It was really only a matter of time before I crashed and burned. Meeting my wife only slowed the process, but it didn’t stop it. I still drank all the time. If we fought it wasn’t uncommon for me to storm out of the house, walk to the bar behind our apartment complex, and order a couple shots and a whiskey sour to calm down.
(Whiskey Sours are delicious)
I had my dead end job as a waiter…which actually lasted for two years, which was shocking considering my frequent breakdowns at jobs and my erratic behavior. I think waiting tables is just more accommodating to that type of behavior. Most of the people I worked with were a little crazy. I mean, we had a kid that sold weed out of the to go area and it was a rule rather than an exception that half the staff show up to work hungover. I kind of felt like I was among kindred spirits in a way. I would walk out to the parking lot to leave and often would find four of my workmates hot boxing a car with marijuana cigs; it was all good fun for me at the time–I was eternally 21. When a shift ended we would all pound a few beers in the bar and I’d drive home. That was my life for 2 years.
But then it happened.
It started as me not being able to sleep. I mean, literally, I’d lay awake all night staring at the ceiling. This really snowballed. I’d go a night without sleeping, get anxious about not being able to sleep the next night, and it’d just get worse. The fear of not sleeping is still a major thing for me to this day. It’s become my personal monster.
I went to the doctor. He didn’t really do shit the first time. He told me to get some melatonin and said that since I really had no history of sleep problems that it’d pass.
I should mention that I’d been taking melatonin for years and at this point; I was up to 20mg (a shit load) and it wasn’t even making me yawn.
After not sleeping some more I made it back to my doctor and I was a broken mess at that point. My wife was at work on that particular day and, unbeknownst to her, I’d called out of work because i hadn’t slept again. I go into the doctors office and I was just sitting in the waiting room crying. They got me back quick and he said he thought something else was going on with me…maybe I was just having some sort of depression thing. So he put me on Prozac and told me to go see my therapist.
Another note: At this point I had been seeing a therapist to deal with some childhood stuff and some anger issues…but we hadn’t really dug deep into anything else and my therapist hasn’t raised the possibility of a diagnosis; depression, bipolar, or otherwise.
I went and filled the prescription for Prozac. My wife supported this because she’d seen how I’d been deteriorating and is as anxious as I am to find a solution.
What you should know, and what I didn’t know, is that Prozac can be a nuclear bomb for Bi-Polar people. If you are Bi-Polar, anti-depressants can jump start mania…I say can. It’s a Russian roulette sorta deal.
I happened to land on the bullet.
You see, I what was happening to me, the not sleeping, the erratic behavior, the crazy thoughts…just everything that had been happening those previous couple of weeks, it’d all been one big unmitigated manic episode…and now I had just added gasoline to the fire.
My sleep became nonexistent. I started acting out at work, curled up crying in the bathroom stalls some shifts, crying in front of my managers when they told me I had to stay longer. I mean they must have thought I was bat shit crazy (I was). I’ve honestly never felt as tortured as I did during this period of my life. I wanted to die.
So…one night…I tried to make that happen.
On this particular night I had an early shift the next day. I was laying in bed next to my wife…she was soundly sleeping…I remember resenting her ability to just fall asleep. I was laying there staring at the ceiling…wide awake for yet another night. I didn’t just feel awake, I felt like I had spotlights on behind my eyeballs, that’s the best way I can describe the feeling.
I remember just thinking, “I can’t do this anymore.” This being the not sleeping, the racing thoughts, the dread…just in general…the dread of not sleeping, the dread of my future…having to live with this person inside of me for the rest of my life.
It was a calm decision. I didn’t race to the bathroom. I didn’t try to do it before I talked myself out of it. Nope. My mind was made up.
I sat on the edge of the toilet and my first idea was to cut my wrists. I tried using the blades of a shaving razor but it wouldn’t really cut deep enough. I got mad about that and decided to slice my arms to ribbons, both arms, from wrist to elbow.
Then I just decided I’d use pills instead. Now in my mind, at this point, I don’t know how many doses of Ativan it takes to kill someone. Then I’m starting to have anxiety about killing myself. Not the dying part, no. I didn’t want to take so much that it was messy and painful and my heart seized up and i started mouth foaming or something (I know nothing medically, this probably wouldn’t have happened, but it was a real fear of mine). I wanted to just slowly and gently drift off and stop breathing after I was asleep…I wanted to be found clean and peaceful looking. It was probably the most meticulous suicide attempt of all time. So I counted out the amount of pills I thought would be suitable for the desired drifting off peacefully plan. I took them. And then I laid on the bathroom floor. I don’t know how long I laid there. An hour? Two? I remember, after a time, feeling very heavy all over…but my arms still stung…I could still feel…this, to me, meant I wasn’t dying yet…and I remember feeling sad about it.
I never got beyond feeling heavy all over. My lids blinked open and shut a few times. I’m sure my heart rate probably got low. But I didn’t die.
The nerve was lost at that point.
So now what?
I woke my wife up. The sun was rising at this point, casting a pale sliver of light down the center of our bed. By this light my wife saw what I’d done to my arms. I’m not really going to describe her reaction because it’s a little too difficult for me…to know I did that to her. All I’ll say is she was mortified and heartbroken…especially after I told her about the pills
She had me in the bathroom, nursing my arms, trying to clean up the blood. She was also on the phone with my mom, desperate…not knowing what to do. The entire time I’m hysterically crying. I didn’t want to die at that moment but I didn’t want to live either. I just felt trapped in some black hole.
Eventually my wife put me on the couch and just sat there holding me and telling me it’d be okay as we waited for my mom to show up. I remember 24 was playing on the television and I was just watching it passively, not giving a shit about what was actually going on.
When my mom arrived she pulled my wife aside. They were talking in hushed tones and I didn’t really care what they were saying…I just felt dead inside.
Then…they hit me with it. It was time for me to get help…serious help. They gave me two choices: I could go get checked into a psych hospital of my own free will or they could call the police to come take me.
It was up to me.
And I’ll leave it there. There’s a lot more here. Writing about the psych hospital experience is going to be multi-part, it’s just too much to squeeze into one blog. I’ll be doing more than one blog this week because of that. The next one will either be tomorrow or the day after.
Thanks for reading.