“We met up and chatted but this was before we really knew what mental health was or how to talk about stuff properly. She seemed alright, a little low so we tried to have a laugh and cheer her up. We were going to head home, it was getting late, but there was something telling me that I shouldn’t leave. I couldn’t make sense of it, but there was just something… So we went back to her house for a while and then she went to the bathroom. She was gone for a while. So I had a look in the loo and there was no sign, called her name but no reply. I made my way up the stairs to her room and then found her. It was almost like a different person, looking like my best friend but not in any way familiar seeming to me at all, you know? It was as if their personality was totally different, the way they were was so different.
I didn’t really know what was happening, if this was a bit of a joke she was playing, you know, acting so differently. After a minute I realised she wasn’t playing around. I really got an overwhelming feeling that something was wrong. I didn’t really know if it was something to call an Ambulance about – you don’t really know what to do in those situations, do you? Especially when you’re a kid yourself.
We managed to get a lift from a neighbour and got out to the hospital.
We waited and waited and waited. You’re sat there, in the freezing cold waiting area of A&E, waiting. Under the lights which make you squint with brightness, the chairs that hurt your back, the smells and noises. The stuff that you’re seeing, hearing, smelling and all that doesn’t even come close to what the person who is in bits is going through, you know?
My mate was so desperate for help that she probably didn’t even notice half the stuff going on around her. But what I’m saying is, whoever is there and for whatever reason you’re there, it is a really awful thing to go through when you aren’t well.
You just want them to get help right away, and it feels like nothing you can do to get them the help. And you’re trying to make sure, in however possible, that your mate is alright. You’re just waiting. And every time the entrance door opens, you hope the person isn’t an emergency cos then you’ll have to wait longer. And every time the office door opens, you hope the nurse will call out your mate’s name. All you can do is wait. You’re so stuck because you don’t know what to do other than put their hand in yours and your arm around them, trying to keep them warm, trying to keep them still, trying to keep them safe. You sit there, hoping that something will happen, something will help your friend, this is where people are meant to be fixed so why aren’t they fixing her?
We were there for hours. Days, it felt like, but hours. Turns out, we had to wait so long cos they didn’t have anyone in the hospital that could help her. Like, it is a hospital, how is there not anyone here to help?
Then someone came out of the office door and called her name. We brought her to the nurse and luckily, her family arrived at the same time and were able to take over. To get to a place where you’d be in a situation like that is awful, to have your mental health get so dark is one thing, but then to almost go through a war just to get help when you’re in crisis is ridiculous. All you want is for your friend to be happy and think they are as amazing as you think they are, you know? But when they are low, and something like this happens, then you’re left waiting.
For hours, you wait and don’t have a clue if your mate is going to be alright.
You’re meant to be out playing ‘til the street lights come on, thinking knick-knocks are deadly to do, and watching tele when you’re that age. You’re not meant to be sitting in, what feels like, a prison holding cell and watching the doors and holding your mates hand so tight so they know you’re there.
You’re not meant to be a kid in A&E and waiting hours for someone to call out your name.”
If you need to talk to someone right now – call Samaritans on 116 123.
If you want to find out about mental health services in your area – visit yourmentalhealth.ie.