I woke up to the sounds of sobbing on the other side of a pale yellowing curtain that separated myself and another woman. White walls blinded me as I tried to make sense of it. The room surrounding me was a direct reflection of how I felt inside; bare, cold and empty.
Light blue nurse’s scrubs two times my size, hung off my aching body. My hair fell in front of my face due to the lack of a hair tie that usually held my thick and wild mane. My breasts hung low, longing for support, but my bra as well as my underwear were missing. I examined every inch my skin as if I had never known it. I scanned the room for something of familiarity to no avail.
Jello legs made for slow and cautious walking to the door and down the long hall. Every few steps were greeted by another door to my left and to my right. Mid step I was stopped by a flash of foggy memory. It was dark and warm and I kept asking where I was. I snapped back to reality when a young man walked past and smiled. He told me I looked much better and that he’d see me at breakfast. Did I know this man?
At the end of the hall I fell upon a desk, manned by what I soon discovered to be my nurse. Before I had a chance to open my dried out mouth, he provided me with a cup of water, and pills. He quickly sat me down to take my pulse, blood pressure, oxygen level, and temperature. Another momentary memory flashed. I looked around with slightly clearer eyes. The doors were locked from the inside and out. A few people ventured out of their rooms to wait in line for medication and vitals. No one wore shoe laces or belts or anything that could potentially be harmful. It was only then that I realized I was in the behavior health ward of my local hospital. After a phone call to my mother, talks with the on staff nurses and self reflection, I pieced together a story of how I got to the 6th floor of that hospital.
It started at the lake with a conscious decision to bring a conclusion to the pain, the pregnancy and the life I never wanted. I was stronger than Luke, not emotionally but stronger in my desire to leave. I was stronger, therefore, so was my attempt. He took a pill or two to numb his confusion with our situation. Without hesitation he allowed me the same comfort. When the two stopped feeling as good as at first, I found my way to a few more and then even more until I forgot my own name. I could blame him for leaving the small round tablets within reach but how was he to know that the keys to his safe provided an opening to the suicidal idealization of my heart?
Somehow I drove home from Luke’s house just in time for family dinner but stolen pill after pill sent me down a pit of psychosis. The dinner lasagna began to tell me the story of its youth. Garlic bread cried due to the lava of lasagna sauce dissolving its crunchy crust. I wept for that garlic bread until I was shoved in to the backseat of our family mini van, then I wept some more.
I was in the hospital for three and a half days repelling food, rejecting sleep and repeating the same questions, ‘Where am I? Where is Luke?’ On the fourth day, I awoke from delusion and fell in to confusion. Questions were answered slowly and in repetition to solidify them to my mind. Five days of my life were lost in the darkness but it was only a small price to pay for the gift of continued life.
When I was able to make sense of the situation I spoke with the doctor only just remembering the tiny human I was carrying. Failed intrauterine pregnancy…chromosomal abnormalities…trauma…miscarriage. It was a slur of unintelligible words with a clear message that displayed my failure. There were no words able to award comfort. Even those expounding a dearth of fault fell upon deaf ears.
If Luke ever tried to contact me again, he did a poor job. Though it was arduous, the end of an insolent relationship proved to be the end of my self destruction. The end is sometimes the only answer to pain though not by the ending of life.
That is the greatest lesson I learned from my pain.
Emily thinks of Luke on a daily basis but has not made contact. She continues to work through her mental illness with consistent medication management and therapy. She occasionally struggles with self destructive thoughts but surrounds herself with a support system to build her up and keep her on track.