At sea.

I feel like I need to talk more about my attempt, but I’m afraid to.  Even here, I feel like it’s wrong to talk about it.  I’m worried about triggering someone else.  I’m generally not a fan of trigger warnings because I feel like they reinforce the ideas that we’re fragile and that we should avoid anything that might upset our delicate sensibilities, but…yeah, I guess I can break my own rules every once in a while.  So consider yourselves warned.  I’m not giving any how-to lessons or anything, but it could be upsetting.

I haven’t made an attempt eight and a half years.  I was 19 the last time I attempted–the previous attempts were at 10, 15, and also 19.  I’ve been close many times since then, and I nearly died a few times due to my eating disorder, but I hadn’t attempted since November 2005.

I don’t even know what possessed me to do it this time.  Things weren’t any worse than they have been for the last several months.  I woke up to the situation with the power bill, and I just…I don’t know.  I’d say I snapped, but it didn’t even feel like snapping.  There’s a violence to that, and I didn’t feel violent, even toward myself.  I remember thinking, “Okay.  I’m going to do this now.”  I wrote the note.  I did cry writing it because I knew I’d be causing pain to people I loved, but that didn’t sway me.

I looked up the lethal dose of the meds I was taking.  I wasn’t sure I had enough, but that didn’t really bother me.  Either I’d die or I wouldn’t.  No big deal.  I set an empty tupperware container beside the bed in case I threw up, so people wouldn’t have to deal with my vomit everywhere.  I texted someone from the campaign to let him know I couldn’t be at the signature drive that night.  That way I wouldn’t have any plans, decreasing the chance that I’d be found and resuscitated.  I took the pills.  I curled up in bed with my stuffed hippo and pulled the blankets up around me.

I wasn’t all that upset when I finally did wake up on Saturday.  Vaguely disappointed: “Oh.  I still have to deal with life.”  Before, I’d always been angry at my body’s survival.  After my first attempt, at 10, I started self-harming to get out the rage at still being alive.  At 15, I was starving myself to get rid of all the feelings.  The last two times, the really serious attempts, I was enraged when I didn’t die.  I remember fighting the doctors and nurses in the ER while they were trying to pump my stomach.  Luckily, those memories are fragmented, and I remember them as an observer, not as the subject.

This time there was no anger.  Just exhaustion.  Sadness.  I just wanted it to be easy, for once.  I just wanted to sleep for as long as I needed.  Which is the same as forever when the world hurts too much.

I still don’t understand why I did it, which bothers me.  It should bother me because I don’t want to end up dead, but that’s not the reason.  It bothers me on principle: I don’t like doing things without understanding why.  The feelings that preceded this attempt were no more intense than they have been recently.  There was no trigger.  I just woke up and then tried to kill myself.  And I don’t know why.

I guess the real reason it bothers me is it makes me feel out of control.  I don’t think it was an alter who did it–I have a clear memory of the whole event, and it felt like it was me doing it.  But I’ve often thought I was doing things and found out later I was being passively influenced to do them by others inside.  The lack of any depth of feelings when I was carrying out the attempt make me think there was some level of dissociation going on–I mean, people don’t tend to attempt suicide when they’re just feeling vaguely crappy.

I don’t know.  I don’t know what’s going on, and I don’t know how to figure it out.  There’s no one in real life I can turn to, and there’s not much internal communication happening.  It works fine with the ones I’m closest to, but as for the rest of the system, I have no idea.  (And honestly, I don’t really want to.  Why the ambivalence?)  If I tried to talk to S about it, she’d toss me right in the hospital, no questions asked.  C would probably let her.  I could tell them I feel safe and don’t feel any impulses to make another attempt, but that’s what I would’ve told them up until half an hour before I actually attempted.

I should probably go back to Sheppard Pratt.  They did help before, and they’d know how to deal with something like this.  But the timing just sucks.  They always have at least a 4-week waiting list; I think I was on the waiting list 8 or 9 weeks last year.  So that would put me there at the end of May, at the earliest. 

But then I’d miss the convention.  I know how stupid and shallow and petty that sounds.  You’re willing to risk your life for a party where you get to yell out a few people’s names to make yourself feel important?  Yes, yes I am.  Because it is the only goddamn thing in my life that makes me feel important.  What’s the point of saving my life if there’s nothing left in it that feels important?  Oh, but there will be other opportunities.  Not like this.  Once you flake out for a political campaign, people remember that.  They won’t want you as a delegate again.  You won’t get ranking positions on campaigns.  No one will rely on you.  You won’t really matter anymore.

