5150

I am in a gritty, confessional mood tonight. I just want to write. So, I’m going to write.

Oh, trigger warning. This little number is about my first 5150 hold. For those of you unfamiliar, a 5150, or 72 hour hold, is defined as an involuntary psychiatric hold which authorizes a qualified officer or clinician to involuntarily confine a person suspected to have a mental disorder that makes him or her a danger to themselves, a danger to others, and/or gravely disabled.

This post includes mention of suicide. Ladies, gentlemen, take your seats.

Before I begin, I must admit that certain pockets of my memory have been erased- either from trauma, meds, both…? Bear with me, here.

My downfall leading up to this moment began in July of 2010. I was in the process of transitioning into college. It was my first time truly on my own. I had everything going for me. To quote Kate Winslet from Titanic, “Outwardly, I was everything a well brought up girl should be. Inside, I was screaming.”

I am unsure of how I ended up here. I was a hot mess from September to October. That’s when Morris had taken over my life. I had grown a love for heroin, alcohol, and promiscuity.

The 5150 came about from either 1 of 2 instances. The first instance:

I had theater rehearsal that night. I remember it being very cold. I had been feeling very mentally unstable for at least a week. Suddenly, while in the middle of rehearsal, I heard someone say, “She jumps.” What had prompted me…I don’t think I’ll ever know.

I just left the classroom. I pushed the heavy doors of the theater wing open and fled. I mean, I ran. I ran fast through the dark trees and shadows of students meandering through the campus. As I ran, it grew louder. I truly and genuinely accepted that I just couldn’t live anymore. I felt insane. Something breathed inside of me and I couldn’t throw it out of me fast enough.

Frantically, I stopped at one of the buildings on campus. There wasn’t anyone around. I climbed the steps, which I remember to be about ten stories high. My lips were frozen, tears cascading down my cheeks, leaving sad puddles on the corners of my mouth. Finally, I reached the top. I leaned over the rail, looked down and thought to myself how unafraid I was.

I really would have jumped.

Suddenly, my two friends grabbed me and pried me off. My then best friend collapsed on my body, wailing. As Mary collapsed to her knees, holding the son of God in her arms, weeping and howling, she held me. I wanted to cry, to show her how much I loved her and appreciated her saving my life (literally), I had nothing left in me. I had been depleted of basic human emotion.

The second instance:

Perhaps this was the night after my first attempt. Without too much detail, I had promptly ingested, to my clouded thinking, 2 bottles of medication. In reality, it was much less than that. I had called my friend at the time to please stay with me in my last few minutes of life. I hardly remember anything from that initial phone call to the whirring sirens of an ambulance.

The next thing I knew, I was in the hospital. On lockdown. My body was puffy and bloated. I was strapped down with blue cloth to a metal-braced bed. I was coughing up blood- lots of blood- due to a torn esphagous from vodka. One of the male nurses looked down at my legs and commented, “Oh, she’s a cutter.”

Even though I as very out of my body at the time, I thought to myself how cruel it was of him to say that in front of me. I wasn’t stupid. I was suicidal.

The hours blended into one another. I had no concept of time. I woke up to convulsions, followed by the excruciating pain of Ativan being pumped into my veins. Every 4 hours I would have a dose injected into me. I would scream as the liquid creeped up through my arms, soaking into my chest. I pleaded to them to please dilute it. That was the most unbearable part.

I remember people visiting me. Some of them later said that they visited and yet I have no recall of them.

To quote my Facebook statuses from those very nights:

“day 4 in the hospital-being woken up at 4 am to take a blood sample. just keep sing “three little birds””
“3.21.92 – 10.14.10”
“Is spending the night in the hospital again “
“is currently in the emergency room. fuck this IV in my arm tho”

The days went on, full of visits from psychologists and social workers. I’d mark my mental state on a clipboard from 1-5, 5 being postal. The TV would drone on with reality programs and the news, of all things. The flowers by my bedside had died by the 4th day.

That was a terrible experience. I felt like an experiment. The day I was released, I couldn’t even bend my arms, my veins were so badly beaten. I felt that I really had died.

Even afterwards, I felt like a zombie. I saw halos constantly around the street lights. I tell you now that it was hell. I was stuck in a psychotropic limbo. The only time I found release was through sleep, and even then, I was tortured.

That’s mostly the blood and guts (no pun intended) to my first hold. A devastating time in my life.

On another note, for anyone who has gone through similar, or who is going through it, I love you. I may not know you. But, God, do I love you. You have made it so far in life. You’ve made it past the bullshit, the heartbreak, the relentless lust for eternal sleep. You are amazing. I love you and if I could, I’d hold you.

-SJ

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