Inpatient was my very own Girl, Interrupted; I didn’t realize it until halfway through my stay. There was no girl hoarding chicken carcasses the way Susanna Kaysen told me there would be. Instead there was a girl with paranoid schizophrenia in the room next to me—she would laugh to herself, had a table all to herself during our group sessions, and punched at least one person in the ward a week. And a seventeen year old convinced that she was going to hell, had a bar through the tip of her tongue, and “ROSEMARY” tattooed in giant letters on one of her arms. The latter was the first person I saw when the intake nurse wheeled me into the unit in the dead of night; she was standing in the doorway of her room, grinning deliriously. Her smile carved itself into my brain for the rest of the night, its presence etched into my mind until I woke up bathed in early daylight to the presence of 10 or so doctors at the foot of my bed.

I have no intention of filling up this entry with all the details of my stay. I made friends. I filled page after page of my diary with surprising introspection, and how intensely I missed the Pisces (to whom I wrote a letter, addressed to “the Pisces with blue eyes and fragile skin,” with the words MY HEART IS ON ITS DEATHBED at the top of the page). I stayed up for two days talking to my second roommate—the first was a schizophrenic girl who snored—our hours-long discussions not stopped by the nurses making night rounds, or by the interruption of sunrise. The paranoid schizophrenic girl followed me to my room when I was packing up, screaming about how she should’ve been the one being discharged until a nurse restrained her. I cried when I left. I have not felt the same since.

This diary entry does my stay absolutely no justice. It does my feelings no justice, it does my thoughts no justice. I wish I could list all the people I met, all the experiences I had with them, the small quirks of the ward that simultaneously pissed me off and made me feel like I was in the right place. I miss sitting around a table with all the other kids on medication and comparing our shaking hands. I miss the endless card games. Most of all, I miss how safe I felt. I feel so vulnerable out here, in the real world, and it worsens every day. I have no motivation. My future seems more like impending doom than something to look forward to.

Today on the train, I saw a boy with long brown hair who reminded me of myself so much. It was the way his eyes looked, their blueness tinged with an unmistakable sadness, the way he kept glancing at himself in the window and then letting out soft sighs of frustration. He was so beautiful to me. He reminded me of one of the thoughts I had on my first day of inpatient, when I lay for hours underneath borrowed sheets: I want to be with someone who can recognize what I’m feeling by looking into my eyes, who is sensitive and interesting and actually makes me think. It’s funny how a stranger can bring about a sudden rush of forgotten emotions; I think it mainly has to do with my Cancerian nature, to project so much onto people I don’t or barely know. Everything I think about now, I somehow manage to connect it back to something that has happened in the past week at the hospital, and I hate it. I’m sick of being the type of person who holds onto things so strongly, because in the end, the result tends to be great pain.

I’m tired. ♦