Some of you know that I have been battling depression. It turns out that I have probably been depressed most of my life, we just didn’t know as much about depression back when I was a kid.
I have endured many traumas in my life and I think they just all came to head on December 21st, 2015. The things that I have experienced in my past, the things that lead me to this point in my life, aren’t the focus of this blog post. The fact that I tried to commit suicide and I am finally getting the help that I so desperately needed…is. THAT is the focus of this post.
Kyle and I had an argument that night. Nothing new there. We have done a lot of arguing over the last two years. We weren’t aware that we both suffered from depression until a few months ago. The meds help somewhat but you can’t take a magic pill and make all of your hurts and insecurities just disappear. I think we both thought that was how it would work. We were both sorely disappointed to find out we were wrong. I can’t speak for him, but I felt completely hopeless. I was losing my mind. I could no longer hear my own voice in my head. I realized that is why people in mental institutions often talk to themselves. It’s the only way they can hear their own voice.
So on December 21st, 2015 we argued. My mind slipped further and further away from me. I poured a bottle of pills in my mouth and began to swallow them. Kyle fought to get them out of my mouth. He was so angry with me. He couldn’t understand how I could be so selfish as to take my own life right before Christmas, leaving my children devastated. In my mind, I felt I was a worthless piece of shit. I was wasting good air. I felt I had more to offer by dying. My kids would get a sizable amount of insurance money and they could give some to Kyle to reimburse him for all that he has spent on me. I honestly thought I was doing the right thing. I felt everyone would be better off with me. And my pain, would at last, come to an end. I was okay with that decision.
I sat there on the bed, half drugged from the pills I managed to get down. I listened to Kyle rant about how terrible I am for attempting this and leaving my kids forever. I thought about it. I knew I should feel the same way but I didn’t. For my kids sake, I called 911. I knew I would take my life as soon as Kyle went to sleep and calling for help was the only way to ensure that I lived. The dispatcher stayed on the phone with me until the police arrived. They had to cuff me for my own safety and buckle me into the back of the police cruiser in my pajamas. It was terribly uncomfortable, my hands cuffed behind my back and the hard seat against my butt and back. It was 3am. I didn’t know where we were going or how long it would take to get there. My words came out in soft whispers. “Are you taking me to jail?” I asked. “No, sweetheart. We are taking you to (some name I didn’t know).” “Is that a hospital?” I asked. “No. It’s like a hospital. They can see if you need your stomach pumped and will observe you for a while.” “Is it a psych ward?” I asked, shame overwhelming me. How did I end up in this situation? Would this place be like the movie, Girl Interrupted? How long would they keep me? Will I still be able to go back to Texas and see my kids for Christmas? My head was spinning. I was dizzy and it was hard to catch my breath. The police never answered that last question. So I knew. I knew I was headed to a psych ward.
After half an hour we pulled up to the back of a small building. Looked like an alley of sorts. Very dark with one flickering dim light over the backdoor, it looked like a camera was next to it. The police helped me out of the car and pushed a code onto the keypad next to the door. I heard a loud buzz and a click. The door came open. They took me into a little room with a guard in uniform sitting behind a tall desk. It was tall in the front, as if to protect him. The police had me sit in a chair behind the desk, still cuffed. They took off their weapons and locked them into a wall of safes. The guard asked me questions while the police filled out their report. Name, date of birth, home address, allergic to any medications, food allergies, any meds currently taking. I said, “Prozac.” “I’m sure the doctor will switch that. It’s obviously not working,” said the guard. Then he asked me to stand up. He lifted my night shirt just a little bit to see if there were strings on my pajama pants. And there were. He said, “You can either change into a medical gown or I have to cut off the strings. “Why?” I asked in barely a whisper. “So you don’t try to hang yourself,” he gently explained. “You can cut them off.” I knew I wanted to stay in my own clothes if possible. He then said, “I can either take the laces out of your shoes or you can wear hospital socks.” I opted for the hospital socks. So he took off my shoes and the police handed him my phone and he put the phone in a plastic bag. It was sealed up with some strange colored tape like stuff. He locked my phone in a safe and put my shoes in a paper bag and into a closet with lots of other paper bags. The names of the patients written on them. Then he ran a wand all over me to make sure I wasn’t hiding any weapons or anything. My mouth was numb and my mind was drifting off. The pills I took were making me sick. I heard another loud buzz and a click. A doctor came through a second door. Not the one we just entered but another one. He examined me and said the nurse would be there soon to collect me. The police uncuffed me, then unlocked the safe from the wall of safes and got out their weapons. They wished me luck and left.
