Archived: Untold Story of the E.R. by Abby Wagner

The past month had been gray. Nothing but gray, but my thoughts were only black and white. Emptiness filled my being; food lost all flavor, color lost all pigment, music lost all feeling, I lost all joy. There was no point to life anymore. I had felt emotions so intensely for years, and then, I was numb. I couldn’t feel anything anymore, I couldn’t feel happy or sad. I had given up on everything that mattered to me. My grades dropped from straight A’s to straight F’s. I didn’t bother eating, writing, or playing music, it just disappointed me. After a month of this, I was done. I was planning to end my life.

One emotional conversation with my mom later and we were on our way to the emergency room. The cold, clinical hospital canceled my plan. As a nurse was taking my blood, my world went silent, my vision went black, my body went cold. I hadn’t eaten more than an apple in five days. As I was coming back to consciousness, I heard my mom sobbing and nurses asking me way too many questions. I can’t recall any specifics from these 20ish minutes. 30 minutes and two cups of apple juice later, I was wheeled to the temporary holding ward for psych patients. The grayish-yellow walls and blood-stained bed frame belonged in a shitty horror movie. This 10’ by 10’ room, with nothing more than a bed and metal chair screwed to the floor, was my home for the next nine hours. If I hadn’t been feeling suicidal before, being stuck in this room with a crazy-eyed security guard at my door, would do the trick. This bitch stalked my every move. I closed my eyes in the hopes of getting some rest before the crisis counselor came in. But, of course, this was a bad decision. Within five minutes of me closing my eyes, I had two nurses rush in and wrap a blood pressure cuff around my arm to make sure I hadn’t passed out again. I didn’t bother trying to rest after that. The thin paper scrubs, grippy hospital socks, and the neon yellow “fall risk” wristband were less than comforting when talking about my suicide plan. The crisis counselor gently creeped in, a forced smile plastered across her face, taunting me with pity.

She started out very bluntly, no sugar coating, “on a scale of 1-10, how likely would you be to harm or kill yourself if you had the chance today?”.

I was annoyed and losing my mind from going on hour six of being stuck in this room, so I sarcastically questioned, “why would I be here if it wasn’t a 10?”.

This conversation of “why’s” and “how’s” lasted for about 15 minutes. When she gave up interrogating me, she decided to send me to Mountain Crest Behavioral Hospital. I was relieved yet extremely anxious. I was relieved because I didn’t have to be in charge of my life for a few days. I was relieved that I didn’t have to worry about doing something that would hurt people I love. Even if it was just for a few days, I was relieved. Simultaneously, I was anxious and terrified. I had heard horror stories about psych hospitals, and I didn’t want to burden my family with medical bills.

The walls felt closer by the minute. I felt like a caged animal. I couldn’t sleep, eat, or even go to the bathroom alone. It felt like I had given up my rights by walking in that door. Time droned on as I zoned out. I had completely dissociated. I was floating above my body as if this was all just a fucked-up dream. My lack of calories and hope was a recipe for insanity. As I was lying on this one-inch thick mattress, I broke down. All I could do was cry. I was stuck in this dreadful room and headspace for three more hours before an EMT and nurse came to transport me.

The EMT loudly announced their entrance into my room, “Hi Abby my name is Adam, we’re here to drive ya’ to Mountain Crest”. His tone of voice made it seem like this was a Disney World Make-A-Wish trip. I tried to ignore him; I would have cussed this dude out if I wasn’t sedated. I was fighting the urge to bolt as soon as we walked out of the building. I was being very “cooperative” up until now, so their guards were down. I observed all my surroundings for the three-minute walk to the van. I could see that the highway was probably half a mile in front of the hospital. My urge to escape was stronger than anything else in that moment. My mind was consumed by thoughts of bolting into traffic. The images in my mind were interrupted by my vision and hearing starting to get fuzzy, again.

I woke up 10 seconds later with Adam the EMT in my face and my back on the concrete. After drinking a whole Gatorade and taking the single Children’s Tylenol the nurse would give me, Adam pushed me in a wheelchair the rest of the way. I was pissed that I missed my opportunity but, at the same time, deep down, I was incredibly grateful. I got into the caged backseat of the bright red hospital van and hoped that things would be okay. Halfway to the other hospital, Adam asked me if I liked Britney Spears; without me answering, he proceeded to blast Toxic at full volume, at 11:45pm. This made me laugh for the first time in weeks. I took a step back and looked at my current situation objectively; I was in a cage in nothing but paper hospital scrubs, on my way to a mental hospital on a Wednesday night. Nothing could have been a more perfect ending to the worst day of my life.


I am honored to be included in The Aims Review! I am a student at Aims, I have been a student for two years and will be graduating in May. I am also an employee here at Aims, I work in the Physical Education and Recreation Center. Writing has always been a major part of my life. Growing up I was constantly encouraged by my family to be creative and have an outlet with writing. I wrote many stories, and kept a journal on me at all times. I always knew from a young age that writing would be a part of who I was, and would become. I feel drawn most to poetry because it feels raw and vulnerable. I try to be honest with my writing because people enjoy what they can relate to. I look up to Lana Del Rey as an artist, she is a musician and she also writes poetry. She inspires me to be a better writer, using words that can invoke a lot of feelings. I can only dream of being as successful as her, but my main goal is just for people to enjoy my writing and find themselves in it.