The counselors in group say that everyone has a choice. They tell us that every single day. I think they are wrong. The therapists are like old, cranky parrots on repeat play telling us things about how drugs are bad and they can help people with depression or any mental health disorder but I don’t listen that much, I pretend to listen. We sit on a multicolored carpet which is dirty with potato chip crumbs and cigarette butts and empty Diet Coke cans in the corners next to the gray, rubber trash cans.
I sit inside my room, after lunch for “reading and rest” looking at the pale green walls. I come out only for food, meds, eat, group, private therapy or to play solitaire 50. There is one night nurse that I know and she comes on shift at ten pm. She lets me play cards by myself every night for 25 (half of 50) minutes. Fifty is MY number. The number on my room says it is #3 but it is really #50. My cards always add up to fifty. Nurse Kelly lets me play solitaire because I earned that privilege for my positive behavior. I know.
When I first got here a long time ago, another “inmate” told me I was in the silent mattress room for two days. I had to go in because they said I punched an aide but I didn’t. I’m sure. They must have made that up. I do not remember a lot of things now. I used to have anger “issues” but now when I feel angry I sit in my room, alone. Sometimes I crouch in a corner, words popping up into my head like popcorn or toast from the toaster. I say stuff out loud, QUIETLY, like “animals” or “sailboats” or “nuclear weapons suck, but I don’t scream it out loud. I want to but I don’t. I force myself not to. Plus, the medications make my mouth dry and fuzzy so it’s hard to talk. It’s part of my plan. I smile a lot that’s why Nurse Kelly likes me best. I have learned not to tell these things to any of the nurses or doctors or even my friend, Melissa. That’s how smart I have become here. I don’t tell them about the zombies and the power inside me either. That’s my secret.
I am standing at the crosswords of my life, do I let the zombies win or do I win? I want power. I hate it when they have the power, sometimes they try to scare me but I know I have the power and it is getting stronger.The voices in my head are getting louder, I put my hands over my ears. I fold myself into the blanket and rock. The enemy laughs at me, they think they have won, they don’t know anything. I spit up yellow bile, it lands on the floor. I feel angry but I tell myself ‘NOT YET, NOT YET. Tonight, after dinner and after I play solitaire 50. I have to be extra careful tonight. For the past three weeks I have asked Nurse Kelly if she could come with me to the bathroom while smiling at her. She used to come with me but after one week she stopped (which I knew that she would) and she says “she trusts me.”
It’s time, the exact time I always have to go to the bathroom and I ask Nurse Kelly if she will come with me to the bathroom. She just smiles and waves her hand and smiles. I have to be extra fast tonight because I am carrying my secret wrapped up in three tissues. I wanted to have fifty tissues but I didn’t need to because 3=50. I whisper to the zombies under my breath.”Not for long motherfuckers.” I want to run to the bathroom but I don’t, I walk normally. I lock the stall. I take the special sharp secret from my pocket that I quickly peel away from the 3/50 tissues. It is shiny, silver, metallic, hard. I put the secret present to my wrist and I quickly stab it in, over and over again. ” I WIN” I say out loud. I cut up and down my wrists and across them. I see the blood coming out and I keep slashing until I can’t any more and then I don’t remember anything. Maybe we do all have choices, this was mine. Looking back, maybe I screwed up. I kinda feel bad for my parents. Nurse Kelly found me in the bathroom stall, dead at 10:50 pm.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255): Suicide hotline, 24/7 free and confidential, nationwide network of crisis centers.