Day zero: You are in a warm bathtub, and you are drunk.
Your girlfriend just broke up with you.
You are texting your friends that you are worthless,
That you are tired,
That you would do anything to not wake up tomorrow.
You look for something sharp.
There is nothing.
You eye for your clothing.
You left them in your room.
If you get up, you'll wake up your cousin.
You wish you could smash your favorite glass and let your worries run dry.
You pull the plug on the clawfoot tub.
And the water drains instead.
You lay a blanket down on the floor, and wrap another around you.
"Acey?" Your cousin is knocking.
You try to make it sound like you weren't crying.
"Are you okay? What are you doing in there?"
You fumble over words that you were just taking a bath but you forg-
"I'm coming in. I don't believe you."
She shouldn't anyway.
She finds you in a mess of towels crying.
Day zero: It is Tuesday.
This is the day you were scheduled for over the phone intake with campus psych
You talk honestly a freely, laughing about the other night
"I walk in front of cars yelling 'PAY FOR MY TUTION'"
She says, "I think you should come in today. You worry me."
So you come in.
She says, "I think you need inpatient."
We call my mother.
Day zero: Your mother drives down from Wisconsin
You go far away because of your insurance.
They don't understand that you're sick like any other hospital.
You pack a suitcase full of things and leave.
You settle into my house for a day before you see my psychiatrist.
You am moody and sick of him calling them mood swings.
Mood swings are when a teenager slams the door after there's no pop left
Bipolar is what you have.
Why won't anyone say it?
He agrees on inpatient, and has to write a special note
Day one: You're in intake
Everything seems fine.
How bad can this be?
"No shoe laces or draw strings. If you have any body jewelry with spikes,
We have to take it. Do you have any visable scars or cuts? Okay, if you did
You'd have to cover them. Now, our security guard is going to..."
You want to run.
You don't feel sick enough to be here. You're smiling, see?
There's no way you're this sick, damn it!
All of your belongings are scanned for metal.
You are stripped into scrubs.
Your in your room with your mother, settling in.
The food is disgusting.
Your magnetic bathroom door is also used to cover your window.
Your mother leaves and you go out in the couryard with the other patients.
Why do they look so happy?
A girl invites you to sit with her and another.
They include you in their conversation and it finally come up.
"So what did you do to get in here?"
Just like prison.
"I was too drunk to kill myself."
That night, you go to bed listening to one of six radio station.
Day two: This is the last day you remember vivid details of until day six.
Your body has not yet adjusted to being an hour behind.
You wake up at five.
They confistcated your toothpaste. It was too big.
You could try to swallow all that flouride.
You sit and read and eventually eat breakfast.
You meet with the weekend doctor who also refuses to say bipolar.
In community meeting, you say you are irritated.
It feels yellow.
In occupational therapy, you make leather cuff bracelets.
You fall asleep to channel one of six while reading.
Day three: You get another doctor.
She won't say bipolar either but puts you on a mood stabilizer.
Your mom visits you every day with candy.
The food is still terrible.
You meet your social worker.
You open up easily.
She has to report the assault to the county, but you know it's too late for charges.
Day four: You emotionally feel ready to leave the hospital
Your family meeting is tomorrow.
You make a connection with a girl who had to come in again.
You talk after group therapy.
Day five: Your family meeting is a disaster.
You cry a lot.
It feels good.
Day six: You're going home.
Just like that, you leave.
You're back in the normal world.
Day seven: A week after your discharge, you're in the ER.
The mood stabilizer has adverse side effects.
You're crying in pain.
Your hands and legs move on their own.You can't stop throwing up.
But the doctor keeps saying,
"If this was my wife or daughter, I'd want her to continue the medication."
He is afraid of your illness.
If your face had swelled from antibiotics, he would take you off them.
Weeks pass and they change your medication.
Every day is like clock work.
It is three days until you can return to school.
You are in your therapist's office.
"So how are you feeling?"