It was midnight and I danced and twirled around the living room to “Song Of Your Heart” by Peter Kater and Snatam Kaur.
“Feel the earth in your toes. O my child, you’ll never know what tomorrow brings. So, sing, sing sing”
No, I certainly did not know what tomorrow would bring, but I had a sneaking suspicion that it would not be good. Mood swings like these are never a good sign for me. But I savour the highs while they last.
It had been building for a while. I was on holiday but my issues were determined to follow me. I could barely do anything. It was still a mammoth effort to get dressed, to get undressed, to empty my hot water bottle at night and fill it again, to brush my teeth, to reply to people’s messages. Frequently the benches and tables were covered with dirty dishes. Sometimes I put them in the sink and filled it with water, but then would leave it there until it stunk. I was tired of everything being so hard. I just sat on the computer all day shopping like I do at home, desperate for a dopamine hit. I hated the way I was living my life but I didn’t know how to change it.
My ability to deal with things going wrong became increasingly frayed. The day after my midnight dancing I fell, and I fell hard. Something snapped in me. I decided to do something nice for myself and make a banana smoothie. I poured the milk into the blender and it all leaked out the bottom, through the inside of the blender and onto the bench and floor. This was the second time this had happened. I had nothing left in me to clean it all up and I found myself screaming. Later in the day I forgot about my chai on the stove. It overflowed and seeped into the element and wrecked the stove. For most people these things wouldn’t be such a big deal, but when you are barely coping they are the final straw that breaks the camel’s back.
On top of my own mental health issues, I was overwhelmed sensory wise. A medication given to me last year has left me with a buzzing sensation on my head. There was also a neighbour who would make noise every day. I couldn’t sleep because of him. He had a sign out the front of his property advertising a construction and carpentry business, so I feared the noise would never end. Every morning I’d wake up to hammering. Then that afternoon he was drilling or something. The machinery would stop, then start again, stop, start. The pulsating nature of the noise somehow penetrated my entire being even more than the hammering. I was so depressed I couldn’t even get dressed and leave the house. I felt like the world was closing in on me. I opened my emails and wrote the following distressing email to my psychologist:
“GOD THIS FUCKING NEIGHBOUR IS TORTURING ME. I’M SICK TO FUCKING DEATH OF LIVING NEXT TO A CONSTRUCTION SITE AND HIS DRILL GOING ON OFF ON OFF CONSTANTLY IT’S GIVING ME A MELTDOWN. I’M SICK OF MY BUZZZING HEAD I’M SICK OF EVERYTHING I’M SO FUCKING OVERWHELMED I WANT TO KILL MYSELF I WANT ALL OF THIS TO END”
The machinery finally stopped, but then someone started blasting music. I could feel their low, deep bass from my living room. I was having an autistic meltdown. My senses were sharpened to all the noises around me. One of the best representations of an autistic meltdown was on Atypical when Sam slept over at his friend’s house. This scene is on YouTube here.
Even after the noise finally stopped, I could not regroup. I wrote another email to my psychologist:
“I can’t function. I can’t do anything. I’m addicted to the computer and enjoy nothing. I forgot about my chai on the stove and it overflowed, seeped under the stovetop and wrecked the stove. That was the last straw. I’m absolutely sick of everything. Why do I have to suffer for so fucking long??? It’s like a slow torturous death. I hate life, I hate people and I don’t belong in this world. I don’t want to be alive. I want to kill myself, and I would if I had stuff on me. Truly the best thing for me is death. Cancel out sessions, you can’t help me. I’m sick of therapy. I want to die. The only thing you can do to help me right now is make enquires for me about going overseas to get euthanised. I am beyond help. It’s too late. Death is the kindest thing for me.”
I then decided to just call the clinic and ask to speak to her. I spoke with the receptionist but my psychologist was busy.
After the call I decided I just wanted to cease to be conscious. I didn’t care if I died. I just wanted it all to be over. I swallowed a diazepam tablet, then another, and another, until I had taken all that I had left. Then I started on my sleeping pills. I took four, and then received a text message from the receptionist. She said I sounded distressed on the phone and asked if she could call triage. I was honestly relieved. I gave her my address. Soon the police knocked on my door. I let them in and they spoke with me for a bit and said an ambulance was on the way. I don’t remember much after that. I remember being a bit unsteady on my feet but I don’t remember getting in the ambulance or the trip to hospital.
I am so grateful that the receptionist called for help. Things could have ended very badly otherwise. I spent the night in the emergency department. I asked my dad to get my laptop from the house as I had a meeting the next day. I was going to ask him to bring my wallet and a few other things until I realised I had a bag with me containing the basics: my wallet, earmuffs, a mask and a hot water bottle. I also had my sleeping bag on me. I don’t remember packing any of these things. Whoever packed it, whether it was someone else or a dissociated part of me, did a good job. My memory is pretty hazy; I also contacted people during this time who I don’t remember contacting.
The staff were really kind at this hospital. When I got teary one nurse said she’d hug me but she didn’t want to overwhelm me so she held my hand instead. Unfortunately I couldn’t stay at this hospital as they had no psych facility. I was told there was a bed at the Latrobe Regional Hospital, but this was two hours away. I was taken there by ambulance. The paramedics were also very nice, and I bonded with one in particular who shared my love of penguins. He told me he used to work at the Penguin Parade, which I had been to a couple of nights ago. He said I seemed like a nice person. He made sure I was comfortable the whole way and didn’t have another autistic meltdown. When we got to Latrobe Regional Hospital we had to wait an hour before I was given a bed. The bed was in the emergency department where I was separated from the other patients only by a thin blue curtain. I suddenly realised how inundated the hospital was. The emergency department was huge and packed with people. I could hear babies screaming, monitors beeping and the man next to me who had an ugly cough. I was left there with no follow up. Next to me two different patients were seen and discharged and I still hadn’t been checked on. After an hour or two my nurse finally saw me. I asked if I was going to be moved soon and he said yes. He asked if I wanted something to eat. There is not much I can eat at hospital and this hospital didn’t even have soy milk. I asked for some sandwiches, fruit and a tooth brush but he never came back. A little while later I was told my dad had arrived to see me and my bed was moved to another section next to a snoring man. I was hungry, sleep deprived and started to become increasingly overwhelmed and angry. In the end my dad found one of the nurses and said I was autistic and needed to leave as the environment was too much. I also found out there was no bed in the psych ward and if I didn’t leave I would be in the emergency department all night.
On our way back home we drove over a sign which had been thrown onto the road. We stopped at Woolworths and outside were some men hanging about smoking. They told me the store had just closed. The place had an overall seedy vibe to it. We got a pizza from Dominos and a chai from a coffee shop just before they closed as well. I was still in my pyjamas but I didn’t care. Then we made our way back home.
At first I wished I had of hung in there until a bed came up in the psych ward. But the area was pretty rough. My disability worker told me that it has one of the highest concentrations of meth in the sewage water. I did a bit of research into this psych ward I was going to be admitted to and apparently it is full of criminals and there have been stabbings in the ward. So maybe I dodged a bullet.
I am really disappointed my holiday turned into a disaster. This was the beach house I found refuge in when my mental health team tried to section me last year. My stay there last year had been so healing, and I was even going to rent the house and live by the ocean part time. I loved having a house to myself and being by the sea. Now I must continue my quest to find a place that feels like home. I want to settle down and start building a life for myself without constant crises and intrusions from the world.
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