Welcome to My Story
In honor of National Suicide Awareness month, I decided to share my story. Check back on Sunday, for National Suicide Prevention Day for a post on why I stayed, in honor of To Write Love On Her Arms campaign.
Disclaimer: This was not written in support of suicide. I am not here to promote the harm of what you could do if you are unhappy. This was written as an introduction to what I’ve gone through and was a healing exercise for myself. I hope by sharing my story, it may help someone who is in need. If you or anyone you know suffers from mental illness, there are support hotlines available. I am also available to contact if you need to talk.
I will forever be grateful that my life didn’t end on this day. Life gets better. It always gets better.
Fade in, start the scene. Enter beautiful girl. But things are not what they seem.
The words spiral in the background, “Self Conclusion” by The Spilled Canvas playing on repeat behind her. Her laptop sits in the middle of the floor, iTunes the only application being heavily used. She sits in front, legs crossed as the music floats through the air behind her. Her eyes are glued to the open closet, directed at the one corner where a dress is haphazardly placed atop the liquid courage. Her hands grip and twist the shaggy purple carpet beneath her.
Her chest expands and deflates, just like she’s been taught. A lesson in an often unconscious movement. Aside from the singer’s oddly comforting voice, the dorm is silent. Just moments before her suitemates said goodnight. A few hours before her roommate left to spend a blissful night with her boyfriend. Her two confidants … usually. Yet, they seemed to get less despondent the further they fell in love.
She was used to the silence. Often loved it, until the noise in her mind proved all silence nonexistent. She wasn’t able to escape to what was internally attached to her. Sometimes it was easier when others were around. A distraction of sorts, even if she couldn’t fully be there.
She couldn’t blame anyone, even if she wanted. No one knew what was going on. Well … not really. No one knew what happened a few days prior. They were concerned she wasn’t feeling well, but deemed it to the common cold.
It was an hour passed the time she had set three months ago. She left the woman’s office, prescription in hand, being lectured on how important taking the chalky white pills the same time, every night were. It wasn’t so much that the pills wouldn’t work if not taken at the same time, more so, the consistency was important.
She hadn’t taken them in three solid days. In fact, the orange bottle, nestled in her purse, seemed ready to burn a hole through the fake leather, begging to be taken.
But she feared them. They terrified her.
Standing up, she wobbled to her desk where her purse was. Her shaking hand rummaged through the contents, pulling out the bottle. Her name written across the white sticker, the dosage telling her she was weak.
A tear fell onto the sticker, rolling down the cylinder bottle. She couldn’t even feel physical liquid escaping her body. How could she possibly take a pill to numb the feeling more?
Her grip tightened and her vision grew blurry. Her arm pulled back and violently she threw the bottle against her door, watching the white pills scatter amongst the tile. With her anger, she stomped the few steps to the closet, throwing the dress on her roommates bed, and gripped the handle of vodka. They had opened it prior to this occasion, but barely any liquid was missing.
With a thump, she landed back in cross-legged position. The stem of the bottle finding its way easily to her lips. A single swig burns the back of her throat and she suppressed the urge to cough. She’s stronger than this. So she takes another, and another, until her throat reaches a numbness her body has regulated.
The pills taunt her from the floor though. If her mother found out she wasn’t taking them. If … well, she didn’t have a therapist anymore. No one would reprimand her until winter break.
You see the trick is that you’re never supposed to act on it. No matter how unbearable this misery gets.
She never wanted to die. It was never the intention. All she wanted to do was feel again. She knew how she should feel, but couldn’t find it within herself to ignite the emotions. That by Wednesday, when introduced to a new therapist on a whim, triggered something within her.
He said he’d never abandon her. Not like her father had.
Yet, he did.
She researched it. She figured out how many pills to take. Because it wasn’t a suicide. It was just to feel.
Instead, those chalky-white pills just caused her to be ill. An excruciating nausea that would never be vomit-inducing. More of a mockery of her stupidity.
