Autobiography · Mental Health

Please Help

This last week involved a visit to the ER, two ambulance rides, an overnight stay in the hospital, and six days in a psychiatric ward as a suicide risk. Two weeks of missing wages and astronomical medical bills puts me in a very financially stressful situation. If you would like to help me get back on my feet please visit


Andrew took my knife from me before I went to the IHOP bathroom. I guess that’s what happens when you buy a bottle of bourbon after close to three years sober and whisper on a cell phone call, “I just don’t want to exist.”

We gorged ourselves on product barely passing as food and made our way to the parking lot. He cried on my shoulder and told me he didn’t know what to do.

Text Nadine. Call Leif. By the end of all the communication I don’t think I had a choice in whether or not I would end up in the ER that night.

When we walked in we were both shell-shocked. Long night. “My therapist told me I should come here because I’m a danger to myself.” I didn’t even recognize my own address as the receptionist repeated it back to me.

You’ll never get service in a hospital faster than when you say you’re going to kill yourself. They swept me back to a secured room. A doctor and three nurses made me change my clothes and hide all my belongings and the medical equipment behind metal garage doors. Just a bed and a chair. Andrew and me.

Social worker made his way in and asked Andrew to leave. The usual questions, like “Do you have a plan?” and “Are you still feeling this way?”

“Yes. Yes.”

Talked for awhile before he went into the other room and spoke with Andrew. Came back and told me I could go to inpatient care voluntarily or he would turn me over to the county and I could go against my will.

Andrew slept on the floor in the ER while they tried to find me a bed in a hospital where I could stay before they found me a bed in a psych ward.

Ambulance ride. Another secured room with paper food trays and a nurse who had to sit next to me at all times. Leave the door open when you use the restroom. We don’t trust you with yourself and for good reason.

Another ambulance ride. Check in. Turn over all my belongings. Cell phone, sobriety necklace. Strip down in front of a nurse. Squat and cough. Escorted to my room and then left alone for the first time in two days.

Three girls come in. “Will we overwhelm you if we introduce ourselves?” Exchange names and “What are you in for?” questions. Everyone here is dangerous. And I’ve never been so safe.

Photo courtesy of Priscilla Westra.

6 thoughts on “Please Help

  1. Thank you for sharing this simply told account of your experience. Those who have never participated in the process of psychiatric inpatient admission, whether as patient or care provider can rarely imagine how it feels and how much is involved, and how long it can take. I used to be in the position of that social worker, delivering that message of choice or no choice, and finding the inpatient bed, and so on. It was never easy, but your part of making the decision to walk into that ER and say those words was harder, I’m sure. Whether in courage or desperation, I’m glad you did, and very grateful to your friend, Andrew, for his support. Although I’m not is position to offer significant financial help, I do hope it is forthcoming. In the meantime, please stay safe and keep telling the story. It needs to be heard.

    Liked by 1 person


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