The Saturday after my first week back at work, I hit a low I hadn’t experienced in years. I knew I couldn’t return to my job the way it was structured now because I was drowning, yet I felt there was no one to whom I was able to convey my sense of desperation, my sense of aloneness and my sheer pain.
The Friday of my first week back at work I had a session with my psychiatrist in which she had listed (it seemed to me) all the errors I had committed in the past several months in our therapeutic relationship.
I had not been following our contract in regards to the anorexia; I had been secretive and she was frustrated and angry with me and it was evident in that session. I sat there as she listed a litany of my sins and felt humiliated and shamed and I did not know how to respond. After the session, I drove to work in tears.
Saturday morning I woke up very early as I had been doing for a while — around 2 A.M. — when I get depressed, I get insomnia rather than sleep excessively, and I began to have thoughts of suicide. “I want to die.
I should kill myself. I deserve to die. I would be better off.
Everyone in my life would be better off without me. I wouldn’t be a burden any longer. Die. Die. Die.”
The last thought felt like a spike in my brain, much like the pain in my heart. I tried to fight the thoughts for hours. With my reasonable side. With my logical side. To no avail.
I padded to the kitchen and opened the cabinet where I kept my medications. Opening the bottle of Cymbalta (which I was no longer taking), I swallowed the whole bottle of capsules, 30 in all because that was all I had. I went back to my bedroom and laid down and waited to die.
I stroked my cat Zoe and whispered my goodbyes to her. I felt terribly guilty about leaving her and the tears started fall as I buried my face in her soft fur, not for myself but for her.
Two hours passed, three hours and I was still alive, but feeling very sick. I thought that if I was going to have died I would have been dead by now. I thought though, that I might pass out or throw up or both.
So I gathered some things and took a cab to the local emergency room. I waited for about an hour to be seen by the triage nurse and was taken back to a room where I could be watched, but could also be on a heart monitor because I was told my vital signs were not stable.
The psychiatrist on call came to see me. He asked me why I had tried to kill myself.
“Nothing was working,” I told him. “Nothing.”
“Who’s your psychiatrist?” he asked me.
“It’s over,” I told him through my tears.
“We had a contract. If I ever attempted suicide, she would end the treatment.”
By early evening I was sent upstairs to stay to ensure my vital signs could be stabilized before they would send me over to the psychiatric hospital. The medical doctor came in to see if I needed anything. I asked him to call my brother to let him know. I don’t what he told Daniel, but 15 minutes later he came in with the phone in his hand and said that Daniel wanted to speak to me.
I spoke first. “Danny,” I sobbed into the phone. “I’m so sorry. I was just hurting so much. I didn’t know what else to do. I didn’t mean to hurt you.”
“It’s okay,” he answered in a soothing tone. “It’s gonna be all right. I’ll come down tomorrow to see you. I love you, remember that.”
There was a nurse watching me round-the-clock, a reminder of what I had tried to do to myself. She even had to accompany me to the bathroom, apologizing as she stood one foot in the bathroom, one foot out, but keeping an eye on me the entire time.
It was a bare room, nothing on the walls, no television, no phone and I wasn’t allowed to have any of my belongings, nothing to distract myself from my thoughts about what had just occurred. Daniel came down from his home Sunday afternoon and helped me stand upright from the bed to give me a hug. He held me tight for a long time and we stood together as he squeezed me gently, him telling me that it was going to be okay and that he loved me. That I should never be afraid to tell him anything and that I was never too much for him to handle.
I cried and he grasped my hand and he told me again that it was going to be okay and then he said to let him know what was going on and then he was gone, and I was left alone again in the bare room with nothing but my thoughts.
The medical doctor came in shortly after that to tell me that they were sending me over to the psychiatric hospital later that evening, that they didn’t want to wait. My vital signs were stable enough that they felt comfortable doing that and this was the psychiatrist’s recommendation. The ambulance would be coming to take me over in a couple of hours.
Here we go again, I thought to myself. The start of another carousel ride. The merry-go-around that I thought I had escaped, the one with the painted, grimacing horses, the ones that children are afraid of, the ones that make them scream. I was screaming now, silently to myself.