I think the title of this post is a pathetic attempt at cracking a joke about a pretty intense situation. As unhealthy as avoidance may be, sometimes humor is the only thing that gets me through tough emotions. I double-dog pinky promise (?), I will take a break from the whole suicide issue after today. I’m not saying it won’t arise again, but I’ll certainly hold off. I really do not intend to overload or over-unload on the issue.
All that being said, though, I cannot deny that today is an important anniversary. I think it is so important to reflect on where I was 2 years ago today, and just as much so, to revel in how far I’ve come since. It has been a grueling, enlightening, and incredibly slow two years. At the same time, I can’t believe it has been that long. I almost feel as though my life has been a broken record this entire time, and is only now moving on to another track. Or maybe I’m just trashing the record and putting on another album. Or hell, maybe I’m throwing out the record player and upgrading to an iPod. (I’ll just skip the 8-track, audio cassette tape, compact disc, and briefly promising, mini disc!)
This isn’t an easy read, so I’ll go ahead and drop that warning now. But maybe it’ll give you some insight into me:
The day was a pretty normal one, as far as I remember it. School. Work. It was the usual routine. Then he called, toward the end of the day. I don’t remember him saying much besides “we need to talk.” I knew what that meant.
Let me build this up adequately. We had been dating for 2 and a half months, not long, I know, but in that time, we had made some serious plans. I had started searching out venues for our New Years, New Orleans wedding. We had our children’s names picked out. Aurora Scheherazade and Nalani Esperanza. It was perfect, because we were going to have daughters, feminists. And he, was going to change his last name to my name. He hated his last name because it reminded him of his child molesting, oppressive, abusive father, anyway.
He had hooked me on that story. He still suffered severe insomnia from the nights he had to stay up as a child to protect his sister from being molested by his father. He would stay up all night, and when his dad would head into her room, he would get up and start a fight with his dad to stop him. On the one night he thought it safe to sleep, his birthday, he lost track of time, and lost track of dad. When he woke up, his sister had been raped. He never forgave himself. It is a dramatic story. One I fell for hardcore. One I imagine he uses a lot, especially on women who he intuits as having a history of sexual abuse. I’m not saying it isn’t true, maybe it is. Who knows. I’m just saying, that I, as a survivor myself, with fuzzy memories of my own, have grown ridiculously tired of people using their histories of abuse as tools of manipulation against me. That’s all. Yes, its a fucked up situation, but no one need make it more so, by utilizing said fucked up situation for personal gain.
He had me good.
So, here he is, calling me at work to tell me we need to talk. It was ridiculous. We had the conversation not two weeks before about how cruel it was for people to say that to someone without explanation. How it leaves you hanging. I didn’t know whether it was a joke, or I should be seriously concerned. I had a feeling it was the latter.
I immediately called my friend when we hung up and told her I needed to meet up for drinks. So we did. Dinner, and drinks. I had bacon cheese fries and alcohol for the last time that night. GAG. I told her about the situation and as she reassured me that there was hope for our relationship, I assured her that it was over and I need to prepare myself. It was St. Patrick’s Day. Irish Car Bombs were $5.50. I had 4.
Then he called. I sat in the car. He told me he wanted to come visit next weekend, but he had a lot to think about. I told him that if he wanted to dump me, he should go ahead and get it over with. So he did. And in true dramatic fashion, he just said, “Bye.” He hadn’t even attempted to attach a “good” to it, probably because of the blatant contradiction within the combination. I talked him into promising he’d talk to me after this night, but we never spoke again. I started to cry, despite being pretty numb.
I went into the bar, had two more drinks, then left with my friend to go on the hunt to retrieve her boyfriend’s car from a tow lot. After we did that, she and her boyfriend’s sister decided to drop me back off at my car. I quietly obliged. I knew my plan.
I had consumed 6 Irish car bombs. I was pretty wasted, but I found a way home anyway. Once home, I walked the dog, got the vodka and orange juice out of the fridge and feverishly started rummaging the house for all the sleeping pills I could find. It makes me physically ill to think about, even today, as I look back. But I will march on.
