Chicken Fingers and Bosco Sticks: That time I was going to kill myself

They don’t call it the “psych ward” anymore.

Or the “mental institution.”

It’s the “behavioral center” or as it was referred to myself and the other patients; “Stress Unit.”

About a year and a half ago I was admitted. I checked myself into the hospital and told them I was suicidal.

I expected a doctor to adjust my medication, to spend a couple days in a room, and come out feeling much more relaxed.

In the ER they pumped me full of Ativan. I was hysterical.

Because of that, I don’t remember much of that first day in the hospital.

I woke up the following afternoon to a man with a shirt and tie on sitting next to my bed. He had a clip board and was in a wheel chair. He asked me, “Are you ready to go to the place we talked about?”

I looked at him full of confusion.

“The ambulance is waiting to take you to the Stress Unit in Owosso.”

Rage overcame me in an instant.

They put in in a wheel chair and loaded me into the ambulance. I asked one of the EMTs if we could stop for a smoke. He said, “I’m not allowed to do that, but I will. Just remember this; if you run, there is no record of this stop. And they’ll be no record of what I did to get you back in my truck.”

It was the shortest smoke break I’ve ever had.

Soon we got to Owosso Hospital. They took me up the elevator to the Stress Unit floor. There were lots of heavy locking doors and narrow halls with several turns. My anger, anxiety, and the Ativan still in my system made everything feel rather confusing.

It was all I could do to walk into the office to check-in.

Then it got really bad.

My parents were there. They had followed the ambulance. The charge nurse told me I would, “only be in for a week or so.”

I turned to my parents and started yelling, “How could you?! You knew they would do this! I was asleep! I didn’t agree to any of this!”

“Tyler, anyone who comes into the hospital and says they are suicidal has to go through this process. It’s state law.”

I kept yelling, insisting that my father do something.

Soon after they left, and assured me they would come visit the next day.

The nurse brought me some dinner shortly after.

So there I sat, eating chicken fingers and Bosco sticks in the office of Owosso Hospital’s Stress Unit.

It was the most defeated I have ever felt.

I didn’t want to be there at all. I didn’t want their help. It felt like all of this was just making things worse.

The nurse came back and said, “I know you are upset and you didn’t ask for this, but you’re here now. Why not give it a try?

With that she showed me to my room. I had the bed by the window. I looked out through bars covering the glass and tried to relax for a minute before laying down.

— — —

I woke up early the next morning to the voice of the nurse. She told me that breakfast was waiting down the hall. I sat down at the table with some of the other patients. They were laughing, smiling, and talking about their food.

It was like some weird kind of bed and breakfast.

A lady in her mid-50s turned to me and said, “You put up quite a fight last night. Glad to see you are feeling better. I’ve been here before. It’s one of the nicest units in all of Michigan. Just give it a shot.”

I sighed, took a bite of my eggs and decided I would do just that.

As soon as I made that decision I started to calm down and feel better.

I knew I didn’t have it all figured out, and if I hadn’t put my guard down I would have never learned how to feel better.

-Peace doesn’t try to control everything.

-Peace realizes that things don’t always have to be “right”, they just need to be conducive to living a creative life.

-And it also knows that it can learn and grow from any situation. Even a reluctant stay at a weird bed and breakfast.

By the way, that morning I woke up in the Stress Unit was September 24, 2014.

My 21st birthday.

When the nurses found out they brought up cupcakes and ice cream and threw me a birthday party.

I’m now 22. I finished a certificate in ministry this past year, met the love of my life, got married, became a parent, and started this blog.

Things get better.

-The Ideas Guy