Thursday, September 6, 2012

My First Suicide (Attempt)

I'm feeling pretty warm and fuzzy right now, and that seems like a good time to write about my suicide attempt, as mentioned at the end of my last entry. That sounds depressing, but considering I'm sitting here alive and well and actually feeling pretty good about myself almost 9 years later, I think it's kind of a funny story. Plus I'm a firm believer in sharing my shit so that other people who have been through similar shit can feel comfortable knowing it's okay. They're not alone, it's not a reason for anyone to think less of them, and in my experience it gives you a feeling of power over whatever plagued you to be able to tell the story and laugh about it.

Back when this all went down, I was on Celexa, an anti-depressant. For those who care about my mental issues/medication progress, I'm just finishing up week 3 of Lamictal, and so far I'm really quite liking it. I have so much fucking energy, and today I found out I'd fucked up pretty huge at work - something that would have sent me into a dark spiral of self-doubt, wondering how I'd make ends meet when I was inevitably fired and forced to work at McDonald's - and I just groaned, grumbled, and went about helping to remedy the problems (at which point I fucked up something else, but okay. it's all good because I have the best boss in the world). I know no medication is going to "fix" me, but goddamn do I feel more capable of working on my issues now.

Feeling capable is not something I felt so much back in January of 2004. Quick recap: unemployed, broke as hell, facing divorce, and boyfriend had moved out while I was at work. Got it? Okay.

First of all, I should admit the title of this entry is misleading. This was my first real suicide attempt. My first (and only!) one with which I fully expected to succeed.

The first time I did the "cry for attention" semi-attempt was October 2001, an experience that led to me in the ER, getting my stomach pumped. I still have the pair of scrubs they gave me because I horked all over my own clothes. I remember exactly when it was because I wore the scrubs the next day as my Halloween costume. This is where I realize that I've been incredibly fortunate in my working life, because the owner of the company I worked at back then found out about what happened, and the attending doctor in the ER the night I was there just happened to be his personal physician who made house calls for him and everything. My ER bill was mysteriously paid.

So. First time, I took a few well-expired Tylenol-with-codeine tablets, got a bit disoriented and wandered out of the house, was nabbed by the guys I was living with (separated from ex-husband for first time), and sped off to the ER. Stomach pumping? Neither fun nor funny, no matter how much time you put between yourself and the experience.

But I promised you at least "kind of" funny! Which means I better get on with it.

What happened was this: I went to the store and got a bottle of sleeping pills. I downed about 1/2 to 2/3 of the bottle while sitting at my desk. I had already written my note, and I decided to post on LiveJournal. I don't know what I wrote, but I'm pretty sure it didn't really make sense.

Apparently a good friend of mine, whom I've known since I was 12 or 13, saw this post on LiveJournal and panicked. She knew me well enough to know I'd long suffered from depression. In college when I started drinking - I was a late bloomer - she was the one who took me aside and told me not to drink alone when depressed. Good advice then as now. From Texas, she called my local police in Colorado and told them she was concerned and asked them to check in on me.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I was damn sleepy. Remember I didn't own a bed, and slept on a pile of sleeping bags in my living room. There I was, trying to sleep, and my fucking cat kept biting me. He's not a bitey cat at all, and usually the worst he does when I'm sleeping is meow a lot, stomp on me, and paw at my face. But this time? CHOMP CHOMP MUTHAFUCKA! WAKE UP! I guess I got up, because I vividly remember looking over at the pile of sleeping bags on my floor, and seeing a couple of homeless people sleeping there. I was horrified. They are getting LICE on my PILLOWS oh GOD.

My solution was to go into the bedroom and try to sleep on a large pile of laundry there. It was soft; I was tired. There was another homeless person rummaging in my refrigerator, and yet another using my computer. They were very quiet, though, so I thought if I just ignored them, they would do the same and I could get to sleep. I was terribly offended by their audacity, pillaging my kitchen and using my computer, but I couldn't seem to say or do anything about it.

*knock knock*

I peered out my peephole and saw... cops. Hm. I opened the door, but not all the way, because I didn't want them to see the homeless people trawling around my apartment. Couldn't I get in trouble for harboring homeless people or something? Granted, this doesn't make any sense, but at the time, I was sure I would be arrested for it, and so I opened the door only partway, and stood in the gap. The whole time they were there, I was furtively (I thought) shooting glances over to the sleeping bags where the first hobos were still spreading their dirt and lice, hoping the cops wouldn't see them.

