Friday, January 18, 2008

Suicide: Full Story

After I had cooked dinner, made a blackberry cobbler and sent my girlfriend off with her best friend for the evening, it was time.

All of my life, my mother had kept the pistol in the cupboard by the back door. Behind the plastic cereal container. To the right. On the top shelf.

My hand searched. Reached back. Nope, it's gone. She must have moved it. That's what I get for going off to college. She moves the one thing I need right now.

I'm going for the quickest way possible. Finish this off. Right now. But the damn gun is gone.

Plan B.

I wonder how many sleeping pills I can find. Perfect. Daddy just had his prescription refilled and there are 30 in the bottle. Diazepam. Not as fast, but I can Marilyn it up and get the job done.

I'm 25 years old and it's the Fourth of July. To say that things aren't going my way is a phenomenal understatement. My girlfriend and I are on the verge of calling it quits. I have no clue what to do with my life after another semester in the Clinical Psychology Master's Program. And I work for some very bad people. Very bad.

I got a phone call yesterday telling me that if I talked, there wouldn't be enough room in this town for me. He knows that I know. Sean would kill him for scaring me that way, but Harry is scared. Scared that I'll talk and everyone will go away to prison. I'm scared, too. But Sean always told me, "Knowledge is power, as long as you keep your mouth shut." I plan on keeping my power.

So I won't talk. Anymore. Ever.

I'm tired of all of it. Life. Love. School. Everything. I'm just going through the motions of living. I'm existing. Doing the bare minimum to get through this time in my life. But I can't try anymore. I just don't want to.


It has been a couple of years coming. Things have gotten worse and worse. It seems as though there is no way out of any of it. No light at the end of my tunnel. I have taken it and taken it and taken it until I am full of hopelessness and agony and I can't stand one more day on this planet. I don't care where I go, I just don't want to be HERE anymore. Don't want to live MY life anymore. Don't want to be ME anymore.

I have great friends in the Clinical Psy program with me and they know I'm down. We talk about it. And I let them think they help. My girlfriend, Diane doesn't know what to do besides love me. And frankly, it's not enough. I need something more. But I don't know what IT is.

I set the pills down on the kitchen table that I've eaten at since I was 7 and head to the bottom kitchen cabinet by the phone. That's where Mother hides the liquor. There is plenty there since neither of them drink much. It's mostly for friends and holidays. I find a quart mason jar of shimmery clear liquid. Welcome to the South. A quart of moonshine makes a great gift.

I remember that it's the Fourth of July. Just 15 years prior, when I was ten, I was baptized into the local Baptist church. I was saved and I'll die on the same day.

Damn, it's like jet fuel. I take the pills in three swallows and force the rest of the moonshine down. I'm drunk before I even finish the moonshine. I throw my head back to get the last drop and set the jar down, "Ok God. Let's see you get me out of this." I know it can't be done. I've taken enough moonshine to prevent me from asking for help and the pills will finish me off. Silly to even say that. But I want the last word. God surely isn't going to have it.

I sit down in the easy chair that my Mother watches TV in to let things take their course. I know she'll be sad. I'm her only child. But at the same time, other memories rush forth. Asking her to play and being refused because her "show" is on. Being whipped too hard. Desperately wanting to be understood. Always feeling like the black sheep. I close my eyes and know it will only be a moment.

The phone rings. In my drunken stupor, I answer it as it's sitting right beside me. It's Suz, an ex girlfriend. Her girlfriend is a nurse and they are my best buddies. I'd told her that I was going to be out of town this weekend, why is she calling me. And here? Why's she calling me here?

I don't even know what I'm saying. Just answering and being polite. She knows something's wrong. Shit. She gives the phone to her girlfriend, Kim. I ask if she knows what diazepam is and she does.

That's the last thing I remember.


Through my hazy eyes, I see a firefighter. He's over me. Busy. Much later, I see him again. I'm in an emergency room. On a hard bed. He asks, "Boyfriend troubles?" I shake my head no as tears roll down the sides of my face. "Girlfriend?" I nod. My heart sinks a little lower as I realize that I've failed. I'm still here.

