1. Alex Balcon

    Alex Balcon New Member

    Jun 17, 2013
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    First time writer, looking for help

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Alex Balcon, Jun 17, 2013.

    Firstly, hello from me! I'm new and thrilled to have joined a place with like minded people!

    I've fairly recently spent time in a mental health hospital, I'm now 21 and in there, at the lowest of my low I found a new love. I'm not a big reader, but I love writing. I find is so therapeutic and helpful to get what goes off in my head onto paper. The one problem is, I'm not at the level I want to be at it. The only piece of writing I have is a diary I kept whilst in hospital, it's not my best work, but it's my proudest as even though I was constantly fed strong sedatives I still managed to try and get some passion out.

    I am looking for feedback, and I know sometimes the right thing to hear is not the easiest thing to hear but if you can try not to be too relentless with the criticism.
    (I spent 2 months all together in hospital, however this was of the second time I was sectioned for 30 days, and I lost a lot of the pages in there during a full room tidy. I hope you enjoy it anyway, whilst you're reading I'll show myself around the forums)

    Day 1
    This is the second time I've been sectioned, the first time for burning my house down after seeing spirits, and second for trying to kill spirits after sleep deprivation. All before my 21's birthday, so this is my diary from the second time.

    “Tim, you’re going to have to drive Alex back to the hospital.” I hear every word through the distortion of the hands free driving aide. A lonely tear trickles down my cheek, as quickly wiped away
    as it had formed. My dad offers his support and tries his best to convince me that this is the best place for me to be. It isn’t. This is not where I should be at my age, but where else is there for a kid like me? I had nothing when my first section was lifted, and it’s exactly what I’m going back to.
    I walk into Ashby ward with my dad on high alert next to me. The recently buffed floor produces a waxy aroma, an aroma which I’ve become all too comfortable with. This is more of a home for me than the one I burnt to the ground. Cindy walks over to me and reaches for my hand. Cindy’s alluring beauty is her second best feature; she’s a nurse whose only weakness is that she cares far too much. Her voice is gentle and reassuring and she has the rare skill of listening, not analysing. I already feel more at peace from her hand accompanying mine. She takes me to the room I’ll occupy until my sections lifted. I get my own room, the windows don’t open enough for somebody escape and there’s a peep whole just below the handle for the 15 minute observations. The mattress is thin and cold, the blankets are little more than paper thickness. And the bright white pillows are too resistant for a comfortable night sleep, not that I’ll be having one of those anytime soon.
    The doctor writes me up for some Diazepam, along with my usual Chlorpromazine and Promethazine Hydrochloride, all of which are used for sedating purposes, not that I care. They can sedate me as long as it takes to survive the painful realities of my life. Its night time and my thoughts are like thorns. Distressing videos of my parents burning whilst I just sit back and watch, coldly. Images that are all too common when I’m alone. I bury my head into the pillow and pray, but the people watching over me left a long time ago.

    Day 2
    Its half past 8 a nurse walks in with urgency to her voice. “Breakfast time Alex!” Her foreign accent strong and I could tell that my excuses would not be accepted. The cold makes me reluctant, shaking uncontrollably as I put on the cheap clothes I scavenged from the lost and found box. I feel totally worthless. A thick layer of dead skin cells, bacteria and oil coats my skin from days without washing. My personal hygiene is as absent as my motivation for the future. I walk past the dining area to the garden and load my mouth with a cigarette. I sit on the bench, and my thoughts drift in to my early teenage years. To the hospice room, the last time all my family are in one place.

    My mum’s sat next to my dad; her face crinkled as she roars out in pain, my dad’s holding her, tears streaming down her face soaking my mum’s top. My sisters sat in the bottom left corner of the light painted hospice room. Her head placed between her knees and arms. The bed looks welcoming, placed in the very centre of the room, a single bed, with a picture of mountains and sun sat proudly above. This is not where my eldest sister is laid with her eyes closed. She’s in the next room, in a coffin. No more pain, no more cries, after years of suffering an illness she never wanted but handled courageously, she’s now at rest. I walk up to my sister and kiss her “I’ll always miss you. And I’ll never forget you!” I cry, bubbles forming at my mouth. My mum interrupts her crying and attempts to tell me what my sister had said. “Leonie said one of the worst things.” She roars out again in agony. I’m trying my best to look at her but the tears have blurred my vision. “She said one of the worst things is, she’s not going to be able to see you grow up to be a man.” My mum connects her hands to her face and takes in a great breath filling her lungs. Then once more erupts in relentless hurt. A huge boulder forms in the back of my throat making swallowing impossible. I exit the room picking up my school bag. I walk into the empty computer room and take out my science books, trying my best to concentrate on a subject I will later fail in GCSE.

