Help Justyna, a suicide survivor and a life-long victim of physical and emotional abuse, suffering from multiple mental disorders, fight homelessness, illness, unemployment, debts, and social stigma.
I am lying at the bottom of the well, dark matter of the abyss lingering to my skin - warm and inviting. Here, where I am neither dead nor alive, I finally feel safe. Suddenly, a clamor of male voices, speaking not to me but of me, cuts through the silence. I can feel their fingers on my body, their grope burning to the very bone. I open my eyes and violently gasp for breath.
There are five of them - doctors or nurses - one by each of my limbs, sticking needles into my veins; one above my head, giving the orders. The one by my right leg pulls my long flowery dress up and whistles.
- Wow! She doesn’t have any underpants on! Look at her sweet little p***y! - he yells.
As others turn their heads to watch I can feel a rush of anger surging across me. My heavy, powerless body becomes light and I nearly kick him in his smug face. Within seconds, however, my limbs are tied to the hospital bed by a four-point restraint.
- Get off me! Don’t you dare touch me! - I start shouting on the top of my lungs - I’m a rape victim, I suffer from PTSD and I have a right to say no! Stay away from me!
There is nothing else I can do but yell so I recite all the Articles of the Criminal Code that he has breached but it quickly occurs to me that it’s just a waste of my breath.
- You must be joking! You should have thought about your wellbeing when you swallowed all those pills - he replies - Paramedics told me you nearly choke on your own vomit. Classy. Next time pick a more dignified way to die, will you? I am going to insert the catheter. It might be a little bit painful.
I think of “uncle” Mirek who was the kindest of all that forever-drinking parade that kept passing through my home when I was little. One day he disappeared and I quickly learnt that he had died by choking on his own vomit. I spent endless sleepless nights fearing that mum or dad would do, too. Now I fear myself. What the hell goes through that distorted mind of mine that pushes me towards the end?! I need to get help. I tried to. I spent all my savings on private therapy and private psychiatrists, and it got me nowhere. I even tried to go to the hospital five months ago but was told by the Professor. I didn’t look sick. Well, Professor, do I look sick enough to you now?!
I don’t know whether it’s fear or the catheter that aches so badly that I lose consciousness again.
I wake up what seems like days later. My limbs, still tied to the bed, feel stiff and painful; my jaw feels heavy I can barely speak and I wonder what they have pumped into my veins on the top of five dozens of quetiapine pills I took along with Xanax, amphetamine, and alcohol.
The one giving the orders approaches my bed and smiles half smirkingly.
- Oh, look who's back! The Snow White! - he says. I want to ask him about where I am; about whether the one by my right leg’s gone; about what they have given me but I can’t seem to be able to find words to verbalise my thoughts so I look at the restraints and mumble:
- Why, you ask?! Why? Funny! You were a naughty girl and we had to immobilise you - he answers - Brace yourself. You’re up for a lie-in.
All I can think of is Irek and how I want to see his face, hear his voice, feel his comforting hug and tell him I was sorry. A warm stream of tears starts running down my cheek.
- Please… - I look at the one giving the orders - Please…
- Please? What do you want?! How may I be of service after having saved your life?
A feeling of gratitude fused with shame and anger weighs heavy on me. I can hardly breathe. All I want is to call Irek and tell him I love him. I can see an image of my pink iPhone in my mind and it occurs to me that I must have left it in the ambulance.
- I’ve left my airplane in the car - I reply, well aware that words spoken fail to convey the meaning intended. My mind is blank.
- Your... what?!
- My airplane! My airplane! - my voice becomes louder as I realise I have been stripped of words - I’ve left my airplane in the car! - I repeat in a vain hope to make some sense.
- Your airplane! Ladies and gentleman, Miss Snow White has left her airplane in the car! I am so lucky to have a weekend-long shift with you. Now, Miss Snow White, could you tell me your full name and address?
- I don’t have an address.
- What does it mean you don’t have an address?!
- It means… it means I am homeless - I whisper. The word homeless rings loudly as a bell. I am back at the bottom of the well, tied to a hospital bed for nearly 48 hours.
On the 2nd of January, I attempted to take my own life after years of struggling with multiple mental disorders, including Borderline Personality, Post-Traumatic Stress, Bipolar and General Anxiety Disorder as well as addiction to benzodiazepines. I am a victim of life-long physical and emotional abuse, sexual harassment and rape. I don’t have any family members left alive able to support me.
My suicide attempt was a crescendo of over 10 months of insufferable emotional pain; 10 months spent chained to a bed by the worst depressive episode I’ve ever been through - and by chained I mean not being physically able to do nothing but sleep or lie, looking through the window onto the backyard and wishing I’d lived higher up so that I could jump. A morning shower became a Tuesday and a Friday bath after which I barely had enough strength to crawl back to my bedroom and swear I’d never do it again. Sometimes, I spent hours on the bathroom floor, gasping for breath and waiting until I felt well enough to drag my lifeless body back to bed. I hardly ate. I isolated myself from the world out of guilt and shame.
I find it immensely difficult to speak publicly about I’ve been through; and even harder to ask for help. I really, really want to live, though, and I will do everything in my power to get better. This why I decided to run a crowdfunding campaign.
How will I use your donations?
- £200 to cover basic expenses during a one- to two-month-long stay at a psychiatric hospital including an edible portion of food once in a while, toiletries and books;
- £800 to cover the costs of a deposit, agency fees (should there be any), one month’s rent in advance for a flat in Gdańsk, where I’d like to move in with my two loving cats and Irek, my partner, who's an Aspie and has sadly lost his job as a consequence of having had to take care of me;
- £2000 to cover the costs of living during a three-month-long intensive therapy at a daily ward of a psychiatric institution as well as a one-month-long job hunt;
- £500 to cover the costs of a basic health check, a TC of my brain, a gynecologist, a dentist as well as meds (due to being unemployed for nearly a year I don’t own medical insurance. As a consequence, the only free medical care I am currently able to access is the one at a psychiatric hospital, which can be centrally funded through the government);
- £500 to cover veterinary fees and cat food until I am able to work again
- £3000 to cover the most pressing debts.
Reaching the campaign’s target would enable me to devote up to six months to recover. However, what matters most to me is to avoid being homeless and penniless after leaving the psychiatric hospital.