If they would let me do a planned admission, that would be good.  I’d go right after the convention.  Hell, I’d get on a train straight to Baltimore as soon as the convention ended, without even going home.  Then I’d have a solid 6 weeks before I’d need to leave to go to my sister’s wedding.  But Sheppard Pratt doesn’t do it that way.  They have a waiting list, and they call you when your name comes up.  You get there in two days or you say no thanks.  If you say no and then decide you actually should’ve gone, you have to start all over from the bottom of the list.

So I’m left with no one to talk to, no one to help me figure this out and process it.  Even if I found a new therapist, it’s not like I could flop down on the couch and say, “I’m totally fine now, but last week I tried to off myself.  I have no idea why, and I don’t even think I’m the one who did it.”  Even if they had a ton of experience with DID patients, I think that one might throw them for a loop.  It throws me for a loop, and I’m the one living it.

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16 Comments

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16 responses to “At sea.

  1. I don’t know at all what you should do Hope, but I am out here listening. I’m glad you wrote it out. It sounds like a very lonely scarey place to be, for sure. I think you do need to talk to someone about this, but without being in danger of being hospitalized against your will. Healing wishes to you.

    • I just wish there were someone I could trust to talk to about it without being afraid they’d lock me up. Cause I can guaran-fuckin-tee you the local psych unit would have no idea what to do with me, which means they’d probably want to put me on every medication known to man just because I scared them.

  2. kat

    im sorry for all the confusion and lack of control you are going through. i wish i could be there to help, but if you keep talking, at least you know ill keep listening.

  3. Hope, I just need to say that your post makes sense to me. I know you have a number of health issues, mental health issues, but you still strike me as an intelligent young woman. You have lived through a ton. You want to make the political convention and your sister’s wedding. You want help with your issues/problems but you would like to control the setting and timing. Again that all makes sense, maybe it is not close to what a health care professional would advise. But I am not a health care professions. I am just a person who believes you can get help but still state your priorities and that decent mental health care people ought to work with you, not take away what matters to you. And if they think otherwise they have the burden of explaining it to you, not the other way around. Trust yourself, be your adult self. My thoughts are with you.

    • Thank you.

      I think I don’t know how to trust anyone right now, especially myself/selves. I mean, I literally woke up a few days ago and tried to kill myself. I felt fine before. I felt fine after. I don’t understand what happened or why I did it.

      I’m trying to trust myself, but right now I don’t even know who that is at any given moment. I’m not sure I even have an adult self, at least not a consistent one. (That’s hard to explain–my self-states are sometimes…fluid. They get reconfigured, blend and merge and separate constantly.)

      Whoever’s here right now, yes, seems adult. I know what I want, and dying’s not on that list. But I don’t know if I can trust that this will consistently be the same me. (God, there is no way to write about this that doesn’t sound like a bad translation.)

      I don’t know why I keep going on about it. It’s not like anyone can solve this for me. I guess I’m just trying to get it out of my head or something. I don’t know.

  4. I love you Hope. All of the parts of you. I am glad your attempt failed but I wish there had been some way to fail and find peace at once. xx

  5. This time there was no anger. Just exhaustion. Sadness. I just wanted it to be easy, for once. I just wanted to sleep for as long as I needed. Which is the same as forever when the world hurts too much.
    That seems like reason enough for me, when I am in certain mind sets. I know what you mean about missing the convention, I am like that when it comes to missing school because of my illness. I wish there was an easy answer. Just know you’re in my thoughts and I hope you gain some clarity on it and some peace.

  6. This is the post that made me go back and read through your story, because it resonated so much. You have put a lot of things into words that I have struggled to explain or understand myself. Especially: “I just wanted to sleep for as long as I needed. Which is the same as forever when the world hurts too much.” And the confusion afterwards. I’ve never made it to a full-blown attempt but I’ve come close. And not understood why in the aftermath.

    I don’t think it sounds ridiculous at all to prioritise the convention if you can. When something inside you is hurting that much, why *wouldn’t* you hold onto the things that bring some measure of positivity into your life? It makes perfect sense.