    The thought fades and I’m again back in the dullness of the hospital garden. I’m still sat on a bench which is securely chained to the floor. As a subtle reminder of where I am. Mark uses his feet to kick open the door whilst his hands are busy placing his roll up into his mouth and light it. He sees that I’m not well and occupies the vacant seat next to me. “Want a roll up?” He asks. I nod my head and wipe away the tears, an action I seem to be spending a lot of time doing recently. Mark looks rough but he’s a very caring man, in his late 30’s and since my last section we’ve spent a lot of time together. He’s a talented oil painter and a skilled martial artist. He’d do a lot for me, as I would for him. However the person he held at knife point has a completely different view of him. He hands me a filter less roll up and pats me on the back, “I’d be crying as well if I looked like you mate.” He jokes. A small smile develops and I conjure enough energy to banter back “You’ll be crying in a bit if you carry on!” I say, knowing full well I wouldn’t really stand a chance.

    I go back to my room; I don’t feel like talking to people just now. Depression is highly contagious in these places and I don’t want my friends to see this broken person I’ve become. I sit resting against the wall looking up to the heavens begging for a break. I’m on 40mg of citalopram now and I’m yet to feel any side effects. I should really try and have a bath, feel better about myself but I have a laziness the medication only makes worst. I don’t think I’ll get better this time. I used to say fall down 9 times stand up 10, but this time I’m exhausted. I don’t really feel like getting back up. This room is my cave, and I’m at the very back of it. Scared, alone, hopeless. I crawl onto my bed and wait for the sedation to kick in. A pitiful existence I have become.

    Day 3/15
    The fire’s hissing, the spirits fleeing its fury. An evil smoke eats its surroundings. ‘Stay in the room Alex, all you have to do is stay in the room!’ I shout. The room’s oxygen is burning, and I’m gagging for air. My breathing speeds up. Small, shallow breaths of toxic soot. I’m panicking. My heart’s racing. The fire’s creeping towards me. The heat’s unbearable. I stumble, running towards the door, crawling as fast as my arms take me. ‘I can’t open the door. I will not open the door!’ I repeat. The spirits are in my face, trying to get me to open it. They’re panicking as much as I am. No more oxygen remains, I can no longer breathe. The door handle is no longer visible. Just the fire. And the spirits. And the smoke. I reach out for where I know the door handle should be. ‘Don’t open it.’ My brain reminds me. My survival instinct kicks in. I pull the handle, the fire growls as new oxygen is fed into the room. I watch, in agony, the spirits escape. Disappearing into the hallway. Fuck.

    · I thought I’d only have to live that experience once, but it haunts my every dream. Creeps its way in to my every thought. The fire I caused, my plan to destroy the spirits, to destroy myself. I failed them both. The spirits will again come for me when I can’t sleep. Mocking me, pointing and laughing at me. I’m smart enough to know that these are just hallucinations caused by previous drug abuse and sleep deprivation. But I’m too frightened when the hallucinations start to think logically. I didn’t sleep at all last night, and I know the routine. The blurry vision, the sensitivity to light, none of which are a real problem to me during the day, but then night time comes, and it brings the darkness, and the spirits.

    I stare blankly at my phone praying for a text, to read about somebody else’s life and distract me of my own. For somebody to show concern and to say they’re there for me. My friends should be there through the good and bad, friends who were there for the good, but where the fuck are they now? My good friends have all been here supporting me, but I never realized how few of them I had. It takes being at rock bottom to make you aware of who’s going to walk with you through your hardest journey in life. Who’s just after your drugs, which people are just acquaintances, which are only after a laugh, only interested in your life. People love to hear about it; the nurses, my friends, how can somebody have such lack of respect for rules? For boundaries? For comfort zones? They want what I have without going through what I’ve been through. Not caring about money, about materials, about having a good job and reaching my potential. All I want from life is fun and love, with them I know I’ll be all right. But here I am, without love or fun. Just a pen, and a scrap bit of paper I managed to beg from the nurse’s office.

    It’s my third day and I’m as miserable as when I was admitted, when society thought it’d be better in here. My depression triggers a nurturing impulse with one of the nurses and she sits down on the cold, uncomfortable floor next to me. She places her arm round my shoulder. It’s the man that usually comforts a distressed lady, but I’m no man, I’m a boy which needs help, and I gratefully accept her embrace. My head collapses onto her shoulder and her other arm comes round me to support me fully. I’m secretly thankful for the company, despite trying to make it obvious I didn’t want any. Loneliness is my biggest enemy, and whilst this nurse has her arms round me, I’m safe. We just sat there, on the numbing, hard floor for minutes. No words needed to be spoken, no words of encouragement, no quotes for inspiration, no positive view on the future. She just needed to hold me, and that’s all she did. Tears I desperately tried to keep from her escaped, splashing her cyan colored nurse top, still, not a word was said.