They informed me my friend had called and said she was worried about me. "I'm fiiiiiine," I assured them, totally convincingly.

*skeptical looks from cops*

"Are you really okay?"
"Yep! Just great! By the way..." and here I pointed accusingly at one of the officers, and tried to make what I thought would be a cute-angry face but was probably more of a droopy grimace, "YOU pulled me over a few weeks ago AND you gave me a TICKET! Even though I told you I was HUNGRY!" I laughed so he wouldn't shoot me; he simply looked baffled and a little concerned.

Without any obvious reason to enter or me admitting I needed help, they couldn't do anything else, so they left. I closed the door, relieved my secret and accidental hobo community was safe once again.

Eventually the phantom visitors disappeared, I slept in short fits between being chomped on by the cat, and at some point I hallucinated baby mice in my cage of all-female mice. I opened the cage to investigate despite knowing there hadn't been a male mouse near any of them in over a year, and my cat got his chance to take out those little assholes, a chance he'd been waiting for so patiently for ages. I lost 2 mice, and also discovered my pet bunny wandering around the apartment when I became lucid again.

When Scott called to get the rest of his stuff, I was pretty out of it. I reached up to unlock the door and went back to sleep. I think I threw away the note, but I can't remember. He showed up, asked if I'd eaten ("not in a couple days, I think"), and disappeared. He came back with a Big Mac and placed it next to my face before going about collecting his things. I walked out of the apartment, sans Big Mac, shoes, or coat. It was January. In Colorado. I called my best friend Meg, who was already on her way because Scott had called her, and she practically lifted me into her car and yelled at me in that "oh shit you almost died and I'm scared but holy god you need to GET your shit TOGETHER" way that I definitely needed. At her place, she stripped me, tossed me in a warm bath, and basically shoved rice down my throat. Then she called my parents.

Two days later my dad showed up with a U-Haul, and now you know the real story of why I moved in with them. I always tell people it was "after my divorce," and they just make whatever assumptions make sense. It's easier that way. And there's considerably less hobo hallucinations in their version, I'm sure.

And yes: I completely believed that cop should not have given me a speeding ticket because dammit! I was hungry! And on my way to buy some motherfucking BREAD! That is a completely valid excuse for speeding, right?


  1. I remember you telling part of that story before. About the cop showing up to your place but hadn't heard the rest of it.

    Glad to hear your new meds are working out ok.

    1. Yeah, I think the hobo hallucinations are pretty damn funny, but most people are focused on the "attempted suicide" part of the story & can't find the humor, so I don't tell it much. :)

  2. Huge hugs, girl. I am so sad that you ever felt so low. I have definitely been there, though I never could go through with the deed in the end. But on a couple of occasions (when I was still married to my ex) I locked myself in the bathroom with my sharpest knives and lined up every pill bottle I had on the counter. I know the soul penetrating blackness of that place and I do not wish that hell on anyone. I am so glad that you weren't successful, that we're friends, and that those dark days are well behind us :) Love & hugs!

    1. Ah, yes, the pill bottle line-up! I know that one! I'm glad we're friends, too, & that we're both still around!

  3. I was just thinking about that day earlier today. I can't remember which one of us read your note first (I feel like it might have been me), but I do vividly remember that day. We couldn't get you to answer the phone, and then couldn't convince the cops to go check on you. (or...rather...Holly couldn't - she was making all the calls.) We kept trying to explain that you'd written a suicide note...but since you had been kind of vague in it, and it was online (which somehow made it less valid?)...they didn't think they had any jurisdiction. I can't remember now whether she had to call your parents first (and have them call the cops - I think so) before they checked on you, or whether she did it after hearing that you'd answered the door all doped up and them not doing anything. I do remember she debated calling your parents because of the strained relationship between you guys, and not wanting you to be super pissed at her - but she decided that your life was more important than potentially ruining a friendship. It wasn't really a long debate.

    Anyway, I don't know of another time I've ever felt so helpless. I love you, and am so glad that day didn't turn out the way it could have.

    1. I love you, too, & while I'm so glad the both of you did everything you could to help me - which means so much to me now - I'm equally sad that I've given anyone those kinds of memories.

      I'd forgotten about my parents calling me while I was still drugged... I screamed horrible things & obscenities at my poor mother. Some were about how much I hated church, etc, so I guess you've really got to give the woman credit. She still has never given up on the idea of me going back to church! I think we can all see where my stubborn streak comes from... :)