I saw wrong. There, I said it. I went to therapy and we didn’t spend an hour arguing over reimbursement information. It actually caught me quite off guard–a pleasant surprise. I was almost twenty minutes late because of a huge rainstorm over the entire city. It is metaphorically interesting that it was almost sunny when I left my house, but grew darker and increasingly windy as I drove on. When I was 15 minutes into my hour long drive, rain pelted down so hard that I could barely see. Lightening strikes surrounded me in a fit of rage as I swerved around fallen tree branches. Destruction came quickly and without warning, as it often does to those who are unaware.
What I remember from therapy is little. We talked about how I am damaging to my children. S told me that I am capable of stopping myself from being out of control, and that I am stuck at age 12. I wouldn’t have guessed age 12–I feel like a small child wishing to have someone to cling to and keep me safe. We talked about Chicago, and she is not as oblivious to my intentions as I thought. She made a comment about the large possibility that I could fail. She suggested that if I didn’t make changes I would be hospitalized or in jail for trying to hurt myself or someone else. I told her that I would never hurt someone else. She told me that I am already hurting my children, albeit not physically, but I do not respond to them as a mother should. I barely know what a mother should do. I love them. Nothing else comes naturally.
I want to document my medical records from Timberline Knolls on my blog; it will take a while, but I think it is the only way I will ever read through them. So many pieces are missing. I have e-mails that my husband copied me on while I was in treatment that he had sent to my treatment team, discussing what was wrong with me or how to fix me or what they were doing wrong. I have largely avoided these e-mails, but occasionally I come across them when searching for something else and I can’t stop myself from reading them. In those moments, I remember vividly.
My psychiatrist at TK, Dr. H, tried so hard to convince me to have my stash of medications removed from my home before I returned. I wanted to do everything I could to please her, so desperate for her to not give up on me. Sometimes I blatantly refused the possibility of destroying the pills, and other times I conceded and agreed to have them removed. I always changed my mind. She told me that I didn’t need them, that they were not an option. But I know that they are and I knew it then, too. They were the plan B when I was in treatment–the “what if this doesn’t work and I am undoubtedly hopeless and unable to be helped?” They were my safety net. They are my safety net.
Overdosing was so easy. I took handfuls of pills at a time, sometimes choking them down but mostly swallowing with ease. When I was 16, I overdosed and left the house, afraid that my parents would find me and hurt me (I see the irony now). Last May, I convinced my husband to take our children to our hometown for the weekend while I caught up on schoolwork and he left without concern. I overdosed on pills with my favorite wine and I went to sleep. It is waking up after overdosing that is the hard part–knowing that you failed and dealing with the aftermath of anger from your family. It seems normal to me that anger is more prevalent than concern and sadness, and while I was at TK, I was astonished by stories of concerned family members from other residents. The same was true for cutting–so many people have hit me because I had cut.
I know better now. I know to leave and go far away. I know to use every last bit of my resources. I know that I have enough, and I would be successful–I have over a thousand pills ranging from Benzodiazepines, to pain killers, to pills known to be fatal when overdosed on even in small quantities.
In the past few months, I’ve seen myself on so many bridges. Every bridge I came upon, I saw myself climbing and scaling, mastering fences and barriers to stand high above the swift river or busy road. I saw myself falling, and jumping, and sailing. I saw myself curled into a ball, diving head first, falling with my arms open wide. I have yearned to stop at a bridge and map out the flow of traffic, to both my advantage and disadvantage. I wanted to know where the sidewalks were, how to avoid drawing attention to myself, where I would park my car. I couldn’t drive anywhere without thinking about it, even when I wanted the thoughts to stop. The only thing that kept me from exploring the bridges was the medication I had saved up and the beautiful plans I had imagined.
My entire life has been chaos and pain and bitterness and regret and remorse and achingly lonely sadness. I wanted death to be well thought out, planned and beautiful. I wanted to know that I had pondered and dwelled on the details, perfecting them until flawless. I have imagined every bit of it, even drawing pictures of what I imagine it to look like. I have danced with suicide in my mind, romanced by the secrets and the unknown and the beauty that only I could see.
The greatest reasons I had to keep trying were my children. Time goes on and they are getting older and I was so afraid that it would impact them. So I weighed the pros and cons. I recounted days and events in my mind, trying to determine what would be best for them. I thought about the possibility of my husband moving on and finding a better wife and mother. I thought about the logistics of where they would be while my husband was at work and if he would be able to maintain our lifestyle. I suspected then and know now that I provide nothing.
It seems so clear cut as I write this out. I am determined and I have the resources. I can stop the hurt and the fear and the paranoia. I can erase the regret and the betrayal. I can eliminate the lies and the pain. And I can do all of this on my terms, in the most beautiful way I can imagine–perhaps the only beauty I see anymore.
And yet, I haven’t done it. I read somewhere once that most people don’t want to die–they simply don’t want to live the way they are living. I believe that with all of my heart. It seems that there is no other way. Solutions are suggested but they never seem to be an option. Medications work to some degree, but the side effects are rarely worth it. And really, when you truly believe that your own children would have better lives without you with them, what is the reason for looking to live a different way of life? A psychiatrist told me once that it is okay to feel suicidal; it is when you truly believe that everyone would be better off without you that you need to worry.
For now, I am going to keep trying. I am going to get through tonight and then tomorrow. I will choose to believe that I am the best thing for my children, regardless of how untrue it may be. I am going to pray to whatever god will listen that the few people I still have, won’t give up on me. As the fox told the Little Prince, you are responsible forever for what you have tamed. I wish so much to be tamed.