    “Alex, you don’t seem to be making much progress.” My doctor says, checking up in the nurses notes making no eye contact with me. Usually I can’t stop talking, but I’m tired of talking. I’m tired of having every word analyzed until they can label me with a condition that’ll only cripple my chances of making a recovery. I submissively look down at the floor, wishing this meeting doesn’t take up much of my time. Time I can be spending back in my cave. “We’re not going to give you anymore sleeping tablets for another day, to see how you get on. Is that okay?” Dr Smith asks. No it’s not okay! Not sleeping is destroying my motivation. It’s feeding my anxiety and depression. Stick up for yourself and ask for more sleeping tablets; Zopiclone, Tamazipam, Promethazine, ask for them Alex!
    “That’s fine.” I mumble. Before drawing in a deep breath and sighing it all back out. Criticizing myself for not having the fight I once had.
    “Great then, well, I’ll see you Friday Alex and we’ll talk more about your treatment then.” I hate Dr Smith. I’ve become a guinea pig, an experiment to her. I’m not Alex Balcon; I’m just a number, a list of symptoms and warnings. What am I to anybody? What am I to myself? I’m nothing. I’m a drain on my friend’s energy and my parent’s money. I’m hard work, high maintenance. I’m unemployable, unlovable, I’m rude and offensive. The world hates me and I search for things to confirm this. I march towards my bedroom, towards my cave. And in my head, I plan, how to end everything.

    Day 4/15
    The only thing that seems to move forward whilst I’m in bed is my disturbing thoughts and self-criticism. I can’t remember the last time I slept, the last time I smiled or felt good about myself. The days are twice as long without sleep. I desperately need them to be shorter. More time alone with myself, alone with the one person who hates me more on this earth, and I’m stuck with him for the rest of my life. Religion looks very appealing at this point, having a belief that somebody loves me and I’m never alone. I gingerly leave the mild warmth of my bed, delicately place my arms together, close my eyes and pray. I pray for fulfilment, for a reason to be alive. I pray for my illness to not have such a hold of me, that for whoever is watching over me to reveal themselves and be with me, for a sign that this isn’t going to be my life forever. I open my eyes and search the room, for a sign, for an anomaly in the room, a visible indifference. But I see no change, no feeling of salvation, no spontaneous sensation of recovery, and no anticipation for the future. Just again, alone, with the one person I hate most in this unforgiving life, me.

    It’s breakfast; I have no intention of feeding this empty vessel of a body. Food’s for people who deserve –
    “Alex!” Mark interrupts my trail of thought, dressed in his usual morning attire, fully dressed in Adidas with a comfortable looking dressing gown smugly worn over his clothes. “The bath’s running, here’s some shampoo, body wash, toothpaste and one of those shitty little hospital toothpastes.” He grabs my arm firmly, raising me out of the bed. I have no energy to form a resistance. “You look like shit!” He throws me into the bathroom and closes the door, despite what he said this was a very touching gesture. A gesture that made me aware that my friends are still looking out for me.

    Mental health and mental health hospitals have so many stigmas around them, that we’re all dribbling cabbages or a high risk to others. This is very rarely the case, we can all function in society for a large period of time; just we’re unable to take full control of our emotions. Everybody gets anxious, depressed and has their fight or flight response triggered. It’s just our anxiety causes physical pain, our depression becomes immobilizing, and our fight or flight response is triggered very easily, and very rarely do we choose to run. We’ve all been through difficult times and very poorly we handle them. There are people who aren’t in hospital, who have been presented with just as difficult, if not more so, experiences - who’s experiences they didn’t use as an excuse for failure, but fought extremely hard to make these experiences not defy them as a person. But we’re in hospital because we let these incidents get on top of us. Because when the opportunity to fight occurred we didn’t bravely reach for our sword and shield, we reached for a bottle of vodka, for whatever stock our dealers had remaining. And so starts a vicious cycle. A vicious cycle that feels escape proof.

    I didn’t spend long in the bath; I wanted to thank Mark for the support. I wanted to show him that I am truly thankful for having concern over me, how just even the smallest things have a huge impact on somebody when they’re as vulnerable as I am. “You used too much hot water.” I say, gratefully. He looks and me and laughs, gesturing 2 fingers at me, as if to say ‘you’re welcome.’

