Five good things that have happened to me, 5 years and a day after the hospitalization date that kept me from committing suicide

1.) Relearning to laugh

By the time I reached my breaking point, I could not muster so much as a smile

Teaching myself to laugh again at even the smallest of things was a hurdle

Now I laugh loud enough, often enough for people to recognize it as me from opposite ends of halls

Laughing at minor inconveniences was one leap I made, knowing it would soon come easier

Yet I acknowledge that there are hard days I cannot let the tiniest of giggles out

2.) Falling in and out of love many times

Teaching myself that a lover doesn’t define you, but how fully you loved

How fully you loved someone who didn’t deserve you, someone who didn’t love you back

Giving too much of myself to the wrong ones

Giving away pieces of my love to people who needed it the most

Recognizing rock bottom in other people, giving them the shoulder when I knew I would have needed one

3.) Learning I was permitted to take up space

Knowing when people were trying to minimize my shine because they were uncomfortable with it

Using my stubborn voice to never back down

Just because I am a woman doesn’t mean I cannot posses the personality traits assigned masculine

Fiery, stubborn, loud mouth throwing sarcastic daggers that I have learned to embrace

4.) Realizing it’s alright to have emotions if they aren’t used to hurt someone else

Crying when I really need to, allowing myself to be angry when need be

I am not a robot and emotions are never as black and white as they seem

5.) Loving myself again, even if milestones are reached slower than someone else

My relationship with food is always tinged with the way my bones felt jutting out of my skin when I thought I didn’t need it

Days where I can look at food and not see the calories, fat content, sugar, etc. are days I count as good days

Days where I don’t calculate how much exercise I have to do with the extra food I take in are also good days

I have been allowed to accept the personality traits handed down to me, even if they are not seen in the brightest of light

Learning to accept myself at face value is a permission I am eagerly awaiting, but until then it is the baby steps that count the most


Scars and Sunshine

When I was in the adolescent ward of a psychiatric hospital

The other teenagers and I were asked to draw our illnesses

Using Crayola markers I drew a thunderstorm

Rain pouring out of the clouds steadily hitting the pavement like I imagined myself

Lightning bolts representing every time suicide was more than a fleeting thought

Each breath I took ached for it

Rain meant every time death was on the backburner

But blood still rain down the shower drain

One of my friends called me “a fucking idiot” for wanting to kill myself

My response was that he could call me all the names he could think of

Nothing could be worse than what I thought of myself

There was a boy in the outpatient program named Andrew

We called him BiPolar Bear

The last memory he has of me

Was my face red and blotchy after a meeting with my mother mediated by the social worker assigned to my case

She was the person I kept telling there was something wrong with me

But she listened to me like she listened to a fire alarm whose batteries were low

There was a girl who attempted suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills

Upon learning about her discharge she gave me and a few other girls she referred to as her wives “wedding rings”

I brought mine to college with me 3 years later because I still wonder how she’s doing

I have my roommate from that stay as a friend on Facebook

I’m so glad she’s still alive

I remember every late night sitting on her bed playing 5 Card Draw

Scars still linger on my skin from coming of age with a mental illness

You have no idea what it is like

The only constant thing was the therapy visits

I hesitate to show my scars on the beach when I wear a bathing suit

Usually I wear swimming shorts

But for the first time in 5 years I wore that bikini

I have never felt so much strength in so many stares

Even though I have not been cleared of my troubles

I still lend out a hand to people like me

Because no one deserves to be silenced in their own misery

The Psych Ward: 2 Years Later

On May 21st it was 2 years since I was admitted to the teen ward at my local psych hospital. Let me tell you a little bit about what had happened.

Up to that point I had been depressed/suicidal for about a year. I couldn’t imagine a future past 14. To be honest that was kind of freaky, not knowing when your last straw would be. All that I knew was soon enough I’d kick the bucket. For months and months up to May 21st I had been planning to do something to off myself.

About a month before, my grandmother and namesake, had a stroke. My mother rushed across the country to go care for her. Those 10 days could have been the worst in my life. Every time my mother called, she was on the verge of tears and I felt as if I couldn’t talk to her about my world crashing down around me. While she was gone I would open up to my father about my self harming, how I felt as if I was developing an eating disorder, and how “sad” I felt to put it lightly. I was much more than sad at that point in time, it was as if I was stuck in an endless tunnel with no lights.

The day of May 21st, 2012, the school found out an alumni had passed away. My improv teacher was distraught, and seeing that man like that was horrible. See, ever since I entered that class, he has inspired me. He made me smile and laugh so hard I could barely breathe, even on my darkest days. He has inspired me since to just be myself and people will accept me and will be inspired to be themselves. I want to take a moment in this prompt to thank him for inspiring me so much, and inspiring so many important friends of mine.

After going to the cafe because the recital hall, where my improv class took place, was being used as a place of mourning and reflection, my friend pulled me out. She knew what I was planning on. So she told me we were going down to guidance so she could talk to our councelor about the death of the former student. So she talked with our councelor about his death and how she couldn’t believe it. As she walked out of the office without me, she causally stated that I wanted to kill myself. Then what felt like the fragmented pieces of my world fell apart. I spent the rest of the day in offices of various councelors and doctors with my father. The doctors would determine if I was sick enough to be admitted to a psych ward. By the end of the day, that’s what would happen.

The first 24 hours weren’t the worst, the second 24 hours were. Let me tell you why, for the first 24 hours I didn’t have to talk to anyone about anything. I didn’t want to talk to anyone, but some kids in the ward were kind enough to talk to me that first night. Getting out of bed the second morning was the bravest thing I ever did. I mean I didn’t want to be there, I wanted to be dead. But in the group therapy session that morning, we stated our name, mood, and goal for the day. “Ainslie. Irritated. To be less irritated by the end of the day.”

I met some fantastic kids in the ward. There were 2 boys, both in for detox. It was neither’s first time in the hospital. There was a girl who overdosed on sleeping pills who was the nicest creature on earth and you would never know something was wrong. There was also a girl, one of my roomies, who taught me how to play 5 Card Draw. There was also a girl who always did a British accent to cheer people up. A pair of girls were inseperable even though they had met in that particular hospital stay. I learned some damn important lessons through those kids.

One lesson I learned from them is life keeps going, even if you don’t want to. Life keeps going, even after you want to end it. It doesn’t stop for anybody, but you can grab ahold of it again, even after wanting to end your life. Even after your world crashing all around you. I’m glad I’m still alive, despite not knowing what the future holds for me. Despite being completely terrified of what will happen to me. I have surrounded myself with fantastic people and I hope I can help them the way they help me.