A nurse stomps in rushing around and hands me a bottle of something. Says that I must drink it. It will taste awful. But it must be done. It's charcoal to absorb what's in my stomach. What I PUT in there to get rid of me. It's like drinking mud. Undoing mud of what I've done. But I do it because she told me to. I've always tried to be good.

This is not what I wanted. The nurse thinks that I wanted attention. That I was crying out for help. I wasn't. I didn't want any more help. I didn't want attention from anyone. I just wanted a way to go. To be gone. To finally wither inward into nothingness.

She treats me as if I've personally offended her. Nothing nice comes from her in word or deed. She's made her point. I'm an inconvenience. She forces the tube down my throat to suck out the contents of my stomach. I feel the suction on the inside of me. It feels like a forced vomit. But the tube prevents the awful taste of it.

I'm so sorry. So very, very sorry. Not for what I did. But that it didn't work. I'm sorry that I'm still here and that I'm her problem.

Then I'm gone again.

There's a bathroom chair right beside me and as I open my eyes I know that I need it. Close. The Undoing mud is coming out of me. Rushing out of me. And will for the next 12 hours.

My nurse is the most angelic woman I have ever met. She's as heavenly as the ER nurse was hellish. Nothing but kindness and empathy. She looks at me and says, "You didn't mean to be here, did you?" I have no words. Just more tears as I shake my head no.

I'm in a private room in the Intensive Care Unit with my very own angel. Tubes and wires snake around me preventing me from moving without her. I look up and see the number 38 on the monitor. The number that she's keeping an eye on. I know that whatever it means, it's way too low to be good.

I spend hours coming into consciousness and going to the bathroom chair. Every time I need her, she magically appears. Helps me. Is never rushed or angry. It's as if I'm the only thing she has to do.

I haven't seen anyone I know but my angel. I don't even wonder about anyone else. The peace of this place and the drugs to calm me are doing their tricks. My number is starting to go up and I know that's a good thing.

I feel saved. Safe. For the first time in a long, long time.

Things start to clear up and the reality starts to hit me. I didn't die. How the hell am I still here? I remember that my Aunt Gladys was in the ER with me. She was going to call my parents who were out of town for the holiday with the rest of my family. That means everyone knows. They'll all think that I am one of those weak people who just want attention. Who put themselves in a situation so that everyone must be focused upon them.

They walk in and I feel like their child again. I'm her baby. Her only child. I can tell it's breaking her heart to see me like this. I see the pain and guilt in their faces. What ifs float above their heads and swirl around the room silently.

They smile through their sadness and ask me how I'm feeling. I still have no words, only tears. They can only stay a few minutes. I need my rest. Just seeing them makes me tired. The angel asks them to leave.

Later, a lady comes in. She wants to talk and asks if I feel up to it. She's evaluating me. Seeing if I know what day it is, who the president is. She says that I can choose to stay if I want to. That no one will know I am here. I will be invisible to the world. She thinks four days would be a good stay. But it's up to me. I will be admitting myself. No one's committing me. My choice.

I say yes. But not for why she thinks.


You won't tell anyone?

No. No one.

I make a list of people that I want to know that I am here. She begins the list. Parents? Yes. Aunt Gladys? Yes. Anyone else? My family. Is that it? Yep. Your ex girlfriend? No. Boss? No. Friends? No.

If anyone else calls, they'll tell them that I am not here. I'm not in this hospital. I disappear. The funny thing is, that's what I have been wanting to do for a long time now. I just didn't know that there was another way besides dying.

I was brought up to care how other people felt. But right now, I don't. I only care how I feel. What I want. Right now, I want to hide and feel safe. Heal. Recover. Not care. Be dependent.

The nurse brings a bag of my things. I guess my Mother got them together for me. She's so thoughtful. Everything that I would need for a vacation is packed for me.

I'm in my sweats following down the corridors of the hospital to huge, double green doors. They are secured. We are let in. She tells me again. No one will come through these doors that is not on your list. No one.

Relief. Safety.