Only one person knew of her overdose. Her partner in disguise, her long distance best friend, who struggled with her. She worried incessantly in those days, but it was an easy ignore of a text message. But she was informed to stop taking the pills for a few days. Get them out of her system. So she did.
And then Sunday came.
She was further behind in school than she had been on Wednesday. Her stupidity caused her to miss classes the rest of the week. Her piles of work stacked up. She wasn’t able to go out with friends. And the person she thought would care … well he had more important things to do.
All in all, she knew she should be stressed. She knew she should be panicking, and having attacks. But, she wasn’t.
She let the liquid slid down her throat, turning the volume up on the song as her mind grew fuzzy. Crawling over to the pills, she tried to hide the evidence. She wasn’t stupid.
But she still couldn’t take them. Not now. Not intoxicated.
The liquid danced through her blood and flirted with her mind.
There was no one. But she needed helped.
She knew it was now or never.
She could continue, she had a half a handle left. She could end it all with the liquid and taunting pills.
Her sobs made it hard to see her phone as she scrolled for his name. He’d be the only one still awake at the wee hour it was. She cursed the way her body relaxed as his voice floated through the phone. But he was in a rush, there was a deadline he was missing. He couldn’t drop everything to help. He’d see her … maybe … tomorrow.
She found herself flat against the floor, the cool tile causing shivers to run through her system. It felt good against her forehead as she felt the familiar feel of a panic attack itching at her skin.
A laugh escaped her lips, tasting the salt of her tears and snot. She was feeling. With slight movement, she gripped the vodka and sat up, leaning her head against the wall. As she went to take a swig, she caught sight of her reminder. In fresh, black ink, scrawled were the words, “Just Breathe,” a reminder she thought would keep her from doing this.
Instead, she lost herself in the liquid. Taking a swig for each moment that led her here.
He never cared for her. How could she believe he did in this moment? She gave herself to him. She postponed things to be there for him. And now … now he couldn’t be there? But she was a fool. They weren’t together. She was only needed when he needed her. After a year, she should have figured it out.
She couldn’t control her mind as it chastised her. She was dumb, stupid, ignorant, and useless. Just a toy to him. They all warned her.
Time rushed in all as one. From there on out, scatters of moments are pinpointed.
All she had to do was call and have her roommate hear her sobs. It was enough for someone to be in their room within minutes, having her body being suffocated as her friend held her tightly.
The handle was removed from her vision, hidden somewhere new. But she couldn’t move now. The liquid had paralyzed her. Just the sobs shaking her muscles, but she had no control.
She demanded to speak with her therapist. She demanded answers.
But her answers were met by campus police. They directed her to the counseling center’s director. The new director. Her therapist had been the director until he left. They couldn’t tell her why. She didn’t want to talk to someone new. She needed him. But it couldn’t go back. They heard her spiral, they knew she needed help. She couldn’t say sorry and be forgotten about.
The rest of the conversation was forgotten as she grew unconscious.
A vigorous shake on the arm awoke her from the fog. Her roommate stood above her, offering her a mug of tea. She yearned for the comfort of the steam, but the small act of movement made her head blaze in pain. She swallowed the urge to vomit the poison.
What had happened?
There was no time to discuss. She was given clothes to change into and her weakness caused her roommate to help dress her. They had an appointment she couldn’t miss.
After being forced to drink her tea and some sips of water, she leaned heavily on her roommate’s shoulder, being directed across the street from their dorm to the counseling center.
Her mind was clearing and she began to recall everything that had happened. As she crossed the threshold of the center, she let the tears fall violently.
She never wanted to die.
But it didn’t seem to matter.
She was asked her intentions as she curled in a wooden chair. Her fingertips scrapped the words on her wrists. She tried to take her own advice, but through her breathing, no one cared. They didn’t care she was stressed, they didn’t care she needed to do work. She was missing a class for this damn session with a woman who didn’t care. They still wouldn’t tell her where her therapist went. Confidential information. She later learned this was a case of malpractice, her demands should have been answered.
