De-Spared

15 06 2011

Despite thinking that I wouldn’t chance my hand at entering the TWIM Blog Carnival of Mental Health as suggested on Pandoras beautiful blog (no I’m not trying to suck up, I genuinely feel that way about it), my mind started wandering over the implications of the topic.

Despair and Hope

I remember when I was on the treatment ward after one of my suicide attempts got me moved from the assessment ward. The memory of it is still quite vivid after 18 months, and it goes something like this…

The room was dark even though the sun had been up for a while and the clocks of this part of the world were moving their way slowly towards midday. This was the third day. The third day of hell. A hell I couldn’t have imagined regardless of my skewed imagination and the countless strange films I’d watched in my formative years.

The third day of being cold turkey from SSRIs.

The staff would check on me at their allotted times. I would refuse food. I would refuse any and all medication. I would cry.

I would cry for nearly an hour straight. Wholeheartedly. Yet without cause. Without thought.

This day, like the others, I’d drift from being uncooperative and quiet to being completely bereft. Most staff would ignore me. One or two would actually come in to see what was wrong. But I never left the bed, not unless it was to go to the toilet, and that was a rare enough situation in itself.

Absolute and abject despair filling every waking moment.

Until determination struck. The idea lodged and I went into action very quickly. Up, dressed, and standing at the office door asking to be allowed out.

“How’re you feeling?” comes the question.

“Same as ever” is my response. Not a lie. I never lie at these times. I just say what I say and they interpret it how they see fit.

Judged as fit to leave, I walk with shoes and trousers barely staying on as I have no laces or belt. To my love, my passion, my freedom.

Door unlocked, in I get, door shut, seatbelt on, key in ignition, engine started, and away I go. To make it finally to my end.

Standing in B&Q looking at rope to guage which would do the job best. Changing of mind as people will know where I am. Driving towards another town. Laughing. Slapping the steering wheel. Giggling. Laughing. Grinning.

Same store, different town, same idea. Why is there no-one about to help buy this stuff? Is there a toilet here? No. Need toilet. Different place. Tesco. Toilet and shoe laces.

Driving. Police. Rearview. They’re braking. Keep going. Rearview. They’re there. Blue lights on. Pull over. Lock doors. Man at passenger door. His hand on the handle. Window down an inch.

“Hello, can you turn the engine off?”

“No”

“Ok, what’s your name?”

“Steve”

“One moment” he stands up, then he’s back “Steve, we’ve had information you’ve escaped from the ward”

Shake of head. In gear. Revs rise. And away. Two cars behind. Not speeding. Which way? Right. Car in front pulls over, go round. End of road, enough space. Left. Traffic. Round. 20mph limit. Slow to 20. Car tries to overtake.

NO.

Accelerate hard. Swing right. Keep going. Brake for crossing. Accelerating again. Traffic. Go round. Bus blocking road. Go right. End of road. Leftrightleftrightleft? Right. Narrow gap. Can fit. Clip wing mirror. Dead end. Police still behind. Grass. Tree. Handbrake turn 180. Past one car. Brake hard as second car starts to reverse. Stops. Through gap. Exit blocked by third car. Brake hard.

Blank.

Police baton hits windscreen hard. Hands up. Feet off pedals. People screaming at me. Engine off. Keys in passenger footwell. Reaching for door. Bang of baton on side window, hands around head. Baton through window. Baton hits my head hard. Other window goes in. Glass flying. Door open. Not resisting. Punched twice in face. Being pulled hard by arm. Seatbelt gets done. On floor. On glass. Cuffed. Police screaming at me. Still not resisting. Pulled onto feet. See damage done to car. Absolute pit of despair opens like a trapdoor.

I don’t know how hard that is to read but even after all this time it’s so very very painful to think about. I can’t help but cry as I remember it.

But where’s the hope?

A shred of hope was given that day when a different doctor changed my meds off SSRIs to something totally different. Which got me out of hospital. Which got me back from the abyss.

I despair that I didn’t die every time I remember that time. I just… it… I was ripped apart over several months from that day on.

