I logged onto Facebook one night, and saw that my friend Nicaragua replied back to my comment I posted on her page. She apologized that she didn’t reply sooner and that she was indisposed at a certain facility for a period of time and that she was going to tell me about it later. For some reason I had a feeling she was at a psych ward because I knew after she left university during her sophomore year, she had been going through depression on and off. In a weird way, I was happy that she went because now I had a fellow comrade who was hospitalized. It made me feel less alone.
I assumed that Nicaragua was hospitalized for depression, but I was way off. A few days after she responded to my post, she and I went out for coffee and pizza. Hanging out with her started off on a funny note. When I drove she asked me, “Have you heard about the town?” I thought at first she was thinking about the drama film that had Ben Affleck and Jeremy Renner. “No,” I responded. “What is that?” She quickly told me that it was what the voices were telling her to go. When she said that, it hit me that she was hospitalized for something more than just depression.
I asked her when she started hearing voices. She responded, “A few weeks ago.” The voices apparently told her to drive to a church at a local town that didn’t exist. Then I asked her what prompted her to get hospitalized. She said that the voices were telling her to kill herself and she decided to tell her family about it. Rather than the mandatory 51/50 three day hold, Nicaragua’s stay was extended after she walked out of her hospital room, paranoid someone was following her.
When we waited for our pizza at the restaurant, I asked her how she was feeling. She said, “Okay,” but added, “The room is moving.” Eating our pizza, one of the employees came out and asked us if it was good. I answered “Yes,” but Nicaragua eyes widened. It was as if her facial expression was asking me if the guy actually spoke to us. I assured her that he was real.
Nicaragua warned me that if she seemed distracted, not to mind. It was a good warning, and she was right about being off. She was unusually quiet and looked severely exhausted. I felt bad and I worried about her. When is her mental break going to last? Will she be able to go back to work and school? What support can I give her? All these questions, I’ll guess I’ll have to wait and see.
Photo Courtesy: Francisco Goya [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons