So here is the post I have been putting off writing but know I need to write for my benefit. Hopefully writing it down will help me get some closure on it. It is entirely my recollection with a few blanks filled in by other people. It is honest and to my knowledge everything is correct, nothing has been exaggerated for dramas sake.
PLEASE DO NOT READ IF YOU GET EASILY UPSET. IT IS QUITE GRAPHIC AND BRUTALLY HONEST. PLEASE BE RESPONSIBLE IN WHETHER YOU CHOOSE TO READ IT AND BE SAFE.
DO NOT ATTEMPT SUICIDE…IT IS NOT COOL TO TRY KILLING YOURSELF.
So the day is the 16 th December 2004 it is raining outside and I am sitting on the floor of my room. The room is small, dull and boring, with breeze block walls covered in shoddy white paint and a brown rough scratchy carpet. I am sitting on the floor of my room in student halls feeling the carpet scratching my legs and listening to the music from the room next door. In front of me are a pile of pills and a pint of diluting orange juice and a feeling of calm spreads through me. I know that this is the end, my last day on earth and that I don’t intend on waking up ever again.
The day has been relatively ordinary getting up at 7.00am for a 9am lecture feeling perky for the first time in many months, feeling happy knowing that this is my final day on earth and knowing that I am going to enjoy it and not spend it moping around feeling sorry for myself. I trek myself into uni on the bus and take my place in the back of the lecture hall for the two hour lecture on pathology- I can’t remember which condition we were studying that day as I spent it mucking about with my classmates. I smiled a lot that morning so that no-one would notice how bad I was feeling inside. I must have done a good job as no-one suspected anything was wrong.
I had an appointment at 12.30 with the uni counsellor after agreeing with my GP that I could start on anti-depressants as long as I went to see the counsellor once a week. So I pitched up on time, it was about my fourth visit so I knew who I was speaking to and had an idea of how their confidentiality policy worked. So I talked about how I was feeling and how rubbish things had been over the past few months. The whole time I was careful not to let on what my intentions were for I knew for sure that other people would get involved and my plan would be disrupted. I got myself into a state at one point and ended up mentioning what I was planning to do in a somewhat cryptic way, as soon as she started piecing it together and getting an idea of how bad things were I panicked and walked out. I got halfway along the corridor with her following me, trying to get me to come back before she finally gave in and left me alone. This is one of the moments I sorely regret. I should not have put her in that position, should not have let her find out months later what I had done that day and that she could have potentially stopped it. It was never my intention for her to know that and because she found out I feel great remorse.
So I walked home crying and getting my thoughts together. As I had now told someone I was going to do it I then HAD to do it. There was no backing out or telling anyone, I HAD to die and there was no question about it. I started worrying about whether she had enough of an idea to call someone and get me assessed. Then I stopped and focussed on the task at hand.
As I sat in my room I thought about the previous six months. About being at home and collecting paracetamol tablets so that if I wanted to kill myself I would have the means. I didn’t attempt when I was at home because it would have been unfair on my parents to find me and because at the time I knew I was moving out and there was still hope for the future. Starting uni was an exciting time for the first couple of weeks. Meeting new people and establishing a new identity away from the person I was at school. This was the one beauty of moving where no-one else knew me. The difficulty with this plan was that I had no support network. Things went downhill very quickly although I didn’t see it at the time. Initially it started off with paranoia about people talking about me behind my back, both at uni and at the flat. I shared the flat with six other girls so there was little privacy and much bitchiness. The girl in the room next to me had very few classes and was an insomniac so played her music loudly all through the night. I began not sleeping, I would get to sleep about 5am then wake at 7am to get to class. It took its toll and my temper became frayed causing several major blowouts with the girl next door. I remember shouting at her at 3am one morning for keeping me up, we argued and I stormed out of the flat. It was pouring with rain outside and I was wearing jeans, a tee-shirt and socks with no shoes. I ended up spending the next hour walking up and down the street jumping in puddles, no-one came out to look for me even though they all watched the fight.
