An Impossible Life | Sneak Peak

An Impossible Life
Sneak Peak

An Impossible Life

The Inspiring True Story of a
Woman’s Struggle from Within

Rachael Siddoway and
Sonja Wasden


Emergency Room

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 2007

A nurse escorted me and my husband, Mitch, to the nearest room. “Wait here,” she said, and the door clicked behind her.

A curtain divided the room for two patients. The paper on the exam table crinkled under me, occasionally breaking the silence. I did not want to be here. I just needed to prove to Mitch that he was overreacting. I was confident that once I told the doctors everything I was going through, they would see I simply was overstressed. That’s it—nothing that the average person doesn’t go through. I just wanted to get this over with and go home.

A doctor pulled the curtain back, exposing a man who was not only drunk but also drugged. He could barely put a sentence together, and I could smell the alcohol. An old man and a woman, both neatly dressed, sat by the bedside, their heads down. They must be the parents, I thought. The doctor pulled the curtain shut, separating us once again, but the pain and disappointment were so tangible that a thin curtain could not shut it out.

A nurse poked her head in through the doorway. “Wow! You’re stunning.”

She continued to stare; they always did. My sleek, blue-black hair, green eyes, and exotic features always made people do a double take, even when I was a child. Plus, I’ve always had a knack for putting an outfit together. Give me forty dollars at T.J. Maxx, and I can look ready to attend the Oscars. I waited for the question I had been asked a thousand times.


“Where are you from?” she continued.

“Utah, but what you want to know is my nationality. It’s German,” I said, beating her to the punch. “Shocking, I know.”

“I would have guessed Persian.”

“Maybe an affair somewhere in my heritage.” I forced a smile—I wanted this conversation to end. I was mismatched. My outside did not match my inside. It even disturbed me at times.

“They’re ready to see you,” she said, getting back on track.

I let out a slow, deep breath before I followed the nurse out. She led us through light gray hallways until we entered a room with four chairs and a small coffee table. An assertive brunette with narrow eyes walked into the room. I put on my best smile and shook her hand. Perfect, a woman. She would understand my situation much better than a man.

“Hi, Mrs. Wasden. I’m a crisis worker. I’m here to evaluate you.”

I leaned back into the stiff chair as I tried to escape her isolated stare.

“But I’m not in crisis.”

“Then what brings you to the emergency room?”

“Just stress.” I began ticking off each stressful event with my fingers. “I’ve moved, been living in a house that’s being renovated, recently lost a hundred pounds, and I’m homeschooling my three children.”

“Wow, that is a lot.”

I straightened up. I knew she would understand.

“Have you ever thought about suicide?” she asked a little too casually.


I knew life was painful and that the only peaceful exit led to a gravestone. Living made death look desirable. It was a solemn song everyone knew but few sang, not out loud anyway. I knew I would answer honestly—it was about time someone did.

“Who hasn’t?” I raised an eyebrow.

“How often?” Her tone was similar to that of a flight attendant taking a drink order. Clearly this was routine for her.

“I don’t know—just as much as the normal person does.”

“Can you give me an estimate?”

“Seriously, I have no idea. Probably just as often as you.” I was a bit confused by all these seemingly rhetorical questions.

“In what ways have you thought about suicide?”

She was writing everything down, which made me feel uneasy, but I needed to get through all these questions quickly, so I could go home.

 “Jumping off a building, driving my car into an oncoming semitruck, standing in front of a semitruck and have it run me over”—that was my favorite one—“taking pills, drowning myself, or stabbing myself and bleeding to death.” I paused. “But no guns. That’s where I draw the line.”

 “Have you ever attempted suicide?” she asked.

I shook my head no.

 “And why haven’t you tried any of those things?”

“I don’t think I could face God if I did,” I answered openly.

She steadily looked into my eyes. “Do you want to die?”

I held her gaze as my soul echoed her question. “Yes.”


