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Aug 2019
⚠️Trigger Warning: The following poem contains subject matter pertaining to self-harm, suicide, and involuntary psychiatric hospitalization⚠️

I don't recall a whole lot
about my first hospital visit.

I know only the
fleeting
keynotes of the experience.

And I'm not just referring to my first...
psychiatric (?) visit.

(I'm not sure if psychiatric is
the right word,
but I find that I often struggle
to find the right words
when I attempt to describe hospitals
and the time I've spent in them.


I'll do my best.)


See,
I had never been to the
Emergency Room for anything before.

(Well,
except for that one time
I tumbled off the changing table as a baby.
But I'm not sure that really counts,
my only knowledge of the event
having come from second-hand stories.)

Surprisingly enough,
being the clumsy child I was,
I had never sustained
any significant injuries
while growing up,
especially in comparison to my sister
who had a daunting repertoire.

When she was a toddler,
she executed a daredevil jump
from the top of the staircase,
breaking her arm as she crash-landed
onto the basement carpet.

While we were waiting
for her to be fitted with a cast,
I remember her doctor told me
to stop misbehaving.

While I can't remember
exactly how I was misbehaving,
I'm sure it had something to do
with the chaos of my temperament,
a chaos that has churned inside me
for as long as I have known.

Over the course
of my high school years,
when I would make several
appearances at the hospital
due to my own brokenness--
the very brokenness that persuaded
the lacerations on my wrists
and my lust for death--
the doctors would,
in their clinical, roundabout ways,
tell me the same thing:

to stop misbehaving.

In the ninth grade--
this here. this is the first visit--
my guidance counsellor and English teacher
had driven me to the Children's Hospital,
which was only up the road from my high school.

Oddly enough,
I had been relatively compliant.

I had gone quietly,
devoid of the defiant uproar
that seethed under my skin.

Perhaps I acted as I did to prove that,
despite, my darkness,
isolating me from the world I knew
would be a grand disservice to me.

Or perhaps I feared
what would happen
if I was to purposely disobey,
that, upon arriving at the hospital,
I would be treated like the rebel I was,
promptly disrobed of my independence.

The remaining details of the visit
have been resolved to vagueness
as time has passed.

I only know my father  
came straight from work to pick me up.
Before we left,
the doctor gave us pamphlets--
crisis hotlines,
accessing resources
within my quadrant of the city,
alternatives to self-harm.

The doctor dwelled on this last subject;

if I felt like cutting myself,
I could still satisfy the urge
without actually drawing blood.

I could press ice to my skin
or write on myself with markers--
markers not pens--
or snap a rubber band against my wrist,
which was the method
he had particularly fixated on.

He explained he wasn't too keen
on me snapping myself
all the time, either,
but that it was a preferable
alternative until I improved.

"Doc,"
I wish I'd said,
"If only you knew
how lovely it is to bleed."
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Jade
Written by
Jade  21/F/Canada
(21/F/Canada)   
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