I have a confession.
The other day I lost my mind.
“This is new?!” I hear you say.
Why, yes. Because there are levels of madness. And somehow just when you think you have reached rock bottom, another darker, more dingy hole opens up.
It was triggered by what felt like the thousandth failed treatment for my physical illness. Suddenly I snapped. I told my nurse, dutifully by my side (I am now an involuntary patient on 1:1 supervision under the Mental Health Act) that I was done. I was sobbing. That I was leaving.
“You can’t leave” she told me “you are an involuntary patient”.
I looked around. No one had a gun to my head. There are no locked doors. So I put on my dressing gown and slippers, marched to my locker and retrieved my purse. This was it. I was going to leave, and I was going to die.
(Clearly I had thought this through, as dressed in hospital pajamas and slippers would render me completely inconspicuous. And having a urinary catheter would enable me to outwit and outrun the burly security team.)
I started walking the stairs when suddenly all hell broke loose. My nurse set off an alarm. All available nurses descended. There was a lot of shouting from me. There were threats of calling security from them.
“Please don’t make me do this,” one of my favourite nurses said. “please don’t make me call security”.
And then I just broke. I wept uncontrollably, two nurses having to help me down the stairs. They held my hands as I cried those gut wrenching sobs that feel like they may kill you. I was given Thorazine. I slept.
And when I woke up I realized that I would be staring a these dilapidated walls for a while longer. But I was alive. And life, even in a run down psychiatric ward, trumps death any day.