As an inpatient psychiatric nurse, I’m glad you’re here.

Today was the day. The day you felt the overwhelming urge to be done with this life. Suicide felt like the right decision. As a relief from pain you have been desperately trying to escape. There was a flaw in your plan. Fear, family, friends or fate caused a pause in the plan you were going to play out. You ended up in the hospital. I’m so glad you’re here.

I meet you when you are broken. I’m the nurse that is going to be caring for you in the first moments of a night you did not want to be alive to experience. Coming into my care might be your idea, you might have been forced here very much against your will. I’m so glad you’re here.

It’s not lost on me that our meeting was not guaranteed. Your day could have ended very differently and I would be completely oblivious to your struggle. I’m so glad you’re here.

You’re scared. You don’t have to say it, it’s written all over your face. Your eyes are downcast, breaths are shallow, lips are tense. Your glance shifts from your hands to the table covered in paperwork. Your thoughts are racing. You are overwhelmed. I’m so glad you’re here.

I’m going to try and make you feel comfortable. I’m going to bring you food, smile, and try to use humor to break the tension. This part is hard for me too. I want you to trust me, to know that I care, to know that I want to help you. That’s a difficult task to achieve within our very brief initial interaction. I’m so glad you’re here.

Our conversation starts on a very basic level. We go through paperwork, unit orientation, and a lot of information that you are simply not mentally ready to absorb. It’s ok, I’m going to be here to answer your questions, guide you through this process, and help put some of the pieces together. I’m so glad you’re here.

As your admission goes on, the questions become very personal. I am a stranger who is asking you questions about your history, discussing the events that brought you into the hospital, and your innermost thoughts. The awkwardness of this scenario is painfully apparent to me. A true therapeutic relationship takes time to develop, and here I am wanting to skip all the niceties and going right for heavy stuff. It can be uncomfortable, for both of us. I’m so glad you’re here.

You might want to talk. You need to get your stress off of your chest and allow it to filter through the air between us. Saying the words outloud can be intimidating but freeing. You might want privacy. You feel exposed, cornered. You have had your trust misused and have utilized caution as a safety mechanism. I’m so glad you’re here

You watch me. I’m a stranger and closest confidant at the same time. It’s weird for you. “Who is this lady who is suddenly so interested in my life and what it would take to save it?!” It’s weird for me too. I’ve just met you, but I am completely invested in you. Your failures are mine. Your accomplishments are mine. I’m so glad you’re here.

30 minutes. I get 30 minutes of your time. That is nothing more than a heartbeat of your life. But that is a heartbeat you didn’t know you would have. A heartbeat that is forced on you. A heartbeat that is cherished by me. I’m so glad you’re here.

Thank you. Thank you for being here. I’m so thankful that instead of ending your life, you ended your day with me. I’m so glad you’re here.

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