I hope that others won’t have to go through any of what I went through. From the bad care to the lies of the police. The hell of bad meds choices. Everything.

I despair because I know that’s exactly what will happen.

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4 responses

17 06 2011
lotte

I’ve read this a couple of times now…and each time I want to write something but not sure how to write what i feel / think…..anyway firstly I am so so glad that you survived that day……but i also know what you mean when you mention that feeling of despair!!!

I admire you honesty about this specific event, it did not make pleasent reading BUT then again when it comes to suicide what does?! You have written it so well and I can sort of see the whole event in front of my eyes……really it is remarkable how well you have written about it.

When these feelings and thoughts come you should keep on writing….writing about it is theraputic…..I know its painful to look over these ‘bad’ times…..hard to think that if you ‘had’ been sucessful how different things would be….hard to think that ‘anyone’ would ever be in the position to want to no long be alive……BUT you and I know that depression/bi polar / mental health problems….make us and others act in ways that aren’t always ‘ideal’ !!!

So I hope I have managed to comment in the way my head thinks and portrayed my thoughts how I feel them.

AND yes Im glad you made it out the other side and the police caught up with you 🙂
x x x

19 06 2011
Anonymous

well if you hadn’t met me and if we hadn’t ever spoken to one another on the ward and if we hadn’t become friends then maybe you would have succeeded in killing yourself? If i hadn’t phoned the ward when i did and notified them of your intentions and approx location then maybe you would have had enough time to go toilet, get shoelaces, thread the shoelaces, drive to another hardware store and decide which rope would best suit your manner of suicide and find a suitable well hidden place to kill yourself without the possibility of having to put your loved ones through the pain of finding you first, dead, dead, dead. You would have had to have done all of this before the ward realised you have been gone longer than you agreed and they notice that your car is missing (or perhaps they wouldn’t even notice your car missing, after all the staff weren’t that observant).

Bum, where am i going with this? Do you regret that you didn’t die that day? Do you simply regret that you chose to drive away from the police and subsequently engage in a police pursuit resulting in a driving ban.

Do you go right back and ultimately regret putting the citalopram tablet in your mouth and swallowing it? Or do you blame the doctor for prescribing them for the depressive symptoms that you presented him/her with?

Do you regret not informing the nursing staff on duty just before you were about to go off the ward about how you were really feeling and what your true intentions were, instead of assuming that they would fully comprehend the depth of your suffering from a few words -“same as ever”.

Human nature is preservation of the race, you text me to notify me of your whereabouts, your intentions and state of mind. i reacted in haste, i did what anyone would do naturally and you must have known in your heart how i would react. That was YOUR self preservation. Your mood was altered at the time which affects your thinking, i know, but you must have known that i would notify the ward or someone of your suicidal intention? Preservation of the human race is what drives doctors and nurses to resuscitate babies born at 21 weeks gestation knowing that 99% of babies who survive resuscitation at that level of prematurity will die anyway and of the 1% that survive to maturity will suffer disability, long term or terminal lung damage/respiratory problems, brain damage etc. Why do we do this? Its a set program within us to ensure survival of our race. Also because we can play god nowadays… side tracked a bit there didn’t i?

Also one thing that doesn’t fit was your reaction to the damage done to your car. A few minutes/seconds previous to this you were hell bent on killing yourself, nothing mattered but achieving your final breath. Yet you had an emotional reaction to smashed glass and dented metal (your cars damage)? When you want to die you tend not to care at all about material things because you can’t take them to the grave with you. Things that you used to love and enjoy have no meaning to you. Nothing matters because were your going luggage is not permitted. I remember this when my nan died ( not the same i know).

Anyway. I am sorry i rang the ward that day. But i am glad your still here.

30 06 2011
sanabituranima

*hugs* I’m sorry you had such a terrible experience. I am glad that better treatment got you “back from the abyss.”

30 06 2011
Blog Carnival of Mental Health, June 2011: Hope and Despair » Confessions of a Serial Insomniac

[…] has a harrowing post on his journal, Is There a Future?, about the day he fled in despair from a psychiatric […]

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