I really didn't want to post this, because it's terrifying to think about people I know reading it and knowing this is part of who I am. Which is why I know I need to post this.
Trigger warning for... I don't know, hospitals, psych holds, loss of free will, non-consensual restraint.
June 18, close to midnight, I went to the Beth Israel E.R., because the arrhythmia had morphed into chest pain. They did an EKG — which I knew wouldn't show anything because it's not that kind of chest pain, it's sharp and focused, not crushing and all-over — and sent me back to the waiting room until they had a bed. The bed they had was in the hall. People passing, loud, smells, people passing smelling like smoke, like alcohol, like perfumes, the pneumatic tube thing across from me making its air-brake noise every couple of minutes with no warning, a man yelling, a man snoring. I don't know when it stopped making sense, when I forgot the present; I never did completely, but it didn't help to hang onto the edges of the here-and-now.
They wheeled my cot down the hall to a dim room, the world flying by like in a car sitting backwards, and the room was dark, but I wasn't in Kentucky, I wasn't anywhere. They were annoyed, I couldn't tell what they were saying, I was saying something but I don't know what, and they were annoyed and wheeled me back, and then people were standing around me asking things, saying things, one of them smelled of cigarette smoke, and they wheeled me into a room with a glass front, and slid the door closed, and I knew it wasn't my bed growing up, but it had side rails and it felt so high, and exposed, and no way to get off of it because of the rails except to slide off the foot, and I , I don't know what I felt, if I felt anything, maybe terror, I don't remember the feeling, just the knowing I had to not be on the bed, that it wasn't safe, exposed, so I slid off the foot of it and sat on the floor between the side and the wall, and then there were two or three of them, not just annoyed but angry, "I'm not doing this again," I think someone said. Telling me to get on the bed, I could get back on myself or they'd put me there, and I knew, I should just do it, but I couldn't make myself, and I couldn't explain, and someone said they'd get a blanket and it'd be nice and comfortable, and I think that was when I felt the terror, I don't know why, just, the coaxing, cajoling, that was what my brother had always done, no force, just pleading, almost. Then there were people holding me, four limbs, hanging in the air, and I could see myself screaming, bucking, kicking, and I was ashamed, and just, just confused, why didn't I just do what they wanted, and they held me four limbs stretched on the cot and someone wiped I guess alcohol on my thigh, I was wearing a skirt and they lifted it and rubbed something cold on the back of my thigh, and I looked and could see the syringe, and my throat burned from the screams and I think they couldn't hold me still enough, I don't think they ever injected it. Ativan, someone said somewhere in there, I recognized the name and knew I didn't want it, it makes me feel dead.
A woman came later and said I had to get undressed, for the chest x-ray. She said I could get changed myself or she could do it for me. So I undressed and put on the gown. She said they'd put my clothes in the corner with the rest of my stuff, but that she had to go through my bag to make sure there was nothing dangerous, and no pills, so I took out the pills I keep and she put them in a plastic bag and left, and then didn't come back, and at some point I dozed off, maybe they did give me the Ativan, and when I woke up my clothes were gone, and my backpack was gone, and I asked and she said it was behind the nurses' desk, and I said she'd said it could stay with me, and she was annoyed and said it couldn't be in the room, and I asked why they'd needed to take the meds out and search it if it wasn't staying, and she said they never keep patient belongings in the room, and she left.
The morning and afternoon were a blur of trying to doze, or just trying to find a position where my head didn't hurt and I could stop being. I got up to pee, and the guy watching near the nurses' desk saw me and nodded, and when I came out a woman told me I should have told him I hadn't given a urine sample yet, but no one had told me they wanted one, she was annoyed at me but it didn't make sense. I talked to other people, or they asked questions and I answered them, I guess, asked for numbers to call, friends, my shrink, my psychiatrist. They called M, I didn't want her to know, didn't want her to have to deal after having just had to deal with her mother, but they wouldn't let me leave alone, or strongly recommended against it, or something like that. So she came, and waited, and waited, and finally I went home, and I got up the next morning and went to work.