I went upstairs, took 3 gulps of the pear vodka, and chased them with orange juice. I then began to pop the pills out of their wrappers, one-by-one. When I was done, I got on my computer. I messaged one of my old friends I used to work in a restaurant with to tell her what I was going to do. She was the only person online. She got pissed, because, as I had forgotten, her mom tried to kill herself once, and she was VERY sensitive about the issue. I was an asshole. That only made me more convinced. I tried to text and email messages of apology, mainly to my sister. She’s always been the person I’ve been most concerned about disappointing. I did not send these messages.
I went back to my bed, sat down, and counted the pills. 102. I took all 102 pills in 3 heaping handfuls. Just. Like. That. It breaks my heart to think about this moment. The moment after I swallowed them. I can feel the sobs coming up in me now, as though I just swallowed them, just now. My first instinct was not quite regret, but almost. I thought, “What have I done?” Then I thought about the fact that so many people say that people who commit suicide go to hell. I went to my bed. I knew it was going to be over soon. Crying, I sat there, and prepared to lie down and let go. I started praying. “Please God, don’t let me go to hell. I don’t want to go to hell.” Over and over again. Soon, I was out.
There’s not much to remember after that. The rest is hallucination. And vomiting. I just remember sitting up at one point and vomiting all over myself, although, I did not realize this is what it was. I hallucinated it to be slugs and maggots slithering down my body. Even when I got up, I was hallucinating that when I stepped in the vomit on the floor, I was stepping in puddles of maggots.
I don’t remember at what point this happened, but I saw my grandmother, who passed less than a year before walking out my front door, waving goodbye. I don’t know what that was about.
Around 8 am, I awoke, groggy and disoriented. I panicked. I was alive. I needed to be in class and at work. Soon. I could not drive, though. Unsure of what to do, I got onto my school email to see that a coworker who lived near me was online. I asked if she was going to work. She was. I asked if I could get a ride. She called, and as funny as it may sound, I was so disoriented, that when she asked for my address to get to my house, I started to give her my email address. I was having a hard time getting my head together, but I managed to get her there.
I walked my dog, changed out of my vomit-drenched clothes, and climbed in my coworker’s car. At this point, I was regaining my ability to walk. When I had first gotten up, my knees would cave at each step. Honestly, I must’ve reeked of vomit. All morning I was rubbing my fingers against my ears and chest and trying to figure out what the stuff coming off my skin was. It was dried puke. I looked, smelled, and acted very out of character. She was disturbed by my presentation. “Are you ok?” She asked. “What’s wrong?” I knew I had nothing to lose after the night I had been through, so I just let her have the truth. “I tried to kill myself last night.” My voice shook as I said it, trying not to laugh or cry. “Do we need to go somewhere?” She asked eagerly. “No.” I insisted. I demanded that we go to my class. I couldn’t miss it. I had missed the previous class. I couldn’t afford it.
When we got to campus, I knew my knees were too weak for her to drop me off on the sidewalk. I would surely face-plant. I gave her a dollar to park in the garage. When we parked I realized I couldn’t find my phone. I was out of it, and realized also, that I would be this way in class as well, which would look bad if called on. I looked at her and resigned myself to going to the counseling center. She walked me there.
I told the receptionist that I wanted to see counselor on call. When he came out, he called me by my first name 3 times, until the receptionist told me that he was calling for me, and I snapped back into the moment. I went in and relayed the story. He sent me to the hospital. I refused to go via ambulance, due to cost, so they sent me in the back of a police car.
I stayed in the ER for most of the day. I stayed in the psych ward for 3 days.
Needless to say, I traumatized my coworker. She went to work and school that day, shaken. Today, it is still awkward to interact with her. She saw me at a very vulnerable point in my life. It is almost as though she saw me naked, and we don’t know how to act about it now. I put her through a lot.
