When I had my breakdown, my parents felt helpless. I felt helpless. I just snapped. Am I really going crazy? Am I really going into a facility right now?
I was all over the place. Crying that I didn’t want to go in.
But, just the night before, I was tearing at my hair and inconsolable sobbing. I got so angry that I ripped the pant leg of the pajama pants I had been wearing in half. I tore them right open! Who does that?
Being admitted to a facility, they take EVERYTHING from you. As I was being checked in, I could see a girl in restraints. (Like legit straight jacket.) It terrified me! My parents had to leave, even as I plead for them NOT to leave me.
I was led to my “room,” where I met my roommate. She was quiet and never talked. I was so exhausted that the bed looked heavenly, but it was still too early, so I was brought down into the group session where all the other girls were.
I felt numb listening to all these girls’ stories. Stories of abuse, stories of cutting, running away, etc. I didn’t belong here. I had to get out! In my head, I had done none of these things, yet I did, but my brain didn’t want to accept it.
When there was free time, I started to get to know some of the girls better. They were all lost.
I should have known then. Lost. Lost is precisely what I would say I was. I knew it, but I didn’t want to have to admit to it aloud. All I could think of was going home. How do I get home?!
When it got later in the day, I was able to make a phone call to my Dad. I begged and cried “Please come get me.” But the doctor I had met with earlier on that morning put a seventy-two hold on me. Which meant I legally had to stay the whole three days.
Trying to sleep that first night was awful. I cried to the night staff that I couldn’t sleep because I had a bad headache. I did, from non-stop sobbing. They gave me a Benadryl. They wouldn’t let me have Tylenol for safety reasons. It helped though. I slept like a baby.
Now, one thing to know is I’ve never ever been a morning person.
The way they woke you up was from a loudspeaker that plays in every single room. Exactly ay 7:30 am. Over the speaker, they would announce it was time to get up, get dressed, and time to get in line if you were on medications. You’d have to change and get in line quickly so you’d still be able to have time to eat breakfast.
Of course, the doctor I saw the day before put me on meds, so I had to get in that line. I didn’t want to get in that line. I didn’t want to take anything.
When it’s your turn in line, they hand you a small cup with the pill and a small cup of water. They then proceed to make you lift your tongue to make sure you indeed swallowed those pills. Exactly like you’d see in the movies. I felt so ashamed of myself. How the hell did I end up here?
My mom gave me a notebook. It was one of the few things they let me keep. And holy shit did I write. I wish I had that notebook now. I threw it away a while ago when moving. At that time, I never wanted to see that book again. It held things I never wanted to think about again. Honestly, just writing this is hard. It’s not something I talk about. BUT it’s part of my past and I can no longer deny that.
All the girls had to go to art therapy, and then after that most of the girls had “school,” but since I had graduated early, I didn’t have to go. I was able to have what they call “free time.”
It didn’t matter, though, because the meds they had me on made me feel like a brain dead zombie. Everything was hazy; I felt dizzy. I didn’t want to talk, let alone move. So, I sat with my head down and wrote in my journal. At least I was allowed to have that.
Thank whatever earthly powers that be, that they allowed family members for visits. My amazing brother came to bring me dinner. He knew I was (still am) the pickiest eater.
Although, I felt embarrassed sitting across a small visitor table in a psych ward. Goodbyes were weird. Again, all I felt was shame. I hated myself for being there.
I cried so much during my time there, it was like it all built up and wouldn’t stop coming out. Three full days can feel like a lifetime when you feel alone and lost, stuck. Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. People asking you personal questions that you don’t even want to answer because you don’t want to feel the pain.
The people I worked with and most everyone else thought that I went to Florida to see my grandparents. Only a select few friends knew where I truly was.
When my three days ran out, my doctor thought I should stay and continue therapy. I was so close to going home. I could smell it.
Both of my parents had come to pick me up. They thought maybe I should stay. Which made me feel nervous and agitated.
Agitated because my parents were laughing together, and being civil. What?! Wasn’t it only just last week that I was still being put in the middle of all their fights?
I realized then; it was them! They had been fighting forever with me trapped in the middle. And here they were laughing together, smiling. It enraged me! I snapped at them to stop.
That backfired. Freaking out made my parents think that I wasn’t ready to leave.(Truly I wasn’t ready to leave.) I was on edge, and they could sense it. I cried, “Please, I’m sorry. I just want to go home.” I didn’t want to be around these girls anymore. I wanted to feel normal again.
My parents gave in to my pleading and got me out of there. I was out! Driving further and further away from that small ass bed I had to sleep in. Further from the emptiness that I could feel all around that place, gone from the meds that made me feel numb.
Maybe if I stayed and really listened, maybe if I stayed and actually opened up. There’s a lot of maybes that run through my head. I don’t know. I was lost. I hated myself. Maybe I did belong there; perhaps I should have tried. Just like I wish my Dad would have tried.
And to be honest, I did exactly what my Dad always did, hide. Not facing it is what made my Dad get worse and worse, and here I was going down the same path as he was and I didn’t even see it. He didn’t want to face the pain, he wanted to feel normal just like I did. Funny how we don’t see what is right in front of us.
Now, it’s time to stop being ashamed of not being okay. I wasn’t okay. And that’s okay! I have had a chemical imbalance for depression. Even if I didn’t want to admit it then, I still do.
I am on medication for anxiety and depression. And I know now that back then there was no me seeing it. I didn’t have the right coping skills. I didn’t understand what was going on in my brain. Anger and sadness blinded my thinking and judgment.
I shook off the hospital. Pretended it never happened. And by doing that, I only made it worse. I didn’t deal with any of my problems. I deflected over and over again. And it was so easy because I had always been rescued. So how could I learn?
When I got home, the grounding from the party kicked in. I couldn’t see anyone. But I deserved it.
When we bottle up our emotions it only creates havoc. It comes out in ways we don’t like later. In ways that are not only destructive to you but the ones around you.
I am so thankful to say I, yes at Thirty am finally learning to break my old habits, and learn to move on and not hold onto pain.
Learning coping skills, learning to let go and move on. It’s a long process, and there is still plenty for me to learn. The point is: I eventually opened my eyes. And I couldn’t be happier that I did.
I am finally saying goodbye to that young broken girl. The one trapped in an abusive relationship, I never realized I was in with my Dad, and saying HELLO to a woman in a new world where I can finally feel free. Free to not be afraid that I suffer from mental illness. Free to get to know who I really am on the inside.
Mental illness, it’s so much more than one person can handle alone.
There is a stigma around mental illness that we need to break. I hope that by telling some of my stories I can help that. I hope that my story can help someone else feel not as alone as I did. That again, even when we are in the dark, there is a light that can shine through.
2 Replies to “Mental Break Down”
Great writing on what was such a painful time for you. I would love some of my students to read this!
I would love for it to reach teenagers, maybe see that someone else has been in the same place overcome what they never thought they could. I still can’t believe how far I’ve come and I wish I could go back and tell my younger self to open my eyes. But we learn from what we go through and that’s what counts is to be able to take the pain and learn from it.