St. Joseph’s: Regan 2

“Its all in your head.” “Read your bible.” “Snap out of it” “Oh, you’ll be okay!” That’s not even half of the advice I’ve heard throughout dealing with depression. Truth is… nothing you say is going to get rid of my depression. In fact, everything that you were saying was starting to upset me. Everything was starting to upset me. Little things would throw me off the edge. Things so little I couldn’t even tell anyone without feeling like a stupid child. I had to lie to all my loved ones, which made me feel even worse.

I just previously got out of a relationship of one year with my boyfriend. We can call him Leo. When you first meet someone you don’t start off with the bad, you get to it later. I never told Leo about my depression. He didn’t need to know. I thought it was embarrassing and childish especially since Leo was much older and mature than me. We had our ups and downs but we fell in love. He would do absolutely everything he can for and vise versa. His birthday was coming up and I wanted to do something fancy and special for him. Weeks in advance I booked a surprise super fancy hotel for one night that cost way too much money for me (but I had to show out). The only reason I did that was because the stupid website gave me the option to make a reservation and pay up front at the hotel. That was that! I booked the hotel and I was so excited. I got the email that it was confirmed and the hotel will accept my payment when I got there. So, I’m out here doing my own thing, going out to eat, going to hookah lounges, spending alllll this cash that I shouldn’t be, but its okay cause I had it and I didn’t have any big expenses to worry about. One Friday, Leo and I had an awesome night (movies, junk food, etc -_-) and we happily fell asleep. The next morning I woke up to a chase bank message about how insanely low my account was. I was so confused. My eyes were barely open but I got out of the bed so fast. It was like I had just gotten robbed. I got up so fast that Leo woke up too. I found out that the hotel took out the fee for the room I booked, weeks before we were supposed to check in. I start panicking and calling every company I could to try to have this mistake fixed. I was basically begging. I was trying to be as secretive as possible so Leo wouldn’t find out about the surprise but it was very hard since I was so nervous and my voice was crackling. “Sorry we can’t help you.” “Let me transfer you.” “You can’t have your money back.” I was starting to get furious. I finally got loud and said “My account is in overdraft don’t you care?!” Of course the man didn’t care. At this point I had to tell Leo everything and of course he offered to give me the money. I did not want that. This was supposed to be my gift to you. I felt like such a failure. My body started to go numb. I wasn’t listening to anything Leo was saying. I just walked out of his house and drove home with only one thing on my mind; how many pills am I going to take?

The only time I’ve been in the hospital for over a day was when I was born. I never knew what it was like to actually BE in a hospital yet alone did I think I would find out so soon. When I tried it before I didn’t end up there so why would I end up there now? I stormed inside and went straight to my room. I had 2 bottles of antibiotics from when I had walking pneumonia the week before. I grabbed them so quick while hysterically crying. I stared at the bottle for a while and decided to call an emergency number. The lady over the phone barely understood what I was saying. I remember telling her how much I wanted to end my life. I remember screaming how much I wanted to die. No one could hear me because my room is quite isolated from the others. The lady over the phone was trying to calm me down but all I wanted to do was swallow those pills. So I put my phone down and I took multiple pills and they were 2 different kinds. At this point I remember being so happy and I was smiling. Yup, the pills did the trick as usual. I forgot the lady was still on the phone until I heard my name a couple of times. I got back on the phone and told her I was happy now and didn’t need her. I didn’t want to talk to her anymore. She threatened to call the ambulance and that’s what happened. I don’t remember any noise, just lying there in bed smiling and happy. I heard people asking me if I was okay but I was just smiling back at them. All of a sudden there’s a big man I have never seen before just hovering over me while I just smile and stare into his eyes. “Mam, do you know what you did?” he says. I get up and look at him with a smirk and say, “ Yea, I tried to kill myself.” More big men I have never seen before started coming and telling me I tried to kill myself. EMT’s are everywhere trying to get me out of there. My family is crying and I’m just smiling while they escort me out of my house to 5 cop cars and an ambulance. I wonder how many nosey people were lurking? Trust me when I said I was so happy from those pills. I was laughing and giggling the whole ride there with those cute EMT men while my mother was in the front of the ambulance crying. I got to the hospital and I was brought to a room where my family couldn’t see me, only the staff. They had a bald man who looked exactly like Robert Irvine stationed outside my room in the emergency area. His job was to stare at me and write things. I couldn’t see anyone for hours but I finally was able to see my mom. She told me she was waiting with Leo and my brother. (How the hell did Leo find out?) I started crying and telling her how sorry I was. A social worker walked in on us and she gave me the worse news ever. I was going to have to stay in the psychiatric ward. I was devastated and regretful. Why’d I do that? She told me I would have to stay there for 2 days tops. I stayed there for 6.

