”This week we would like you to write about how the show of affection has played a part in your memory.
Choose a time when either the abundance or lack of affection (either by you or someone else) stands out, and show us. Bring us to that time. Help us feel what you felt.
Then come back and link up your post on Tuesday, June 14.”
I was in psychiatric hospital from April to June 2010. The rooms were cold, with white walls and loud air conditioning. I always fell asleep watching the wall, the shadows portrayed on it by the blinds. It’s not as if nobody was nice to me, they were, it was just that I never really had been used to the cold, professional sort of status that I had to keep with nurses and fellow patients. No hugs, no holding hands when scared, only a few pats on my back or on the back of my hand when I cried my eyes and lungs out because my father declared he no longer knows me. The closest I could get to physical affection was during group therapy every Thursday where we might play some sort of game or other that was supposed to help us but didn’t.
The worst of all was when the visits went from once a week to none. When my phone was taken away from me. When I wasn’t allowed to see my parents. I got to a police investigation, because of which my father would no longer hug me because he was afraid it. I won’t get into that because it would hurt too much and technically, I’m not even sure if I’m allowed…
I brought my teddy bear along to hospital. Silly me, carrying a teddy bear around at sixteen. Truth is, he was the only object/person I could hug. I’ve had Mumur since I was two, he’s worn out and lovely to cuddle and smelt like home, unlike my clothes, which I had to wash at the hospital. I kept him in my bag so that the smell of home wouldn’t go away. After a month, though, it did — which made me hug him even tighter. I would go to bed right after our designated evening snack/medication moment at eight pm. I would put my iPod on and shut the world out while curling up against my Mumur. I would sleep for twelve hours every night, thanks to my medication, with nightmare after nightmare accompanying me, no longer able to cry because I’d done it too much and because I didn’t get what I wanted, what I needed. I felt like a tiny, helpless baby, crying for hours on end until there was no more power left in me.
I suppose a part of me deserved it. I had taken the wrong path in trying to make it through hell. I fell for the wrong person. Also, it appeared my memory was failing on me because what was my truth was a lie, a lie that could have put both of my parents behind bars. Being caged in a room with no lock, no security, no privacy, without any contact into the world — and no hugs, that was what hospital was like.
I can’t believe I went there by choice.