‘Rising Above Water’ by Vivian Boukouvala & Mileva Anastasiadou

soft cartel april 2018

The Emergency Room was crammed with people that day. I looked around as I felt someone practically forcing me onto the bed. So many people in agony, with their loved ones by their side, genuinely praying for the gift I’m trying to turn down.

“When did you take the pills?” The nurse seemed concerned, shoving fluids into my veins.

“An hour maybe?” My voice was fading. My gut was telling me to run away, but I was barely conscious. The lights were bright, almost blinding me. Eventually I gave up and looked into the lights. Is this what’s on the other side?

“You’re going to be okay.” At that point the doctor was just a white talking blur to me.

“I don’t care.” Just let me die. Please.

I woke up hours later, with the nasogastric tube hanging out of my nose. I felt dizzy. Even the slightest ray of light coming through the blinds felt like a knife stabbing my eyes, piercing through my head. I looked around, trying to recollect what had happened. Too many images were coming to mind, following no logical sequence at all.

A few hours ago, I was in the bathroom staring at the medicine cabinet. Sleeping pills, tranquilizers, antipsychotics and the most arrogant of them all, antidepressants. I’ve been taking a shitload of them, do I look happy yet?

I caught a glimpse of the empty bottle. Coming to think of it, why wait? There is an easy way out and it is spread all over my table. The “happy pills” winked at me. I had a choice. I could end the pain right then and there. The downside was that I had to give my life in exchange.

I grabbed a bottle of vodka and poured some in a mug. I reached for the pills and took a big mouthful of them. I downed them with a big gulp of vodka. I repeated the process a couple of times until every single one of the pills was taken.

Half an hour later, my haziness was brutally interrupted by my brother bursting into the house.

“Where on earth have you been? I called you six times. Just pick the damn thing up already!”

“Around here, I’m just… chilling or whatever.”, said my oh-so-wasted self while chugging the last gulp of the bottle.

“God, you’re so drunk!” he said as he lifted my head from the pillows. “Why are you even drinking in the middle of the day?”. As he said it out loud, those words morphed into very familiar and greatly disturbing, images. He froze in terror. The prescription bottle was laying empty on the coffee table.

The hospital’s bed was way too uncomfortable. Not as much as the tube they inserted from the nose through my oesophagus and into my stomach. But I was familiar with the whole scenario. It was attempt number two for me.

A couple of days later, with the same dead eyes, I visited a different Serenity. With a small suitcase and my family by my side, I stood outside the imposing building: Serenity, Psychiatric Clinic.

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