This is where it had all landed me. The months of torture I had endured all boiled over me that Sunday morning. And by Sunday evening I was being watched by a police officer. Not even a police officer. I think he was a security guard who had just graduated. So here I was all of my womanhood on display for someone still going through puberty who was probably more interested in twitter than keeping me safe. I was being monitored one on one so that I wouldn’t harm myself. My purse was taken away. My clothes gone. I was left laying with a paper gown trying to plead with the doctor to not lock me up. I hadn’t shaved my legs or worn pretty underwear. My mother always told me to do these things. Although I am sure my mother never thought her daughter would be laid out on a gurney being evaluated by a psychiatrist that December morning. These are things that you think about and cry over when you realize that this may be the beginning to the end. My biggest fear was coming true. I was entering into a world I thought I would never return from.
I had had a “breakdown” years before when my car caught on fire with two of my kids in it. I was in a Starbucks drive thru and my toddler at the time started yelling “ MOMMY FIRE!” I turned around to the back seat to see flames coming up the side of the door at his feet. While the fire department came and put the fire out I sat and watched while holding my little ones. I had been alone for days as my husband was trying to piece his family back together in Ohio after his baby brother died suddenly. Nothing had made sense and I was losing it. After almost losing my children to dealing with the stress of a loss we could not comprehend I lost it. For two days I lie in bed heavily medicated and watched. My mother came to stay with me to make sure I remembered how to take care of myself and others. She made lists of things for me to follow. Brush your teeth. Make the bed. Pick up kids. The smallest things accomplished made me feel useful and needed.
But this is what grief and postpartum depression do. They take hold of your neck like a stranglehold and they continuously pull you down. They try to convince you that you will stay there forever. That your truth is the disease and not the overcomer. And here I was seven years later.
I wanted to drown into the bed. I wanted to disappear. I wanted to wake up from this nightmare. “Please” I am pleading with him just don’t lock me up. This doctor who looks like someone I know. Someone I would be friends with if I were not naked and covered in paper. In my head I am going over the possible scenarios.
I know what it’s like.
I know how they over medicate. I know that they will put me in a room and give me pills that make me forget who I am. I know they will feed me with sporks and my children will never look me in the eyes again. I know that people at church will find out. I know they say that church is a place for the broken. But only broken enough that a conversation will fix. Messy is not even the beginning to describe what is going on. They say that they will look past this and forgive me. But they won’t. I know. I know when they find out the truth or the truth they want to believe and start gossip prayer chains. It will be so far removed from what happened that I will never know whose knife I have in my back. I know that I will be looked at as the “crazy mom who had to be locked up” “ The mom who couldn’t handle it” “ The one who fell off the deep end” I know how I will never be the same. I will never be who I was meant to be. This is how you think when you haven’t slept in days and are naked on a gurney.
I lie staring at the blue wall pleading to God to show up. Of any moment in my life this would be the time for him to reveal himself. I was willing to take a vision. In middle school some of my classmates said they saw the virgin Mary at a sleepover I was at. They swore they saw her on the living room wall. Although we also believed we could turn potato chips into communion during lunch hour and serve each other as a priest who talked with a lisp.
But in this moment. I needed God himself to be real. I didn’t need the truth of a disillusioned catholic school girl I needed the faith of a girl who literally was at her rock bottom. I lie there crying, shaking. Begging Him to be real. In this moment of all moments in my life I needed to feel Him. To hear His voice. To feel His arms wrap around me. I pictured myself at His feet barely able to lift my head clinging to His ankles. Begging for mercy to be tangible. For this one moment all I ached for was hope.