Sometimes life just isn't that funny
And down came the rain.
I wasn't hospitalized for fatigue and dehydration. I tried to kill myself.
This was not my first attempt, though I do hope it's my last. I'm trying to make sure that it is.
Let's talk about the suicide rate in our community. As a bisexual woman, I’m the lucky winner of a prize pack that includes being in a group that attempts suicide in much higher rates than our other consonants. But that doesn’t really explain the night I tried to take my life.
Everyone wants to know why, and the truth is I can't tell you because I just don't know. That night followed a psychotic break a few days earlier. A very close, and co-dependent relationship ended with that break.
Honestly, it had to. We were dragging each other down and holding each other back in some sick downward spiral misreading itself as love and friendship. I knew deep down I had to cut all ties with this person or else we'd never make a clean break. Without a clean break this cycle would continue, and we would both remain stuck in this unhealthy place. And though it would kill me to do so, I had to do it.
The end of this relationship brought me to a dark place. It ended with a crash and then silence. Like a band aid being ripped off, it had to happen, but fast or slow, I wasn't ready, and I would never have been. I learned of myself that night that while I was clean of heroin, I had a gift now for turning people into heroin and the DT's were about to kill me.
I got drunk. Really drunk. I started scrolling through pictures and messaging the person, all of which was a terrible idea. The person didn't say anything to "set me off." I had already set the stage for what I knew I was going to do days before. I just wanted to be in the mood. I wanted to tell the person goodbye. Not for me, for them. I didn't want to be alive any longer. I just got down in the dark place and thought, "F--k it, I'm out!"
When the effects of the pills took hold, I felt my feet sliding under me. I was slipping on something wet. Was it blood? How could it be blood? Had I done this wrong? Did I cut myself? No, it was vomit.
I realized as panic set in what I had actually done. I texted my best friend in slurred confusion. He knew instantly something was seriously wrong. He's seen (and texted) me when I was very drunk, and this was not like before. He called, and I slurred, "The pills! I'm gonna die!"
He raced over as another close friend called an ambulance. When the paramedics arrived, I was on the bathroom floor unconscious and my breathing was shallow. I remember hearing my friend's voice. He sounded so far away, but I knew he was near. Like in times before, he would remain by my side with me barely alive. He was ready to hold my hand and walk me through hell. If I couldn't walk, he was gonna carry me.
I woke up in the hospital with an IV in my arm. Great! Just what a recovering addict needs: a trigger after a suicide attempt. I know it had to be done. I did this to myself. As they removed the IV, I screamed. I was shaking, beginning to convulse. The trigger hit that hard.
I was informed that I had been 6404'd—involuntary psych hold. I entered the ward in tears. I was scared and alone. Generally my take on fight or flight is fly into the fight (I'm a classy broad that way). I was given a sedative and slept through most of the day. A nurse woke me up for dinner: after dinner I sat in the common area and sobbed uncontrollably. Then I went and played the piano (badly) for about an hour.
The next day I got up and said nothing to anyone for the entire morning. I wasn't Amy Sulam, comic; I was Amy, broken girl. I sat alone, ate alone, played piano alone—no words, no laughter. My smile wasn't hiding, it had given up, along with me.
Visiting hours came, and all I really wanted was to see my children, but I thought I'd have no visitors. Through the door walked Sully—Brian Sullivan, my closest friend. He really wasn't gonna let me go through this alone. I lit up immediately. It was food to my soul. He promised he'd be back the next day, and I promised I'd be a better patient. I colored a picture for him that's he's since framed as a reminder of what we went through together.
By the time I left the hospital I had my meds straight, I had therapy lined up, and I was genuinely feeling better. I had to reach out to those close to me and let them know what had happened. The outpouring of support I got was incredible. My friends and family knew that I needed not to be alone, and they came in droves to make sure I wasn't. Sully stayed with me for nearly a week. My other friends came in shifts and stayed with me. They brought ice cream and ears, and I couldn't really ask for more.
I'm not out of the woods: I still have days where the thing that keeps me alive is the fact that my kids need me. Some days, it's just not wanting to be in the psych ward again.
Here's the thing: if someone you know suffers from mental illness, make sure they get what they need. Be there, listen without judgement, and know it's not about you. I learned that we all have at least one reason not to harm ourselves. Each of us is a gift to the world, to those around us. Each of us means the world to someone. Hell, you matter to me, and that’s the most important thing of all!
Life will always be hard. Make sure you have an umbrella for when the rain comes.