She and Mitch glanced at each other. She looked back at me and stood up. I couldn’t get a read on her. Was she on my side?

“Can I go home now?” I asked.

“I need to talk to the doctor. I’ll be back.”

She never came back. Mitch and I waited for what seemed like forever. We weren’t talking, and I was getting anxious. The room was dead silent except for the soft hum of the air conditioner.

The door opened, a man and two security guards entered the room. Alarmed, I immediately stood up.

“We have a physician evaluation certificate with your name on it, Mrs. Wasden. We are admitting you to the psychiatric hospital,” the man stated calmly but firmly.

The room felt like it was beginning to spin. I wanted to run, but my feet were glued to the floor. Surely this was a nightmare from which I would wake at any moment and find myself safe in my bed at home. I wanted to scream, but all I could get out was a raspy, “I refuse to go.” I needed protection, so I turned and grabbed Mitch’s arm. “Let’s go home.” He said nothing. “Mitch, take me home,” I pleaded.

He looked at me empathetically but remained silent.

“Mrs. Wasden, we’re going to help you get well.”

“But I’m not sick. I’m stressed! Why won’t anyone believe me?” I was getting hysterical.

“There is a van outside waiting to take you,” the man stated. The two security guards were staring at me intently.

I faced the man. “You can’t force me. I won’t go!”


“You’re under the care of a physician, and he makes all the decisions for you. So, yes, we can force you. And we will.” He held the door open for me to walk out.

“You’re making a big mistake. I’m not sick!” I felt like the only way out was to force an escape, which was ridiculous, considering my husband was in the room.

“Mrs. Wasden, you’re actually very sick,” the man responded.

“I am not crazy!” I screamed. I was tired of him saying I was “very sick” when I knew what he was suggesting.

He stood right in front of me and folded his arms. “No one is saying you’re crazy, Mrs. Wasden.”

“Yet you’re forcing me into the psych ward.”

I reached out and grabbed Mitch’s arm again and started shaking him. Why wasn’t he saying anything, doing anything?

Mitch finally wrapped his arms around me and whispered into my ear, “You can do this. Things will be better, I promise. The sooner you go, the sooner you’ll get to come home to the kids and me.”

I didn’t want to leave his embrace. I snuggled closer, wanting to disappear into him. But when I opened my eyes, the hospital floors were still beneath me. I leaned into Mitch.

“Please don’t make me do this. I can get better without going to the hospital, I promise. I’ll do yoga or deep breathing. Please!” I shamelessly begged.

He stepped back and lifted my chin with his thumb, but I kept my eyes down. “Look at me, Sonja,” he gently requested.


I looked up into his blue eyes, and what I saw smacked me in the face. Exhaustion hung heavily in his eyes. I had been so consumed by my pain that I hadn’t noticed Mitch silently suffering right beside me. The realization hit me: this hospital visit was Mitch running out of ways to make things better.

“Please go. This could save us,” he tenderly said.

Tears fell from my cheeks as I looked up at his scared but hopeful gaze. I gently put my hand on his cheek and kissed it as I whispered into his ear, “For you, Mitch, and only you.”

I took him in one last time—his fair skin, blond hair, and tall, lean figure—before turning around. I straightened my cream silk blouse, twisted my diamond bracelets into place, held my head high, and went through the door. In my black designer skirt and exquisite black suede heels I walked down the long hallway like it was my runway with a security guard on each side of me. I would not be dragged out of here. They were not going to get the best of me. If I had to leave, I’d make it look like my decision.

Nurses and patients hovered around the scene and pretended not to stare, but they did. I didn’t look back, not once. I kept walking that runway and stepped into the back of a van, looking straight ahead at the bars separating me from the two men up front. The iron bars made me feel like a criminal, convicted of something that I didn’t do. How did I get here?


“A fascinating glimpse into the mind of one suffering from bipolar disorder.” U.S. Review of Books