The first song that comes on the radio is ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. The irony is so overwhelming that I can’t even laugh. This is why I stopped writing fiction. I could never make up things more absurd than reality.
The drive is going to take an hour and a half. I feel shaky but weirdly peaceful. The same peace I felt almost two years ago when I agreed to admit myself to hospital. The same kind of peace like as a child after confessing something to my mum and instead of getting angry she’d say she’d sort it. I don’t need to do anything. The adults will figure it out.
I turn down ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ without asking the driver. I hate fake inspirational bullshit like this statement. What doesn’t kill you can completely fucking destroy you. It can take your physical health, mental health, your ability to move or function, in some cases the very core of what is considered to be humanity. It’s wrong to say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger because sometimes it really doesn’t.
I don’t feel particularly strong now. I called the crisis team because for the first time since I got out of hospital I couldn’t keep myself safe. Later the team members and I agreed that I’d had a panic attack for the first time in over a year.
I had forgotten how the word ‘panic attack’ doesn’t even begin to describe the paralysing absolute terror inside your head. The white noise that drowns everything into a scream that only you can hear.
I had also forgotten how it feels like to be suicidal to the point where I’m about to act on it. I’ve had passing thoughts, sometimes accompanied with anxiety, but nothing like this. The last times I’d felt this before were when I actually tried to kill myself and in hospital when I’d scream at the nurses to let me out so I can just go fucking die.
In my case it’s almost like a need. The pain is so overwhelming that you’re not sure whether it’s mental or physical anymore. There’s just pain, so overwhelming that you can’t sense anything other than that pain. It consumes you. It overpowers you. You are no longer even a human, you’re a being called pain. If anyone who calls suicide a selfish thing to do had to feel that pain for one tenth of a second they’d shut the fuck up.
I should count my blessings. Instead of just going my merry way to kill myself I called somebody. Something somewhere at the back of my head clicked enough that I got my phone out and made the call. I told them what I was going to do. I asked for help. And I was taken seriously. Now I’m being moved to a place for my own safety.
It was like I was reliving a time of my life which even though feels very long ago, it really wasn’t. The room is the same. The crisis team worker is the same. Even the lady who drives me to get my things after the decision is made is the same.
She remembers me.
“I never forget a face, Ida”, she says.
It feels like a failure to come back to these people. I shouldn’t be back.
“It really isn’t a failure, not at all”, the lady who drives me to pick up my things says. Her name is Wendy. “This is just a blip. Everybody has them.”
If I were to give anyone a tour into the world of mental illness, one of the first things I’d talk about would be the word ‘blip.’ Blip can mean anything from relapsing to tearing your arms open with a key or to trying to actually top yourself. Forget what you ever thought before when you heard the word ‘blip.’ It’s a whole new ballgame in this league.
Everything you ever thought about anything changes. Once you think you’d had the worst of it, something worse happens. So you’re not shocked by anything after some time. Try it with anyone who has spent time at a mental health facility.
I guarantee you that they won’t even blink when I’d refer to this whole episode as a blip.
My phone keeps going off. The crisis team’s room where I had waited for transport has no signal. I had updated twitter earlier to say I’ve chosen to admit myself to treatment so I’d be more quiet than usual for a while.
I speak to my best friend on the phone for most of the journey. First thing she says is that three people have come to her today saying that they’ve had a horrible day.
“Did I win?” I ask and she starts laughing.
“Yeah, I think you won this one.”
When I was hospitalised I’d text my closest friends from the back of an ambulance. Same text over and over again. I’m going to hospital but don’t worry, I’m fine.
At the time I thought of it as a sensible statement.
“You’re a dickhead”, she says tenderly.
She loves me.
Once I hang up with her, I start going over the texts I’ve received to distract myself from a headache that has been slowly building up throughout the journey. I’ve cried for hours today and the after effects are starting to creep up on me.
One text comes without a name. I’ve deleted the number.
From the choice of words I recognise who it is.
A person who I thought to be my friend has seen my tweet and says that I can talk to her anytime. xx
This is the first time she has contacted me in seven months. The last time I spoke to her was when she dropped me off at a police station to give a statement against my rapist.
Not once in seven months has she asked how did it go. How is the case. How am I.
I have to roll the window down because I almost throw up in my lap. The wind is freezing but I have to keep the window open for the rest of the journey. I don’t reply. I have to concentrate all my effort on not vomiting.
Seven months of no contact and now this person just waltzes in with her empty care and xx’s. Am I supposed to be grateful?
How fucking dare she.
Later that night I tell her not to contact me again. We’re not friends anymore.
It’s funny how many friends you lose while you’re unwell.
“How much longer?” I ask the driver.
“About ten minutes.”
Might as well be an hour. My head is pounding and my painkillers are in a backpack that’s in the trunk. I already had to take an antihistamine in case my eyes would swell shut.
I’ve never met another person who gets an allergic reaction from excessive crying. Research done on human tears has shown that tears hold different consistencies. Under a microscope, a tear cried out of frustration looks different to a tear of sorrow, even if they have come from the same person.
There must be something especially toxic in my tears because if I have cried too much, there’s a danger that my eyes will swell shut over night. I’ve not shed a tear for a whole hour but I look like a toad with myxomatosis.
The taxi driver tries to find the house number, driving further down the street and then backing up. I’m no use. I’ve never been to this town before. I’m so nauseous that all I can think of is holding very tightly onto the door handle.
“It’s this one”, the taxi driver says. “The house with a green door.”