At one point I got sick of the not being able to sleep and decided to consult my GP. He told me to see a counsellor and wrote a script for a month’s worth of a tri-cyclic anti-depressant. I started taking them on the Friday and by the Monday I had a mouth like sandpaper, could not see straight, stand up without feeling extremely nauseous and was experiencing several other unpleasant side effects. So on the Monday I trailed myself back to the GP and was prescribed a month’s worth of a different tri-cyclic anti-depressant. I took them for a month and collected another script a couple of days before the overdose.
One week one of my flatmates and I went down to my home town for a couple of nights. There is a post on this here so I won’t explain any further suffice to say that I got myself arrested for breach of the peace. This was a stressful time as the court case was like a huge shadow over me lingering in January with no word from my lawyer about what was going on. To be found guilty would have meant being told to leave uni and potentially not being able to work in healthcare at any point in the future. I was told this at the time after consultation with our professional body. It felt like the end of the world and it was entirely my fault that my future was going down the pan.
In the flat things were incredibly strained going from bad to worse day by day. Everyone at uni hated me and I was faking happiness everyday just to survive although inside I was starting to crumble badly. I was hardly eating as I had no appetite and was trying to avoid people as much as possible. Conversations at uni between friends constantly went over my head and caused me stress as I was unable to participate in them due to being so mentally slow I couldn’t keep up and distracted by the thought that everyone was laughing about me behind my back. I hardly joined in conversations preferring to hide in the background and shut myself off from people as I knew they hated me anyway. Phone calls to my parents became less and less, considering we were never close before I went to university the lack of contact with them convinced me that I was a bad daughter, had let them down and disappointed them and that they didn’t love me.
There was nothing to do but blank it out and ignore the fact things were getting bad. At the time I don’t think I realised how bad things were. I was certainly not depressed, I just couldn’t sleep. So I started going out every night of the week with my flatmate getting blazing drunk and flirting with guys just to forget I was me. One night I met a guy called K. We had a good night dancing and he walked me home. He seemed like a nice guy and didn’t want to come in, besides the fact I wouldn’t let him as guys were not allowed to stay over. A couple of days later after a few texts had been bandied back and forward we agreed to meet up. He came to mine so we could talk and get to know each other. When he got to the flat there was a rather large group of girls in the living room so the only place we could get privacy was in my room. I should have known it was a bad idea. I didn’t want sex and repeatedly said no but it happened anyway. I didn’t have the will power to shout, to tell him to get out. I deserved it. I showered for about an hour after he left. I wanted to forget, I wanted to get rid of the feeling that I was dirty, that I was a slut. I was pathetic. I should have known better and should have made him leave. I deserved it.
I think that’s when I realised I was taking up space and using air that other people could make better use of. That was the moment the plan went from just thoughts to being written out in stone. There was a meal planned for Christmas in the flat on the 16 th December, I knew that everyone would be busy having a good time and wouldn’t miss me if I wasn’t there. So my date was set, I wouldn’t be interrupted as none of them cared anyway.
The next week was spent going through the plan and making sure that every base was covered. The night of the 15 th I spent sitting on my bed popping the pills out of their wrappers to save time the next day, and if they weren’t in their packets they had to be taken. Simple as. There was a knock on the door so quickly I covered the pills with the duvet and sat on them, it was one of my nicer flatmates who had come for a chat about her boyfriend. I got her out of my room as soon as was reasonably acceptable, knowing fine well that I looked extremely edgy and suspicious, scared that I would be found out. Then I hit a stumbling block, my best friend was supposed to be staying over the night of the 17th after a graduation party with her uni friends. That had to be sorted. I made a phone call to my parents that night being careful not to let them in on my thought processes whilst secretly saying my last goodbyes to them.
On the 16 th as I sat on the floor in the flat I made a quick phone call to the best friend to tell her that something had come up and I was having to head home for a couple of days and that she would have to find somewhere else to stay. I then sat and scribbled a few notes in a notebook, one to my parents, one to my sister and one to my best friend. On reflection they were very poorly written, explained very little and would have come as no comfort to the people they were meant for – my Mum still has them hidden in one of her bedroom drawers.
