Trigger warning for this post.
The last few months I have let my blog slide. I could contribute it to a number of things – returning to work after my last hospital stint, starting a new postgrad course at Uni, just general life business. But the truth is, the lack of blogging is mostly because of the downward spiral my mental health has taken. I have wanted to blog about it, to get it out and try to process it, but each time I try my fingers seize up and a million more pressing things to do fill my head. But for some reason, after taking double my normal dosage of Seroquel, I’m buzzing and my fingers are itching to type. I don’t know where to start; choosing a place to start is always the hardest. So I’m just going to let me fingers flow freely and see where they decide to take me; to take us.
You may remember I had my second psych hospital stay in May/June this year. It was my fifth overall in the last year, and my longest at a month. When I left, I felt amazing. I didn’t feel like I was held together by sticky tape, but rather, properly stitched together just like people are meant to be. My head wasn’t foggy, but completely clear. My anxiety was in check, simmering beneath the surface where I could manage it. It was the best I could remember feeling in a long time. I was excited to go back to work. I’d gotten back into painting. We welcomed a new puppy to the family. I was determined to put in effort with my friends. And I had an awesome breakthrough with my Psychologist looking at structural dissociation. There were some tough things – issues returning to work and some arguing with my partner – but that was to be expected and I worked through it and I was doing it – I was ACTUALLY managing life.
I can’t pinpoint the moment it changed no matter how much I try to. But suddenly the urge to overdose was back in my head. At first it was a hum I could easily tune out. It became louder and louder, though. A hum. A steady beat. And then it was full blast. All the time. Overdose. Overdose. Overdosing will fix this. You’re stressed. You can’t handle this. Overdose. Why are you even trying. You know what you need to do. Overdose. Overdose. Overdose. Stop kidding yourself. Overdose. I fought it. I talked to my Psychologist, my Psychiatrist, my Community Mental Health Worker, Lifeline’s online chat, Mental Triage Crisis Hotline. But soon my mindset changed – I went from fighting it to waiting for the right moment to do it.
A fight with my partner gave me that opportunity I’d been waiting for. We got into a huge argument one night. At first it was the same as usual – crying, screaming, him becoming frustrated. And then he said words he says all the time when I push and push. “I’m done. I’m done with us.” Normally this would make me cry and scream more, however this time a wave of relief washed over me. It was my moment. I spewed out horrible words over and over again – “Good. I’m done, too. I hate you. Get out of my room. Get out of my house.” until he left to sleep in our guest room. And then, without a second thought, I proceeded to take a whole bottle of Ativan, along with Seroquel and Diazepam. I don’t know what my next plans would have been, but Mental Health Triage had sent an ambulance to our house after an earlier conversation in which I failed to call them back. They arrived as I took the last diazepam. I remember leaving with them on that Tuesday night, and then nothing.
I woke up on Thursday morning in hospital. I was completely out of it and repeatedly asked if I could go home. In my mind a nurse told me yes, although I don’t know reliable this is. This is the part that gets really scary for me. I completely disassociated from myself for what followed; I was there but I was only watching. I had no control. I got dressed, proceeded to walk to the shops across from the hospital, and downed around 80 Panadol in one quick motion. My partner turned up (I had called him and told him I was catching a bus home, and he immediately knew I wasn’t okay) and dragged me back to the emergency room. I remember only faintly talking to a doctor before I was out. Apparently it was scary. I was given a breathing tube and put in an induced coma. Doctors told my partner they didn’t know how I was going to wake up and if I would be okay. I don’t remember any of this, of course, I just remember waking up the next day. I guess I should fine this scary; my worst overdose and a definite life and death moment, my paracetamol levels thousands what they should have been. But I don’t. Not at all. Part of me feels detached from it; like it wasn’t me. But deep down I can feel part of me was there. When I overdose it’s usually to “escape”, not to kill myself. But with this overdose it feels different. That deep, down part of me thinks that maybe this was the first time I actually wanted to die.
Following all of this I’m, of course, back in the Psychiatric Hospital I’m becoming a regular at for what I’m estimating must be my sixth stay. My Psychiatrist and I made a treatment plan for a two week stay which I committed to. Except I don’t think I really have. That’s because the suicidal thoughts are stronger than ever. They never leave my mind. I make lists of why I should kill myself. I research and write down the lethal doses of different medications. I make different suicide plans and plan them out to a t. It’s bad. I manage to keep this from her until Friday, where I spent the night with my nurse alternating between hysterical tears about how I can’t do it anymore, calm announcements of how I was telling my psychiatrist at my appointment the next morning that I was leaving and going to kill myself, and then giddy smiles about how relieved I felt about dying and how excited I was. Play. Rewind. Repeat. The next day my Psychiatrist removed my accompanied leave rights and upped my medications, and when I told her I wanted to go home she shut the conversation down immediately by telling me if I took one step from the hospital the police would be bringing me back.
I have spent the remainder of the weekend sleeping. I get up, take my morning medication along with PRN that knocks me out, wake up, skip lunch, take another dose of PRN that knocks me out again, get woken by a nurse for dinner, then take more PRN to knock myself out before bed where my night meds knock me out for the fourth time. I just don’t want to think or feel at the moment; it’s all too confusing. One moment I’m thinking about the upcoming Uni assignment I have due and making plans for when I get home, and the next I’m reminding myself that I need to kill myself and I’m back to noting out my clear and precise suicide plans.
Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken keeps coming into my head as I sit here tonight typing this. I feel as though I’m standing in front of two paths myself – one where I drag myself up and try and again, and one where I admit that I’m just too tired to keep doing this anymore, and end it. Because it’s true – I am so, so tired of this fight. But it also feels like I’m not the one who gets to make this choice; at the moment I feel as though I’m at the mercy of my brain and what it wants to do. It might be my brain, but I feel so disconnected from it. I have no control over it. It does and will do what it wants.
And I think that’s what scariest of all.