She isn’t the only person I put through the wringer. Two of my very close friends came by to get my things in order, once they found out. They took care of my dog, and upon seeing the state of my bedroom, they cleaned up after me. This, too, breaks my heart. I think it probably resembles what it must be like to find a friend who has killed themselves, to find a friend’s home in such a condition after they have tried. One of them said to me, “I couldn’t let you come home to that.”
The first who helped was the friend I had drinks with the night before. She was very angry with me at first. Especially when she came to visit me in the hospital and I spoke frankly about the situation. Over time, and through talking, we are working on healing.
The second, the one who “couldn’t let me come home to that,” is no longer friends with me, in large part due to this entire situation.
I learned a lot from that night. I learned a lot about how much people love me and the lengths they are willing to go to for me. I learned that I do not need to drink. I learned that I can live life without bacon cheese fries, something I honestly did not know before that night. I learned that your perspectives change a lot once you’ve swallowed the pills. I realized how scary that moment is, the moment after you do that action and truly believe you are going to die and this is it. I also realized that deciding to end it is as difficult as asking for help; but asking for help is less traumatic and usually ends better.
I wish I could say that I came out of the hospital and rejoiced in my survival. It didn’t exactly work out like that. Two years later, I’m still getting to that point, though with cautious optimism, I’ll say I’m closer than ever before.
I am infinitely more grateful for everything good in my life, and I try to make that as clear as possible, as often as possible. I don’t want anyone in my life to feel unappreciated. I want really badly to be a better friend, but I do realize that being good to others requires that you are better to yourself. I recognize I need to have a healthy balance of helping others and taking care of myself. I’ve lost a lot of friends through the past two years. Luckily, I’ve recently gained many new friends, who I’m fairly certain God has handpicked for me.
The darkness certainly creeps in, but I’m searching constantly for the light.
Overall, at this moment, I am filled with gratitude. So many important people have fought for me when they were exhausted, frustrated, and testing their own limits. I’m definitely better at asking for help, even though I still do it begrudgingly. Every little bit of joy in my life is crucial. I hold to it with a tight grip, because I know my life depends on not letting go.
I’m going to share 3 poems. The first is one I wrote right after my suicide attempt. The second is one I wrote one year later. The last is one I’ll write today. You might not get to see that one until tomorrow.
I have so much love to share, and while I’m always praying in the back of my mind for people who find themselves where I’ve been. Today, I say a *special* prayer for anyone who finds themselves in the free fall between the decision, the action, and the anxious anticipation of morning, or hell.
On Friday or Saturday, I shall return with an exciting account of my anniversary day rituals and celebrations of life. Until then, I send my love and bid adieu! <3
Canyon Dance (March 2009)
There’s a powdery film that coats my car
in spiky yellow balls
(a spring snow of sorts),
and the only thing that could baptize it
are storm clouds.
At night I can see the
breaking in the distance
and I don’t know whether it is
There’s something so simple in “hello,”
and riddled with vacuity.
It is far more distant
far more settled in its self-loathing,
far more dissociated
This something holds me tightly
releasing me and
till only our
fingertips are touching;
swinging me in and
dipping me so low,
my hair is
reaching for the floor.
It dare not drop me.
I dare not weep,
the air so thick between us
that love could fit inside.
Absolute Bearing (March 2010)
I don’t know how to tell you, without telling you
I don’t know how to say
that at first I counted the days like thick blue waves
crashing in rhythm on the shore
that at first they slithered by, excruciatingly,
the skin of a moistened worm
tearing as it accordians across the pavement
after the first fresh spring rain
and the days since have melted me into waiting
have mourned me into loss
rebirthed me into being
and inspired me to write
at night i can feel the walls shaking,
as though they could simply explode,
exposing me to the night sky
to the crisp winter air
a winking moon
and shimmering stars
and In my shivering slumber
I will unceasingly resign myself to the knowledge
that i chose this revelation
and I will lie in waking
a steward of this ship
‘till the morning sun warms me
and I can finally rest
(To Be Announced- March 2011)