A nurse came and ‘collected’ me. What ever that meant. He took me to a break room/kitchen area. He asked me tons of medical questions that I was having trouble answering due to the attempted overdose. He checked my vitals and took me to a room with eight overstuffed recliners. Two other women were asleep in theirs and one in between them had a sheet and blanket on it. He said that was for me. He asked if I needed anything to eat or drink before going to sleep. I accepted a small paper cup full of water. I got as comfortable as I could in that recliner in that strange place. The TV on the wall was off. The other women breathed deeply as they slept. I dozed on and off until around 7am. My head still not right from the pills and the depression. I was glad they didn’t seem to need to pump my stomach. The nurse said it was time to eat breakfast. We went into the little kitchen and me and the two other women sat at one table and several men were at the other two tables. They had plates made up for us with yogurt, cereal, milk, cranberry juice and a banana. I listened to the other two women talk. Fredonia and Nikky kept trying to get me to engage in conversation, but I wasn’t much in the mood. So I just listened. They were interesting. Apparently they come here often. They knew the staff and they knew how things worked. They said to me, “First time?” I nodded. “We thought so. We haven’t seen you here before. Welcome.” I attempted a faint smile with little eye contact. Maybe if I don’t look at them, they will leave me alone. After breakfast they took us back to our recliners and turned on the TV. Lifetime channel. Really? So cliche’. The men were on the other side of the little office area in their own room with recliners. They had on ESPN. Again…cliche’. I giggled as I thought, “If Kyle came here sane, he would end up crazy having to listen to ESPN. He hates sports.” I smiled as I realized I heard my own voice. And it was riddled with humor. I took that as a positive sign. Nikky was explaining that she was there again because she had a miscarriage. She was telling Fredonia that she has two other kids but her mom took them away from her. Fredonia kept singing church songs and shouting out random Bible scriptures. She told Nikky that she had kids, too. Nikky asked what their names were. Fredonia sat there for a minute or so, thinking. “I can’t come up with anything good yet. Ask me again later,” she said. Nikky went on with her story, like that was the most normal thing she could have heard Fredonia say. The more Nikky spoke, the more angry she became. Then she started shouting about how she tried to assault her husband with a knife and he pushed her away from him and that’s what caused her miscarriage. She said a real man wouldn’t push a pregnant woman. Fredonia said, “You shoulda stabbed him.” “I tried!” said Nikky. I was suddenly feeling a little scared. These women were a bit frightening. Perhaps I DON’T belong in here.