So this was it, the big event. There were several things going on in my head. A siren sounded outside on the main road and I panicked thinking the counsellor might have called someone so I sped up what I was doing. I lined up the pills and took them. I took both lots of anti-depressants (in total two months worth), a pile of anti-histamines and several packets of paracetamol. I spent a lot of time researching the effects of each of the drugs expecting a coma, cardiac abnormalities and seizures and if I survived that then liver failure. It was pretty much a definite that I wouldn’t survive it. I ran out of juice at one point and ended up refilling it a couple of times from the sink in my room. The funny thing is the though crossed my mind that it wasn’t drinking water and might poison me. Obviously wasn’t thinking straight at all. But what I was doing was well thought out and in my head, logical. I lay down on my bed at 2pm, calm and slightly dizzy but ready to go. I fell asleep looking at the red numbers on my alarm clock reading 2.00pm.
At some point my flatmates came in checked I was still breathing and left.
I woke up at 2.05 not knowing whether it was am or pm. Part of me thought maybe I had just dreamed about what I did, maybe it hadn’t happened. Part of me thought it was maybe 2.05am but it was too noisy and there were too many people talking for it to be the morning. It turned out it was 2.05pm on the 17 th December. I had been unconscious for 24 hours. When I awoke I realised that my mouth was extremely dry and that my tongue was coated with something brown. Having cleared all the gunk from my mouth I moved to the mirror where I made myself more presentable, noticed my tongue was shiny with no taste buds left, although I am not sure I really looked in the mirror as I thought I looked fine but this was apparently not the case.
It is about here I lose a few hours. I remember going into my nice flatmates room where she and a friend were watching a film. I told her that I needed to speak to her but would come back later as I knew she was busy. At some point later I went into her room and told her what I had done but made her promise not to tell anyone. She didn’t - this is the second thing I feel guilty about as I put her in a horrible and unfair position. I don’t remember what I did in the time in between and I’m not sure what I did afterwards. At some point later, must have been around 8pm I realised I was supposed to be somewhere and was feeling a little unsteady on my feet. I went through to the kitchen where my flatmates were gathered and asked them if they had any taxi numbers. They gave me a few numbers and also some concerned looks as I used the fridge to steady myself and to stop me falling over. I have been told at this point that my best friend turned up, I remember her being there but not knowing how or why she got there. She dragged me through to my room and made me confess what I had done.
We turned my bedroom upside down, she was looking for packets to tell the hospital what I had taken and I was looking for my room keys so that my parents could get back in to collect my things. Eventually we were all set to leave, I am sure at one point calling an ambulance was mentioned but there was no way I was suffering the humiliation of having the entire halls of residence knowing how messed up I was so the idea was quickly dismissed. We decided to try calling taxis but as it was almost Christmas there was no real chance of getting one. We headed out to the main road to try and flag a taxi but none came so we ended up getting on a bus to go to the city centre where there was a taxi rank that was sure to have taxis. The bus was packed so we ended up standing at the front of the bus. I was clinging for dear life to the pole, just trying my best not to pass out as the bus was spinning somewhat terribly by this point. I must have looked awful because there was a little old lady who gave up her seat for me. To this day I am still in debt to her for such a small act of kindness. Eventually we made it to a taxi, I remember as we whizzed up to A and E the driver constantly asking my best friend if I was OK and offering to pull over if I was going to be sick. Surprisingly I didn’t feel sick in the slightest.
On arrival in A and E I was whizzed through triage and straight into a cubicle where I was told to sit down on a chair and wait for a doctor. It felt like ages until one came but I am sure it probably wasn’t that long. He asked me what I took and when I took them. I told him and watched as his face fell when he asked “you took them when?!” I remember wondering whether he believed me or not. When he asked me why I hadn’t come in earlier I re-explained that I hadn’t been conscious for most of the time and then had decided I didn’t want to go to hospital. He immediately made me lie on the bed. I was really grateful for this as I wasn’t sure how long I’d be able to sit upright. It was then explained to me the joys of Parvolex – the antidote for paracetamol. That it would probably make me physically sick and that it would be running for a number of hours. Having the venflon put into my arm hurt a lot which on reflection is really silly. I asked if my friend could come and sit with me whilst I waited for a bed on a ward. I later found out that they had no idea which ward to put me on as the A and E ward is only short stay but they were reluctant to admit me to one of the other wards as they were very unsure at this time what my prognosis was going to be. My friend came through to see me and I asked her to call my parents, tell them what happened and to convince them not to come up then and just to wait until the morning. It was unfair to put her in that position but I thought it might be better from them to hear it from someone I knew than from a random nurse. She couldn’t get hold of them and they later called her back whilst she was in the pub getting blazing and recovering from the ordeal I put her through.
