On December 4th 2015, after a year of undiagnosed and unexplained pain, crippling anxiety and profound depression, I decided to end my life. There were more than enough pills in the medicine cabinet for me to end it painlessly. First I was going to take all my Ativan, then when I started feeling groggy, I would take all the muscle relaxants, pain pills and whatever else. I had been crying all day, I just couldn’t take it anymore. My doctor had been no help and seemed unwilling to investigate further. There was no hope. I was done.
But then I looked at my husband and thought of my children. They would be sad. But they’d be so much better off without the burden of me. I tried to think of what would be the best time for me to take the pills; I didn’t want the kids to be the ones to find me. Wouldn’t be any easier for Vin. And then there it was… a tiny little glimmer of hope… a “what the hell I can always just kill myself next week” moment… an “I’ll give them one last chance to help me” moment… I told Vin what I had decided to do.
He freaked. He called the suicide help line. They told him what to do. He dressed me up and took me to the E.R.. I told them I was going to kill myself, that I was in pain, that I was anxious to the very core, I was going to take all my pills, I wanted to die, it had to stop, I couldn’t live like this. I don’t remember what they did with me after that but I know I ended up seeing an E.R. doc and a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist asked me if I was willing to accept treatment. I said if they didn’t help me I’d go home and kill myself. He took that as a yes. Made me sing papers… I didn’t realize I had just signed away my rights. Temporarily, of course, but from that moment on, I was their charge and they had the final word on whether or not I came or went. I’m making it sound awful; it isn’t. It is what happens and what needs to happen… providing you have good care. And I did, for the most part.
I was taken to what people call “the aquarium”. A room in the E.R. where psych holds are kept until they’re admitted to the ward or sent home. A room with large glass windows so all the not crazy patients can watch the loons cry, scream, throw fits, lie catatonic on a gurney… I wasn’t there long. I had a bed waiting at the sister hospital in another part of town. I was taken, by taxi, to the psychiatric care ward. The nurse/orderly who took me barely spoke to me, I felt like a dog on a leash, it was surreal.
My arrival at the ward was… terrifying. That’s when it hit me. What I had done, where I was, how far I had sunk. I was on the other side of a pair of heavy metal doors that were locked 24/7. The nurses station was a tiny version of the “aquarium”; I was in a ward where the nursing staff needs to be barricaded behind tempered glass. I was in the looney bin. They took me and my stuff to a room and they searched my bag. They took away everything they thought was a potential tool I might use to hurt myself and they locked it up. I was their prisoner. I panicked. I couldn’t stay there, trapped with crazy people, having to eat with them and talk with them. I wanted to go home and die. I cried and cried and cried. And I stayed there. For 4 weeks.
(As I suspected, it’s too hard to write out all that happened in one sitting. So there will be a ;2 post later or tomorrow.)