The doctor finally showed up and was taking each person into his office with the window that we could see in, one at a time, by order of arrival. He finally got to me. After talking with me and asking if I was still suicidal, to which I said ‘no’, he signed my papers to go home. But since the police brought me and I didn’t come of my own freewill, I had to stay a full 10 hours. Which meant I would be here until 2pm. It was 9am when he released me. The day nurse came in to take our vitals. She said to Fredonia, “I need your arm please. I need to take your blood pressure.” Fredonia jerked her arm away. “You don’t get to take my blood pressure until you get me some clean clothes.” The nurse looked at her, obviously irritated. “This is not a mall. You do not get clean clothes. Now give me your arm.” Fredonia jerked her arm away again and started shouting Bible scriptures and Help me Jesus! I wanted so badly to shout, “Help me Tom Cruise. Save me with your witchcraft!” Like from Talledega Nights. But I chose to remain quiet and entertained. Fredonia said, “I come here for a few meals and clean clothes. Your washing machine is broke so you can’t wash my clothes. I want new ones.” The nurse disappeared for a few minutes and finally returned. “You are correct. The washing machine is broke. I will get you some sweats AFTER I take your blood pressure.” “I need bus tokens, too. Two of them,” ordered Fredonia. “We only give one bus token.” “Well, how am I supposed to get back here when I need food and clean clothes?” “This is not a shelter, Fredonia.” “I know. It’s better than a shelter.” “Are you still living on the streets in Beverly Hills?” asked the nurse. “Yes.” “Why do you choose to live that way?” “I like when people ask me where I am from. I say Beverly Hills. They have no idea I am homeless.” Again, I bit my tongue but wanted to say, “Kinda like I should have named my dog 10 miles. That way I could tell people I walk 10 miles everyday.” The nurse finally agreed to Fredonia’s terms and got to take her blood pressure. Then she walked over to Nikky and reached for her arm. Nikky promptly pulled it away and said, “If SHE gets new clothes, I want new clothes, too.” The nurse looked like she wanted to hurt someone. “Fine. You get new clothes, too. Now give me your arm.” She reached for her arm again and Nikky jerked it away. “I need a note from the doctor so I don’t lose my job.” “You will get your note.” She was finally able to take Nikky’s blood pressure. I was incredibly amused by this scene. The nurse came to me and reached for my arm. I let her take it and put on the cuff. She smiled and said, “You don’t look like you belong here. What are you in for?” “I tried to kill myself.” Nikky and Fredonia gasped and said, “OMG! We would NEVER try to kill ourselves. We assault other people but would never hurt ourselves. You are crazier than we are!” I literally laughed. Wow. I AM the crazy one in the psych ward. Not really surprising. The nurse was leaving and said, “What size sweats do you ladies wear?” Fredonia stood up and lifted her shirt all the way up and said, “I don’t know. What size do you THINK I wear?” The nurse shook her head and left. I would have guessed the ladies both to be a medium size. A bit later she came back with XX large sweats and tossed them at the women. The girls changed and said, “I think she’s trying to call us fat. Fucking bitch.” I had to work hard to hold in my laugh. The ladies were discharged long before me. I finally got out and made it home on new meds. They would take a couple weeks to work though. By the 23rd Kyle got angry with me again. It was a miscommunication but we didn’t know that at the time. I couldn’t handle the yelling and wanted to kill myself again. Back to the psych ward I went. At least that time I knew how it all worked and I was happy there. I would have asked to stay longer but I knew I needed to try to get out before 10am the next day. My plane was to leave for Texas at noon. It was a nerve racking experience but I got out, barely in time. Kyle was already at the airport and my precious friend came and got me from the psych ward and took me to the airport. They released me to her custody and had to have proof I got on the plane.
Once in Texas, my kids had an intervention. They didn’t like me being so far away from them in my poor mental state. Kyle changed my plane ticket to a later date and I spent a few weeks with my children while my meds began to work. I never should have been that bad off. I went to the hospital on November 4th, 2015 for high blood pressure due to depression. I am on state insurance. I set up an appointment with a psychiatrist on November 6th, 2015. They did an initial consultation and said they would call me in 3 weeks. They never called. I called them daily and left messages. No return calls. Then I tried to kill myself, twice. I left more messages. Help me. Please. While in Texas, I called even more times. It was an uphill battle to get the help I so desperately needed, but I continued with the fight. I finally got in a second time. I told them of my traumas and suicidal tendencies. Then I got in for a 3rd time, in February. It took from November to February but I finally got in. After many questions and such, they determined that I am a perfect case study for Cognitive Behavior Therapy. I have been going for a few weeks now and I am off the antidepressants. I am seeing much improvement, but I have a very long way to go. I am in counseling with an entire medical team. I have 5 people working my case. I get to go once a week for a year.
I know it’s hard to get the help you need. I couldn’t have done it, if I didn’t have such an amazing support system. I am excited to see more progress and terrified at dealing with issues I deliberately disconnected myself from. My counselor says I have to connect emotionally before I can experience true healing. She says I am one of the strongest people she has ever encountered. I don’t know that I am all that strong. But I do know I am determined. I will learn to love myself if it’s the last thing I do. And I am finally on the right road. The road to recovery. I finally WANT to live.