I recently spent the better part of a week in the hospital again. I was so disappointed to have to do it, but this time was even more important than the previous two times, when I went in because I was suicidal.
This time, I tried to kill myself.
I’m still processing what happened and how to feel. It was the lowest and scariest moment of my life. Maybe “tried” is the wrong word, because within minutes of those pills hitting my stomach, I called 911. I realized that I wasn’t ready to leave yet. I wasn’t done fighting to get better and to do such an awful thing to my friends and family, who have done nothing but love and support me as I struggle. I wasn’t ready to give up. So I called an ambulance and stood outside on the sidewalk shaking and crying and listening to the approaching sirens and hoping so hard that it wasn’t too late.
It wasn’t. In the emergency room I had to struggle to answer the basic questions of “what’s your name?” “do you know where you are?” and “do you know what month it is?” but it wasn’t too late. I spent the night in the regular hospital to be kept under observation and then moved to the psychiatric unit, where I stayed for four nights. It was crushingly unhelpful and I left feeling not much better than when I went in. I was both glad and afraid to go home.
But once I got home, I was reminded of what a support network I have and how many people were thinking of and praying for me while I was away. As soon as I got my phone back and turned it on, my text message notifications practically exploded with people letting me know they were thinking of me and they love me and hope I was doing better. I was reminded that I am so loved and cared for – I had a friend visit me twice and bring me clothes, hair product, and mascara (some things about me will never change) and then give me a ride home when I was released. She looked after my cats while I was gone. Overall she was a rock for me, has always been a rock for me, and I will never be able to pay that back well enough. Another friend invited me over and gave me flowers and bought me a much-needed Slurpee. Another fed me pizza and cried letting me know how glad she is that I’m still here. I talked to my mom and cried with her and told her I’m so sorry I did this to her and she told me to knock it off. And still more sent me messages of support and love that reminded me that I’m never alone in this.
It’s hard to explain why, in those darkest moments, it’s so hard to reach out and let people who care about me support me so I don’t do something drastic like this. There was/is a voice in my head that’s afraid of being a burden to someone and putting them in a position where they don’t know what to say or do and dropping a huge terrifying burden into their lap. But I’ve also been asked many times “Why didn’t you call me?” and I can see in their faces how badly they want to help and, in the end, I’m not being fair to them when I don’t.
I know I have a long road ahead and talking about all of this is going to be hard, if not impossible. I have to figure out how to make room in my self-perception to include what I did. But I also I need to embrace normalcy because that stuff (fortunately) has stayed the same. I still need to work and do laundry and make stupid jokes. I still have to stop the cats from eating stuff that isn’t food. I still have to keep being the best friend I know how to be, because I know now that I have the best support network ever, and I have a responsibility to return the favor, whether it be late-night phone calls, bringing someone their makeup when they irrationally want it, or buying them pizza or Slurpees (I’m sensing a food trend here).
Ya’ll are the best and I promise to try my hardest not to leave you, as hard as it might get sometimes. I’m sick but I’m also strong and this awful experience drove that home. And one of the reasons I’m strong is because I have you.