She also tells me that they're only locked from the inside. I can leave if I want. I am not a prisoner. I am here of my own volition.

The Psych nurse asks for my bag. She needs to check it for things that can't be on this wing. She removes my fingernail polish. Someone could try to drink it. No hairdryers. Someone could electrocute themselves. My nail file. Someone could stab themselves.

I explain that I'm feeling better. But it's not about me. It's about all of us. We're all on suicide watch. She takes damn near everything that I have. The nail file. My curling iron. I'm going to look like hell.

They ask if I want to be in a room with someone or alone. Alone, please. I'm not in the mood for conversation or company. I don't feel like making nice. I just want to be. Breathe. Not worry. Not look over my shoulder for who could be following me. Not wonder if the FBI is going to question me again.

It's late. I use the soap that comes with my bathroom and lie down. I'm tired. I've put myself through a lot. But I'm feeling better. Until I hear the screams. People rush down the corridor to her room. Someone cracks the door to check on me. I'm okay. They're helping her. She's crying now and I can hear all of it muffled. More screams come. More checking on me. They know that it's unnerving to the rest of us, so they move her somewhere more secure.

I sleep soundly for the first time in a long time. Safely locked behind the green doors of the crazy wing.

"Tell me about the events that led up to you attempting suicide."

I elaborate. I tell someone for the first time. I tell him everything. About how I know too much. About how scared I am. About how I was almost pulled into an elaborate scheme that would have put me in prison, too. People around me went. They spared me. Lied. Said I knew nothing.

"I can see how you thought that suicide would be your only way out. I'm not going to prescribe any medications. I don't think you're clinically depressed. I think what was going on was entirely situational. As a matter of fact, I might consider the same thing under those circumstances."

I didn't expect such understanding from a psychiatrist. I thought maybe I had overreacted. It feels good to be understood. For someone else to validate my feelings.

I head back to my room without any drugs. It's nice to talk to someone who can't repeat anything I've said to him. It feels good to just say it all. Get it out in the open.

I spend four days going to group therapy, individual therapy and finally therapy with my parents. I tell them with my own voice that I'm a lesbian. And now they know. For sure.

I leave this place with feelings that I haven't felt in years. I feel joyful. Happy to be alive. Hopeful. Light-hearted. Happy. Loved. Understood.


Recently, I spoke with someone that is very down. I wrote this for her. So that she can see that there is light. You can get help. If the therapist who is supposed to be helping you right now isn't, you can find another therapist. Keep looking. Go right now. It's okay if you go through 42 different therapists as long as you find the right one that will help you. Don't worry about hurting THEIR feelings. Screw 'em. You do what's right for you.

Listen to me...there is hope. Your life can be so different in a month that it would be impossible for you to believe.

After I started writing this, someone else came up. She had been on the other side. We both thought the other couldn't understand our perspective. I hope that I've given her mine. I would love to hear her side. If she ever decides to talk or write about it. I, for one, would love to know her story.

Trust me when I say that writing this was difficult. I've never told this story in this much detail. I've told it, briefly. But never with the feelings. I've brushed it off as something that happened years ago. That I'd gotten past. And I have. It is in the past. But if bringing it up again helped either of them or another person reading it, then it was worth the tears that I've shed over the past few days as I revisted my 25 year old self.

I know that I didn't tell you everything. I can't. I don't know who reads this. And knowledge is still my power. I'm keeping my mouth shut.

In case you're wondering, not once since that time have I ever tried suicide again. It has crossed my mind. But that is a totally different place than doing it. I hope you understand. You never know when you might use what you've learned here. Keep it in the back of your mind. Somebody...somewhere might need you to help them. To show them where they can get help.

If you're feeling like suicide might be the answer. Don't do it. Get help.


Mimi Lenox said...

I am here via Jeff's recommendation at A Word In Edgewise.
Thank you for sharing this. I'm sure it was very difficult to write. I think you are brave to do so. Maybe it will help others. I loved the part about the angelic nurse. Kindness. Love.

God bless you.

Real Live Lesbian said...

