‘Do you have a plan to kill yourself?’ The voice on the other end asked
‘Yes’ I answered hastily
The thick leather jacket I was wearing was still stiff, ‘I didn’t even have a chance to break it in.’, I think, but my train of thought is interrupted by the crisp fall air and I finally notice where I’ve taken myself.
‘At least it wasn’t raining’ I think, small victories, sure. But death should be comfortable.
For over an hour the veterans crisis hotline operator would calmly ask me to step down and walk away from the bridge I was on. We would talked about everything that was going on and how it would be just easier to end it. I had nothing left; I was nothing.
No one would miss me, truly.
So then was the problem if I did it?
What lead to this night was a blur, one that I would not remember and by the end of it would shape the next week.
Thanks to a phone call and a single promise that I received while talking to the crisis center, I calmed down enough to go home and deal with the situation.
It didn’t last long.
Soon I was back on the line with the crisis center, this time I was going away, for sure.
A knock at the door, ‘You did the right thing sir.’ Police officers are always polite, dealing with a 235 pound Marine crying his eyes out and they are still being as respectful as possible. If I wasn’t in so much emotional pain or if I was on the outside looking in, I would’ve had to laugh.
In the police car the two officers, one in plain clothes, tried their best to console me. One even said he would look out for me, ‘My days off are Friday through Sunday, you need me I’ll remember you and I’ll come and we can talk it out together for as long as you need.’
A broken smile and a nod was all I could muster. It was the first ride I had in a police car the hard plastic seats along with the lack of available legroom made it uncomfortable. But with the night I had, it was the last thing on my mind.
Because of the police I had VIP access to the VA ER entrance. This meant I was lucky enough to not have the embarrassment of dealing with other people, outside of the hospital staff. Once inside I was placed in a room with one door, no windows and very few furnishings.
I would spend more than an hour here, mostly alone.
Eventually I was set in a wheelchair and taken to the floor where I would be staying, the Psych ward. There I would get a tour of the facilities along with being asked a series of questions.
My answers were usually one worded, yes or no.
Afterwards I was brought some food, in a word it was disgusting. But I was hungry and so, I ate.
It is hard to not have thoughts racing through your head constantly when you are under that much stress, so of course, I found myself not being able to focus on anything.
Before going to my room, I was presented with a variety of book choices, since I wasn’t going to be able to sleep. After some deliberation and the feeling of being overwhelmed with the sheer amount of choices, I made a selection.
The room was cold and concrete, I was lucky enough to get a single room, which meant I would be left alone. From the window I could see the rest of the hospital complex, the lights in the room were painfully bright and even the individual ‘reading’ light was enough to light the entire room. The only things in the room was a bed, a thin cushion on a wooden frame, along with a set of matching colored wooden shelves, which had a single a drawer.
All my belongings were collected upon arrival so I had to laugh at the idea of even needing them.
The of course there was the camera, pointed right at the bed.
The silence in my room was broken with a knock at the door
‘The nurse should be in with something to help you sleep.’
When it was all said and done, there I laid in my mismatched hospital gown, reading a book, in a room I’ve never been in, in a place I’ve never stayed at before. I didn’t even have a chance to begin to think about the nights events, I just had to focus on reading my book, soon the medication kicked in and I found that I was trouble focusing on the words, soon I would be asleep. It’s 4:30 am and wake up is at 6:00 am it was a long day.
Little did I know this would be just a taste of what was coming.