I’ve been tossing back and forth all week about whether to write about this. Will I be judged? Will people look at me differently? Have I let everyone down? And then I had a couple of conversations with friends, friends who both know my history and know me well outside of bpd/depression. They didn’t back away in horror when I told them what happened. They didn’t hit me with platitudes. They hugged me, and let me say as much or as little as I wanted to say. So here goes……
I gave up. I gave in. I have been fighting with my own mind for so many years to one degree or another, and I just wasn’t able to do it anymore. I don’t think it was a conscious decision to stop trying, or at least not a completely conscious one, but that’s what’s happened. I’ve been aware for some time now that things have been slipping, and it’s been getting harder and harder to ignore the constant background noise in my head. But if I’m honest, there’s been relief in not trying, or at least, relief up to a point.
Over the weekend, and following on from my last appointment in the hospital, that relief turned into something else, something far more destructive. I spent the weekend distracting myself with a combination of xanax by day and wine by night, which in hindsight may not have been the smartest of moves. On Monday I saw Therapist, and then my GP, and it was tentatively agreed that I would go back to work next week, with my GP agreeing that if I felt I wasn’t ready he’d sign me out again. The rest of the evening? I’m honestly not sure I remember. I must have picked up the kids. We had dinner. We put the kids to bed. And then I took an overdose.
There was no planning involved, and very little decision making on my part. I took a notion, a notion that I’ve had countless times before and ignored, but this time I couldn’t ignore it. It was almost as if by thinking it, I made it an inevitability. More than that, it felt like a perfectly logical, rational thing to do. I wasn’t in a heap thinking about dying, I was almost elated. It felt like I was taking control, although now I can see that the exact opposite was happening, and I had lost control entirely.
Hubby was stellar. He got me into A&E, kept me awake while we waited, and stayed with me until I had been seen and was being looked after, some time around 2am (massive thanks also to a friend who dropped everything to come in and spend her evening sitting with my kids with little or no explanation as to what was going on. That same friend has since been instrumental in my decision to write about this, because she was so accepting and understanding of what I had done). I was put on a drip, hooked up to a heart monitor, and woken up regularly to check that I still knew my name. Other than that I slept, and slept some more. I met a psychiatrist the next afternoon, curiously enough the one who first admitted me almost exactly 3 years ago. I tried to explain what had happened, but I’m not sure how much of it I got across. It’s only in the intervening days that I’ve had time to think on it and realise what was going on. He rang Hubby. He checked in with my consultant. They agreed that the ward was not the best place for me, that inpatient care is primarily for those experiencing psychosis, schizophrenia, severe depression etc. and that I would be better off at home. I can see his point, but at the same time was so scared at the prospect of coming home. I’ve come very close to losing control before, but Monday I crossed a whole new line. The enormity of what could have happened hasn’t even come close to hitting me yet.
I left the hospital around 6 Tuesday evening, Hubby came to pick me up. While I was waiting for him I rang my folks, and asked them to come over, which they did. Dad has since gone home but Mam is still here for which I am beyond grateful. The last few days have been really, really hard. I tried to get an appointment with Therapist but no joy. My mood has swung from numb to incredibly low and overwhelmed and back again, multiple times. I’ve felt hopeless, utterly alone, and let down by a system that doesn’t seem to be able to protect me from myself.
But at the same time, I can’t ignore how much people are looking out for me. My best friend called down Tuesday evening and read me the riot act. My folks have dropped everything to be here. So many people have been in touch, and the friends I met yesterday may just have started to turn things around for me.
So what happens now? Now I strip it right back to basics. I can’t think any more than an hour ahead or I get completely overwhelmed. I’m not able to manage on my own, so I’ll need to keep asking for help. The weekend was looming large and felt like it would be impossible to manage because my Mam, who has gone above and beyond this week, is going home today. Even thinking about that prospect yesterday had me in a gibbering heap. So, we’ve asked Hubby’s folks to take the kids to Kildare for the weekend. Not only did they agree, they jumped at the chance, and are actually driving over today to pick them up. Hubby and I will stay here, and I’ll do some therapeutic painting (of walls. Every time I’ve had a serious episode I’ve done some painting – first time was the kitchen and an upstairs bedroom, second time was the hall, stairs and landing. This time it’s the dining room. There’s something about the steady rhythm of doing work like that that I find incredibly therapeutic, my mind just slows right down).
I’ve spent a lot of time the last few days thinking about this post, about what I’d write, or if I’d write at all. Initially I felt like I had let everyone down massively. I thought about glossing over it – I have full control over what I do and don’t share here, I don’t have to mention it at all. But if I don’t? Will one of you end up feeling the same way, doing the same thing? Of all the horrible things I’ve written about this last two years, this is by far the worst, and the hardest to admit to, because I felt like I had failed utterly and completely. I stopped trying. But now I’m starting to see that it wasn’t failure. It was part of what mental illness can be when it gets bad enough. My thought process had gone so far beyond my control that I had no choice in the matter.
But, I got lucky. I didn’t do any lasting damage, not physically anyway. Emotionally? That will take a little longer to heal, for me and for my family. I have to earn their trust again. I have to earn my own trust again. There have been quite a few difficult conversations in the last few days but I have to trust in the people I have around me. The system can’t fix me. Therapist can’t fix me. They can help me, and support me as far as possible, but in the end the work is down to me. Yesterday, that felt utterly impossible. Today? Right now? It won’t be easy, but it’s possible.
Hubby has asked me a couple of times whether this was a dress rehearsal or a wake up call. There’s no doubt in my mind. It was a serious wake up call.