Suicide: The second attempt

Suicide: The second attempt

This is part two of a three-part series on my own battle with suicide. With the recent suicide of singer Mary McCready, clearly it is time to tell my story around this difficult topic. I have learned the reason for suicide began long before my first attempt and most likely is true for Mary McCready and anyone else who has committed suicide such as Kurt Cobain whose birthday was last month. 

It’s long but I couldn’t cut it down any shorter.
Part 1: Spiritual Bankruptcy

The boss from hell
I was among 300 applicants chosen for this job shortly after 9/11. There were hundreds lined up behind me ready to take my place regardless of abuse. Everyone was desperate for income.

I worked an extremely stressful job where my boss had no problem yelling at us, belittling our work and informing us we didn’t have a future with the organization.

She was particularly hard on me because it used to be her job. She was a former editor for the San Francisco Chronicle and former Communications Director for Art Agnos while he was mayor of San Francisco.

She was unimpressed with my writing skills so she constantly threatened to fire me. At one point she yelled and lunged at me while sitting. When I returned to my office I cried. I’ve never cried at work before much less had my job skills under fire almost daily.
It got so bad I began dreading Monday on Friday afternoon.
PTSD diagnosis and therapy
Two years into this nightmare I was diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). What wonderful timing. I found a male therapist for the sake of our marriage yet he diagnosed me with PTSD because I happened to mention how my first sexual experience was a rape.Never mind all I could think about was “that day” and all of its myriad detail. Forget about the sensation in my stomach that felt as if I was falling from the sky and the flashes of white light that wouldn’t stop. Forget the fact that I had a severe abreaction for the very first time in his office where I was unable to control my body despite begging for it all to stop. All I could think was, “I didn’t come here for this.”

My brain was swimming. There was this tension around therapy. I couldn’t wait to get there while I also had no desire to go. I needed to understand what was happening while I could care less. I liked and respected my therapist while I resented his diagnosis. I knew what he said made sense and yet it didn’t. I didn’t know which way to think or go.

I felt dirty. I had abreactions in my shower and found I couldn’t get clean enough while showering. I had abreactions whenever my therapist called and my stomach wrenched whenever I saw a car like his on the freeway. I couldn’t sleep at night but after our sessions I couldn’t stay awake.

I was a train wreck.

Life became cheap … again
Almost immediately after the PTSD diagnosis I wanted to kill myself and why not? My mother dismissed therapy and the fact that I was abused sexually as a child. She freely admitted my father was hard on me physically and psychologically but not incest.

She insisted my father would never do anything like that yet affirmed the fact that my brother stopped wetting the bed after my father moved out. Where was the truth? Was I crazy?

Exploring options
Guns were expensive so I investigated alternatives. Someone told me there was a net underneath the Golden Gate Bridge so I took off early from work one Friday afternoon, drove across the bridge and parked at the visitor center. There was no net.

I was in 100 forms of pain. I wanted it to end, no more feeling. It hurts. I called my husband and asked, “Why shouldn’t I jump right now?” My job was hell because my boss daily made me feel like trash. Therapy was a nightmare and my husband was losing his cancer battle.

When we got married I lived for him. When my preemie daughter was born 10 days after we married I then lived for her. When my son was born I lived for my kids. If my husband died, I’d be alone and that was no life at all in my mind.

However, my husband reminded me that if I died and he died from cancer our kids would have no parents, and possibly be raised by my mother. The thought of my mother raising my kids kept me from the attempt that day.

Nevertheless, it was too late. The dye had been cast.

I already was having ideations to run my car off the freeway, into oncoming traffic or changing my mind at the last minute as I exited the freeway and hit the gore point head on at full speed.

5150
The next day I had an appointment with a psychiatrist. I told him about the day before and really didn’t care if he or anyone else knew. Our appointment lasted about 20 minutes.

I went home only to find out my psychiatrist contacted local police so I could get picked up on a psychiatric hold for 72 hours against my will. Police contacted my husband and were waiting for me. I tried to go back to my car so I could leave before they came but an officer came through the door of the garage.

