When I was 12 I tried to kill myself. I took pills. I don’t remember what kind – something over the counter. I woke up the next morning.
I never told anyone. I just woke up. I felt grateful it didn’t work, but I felt embarrassed. I felt frustrated that I still felt empty and depressed. I tried to fill that emptiness for years to come.
I don’t feel empty anymore.
This summer, Freckles sat at my kitchen table and told me “I took pills last night to try to kill myself.” She sobbed. I got up, put my shoes on, and told S, “I’m taking Freckles to the hospital.” Minutes later the three of us were in the waiting room of the ER. The receptionist inquired about the reason for our ER visit. I said, “My daughter told me she tried to kill herself last night.” She made a pitiful face, and then asked if this has been going on for a while.
I was rude (my coping mechanism), and made a snarky comment which I cannot remember.
Six hours and a 45 minute ambulance ride later, S and I were signing admitting papers to an adolescent inpatient facility.
The entire time we were at our local ER I did not cry, I gave the practitioners a full “report” of my daughter’s psychiatric history and the details as I knew them of the current episode. Just as I would if I were working. When I was talking to the inpatient nurse on the phone, I did not cry. My voice showed no emotion as I gave another, excellent report of my daughter’s past medical history.
This was how I got through the realization that my oldest daughter does not want to live anymore. I pretended to be a nurse practitioner instead of a mother.
When we were finished, when we had our last hugs, and I had an armful of paperwork telling me how and when I could call or visit my daughter… S and I went to breakfast. We sat in the IHOP and watched the sun come up. We laughed and joked as if life had not changed in the last eight hours.
I drove us home and called the appropriate people to let them know I would need time off of my clinical rotation.
I cried myself to sleep. And I didn’t stop crying for days.
That week was the most exhausting week of my life – emotionally and physically. I drove an hour and a half each way to visit her everyday. I called her on the phone. I went to family meetings where her dad was “conference called” in. I will never forget bringing her some clothes and having the bag searched, all plastic removed, the pen taken away, the string from the hoody cut off, and her journal cover taken away (that was hard for me – it was a leather cover, handmade, a gift I had given her with an inscription that means … a lot…).
I will never forget the bathroom, and the escorts who unlocked the door for me.
I will never forget the feelings of helplessness and hopefulness I had simultaneously.
Today Freckles wants to go back to the hospital. She is home from school, sleeping on my couch, and we are waiting for our 2:30 appointment with her therapist. Twice this week she told her school counselor that she doesn’t want to live anymore, and twice this week I have had her on my couch napping.
I am afraid. Frustrated. Sad.
She feels as if no one wants her and no one cares about her. I yelled at her in the car – how could she think that? I told her she was selfish. I told her she needs to stop dating and focus on herself. (She told me I was sending mixed messages.)
I don’t know what to do anymore. I am drowning here.