Disclaimer: This article contains content that might be a trigger for some with depression

They handed me these socks when I was admitted to the Psych Ward. They’re pale blue, and they have these white stickem’ arrow lines on the soles. I still have mine. I actually have three from the times I’ve admitted myself.

I was cold, and I had nothing to wear except the dirty clothes on my back. I needed clean socks. I had nothing with me, nobody even knew that I had left.

I was so cold.

I didn’t really know how I was supposed to get my clothes. It would be nice if the suicidal mind could give a little bit of future empathy. “Hey Genn, it’s gonna be cold there. You better pack some fresh clothes and some socks so you don’t have to wear a hospital gown and random scrubs when you don’t have anything else.” You know, before they loaded me up into the ambulance and strapped me down to the cot in the back.

She asked me my name, the paramedic. She asked me my name and asked me my address. Everything was blurry from the tears streaming down and out my eyes. I don’t remember much pain really… just a lot of tears, and being asked how I wanted to kill myself.

I still have those socks.

They don’t make me feel good, exactly. I can’t seem to throw them away though. I can’t just let them fall to the bin and pretend it didn’t happen. I can’t pretend it still doesn’t happen.

When I feel like I want to die, I remember the room with the TV and the long multipurpose table. All bland and white. The flowered wallpaper that seemed so ironically macabre. And I remember my socks.

As I walked down the corridors I remember the sticky feeling on the floor. I could hear the socks peeling up off the heathered white tiles. I remember the man who threw up on himself and then dropped to the floor to do push-ups. I remember the woman I was rooming with who started talking to the ghosts at five a.m. I remember the old woman, white and frail with skin that hung slightly from her muscles, who was terrified that she would be kicked out of her house and ostracized by her daughter’s husband. She was just crying. She was inconsolable for days and then she was moved to a different ward and I’ve never heard of her since.

I remember the woman I roomed with that was upset that I left my underwear on the floor and asked for me to be moved to another room.

I remember the woman who had just taken on too much and had a breakdown that landed her right beside me in the recreation room. She decided to dedicate her time to learning how to make rugs. I showed her how to use the hook and watched her as I colored in all the intricate details on the coloring page, enormously happy that there were over thirty colored markers to choose from. It was the first time I had felt any kind of joy for months.

When I see the socks in my drawer I remember being in the emergency room, stripped of my clothes and belongings and waiting in a hospital bed. I remember the nurse taking the blood from my obstinate hand, and how hard it was to just lift my head. I remember the different social workers I encountered but not well enough to tell you their names or much what they looked like.

I look at those socks and remember how I wanted to die. I still think about the socks when I want to die. When I feel like I wasn’t meant for this world, when I feel like it doesn’t want me. I look at those socks and feel a warmth in my heart that whispers to me, “but you are still here.

And I still have those socks.

Genevieve Armstrong is a Dallas artists, illustrator and writer. You can visit her at www.gennarmstrong.com

1 Comment