 

I felt like a rat in a cage. I ran back into the house and locked myself in my bedroom. They threatened to kick down the door if I didn’t open it. My husband talked me into at least talking with the female officer. I came out, sat at the top of the stairs and bawled. I was miserable and there was no one who could help me.
She talked me into going and I did. What was humiliating was being put into the back of a police car, hands cuffed behind my back. As they drove I saw my kids on the corner and immediately ducked. The last thing I wanted them to see was their mother in a police cruiser.
I called my therapist who was in the lobby of the county facility. They would not let me see him face to face. Then the following statement from him hit me hard: “Well, this is the consequence of your desire to kill yourself. There is nothing I can do for you. You now have lots of time to think. Be honest with the doctors so you can get the help you need.”
I felt defeated. I was alone. My heart ached. I wanted to die even more than before. Once again I found myself in what seemed like an impossible situation. There was no one to talk to because they were calling area hospitals to find out who had room for li’l ‘ol me. I was praying it wouldn’t be at the hospital where I worked. Mercifully, it wasn’t.
The psychotropic cocktail prescribed had nearly instantaneous results. Part of my problem was not getting enough sleep so the meds gave me the best rest I’d had in months.Obviously, I was depressed so they also prescribed anti-depression medication, prozac specifically. It had positive effects but also had a nasty reputation for patients suddenly dropping sharply back into a severe depression. Therefore, my fate was sealed. The sharp psychological drop was on its way.A relentless death wish
Less than three months later I was suicidal … again except this time it came back with a vengeance. I was hell bent. I took and successfully passed a handgun safety test that permitted me to buy a gun.

I recall telling a coworker about the gun and my “possible” intended use for the weapon. Understandably, he was a little freaked out.

My boss made me work Christmas and New Year’s Eve since I had “taken time off to relax” weeks earlier. I wasn’t about to share my prior 5150 experience with someone who always was looking for an opportunity to rip me a new one; hence, her ignorant remark. She knew it was medically related but not its precise nature.

 

Six “second opinions”
I questioned my therapist’s prescribed course of treatment so one Monday morning, I visited the fifth of six “second opinions.” I was completely honest with this woman telling her I was trying to figure out if my therapist was a lunatic. I’m certain I also leaked my desire to kill myself.
She immediately knew my motives and state of mind. She was going to have me picked up there and then, but she called my therapist first. My therapist got a swift tongue lashing for letting me get to this point. Believe me, he was not happy about it. He talked her out of making that call contingent upon my promise to go directly to his office. I agreed.
Rather than sit in his easy chair, he grabbed his wooden desk chair and sat a few feet from my face. He was firm and “slightly” irritated with me. He cancelled his evening plans and made me promise to come back later that night with my husband. I begrudgingly agreed with my teeth clenched and a hostile, “FINE!”

That evening, he once again sits in my face only a few feet away conveying the seriousness of the matter. I don’t quite recall exactly what he said but he was clearly pissed off.

I recall him recounting his conversation with the psychiatrist earlier that day. He didn’t like being put in a position where a colleague questioned his treatment practice and the fact that I obviously needed another psych hold.

 

For some reason I clearly remember my response: “It sounds like your ass is on fire and your trying to put it out.” My husband had to bit his tongue as he kinda enjoyed watching me take it to our therapist.He explained one of three things will happen. Either I will either: 1) attempt suicide again and succeed; 2) voluntarily check myself into a local hospital (he would escort me) and get treatment under his direction; or 3) I’ll attempt and get hospitalized again.

Like hell I was going to check myself in. I didn’t have a problem. He did.

The second attempt
I was beyond caring. I straight-up didn’t give a flying flip anymore. The pain was beyond anything I’d ever felt. I couldn’t think straight. I could barely concentrate at work. When I did I was obsessing about therapy appointments and having flashbacks that made me sick to my stomach.
The straw that broke this camel’s back was a visit to the Human Resources department with my boss and an employee advocate. Despite a reliable witness to back up the fact that I had nothing to do with a particularly strange incident, my boss wrote me up. She said she didn’t care about witnesses.Months later I would figure out my boss reminded me of my mother. She treated me the same and was triggering me left and right for over three years.
By Friday I took a bottle of those sleeping pills and e-mailed a note to my therapist. I asked him to tell my husband that I loved him and it wasn’t his fault. I went to bed early. I rolled over and attempted to sleep.Minutes later EMTs and police were in my room with a stretcher. I lied like a rug and said I didn’t understand why they were here. Clearly those first responders were miffed they had to take precious time away from “real” emergencies to deal with yet another psych hold.
This time I stayed for over three weeks. I was a complete wreck. I could barely get out of bed. I wanted to be left alone. They wanted me to participate in group activities. I couldn’t understand how arts and crafts could possibly help me. The group meetings weren’t much fun either.

 

Did you hear any mention of God, Jesus, Lord within this post? Self will had run riot.

