How to Find Joy in a Psychiatric Hospital

Last Friday, in a desperate attempt to blunt pain that I believed I could not bear, I intentionally took way too much of a toxic medication. Enough to easily kill me.
Why didn’t I die?

Because other people thought my life was worth saving. First to save my life was the person I called from the hotel room I had “thoughtfully” gotten, who had to suffer from the understanding of what I was willing to do, what I had done, to the paramedics who pounded insistently at the door, to the nurses and doctors at the hospital, there was a unanimous belief that I was worth a lot of trouble. 

It was difficult to accept so much help. I was ashamed of trying to kill myself. I was also ashamed of calling for help, for pulling out, for being “unstable” and changeable. And every time I was helped to stand so that I could use the toilet stool… Every time I cried in my hospital room and the sentry-of-the-hour asked what was wrong… I felt ashamed and unworthy. 

Most shameful to me was the pain I had caused my spouse. He could not un-know that I had been willing to leave him, and to leave him alone in great pain.

I don’t know if he will ever trust me again. 

How can I love with myself and with what I have done? 

Just for a moment – less than a second. Just for the moment it takes me to type a letter of this article. And after that for another moment. And for the moment after that. 

I am no Buddha. I fall back into the darkness of my mind nearly constantly. But in the space between “nearly” and “constantly” is joy. 

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