Here I am. In a small white room. There are no adornments. A small sink is hidden behind an oddly placed privacy wall as if one might desire to wash hands in secret. There is a paper towel dispenser, but no trash bin. The spent brown papers wilt sadly in small pools of water on the white porcelain sink. At least the water faucet is automatic. I’ve nearly stopped caring about germs, mainly because every surface seems to be equally distributed with them. A large television hangs motionless on the wall, silent. The room smelled putrid at first, but I have already grown so accustomed to it that I don’t continue to notice.
I enter the communal bathroom after it was freshly cleaned. Happy, because I only have socks and sharing a communal bathroom with socks is an OCD nightmare, that I am now living. The only roll of toilet paper is smeared with fecal matter and blood, which promptly gets changed.
The common room is bright. Lightly colored vinyl chairs fill the room with a cool, sterile atmosphere. I inwardly hope that they are frequently cleaned as my exhausted body sinks into one of them. A middle aged woman with long blonde hair sits in the center of a small circle. Three others sit with her. She wears an identification badge and speaks slowly and clearly, “What is your name?” she asks. A man with twitching hands puts down his deck of cards and answers. Two older women look as though they’ve had much more difficult lives than mine answer as well.
“Rebekah,” I say.
“Oh! Rebekah,” the blonde woman cheerfully replies, “I once had a friend named Rebekah. People called her Bekah. Isn’t that nice? One day I asked her, ‘What should I call you?’ and she said, ‘Bekah.’” I wait for a punchline that never comes while wondering about the woman. Was she ok? I chatted for a while because, honestly, the alternative was crying in my room, and I was done with tears.
I tried to convince the woman that I was not crazy, but then realized that countless people must have previously tried convincing her of the same. The fact was: I was a patient in the psych ward.
I wrote that today. I wrote it while I was indeed a patient and all of those things were true though I might have gotten the order of events mixed up. I left out the part that the outlet on the wall was filled with colored clay where someone had tried to fill it. The window was smeared where a previous patient had stood pressing against the tiny glass.
I ended up there are a result of my brain injury. My symptoms have been a lot worse over the last few weeks. I’ve had many micro-hallucinations, extra dizziness and extra confusion. I feel like I am living in a dream and the line between reality and confused, crazy thoughts becomes blurred. I always snap out of it very quickly, but it is unnerving. I recently started to have suicidal ideations. I did not have the desire to hurt myself. However, the fact that I was getting these thoughts at the same time as my other symptoms were increasing, made it extremely likely that it was another part of my brain injury.
I had to get checked out to make sure I didn’t need any extra brain scans or further interventions. In the end, one of my medications is the likely culprit of quite a lot of my symptoms, so it is getting switched.
I’m sharing this because I want to normalize getting help for mental health as much as I can.