To look at her, you’d think she was cautious, tentative, wary. Scrutinising you with eyes that have seen much more than others could dare to dream. Her being which had walked through many paths, some twisted and gnarled, others delicate and soft, but generally most with a visible barb.
Her mind, having been through so much, broken down, split and medicated, behaviour watched by those in authority as though circling hawks, observing in a manner that noted every hour how she was travelling, her mindset and behaviour positive, light, or becoming worsened, so dark, increased internal suffering.
Oftentimes she was out of control, this was why she was there, in that world she couldn’t leave without being signed out of, couldn’t easily visit her comforting home. Where ‘Leave’ was something dreamed of, yearned for, an hour or two here or there to spend in her warm loving environment, then dismayed she’d be returned to the unit with the rest of the others, who themselves were suffering from differing mental health matters and in differing manners.
So, while she observes you observing her, she is reminded of the way in which she was observed carefully, with eyes roaming around the ward, or from the nurses’ Fishbowl. Where they could hide somewhat, from behind the glass, watching her as she went about her daily business, her feigned sense of existence, trying to get better as fast as she could.
Socialising with the other patients could only hold her attention for so long, before she became desperate to leave the ward, she just wanted to go home. How she was there for many weeks, sometimes months at times, she couldn’t bear to drag herself from the squeaky hospital bed, she wanted to hide, despair, just be discharged, she didn’t belong there.
And then came the admissions when each second morning she’d be wheeled out, in her hospital bed through the main ward, sent on a trip upstairs to visit a specific doctor, for a buzzing and a convulsing, in an attempt to make her mind whole and somewhat better. It was because the medication wasn’t working. It was a last-option intervention, medically speaking.
And while she became better with time, in the sense of being able to function in society, there were always times when her mental health became worse, and back into the hospital she would be, that familiar unwanted scene. Stability for her only lasted a year or two, and she was never truly living, because she was forever too close to the edge. Of shallow goals and dreams, she would be constantly dreaming. Reaching out for these caused her health to decline rapidly.
But these recollections matter not now, because she is no longer Hospital Girl, she is the one who has succeeded at her true life’s dreams, written in her school yearbook as a little girl. As a twelve-year-old dreamer, she had written of her desires, and here she was, having achieved those two goals that she had wanted her life to deliver.
© 2019 Alice Well Art, Lauren M. Hancock also known as Alice Well. All rights reserved.