Day 1 in Psychiatric ward post failed suicide attempt – High-functioning Autistic Savant syndrome

The first day in a Psychiatric ward is not like in the movies. I did not know what to expect and had to follow instructions from nurses who have dealt with people with severe psychological issues, addiction, trauma, life-changing events and depression. I did not see myself in any of these categories…


After my first consultation session I was showed to my room. I shared it with 3 other males. They were all lying on their beds when we entered and all greeted me with a nod, swift eye contact and an under-the-breath ‘Hello’.


The nurse showed me my locker and set up the combination lock. My mother and eldest daughter had to bring me a bag with clothes for a week, toiletries and some snacks. They thought I was in a car accident and bumped my head and had to be booked in for brain scans to see if I had a concussion. I did not have the heart to tell them I tried to commit suicide. I put my bag in the locker and sat on the bed. The nurse explained when breakfast, lunch and dinner was. She showed me where the bathrooms were and the coffee station. After confirming that I had orientated myself to my surroundings, she smiled and left. I lied on my bed, closed my eyes and tried to come to terms with what transpired over the last 24 hours.

man walking on floor
Photo by Bob Price on

The bell rang for dinner and I went to the eating area. We were showed a menu and could choose what we wanted to eat. I sat at one of the tables and didn’t want to talk to anyone. After eating half of the food on my plate, I realised all the other tables were full of patients, but no-one came to sit with me. I found it strange, but then realised that the bandage on my wrist was a dead give-away: I tried to kill myself. I tried the unthinkable. I went against my strongest instinct: the will to survive. I used my mind to override that instinct and they were afraid of me. ME, the gentle soul who loved life and nature and living. The good guy, the funny guy, the smart guy, the dependable guy, the leader, the father, the brother, the son… They avoided me, and I didn’t know how to explain the confusion to them, so I didn’t. I finished my meal, took a shower, went to the nurse’s station, took my medication, and went to bed.


The sleeping pill was so strong I was out for the count in a couple of minutes. I was about to have the best sleep I have ever had. Rest for my soul…


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