These Four Walls

By , Mississauga, Canada
The walls are concrete, the room is dim. I try the door, abused by many who have left their mark in the form of dents, it’s locked. I’m not alone; I have a stretcher bed and a pillow. I feel sick, my stomach churns, I bang on the door to get let out; I’m going to be sick. The security guard glances at me then downcasts his eyes. He shrugs me off as another lost soul, another “mentally ill” patient. I yell that I am going to be sick. Again, I am ignored. I scream, shout and finally I am met with the gaze of a tight-lipped guard. “I’ll get your nurse,” he says.

Freedom! I am let out. I run to the bathroom and get sick. When I’m done I splay myself on the floor. I am caressed by the chilly tiles. I am enveloped by the four walls. I feel safe. I hear a bang on the door and a voice saying, “you can’t stay in there.” I am dragged out and given a plastic bag to love me. I am herded back into my room; the walls look down on me and the door locks. I feel alone.

My thoughts have become vulgar and my body is my enemy. I let sleep pull me under. I am awakened by two security guard, they escort me to a children’s room. Perhaps a young child with a snapped limb sat here once to pick a color for a cast, maybe a child has met his death on this very bed. Regardless, the walls are painted with bright animals and a distant, possibly crazy young adult sits here now.

It’s two in the morning. I am supposed to be admitted to another psychiatric ward now. If you asked me how many times I have stayed in one, I couldn’t answer you. I peep outside my unlatched door; a security guard has set up camp outside my room. I feel like a convict. I want to cry. I curl up on my bed, that more resembles a stretcher, and I am consumed by drowsiness.

I wake up, not aware of falling asleep. I hear a baby cry, sob in the distance. I listen with curiosity. I wonder if that baby will end up as messed up as me one day. Perhaps he will become a criminal. I pray he will have a fair life and scold myself for thinking such negative thoughts. I hear adults talking, laughing and joking. The suddenly cease and come into my room stone-faced, as if they didn’t want to set me off. “It’s time to go,” they say and restrain me on a stretcher.

After a tremor of bumps and shivers of cold, the ambulance stops at the hospital. I have eaten for almost twenty-four hours, produced a bag pull of puke and am filthy. It’s five in the morning; the crew was three hours late.

I am pushed through a maze of halls. I try to see where I am but I am strapped in so tight I can barely lift my head. I hear them mutter 3G, which I later learn is my destination. They unlock the doors separating the patients from the outside world and push me in. The doors slam. They unstrapped me hesitantly, as if I was going to go on some sort of rampage. I just swing my legs over the stretcher and crawl off. They leave without a goodbye; I am just another case to them. I am escorted to a bed by new faces. They tell me to hush and say I will get help. I just nod my head in agreement, no sense arguing; they tell you that in all these places and yet I’m here again. I fall asleep.

I wake up in a relatively happy until I notice my surrounds and the past events soak into me. I feel like a porous sponge. I just awoke and the doctors are already surrounding me. Circling like vultures, they are trying to figure me out, digest me. I finally have to excuse myself for a shower. The first day all I had to wear was a skin-tight shirt and no bra. I didn’t have any deodorant. I felt like a specimen, a shy one at that. My friends laugh in denial when I tell them I can be shy, but I am insecure and it’s currently etched all over my features. I feel isolated.

A week into my first stay at this particular location, I realize this is the best therapeutic, or “anxiety rehabilitation” as I tell my friends, place I have stayed at. My boyfriend, who’s also seventeen and his mom, got to visit me. This is the first time the two of them have ever me allowed to visit me anywhere, it made my week. My parents visited a few times, which was nice and I got to call my other friends. I am getting discharged soon and although I don’t feel near cured, I feel better. Recovery doesn’t happen in a week, or even in a month, but I have made progress. I wonder what the people who dented the door in my sealed room were like. I wonder what we have in common. I hope they are getting the help they need.





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