“Bye Mom, I love you.” She was the last person I saw before being wheeled up by a nurse and a security guard to the famous Regan 2 Psych Ward. I finally got there. The halls were so long and the walls were so plain. Ever smell a sweaty boys locker room? That’s what it smelt like. It was so quiet you could hear my belly rumbling from how sick and hungry I was. They gave me this really uncomfortable hospital outfit that I was required to wear and it was GREEN! I took a tour of the hospital and I was so scared. I could not believe that I was actually there. It was like a horrible movie. The nice nurse showed me to my room and introduced me to my roommate. We can call her Laura. Laura barely spoke English so it was hard to talk to her at first. She was my first friend and we sat together at dinnertime and then every other time after that. Laura and I clicked; we hated mornings, we loved sleep, and we were both new. In the psych ward it is mandatory to wear the hospital clothes for the first 24 hours and after that someone can bring you real clean clothes, books, pictures, and things like that. It does have to be checked by someone beforehand. Regan 2 had a bunch of rules but that is to be expected. Every 30 minutes a nurse had to know where you were, even if you were showering. They would even come into my room at all hours of the night peeping to see if I was really there. You weren’t allowed to go in anyone else’s room no matter what but that didn’t stop one old man every morning from walking into men’s rooms and kissing them on the forehead. Days and days passed and I was starting to get comfortable. I knew most of the patients and everyone knew me but just because I was comfortable didn’t mean that I was happy. I learned that you couldn’t show any weakness in there. The only people I trusted were the new awesome friends I had just made. Everyone else was literally a spy. Every single staff member had to walk around with a clipboard with our names on it and they would right down everything. They would look to see if you were speaking in groups, talking to others, sleeping too much, eating too much. Even when I thought I was having an honest genuine conversation, I wasn’t. I was just being observed like a test monkey. Students from different colleges would come for clinical and look at us like we had 6 eyes. They were totally judging us. We can’t help that we are depressed, bi-polar, schizophrenic, or unlucky. Unlucky was definitely what I was that week. I lost some pounds because the hospital food was gross or I just couldn’t eat due to the fact that there was usually always someone across from me with a booger hanging from his damn chin. How? Not sure. There were even people with crazy visible earwax. I hated using that one phone for so many people. Because of that one nasty phone, my face broke out so bad but only on the side that I used the phone. I started to use alcohol wipes each time I used the phone, if I even got a chance to use the phone. The phone lines were so long and everyone would get into fights because of it. I got into my first fight with a grown woman because she thought she could disrespect me and try to end my call. That wasn’t going to happen. I looked forward to my calls, especially from Leo and my mom. I didn’t have a phone to text with so phone calls and visiting hours were my favorite time of day but also the saddest. Each patient was allowed any amount of visitors but for only 1 hour. My visitors basically had to fight to get time with me. They had to split the time evenly between everyone so it was fair. The ladies at the nurse’s station told me I was the first patient to have so many visitors each day. One thing about visiting hours is that someone would always bring my phone and I would feel like a civilian again. I built the courage after days of group and OT to text my close friends where I was but I didn’t say why until about the next day or so. I was starting to feel like I could finally get out of the hospital. I would ask when I could go home and they could never give me an answer. One day each patient was forced to go to a meeting with about 24 people in a conference room consisting of doctors, nurses, and students. It was humiliating and intimidating but I walked in there with my chin up ready to show how happy I was so I could be discharged. I thought the meeting went well but I kept quiet. Not long after, a nurse walked into the TV room where we were all hanging out and named the people who were allowed to go home the next day. I wasn’t on the list but my roommate was, and I was so upset that I ran to my room to cry so no one could see me. I felt let down by everyone and everything but I couldn’t show that so I just faked it till I made it.

