It’s now mid-November and Winter is in full bloom. The nights are longer, the crisp cold air, the piercing winds, the quietness of the night as people huddle together in their homes for warmth. I have always loved winter, others love the warm sun, the long days, but I thrived in the piercing coldness of the night. The short days meant I had more time awake in the darkness where my body has felt adapted to for so long. Winter was warmly welcomed by me as I took my first step into the psych-ward at my hospital and walked into my doctor’s office.
I had scheduled the appointment on a whim on my down time at work. I went through some pretty basic questions and didn’t know if they’d even accept me into the hospital. I felt like downplaying my deteriorating mental health because I felt like it wasn’t worthy of being treating professionally and clinically. My inability to seek out help was not only just because I dislike the idea of being pitied and helped, it was more so because I felt like I didn’t deserve it, that I was taking up resources that could be used on people who were worse off than me. But the person who answered my phone call was nice and understanding, this person set me up with an appointment and said that these were just standard pre-screening and she set me up with a meeting later that week.
When I arrived at the office I felt nervous, anxious, as if everybody was staring at me and could see that I was a broken human being. It felt like I wasn’t enough of a mess of a human being to be there, or maybe it felt like that by being there, I was a crazy hoot of a person. Lots of things came running into my mind and I know why it is so easy to walk into this office and then suddenly change your mind and walk right back out without having received the help you needed. It was easy to psych myself out but as I checked in and paid my co-pay (thank you work insurance for making this experience possible and affordable), I felt obligated to see this through to the end. After completing a questionnaire and waiting, the moment came where my name was called up and I walked into that office where my life changed fundamentally forever.
I was a mess of emotions walking in, the doctor asked how I was and what was tough about today and I just choked up in tears and couldn’t even eek out a single word. Lucky for me my doctor was an amazing person and changed the subject into something more palatable and eased me into the process. We talked about who I was, where I was from, my work, and then when I finally felt comfortable I told my doctor that I’ve been seriously contemplated killing myself. That I’ve been stuck laying down on the floor in my room staring into the ceiling for hours. That I’ve caught myself sleeping on the floor because I felt like I belonged there. I was holing my machete to my neck and thinking about how easy it was to just go to sleep right then and there. That I had been making plans already to just disappear forever. That I was losing control, my life kept getting darker and darker, there didn’t seem to be a way out. That I trusted a friend with some of these words and I was given an answer that destroyed our friendship and now that was eating away at me too.
What followed was my doctor telling me what we were going to do moving forward. She was very transparent about being admitted into the hospital and that although she could admit me in because I had just admitted to being suicidal, she did not feel that I was enough of a danger to myself or others to warrant that. I deeply appreciated the honesty and transparency and that made me trust in what she said next even more, and that was that “here’s what we’re going to do to help get you better.”
That was a funny line to me and it resonates with me to this day and has etched a place onto my heart forever. “Here is what we’re going to do to help get you better,” and that’s when I realized that it was a choice to give up, it was a choice to not be better. Maybe it wasn’t a choice for all the shitty things that happened to me to occur, but the choice to fight for a better life, the reality that it can be better, that became very real for me the moment I walked out of the building. For the first time in a long time, I felt hopeful about life, I felt a spring in my step that made moving forward desirable and so began my journey to redemption.
To celebrate the new found me, I decided to finally visit a place that had been in my mind and dream to visit for so long, Point Reyes