Post Suicide Attempt: Chapter 3

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Post Suicide Attempt: Prologue – https://sophiebuck.wordpress.com/2013/10/29/post-suicide-attempt-prologue/

Post Suicide Attempt: Chapter 1 – https://sophiebuck.wordpress.com/2013/11/05/post-suicide-attempt-chapter-1/

Post Suicide Attempt: Chapter 2 – https://sophiebuck.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/post-suicide-attempt-chapter-2/

When I was transferred to the unit in the psych hospital that had lower security, I was given a tour by one of the nurses.  I was a little afraid because I had no idea what to expect.  But the fear and hesitation I felt was nothing compared to where I was before.  This unit was much nicer.  There were sofas, the patients were allowed to open the windows and change the tv channels themselves, there was art on the walls, and I got my first glimpse of sunlight in days.

I was taken to what would be my room, where I was introduced to my roommate.  She was my age, and very friendly.  I was also introduced to another patient who showed me all of the ropes and made sure I had someone to sit with at dinner.  I was also quickly introduced to some other patients, but I didn’t really get to know them until later.

My nurse also explained “privileges” to me.  There were different levels of privileges.  The lowest was on-unit privileges, which meant that you were not allowed to leave the unit except to go to classes.  Next up were in-house privileges, which meant that you could go anywhere you wanted inside the hospital as long as you signed out and were back every hour to confirm that you hadn’t run away.  After that you got grounds privileges, which meant that you could go anywhere on the hospital grounds (you could go outside and breathe fresh air!) as long as you signed out and came back every hour.  I was immediately given in-house privileges since I had behaved so well in the previous unit.  Your doctor could also grant you evening and weekend passes so that you could spend some time at home as long as you were with a family member at all times.  And if you misbehaved, you could have your privileges taken away.

Finally, I was given a schedule.  The schedule listed all kinds of classes that were available.  These classes included horticulture, yoga, art therapy, wellness (which was super boring, but it was the only class we absolutely had to go to), and some other activities.  Our doctors also referred us to groups that were more specific to our particular issues.  I was assigned to Women’s Group (a bunch of women who sit in a circle to share their issues and support one another), Managing Emotions (learning how to identify what you are feeling and express it in a healthy way), and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: Skills for Anxiety (learning tips and tricks to help understand your triggers and how to cope with anxiety).  I can’t really share too much about these classes because we had to sign some confidentiality forms; all I can tell you in that they existed and I learned things.

I started to get used to the routine, and I got used to eating eggs every single day because that’s what they always served the vegetarians.  Don’t get me wrong, eggs are delicious.  I just got a little tired of eating them every single day.  My original roommate was released after one night, and I was assigned a new roommate.  She was mostly bedridden, and she asked me who I was every time I entered the room.  But I made friends elsewhere.  I am even still in contact with a couple of them.

I was also finally allowed to go outside when I had a panic attack and freaked out because I felt like I was being confined in too small a space, so that was good.  It was freezing outside.  I got soaked by all of the falling snow, but I GOT TO GO OUTSIDE!  Seriously, don’t ever take the fact that you are allowed to go outside for granted.  And really, how good can it be for someone’s mental health to never let them breathe fresh air?  Even prison inmates get to go outside for an hour every day.  I’m not going to get into that right now because it’s not really relevant to my story, but I was thrilled to finally be allowed to go outside!  It was the best I had felt in months!  I even called my parents to tell them the exciting news!

There were also many challenges that I came across in this unit, and there were several things that went on outside the hospital that I felt like I was helpless to do anything about.  My school, for example, was a source of many issues.  But I’ll talk about that next week.  See you guys then!

Post Suicide Attempt: Prologue

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Hello blog readers!  I had an assignment for one of my classes to write a short story about a life event, which inspired me to write a mini-series for this blog about the aftermath of my suicide attempt!  Cheerful, huh?  Don’t get too worried about it being super heavy and depressing.  That is not my goal.  My goal is to paint a picture of what it was like to receive treatment.  I will be releasing segments of this story every Tuesday evening, so stay tuned!  To get you all started on this journey with me, I am going to tell you about the actual suicide attempt.

It was a Sunday that I decided to take my life.  I had been thinking about doing it for a while, and I had made my decision a few days before I actually went through with it.  There were three reasons I waited until that Sunday.  One:  I was signed up as a driver for my school’s wildlife club trip to see a swan banding demonstration on the Saturday.  I didn’t want people to end up not being able to go because I had died.  Two:  I had volunteered to help my friend make soup for my residence’s Sunday soup kitchen (we all got together and ate soup; we didn’t feed the homeless).  I didn’t want to leave all of the work to her, and I didn’t want to ruin the soup kitchen, so I decided to wait until after that was over with.  Three:  I had borrowed my mom’s car, and I needed to get it back to her.  I also had a coffee date that day, but I didn’t really care; I didn’t even shower for it.

