This is the way that E, a kind writer with a knack for dark humor, described the inpatient psychiatric unit I was in for a week.
So yeah, that happened.
I last wrote about how I was really struggling and overwhelmed with coming back to NYC. What I didn't really mention was that for the past three months, I've been in a huge depressive episode. This got especially bad after I got back from Italy, with my mood dropping and my desire to "do" recovery very, very low.
When I returned, I was struggling even more than I had before I left Denver. I had a couple of events really break me down even more, and by Friday, I hit the lowest low that I've ever experienced.
I want to recognize how truly amazing my treatment team is. I went to therapy on Friday, feeling completely helpless and the idea of seeing Saturday was next to impossible. I just didn't care. I had been struggling from this depressive episode for so long that I no longer cared about my recovery at all, I didn't want to be around anyone, and I truly felt like there was no point.
My therapist is a God-send. I've raved about her before, and I will continue to do so for years to come. She sat with me, and after about 20 minutes, recognized that the state I was in was one that couldn't be managed as an outpatient, at least not for the crisis period I was in. She quickly canceled the rest of her appointments, got me into a cab, and took me directly to the emergency room. She stayed with me there, helped me endure the painful and uncomfortable first hour in the ER and helped me talk with my family, and feel less alone.
I am SO thankful I got myself to therapy, and was honest with how I was feeling. I am so thankful for my therapist and her wonderful soul and the way she always looks out for my wellbeing.
I am thankful that I kept myself safe, even though that meant admitting to the inpatient psychiatric unit for a week.
Being inpatient was different than I expected. I was pretty numb the first two days I was there, crying non-stop and terrified to be there. But, everyone that I met completely changed that, almost immediately. I connected with these other amazing people who helped me feel less alone when I first got there, empathized with how brutal the every-4-hour vital checks for the first 48 hours were, and gave me hope that recovery was possible.
I stayed long enough to safely wean off of several of the meds that have long ago stopped working, and to get a treatment plan into place when for I discharged. I stayed long enough to have 7 of my most incredible friends come to visit me, which warmed my heart and gave me the strength and courage to keep fighting. I stayed long enough to get back to my "baseline"--which is still depressed, but to a point where I can use my skills again.
The first thing I said when I saw my therapist again on Thursday was, "I'm so grateful that I'm here."
And it's the truth. When you are that down, that depressed, that hopeless, there are times where the only hope you have to stop feeling the pain is to stop being here. And even though it's never something I would have expected for myself, I am truly, truly, grateful that I voluntarily signed myself into the hospital to keep myself safe.
Because I am here. I am fighting. It's been the weirdest/toughest/most unexpected week back in NYC, but I'm still here to talk about it.
And there's a part of me that feels ashamed, writing about this, and sharing such a vulnerable part of my life. But if this can help one person for one single moment of their life, it's worth it. From someone who couldn't stand the thought of another hour, let alone another day, I am endlessly thankful that I didn't stop fighting.
I want to share this story because it's scary, and it's tough, but there is absolutely NO shame about asking for more help. I know that in the moment and for the week following, the right level of care was for me to stay in that hospital and put up with the socks and the red tape over the cameras on my phone, and the surprisingly good hospital food?! Because now I'm here.
Please, please, please, if you are struggling, know that asking for help is the BRAVEST THING YOU CAN DO when you feel like this. It sure as fuck won't feel like it at the time, but it is the most courageous act, to take care of yourself by letting others take care of you.
September is the start of Suicide Awareness Month, and I'm glad that I am still here, able to share my story, and that I can #BeThe1To tell you that it's okay to reach out when you're in the darkest of the dark. You will get through it. I'm always here if/when you need someone in your corner. Keep fighting.
If you are struggling, you can text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741. You can reach the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
Hi, I'm Charlotte! I'm a 24 year old navigating life in NYC and mental health recovery. I am passionate about public health and eliminating stigma.