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Within The Grounds

By , Traverse City, MI
Eyes open slightly, I lift my head slowly feeling five sizes too big. As my eyes adjust to the newly flicked on light and the voice yelling, "WAKE UP!". I don't remember ever getting here. All that I remember is gulping down that sickly sour liquid and getting rushed to the hospital. After they had pumped all of the poison out of my stomach they handed my mother a card that read "Pine Hills: A Place Of Hope", and next thing I knew we were driving down to the mental hospital. They had given me a room as soon as I arrived because it was already 9:30.
I look over to see my new room mate staring back at me through his coke bottle thick glasses, making his eyes appear three times bigger than they were, which they were already five times too big for his scrawny face. I feel as if I haven't slept in a few days since the blankets they have for us are paper thin, the pillow sounding as though filled with paper, and the mattress covered in a rubber padding in-case one of the patients might wet their bed while knocked out on Seroquel. I look around to find myself in an extremely dull white room with stars along the top of the wallpaper and a faded quote that said, "If you can't reach for the sky, reach for the stars!" and still to this day that quote doesn't make any sense to me whatsoever. There were nail scratchings and pencil marks all along the walls from past insomniacs trying to escape or depressed kids just thinking it'd make them feel better.
"How did you sleep?" sputtered the rat like boy living in the room with me, some how without moving his mouth the slightest bit. "Not at all", I said while getting out of what the hospital called a bed and slipping on socks. We weren't aloud to have shoes with hard soles so I only brought my soft, sock like moccasins, putting those on too. "Here at the hospital, we have to follow a certain schedule," said the worker who'd rudely woken us up, with a name tag that looked old and said "Hello My Names Shaun". He was a younger man maybe in his 20's with blonde hair just barely covering his ear tops and wore new looking clothes as if he just bought them from the nearest Old Navy on the way to work. "I'll run and get you a copy," he said disappearing from the doorway.
It took a little while to get used to the plain old rooms and hallways but it had to do. I was in here for my own faults. I was here to fix them so I wouldn't do anything stupid again. It was terrible to totally worth the while.
Shaun popped his head back into the door and said, "here you go champ", handing me the shedule to look over. I skimmed through it and it seemed pretty basic. Everyday of the week was the same except saturday, which had more relax/free time than the rest. 7 a.m. wake up call then we had until 8 to get all showered and ready, at that time we went to breakfast and came back around 8:45 which then was morning medications and writing about how we feel and what our goal was for the day, which was always worth a laugh and always seemed to be such rubbish that it didn't seem to matter. By 9:30, it was group and talking about the same exact questions we just had written down. 10:30 was the first of two gym periods, which were the most fun thing in my day since the antidepressants they put me on contained adrenaline which meant when I had to write I was shaking so bad that it looked as though a 3 year old could do better. 12 was lunch then more writing and gym then finally at 5 was dinner and group to finish off the day.
For a week I had lived by that schedule and for a week I looked outside my window wondering what friends were doing, getting angry that the therapist said it'd only be for 3 days, and then bawling as I thought of how long I might have to stay in this hell hole for. For a whole 7 days I was alone, more so than I'd ever been in my life. Trudging the halls in ripping moccasins and dirty clothes, still haggard even though they were washed every night. Those were the longest 7 days of my whole life, and the most boring ever. There was no freedom and no going outside as the sun teased from the many windows of warmth and spring. I wanted to run out and take a deep breath of non-recycled air and just know I was momentarily free.
Yet I still sat, like a statue, on my bed wondering when I'd get a ride out of this place. The day it happened, the moment they walked in and said I was free was the happiest moment in my life to this day as my spirits were lifted and I hopped off the bed and packed my few things I had brought for the stay. Knowing I would never be that deppressed again and I would never have to see the inside of Pine Hills ever again. My grin never went lower than ear to ear as I walked out of that dingy old place. A car engine never sounded so good to my bright white ears, my skin pale from being inside 24/7. The ride home seemed much shorter than the one there. Yet I jumped out of the car and ran into my much more colorful room and much more comfy bed and slept the rest of that March day.





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