In retrospect, those all seem like really minor things in comparison to death.  But at the time, I thought I was a burden to everyone around me.  To me, it only made sense to do what I had promised others before taking my life because I didn’t want my death to be a burden to anyone.  I really thought I was doing my friends and family a favour.  I mean, I knew they would be sad at first.  But I thought that after their grieving period was over, they would feel a sense of relief because they would be done putting up with all my problems.

Once I finished all of my commitments, I locked myself into my room to end my life since I didn’t want anyone to try and stop me.  However, I felt the need to apologize to two people before I killed myself.  I apologized to the guy who had been emotionally abusive towards me because I felt so guilty about my anxiety, and I apologized to my friend for warning her not to date him when she had a crush on him.  I feel like an idiot for apologizing for those things now.  I’m glad I got in the way of this guy dating my friend because she is one of the sweetest people I know.  She deserves a lot better.  I probably didn’t warn her in the most tactful way, since I had to get drunk to muster up the courage to do something I knew would get me in serious trouble with this guy.  But I’m still glad I warned her.  I used to feel like an idiot for apologizing to this guy right before I attempted suicide because I felt like it made me feel weak, but I don’t care if he sees me as weak anymore.  I don’t give a fuck what he thinks anymore because he has been cut out of my life for good.

After making my apologies, I wrote out a note that said, “This isn’t anyone’s fault but my own.”  Then I gathered all of the pills in my room into a pile and poured a drink.  I was feeling pretty shaky, so I decided to take my anti-anxiety pills first to calm me down.  I have no evidence to prove this, but I think that decision may have been what saved my life.  My anti-anxiety pills made me really sleepy when I took 0.5 mg at a time, and I think that the amount that I took that night knocked me unconscious before I could swallow enough pills to actually die.  I don’t know for sure because I don’t remember a whole lot after that point until waking up the next day.  And that’s for me to write about next week.  *SPOILER ALERT!* I didn’t die.

Post Suicide Attempt: Chapter 1 – https://sophiebuck.wordpress.com/2013/11/05/post-suicide-attempt-chapter-1/

Psychiatric Assessment

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About a week ago, I had an appointment with a psychiatrist.  Yesterday, my case worker went over the psychiatrist’s assessment of me.  I found the results kind of depressing.  I have four psychological disorders, and I function about half as well as most people.

The four disorders I have are: recurrent major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder, panic disorder, and agoraphobia.  I’m actually still researching these because I don’t totally understand what all of this means.  My case worker knows that I like to know what is going on.  He knows I like to learn everything I can about whatever condition it is that I have, so he wrote them all down for me.  Once I learn a little more about them, I’ll probably make a blog post about each of them.  But for now, I will tell you what I do know about them.

Major depressive disorder is what you probably know of just “depression.”  Usually, people who have major depressive disorder experience an extremely low mood for at least two weeks.  Then these people, with treatment, come out of their depression.  Since mine is recurring, I will have depressive episodes than can last for a few weeks to a few months.  Then I will come out of this depressed state.  It’s not bipolar because I never experience the extreme highs that come with it.

Dysthymic disorder is similar to major depressive disorder, but it is less severe and lasts longer.  Dysthymic disorder lasts at least two years.  Although, I have most likely been dealing with it for much longer than that.  It is characterized by a low mood that is relatively consistent over a long period of time.

Panic disorder means that I will experience intense moments of panic, and I will sometimes have panic attacks, for seemingly no reason.  All of a sudden, I will have catastrophic thoughts that will cause me to freak out a little.  These thoughts will be something like: “Something bad is going to happen,” or “I am going to die.”  I can go from 0 to 100 in 30 seconds.

Agoraphobia is common when you have panic disorder.  In fact, it is more common to have both than it is to have panic disorder on its own.  Agoraphobia means that I have a fear of being able to escape.  This means that I will feel panicked if I feel like I am stuck in a place that I can’t get out of.  This means crowds, the subway, etc.  With me, though, I often feel the most panicked when I am alone with a stranger.  I am afraid that they will try to do something to hurt me, and that I won’t be able to escape them because nobody will be around to help.  The reason that agoraphobia is common with panic disorder is that because I sometimes have panic attacks for no reason, I worry that I will have one in public and not be able to leave the situation.  For example, if I have a panic attack in a mall, everyone will see.  It might freak some of the people out, the strangers around me won’t know what to do, and I will be embarrassed when it’s over.  I’m usually a lot more calm when I am with someone I feel comfortable around.

Anyway, I hope to learn a lot more about these disorders so that I can find out the best way to combat them.  I will keep you posted!