    I do my best to stay out of my room, to try and show the nurses that I am feeling better, despite my every thought being about suicide. After the third game of pool hogging the pool table, I’m pleasantly surprised by the visit of 2 of my friends. Lee and Ricky. They look around nervously at the surroundings. Trying their best to figure the place out without making any mistakes. Their nervousness only makes me more grateful for their visit. That they’re willing to leave their comfort zones in order to show their support. To them it means visiting a friend, to me it means a lot more. It means they’ve taken time out of their own lives, driving over an hour there and back to show they care. I again try to show my gratitude, my appreciation of their help. “You brought any presents?” I ask.

    We take control of the pool table and I set up the balls whilst Ricky begins the conversation. “Why do you never speak to me when you’re feeling low?” He asks, not rhetorically, expecting an answer.
    “I know or me! Wish I would have gone out on Saturday now.” Says Lee.
    “And me!” They’re like an old married couple, I’m not sure whether they want me to respond or if they’re just giving me a telling off. But to me, this is just another reminder that they care. I finish setting up the balls and try to distract them of their questions. Lee picks up the pool cue, it worked.
    “It looks like fun and games in here Balc.” Ricky jokes.
    “The best part about hospital is the NHS dinners.” I joke back.
    “They nice?” Asks Ricky.
    “Compared to your mums cooking.” I laugh. I’ve never actually tried his mums cooking, and I’m sure it’s delicious, but jokes are much more offensive when they involve somebody’s mum. Lee separates all the balls and places the cue in my hands. I manage to put a couple before returning the pool cue. With unintentional accuracy Lee begins potting his balls. Hitting all the cushions on the table several times before accidentally potting the correct colour. Again, and again.

    Before long Lee and Ricky have to attend to there own duties, and leave the hospital after saying their goodbyes, and wishing me a speedy recovery. It’s been a pleasant afternoon but my capacity to feel happy is quickly filled. And the crash begins. Fast and hard. I go to the nurse’s office and request my PRN (According to need prescription). Fully aware that the earlier I stop the anxiety and depression the more chance I have to stop it overwhelming me.
    “You just after chlorpromazine Alex?” Asks the qualified nurse in charge. But this isn’t what I’m after. A few days without sleep and after using up a lot of energy socializing I know I’m in trouble.
    “Can I have my Haloperidol please?” I answer her question with my own. I’m fully aware of the dangers of a strong dose of Haloperidol; The nausea, the headaches, the restless leg syndrome. You have to take a tablet for the side effects, which causes its own side effects, which means another tablet. If you fail to take just one of the smaller tablets you’re in for a rough night. But I’m desperate. I need sedating.

    Hours have passed. The pain’s arrived. I’m at the bottom of a hole, so deep I can see nothing but darkness. I want out. I want out of this hospital, out of this body, out of this life. They say depression is just aggression without motive. But I’ve found motive. I’ve found aggression. Aggression with my life, with what I’ve become, I want it ending. Tunnel vision appears and I can see nothing now but death. The relief it will bring, the easing to my suffering. I can’t think about my family, about my friends. About my nephew’s tears, that instead of having an uncle he can be proud of, his uncle would rather die. My parents never got over my sisters death, and now selfishly I’ll be adding to their grief. The pain and guilt I would have caused for my friends, although I never asked for help, friends support is mandatory, and they’d blame themselves for my action. I don’t think like this, I can’t.

    I march out to the garden, eying up the 8 ft fence as I draw closer and closer towards it. With the last few steps I run and jump, clutching on to the top, thinking not of the consequences to my action. Despite sleep deprivation, despite not eating in days, I find the strength to pull myself up. Adrenaline is pulsing through my body as I wriggle one foot over. Then the other foot. I’m over. I’m free. No longer is everything chained to the floor or watched over by nurses. The air is almost fresher and easier to breathe. Adrenaline is making me run faster than I ever have. I’ve already planned the time scales in my head. 15 minutes before they’re aware I’m missing, 1 minute to call the police, 5 minutes for the police cars to begin their search and 10 minutes before the helicopter starts its own. I have around 20 minutes to get to Tesco and begin poisoning my stomach with whatever tablets I can form a lethal dose. The seconds ticking. Faster than they’ve ever moved before. I keep running; under bridges, through puddles, through bushes and trees. Until I stop. Tesco is staring directly in front of me. The adrenaline is still flowing. The seconds are still ticking. I lift my hood up, and step inside.

