The following events occured in July of 2014, after my cousin Ollie's beautiful wedding. My mother and I were staying with my nan, along with Ollie's mother, for some post-wedding bonding time, or so we thought.
A couple of days after the wedding, high on drugs and alcohol, I broke a glass and finding the sharpest piece rather appealing, decided to stab myself with it. It wasn't so much stabbing as it was slowly pushing the piece of glass through my skin. The pain afterwards was unbearable, very unlike the sense of relief and calm I was used to after self-harming. I tried to sleep in off and when morning came, my blood stained sheets and the pain I could no longer disguise testified to the events of the previous night and I was rushed to the hospital. It turned out that I was in so much pain because the piece of glass had inserted itself all the through and travelled down to the inside of my right armpit. It was churgically removed and back to my nan's we went.
They were desperately searching for solutions and outside help as they knew I had been struggling for a long time now. Despite my skepticism, they took me to see a hypnotherapist, hoping he could uncover what was going on in my psyche and what secrets my conscious brain was perhaps unwilling to deal with. The session was surprisingly mind-opening. I saw a lot of very vivid and detailed images but was unable to piece them together. The hypnotherapist then explained that I had been very receptive, meaning that blocked memories were willing to be brought into the present. He told me that the worst was yet to come and to prepare myself for an unpleasant, yet necessary, emotional and physical time ahead.
He was right. Aside from the tremors, headaches, nausea, dissociative episodes and emotional meltdowns ( which was my conscious brain desperately trying to push away the memories I didn't want to confront or accept) , I had never been so terrified of sleeping in my whole life. Considering I saw Silense of the lambs when I was 8, that's saying a lot.
One night, I waited until everyone was asleep and gathered all of my pills plus all the pills I could find in my grandmother's medicine cabinet, took everything and went to bed, hoping I would not awake in the morning. My nan and my mum went out for the day, wen they came back to find me still in bed sleeping and barely coherent when asked what I had taken, they again rushed me to the hospital. The doctor wanted to keep me overnight on suicide watch. So i settled into a bed waiting for the psychiatrist to come see me. I signed a piece of paper stating I was in fact not suicidal and they let me get into a taxi at 2 in the morning to go back home to my nan's.
I was relunctantly taken to my very first clinic shortly after. Upon arrival, my mother and I met with the director and head psychiatrist of the clinic. After I listed all different drugs I took on a daily or weekly basis in front of my poor mother, he decided I belonged in the depression/anxiety department where they would treat me for the latter and bring down my cunsumption of xanax. I was then taken to my room.
The noise from the corridor and the chatter of the nurses' station was already too much to handle and the knock on my door felt like a thousand spiders crawling under my skin. " Hi, my name is Rod", he said as he presented his shaking hand to me, " What are you here for?" he asked.
Hmmm... Let's see...I've been depressed and anxious since adolescence, medicated several times, struggle with substance abuse, I've tried to kil myself several times, I'm a self-harmer, two weeks ago I stabbed myself with a piece of glass and a couple of days ago I took and overdose of pills.
I decided to respond with a shorter and what felt like a more appropriate answer " Depression and anxiety". "Right", the gray-haired man said back to me, "we are on the same program so perhaps we can work together."
Programs. I never quite got the concept of people in the clinic belonging to different programs. At the end of the day, we were all here for the same reason. We were self-destructive and helpless.
The first few days were the toughest. I had willingly agreed to go to the Priory for my own safety but mostly for my family's piece of mind. If I hadn't agreed to go, I'd probably be dead by now. A thought which didn't scare me at all. I didn't care if I lived or died. But my family did. I often found myself wishing I had no family, or at least one that was eager to let go of me. I was in pain, but so were they, and that was all on me. I was, and still am, this giant scar on my family's body which refuses to heal, an unstiched wound oozing with disappointment and grief.
I didn't want to be there, locked up, with a bunch of people who were very compassionate, yes, but fucking depressing and dull. I didn't want to be part of this special little group no one wants to belong to.
I found myself wishing I had been admitted as an alcoholic, at least their group seemed a lot more cheery. On top of that, they had all the booze. Hidden under mattresses , in their toilet cisterns, in bottles of shampoo...So much for The Priory being a place of recovery.
On my fist day there, they took away my tweezers in case I used them to self-harm but I was free to bash my head into the bathroom mirror or tv if I wanted.Or slip one of the knives from the cantine under me sleeve. That was one of the many contradictions when it came to the rules at The Priory.
We were also surpervised during "art therapy" sessions by a therapist is case we wanted to use scissors. I use quotations marks as all art therapy consisted of was a bunch of defective people sat in a room with with classical music playing in the background, writing down affirmations and positive quotes on pieces of paper with colourlful crayons which they could later show off to their families during visitation hours. They could see how well we were obviously doing when presented with the masterpieces we created that boiled down to a bunch of rainbow coloured bullshit sayings such as " Everybody has a little bit of wrong in all the right places.", bits of coloured in collages and pathetic lumps of shapeless clay.
Needless to say, I left after 2 weeks and called my coke dealer on the way back to london. The memories of my rape had fully taken shape in my mind by the end of my stay and both my body and mind were screaming out for escapism and self-destruction.