I stared at the reflection of myself in what looked like a mirror, but really it was just a cloudy acrylic fiberglass, also known as, a ‘glassless mirror, the blue scrubs that I now wore were made of a thin cotton and the pants were so long that they were dragging on the floor. My Nike tennis shoes were confiscated, and instead, I wore light blue socks with non-slip grips that matched the scrubs I was given when I was checked in.
It may sound like a simple question. The nurse asked, “Do you believe you are a danger to yourself?” But answering that question broke me. Through the tears, I managed to whisper, “Yes, I do believe I am a danger to myself.”
Each night I laid in that twin-sized bed in my blue scrubs and non-slip grip socks I’d think about the phone call I made to one of my closest friends, Allison, asking her to take me to the psychiatrist, I’d think about how I sat in silence with her as I waited to be taken to the hospital, I’d think about the view of the road through the small window of the ambulance as I made the journey from Milledgeville to Atlanta. I’d think about how scared and alone I was, I’d think about how things could never go back to the way they were. Not after this.
When I arrived at what I assumed was Anchor Hospital 4 a.m. I had changed in front of a nurse and traded in my favorite Kentucky t-shirt and black and white Nikes shorts for those horrible blue scrubs. Then I was escorted to my room. I didn’t have a roommate so I spent that first night crying and giving myself pep talks about how I would get through this and making promises to God about how I would be a better Christian if I could just get make it out.
The next morning I took a shower with a curtain as a door and shampoo that doubled as body wash. There was no door to the bathroom, just a curtain. The tears continued to fall from my eyes as I went about my morning routine. I was scared to go out into the day room or the cafeteria because I was wearing the blue scrubs. They weren’t just ugly. They also screamed, “Look at me, I’m on suicide watch!”. I was ashamed of myself. I was supposed to be stronger than this.
Eventually, the nurse forced me to get out of the room, and I decided to make my way to the day room. I held my head down trying to avoid eye contact with anyone. Once I arrived in the day room, I lifted my head and saw the most beautiful sight. Every single person in that room was wearing those terrible blue scrubs. Looking around I saw that we were all here whether we admitted ourselves or our parents or siblings or spouses admitted us, we were all here for the same reason. We ranged in age from 18 years old to 54 years old. There were people from all different walks of life who had grown up adopted or rich or without parents. There were people who had been in the military, some who had been in prison. There were people who were parents with multiple children others were newly engaged. The shame I felt when I had first been admitted was replaced with a sense of courage. I saw myself as brave for facing my inner demons. I was getting help. In a place where all hope seems lost I found myself. I found that I love who I am. I discovered my strengths. I acknowledged my weaknesses. I made lifelong friendships with people I would have never met had it not been for this place. When I admitted myself into Anchor Hospital on Sept. 14 2018, I thought my life had ended, but when I was released on Sept. 21, 2018 I realized that my life was actually just beginning. “Do you believe you are a danger to yourself?”. Sounds like a simple question. It’s not.