Thanks, Mimi. I really appreciate your comment. It WAS hard. But also good for me to go back and revisit that time. It's something that needed doing. Come back again soon!

Jules~ said...

I am also here via Jeff. Thank you so much for sharing your story. That really took alot of courage.
I too tried and failed years ago. I remember the feeling of "man I can't even do this right".
You are so true in saying that it is worth the sharing if it can help someone.
It made me smile when you put out the challenge to God daring Him to get you out of the mess. And your angel nurse was wonderful.

Suldog said...

I've been around before, but came back today via Jeff.

This is a tremendously gripping story, of course. Well-written, and obviously from the heart. Thank you very much for sharing this with us. It certainly couldn't have been easy.

I hope your telling accomplishes the purposes you wish. God bless.

Real Live Lesbian said...

Jules: Yep, that was one of the first thoughts that ran thru my head in ICU. Thanks for stopping by.

Suldog: Me too. And thanks.

Tequila Mockingbird said...

wow, i went away for a couple of days and it turned from lesbian good times to suicide.

a few thoughts:
when i lived in the south, i recieved moonshine as a gift too.

when i was 17, i downed whiskey and a bottle of xanex, but my mom got home early and found me. i was bulimic, obsessed with my appearance, struggling with liking girls, editor of my high school newspaper, taking college courses and captain of the debate team. it was just too much. and yeah, i encountered some of the same kinds of nurses, the ones who seem pissed you made it and that you had no right to try suicide and then the ones that help you put it all back together.

thanks for sharing.

random moments said...

Wow RLL, this was really powerful. I'm so glad you shared. I've never been in this place before but I feel that every story shared can help another hurting soul.

Travis said...

I think I've been here before, but today I'm following Jeff's lead.

I applaud your courage in sharing this.

Amazing Gracie said...

I'm here from Jeff's blog also. I have BiPolar disorder and have had suicidal thoughts. But I also have children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. And a very loving husban who tries so hard to understand what it's like to be me, and I have no answers for him because I don't really know.
Thank you so much for baring your soul and giving us truth. For those who need to hear it: Get Help. Now.

Zathyn Priest said...

I'm here via Jeff's site also and I have to admit this story was incredibly hard for me to read. As, I'm sure, it was incredibly hard for you to share. Thank you for doing so.

My partner committed suicide in 2001 - I'm grateful your loved ones didn't lose you. I'm grateful you didn't lose you. The grief for those left behind after a suicide loss is devastating and almost 7 years later the pain is still as raw as the night it happened.

Once again, thank you for sharing your story. And thank God you survived to tell it.

Best wishes,

~Deb said...

I must have missed this post somehow. This was really intense and feelings that I had experienced as well... It does bother me when psychiatrists say, "Oh well it's situational",... It is...but it isn't. I don't think anyone who hasn't been through the thoughts of suicide can possibly understand that it's not situational sometimes - it's about long periods of not resolving traumatic events or being clinically depressed or even more than that for some of us.

I'm glad your friend / ex called you when you were sitting in that chair. To me - that was a pure act of God right there.

Thank you so much for sharing this...I apologize that it took me so long to find this post. I've been on the "ups" these days, but I still get down from time-to-time. It does get better... Sorry you had to revisit your 25 yr old trauma, but you're helping so many people by being so openly honest about what had happened. Through your pain and past experience, you're helping lots of people - because you relate on every level.

God bless you!

Akelamalu said...

Having only recently found your blog I have just come across this post.

It broke my heart because only last year my youngest son took an overdose because of relationship problems. Thankfully, like you, he survived but as I told him then - nothing is so bad that you shouldn't want to live, there's always a light there somewhere, someone to listen, someone to care, a reason to carry on. You are very brave to have written about this and I thank you for giving me an insight into what my son may have been thinking at the time. x

jayedee said...

this is the most courageous thing i've read in a long time. thank you.
i wish my son had read it. he chose to leave this life in december of 2004. we miss him every day.

nitebyrd said...

I can only say, THANK YOU! for writing this.

Claudia said...

