The previous evening had felt something like a nightmare, but more like the sequence of events in a depressing movie. “You ruined it! You were always allowed! You were always fucking allowed! And you fucking ruined it,” I had screamed in my car on the way to my therapist’s office. “You realize that I can’t in good conscience let you leave here, you understand,” my therapist Anne Marie had said softly with sincere concern. I recalled staring at my shaking hands through blurred vision as I leaned forward on the ottoman in Anne Marie’s office, feeling absolutely hopeless. I couldn’t believe it; I had lost. All this work, all this time, and I had lost.
Anne Marie had asked me who I wanted to take me to the hospital. I told her to call my dad. My therapist dialed him but discovered he was out of town in Ohio caring for my grandparents. How did I not know he was gone? Perhaps the family had mentioned it to me in passing, but I had been in such an isolated bubble of misery and mental exhaustion that I had forgotten. I then told Anne Marie to call Mom. It was painfully evident in Mom’s tone that my timing sucked, although she was kind enough not to say it outright. It was decided that my boyfriend, Charlie, would leave work early (it was one o’clock in the afternoon) to come to take me to the hospital; Mom would meet us there.
“I spent my whole life growing up being a mom, I never took care of myself, I’m so sorry, I tried, Mom, I never even let myself have crushes because I was scared, I never let my guard down, I never had friends, I thought I wasn’t allowed… I’ve missed everything.” My pathetic whimpering was nonsensical through the phone. I felt mortified after every single word.
The silence on the other end of the phone screamed both guilt and sustained urge to defensively lash out. But Mom said kindly and simply, “Well, I’m sorry for what part I may have played in that.” More guilt flooded into my gut. I’ve made her feel bad, I’m awful.
When Charlie finally came to take me to the hospital, I spent the entire car ride with my face in my hands, palms greasy from brushing back my unkept hair. When was the last time I washed it?
“Anna Hubbel!” A loud short woman with a raspy voice called out to the main waiting area of the hospital. Oh god. I tried to make light of the situation with sarcastic comments about the comical psychotic aura as Charlie walked with me to the room where a nurse checked my vitals.
Every time Charlie glanced down at his phone, I would ask, “Is that her? What’s she saying? Is she mad? Don’t say anything. Is she coming?”
I ended up waiting around in that room for what felt like a couple of hours. It was actually quite fun at this point, or perhaps I had simply begun trailing a steady incline to hysteria.
After my vitals were checked, the nurses had me change into a gown. I had to give Charlie all of my belongings, as I wasn’t allowed to have anything that could be used as a potential “weapon.” I was then escorted to an isolation room, where they gave me a bland plate of cafeteria turkey and broccoli. I ended up waiting around in that room for what felt like a couple of hours. It was actually quite fun at this point, or perhaps I had simply begun trailing a steady incline to hysteria. After being interrogated repeatedly by nurses, psychiatrists, and social workers about why I had almost taken those large green-and-white anti-depressants, I amused myself by watching the drunk man dance around on the other side of the window of the locked room. When Mom arrived, before she could see me, she and Charlie had to speak with the social worker about what they knew. I laughed as nurses struggled to round up the drunken fool into his adjacent room. He kept winking at me, delighted to have an audience.
It was oddly sensational, the new confused state of mind I had at that moment. It had seemed all social norms and constructs no longer presented any fearful awareness to me in this otherwise traumatizing experience. When I had returned my pee sample to the nurse, I said with a playful sniff, “I’m not a druggy, I swear,” causing her eyes to widen with concern. When another nurse came in to take some blood, I wailed in feigned pain before guffawing obnoxiously, “Jk! Ha, I scared you!” However, the playfulness died down once Mom came into the room. Was she upset? She looked very tired. She sighed. “I was up late last night talking to your brother about his Crohn’s Disease until one o’clock in the morning, then I get the call from your therapist today, and I’m just whipped,” Mom groaned. My heart thumped within the valleys of my stomach.
The social worker informed them that a decision on whether I should stay overnight would be made after she spoke with my therapist. About an hour later, she returned and said they had determined I should “not be released to the emotionally abusive household,” because it could further harm my mental state. Is that possible? I could have slapped that social worker silly. What the hell are you doing?? You just implied that I was abused by my family and my mom is right there! Mom looked at me with that wide-eyed stare. If there hadn’t been other people around, that would have been the end of Anna Hubbel.