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.


Running, growing, and rap music

"rune" © Alessandro Pautasso, 2009. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
run” © Alessandro Pautasso, 2009. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

The past two weeks I’ve been only just functioning. December’s introduction left me incapacitated and stumbling. Wrapped in a blanket, curled up on the couch. This week I managed to pull myself from the apartment with unwashed hair and dirty fingernails. All hazy around the edges, my heart and my head were only half-way there. The kind of week I have trouble even remembering. My word. I know, I swear, I did things.

My exercise weeks start on Thursdays. Wednesday’s scheduled rest day has had a tendency to bleed into two or five days lately. My body has no idea how to go about sleeping these days. Running and trips to the gym get scrapped for sleeping in, cups of coffee, and promises to get it done this afternoon. There is always an excuse to find later. I know I have to trick myself to going outside before I even have a chance to think about it. Can’t fall for that, “Oh, come on, you have all day.” I know that isn’t true. Plus, I’ve always preferred the morning. Continue reading →



"Pomegranate" © Klearchos Kapoutsis, 2010. CC BY 2.0.
Pomegranate” © Klearchos Kapoutsis, 2010. CC BY 2.0.
We’ve always admired great thinkers. Creators. Innovators. People lost in their own heads. Scrawling on whiteboards, filling notebooks, building things. They ignite fires. When your brain is full of tangibility it’s something worthy of applause. You are solving problems. It’s a different kind of process than rumination, than introspection, than exploration.

People love to tell me I think too much. Explain how much simpler my life would be if I shut down my constant probing. Fishing for the whys and hows of everything I do. A switch I can flip and stop being reflective. I can’t find the line, though. Where we distinguish between the thoughts that occupy other thinkers and the thoughts that occupy me. We’ve become inoculated with the idea everything directed inward is dangerous. Shut it down. Shut it down. Continue reading →