It’s been a long way down and it’s a long way up. I can’t seem to get a leg up. I have one night of sleep then am back to more sleepless nights. I find the energy to clean up a bit, but then my room deteriorates again. I have one day of no shopping then blow hundreds of dollars in one night. One step forward, two steps back. I have been slowly sinking. I am tip toeing on a tightrope, the smallest gust of wind able to blow me off.
Last week I was sick of feeling. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. I was sick of losing things. I was sick of being awake. I wanted to sink into a long, peaceful sleep. Blissful nothingness. Blissful silence. Late Wed afternoon I packed some water, a blanket and some of the strongest medications I have and walked to the park. I left the path and found a spot behind a tree where no body would disturb me. Then I popped a small white tablet of Valium and swallowed it. I popped another, and then another. I didn’t stop. I consumed them like a box of smarties. When I got to about ten I started to freak out. What the fuck have I done? I remembered the night I took too much marijuana oil and how dreadful I felt. I didn’t know what was going to happen now. Dogs were barking in the distance and a mosquito was trying to feast on me. I didn’t fancy being eaten alive by the fucking mozzie while I lay there passed out. I wished I had of just driven my car somewhere and done this in the back seat. I made my way back to the path and called psych triage. I was quite out of it and lay on the grass hill without caring what anyone thought. The lady on the phone wanted to call an ambulance but I said I didn’t think that was necessary. But she still did, and told me to walk home. She said I had only taken the Valium twenty minutes ago and things could get worse… my organs could shut down. I made my way home and found an ambulance and a police car parked outside my house. It all seemed a bit dramatic, though I had been asking for help for months. It’s sad you have to overdose before you can finally get it. I barely managed to step into the ambulance without falling into the bushes. I have never been drunk before but this is how I imagine being drunk feels like. Apart from being tipsy, I was alright. “Do you want to speak to your mother?” the paramedic asked. I did not. I wished she didn’t know what happened. She had just had surgery and been discharged from hospital herself… I didn’t want to cause her more stress. I was then taken away to hospital.
I was wheeled into the hospital and had to wait for a while with the paramedics while I was strapped into the stretcher. They were all very lovely. The doctors did some tests to see if any damage had been done, but I think everything was fine. Finally at midnight I was given a proper bed with curtains. As I lay there I heard another patient outside screaming that she wants to kill herself. She thought she was being raped. She told them all that she was a drug addict and had ASD as well. She didn’t want to be there. A “code grey” was announced and the staff blocked her escape. I had always felt so alone in what I’m going through but it was as though this girl was mirroring back and verbalising how I felt.
At 1am I was moved to the psychiatric short stay unit. It is a small unit consisting of only four beds. The first thing I did was lock myself in the bathroom and move the pills I still had in my bag into my underpants. I knew the staff would search my bag and I didn’t want them to take my pills. I then went into my room and sat very still on my bed while the nurse came in and searched my bag. Afterwards I moved the pills back into my bag. I moved the mattress onto the floor which was further away from the loud speaker on the roof, and more cosy anyway. I saw the shrink and was given sleeping pills. I fell asleep pretty quickly fully clothed as I had no pyjamas or barely anything on me at all.
I stayed in hospital for a few nights. It was a good break for the most part. I didn’t get a lot of sleep though. One night a patient was transferred to another hospital as they were deemed too unwell for this ward. I felt a spike of jealousy when this happened, like a tidal wave swelling in my head, sweeping over me causing me great pain. I have always wished people could see how bad I am and how much help I need, but I have a hard time expressing what goes on inside. For two nights, a patient was screaming out of sheer terror and crying. “Calm down, calm down, you’re in hospital, you’re safe!” I overheard the nurses telling her. I have never witnessed anyone so scared before. I don’t know what had happened to her, but it must have been horrific. The young guy next to me was also suicidal and didn’t want to be in hospital but couldn’t leave. I never saw him leave his room and it was like a big black cloud consumed it. In our society no one talks about this stuff. Whenever we ask each other how we are the answer is always “good”, but behind the doors of this hospital I realised I am not alone, that there are people like me out there. I was exactly where I belonged.
