didn’t get up until 3:45pm. I missed breakfast, lunch and most my telehealth appointment with my psychologist. I didn’t realise I had been in bed for so long. I wasn’t even getting much rest as there’s a lot of noise here. Today I finally left my room and sat in the courtyard. It was sunny and I felt a lot better sitting out there than lying in bed all day. It has been raining and the air smelt like eucalyptus from the gum trees. There was another patient who came in and out of the courtyard. She was giggling and at one point dancing to music. She moved in spontaneous ways as if she was dancing even when she wasn’t playing music. She reminded me of myself when I was manic. I really missed that feeling.
I am always stunned by the creativity of the people who stay in these places. The courtyard is lined with drawings and messages. The first thing that caught my eye was this message: “Love is universal”.
Even though I have lost my case worker who was the kindest person I have ever met, there is no end to love. I hope it will come round again in one form or another.
The people here are super cool, and just like me. They are creative, spiritual and care about the planet. I will share some of the other messages and artwork in the courtyard:
I grieve a lot of things: my case worker, the cumulation of lost and disjointed relationships, the damage I did to my finger months ago when I burnt it, the damage medications have done to me, and my mania. I miss that feeling of invincibility, of euphoria, of connection. I miss all the “signs” I was getting, how everything felt like it was full of meaning. I really was vibrating on a whole new level which led to a psychic contacting me on Facebook because she felt drawn to my energy. I miss the attention and concern I got, even though I didn’t want anyone to dampen what I was experiencing. I miss the way feelings flowed through me like a waterfall, rather than all being stuck inside like a choked river. Now I’m at a point where I cannot cry anymore even though I am so sad. Maybe it’s because there are no tears left. I cannot scream even when I want to. I can tell people I’m sad and want to kill myself but I cannot show any emotion, and that is incredibly frustrating. I remember somebody describing this as a kind of depersonalisation/dissociation, where we are flattened and detached from ourselves, like a robot.
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