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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Like hell I was going to check myself in. I didn’t have a problem. He did.
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.
Did you hear any mention of God, Jesus, Lord within this post? Self will had run riot.
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?
Part three: Breaking on through to the other side
Part 1: Spiritual Bankruptcy
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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