    I’m sorry you feel so alone. Is there a helpline you could call for advice? One of those ones where calls are confidential and they don’t have enough details to intervene but may be able to offer support and suggestions for where to turn next. Over here we have the Samaritans but I don’t know what the equivalent might be in your neck of the woods. You deserve help though. Not forced help, but the kind that can support you in processing all of this. I really hope you find it soon.

    • I’m not sure about local help lines. I live in a fairly small town, so local resources are often lacking.

      While I’m sorry you’ve had experiences like mine, I’m glad you found something you could relate to. Sometimes the most helpful thing for me is just to know I’m not alone, that others have experiences like mine.

  7. Jasmine mentioned the Samaritans…they are awesome and will email anyone, anywhere, and strive to respond within 12 hours. You can email them at jo@samaritans.org

    I understand not being able to trust yourself, and sadly I can relate all too well to your actions being influenced by an alter and leaving you saying, WTF???? For weeks I was walking around acting like a 9 year old and not understanding what the heck was going on until my therapist told me that I have a 9 year old alter that I was previously unaware of.

    However, here in the US, they cannot hospitalize you unless you are an IMMINENT danger to yourself or someone else. You may not be able to guarantee that, but they don’t have grounds to involuntarily hospitalize you on a “maybe.” *And* the fact that you have something to look forward to and live for is a point in your favor. And if you specifically ask for help in figuring out what happened AND a safety plan to help you in the meantime….

    I’ve called the national suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255 and they have been helpful (they’ll route you to the nearest “local” hotline, even if “local” is 100 miles away.) They will NOT automatically send intervention, unless of course you tell them that the pills are right in front of you and you’re intent on taking them in the next 30 seconds. Usually they will request that you refrain from hurting yourself while you are on the phone with them.

    The absolute BEST hotline I have ever talked to, and they have experience with DID, is one in LA, and their # is 1-877-727-4747. There is a gatekeeper, but just tell them that you need someone to talk to to figure things out and they’ll help you.

    I hope this helps, and please know that many people are thinking about you and care about you, even when we almost never comment. ❤

    • Thanks for those numbers! I may try them out if things get crazy again.

      My experience with the mental health system is that “imminent danger to oneself” is often interpreted VERY loosely–and, in fact, that’s not the legal standard for involuntarily committing people in most states. When I was court-committed to a state hospital in Iowa, the judge asked the psychiatrist if I was “seriously mentally ill and in need of treatment,” and that standard was enough to get me involuntarily committed and medicated against my will. (They would’ve had to have a separate hearing to force me to have ECT against my will, but that’s a whole ‘nother post.) Other times, I’ve been “voluntarily” hospitalized for strong suicidal ideation without a concrete plan or definite intent–I put “voluntarily” in quotes because I was told if I didn’t go voluntarily, I’d be committed, and almost everywhere now has gone from true voluntary to conditional voluntary.

      I have ZERO doubt that this new agency would force me into the hospital if I admitted to my recent attempt, even though I feel safe now. They would probably also insist on controlling my medications for me, which would be infantilizing and infuriating, as well as potentially problematic because I have a number of PRN’s that my psychiatrist is comfortable letting me use at my discretion.

      But maybe the hotlines could be helpful. I don’t know. I think what I really need is a therapist who can help me work through this stuff and figure out what the hell happened. Which means I have to convince myself to trust SOMEONE. I hate dealing with all this internal resistance.

      • (((hugz))) you’re right, it was rather egocentric of me to presume that the laws for OH are true for every state when I didn’t even look into that- I apologize. I’m sorry that you haven’t been able to find the support that you need from a therapist. I am uber lucky to have found a therapist that is very good for me and with my chronic suicidalness. I hope you can find the same.

      • Nah, I just happen to be a legal geek. I’ve been reading up on mental health laws lately because of the campaigns I’m working on. The other issue is that there’s a very paternalistic attitude a lot of doctors and judges have toward crazy people, and there’s often an assumption that the doctor is always credible and the patient rarely or never is. Our needs, feelings, and opinions are discredited and rejected as just symptoms of our illness.

      • Very true!!! It’s rather ridiculous because it’s pretty much the only field that can get away with totally disregarding the feelings of the patient!

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