My dad was wrong; you can fall off the floor. I proved that on Friday night.
For the past month, I have been weaning myself off of Cymbalta with the assistance of my doctor. I’d done some research online and there are websites dedicated to what it’s like to rid yourself of this horrible drug.
Having successfully weaned myself off from many different antidepressants over the years, I didn’t think much of it; I didn’t have any physical ailments to speak of. I was a bit snarlier than usual and a bit quieter, but I expected that.
What I didn’t expect was what happened to me on Friday night. The day at work had been very busy and it was good and although I was a bit on the quiet side (which for me is very unusual); there wasn’t anything spectacular about it. After work, I picked up some groceries and some wine and headed home for an evening of Netflix, pizza and wine. My typical Friday night. I should point out that it’s not uncommon for me to drink two bottles of wine in one sitting and only feel mildly tipsy.
At around 10:00, I started feeling awful. I mean mentally awful. I started to cry and couldn’t stop. Nothing triggered it; it just came out of the blue. I was inconsolable. I was beside myself with sadness and nothing was going to change that. I started thinking that if this is what my life was going to be like; I wanted no part of it. Evil thoughts started swirling around in my brain – would anyone really care if I wasn’t around anymore? Would it be a tremendous loss? I just couldn’t shake the thought that I would be better off dead.
I had a letter on my computer that I wrote a long time ago when I was depressed and wanting to get a will done. I opened up that letter and below everything I’d written before, I put down into words, a final note for my friends and family. A suicide note. I’d written a fucking suicide note.
Then I went online and found out how much of a certain medication I’d have to take to effectively kill myself. I found it, went to my cupboard and got the bottle. I still hadn’t stopped crying, it’s like everything had caved in on me and I couldn’t see anything beyond what was right in front of me. I methodically counted them out and put them on the table. I looked at them through tear soaked eyes and before I knew what I was doing, I grabbed a handful and swallowed them.
In that minute, I knew. I knew it was wrong and that I didn’t want to die. I wanted to live. I called my sister and freaked her out and told her what I’d done and that I loved her and hung up. She kept calling and calling and then when I answered, I was informed that an ambulance was on the way. I was pretty sleepy at this point and when they got to my house, my sister had pulled up just behind them. They came in and led me out to the ambulance and off to emergency I went.
I was sleepy, drunk, and dozy and I felt like I was having an out of body experience. We got to emergency and when they led me to a bed (I was still able to walk and everything), it was directly across from the bed they had my father in 3 weeks before he died. That sent me into a fit of hysterics and I started to cry uncontrollably again. I got settled and they did a whole slew of blood work and hooked me up to an IV to get some saline into my system. My sister was there and I was angry that she called an ambulance and one minute I was crying to her and the next I was telling her off.
This is the part that scared me the most. After an hour of being there, I just desperately wanted to go home. I felt remorse, embarrassment and terrible that I’d wasted the valuable resources of our health system. I promised I was fine and that I would be okay. It wasn’t that easy. They invoked the ‘mental health act’ which meant that I was bound by law to stay and if I put up any resistance, they had the legal obligation to actually restrict me by tying me down.
I had put myself in a situation where they needed to make sure I wouldn’t try harming myself again. Jesus H. Christ.
So, I lay there and seethed throughout the night – not being able to sleep a wink. I was exhausted, I had a shitload of sleeping pills in my system and yet, my brain would not shut off long enough to allow me to sleep. The longer the night wore on, the worse I felt. Not physically, but I felt just awful for putting my sister through it (she has enough of her own problems). The guilt was overwhelming.
I was told the night before that I had to wait to see the psychiatrist on call once the alcohol had left my system, so at 6:00 am, I asked if I could finally be considered to see someone and they told me someone would be around to see me ‘sometime that morning’. I started to panic – what if they forgot about me? What if my birds were scared and I’d accidentally left the door to their cage open? I just wanted to GO HOME.
Around 9:00, a lovely young girl came in to see me and I gave her the whole story. We talked for about an hour and from there she had to report back to the psychiatrist on call and she would decide if I could go home or if I needed to be admitted.
What? I couldn’t be admitted! I had too much to do! I hate hospitals! I want to go home! I have pets to think about! I can’t be admitted…I just can’t. What would people think? Would I lose my job?
The hours ticked by slower than anything I’d ever experienced. I’d messaged my two very close friends to let them know what had happened and the messages started coming in fast and furious from them expressing concern and wondering what they could do to help.
I was overwhelmed by the messages – the sheer volume of them, and the love that was contained in each and every one of them. They wanted to help. They were sad that I had gotten to the point I had. They wanted me to know that they thought I was worthy of love and friendship. They thought I was special.
Around 12:00, after meetings with my young lady and the psychiatrist on call, I was discharged – with the promise from me that I would stop pushing people away and that I would let people support me. I promised with every fibre of my being that I would. I will be honest when I say that I would have agreed to anything just to get the hell out of there.
I got home and the first thing I did was open the door to the cage of my birds. They glared at me, none too impressed that they hadn’t been let out or anything for over a day. I started to cry, because I was so thankful to be home, to have my beautiful sister with me and to know that I had an entire team of friends that would check on me throughout the weekend to ensure I was okay.
My one little bird, came out of the cage tentatively and looked at me, flew over to my shoulder and buzzed me on the cheek. What an absolutely glorious kiss that was.
At this risk of this sounding cliché, I was happy to be alive.
That was last weekend. I had a rough start to the week – I was very weepy and emotional. I explained to coworkers who asked how my weekend was that I had been in the hospital from ‘extreme reaction to a medication’.
Today is Wednesday and I’m feeling better, although I am weepy and get very emotional over the tiniest of things. However, for the first time in a long time, I feel somewhat optimistic. I think that sometimes we do have to fall off the floor so that we can learn how to stand up again. Maybe we need to completely break in order to rebuild, instead of just putting band aids over the gaping wounds of our lives. Perhaps – perhaps we need to lose all of the things that were holding our lives together – our egos, our anger, our sadness and depression – so that we can start fresh to build the lives we are supposed to have.
To anyone who is suicidal or thinks that life isn’t worth living – I beg you; please call your local distress centre. Have that phone number on your speed dial. Call a friend. Call a neighbour. Have a plan. Know that you are worthy of love and happiness. Know that what they say about it being darkest before the dawn is true – but that the dawn is coming and it wants to welcome you to a new day of being you.