Trigger warning: This post contains descriptions of sensitive material that may affect some people in a negative way.
As an adolescent I learned that death was not optimal when I watched my dog defecate himself and then continue to die on the side of the road. He was hit by a car, it was the second time and last time. I always said we should’ve named him “Chance”. My mother, intoxicated at the time, picked his limp body up in her arms, weeping pathetically like she’d lost a child. He was my dog, my best friend. People always drove way too fast on our rural road. The man who was driving the car admitted he was going faster than the speed limit, he was crying too. We all were crying, I remember.
i felt dead, right then, for the first time in my life.
We buried my dog that night, along with my sanity. I was thirteen.
It’s not better being dead. I figured that out the hard way the second time I went into a deep depression and considered suicide. This time the marks on my skin were deeper than ever before. Scars that would take years to fade. The depression, ten years apart from my last bout, I know now was actually much more than just that word. A combination of PTSD, general anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder episode.
i know that because it says it on my discharge papers from the crisis rehabilitation center.
Seven months ago I voluntary admitted myself to rehab because I was convinced there was no coming out of this one. I had planned an exit strategy and was waiting to take action. I did not want to get out of bed, wash myself or eat. I was in physical and mental pain, taking medications to try to numb did nothing but send me deeper. I could barely take care of myself, let alone two energy filled boys, a huge house and three dogs. I felt like a pathetical waste of space, did nothing right and clearly thought I was a bad Mom for this. I had no answers for any of my problems in life and felt like I had no one to talk to. I had lost over 40 pounds within a month because of not eating, and working out to the point of fainting (I learned later this was another form a self harm). I was almost unrecognizable.
every centimeter of my skin felt like it was being pulled apart by some evil force of hatred for myself.
People who knew me well, probably realized that ‘something’ was going on but didn’t question the dirty details. Even if they did ask, I probably would not have told them all the details. I wouldn’t have told them my arm was burning from the inflictions I had done to myself. That surely would’ve made them cringe and I didn’t feel like being judged. People who didn’t know me, complimented me on my weight loss and had no clue of the pain I was hiding behind my smile. I was judged regardless.
The day came that I was an absolute mess. My life had fallen apart and I was certain there was no way to fix it. I was physically and emotionally drained. I was alone in the house and it was my moment to rid of these pains. I went into my father’s garage and took his box cutter, went into the bathroom and began to dismantle and mutilate myself. I’m not sure how long I was in there. The time bled through me like a sharp knife. There was a moment in between the self harm and utter confusion, if I could really do this to myself, and also pass on the pain to everyone in my life. That’s when I saw the light.
in the brightest moment of my darkest day, i saved myself.
I searched “suicide hotline”. I called the number and a woman answered, she asked me where I was and if anyone could come to help me. There were more questions but I don’t really remember. Everything during this time was a blur. She forwarded my call to a local rehab center, they asked more questions and gave me an address. I was told to check in here within 2 hours or police would come to my house. I didn’t have an option as this point, so I got in the car and (recklessly) drove there through the tears and hyperventilation.
They took all of my belongings I brought with, down to my earrings and shoelaces. However, they did let me keep my journal, as long as it did not bring me anymore pain, and I assured them not. I got a private room, bathroom and three meals a day. And the best of all, an unlimited amount of resources to save myself: books, counselors, therapists and psychologists. Not only this, but there were ten other habitants of the facility while I was there ( a mix of all ages and gender), this was one of the most helpful tools, to talk to others with the same feelings.
the next 120 hours saved my life. it was hell, but i wasn’t certainly wasn’t dead.
When I voluntarily gave up my freedom it was a chance to help myself. In all truth, I was scared of death. But I was also scared to live. It’s a confusing, painful and awful place to be. This is rock bottom and my story to prove to you that death isn’t the only option. There’s an ugly truth to the grey area that surrounds mental health in this country. Most of us are scared to get the help, scared of what people will say. One of the reasons I had not gotten the help I needed, prior to the rapid decline, was that I did not have health insurance at the time. I remember one of the first things the dispatcher said was the state uses a grant program for situations like this, and that
i shouldn’t worry about the cost of my life.
During my time in rehab, I learned a plethora of information on coping methods and understanding triggers. I went to countless one-on-one therapy sessions, as well as group therapy. I started to understand my history with abusing narcotics and anxiety medications. Not only did I have a prescription for oxycontin from battling kidney stones the year prior but pill bottles full of Xanax and Prozac. I began to ween myself from them and was instructed to call home and have my parents properly dispose of these medications.
I should note that medications were optional to take during this stay and there was nothing forced about this facility, other than the fact that I would not be discharged until they felt I was stable (which is why I went in the first place). Additionally, the counselors assisted with applying to state funded healthcare. I was told the average time was anywhere between 3-7 days and my stay lasted five days… or 120 hours if you are counting your minutes until sanity wears away.
i started to feel a weight lifted off of my shoulders. i could feel strength to fight again.
While I was in rehab, July 19,2017- July 24,2017 Chester Bennington of Linkin’ Park took his own life (July 20) sparked by the loss of his friend Chris Cornell of Soundgarden in May. We were not allowed to watch the news because of being triggered and another person who had just checked into the facility said ” Wait, none of you know about Chester?” The counselors reiterated the disconnect from the outside to the new person, but it was too late everyone wanted to know what happened. The counselors asked if everyone agreed that they were ready to hear this news beforehand, and then we were told.
it was surreal being in rehab and having a major musical influencer take their own life a day later.
I grew up listening to Linkin’ Park playing on repeat in my CD player! The most eye opening fact is that both autopsy reports show alcohol and pharmaceuticals in their system. If that did not hit home, I did not know what would. I knew I had done the right thing, to get help when I did.
The climb from rock bottom was grueling and at times did not think I would make it. But here I am, about to turn thirty, with an uncanny new take on life. I am proud of what I have accomplished. I am not scared to tell my story, or to be judged anymore. I currently take zero prescriptions and instead participate in coping skills such as deep breathing, meditation and take time to create art or poetry. I do not work out to the point of exhaustion, only light yoga and long walks. I am finally seeing clearly now after years of being faded by pharmaceutical poison. I see how weak I was, drawing negativity to myself, and how this affected everyone around me. I want to continue strive to be better for myself and my family.
all that matters right now, is that I’m alive.