I lost both my first husband and my sister to suicide. One was on purpose, the other a cry for help gone bad. I have lived through the nightmare, helped children sleep, curled in my arms unable to understand why suddenly a family member is no longer there, and worked through my own anger and feelings of despair. I can see both sides of the pain. I know the darkness and the light.

Malicious Intent said...

I was very touched by your story. I am not a lesbian, but I can relate to a lot of how you felt. I was abused by my father starting at 15, then by my ex husband and the last 15 years raising a serverly disabled son. Remarried a prince, and happy, but haunted.

You are right, therapy does work and people should not be afraid to seek help. It can work, it does just have to reach out for it.

just a girl... said...

So after I read the last post. I clicked on this. I think the fact that you shared this and its touched so many people is really amazing. I lost a sister to suicide and although its been 7 years it breaks my heart daily. Thank you so much for sharing your story, and furthermore thanks for doing it for such great reasons.

A new friend.

Anonymous said...

real live lesbian .. I just shared 10 minutes with you reading your story... in those ten minutes, I shed tears and sprouted smiles. I felt loss with you, shared your remorse and found hope with you. I felt the pain, the anxiety of 'what did i do' and the hurt of hurting my loved ones.

Along the words I read strength and courage, and the need to help - your need to help by sharing your power. Your voice, your knowledge and your experience saved someone somewhere.

Indigo said...

I felt for you, want to share the pain for you, have been so close to the edge before, wanting to jump, looking for the light at the end of tunnel, closing my eyes, I heard the angels shouting 'STOP'.. I too shed tears for you, I feel for you.. I really do

Kim said...

I'd love to write to you more privately, if you're okay with email address is understand if you'd rather not. That's okay, too.

Jormengrund said...

I have finally gotten a chance to come and check out your blog, and even though this is an older post, I just have to comment on this one.

This is the type of reading that I love about people. The open honesty, the hardships, the brutal truth.

I think I've found a type of kindred spirit here, and I'll never get tired of reading your words, RLL!

God bless, and thanks for the visits to my little corner of the world as well!

Ginni said...


Recovering Grady Addict said...

Touched. That's all I can say.

I ended up finding your blog via Boobs, Injuries, and Dr. Pepper, via AmbulanceDriverFiles (AD). I hadn't had much time to explore until today.

I lost my partner on June 23, 2006. And although the story has been "told" by local media... HER story has never been told. Maybe it's time...

C said...

RLL, i ditto nearly everything you said. although i never attempted, i have been suicidal a few times.... when my marriage ended, when i began therapy, and when i was trying to figure out if i was gay. fucking A its a dark place when you get there. thank god you were saved. i agree it was god who saved you, by having your friend call. i think that we get focused on how it feels and seems to us, being in that much pain, feeling trapped, and there seems to be no way out. we gotta step back and look at the big picture. things look different that way. but i didnt know that at the time. i pray you save and help others by writing this, and thank you for sharing. its so hard, but you did it anyway. how very unselfish that was.

luv ya honey!

C xoxox

Mike Golch said...

they shoved a tupe up mynose and down into my stomic to put the charcoal into me. self hatred does that,and sometime we use persomell problems to justify our attempts.Glad that you are still around.Hugs to you my new friend.

Anonymous said...

I love this. I've always wanted to write about a similar experience, but I'm the kind that uses humor to push back all the pain and the hurt.

I'm so glad you stopped by my little blog coz now I have a new fave on my reader! :)

PS: I think boobies are gross, but LOVE that you use them so gratuitously. Me, I like the penises. But meh.. *shrugs.

Amber said...

that had me crying while I read it. Thanks for being strong enough to share.

Anonymous said...

There is power in knowledge. Thank you for sharing that power.
I'm so glad those angels were there -- the ones who moved the gun, who placed the phone call, who watched over you in ICU, who gave you a safe place to stay.
Suicide touches all of us.

Little T said...