    Day 5/15
    The Tesco here is a lot larger than I’ve seen before; I struggle locating the medicine isle, panicking as the seconds tick by. Why wasn’t time this fast when I needed it to be? Why only now? Why when I need it to be slower, does it race by? The world’s moving a lot faster outside the hospital, there are children crying, parents trying to contain their anger, teenagers congregating near the alcohol, calculating the best price per unit. I keep walking; hood up, head down. I don’t want people to see me, to smile at me and pretend the worlds okay. The world isn’t okay. There are people dying in a war they had no say in. Children who don’t believe that there’s anything in life other than abuse and pain. I didn’t create slavery, I didn’t start wars or trade lives for oil. I don’t live in a giant house making decisions that cause people to starve to death. Yet I’m the one in a mental health hospital! I’m probably more at peace than the society that labelled me mentally ill. Yet everybody is happy walking around pretending that life is what you make of it.

    Bitterness is roaring inside me, probing for a way out. Only when you’re actively suicidal can you understand this mind state. Events far out of my control are infuriating me. Slavery, war, things I have no power over are eating me up inside. This merciless world, people’s appetite for supremacy is driving me into a burning hatred.

    I’m still searching for my way out, hunting for the medicine isle; Frozen foods, chocolate, cereal, cleaning products. No medicine. My phone springs to life with the call of an unheld number. This’ll just be one of the nurses, looking for brownie points for recapturing the escapee. Why do they hate me so much? Why do they want to stop me in my campaign to end the misery? Why do they want me to survive in a life that isn’t worth living? In the corner of my eye, I see it, a whole wall of medicine and potential poisons. Paracetemol, Ibuprofen, cough sweets, anti-inflammatory tablets, and syrups. I take hold of whatever tablets my shaking hand can carry. Almost breaking the packets I’m gripping them so hard. You want this Alex, nay you need this. You give up on everything, you gave up on your relationship because trying to mend the broken cracks would be too hard. You gave up on writing because giving it your all and failing would be too difficult. You’re nothing, nobody. Doing this means you’ll no longer be a burden to the people you love, it’ll be selfish not following through with this. And with the crushed packets of Paracetemol, I scurry to the drinks isle.

    The walk from the medicine isle to the drink stand is a marathon - a long, gruelling marathon with human obstacles mincing around carrying out their weekly shop. They look at me confused as I hold my Paracetemol proudly like they’re badges of honour. These people have no idea that the young boy they walk past has the intention of ending his life. That existence has become so unbearable for him that he’s actively trying to take his own life. How many wrong turns do you have to make before you get to where this boy is? To where I am? I snatch the bottle of coke from the shelf and make my way for the exit. Cleaning products, cereal, chocolate, frozen foods, the exact opposite order as to when I walked in. Lifting my head up only to hold the gaze of the security guard. I’m out. I’ve nearly done it, there’s no time to back out now. Escape is only tablets away.

    20 tablets are enough to kill 50% of the people who take it. It’ll slowly corrode my liver, my organs, taking days of excruciating pain before the corroded parts fail. At this point stomach pumping is no longer a cure. They’ll only be able to relieve some of the pain before I draw my last few breaths. This doesn’t sound as painful as living the rest of my life with who I am. I don’t know what’s after life; if there is a heaven or hell which one will I go to? A bully, a drug addict, somebody who belittles other people, a bad son, a bad uncle, bad grandson and bad cousin, a pathetic excuse of a human. I guess I know where I’ll be going after all.

