In the past week I had spent a day and night at hospital on a drip, talked to a handful of psychiatrists and revealed my struggle to friends and family. What happened next was the beginning of a journey that put me on the path to recovery. I have been avoiding writing this part of my story, concerned about the reaction of my friends and family who were involved at the time. I have written about the suicide event in a fair bit of detail and therefore it would be triggering to read for anyone with a history of self harm or suicide attempts.
Merry Christmas, and Goodbye!
My family has always had the tradition of alternate christmases, each year we would spend the real christmas day with either my mum or my dad, and usually a ‘fake’ christmas with the other. For christmas 2013 we had boxing day celebrations with my mums side of the family. My memory of events here is a little blurry, but the day involved dinner and drinks, everyone was having fun, although my recent stint in the hospital had everyone a little on edge.
I went to bed that evening fairly drunk. I was also quite frantic, the thought of how low I was and how hopeless my prospects were came into my head very suddenly. I remember considering my options, landing on cutting my wrist, and then trying to find an implement in my room without disturbing anyone. I found an old pencil sharpener and used tweezers to pry the blade out from the plastic. I don’t know how I managed to get so far, I don’t remember really feeling any pain or distress. I was disconnected from my surroundings. I had a blanket on my lap to reduce the amount of mess I would make and listened to music through my headphones. Writing this down I realise how far away I was in my thoughts. At the time I honestly believed that I was acting completely logically, but the series of events I have just written are not the actions of a girl behaving rationally, instead of a girl who was confused by and lost in her own mind. I’ve also just noticed how fast things seemed to escalate, it reads blunt and shocking, but as thats how it occurred for me I cannot find another way to write it. For some reason, my mum came into my room to check on me, it must have been after 2am. She walked into my bedroom. I had placed the blanket over my arm to hide the blood while I was playing angry birds on my iPod. I think I was just waiting for something to happen. I must have looked very strange, as she lifted up the blanket and immediately ran into my sisters room to wake up my Uncle and his girlfriend who are police officers. They talked to me while my mum called an ambulance.
Just Another Emergency Department
The ambulance arrived and luckily didn’t wake up anyone else in the house. They put my arm in a sling and let me change into clean pyjamas. My mum and I travelled to the hospital in the ambulance while my Uncle and his girlfriend followed behind. The emergency room was empty, it was early in the morning over the christmas period and it seemed like a small hospital. A doctor gave me stitches and I was moved to a bed to sleep and wait until the psychiatric consult was available. I remember my mum asking whether it would scar, and finding it a ridiculous question. How could a scar effect me if I was dead? I remember my mum being incredibly distressed and upset, but I didn’t feel the same way. I didn’t really feel anything about the events that had just occurred. The talk with the psychiatric consult was much the same as before, I was asked the same questions and pretty much gave the same answers. During this time, my mum was on the phone to a psychiatric hospital in London called the Priory. She got the hospital to refer me there, with the intention to travel immediately. I insisted on first going home to have a shower and change. I didn’t want to go.
Welcome to The Priory
I arrived at the Priory wearing a jumper I had opened as a christmas present only days ago. I had chosen it because I wanted to appear to all the staff as a young girl who had her shit together and didn’t need to be there. I wanted them to think that I had over protective family, and that I was just going to stay there while I continued to work towards my exams in order to make them happy. The building was beautiful but scary. There were locked doors and people all around me that I didn’t know. My bag was searched when I arrived, my chargers and glass makeup containers were removed. I was interviewed by a nurse and then a health care assistant, and then left to settle in. I stayed in my bedroom pretty much the whole time I was there, I didn’t want to be there and behaved accordingly. My mission was to get out and convince everyone around me to let it all blow over, to essentially get over it and let me carry on the way I wanted to. I left the Priory a fortnight later to continue as an outpatient.
My next post will talk about the two weeks I spent at the Priory during this first admission. I imagine that I will take much less time to write it as the worst part of the story is now over.