what it was like to try again pt. 2

There were two bedrooms in the apartment that I lived in at the time. Technically, one wasn’t a bedroom, as it was a loft overlooking the first floor but it essentially functioned as a bedroom, where I generally slept. On the first floor, there was a full-fledged bedroom that was generally used as a spare bedroom and office. While I remember very little from that day, I do know that I woke up in the bedroom on the spare bed. I can only guess and piece together what happened next based on what I know and some context. What I do know is that somehow I dressed for work (shirt and tie, dress pants) while likely ignoring (but more likely not realizing) that it was a whole two days later and that my work had called many, many times on Thursday and Friday looking for me. I also know that somehow I went outside, found my car, got into it, and drove it to work. How I managed to not get into an accident on the way is beyond me. However, pulling into the parking space in the lot outside of my work, I did hit a coworker’s car, I found out weeks later. What happened next, from what I was told, was that I staggered into the door of my work, visibly in a fog or stupor, and was immediately recognized as having something significantly wrong with me.

A manager then drove me to the local hospital and notified my family that something had happened. I don’t know at this point if anyone knew why I was in the state that I was in; I can’t recall if I told the manager what I had done or if I was in any state of mind to do so. Again from the recalling of others, I was in the emergency room for about twenty four hours and acting very much like an asshole to anyone that would dare come near me. Surely the psychiatrist on staff when I was brought in wasn’t very happy to see me – I was there about two or three weeks prior and stopped at nothing to convince a very irritated and suspicious doctor that I was fine and that he could discharge me without admitting me into the cramped inpatient unit. Of course he didn’t buy my bullshit that day, I sat there and tried to explain that me trying to hang myself and being brought into the ER by police was just a misunderstanding. In what could only be described as a lapse in judgment on his part, he skeptically let me go, only to have me wind up sitting back there weeks later, this time in a much more serious place. Weeks before, I was chatty, friendly, and just looking to get out of there. This time, from what I was told, I was withdrawn, drugs still swimming in my bloodstream, and ready to chew anyone’s head off.

The first thing that I remember is laying in a hospital bed, sterile florescent light pounding down on me. My sister stood near the foot of the bed, a look of concern and worry etched into her usually blase face. While I don’t remember what she said to me, I do remember yelling at her, telling her to leave me alone and leave. Again, as I did weeks before, I felt utterly defeated. Frustration mounted inside of me and I was fixated on the idea that all of these people – my family, these doctors and nurses – all of them wouldn’t let me do what I wanted to do – die. I raged and lashed out, looking for a fight with anyone. Each morning and evening in the hospital, we were required as patients to be present for an informal meeting with some of the staff for that shift. The patients gathered in the large day room that was the hub of most of the inpatient activity. Visitation, meals, TV viewing, reading, and art therapy groups all met in there. Part of these meetings was a check-in with each patient. In the mornings, we were asked how we were feeling, if we had any concerns, and what our goal for the day was. The first meeting that I remember featured me losing my cool and yelling at everyone in the room, cursing them for not letting me kill myself like I wanted to do. This turned some heads and earned me the special privilege of being on fifteen minute checks, meaning that I had to have someone check on me four times an hour, twenty four hours each day. At night, the staff had come up with a wonderfully ingenious method of doing this, ensuring that you could never get any meaningfully restful sleep. Instead of checking for the usual signs of life such as breathing or movement, they would open the door to the room and shine a flashlight on your face. At least they got visual confirmation.

More to come.

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