Trigger warning: this post frankly discusses mental health, as well as a graphic and honest relation of suicide attempts. If you, or a loved one, are suicidal, please don't hurt yourself. Reach for a phone, and call 1-800-273-8255, or click here to find a Crisis Support Centre in your region (Canada) or the world. Don't be afraid to tell someone what is going on in your head--there IS help, and it WILL get better. Please don't give up, and don't give in to the bleak thoughts. You are loved.
I have always been a bundle of nerves, anxiety, and had an impressive talent for mood swings. Two years ago, this was attributed to me being bipolar; as my journey has progressed, we have also added borderline personality disorder and panic disorder, plus obsessive compulsive disorder to make me an even more interesting person . Add in the eating disorder that I've been battling since late childhood, and you've got a recipe for disaster under the best circumstances. Under the wrong circumstances, such as the clustercuss tornado of bad that I was swept up into, people die. In my case, literally.
In a span of three weeks this past spring, I attempted suicide five times. Four attempts in a row were all unsuccessful, and the last one was successful. Let me spoil the ending for you: I live.
The first time, it was almost an accident. It was the day of my great grandmother's funeral, and I was very upset. I was supposed to go to a family function with my then-boyfriend, so I took another to get my emotions under control. That wasn't happening, so I just slowly kept taking them in the hopes that I would feel better. I just wanted to feel better. After realizing how much I had taken, he became worried and took me to the hospital. I was still very upset, and finally told the doctor what I had been thinking about for the last few years--I wanted to die. Plans were made for me to seek help, and I was sent home early in the morning. I proceeded to sleep the entire day, waking only long enough to eat a small meal, and then went back to bed and slept through the night.
Upon waking after roughly 18 hours of sleep, I was disappointed to realize that, not only had I survived the ordeal, but I was still in the same emotional place as I had been before my attempt. Thinking I could sleep it off, I downed an unknown number of Tylenol nighttime to try to get me back to sleep (Later blood tests would suggest between 10 and 14). Then-Boyfriend had come home from work to check on me, found the empty bottle, and took me (again) to the hospital. My sister, the godsend that she is, flew out to Edmonton be with me, and sat with me through the nauseating overnight drip that was meant to neutralize the Tylenol in my liver. A few days later, when I appeared stable, my sister returned home and I attempted to resume my life.
This is where everything gets fuzzy, and I can't accurately relay timelines. Unfortunately, not only will a Tylenol overdose not actually kill you (you'll slowly die of liver failure instead), but it also robs you of your memory of the time surrounding the overdoses. Over the next two weeks, I attempted suicide by Tylenol an additional two times; the last time, I had taken an entire, brand new, bottle of extra strength migraine relief Tylenol. At this point, I had been to the same hospital three times, and saw the same on-call psychiatrist three times. A new diagnosis was being tossed around for me, borderline personality disorder, and I was put on a fast-track to receive help from a program with a very high success rate.
Upon release from the hospital that Friday, Then-Boyfriend made arrangements for me to spend the weekend with my parents. He needed a break, I needed supervision, and my mom needed to have me under her roof so that she could sleep at night. The weekend seemed to go well, and as I was ready to return home and start working on healthier version of me, I find out over Facebook Messenger that TB was actually breaking up with me, I could never come home, and proceeded to tell me that this was for my own good and don't worry, he will get my stuff to me so that I don't have to worry about packing it all up.
...I am trying really hard to stay unbiased here, so you can let that sink in and draw your own conclusions...
In an instant, my entire world crumbled around me. I was alone, literally and figuratively, so I did what any mentally-unstable, suicidal person would do: I tried to kill myself again. This time, however, I knew better. My Ativan had been taken away, and Tylenol wouldn't do it, so I did the stupidest thing that have ever done: I ingested approximately 4500mg of Gravol in a combination of fast-acting and long-lasting forms.
It should go without saying that dying isn't fun, but the media has found a way to glamourize the process a bit. So let me be entirely honest with you: dying is the single most terrifying thing I have ever experienced. In previous attempts, I had no recollection of the process or the feelings or anything that I went through; all I knew was that I kept waking up alive. This time, however, was different.
The first thing that happened was my limbs all started shaking, and my coordination was shot. I had downed everything in my parent's basement, and when I first clued into the fact that I was actually going to die this time, it took me a few minutes to make it 100ft across the room to the bathroom. Irony--you can't make yourself puke up a Gravol overdose, because it's for nausea...
When I realized that wasn't going to work, I grabbed my phone and hauled my sorry, dysfunctional body up the stairs to the main floor of the house. I texted my mom, told her I had done something stupid, and asked her to please come home from work right now. All of this happened in a span of 15 minutes from when I initially ingested the Gravol; shit acts fast, the advertising doesn't lie.
The next few minutes felt like a lifetime, and I was becoming increasingly more afraid. I didn't want my mom to come home to my body (little too late for that sentiment, really), so I called 911. The call itself took over 10 minutes to complete, because I was quickly losing my verbal skills. My mom ended up flagging down the ambulance and directing them to the house, because I hadn't managed to get the entire address out correctly.
I will never, ever, in my life, forget the look on my mom's face when she came racing in the front door. I sincerely hope that no child ever ends up seeing the look of terror and immense sadness on their parent's face when they realize that their child is going to die. The two EMT's quickly got started asking me questions, taking my vitals, and attempting to calm my mother down. It felt like we were in the living room for hours, but I'm told that the EMT's were at the house for less than 10 minutes before we left. After loading me into the ambulance, the female EMT sent my mom to the Grey Nun's hospital in her own vehicle, and helped me into a tshirt since baggy hoodies impair emergency medical assistance, or something like that.
I remember laying on the stretcher, looking out the window as we sped past houses and schools and trees. The male EMT was trying to keep me awake by asking me questions, but I could see the tears in his eyes the whole time. After telling him that I have a seven year old daughter, everything went black. I vaguely remember him saying "she's tachy" (which I thought meant he hated my shirt, apparently it actually means my heart was racing too fast), and then...nothing. I crashed, they shocked me a few times, and then i could feel an IV going in. The next thing I knew, I was being wheeled into the hospital emergency room. I didn't even realize that I had died until weeks later, when my psychiatrist insisted on me reading the transcripts of that day.
Aside from IV fluids and careful observation, there was nothing that anyone could do for me once I arrived. The doctors and nurses hooked me up to all kinds of monitors, but there was literally nothing that they could do to fix me; they had to wait for me to either die again, or for the effects of the Gravol to wear off, hopefully keeping me alive.
As fate would have it, I would not die again that day. I experienced seizures, kidney damage, short-term memory damage, and mild expressive aphasia that I will have to live with forever, but I lived. In addition to being assigned a permanent psychiatrist, I've been attending intense therapy sessions, had my medications completely changed around, and been working through coping techniques to get me through each day with as little issue as humanly possible. Every single day is an exhausting battle, but as long as I am alive at the end of it, I have won.
Post Script: This post has taken me 2 months to write, and has undergone so many edits that even I am sick of the topic a little. This post isn't about blame, or hurting anyone, or for attention. I simply felt the need to share my story, and my experience.