    I rip open the packet, pulling out the strip of 8 tablets and watching the instructions fall to the ground. Pull out one tablet at a time. 1.. 2.. 3.. 4.. The phone rings, I answer. 5.. “What?” I scream. 6..
    “Alex, Mark is really worried about you, and Jade, the whole ward is nervous that you’re going to do something stupid!” A soft voice says down the phone, a nurse I’m not familiar with. 7.. 8.. “We’re going to get the police if you don’t promise us you’re coming back.” She threatens. 9..
    “I don’t want to come back, I don’t want to be alive anymore!” I cry. Tears flooding down my face, almost dropping the phone I shake so hard. 10..
    “Alex, please tell me you’re not doing anything stupid. You’re friends just want you to come back, we promise you won’t get in any trouble.” I can hear genuine concern in her voice. 11.. 12..
    “I’ll start walking back now.” My crying interrupts my words. 13.. I do as I said I would, and start walking back, sweat appearing as the feeling of nausea strengthens. 14.. over half way there.
    “Good, and promise me you haven’t done anything stupid Alex.” The nurses gentle voice requests. 15..
    “No I haven’t.” I lie. I drop one of the tablets, and almost stumble after it. The tablets are becoming heavier; I’m more hesitant to swallow the tablets.
    “Promise me?” She again asks. I squint my eyes in distress, releasing a strong stream of tears.
    “I can’t live like this, I just can’t!” My voice becomes higher pitched the more helpless I become. I rip open another packet, throwing the old packet in a hedge as I advance closer to the hospital. I again roar out in pain, confused and lost in the position I’m in. Frantically trying to once again take control of the situation. “I’ve had a few Paracetemol.” I confess. 16..
    “Oh Alex, please just come back. We’re going to look after you; you’re safe with us. We care about you Alex, A lot of people care about you.” I pull the phone away from my ear stop holding back the tears, my knees become weak and I walk to the side of the path and collapse to the floor. I just want somebody to hug me; somebody to sit with me and tell me everything’s going to be okay. I want somebody to cry with, somebody to feel what I’m feeling, and somebody to wipe away my tears. But there’s nobody, there’s just me. There’s just me and the 2 remaining packets of my stolen Paracetemol. I pull out another tablet. 17.. I can hear my phone crackling as the worried nurse tries to remain in contact. I turn off my phone and place it in my pocket, and again continue my termination. 18.. 2 away from the LD50 (lethal dose 50%). My stomach churning as my body tries to release the toxins. 19.. Swallowing is getting noticeably harder, even thinking about swallowing another tablet is making me fight vomiting.

    I pass the ‘Glenfield Mental Health Hospital’ sign and grip the sign to stabilize myself. Ramming another tablet down my throat. I take a swig of the Paracetemol tasting Coke and fail to swallow the tablet. I take another gulp, gently massaging my throat to aid the ingestion of poison. 20.. My steps are heavy, 21..the pain in my stomach is getting worst, but easily manageably by my standard of pain. 22.. 23.. 24.. I throw down the coke bottle and the used up packets of Paracetemol and begin the lengthy walk to the entrance. Determined not to let my body sick out everything I’ve worked so hard to keep in. I’m back into imprisonment. I know this walk well, the walk from the reception to the ward. Right, sharp left, a small walk followed by another right, left and left again. Until you reached the secure door, a lightly painted wooden door with reinforced glass in the centre. Automatically locking whenever it closes; only a magnetic key will let you get in, and a bright green button situated behind the nurse’s desk will let you get out. There’s a state of stress noticeable within the ward, and everything stops when they see me.

    The nurse quickly walks me into one of the interviewing rooms with the same gentle voice as the one who rang me. My tears have stopped and I try to look strong in front of her, like I’m too strong of a person to feel emotions, a useless charade used by many with a lack of emotional intelligence. There’s a silence in the room as the nurses anxious face eases. She fills up the space next to me and looks into my eyes, like a pet owner who’s found her lost puppy. I just sit there. She won’t break me.
    “Oh come here Alex, you must have been scared stiff!” The nurse correctly states. She won’t break me. “I’ve been worried Alex, the whole ward has! If anything would have happened to you, I don’t think your friends in here would be able to live with that on their conscious.” A shiver runs through my spine, her voice remains calm. Her hand still pressed against my back, and her thumb still rubbing my timidity away. She won’t break me. “I’m not a bad person, I”- A sharp pain runs along my nose, my eyes begin watering up. Don’t do it Alex. “I’m not a bad person, I just need help.” Tears begin forming. Her thumb rubs away the last bit of strength I had, and the pain erupts. “I’m so scared, I’m so lonely. I don’t want to be alive, and I don’t want to die.” I can no longer look in her eyes. It’s too painful. Never in my life have I felt like this. She broke me.

    Never before have I felt so vulnerable, so fragile, so broken. My hand movements are becoming unconscious actions and rivers of tears accompany my every sentence. “I’ve made some bad mistakes, but that shouldn’t mean people stop loving me.” My words are just verbal regurgitation. I don’t even know what I mean anymore. I look at the nurse, begging for reassurance. Her eyes are swelling up, she doesn’t know me, and she barely knows who I am. But I know she’s not sympathising with me, she’s feeling what I’m feeling. She’s looking down at a boy who is crying out for help, for somebody to just listen, to look past my words, and to give him another chance. Now more than ever I need somebody to hug me, to hold me, to squeeze out my pain and look after me. I need somebody to be patient and to help me when I struggle. I’m terrified; I just need somebody to take away my fears.
    “We’re going to help you Alex, we’ve called an ambulance, and when you get back, we will make you better, you are going to be okay.” She emphasises the word are, and looks straight into my eyes. I can feel the weight being lifted from my shoulders and I’m overwhelmed by a warm, tingling sensation. It’s not the Paracetemol; it’s not depression or anxiety. It’s the future. It’s hope.

