It’s warm, humid and raining in Ireland today, not my favorite kind of weather but it’s inspiring me to write this blog of mine. I have all the windows open so there is a nice breeze flowing through my apartment as I write. Bliss….
The lady behind the desk asks me my name, address, phone number and my place of work? I have a job but I tell her I don’t because I am too scared to. She tells me to sit down and I will be called soon. I’m in the hospital waiting room and everything seems like an act, from the people sitting on the chairs around me to the ambulance that has arrived with some guy strapped to a stretcher with a neck brace on. It’s a cold and sterile environment and as I haven’t slept in two days, I feel like a character from the the Machinist. Nothing seems real. There is a coffee machine in front of me and what looks like a row of lockers with wires hanging out of them seemingly to charge your phone should the need arise, I find it strange. I want to run from away, what the hell am I doing here anyway? Two days ago I was packing my rucksack, excited and ready to go on a camping trip that I had planned over a month ago but somehow I am sitting here, my body and mind in a state of shock.
I’m about to go outside to get something small to eat, I tell the lady at the front desk but she tells me to stay as I am next and all of a sudden my name is called. I almost stumble into the triage nurse, an overwhelming sense of panic embracing me. She asks me what my problem is. I tell her I’m not sure but I don’t feel right and I need help. She tells me to get up on the hospital bed and pulls up my top. She proceeds to put what I can only describe in layman’s terms as sticky pads with wires hanging out of them all over my torso, I ask her why she is doing this? She explains in a cold manner that this is what it is like when you are brought into the hospital. I am confused by her answer. It’s like a scene from one flew over the cuckoos nest? Is this the real nurse ratchet! Unfortunately not. I sit down on the chair and she takes my blood pressure. The big red squeezy thing torturing my arm for what seemed like an eternity. Then it was over, back out to the sterile waiting room until I am called to see a psychiatrist.
Hours, minutes or seconds. Haven’t a clue, there is no such thing as time down this rabbit hole. I am called into a room where I meet a nurse, she asks me the same questions. What is your name? Have you been doing drugs? What can we do for you?…. What can you do? Help me! I want to scream but nothing comes out. I’m trying to explain to her how I ended up here but with the lack of sleep and shock it doesn’t make any sense to me and I am sure it doesn’t make any sense to her either. She asks me for a urine sample then asks me can she take my blood. A sense of terror wipes over my whole body and I’m sure she can see it in my face. Meanwhile a doctor is walking in and out of the room looking around for something. The whole experience feels so emotionless and frightening to me. I tell her I don’t want my blood taken but she looks at me in a funny manner so I reluctantly agree to it.
I am lying on the hospital bed in the room, I see her taking the needle out of the packaging and I feel safe in that knowledge but I am wondering why it is taking so long as I am looking the other way. I find the strength to look around and to my horror I see a long tube coming out of the end of the needle with loads of other equipment on a tray. What the fuck is this all about I think to myself but I am frozen stiff and say nothing. After all these are professional medical personnel doing their job, nothing to fear? I am sent out to the emergency ward to wait for the on call psychiatrist.
Everything is so surreal maybe they shut down the whole emergency ward and hired all these actors to frighten me and teach me a lesson of some sort but why? Why was there a tube in that needle? I need to see this psychiatrist now, I want them to admit me. I feel like a candidate for electric shock therapy and if this was an interview then the job is mine. Maybe I’ll never leave this hospital. I should be camping in the woods right now, grilling marshmallows over a camp fire. Where is Chief Bromden when I need him. The psychiatrist I met wasn’t much use either, the room he brought me into looked like a science lab and as he asked me questions he was drawing pictures of hangmen while I spoke, I kid you not. In the end they did not admit me nor did they offer me anything to help calm me down. I left the hospital scared and bewildered at the treatment I received. It was cold with absolutely no compassion or consideration for how desperate and fragile I was. How I got home afterwards is another story.
How did I end up here? A three day panic attack I’m guessing brought on from stress and burnout. I am an extremely sensitive but outgoing person. I easily pick up on negative vibrations around me. I suppose I have to go back in time to come to any real solution. Three weeks ago I was living a relatively normal life or so I thought. I was financially stable but filled with a sense of emptiness and frustration. I was excited about my trip away but deep down I felt anxious in the days leading up to it. That overwhelming feeling was creeping up on me. I could sense something was coming but I wasn’t sure what. Literally overnight my whole world was turned upside down. My body and mind were telling me to relax. I was forced to listen to them.
It turned out to be the best thing that has ever happened to me and I now see life through new lens, from a different perspective. I’m a much more laid back and grateful person for things that matter most in life. I can see the world for what it is and I’m finding my place in it like everyone else. I’ve enjoyed the creativity that has come back to life in me, that I buried under mountains of responsiblilty, self loathing and grief. I value my values and my integrity. I am on a new path with a new outlook and I’m a much happier person now that, is for sure.