EDITOR’S NOTE: Trigger warning. The contents of this article may cause distress as it covers topics of suicide, mental health issues, and sexual abuse. Please read with care or don’t at all. We care about you. <3
Sunday. September 7, 2013. Noon.
“Why did you try to kill yourself?” I heard the lady doctor asked.
I was so mesmerized by her beauty that even without my eyeglasses, I could see the outlines of her face.
I realized she was waiting for my answer. “Because I’m fascinated with death?” I blurted out. I was not so sure I heard her right so I remember saying something like that.
“You mean, you believe that when you die you will transform into a ghost?”
I just listlessly nodded. Half of my brain was actually trying to recall the face of the woman beside her. I thought she was my boss. When my head started to ache, I trained my eyes back to the lady doctor.
“Do you know where you are right now?”
“Yes, you’re in Manila. But where exactly?”
“Uh…” I suspected she was testing my wits so I tried to cheat. I looked around and saw a poster. It says “NCMH.”
“NCMH” I confidently said.
“And it stands for?”
I knew it. She was trying to pin me down. She was trying to find reasons to lock me up.
“National Center for Mental Health,” I replied with all the courage I could muster.
“Yes, you’re in a mental hospital. Do you know why you’re here?”
After that question, I vaguely remember how the interrogation went and how my mother, my aunt, my sister, and my cousin replied to all of her questions. I looked at the other desk. There was an old man trying to understand what his daughter was asking him about his case. My mind began to spin in a vortex. I’ll be locked up here. Probably forever.
Then they escorted me to an empty bed in the Emergency Room ward. I was asked to lie down. My mom sat beside me on a chair, trying to compose herself. She was so worried when I said that it’s okay. That I’ll be fine in the hospital. I even remember trying to get up and fix my bag full of clothes.
Then two nurses came with cotton balls and probably a Betadine solution. They started blotting the blood from my wrist. They also treated my bruises which I supposedly got from wrestling four men who tried to pin me down when I was being hysterical the night before. Then they asked me to open my mouth. They asked me stick out my tongue and immediately placed a large tablet under it. I looked at my sister, who is a nurse, asking if I should keep it in my mouth. She understood and just nodded.
My mom and aunt took turns sitting beside me. I was lying on my bed with my eyes fixed on the ceiling. Then I heard some screaming.
I thought I heard the words I screamed myself earlier that day: “Ayoko naaaaa!!” I wanted to tell everybody what I thought I heard but I just kept my mouth shut for fear that I might not get out of that place if they found out what I was thinking.
Then my mom came in. I noted that they had put the curtains up so that I won’t be able to see the other patients. But it was too late. I already saw how a crazy man in his fifties was being wheeled into the ward and that woman who kept screaming like there’s no tomorrow.
I felt my eyes feeling droopy so I tried sitting up. I didn’t want to fall asleep. So when the lady doctor, who I noted in her ID was a doctor from Veterans Memorial Medical Center, saw me sitting up, she asked me if I was feeling better. I said yes, so she gave a go signal to my mom and sister that I could go home now.
I didn’t believe her, though. I knew she was up for something sinister. That was the last thought I had while being escorted back to the L300.