I love your blog. Honestly I stumbled upon this old post today. My sister is a lesbian who has also experienced her share of depression, especially early in life as she was figuring herself out. Both times she attempted to take her life I was the one to find her and that is something I carry with me everyday. My sister has recovered and has done amazing things with her life since then. We have spoken briefly about the attempts on her life but never to the point that I could really understand. Your honest and heartfelt story helped me to see so much. It sounds like you had a lot going on at that time and you have come a long way since then. I don't know you but I feel so connected to you now. You are an amazing spirit!

RiverPoet said...

I can tell you without a doubt that your parents are grateful for every day that you're on this earth.

My daughter had bipolar disorder with dissociative features (and possible borderline personality disorder). She was a beautiful, angelic little girl who grew up into a troubled, self-destructive teen and a cynical woman. We may never know everything that went on inside her head, but she cut herself and attempted suicide many times. She was in and out of hospitals for a good long time.

When she died, we assumed it was suicide. But the toxicology results showed us (8 weeks later) that it was just a drug interaction between the Ambien she took for sleep and some OxyContin she took because she was in pain from being mugged the Sunday before. We don't know if the OxyContin was hers or not. She didn't have much of either in her system. She just was GONE.

So I know of what I speak when I say your parents are glad to have you alive and well.

Peace - D

Rachel Cotterill said...

I'm just reading through the links from your sidebar... This made me cry my eyes out - I can only imagine what it must have been like to write. It's amazing of you to share it. Thank you.

Mike Golch said...

I have made several attempts at taking my own life as well.Different reasons but the same self hatred.I am glad that I did not succede and I am glad that you did not as well.we all just have to try to muddle through this world the best we can and rely on friends and family when we need them! Hugs to you.

BeBold...BeFierce...BeWell said...

Hi. Your story is my story - except I never had an angel on the other end. Well, I did eventually - but only very eventually. I love the way you write and the content, well, more of us need to write about surviving suicide. We have to have survived for a reason...that is my belief. I am in the process of writing about my own "way out" in a book that interestingly enough, has "angel" in the title. I love your description of the "mud drink". I have never written out my experience like you have. I should. I was punished severely by the psych system for my attempt. Severely. They made dam sure I wanted to try again. but I never did.

I succeeded the first time. It was only by chance that I ended up alive. I was DOA. Some of us are given a second chance. I am a lesbian as well. I am sorry it was so painful to write, it was very good to read tho as odd as that seems. I am glad your friend called that day. We are all richer for her following her instinct to call you - to save you. thanks for being so real here. You have inspired me to put it out there as well. I am new here. I am still afraid of what others will think if they knew the real stuff... Your courage is strong. Your will is courageous and your strength is abundant. BeWell

auntiem4cabs said...

thank you, for reliving your pain. for sharing your tears. for opening your heart. i'm glad I fell onto your blog. Mair

Anonymous said...

Came over from Dana's site. Thank You for sharing and thanks for still being here to share.

i have to admit until i wanted to do it to myself, as was one of those that you would of meet. i can not happily or proudly say that i was the one that you remember as an angel. i have to admit i wasn't going to do it by myself. i just wanted the hurt to stop and was along a highway and trying to get away, needed/wanted some peace and quiet. We were fighting over something really small and stupid. Being unplanned and trying to run away i was going to inflict my pain on someone else by jumping in front of them on the freeway.

Yes the right counselor can help. i started with one until my spouse be came more important and i was dropped. That is another story not for here. however, i am thankful for hearing others experiences and how someone in the process can make a difference. Hoping to be more understanding in the future. To those that i wasn't in the past, i am sorry.

My lifesaver now comes from a billboard, suicide is a permenant solution to a temporary problem. i haven't fallen that far out of control since my experience and learning this and other things.


Bob Fomenko said...

Wow, powerful stuff. And all the comments as well. Came to this site for the post about Laura's breasts and got this instead... and needed to read this more...
Life is on a downswing right now. Who's doesn't have that some times. Been taking a antidepressant for some time now and had to stop it due to feeling like it was time to cash in and check out. Seems to have helped.
Starting some couples counseling this week. Hope it helps. Its always more difficult when there are two involved, and kids can really complicate things..
Thanks for sharing your story, as dificult and painful as it must have been to do it.