The decision to end your life is a weird one. It doesn’t take long, sometimes only seconds. Death seems like the only permanent solution at that point. I have hit that point in several moments in my life. For this story, I will tell you about the last big event and how that decision changed my life.
I have struggled with several mental illnesses my entire life. And at that time, nothing was going right. I was working at a Behavioral Health Hospital which I loved but it is hard on you when you also struggle with mental illness. I did not get along with my roommates, I was broke, I was sad, I had just had to have my chocolate lab put down and I was struggling to just get out of bed. I constantly thought about dying and I had even called the National Suicide Hotline (1-800-273-8255) previously. Nothing seemed to help. I had been trying to get diagnosed and get medication but that is still a struggle, even in 2019. I was also fighting a stigma with mental illness. Even working in that setting, I still felt so judged and guilty for seeking help. This is one of the main reasons I choose to share my story. If my story can help even one person, then I know I lived it for a reason.
The breaking point came when I thought about crashing my car to die. Then I swallowed some pills. So I called the other behavioral hospital in the area and set an intake date for the next day. I didn’t tell anyone and walked back into work. I was drowning and nobody knew it. I didn’t know how to tell anyone that I was struggling and I really didn’t know who I should tell. I didn’t want anyone to view me that way. I didn’t want my friends or family to worry about me or watch me too closely.
The next morning, I got up early, packed a bag (perks of working at a facility, you know what to pack) and headed in. I was nervous but knew I needed this. I had an intake appointment and they weighed me, checked my height and asked me a ton of questions. The nurses were thorough and so kind. I signed and they grabbed my bag for me. I was then walked upstairs and my intake was finished. Once upstairs, a nurse talked to me and filled out more paperwork. They checked my bag and assigned me a room. I got in around 10am. We went to lunch soon after. I hadn’t been eating at all so I didn’t want to eat. But they watch that closely and it helped in the end. I was actually able to eat after some time there.
I did not realize how much I was struggling until I got there. I had not been eating and my body and brain just hurt so much. I ended up staying there for 7 days. It was driving me nuts but I know I needed that. The staff was amazing and everyone really seemed to care. We had several groups a day and they helped you get set up with appointments for when you left. I definitely had a few breakdowns but it taught me so much. I made some friends and we were all able to talk about our trauma and issues without crying. A few friends that I had before came to visit me and gave me great books, a teddy bear and a few other items. The love and support they gave me before this and afterwards is truly something I can never thank them enough for. The growth we all went through in just a few days was amazing. I will forever be grateful for those people and those experiences.
It was scary going back into the world. I got released after 7 days and it was weird .. having my phone back, driving, wearing what I wanted and just being human again. I had a ton of texts of people apologizing for their behavior. By then, it was far too late for those apologies. But I was able to forgive and move on. The wounds people put on us can be some of the worst. Driving home was freeing and I actually smiled and laugh. I reconnected with my people and started to figure my life out.
I knew I needed that help. And I still credit it daily for me still being here. I learned a lot about setting boundaries, caring for myself first and building my strength. Going into a place like that is scary and especially when you have anxiety. But if you need it, do it. These places are designed to help you move forward. Mental illness is scary and hard, but you shouldn’t have to go through it alone. Please remember that you can always call hotlines, hospitals, friends .. people are much more willing to listen and help a lot more than you would think.