I was lying on my back, staring blankly at the white, cracked, ceiling, clutching onto the sheets, sinking into the bed. My mind was empty, bare and numb. No remorse, no regrets, no guilt for the decisions I decided a few days earlier. The nurse enters. She props my pillows, administers my medication and goes onto tell me I will be leaving the acute ward and moving to the “less crazier and louder ward.”
I never knew there was such a thing as a lesser crazier ward.
Never, in a million years I would think to end up in the psychiatric ward. I really thought it was an asylum merely for the completely insane people. You know those movies, where they drag away an out of control patient into a room to sedate them with a needle injected into their behind?
That really happens.
I saw that happened to a girl when I was there. She was irate, inconsolable, psychotic, and I had to spend the first night in a share ward with her. It is ironic though, I was scared of her killing me, yet two days prior I did not fear death at all and was ready to embrace death upon to myself. That’s what postpartum depression does, when it has been ignored for a long time. It absorbs any hint of reasoning, logic and certainty, replacing it all with uncontrollable silent rage burning in the mind – like an inferno, which cannot be put out with anything. Therefore this idea of suicide, the yearning to end it all was pertinent in my reasoning, my logic, and certainty. As a result of this thinking, no nurse, doctor or psychiatrist could reason with me when I arrived at hospital. All I kept telling them, over and over again that ending it all was the only conclusion, because I thought my son would be better off without me. For months I silently reveled into the idea that ending my life would benefit everyone, especially my son and husband. No more fighting with my husband, no more thinking I have completely failed at being a mother, these were the conclusions to my decision.
When I moved into the more demure ward, I was on high anxiety, figuring how I could get out of this mess. There was no way to end my life in my room. No hooks, no handles, no railings to aid me and fulfill my dark thoughts. I was trapped, haunted, tormented in my own thoughts and I knew I had to stop running away from my demons. I was a complete mess. My postpartum depression escalated into an obsessive compulsive like behavior, where I would repeat in my mind, over and over again that I completely failed as a mother, as a wife, as a human being. The idea of being a perfect mother smashed into a million pieces. The shattered idea fell through my fingers onto the floor. I gave up scrambling for the pieces and finding a way for that idea to piece back together. The shame, the guilt, the layers upon layers of emotions that I carefully had hidden all came up to the surface when I became completely alone for the first time in my life, and that was in the psychiatric ward.
Solitude – this was something I truly learned when spending my time in there. It is different to going on a walk on your own, or spending time alone in a café, or reading a book alone in bed. This kind of isolation opened up my eyes to not just my pain and suffering, but also to the others around me. I saw a little two year-old boy worried and confused when he came to visit me, wondering why I was not at home, and tucking him into bed at night. My husband was utterly heart broken.
The psychiatric ward is not just a place for the extremely insane patients, but for those like myself who needed to be numbed from the obscene suicidal thoughts, assessed by professionals and to come face to face with the inner demons. Most importantly the psychiatric ward taught me to be completely alone. To detach myself from the outside world and understand what pain and suffering really is.