Tales from the dark side…second in a series on the struggles of the mentally ill,
A blog not for the squeamish.
So, I attempted suicide recently. Not one of my finer moments, but it is what it is. I could try to squirrel away the fact, bury it deep and away from public view, or I can acknowledge it and own up to it. So, I’m Darren, suicide attempt survivor. Perhaps writing about it will help me wrap my head around the horrific act.
My particular methods were to swallow a shitload of Percocet and sleeping pills and then slit my wrist. I had read that doubling up the methods increased the chances of success. At some point after the ingestion of the pills and prior to the self mutilation, I emailed the BSW. Since she is far and away the most prompt and efficient person I have ever met, I had to have known she would immediately contact emergency services. This suggests perhaps I was hoping to be saved; however, at that time I was quite intent.
So, I’m laying in the tub (I didn’t want to make too big of a mess) when the police break down my door. Four of them entered the bathroom with guns and tasers drawn.
“Drop the fucking knife, motherfucker,” one yelled at me. I was in the tub, drugged out of my mind, and bleeding profusely. I remember thinking I couldn’t really be much of a threat. They were like the cops from Superbad.
I put the knife down, and they had me stand up. At that point, standing was quite an effort. Then, they handcuffed me. I had blood flowing out of my wrist and dripping on the floor, and they put a handcuff on it. Incidentally, it is a lot harder to find an artery than one would think from watching movies. They asked me what I had taken, and I told them. A week later, when I returned home, I found that they took everything in the medicine cabinet except the two drugs I had taken. I also found out that they just left my apartment door hanging on its hinges and didn’t even notify the complex that they had been there. The apartment manager thought it was a break in. I should have let them think that. It would have saved me the cost of a door.
When I was in the ambulance, a police officer told me not to do anything stupid and took the cuffs off. If I could have formed words at that point I would have asked if he meant anything more stupid than overdosing and slashing my wrist. We arrived at a hospital, and I was admitted to ER. I don’t remember much of that other than I had to drink like a gallon of charcoal. It apparently absorbs the toxins. You know how the bottom of the barbecue looks after a rainstorm? That’s how my shit looked for a week.
Eventually, I was taken to a “secure psychiatric facility”; aka, I was locked in the nuthouse. The law allows them to keep you detained for seventy two hours after trying to off yourself. The catch to that is that, after seventy two hours, a probate court has to say you can be released. And they ask your psychiatrist if it is safe for you to go home. He can just say no, and you’re stuck there. So, you sign a “voluntary consent” form that says they can keep you until the psychiatrist says you can go home. You’re stuck behind doors that lock from the other side.
In that place, you begin the healing process. This involves such therapeutic activities as playing self esteem bingo and coloring. I have some nice pictures my mommy can put on the refrigerator. You meet with a psychiatrist for approximately five minutes per day, and he is so talented that he can immediately deduce if you need to remain another day. And they bill you eight hundred bucks a day for it. It was amazing how many people “got better” when their insurance ran out. In between, you interact with your fellow inmates, I mean patients. If you visualize “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” you won’t be far off. My roommate spent one night talking to himself; from ten p.m. to five a.m. nonstop. My theory is they’re not so much trying to help you there as deter you from ever wanting to end up there again.
After a week, they concluded I was well enough to be released. I guess I started coloring within the lines. They provided me with a taxi ride. Since I was hauled away in just shorts and a sweatshirt, that’s how I returned. It is pretty humbling to walk down the street with no identification, no money, no credit cards, no phone, no keys, and no shoes.
Beyond the more substantial reasons to avoid suicide like anguish for your loved ones and…..death, unless you enjoy a rousing game of self esteem bingo with schizos I strongly recommend against it.
I’m Darren, and I’m a suicide attempt survivor.