In a puddle of her own sweat and tears, she felt exhausted. Her arguments didn’t matter. If they cared, they would have taken better care of her.
Suddenly her roommate was in her arms, pulling her up and out of the chair. She walked her out of the center and to an ambulance awaiting them. She was forced to enter and be escorted off campus. They couldn’t be liable.
It was all a blur as they rushed through the city, a drive she took often to clear her mind. Instead she was sitting in the back with an EMT cracking jokes, trying to keep her mind off of where she was headed and how she had gotten to this point. Between the smiling bedside manner and her jumbled thoughts sorting in her head, she managed to be able to contain the uneasiness of her stomach as she sat sideways in the moving vehicle.
There was a rush of entering the hospital. She didn’t remember filling out paperwork or even talking to anyone. All she remembers is sitting on a hospital bed in the middle of the hallway. A number for her “room” painted above her. There weren’t enough private rooms for her. She wasn’t important enough. Instead, she had visible access to a schizophrenic in the room directly in front of her.
A nurse provided her with a blueberry muffin and some water. They wanted to soak up the poison. They waited until she ate, watching periodically over her. Disregarding them, she laid her head in her roommates lap. She was waiting for testing, but they didn’t want to do testing before she ate.
Eventually she was pulled from the comforting arms that held her. She was led to a room where she was hooked up to different machines. They asked her questions she could barely remember or answer. They deemed her stint as a suicide attempt. They wouldn’t listen otherwise. She was told she was lucky her friend got there when she did. If she drank anymore, she probably would have been admitted with alcohol poisoning.
But nothing else stuck. It didn’t matter what the doctor said. For all she knew, she would go back to school like nothing happened.
Until she saw her mother and sister rush through the hospital doors.
They both left work and drove the hour and a half south. Neither of them had any idea what happened. Her mother had received a phone call just saying her daughter was admitted in the hospital. No further information.
She never considered they’d find out.
She honestly thought she could hide it. Go home for Thanksgiving the following week like nothing was wrong.
Instead, she was being led into a small room, just bigger than a maintenance closet. Her mother was in attendance as well as the hospital psychiatrist.
She was given two options:
1) Enter a mental rehabilitation for one week and potentially return to school.
2) Be placed on minimum of six month academic probation.
Before she knew it, her sister’s arm was around her shoulders. She leaned in to the comfort, unsure of what she did to deserve the support. They all gathered into her mother’s car, her roommate included. She was allowed to gather her things for one night, a minimum amount of time allowed on campus. She was forbidden to spend the night at her dorm and forced to go home with her family. The final decision on her education would be made in the morning.
When her and her roommate packed their overnight bags, they then made the trek back to her hometown. After numerous stops to retch on the side of the highway, they made it back to a home that only caused her more misery.
She felt defeated. She felt like a failure.
If she felt the need to escape the night before, the feeling only electrified. She now had to be honest.
The following morning when her mother drove her back to school, she was given a letter demanding her to leave the campus. She had the day to pack up her belongings. From that day on, she’d be forbidden from campus for six months. If they found out she violated her probation, she’d be arrested.
So, through the tears of guilt and regret, she said goodbye to what she knew for the past year and a half. She apologized for the stress she caused everyone. By the time she was about to leave, news traveled to him. The man who caused enough of her anxiety. And for the first time, she took a stand, demanding him to forget her. To delete her information and never contact her again. She blamed him for her downfall. But he wasn’t all to blame, even she knew that.
And as the information spread like wildfire and the weeks passed by in her absence, more people dropped like flies, abandoning her further. Causing her to make the decision to leave them all behind and focus on what was most important: learning to love herself
Tomorrow is Worldwide Suicide Prevention day. A blog will follow on why I stayed alive. But for now, here’s a preview!