After a few short days on the inpatient Psych bed wait list, I simply could not take it anymore. Wait, allow me to back up a bit. . .
A couple of weeks ago I had an appointment with my mental health practitioner. I wrote about all of the tears and thinking that resulted from that appointment right after the event (See Part I of this series on Depression, please). I also shared at that time that I was urged to allow myself to be immediately hospitalized for inpatient stabilization and medication adjustments as well as resuming intense therapy. I refused the immediate hospitalization believing I had things to take care of at home that were far more important than this bout of depression. I did, however, agree that I would allow my practitioner to place me on a wait list for an inpatient bed at the hospital’s stabilization unit. My practitioner said it could be many weeks before a bed was available for me.
Unfortunately, that bed did not open soon enough to benefit me by stabilizing my mental health condition at all. I am letting you know that at this point that I am safe and in the hospital. However, a mere few minutes are all that stood between me and certain death according to a gaggle of doctors, psychologists, and other medical professionals I’ve dealt with the past eight days!
Last week on Thursday, January 10, 2019 I had an amazing day with a longtime friend, Liz. She had reached out to me a day or so before and asked if she could come visit me. She said that I’d seemed a bit down and she was concerned about me. She wanted to come, talk, hang out, and go eat (one of my favorite things to do – especially whilst depressed). I was super excited to be seeing her as it had been a long time since we’d last seen one another. Also, it had been months since I’d left the house for anything other than necessary outings like groceries, medical appointments, fleeing a fight with Zachary, and holiday garbage. I’ve become almost a recluse quite frankly. The thought of leaving my comfortable corner at home stresses me to the point of cold sweats, pasty complexion, vomiting, and sometimes hyperventilating. Sad but true.
When she arrived we chatted a bit at my home. She met Zachary who had been up for two days (more on that another time). He was very social which is quite odd for him. After a short time, Liz asked if I’d like to go grab a bite to eat – without Zachary. I was eager to do so.
After striking out at the Olive Tree due to their ongoing renovation, we decided on heading on out to The Machine Shed. Liz was in search of a great salad bar and seemed to recall that they had one. The Machine Shed did not disappoint! We both had the salad bar. I felt like once I began talking I just could not stop. It had been so very very long since I had been able to openly and honestly talk to anyone. I was able to say things to her that no one on this earth had ever heard leave my mouth no matter how badly I wanted to talk about some of the things. We laughed. I,of course, cried and whines about things. Liz proved herself to be an incredible listener. She exactly when to reach to touch my hand or arm. She knew precisely when to offer advice and when to be comforting.
After lunch, Liz asked if I knew of any thrift stores that were near our location. I had to embarrassedly admit it had been just over a year since I’d had the opportunity to go out and about for anything other buying essentials (groceries, hygiene, items, and medications) or attending medical appointments. I was clueless as to where anything was, much less things such as thrift stores. We put her telephones work googling local thrift stores.
We hit DAV and Stuff, Etc. We both found some great buys and treasures. Liz purchased several of the items that lit my eyes up. She got me a hat, a couple of Isabel Bloom sculptures, and a fabulous ceramic rooster piece from the 1940’s to add to my now growing cock collection – LOL. She also bought Zachary a large gold Z, Origami paper, and a hat from the UK so he would not feel left out.
Around 4:30 PM or so I was getting tired, it was medication time, and she too was getting a bit worn out. The decision was made to head to my place, sort our treasures out, and say our good byes. We snapped a couple of pics for Facebook and my other assorted social media play grounds. We also recorded a quick video just before Liz headed home.
After Liz left, the happiness and excitement about talking and getting so much out, suddenly and for no real reason, the dark pain began oozing back into every part of my being. Throughout the night and into the early morning hours Zachary and I fought about so many different things. Zachary left our home many times throughout the night out of frustration with me and due to his lack of sleep.
By 8:00 AM I was at the point that things were going to become physically abusive between Zachary and I or I had to go to sleep. The PTSD kicked in with a vengeance! I could no longer fight. I balled up in the middle of the floor on my rug (safe space for me and my cat Cedric) and cried and shook for a while. I wanted to sleep but it was all too evasive!
I made the decision to take some of my medication to force myself to sleep. A couple of sleeping pills should do the trick I thought. A few minutes later, literally, I was still awake so I swallowed a few more. Then I could not stop. I swallowed a month’s worth of adderal, promethazine, and a hand full of muscle relaxers I had from months ago. In my clouded mind that was cloaked in the absolutely pitch blackness of my depression I totally knew that the pain was about to be gone. Completely gone for the first time in several years.
I was immediately happy, filled with absolute joy that my pain was about to be erased. For the first time since junior high, all of the dark pain was going to be gone. Actually gone. I prayed over and over that God would grant me His forgiveness for taking my own life. That He would watch over Zachary, my son Justin and his family, and all of my family and friends. I begged God to show them or guide them to understanding my pain and my decision to stop it dead on its tracks.
I remember drinking Squirt and talking to Zachary as the drug cocktail hit me. It felt like I had popcorn popping under my skin. I announced to Zachary that the popcorn had arrived. The police then arrived and attempted to have a conversation with me about something.
The next thing I remember is waking up in the Medical ICU at Genesis hospital. I was on a ventilator (breathing machine) with a female nurse named Paz sitting next to me. She was talking to me, telling me to relax and not fight the intubation tube, to allow it to breathe for me until I was stronger. I struggled to relax. I was in and out of consciousness until Sunday mid-day.
I was taken off the ventilator Sunday afternoon. For several hours Paz talked with me asking if I’d used anything other than amphetamine. I just laid there in my bed. Eventually a physician came and asked if I had used anything other than methamphetamine. I actually sat up and told her that I had not used any meth. I yelled at her that I’d swallowed a month’s worth of adderal and promethazine as well as a bunch of muscle relaxers. Her reply was, “Come on, it cannot be that serious of a depression Sir.”
I completely lost it. I screamed at her. I told her what a vile person she was to doubt the pain of my depression and other mental health issues. I was promptly sedated again.
I next woke to the same physician telling me that if I refused voluntary commitment to a mental health treatment facility she would immediately seek a court order remanding me to the care of a mental health facility somewhere in Iowa. I told her to kick rocks. I remember her calling for a nurse to give me something called versed IV immediately.
I awoke today to the news I had begun ECT treatment. I was told that it had been decided by a team of mental health practitioners (psychiatrist, psychologist, PA, Nurse Practitioner, OT, PT and two social workers) that ECT treatment would be the quickest and most efficient treatment. I was told I could expect ten or eleven additional treatments.
I am not certain what the criteria are for ECT treatment nor what long term implications are. For more information on ECT treatment for depression, please see the following:
I am frightened about what ECTs will actually do to my brain. I am terrified I will forget important people, things, and events in my life.
I may not be “with it” enough to write Part III of this Depression series. I shall, however, attempt to update y’all as I am able to. You have my word on that!
Please, if you pray, send a few prayers up for me. I seem to be in a place on my journey that I could certainly use many of them. If prayer is not up your ally, I ask you to please send positive healing vibes my way. Please do not forget about me if I am unable to write over the next few weeks. I will still be around.
Remember, pay attention to your own mental health and well-being. Trust yourself to know when what you are feeling is too much to deal with yourself.
If you need help and you are in crisis or seriously considering suicide, please call 1-800-273-8255 or TEXT MT to 741-741 or call 911. You ARE worth the call for help. It is hard to believe. But you do matter to people.