Hospital visitors
To his credit, my father visited me. He was in tears at the thought of my desire to kill myself. He wished there was something he could have done to prevent this. He wondered whether there was something he did to contribute to my state of mind?
I wanted to say, “Yeah, idiot. You molested me growing up! This IS your fault.” However, I was still coming to terms with the idea my father had anything to do with it. I was in deep denial. I was so confused, hurt, dying inside.I kept thinking I was making it up until my therapist reminded me, “How could you make it up? How would you know what to say? It was real and so was the physical pain and abreactions.”
My mother never called me or my husband while I was hospitalized.

Part three: Breaking on through to the other side
Part 1: Spiritual Bankruptcy

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ABOUT BORICUA CONFIDENTIAL©™
Boricua Confidential chronicles my new life as a single mom of two kids after my husband died from cancer on our son’s seventh birthday. Join me on this journey of change, revival, reformation, discovery and new direction ordered of God. Being a widow ain’t easy, that’s for sure. I refuse to rollover and die. Quite the contrary. I intend to thrive from this crazy life. You can’t keep this woman down. If I’m down, I won’t be for long.

God created me to bounce back. Watch me.

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11 Comments

  1. Wow. You have been through FAR TOO MUCH for such a young woman! I read your about me and you seem like you are so much stronger now. I am so sorry for your loss…I can’t imagine losing a husband so young. You are an inspiration!

  2. Thank you so much for your heartfelt support, Khloe. Don’t feel too sorry about my “loss.” As Paul says in Philippians 3:8, “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.”

    I lost my family and gained a much closer relationship with Jesus. My children are better for it because they also have a deep, saving knowledge of Christ. I’m beginning to understand what it means to be loved unconditionally. I am His and He is mine. I am my Beloved’s and He is mine.

  3. Wow, thank you for sharing your heart felt story with others. I am sure that this story will help others in the future. I am curious if you ever considered finding another therapist who was more willing to help you cope with your feelings? I know that you have to trust your therapist whole heartedly in order to spill your guts to him or her. When they don’t seem like they even care, it makes you wonder if you really have a reason to stick around. Is there anything that you would recommend doing differently to someone who was in your situation?

    1. Thanks so much for your comments. I still have the same therapist. The way he describes our relationship is that he has me on belay, i.e., he won’t let me fall to fast because he is counterbalancing me. He is my best friend in the whole world. I trust him with my life. He has been quite frank when he’s needed to be and I can do the same right back. He cares deeply. I’ve seen his eyes well up in tears during our sessions. I’ve also seen him on his knees praying for me during our sessions. He is grounded in Christ and is a strong male, father figure. He is showing me what it means to be a woman and the kinds of behavior I should expect from a man and a father. He gets along well with my kids and is also our family counselor. When this was getting started nine years ago, I trusted no one that deeply. If they don’t seem like they care, run, don’t walk to another therapist. Have a list of questions that are important to you and ask them. There’s plenty of other resources on the web that can help you find the right psychotherapist for you. In my case, he specializes in trauma and catastrophic loss and has been practicing since 1974. Boy howdy, did God pick the right one for me or what? Remember to pray before deciding on the right one for you. Make sure it’s God’s choice for you and your family. I’ll pray you find the right one suited just for you. Blessings.

  4. Thanks for your kind words of encouragement and support. Things are slowly turning around. I’m also beginning to see His purpose for me and all that suffering. I don’t feel brave or courageous though my therapist reminds me frequently that I am. Guess I need to own it for His name and sake.

  5. I’m so sorry that you were dismissed, abused, hurt and so lost. I pray things have turned around, that you see the light, now, and that with your story, many find light. As Karen said, I pray God fills you with peace, and that through your story — which you are so brave to share — many women (people) find peace as well in their storm.

  6. This is such a heartfelt account. You are very strong for sharing this. I hope your message reaches people who are struggling right now. Your honesty is inspiring. I look forward to visiting your blog again.

    1. Thank you so much for your comments. I also hope it reaches those who are struggling. I’ve figured out it’s time to publish books. I also want to start speaking where I can. People are hurting and I want to bring hope to the hard spaces.

  7. This is so raw. Thank you for sharing…. and surviving. May God’s love fill all the places of your heart and give you peace.

    1. Thank you so much for your support and encouragement. I’m slowly discovering God’s love is filling all those empty places. The challenge in between my ears. I’m trying to change my thinking and it ain’t easy. Resting in His peace is frustrating sometimes because it comes at the wrong time. I’m learning to roll with the periods of rest He provides and not stress about what I think is important one day at a time.

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