By this point, I had pretty much learned my lesson about talking to the police. All it ever resulted in was a weekend away, in sometimes less than stellar accommodations, after which I was returned home. Home, to more people visiting and asking questions, many of which resulted in subtle- and not so subtle- consequences once everyone was gone.
I don’t even recall this precipitating incident. There was always something. I would do something wrong; not finish a chore correctly, get caught lying about eating some food, or whether my laundry was put away. Most of the time when this happened, I (or we, if there were accomplices) would get yelled at, maybe given a few extra chores. Occasionally; however, someone would go off script. I would start yelling about life being unfair, my mom would dump every drawer in my room out, or my dad might take off his belt. By the time it was over, my mother would have called the police or a social worker to report I had attacked her. Someone would come and take me somewhere, and then it would start over again.
This time, the police came and took me to the police station. I wouldn’t say a word. Some might say I was trying to exert control over a situation I had no control of, others did say I was just being dramatic, but by the time I got to the hospital in the early hours of the next morning, the term being used was “catatonic.” I just thought I was pissed. At everyone.
I spent nine hours at the sheriff’s department that day; with all the deputies, the social worker who showed up, even the dispatcher, who, on the weekends, doubled as my Sunday School teacher. They were all trying to get me to talk. Or, trying to wait me out. I remember the gray walls, and the metal table of the small room I spent the day in. I remember the Styrofoam cup, filled with almost cold water, the dispatcher brought me. She was so nice when she sat down and asked me if I was okay. I almost talked to her, I wanted to talk to her, but she sometimes talked to my mother and I didn’t know what to say. Every else I ignored.
It was about nine o’clock that night when the social worker asked me if I ever thought about hurting myself. I’m not sure why I responded to that one. I think I recognized it as a way out. It was late, and I was hungry and tired. I nodded at him. I hadn’t really been thinking about it then. There was the one time I had actually cut myself. Somehow the subject had come up at school and I just decided to try it. I hid in my bedroom one afternoon and carved DIE into my arm with my pocket knife. It felt kind of thrilling and didn’t really hurt, until I thought about what might happen if I was found out. I wore a band-aid and long sleeves for a couple of weeks after, to hide it from everyone.
From there, there were phone calls, a flurry of activity around me, and then my parents showed up. I don’t think I said a word on the drive to the hospital. There was the occasional remark tossed towards me from the front, but I just ignored them. The hospital was located about two hours from our home, and by the time we arrived, all I wanted was to sleep. Inside, everything was glaring white. Bright lights welcomed us into, what I soon would know is called, the admissions process. It felt like hours of questions before I was taken to a room where the belongings my parents had packed me were searched, and I was finally allowed to fall asleep in a bed.
I was there for seven days. Seven days of the psychiatric version of a very condensed school day, followed by; group therapy, individual therapy, and medication education. I was required to learn about my medications; Buspar to treat my diagnosed depression, Risperdal to help me sleep, and Clonidine to keep me calm. They reminded me about the Clonidine several times. Each pill had to be cut into quarters, and I had to take one quarter, four times a day. I was cautioned to take it correctly, because too much would slow my heart rate dangerously low. I went home with a month’s supply.