This blog post is very difficult for me to write. I have so many thoughts and emotions when I think about this post. I don’t particularly want to relive this event as it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever been through. I share this to show you you aren’t alone.
I was in a very, very bad place. I was well past rock bottom — if that’s even possible. At the time, I was living in a college town getting ready for the next semester to start and working as a waitress. I was very depressed and lonely. I moved to the town only a few months before I went into the hospital because I thought moving would fix all my problems. Of course, it doesn’t work that way but often time running is easier than facing your issues. My breakdown was a long time coming, but this is the point where everything went south.
I’ve discussed my OCD in another post but to recap a little – I have obsessions revolving around murder and sexual assault. Present-day, I’ve learned to cope and manage them and I have no compulsion to act on them. I can’t say the same for when this takes place. At the time, my roommates were binge-watching Dexter, and I joined so I could spend time with them. I hadn’t yet realized that shows like this were a trigger for me and I couldn’t figure out why murder was all I could think about after watching Dexter.
My obsession became every thought I had. I was utterly consumed by my thoughts. I couldn’t sleep because I was thinking about murder. I didn’t sleep for days and days on end. When I did, I had dreams about it. I was exhausted and run down with nothing left to give. I couldn’t fight my thoughts anymore.
My mother is my sounding board, I go to her for every little thing and she helps calm my mind. Unfortunately, she was in Europe, and because of the time difference wasn’t available when I needed someone to calm me down. I had images in my head of killing people, and I was tired, I just couldn’t fight these images. I drove around town trying to distract myself but it only made me more anxious. I didn’t feel it was safe for others for me to be out and about. I did the only other thing I could think of; I called all the therapists in my town. I just really needed someone to listen to me, and I knew it would help some of the thoughts. I called a handful of practices and they all told me the same thing: “We can’t see you because you’re in a manic episode and are a danger to others and a liability. You need to call 911 or go to a hospital.” There was absolutely no way I was going to a hospital. I wasn’t sick, what were they even talking about? I just needed someone to listen to me.
These next few sentences are going to be the hardest I ever share with you. You know when you see a shooting on the news and they ask the person why they did it? Often times they say they aren’t sure, but they couldn’t stop themselves. They just HAD to do it. I know exactly what they mean. It is by far the most terrifying thing I’ve ever felt. I wasn’t sure why I felt like I needed to hurt people. I just knew it’s all I could think about.
There were three things I knew to be true at that moment. 1) There was absolutely no way in hell I’m going to a psych ward, 2) in my heart I knew I didn’t want to hurt anyone, and 3) I would take my own life before I let myself harm another person. So I started to make a plan for suicide.
I was sitting on the couch, preparing myself for the end. I had no other option now. My roommate came home for lunch – she NEVER came home around this time. She walked in the door and stopped dead in her tracks. Right away she asked me if I was okay. I told her I was fine and that I needed her to leave. Of course, she wouldn’t go and kept pressing me to talk to her. I must have looked as manic as my mind was. Keep in mind, my roommates did not know about my mental illness. They described me as the happiest and funniest person they knew. This goes to show that you never know what people are dealing with internally.
Eventually, I broke down. I looked her in the eyes and said, “I need you to take me to a hospital right now.” She didn’t even hesitate. She helped me get in the car and called her work on our way to the hospital saying she would be late. In my mind, I felt as though I practically ran into the ER. I had to get there now. I needed help right this second.
The lady at the admittance desk asked what she could do for me. I told her point-blank that if someone didn’t help me, then either myself or other people were going to be hurt. I don’t think I even filled out any forms. I just sat down in the waiting area. Several people were waiting to be seen, but my name was called within five minutes. When I followed the nurse down the hall, I tried to make light of the situation and made a comment on how quickly they called my name. Her response, “Well, you’re kind of a big deal.”
My brother came to see me and called my mom but it was the middle of the night for her, and he couldn’t get a hold of her. He also called my step-dad who was in another city an hour and a half away. Right away, he headed to the hospital and made it there in forty five minutes. We’d never shared my struggles with him so I’m sure it came as a shock.
I was in no way prepared for everything that would happen in the coming hours. I had to provide a urine sample, and the nurse stayed with me to make sure I wouldn’t harm myself. I was then taken into a glass room where I had to hand over all my clothes and piercings. Someone had to be in the room with me at all times so my roommate and her sister took turns sitting with me. I’m certain the things they heard me tell the doctors were frightening to them, but I’m thankful they didn’t turn their backs on me in my time of need.
The hospital called an adult social worker because they said I wasn’t in the right mind to make decisions for myself. I spent the next several hours denying that I needed help and refusing to go to a psych ward. I knew I wasn’t well, but I didn’t think it was THAT bad because I’d dealt with this my entire life; however, the murderous thoughts had never been this intense. Clearly the hospital thought differently, and they were right. They saved my life and put me on the right track for help and healing.
I continued to fight them on going to the psych ward. Eventually, I was told it wasn’t up for discussion and I had two options: my dad could take me, or they would put me in a police car and take me. Either way, I was going. Of course I picked my dad, and we were on our way to the next hospital.
My dad was incredibly supportive on the way to the hospital. We spoke of my situation and he let me know I was loved, and he’d be here no matter what. We walked into the hospital where they were waiting for me. I was pulled into another room where I had to recount everything I’d shared with the doctors and adult social worker in the ER. They took my belongings and all the strings out of my clothes, and I filled out a slew of paperwork.
I was then walked down the hall to two large metal doors and told to say goodbye to my dad. I hugged him, walked through the doors, and watched them close with him on the other side.
***Part 2 coming next week***