I played the inpatient game.
I got up for breakfast, stayed for group, refused the temptation to nap and pretended not to hate every moment that passed. I stayed friendly with the nurses and avoided tantrums. I took my meds with a smile and feigned interaction with the other patients. I was on 72 hour psych hold and I knew what I had to do to get out.
I had been committed.
And I wanted out.
I patiently let the days pass. I didn’t make any phone calls– there was no one to call. Everyone was tired of me. The overdose, the 55 Ativan (aka lorazepam), just bolstered their position– I was out of control and needed help. And they were tired of helping.
This time I had no visitors. Long gone was the popularity I enjoyed during my first hospitalization, a mere seven months earlier. Back then, I had so many visitors that they had to sit outside the visitation area, awaiting their turn to chat with me for 30 short minutes.
This time I expected no one. When visiting hours rolled around I kept my head down and focused on my doodling, trying not to cry. Trying not to remember why no one wanted to see me. Trying not to think about the paucity of support that awaited me on the other side.
I waited my 72 hours without complaint. The food was just as bad as the first time. I was just as bored during the days. I was just as lonely during the nights.
In spite of my protests, I had once again been assigned to Dr. X. After my third night on the psych ward, and upon the expiration of the 72 hour hold, I met with Dr. X to discuss the possibility of my discharge.
I was more than apprehensive– I was terrified. Terrified that he wouldn’t release me. Terrified of the power he had over me. Terrified of what he knew about me.
We sat down.
I explained how I managed to land myself in the psych hospital again after swearing that he would never see me return. I was prepared for the worst. This was the man who told me that I’d never be able to quit doing drugs, and that no matter how smart I thought I was “the drugs would always have an IQ ten points higher.” I wasn’t optimistic about our meeting.
“Well Genevieve, I believe that if you had wanted to kill yourself, you wouldn’t have done this.”
I was shocked. Dr. X was never in my corner. He always thought the worst of me and took any and every opportunity to remind me that I was a drug addict. I was prepared to go to war to get him to release me. But this time I didn’t have to.
And he was right. I would have done something besides choke down those 55 Ativan if I had wanted to end it all. An opiate OD, wrists slit in the bathtub, poison injestion– all of these were stronger candidates.
Because if I had wanted to kill myself I would have chosen something strong enough to get the job done. And for some reason, Dr. X knew this about me.
So he let me go.
The game was over.