Rated R for Obscene Moments of Reality
Lighting up in front of a no smoking sign, while singing signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs, is about the ballsiest thing I do these days. The nurses allow it, simply because I refuse to be cooperative without my hourly smoke break. I had been sadly mistaken in the assumption that the truth would set me free, and found myself under twenty-four hour protective watch, after sharing fantasies of driving into oncoming traffic with my shrink. When she mentioned in-patient treatment, I laughed a little before telling her to fuck off. She in turn, politely stated it was not a suggestion. Alas, I find myself here - in a safe place, where I can work out my inner kinks under the guidance of a well trained, but slightly irritated psychiatric staff.
I am attempting to settle into this new atmosphere, and to adjust to the surroundings, which include doctors, nurses, and several other patients - some with nervous tics that are driving me batty. I’ve yet to accept any visitors, feeling as though I am a dog wearing the cone of shame. My husband will most likely leave me anyway, and I’m certain to be fired from my job. The doctor say’s that’s purely the anxiety talking, and everyone just wants me to get well. But, I know she’s full of shit. At least I am spared from wearing a hospital gown, and am allowed to stroll around in my own clothing, which I have selected with great purpose. Today’s attire consists of black and white striped lounge pants, hot pink slipper socks, and a t’shirt that reads, I Do Not Have Enough Middle Fingers For This! Sadly my favorite shirt - # Go Fuck Yourselfie - has been confiscated.
Today is sharing circle day. I’ve not participated in this activity as of yet, and frankly I am rather doubtful as to it’s benefits. I don’t particularly care for strangers, let alone do I want to share my inner demons with them. I figure giving it a good honest try won’t do any harm though, so I am patiently waiting in one of the chairs for the group therapist to arrive. The man next to me introduces himself, and tells me that he is a YouTube star. Apparently he has 429 subscribers, who watch him breath like a tiger twice a week. I fake a smile, then turn away, as he continues to describe his breathing technique. Just as the doctor walks into the room, I turn to the tiger man and explain to him, tomorrow is Mother's Day, and normally I would be able to drink as many mimosas as I like and no one would be able to say shit, but instead I'm stuck here with a bunch of crazies, and would he kindly shut up. It is then decided I might not be ready for group session just yet, so the doctor asks one of the nurses to escort me to the courtyard for some air.
In the courtyard the nurse sits next to me on a wooden bench underneath a willow tree. I observe, from the tag on her shirt, her name is Gilda. I pity her for it. She wants to know why I am so angry, and I tell her my mouth tastes like a monkey’s ass, because they don’t allow their patients to keep mouthwash. I can see the annoyance in her eyes, but she is trying hard to stay positive with me. She hands me a notebook, much like the ones used in elementary school for spelling words, or daily writing practice. My assignment is to write down why I am here, and what goals I might have for my stay. Nurse Gilda supplies me with a ballpoint pen and takes her leave. I notice her taking a deep breath as she walks away, and I call after her to enjoy the rest of her morning.
For a few moments, I just sit staring across the lawn beyond the yard, while resting the notebook and pen in my lap. I think about the assignment Nurse Gilda has given me, and decide to have a sincere go at it. Putting pen to paper I begin to write:
Dear Nurse Gilda,
I am here, at this beautiful retreat center, because I had thoughts of taking my own life. Mind you, they were just thoughts, no action was taken, but nonetheless I am here. The doctor’s say I have major depression, an anxiety disorder - without agoraphobia, and suicidal ideation. Ideation is the key word in the phrase, I believe. You see, just because I thought of it, doesn’t mean I’ll go through with anything. They say death is only a problem for the living, and not for the dead. I think this is a true statement. Taking my life would mean hurting those precious souls closest to me. I could never do such a thing to my children and my husband. Perhaps, there will come a day when my absence would no longer sting, and my suffering could be relieved, but until then I vow to remain a living, breathing, pain in everyone's ass.
You asked me to write some goals for my stay here. I can think of only two:
1. Use the opportunity to lose a few pounds - the food service in this place is horrendous! It reminds me of the slop farmers feed to their pigs.
2. Go home.
Thank you for the assignment, would you kindly bring me some mouthwash or a package of breath mints?
The lady from room 200
For a split second, I almost consider giving this letter to the nurse. A tear begins to form in the corner of my eye, and the familiar feeling of panic starts to arise in my body. I rip the page from the notebook, crumpling it into a ball, and toss it in the garbage can next to the bench. I see Nurse Gilda coming back, and I know she can tell I am crying. I quickly write in huge letters, across the now blank page in front of me: Piss Off! I tell her as she approaches, that I have completed my homework, and I hand her the book. With a sigh, she reads, then closes it. In her palm, is my cigarette and a lighter. She tells me I may commence my signing if I should like. I don’t feel like singing, and quietly light up, without saying a word.