Doesn’t mean I am..
I remember the profound sorrow I was feeling the first time I tried to kill myself. Yes. The first time. There were two others, but I am only going to talk about the first one because, I feel if I had ended up in a hospital that deals with suicide, like I did the third time, I never would have attempted the second time. That taught me a lot. It wasn’t that I had tried to take my life in some fashion that made it more believable, it was that they told me I needed to spend time in a hospital and I went obligingly. I would have the first time too, but no such offer was made. They sent me home. I know why, and we’ll get to that but let’s back track.
I’ve often put the blame of my attempted suicide on my ex-husband, who is now deceased by suicide himself. But that is not the case. I had choices. Our marriage was awful at this point but I was the one who went into the bathroom and swallowed Aleve. Our daughter had just been born a few months prior, very early, and I was suffering from post-partum depression as well as an undiagnosed Bipolar. The pregnancy had been ridiculously tough and I had spent the majority of the pregnancy in the hospital where they were attempting to keep the baby inside of me for as long as they could. I was 21 and I had a young daughter already.
My daughter was born amid chaos after we’d been life flighted to this hospital where, just before, they thought we were going to die. I don’t recall much, except for flashes of light and shadows and pretty sure my grandmother was there with me. It wasn’t my time. Funny how I thought I had to fight and then a few weeks later, when I got home, a fight between him and I would provoke me to try and kill myself. But that is how these things work sometimes. It’s not one minute you are fine and then you swallow some pills. It’s weeks and weeks of being not fine. It’s weeks and weeks of having to put on this façade of being fine until something, in my case this argument that, makes that voice inside your head screaming that you are better off not here become deafening and that- that, is what prompted me to lock myself in a bathroom and try to kill myself.
I remember swallowing the pills. I remember him breaking the door in. I remember going to the hospital and being put in a room with glass windows so I could be seen and feeling humiliated. I was scolded by a doctor. Who pretty much told me: “What were you thinking when you have an infant daughter in NICU?” I stared stupidly at him and said: “I wasn’t thinking, Sir.” His reply: “Well you better start thinking for her sake.” My initial reaction was more sorrow and self-hate. I was sitting in the hospital room where I had tried to kill myself and she was fighting to stay alive. I was filled with self-shame. I called the NICU, and I told them what happened and why. Even though why was relative. Just because what happened did, didn’t mean I had to do what I did. It was the wrong response. The right response would have been to just leave him then. Instead I waited 15 months.
The next the doctor came in to see me. I told him I called NICU and I wanted to go home for my baby. I watched as his face lit up like a Christmas tree. “Yes. You have a baby to think of. Focus on her. Everything else will get better.” These conversations are not exact but recalled to the best of my ability because I have gone over them in my head so many times. My mystification that he was going to let me go. In my head my daughter was okay. She was in a place that was taking excellent care of her and she was being fed and she was not going to go hungry if I went away a little while. She was a tiny, little baby. She’d have no recollection of this ever. But no one told me I’d need to get help in a long-term facility. No one recognized my bipolar. The doctor was more than pleased with my response and he sent me off with a diagnosis of post-partum depression and a prescription for Prozac. I found out pretty quickly I was bipolar as the meds sent me into mania that I ended up in the ER again for. But to make a long story short, the doctor did not recognize a suicidal girl just trying to get home and it led to two more attempts at my life.
I feel that people are way too accepting of the guise depressed people will adopt, especially if they are in danger of being found out. Then we really ramp up the normal. My attempts were always preceded by very anger fueled fights. It was the collapsing of a very fragile, delicately maintained exterior. Like a house of cards, what had been seen by the world just collapsed and all the pain and anguish I’d been feeling bubbled to the surface. I think many of us who have been suicidal have felt like they are living in a shell of themselves. I think people need to truly pay attention to their loved ones. Listen to their words, there are clues. I think for me; my words were like armor. I could tell everyone how perfect everything was and it was in that story of perfection that people should have seen through it. Because like grandma said, if it looks or sounds too perfect, chances are, it isn’t. I think for some it’s strength. They get called “the rock.” I think sometimes it is those strong ones that you must delve deeper into to be certain they are not covering for a sink hole of sorrow.
I am better now. I am a suicide survivor and it does not escape me that my position is unique. I have attempted suicide. I have lost people to suicide. I understand how someone can get there and I think I need to use this unique position to help people. I want them to know, as alone as they might feel, that they are not alone.
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