Can You Handle It?

Lauren is going through some serious stuff right now. She is battling many demons and is forced to stay in Pine Springs as a result. Pine Springs is one of the finest mental hospitals in the country run by Doctor Vercelli. Over the course of her stay, she meets many interesting people and makes a few friends for the first time. She has a lot of demons though and she's not so sure she can get rid of them.

This story has a touch of realism. Depression, self harm and suicide are very real topics right now. Mental health is so often viewed in a negative light but they are people too. They are just going through a tough period in their lives. They didn't choose this. I wanted to bring a close topic to light in a fun way. Hope you enjoy it.


1. Involuntary


They don’t tell you that life’s gonna be so shit when you’re in school. That’s one of the main lessons they never seem to teach. Yet it’s the one thing most people could do with being told. I say, tell all the little Billy’s and Mary’s that being ‘President’ one day just isn’t a realistic goal and that they’ll probably end up in a failed marriage with a dead end job with a mortgage they’ll never pay off.

They tell me I am depressed and that I have anti-social behaviour. Every time I visit Doctor Vercelli she comes up with a new reason for me to be admitted to Pine Springs. This week it was my ‘substance-related disorder’. My mom found my stash under the loose floor board in my room and told the Doctor. Now she keeps bringing it up whenever. It’s like, ‘chill woman, there was hardly anything there’. Well that was my first mistake. My second was bringing my stash to school and getting high with a couple of wasters. I realise now, as I sit on my bed while my mother packs my bag, that that was a bad idea on my part.

                “It’s not so bad Lauren. Your father and I will visit you every week. Doctor Vercelli says Pine Springs is an excellent facility. You’ll do well there. Please don’t hate me.” My mother says.

‘Please don’t hate me’ was her usual line. It was pathetic; she would go and ruin my life and send me away to some loony bin then tell me not to hate her? I asked her why I didn’t have a choice in the matter and she made some weird strangled noise then hid her face in my towel to hide her reaction. My mother is not what you would call stable. If I were the psychiatrist it would be her going in the loony bin, not me. She needs to control everything, which is why we don’t get along. She hates that she can’t control what I do and say. It kills her to get letters home from my teachers telling her of the profanity I used that day. In a way, you could say I was just rebelling against her because I’m a teenager and that’s what we do. Yet it was me going in the mental hospital and not her. You could say I’m a little bitter.


“What about the others? Will Chris and Conner come to visit?” I asked while I fiddled with the laces on my shoes. She swatted my hand to stop me.

“I don’t know. I presume so. Chris has the new baby and Conner has college so I’m not sure.” She wouldn’t meet my eye. That meant she asked them not to visit. She didn’t want any of her normal kids catching my crazy, which was reasonable enough since I think I may have turned a few kids in school to the dark side.

She held up a few dresses and asked if I wanted to bring them and I laughed at her.

“Yeah because I’ll have so many reasons to wear one. There’s the annual Schizoid Ball, always a good time had there!” I mocked. She scolded me for my sarcasm. She loathed sarcasm so I made sure my every sentence was dripping in it.  

“So you’re just going to bring tracksuits, jeans and t shirts?” She asked skeptically and sighed loudly.

“I’d rather not go at all but that seems to be off the table.” I shouted. She looked like she wanted to bury her face in the towel again so I left her to finish my clothes and I went to get toiletries. I probably wouldn’t be gone long so I only packed essentials. I’d have to go with hairy legs since razors weren’t allowed. They wouldn’t even let me keep my shoe laces or belts.

I heard a car pull up outside the house and I went to check who it was. I could have screamed when I saw the ambulance. Why was that here? Mum was supposed to be dropping me to Spring Pines, she had promised. Right then, mum came out of my room looking suspicious.

            “Mum? Any last words?” I gritted through my teeth, balling my fists up.

   “I’m sorry. They made me. Every involuntary patient has to go by Ambulance. It’s procedure!” She squeaked.

    “Wait. I’m involuntary? I thought this was a whole voluntary thing and I could leave whenever I wanted?” I asked, surprised. She looked sheepish and wouldn’t meet my eyes.

      “Well. Doctor Vercelli thought it was better this way. You need the help honey, please don’t be mad! You just have to stay a minimum of six days then your Doctor decides whether you can leave or not. Just focus on getting better.” She spluttered. She reached over to hug me but I stood back. If I went near her right now I was afraid I’d punch her. I needed to do something, something to make the thoughts stop. Once they started it was hard to make them stop. I ran downstairs and into the kitchen. My mother screamed at the top of her lungs, knowing what I was doing. The men from the ambulance heard and were banging against the door. All the while I was in the kitchen holding a knife against my skin. It felt cold and good, relaxing almost. I pressed a little harder and blood oozed out of a spot where the knife went in. It always relaxed me, made me feel better about the thoughts in my head. You can’t do it. You’re stupid. No wonder no one likes you. You have no friends.

I had to press harder because my skin had hardened over the years. They were my mementos. Mementos of the thoughts that drove me insane. The screaming was getting louder and there was a click at the front door. Mum managed to get downstairs and open the door for the workers. They wrestled the knife out of my hand and put soft cuffs on me. I barely noticed, now for the time where I enter my own world. Lauren Land could only be entered by me. It was so peaceful in Lauren Land. I ignored my mother’s sobs and walked with the men to the ambulance. My neighbours stared at me but I didn’t pay any attention, I never liked any of them anyway. Lauren Land became even clearer when a clear liquid was injected into my arm. I barely felt the cold antiseptic wiped across my skin and the pinch of the needle piercing my flesh. After that I remember nothing.

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