A few years back I was admitted to The Priory onto a women’s BPD ward for DBT. It was a new service. I was the first patient to be admitted. The second patient was Josie. Me and Josie spent most of our time together for the first 5ish days until new patients were admitted but continued to grow closer to each other. We spent time talking, we went to each other when we were struggling. We supported each other. We went to the gym daily together. We did jigsaw puzzles together all the time. We went to art together. We walked in the garden together. Sneaked into each others rooms and watched DVDs together. I knew I had met an amazing friend but I didn’t know what was going to happen in the months to come. This is hard for me to talk about. This might be hard for others to read and take in. But this is the truth of Best Friend.
Josie began to struggle. Her main diagnosis was BPD but like many others, she was diagnosed with other disorders including Anorexia. Going to the gym became something that she had to do. When one day, it had gone half an hour past the time we were meant to go and Josie couldn’t manage that we were going to get less time in the gym. That was the first day I recognised things began to go downhill. From standing at the door of the ward waiting, Josie ended up in the garden screaming, punching walls and kicking over flower pots. Staff were out with her but she stormed inside. Staff allowed her space but when they went to check on here, the panic alarm went off. She’d tried to kill herself by ligating. This was the first time Josie had done this on the ward and it also wasn’t the last.
Weeks went by and things for my girl got worse. There were many more suicide attempts. Once I went to find her and knocked on her bedroom door. No answer, opened it to see she wasn’t there but she was no where else. I asked staff, they looked on the ward but I went back to her room and thought to look underneath her bed. There she was. She’d ligated again. So while I got what she had around her neck, off, I was shouting staff and one member came and while she kept trying to get her panic alarm to work, I was taking Josie’s pulse. Finally her alarm worked and Josie was left with staff. Another time another patient and myself went to Josie in her room, to open her door and find her hanging from her bathroom door and going purple in the face. We screamed and staff dealt with it, again.
However, the last time she did it, there was no going back for her. I was in a 121 with a nurse when the panic alarm went of and the staff member checked what ward it was on and it was ours. She had to leave. I left the room and went to the communal area. It was Josie. I wouldn’t have even been able to count the amount of staff which were there. It was hearing what they were saying. We knew they’d started CPR and a nurse walked past on the phone to 999. Soon enough, staff decided to take us of the ward into a room on the corridor. I however, ran to Josie’s bedroom. I wanted to get to her, to be with her, to just hold her hand. Three or so staff restrained me as I got to Josie’s bedroom door and saw her lifeless and pulled me away and took me to the room everyone else was going too.
And then half an hour later, we were allowed back on the ward and Josie had been taken to hospital. It was a weird afternoon. We pushed all the sofa’s and chairs together in a circle and all just spoke to each other and had management there. We were allowed extra cigarettes (we had five cigarette breaks a day). The atmosphere was different, but not in a a good way. I self harmed. The ward went on to lock down and any patient’s who had leave were not allowed out. We all had to remain on the ward until things got better.
The problem was, they just got worse. Two days later we were sat down all together with all the staff on our ward that day and management. It was about 3pm on the 21st April. We were then told by our consultant that at 1pm that day, it was decided to turn the life support of and Josie had gone. She had died.
The months after were madness. And there still isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t think about her. I loved her then and I love her now. She went her own way. She didn’t care what people thought. She listened to the music she liked and dressed how she wanted too. She loved art and had a passion for it and I was always amazed at what she could create.
Until this day. I have a pretty box where I still put letters in when I write to her. Yes, she is gone but I still write to her. In that box, I also have a photo of her, a flower she made, a bracelet she made me, her Aladdin DVD, a rose from a bunch of red roses I laid in memory of her and a heart from a helium balloon I let free for her. She is my star. My guiding star and she will always remain my best friend.
Once upon a time I met your friendly face and the beautiful soul that laid within beneath you skin,
I loved hearing you laugh and watching you while you grinned,
Your hair was so long and I miss plaiting in for you,
I wish everyday that you stayed and didn’t have to go,
It led to heartbreak and feeling so low,
We got so close and I needed to begin to let you go,
Someone I loved and always will do,
Please remember that you were never alone,
The weeks go by and the years go past,
But no matter what ever happens, in my memory you will last,
Someone so strong, unique and kind,
Never did you deserve to leave life behind,
I look at the stars and hope for you now,
I think of your family and hope they are well,
I will never forget you or what you brought to my life,
And I promise you now, I will never say goodbye.