    Day 6/15

    It’s funny, being a place so low you feel the only way out is to escape the world, to being to a place where you feel like nobody can touch you. They’ll label me bi-polar, manic depressive, but I’m not. I just have the one thing a person truly needs to keep going in this world. We don’t need love, or fun, just hope, of finding love, of finding fun. When you look at food your body starts preparing to break it down, building up lactic acid and saliva. But if food isn’t there, and you’re thinking about a tasty sirloin steak your body will still produce lactic acid and increased saliva levels. This is similar to what I’m going through, I don’t have a job, I don’t have the a girlfriend to be the other half I desperately need, I don’t have any qualifications. But now I have a new weapon to combat this depression. Hope. Hope of getting a job; of having a girlfriend, of having a positive future. And similar to your body preparing itself for food despite food actually being there, my bodies preparing itself for a successful life, despite having no more than I did when I tried to kill myself.

    There’s uneasiness among the ward when they see the paramedics rushing towards the room I’m sat in. It’s almost like everything’s speeding up, yet here I am in my own world, miles away from all the panic, the rush, the concern. The nurse is continuously reciting words of encouragement but they’re not processing. It’s almost like I’m shell shocked with this overpowering positive emotion. A paramedic holding her bag is the first to barge through the door, she’s hurrying yet not an ounce of worry breaks her porcelain complexion. This is her element. Had I have been concerned before, her body language alone would have relieved the pressure. “Now Alex, I’ve heard you’ve been a silly boy, ay? How many tablets did you take?” She’s keeping eye contact whilst unzipping her bag and taking out the essentials.
    “23-24ish. But I’m fine though, really!” I explain.
    “Oh, well in that case we’ll just leave you to it then shall we?” The paramedic chuckles “We’re just going to have to take you to hospital anyway sweet, just a precaution more than anything.”
    “Can I have some gas and air?” I ask
    “Are you in a lot of pain?”
    “Eerm, yes?” I lie. I wasn’t really, I just enjoy the feeling. I know that they’re other people who will actually need the pain relief, but it’s not like I’m asking for Diamorphine.
    “We can put on the blue lights instead if you like?” The paramedic says, smiling at me and winking to the staff.
    “Wow, really?” Excitement leaks from my face, like a kid at a School jobs day asking to sit inside the fire engine.
    “No. Had you have taken a few more, then yes.” She deflates. A little, very little, part of me is slightly gutted about the missed opportunity. She then precedes her general observations. I’m so used to this procedure I think I could give it myself. Pull up your arm, strap around a small inflatable arm band and it expands to take your blood pressure. Simultaneously you can check the temperature, putting a small plastic protector around the ear piece for hygiene. Then press into the ear until it gives you a reading. She pulls it out and reads my temperature out. “37.0, perfect!” she then looks at my blood pressure. “100/70, It’s a little low but nothing to worry about.” I suffer from low blood pressure so this doesn’t alarm me. “Right, are you ready then Alex?” It’s not really a question as much as ‘get ready we’re leaving’ but we both play the part of pretending I have a say in this.
    “Yeah, shotgun!” I laugh.
    “That’s fine, the gas and air’s in the back anyway.” The paramedic jokes. I’ve encountered a lot of paramedics, and one thing I’ve never understood is how people can be rude or offensive to them. These are people whose time I’ve wasted by calling them out after inflicting this wound on myself. They should be angry, furious in fact that I’ve wasted their time, yet they’re laughing and joking with me whilst trying to restore me back to health. I have a lot of time for paramedics.
    “Sorry, can you just wait there a second?” A nurse shouts running up the corridor.
    “Yeah sure, it’s not like we do anything.” The paramedic replies, nudging my shoulder and winking to me. Her teasing isn’t restricted to me alone. I greet her gesture back with a huge smile, whilst completely in awe of this woman.
    “Alex has to have somebody with him at all times; it’s going to have to be one of the bank staff. Aziq, can you go with him please?” The nurse quietly shouts, drawing closer to us. Bank staff are nurses without any qualifications, they get pin alarms and can stay with people who are on level 1 (Supervised at all times) they’re just not allowed to talk to us about our feelings, possibly the most important thing in a mental health hospital. They’re like bouncers in night clubs, you know they’re there - yet have no use to you unless you’re being attacked. Quite obviously with his name, he’s not English either.
    They rip open the ambulance doors and hop inside the claustrophobic area. I never understand why they don’t try to make ambulances a little more inspiring; Pictures of the sun breaking through the clouds and rain, a solitary flower growing in inhabitable conditions. Instead of a small, dull area with nothing to look at but the unfriendly metal doors with a window which you can’t see out of. Just 2 small seats, one for the paramedic checking on my current status and one for Aziq the well-built, strong African who looks like he’s unsure of his purpose is here.

