Admission took about four hours.
I sat on the couch and waited and waited.
The first they did was to take everything away from me including my cell phone. I had a small bag with some clothes and a couple of books which they had already taken away from me in the hospital in Manhattan. The bag traveled with me in the ambulance, but at no time was I allowed access to it.
The first thing they did was to go through all my personal items.
I was taken into a small room with a large table. A black security officer wearing surgical gloves stood next to the table with my bag of belongings.
He gestured for me to sit, and then began to remove each item one by one. Shame an humiliation crept through my being as this man in uniform went through each piece of underwear and each sock and shirt that I had brought with me.
Face down I stared at my hands.
I could not watch.
He was very thorough, searching inside pockets and even seams. He was looking for anything sharp that I could use as a weapon, either against myself or someone else.
After he had completed his task of humiliation he stuffed everything into a large paper bag with green plastic handles. He scribbled my name on the side of the bag, using a thick pen and huge lettering. He handed me the bag and escorted me back to the hallway to wait yet again.
There were some other people sitting on chairs and couches.
All of them had someone accompanying them.
I was alone.
Soon I was called into a second office to meet with the psychiatrist.
She was pleasant enough, and asked me a whole litany of questions to determine what status I would be once I was admitted onto the floor.
By then the time was 2am and I was completely exhausted. I could barely think clearly enough to respond to her thorough questioning.
I was feeling sad and hopeless.
I felt that no one really cared what was happening to me.
I was here alone trying to answer questions.
I was tired and scared and at that moment I had the feeling that death had to be better than this.