It is challenging for me to write, because I am embarrassed. I was in the hospital again. I started having obsessive, intrusive thoughts that Eric was going to throw me out of the house, didn’t care, that the people in the world I inhabited were sick of me, that I was sick of me and the endless torment of these recurrences and it would be a blessing to everybody involved if I were to remove myself from this earth. So, I started not sleeping and having dark fantasies about saws and ragged cuts to my aorta, and they wouldn’t leave my brain. They swirled and swirled, and I became anxious and small, cowering in a small corner while the monster of obsessive suicidal ideation towered over me, ravaging my brain, turning everyday objects into weapons, robbing me of coherent thought.
I formulated the plan.
Then, I went to my therapy appointment, because it was scheduled, and I was nervous if I cancelled it they would throw me out of the clinic – and I and others fought so hard to get me back there – and maybe a small part of my brain wanted help.
So, I went to the clinic, becoming terribly lost on my way there due to the closing of the road, and my distracted mind, but I made it. And she could tell something was up.
Granted, it’s not difficult to tell that something is wrong with me. When I do not sleep and become tormented by suicidal thoughts, it shows. Ragged outward appearance, swollen face, eyes crazed from the battle surging within, withdrawn affect. I divulged what was happening, maybe because I was too exhausted to lie, and, well, we all knows what happens from there.
She tried to draw up a safety contract with me, something that would ensure my safety – a baby-sitter who would make sure that I would not go anywhere near the implements of death, but I would not pin that on anyone. Not fair to Eric, my parents, my friends, to have to sacrifice their lives to watch me.
And, anyway, that did not go so well the last time I tried that, with my dad. I escaped and desperately tried to stab myself through the heart with a knife before the police found me.
So, I was given a decision to go to the hospital, involuntarily or voluntarily – my choice, but not really a choice – and I relented. Involuntary hospitalizations take away your autonomy, and I was exhausted. I was, in some way, angry at myself. I should have lied, I told myself. I shouldn’t have come. I always end up in the hospital when I go to these damn therapists. Why won’t they just leave me alone? Let me fight, and if I fail, so be it? I fucked up enough as it is – what difference does it make if one more impoverished, mentally ill, traumatized woman dies?
But Eric would care, a small voice said, and your family, and your friends.
They strapped me to a gurney, and took me away. Ninth hospitalization.
I did a lot of cognitive behavioral therapy while I was there. Journaling every negative thought I had, and then writing its counter down. Filling pages of the requisite notepad with affirmations and helpful, truthful thoughts.
The second day I was there, I was totally besieged by obsessive thoughts and consequent physical anxious restlessness. I was terrified of my mind, of the images that were being crafted by an insidious artist in my amygdala, of the dark, unresolved memories of abuse, bullying, dissociation, iatrogenic hallucinations. So, they gave me benadryl and increased my anti-depressant, and sent me to my room with a stress ball and word puzzles. I destroyed the stress ball with the force of my squeezing it, but the puzzles seemed to help distract my brain, even if I was shaking so bad that the lines of the word searches were more like squiggles.
Eric came nearly every day. I made him promise not to tell my family, but they called him frantically when I did not pick up my phone, and finally figured it out. I feel bad for that. I put him in a difficult place, but I genuinely felt that I was protecting my family by not telling them about the hospitalization. I wanted them to think I was doing okay, thriving even. My ego comes again.
I was there about a week, three days less than the previous hospitalization, so progress (?) When I was leaving, one of the nurses admonished me to “stay out of the hospital, and stay alive!” For some reason, that has stuck with me. Even this night nurse, who barely knows me from Job, cared if I was still walking the earth, interacting with the community, living my life.
And so I’m on the outside. Free to drive, to work, to hang out with friends, to cuddle with Eric, to celebrate mother’s day, to write this, to plan my sister’s bridal shower, to garden, to try to meditate, to go outside when I wish, to not have to deal with a severely borderline patient screaming and swearing at the nurses outside my door. Small victories.
Now, if I could only forgive myself for this. That would be a blessing beyond description.