Yesterday, I tried to take some jewelry from Le Chateau at the mall. I put them in my shopping bag. I beeped on the way out. I stopped when I beeped, because I always do. Some attendants approached me, and asked if they could demagnitize my shopping bag for me. I shut down. One girl saw the jewelry in my bag. She asked if I had a receipt. I shook my head. She asked if she could go through the rest of my bag. I said yes. She took each of the clothing items I had purchased out of my bags and shook them out. The other girl had disappeared, and I saw her coming from the back with a guy. The first girl went through my things again. She told me that one of the dresses I had purchased was very nice.
Security showed up behind me. They asked me if I had stolen the things. I said yes. I was frozen, and I’m sure I looked like I was dying inside, which I was. I felt dead. They asked the guy if they wanted to press charges. He said yes. They told the guy and the two girls that they would need statements from them. They were all a flutter.
They handcuffed me and told me I was being placed under arrest. They led me away from the store and down the escalator. I tripped getting on to the escalator. I started crying quietly. My mind was racing and I felt like I was in a dream. And in a state of shock. I prayed that no one I knew was in the mall or would see me. They led me through the mall. People stared. I stared at the ground. They took me to the back into the security office, and put me into a tiny, dirty room with a bench and mold growing on the floor. They closed the door. I could hear them. They were going through all my stuff, and talking to people from the store. They came in a took my picture. They came in again and took my name, phone number, address and birthday. After a while, they found a bracelet in my purse from Suzy Shier. They asked if I had stolen it. I was crying hard. I said no. The officer yelled at me not to lie, because if I was they would charge me with obstruction. He asked again if I had stolen it. I said yes. I asked if I could call my mom. They brushed me off. They closed the door again. I sat there, frantic, and wondered why I wasn’t having an anxiety attack. The handcuffs cut into my skin. I waited. They opened the door, and yelled at me asking why I had “this” in my bag, which was a can of hairspray. I told them, fragmentedly, that had my hair things and makeup for a photoshoot. My nose was running badly from crying. He closed the door again. I forget exactly why he did, most likely to ask me something else, but at one time he opened the door he was pulling out my university photocopying card from it’s envelope. So I know they went through my wallet. I renewed crying, and started being unable to breathe. Eventually I began gasping for air so loud that after about a minute of hearing it they opened the door. They guy asked me what I was doing. I couldn’t speak. He yelled at me to stop breathing like that. I managed to tell him I was having an anxiety attack. I don’t think they believed me. He yelled at me angrily to breathe. I started to fall over and was able to breathe less, my mouth just gaping open. He asked if I wanted an ambulance. I couldn’t answer. Eventually, I managed to say I needed to call my mom because she had my medication. They said ok, and asked me for her phone number. I gave them the home phone. He asked again if I wanted an ambulance. I couldn’t fucking think. There were lights going off in my head. He said there was no one answering at the house. I don’t know if he actually called. I tried to give him my mom’s cell. He took the number and asked her name. I said Shelly. He said it didn’t matter because I wouldn’t be allowed to take any medication anyway.
At this point I was laying sideways on the bench with my legs twisted up against the wall. He asked if I wanted an ambulance. I said yes. I didn’t know what was happening. He called, and I heard him tell them that I was “going crazy” and hyperventilating. I felt the back of my head hit the wall. I gasped. My head hit the wall again. He told them that I had started convulsing. They must have told him to protect my head, because he put his hand under it. He told me that the paramedics were on their way. I was so fucking scared. I started to not be able to see.
I don’t remember much of the next part. I know that he told me a few times that the paramedics were on their way and at one point he asked how old I was. I heard him tell them that I was starting to slow down, but then my vision started blacking out more. He told the other officer to go get the defibrillator. My brain didn’t register what that was, and I freaked out and yelled “What?!” in terror, but I couldn’t think and just laid there breathing hard. I started coughing hard. The other officer brought in a pack of some kind and put it on the floor. They put a sweater under my head. I started to be able to breathe more. The guy who had held his hand under my head joked that his bony hand probably wasn’t very comfortable. I remember that I tried to smile.
The paramedics came. There were six or eight of them. The officer by my head told them I was slowed now. The one paramedic asked me what the problem was. Another knelt down in front of me with some kind of device in his hands. The one end looked to me like something you use to shock someone, and I recoiled. I said, “What is it?!” I don’t remember the answer. They had me sit up. They put the thing on my finger, and I recognized it for what it was. It was reading my heart rate. The guy on the other side of me had two fingers on one of my wrists behind me. They were discussing my heart rate. The guy on my wrist said, “No, it’s closer to 100.” They asked again what the problem was. I tried to tell them that I had a problem with panic attacks. The one was condescending. I felt that he didn’t believe me, and I told him that I had been to the hospital before, and that I was bipolar. He said “Yeah, I bet you’ve been to the hospital a lot, haven’t you?” and I remember that for a minute I stared up straight at him, because I couldn’t tell if he was being sarcastic or not. I said, “No, only once”. He told me that if I had anxiety attacks, maybe I should have thought about that before I decided to steal things. I felt my heart crush again. He asked what I wanted them to help me with. He said that they couldn’t help me with my legal situation, and I would have to face that myself. I was still having trouble seeing, and everything sounded very far away. I couldn’t think of how to talk or what to say. He asked how old I was. I said I was 24. He asked if I was sure. I nodded. He asked if I had any Ativan or anything. I said yes, my mom has it. I asked if I could call my mom. They said sure. He kept asking what I wanted them to help me with. Eventually, that changed to asking me if I wanted to go to the hospital. I didn’t respond. He asked if I felt tingly anywhere. I said yes, in my hands. I had been straining against the handcuffs a lot. Then I added that I also felt that in my legs. The paramedic said, “Yeah, that’s cause your body wasn’t getting enough oxygen.” He seemed nicer. He used a stethoscope on me. Over my shirt, on my chest. He lifted up my shirt to do my back. I remember worrying that my underwear was showing over my pants, and that he was seeing my bra strap. They asked again if I wanted to go to the hospital. I guess I said no, I’m not sure why. There was no way I would have wanted to stay in that room. But I knew that the anxiety attack was slowed, and felt bad that they seemed angry at me.
They asked where the Suzy Shier receipt was.
They asked were my ID was.
When the police man finally came, he was very kind. He told me that I likely wouldn’t be given much more than a slap on the wrist since it was my first offence, and not to worry. He mentioned that he was just going to have given me a warning, but decided not to when he saw that the jewelry was worth over $100.