Towards the end of my stay I went massively downhill. The doctor told my mum that my sleep cycle is my problem (I have Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome). He said I should be up during the morning. My mum had already believed this is the source of all my problems. I knew she would want to wake me up in the morning now, and I panicked. Sleep is my refuge. There is nothing worse than waking up in the morning and having the whole day ahead of you to get through when you are depressed. I called her and argued with her. She said she wanted to take away my laptop at night too. I am addicted to the computer, and need it at night to write emails to my psychologist when I am in pain and distressed. I felt like all my coping strategies were being ripped away from me. I blasted “What If” by Emile Autumn and when my nurse came in I told her nobody understands, I don’t want to be awake, I don’t want to be alive.
The final crashing note of my crescendo was the day I was discharged and my mum told me she didn’t even want me staying with her. She wanted me to go back to Dad’s house. I couldn’t believe she was going to send me back to the situation that was making me suicidal (the noisy neighbour there). We drove to the chemist to pick up my new antidepressant. Mum waited in the car while I went in. I then completely broke down in the chemist. I was crying and telling them all I want to kill myself. Not my finest moment! Two ladies asked if they could do anything for me or call anyone. We went into the back room and one of them sat with me, put her hand on my arm and told me she’d stay with me while I blew my nose into tissues and shredded them into bits. They called my mum and she came and collected me. I paid for my medication and reached out my snotty hand so the lady could hand me the change. The other lady who had sat with me was gone. I never even saw her face. I asked who she was and apparently she was just another customer. I often feel like all humans are horrible, but there are some kind people out there.
Dad said the neighbour has stopped making noise so I agreed to go to his place. I went back to Mum’s to pick up some stuff, but really needed some space from her so I took off to the park. It was a sunny day and I just wanted to lie down and soak up the warmth. Everywhere I went though there was noise: hammering, dogs barking, machines. I couldn’t deal with any of it. I feel invaded by the world. I had an autistic meltdown on top of everything else. I finally returned home and slammed the door shut. Mum was upset because she had tried calling me and I didn’t answer. She was sick of worrying about me on top of her own recovery, that’s why she wanted me gone. I could barely pack as I couldn’t even think straight. We put a few bags into the car and were about to head off when she got a text from Dad saying his friend just got covid and he might have it too. So I ended up staying put. Mum said she needed some space and drove to a friend’s house. I just went straight to bed. I didn’t bother changing into my pyjamas, I didn’t brush my teeth, I didn’t even turn my phone off which I always do when I go to bed. By sunset I was out like a light. I was so wrecked I slept all the way until sunrise. I must say I did feel better having slept all night. Maybe there is something to the sleep cycle theory. But when I woke up at 6am I found myself staring at my empty life. I had nothing to do with my day and nothing I really wanted to do. So I fell back to sleep again for a few hours.
Last night I struggled to sleep again. I woke up at ten this morning and decided to just get up and start my day, hoping I might be able to sleep tonight. I managed to get dressed and go to the post office to return some pants I bought online which were the wrong size. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for ages. Mum has been out most of the day and it’s been nice having the house to myself. I did offer to book in at a motel to give her some space but she said that won’t be necessary. She has calmed down and is letting me stay. There has been no major crises today which is a relief, but I still feel as bleak as the weather outside. Everything is such an effort. I am not sure what the way out of this is. I don’t really want to take medication and worry it’s going to leave me with additional problems, like some of the other drugs have. Problems that I cannot live with. I think about going back to the farm I was at a few months ago. I was able to sleep better there, but I didn’t feel particularly fulfilled there, would miss my case worker and I am too depressed. I think both Mum and I need some space from each other and I would like to move out but it’s hard to find somewhere that is quiet, self-contained and affordable. I’m sorry this post is not particularly poetic or inspiring. But if you are suffering like I am and you feel you are all alone and no one gets what you are going through, there are people who do. That is something I learnt from my hospital stay.