There was some times where I felt like I was at home. I knew the routine so well. I would check the white board every morning for that day’s schedule and to check who my nurse would be that day. I liked the structure. I liked knowing that for once my days were on track. They were easy. I’ll never forget the loud screams from the shower every time someone would get burned, bombarded with ice-cold water, or the hot metal button you had to press to get the shower to run for a little under 20 seconds. Or having to hide my snacks so the Regan 2 snack burglar wouldn’t steal it. Or each time we would be called to take our medicine and the nurses had to check our mouths. Tongue up. Tongue down. Each patient had to be prescribed to something and you had the option to take sleeping pills at night to help with the miserable tossing and turning. Every night before bed we would all lie and say we were ready to go to bed just so that we can get some Ambien. We called them the “Ambien parties”. We would take the Ambien and turn the radio on and just dance like no one was watching. We danced it all: hip hop, bachata, salsa, and even some heavy metal. The cameras caught it all and the staff was so shocked by how happy we were. They even gave some people sedatives because they were “too” hyper. I appreciated the amazing friends I met there but I appreciated my best friends, family, and loved ones more because they made the effort to either visit me or even called. I finally felt so loved. Leo and all of my family were getting along so well and that was so important to me. One of my friends brought me soda and goldfish and to me it was like a 5 coarse meal. Another really good friend brought me a whole container of creamy garlic alfredo pasta, my favorite canned drink, Ginger ale, and a lovely note. The soda and fishies alone were enough to satisfy me, can you imagine how I felt when I saw a home cooked meal? Another friend even came to visit me with her mother and I was so shocked I remember breaking down into tears immediately. I saw most of my family but mostly my brother, mother, and Leo because they came to see me everyday. I appreciated it so much and I still do. I wouldn’t wish severe depression upon anyone. Even when I’m sad I still hate to see other people feel that way as well. Before I went home I wrote the word “smile” on a little post-it note for an older man who rarely ever smiled. When he saw it he smiled and that’s all I could ask for. On Thanksgiving I was finally released but only because my mom had to really ask them to let me go for the holidays. They definitely wanted me to stay there and be even more depressed. I was so excited because 1. I was finally going to see my dog that I missed so much. ( I used the photos my mom brought me to paint Jb in OT) 2. I was going to get fresh air since the psych ward doesn’t allow you any sort of fresh air not even through windows because they think someone might jump out. Which I guess is to be expected haha. 3. I was going to see my family and finally be home and 4. My boyfriend was coming to pick me up. It literally felt like my prince was coming to save me from the castle. I was so happy to be going home, we signed the release papers and we were out of there. “ So baby pull me closer, in the back seat of your Rover” was all I could think of while we were driving home in the Range with the cold breeze blowing in my face.

No, I’m not better but I’m MUCH better now, than I was back in November. Between the hospitals stay and till about 3 weeks ago I fell downhill again but that’s for another time. If you made it this far, thank you so much for reading. I hope I didn’t bore you too much. Please remember to let me know if you have any questions or comments. I am truly enjoying and appreciating everyone’s responses. 💋

P.S. After I got out of the hospital I honestly missed it. I felt out-of-place in the real world so I called the hospital to talk to my friends who were still there. I found out that the man I gave the note to said I made his whole stay 100 times better. Little things like that can make anyone’s day. If you can, do a good thing for someone even if it’s just a smile and wave. All of it counts.

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