By @-CM Black.
April in Sacramento
The homeless roam the streets like zombies.
They sleep wherever they can.
They accept whatever charity comes their way.
I handed a homeless man the ********* bags of weed I had left from Ohio.
“Got any spare change?”
“You smoke pot?”
“Here, have this. Make sure you roll it up.”
“Jesus man! Thank you!”
“Absolutely. Stay safe out there.”
*Light turns green*
That left an impression on me.
It’s more common to see a homeless person talking to nobody, than it is to see one not talking at all. It’s ******* sad.
I spent five days in a psychiatric ward in downtown Akron when I was nineteen years old. They made me go because I kept saying I wanted to kill myself.
A five day stint in the psychiatric ward of a hospital really opens your eyes. Twenty-three and half hours of unsupervised time, the other thirty minutes are spent in art therapy.
I had three roommates. John, a fifty something year old, white man from Lisbon, Ohio, who went by Johnny D. Then there was Bradley. Bradley was thirty-seven but could pass for a sophomore in college, which absolutely scared the **** out me out, so I kept an extra close eye on him. It took three days to finally find out why he was in there. I had another roommate, who I can’t remember his name for the life of me, that was around the same age as me. I do remember him telling John and I that he was from Alliance, Ohio. Home of the famous Mount Union football team.
It’s obvious what our elected officials think of the homeless. They have been relegated to drug addicted schizophrenics that you should stay away from at all costs.
“Don’t give them money! You’re just feeding their habit!”
Is the stereotype you hear for giving the homeless money. Though I would argue you almost have to get high, to get through a day in America, especially if you are homeless.
What’s not obvious is what our elected officials think of the mentally ill, which is on par with the homeless. Like I said, they made me go because I was saying I wanted to kill myself. Was I actually going to? Absolutely not. I am far too much of a coward to actually go through with the act of killing myself. I have to give my mother and the nurses at the emergency room props. They were not playing around with the whole “I wanna kill myself”, thing.
The only problem was, for some reason, they insisted I had my blood drawn. What’s my blood have to do with my suicidal ideations? If there’s anything in this world I won’t do, it’s have my blood drawn. My two biggest fears are needles and blood. Combine the two? Forget about it.
I remember the look on my mother’s face vividly.
“Are you mad at me?” My go-to question.
“It’s just disappointing you won’t do this to get the help you need,” said my mother.
My mother has a way with her words. She knows exactly what to say to me at all times. I can handle my mom being mad at me. Disappointment, not so much.
“I need everyone to leave the room,” I announced.
I pulled out my phone and Google searched ways to decrease anxiety while having blood drawn. I read an article that said wearing your headphones does a good job of distracting you from the process.
I called for my mom and told her I would have my blood drawn, but she had to be there with me to hold my hand.
I gotta give the nurse a lot of credit. I can almost guarantee he will never have an experience quite like the one he had that night again. Oh, and **** whoever wrote that article. I was blasting The Bill Simmons Podcast on full volume, with my head completely wrapped in a blanket, and still suffered a terrifying, panic attack. Until that moment, I thought I had, had countless panic attacks. Those were just momentary outbursts of hysteria. This was the real thing. I thought I was having a ******* heart attack.
I remember screaming at my mom, “IS HE DONE YET?!”
Her lack of an answer was enough of an answer.
What felt like a twenty minute ordeal was finally over. I had completely sweated through the string-free gown they give the suicidal people when they arrive at the emergency room.
“What the **** was that?” I asked everyone in the room.
“You had a panic attack,” the nurse who had drawn my blood told me.
“I’ve never felt anything like that before,” I was still shaking, but aware of my surroundings now.
“The ambulance should be here any minute. Make sure you leave your phone with your mom. It’s a ***** of a process to get it back from the ward,” the nurse informed me.
“Wait, the doctor told me I can have my phone in there,” I was confused.
The nurse didn’t know what to say.
“Yeah man, he just said that so you would agree to go. You can’t have anything in there.”
This is when I began to realize that the healthcare system was more concerned about the optics than they were in actually improving my mental health.
“Let’s isolate this kid from the outside world so he won’t kill himself right now, and hope he magically feels better in five days.”
If my stint in the psych ward had taught me anything, it was to never say I wanted to kill myself out loud again.
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