I was admitted to the A and E ward and not even allowed to walk through from my cubicle. I don’t think I really took in the severity of the situation at the time. When I got to the ward I was put in a single room outside the nurse’s station and hooked up to an ECG machine. I was told in no uncertain terms that if I took the venflon out that it would be immediately replaced and would hurt. This was a deterrent but I don’t think I was in a fit state to be thinking of doing anything of the sort. At some point in the middle of the night my parents turned up. They had ignored the advice to drive up in the morning, had tried going to bed but were so worried they drove 3 hours in the middle of the night to see me. They had been crying and as I lay there I could literally see their hearts breaking, my sister was also there having also been crying but with her I could feel the hatred and anger seeping from every pore in her body. She, rightly so hated me for what I had done. I wished and wished I hadn’t woke up and hadn’t had to see the after effects of my actions that night.
It is about this time that I feel this song becomes rather appropriate. It was released in January 2005 so just after the event but I have a horrible habit of attaching songs to events. Athlete - Wires
I was in that ward for 5 days – The first three in the single room where everyday my parents asked the doctors if I was going to be OK and every single day they replied “We will have to just wait and see”. Those words in a hospital setting do not bode well. I was very close to being moved to another ward and I hate to think how close I was to being on the transplant list- if indeed I wasn’t…I will never know how close I came. My bet is on very damn close. Even as I lay there it did sink in that they were thinking that I was one symptom away from liver failure. If I had been offered a transplant I would have said no and even now I think I would still have made that decision. One of the days I had a psych evaluation. My parents were taken into a different room and spoken to first. I have no idea what they said. I can’t remember much of what I said to the man that saw me. I remember him saying “so you spent the morning going round chemists buying pills?” “No, I had them already” “but you bought them that day?” ”NO”. At one point he decided it was “just a cry for help” and to this day I believe that is what he wrote in his notes and is what he told my parents.
It was recommended I have a follow up appointment at the local psych hospital, he was told to send the appointment letter to my home address where my parents were going to be looking after me…he didn’t, he sent it to my uni address where it got shoved under my bedroom door unopened. I never made it to the appointment. If I had I probably would have been admitted.
The last two days in hospital I was still hooked up to the parvolex despite the fact it is supposed to run nowhere near that long. I got kept an extra day as I was having nosebleeds which were apparently not a good sign. My parents told me for the first time I can remember in a long time that they loved me. Now that is an extreme measure to find out your parents love you, I still can’t help thinking it was a token gesture. My best friend didn’t come in to visit me until one of those last couple of days. I am glad she came as I thought she hated me for what I had done. Apparently she called the ward everyday and told the nurses to tell them she was asking after me. No-one ever told me that she phoned.
So eventually I was discharged home into my parents care. It took until January 5 th 2005 for my liver function tests and blood clotting to return to normal. The day after that I was admitted as an emergency to the psych hospital at home- they had the section papers written before I even turned up for the appointment in case I said no. I went in for 4/5 days, pretended to be fine and got discharged with a clean bill of health. I was in fact not depressed, had not fractured my skull months earlier (although how they came to that conclusion I will never know. The court case got dropped the day before trial. I missed my 1 st year exams but returned to uni a week later and things continued on as normal.
In short, suicide attempts are never good. Suicide is not like they portray it in movies, it is by no means easy and is sure as hell not sexy! The word “miracle” was bandied about for a while although I don’t believe it was. I still regret going into hospital that night sometimes, I think knowing I got so close just leaves me feeling disappointed,
It was the worst period of my life ever and I still relive it through flashbacks sometimes. Suicide causes a lot of hurt and unfortunately I had to see the damage that it causes. My parents still do not trust me, nor do any medical professionals. It seems everyone is pretty sure I will kill myself at some point. I guess judging by what I have just written then I guess they are justified in thinking that. If I had those means again and was feeling that bad I would make it count.
Hopefully it will never come to that. Actions affect everyone.
To those involved: You will never know how truly sorry I am.