    It’s a long journey from Glenfield to Leicester Royal and the conversation reached its end before we even stepped onto the ambulance. Usually there are a lot of questions they’d be asking about my mental state, am I still suicidal? Does the crisis team need to be involved? But all the crisis team can do is put me in the place I’m already in. The hospital doesn’t need to know anything about my mental health, they just need to test my blood levels, and then send me back so I can be Glenfield’s problem again. All the information they need about me is in the hands of Aziq, a medical history which should be a few pages long at my age is the size of a small library; Suicide attempts, personality disorders, obsessive compulsive disorders, mental illnesses, risk assessments, drug habits. Its weight is almost forcing out the veins out of Aziq’s arms. The paramedics walk me to the doctors and pass me onto them. I look around a room far larger than Burtons A n E. It’s chaotic here. It’s the weekend and the majority of injured people are drunk and impatient, which will only bring the worst out of me. Without a lot being said, the young student doctor takes the folder from Aziq and places us both in a tiny room, far away from any living soul. “We’ll be with you in just a minute Mister Bacon.” He says, wrongly pronouncing my name. A mispronunciation which already makes me hate him.
    45 Minutes later…
    The young doctor walks into the room with an incredibly good looking nurse. “Right Mr Bacon.” He says, again mispronouncing my name.
    “It’s Balcon. The L isn’t silent.” I hiss, already irate about the 45 minutes in a room barely big enough to breathe in.
    “Oh, I’m Sorry about that; it’s been a long day!” He laughs. I force a smile, slightly unsure on why a long day makes you less capable of a skill which should have been taught at a very early age. “Georgina’s just going to take a few blood samples from you, is that okay?” He states more than asks. He also speaks about Georgina as if we’re all friends in the room. Yet here I am, with 2 people who can’t read English and a girl who I’m so attracted to I already have a burning hatred for her.
    “That’s fine.” I grumble, Raising my arm up to allow her to take the blood sample. She takes my arm with her unbelievably soft hands, and pulls out a needle big enough to take a blood sample from the guy in the next room from where she stands next to me. “You’re not going to use all of it are you? Just the tip?” I nervously question.
    “A tough guy like you isn’t scared of a little, surely?” Her sweet voice asks.
    “Not at all, was just wondering.” I lie, curling my toes up in anticipation.
    “Get ready, sharp scratch.” She warns. Before missing my vein and leaving me in agony. “Oops sorry I missed. Your veins are unusual!” She chuckles. It’s a good job she’s pretty, because her nursing skills need refreshing.
    “I never have a problem injecting into them.” I laugh. She looks at me with a confused face, trying to work out whether I’m joking or not.
    “Right, I’ll just have another go, sharp scratch.” She warns again, the needle digging in just as painfully. “Aggh there we go!” I really doubt that a nurse should be so pleased with taking a blood sample in the second attempt. “Right, we won’t be a minute, we’ll just take these samples to the lab and then we’ll get back to you.”
    3 hours later…
    “Mr Balcon, we’re just going to put you on a Saline drip, then take your bloods again.” Georgina the nurse says holding a bag of salt water and a catheter. I’m just praying she’s more accurate with a catheter than she is with a needle. She places the catheter on my hand and flushes the tube with tap water, before administering the drip to my hand and slowly letting it release into my system. I’m too tired to put up any fight or even engage in conversation, it’s early in the morning and I haven’t got any of my tablets. She takes my bloods again and gives me the same empty promise I’ve been given all night. “Right Mr Balcon won’t be long now.”

    3 hours later…

    “Well your bloods are all back and good now, despite dehydration, your bloods are completely fine! You can go back to Glenfield now.” Georgina says.
    “Thanks for everything, have a good night!” I force out the last thank you, more than frustrated about the waiting time.

    Aziq rang for us transport from the hospital to the Mental Health Hospital, the sun had broken through the clouds, and despite the night being hard and boring, the fire and motivation was still burning strong inside of me, I knew that my life would take a drastically improve from this moment on. I’ve sat at rock bottom for too long now, There’s only one direction I can go.
  2. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Jun 13, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Queens, NY
    Welcome to the forum, and I wish you well.

    Please read the rules of the forum, especially as they pertain to posting work for critique. You mush be a member for a certain amount of time before you do so, and you must have made two critiques of others before you post. Any critiquing is done over in the Writers Workshop area.

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