Well I’m here folding laundry which is an achievement given this morning’s amateur dramatics.
Most of my laundry consists of my pyjamas: no wonder.
It’s funny. Even though I’ve been down this particular thorny path before, I don’t think I could spot a suicidal person. You think “suicidal” and you conjure up images from movies or TV shows of a man standing on a bridge or a ledge or, in the case of my favourite movie ever, (and I never copped the suicidal link before) “The Big Chill”, you just see neatly stitched scars on the wrists of the focal yet absent character. His friends are upset and nostalgic but then they rediscover their connection and Alex’s loss has brought them together again, like a sacrificial oracle at the altar of old college friends. I can’t think of a portrayal of a pre-suicide character who looks like me. Yes, I’m scruffy and unattractive in oversized sweatshirt and sweatpants, no make up and hair thrown up in a ponytail but I’ve cooked dinner – granted it was a hosh posh of leftovers and freezer food but I still fed my kid; posted sick certs; bought dog food and bleach and pooper scooper bags. Would anyone have known in Huge Grocery Retailer Express Branch that an hour previously I had been in Pieta House discussing how I don’t see my suicidal ideation as being a danger to myself because I see it as the only release from the living threats in my head? Five hours before that, would anyone have guessed I was the mortified and bleary eyed centre of attention at the psychiatrist’s office trying to explain that I didn’t have it in me to keep fighting and I didn’t care who was left behind? Like Alex’s friends, they’d all get over it, go running, get drunk and have babies together.
This is what a suicidal person looks like.
I heard or read somewhere that approximately ten people die by suicide each week in Ireland. That’s more than on the roads and yet we are constantly bombarded with safety messages for road users (which we should be: the prevention of needless deaths due to drink/drug driving; speeding; recklessness should have the full backing of everyone in society) so why aren’t we more educated and trained to spot the warning signs and prevent equally avoidable deaths?
How many people have you passed; scoffed at; ignored; avoided; complained about; shoved on the pavement; beeped you car horn at impatiently; been rude to in a shop, people who are silently battling the urge to run to their grave?
I’ve done it many times, we all do. I’ve been an obnoxious bitch in a rush to get to work and gestured tut tuttingly at someone in a car in front of me daydreaming their way through a red light turned green.
It might seem insignificant but I know now that one nasty comment or one disapproving look can floor me as much as one tiny act of kindness, such as our local shopkeeper giving me the two stamps I needed today instead of just the one I had enough money for (Irish destination stamps are sixty eight cent now?! ) and joking that I owed him next time. The smallest thing can keep someone going another few hours, and that few hours might just be long enough to get them into the next day, which could turn out to be a better one.
This is what a suicudal person looks like.
The upshot of today’s mental health visits is somewhat positive. I feel like finally my psychiatric consultant took me seriously seeing the state I was in. She, of course, made an effort to guilt me into thinking about ElsaDaughter and my family which, I had to remind her, doesn’t work. When you get to the point you have nothing left to throw at the onslaught of darkness you don’t care about anyone or anything left behind.
Do I want to feel like this?
Of course not.
Do I love my family with all my heart? Of course I do.
But no amount of selfless thinking will overcome the desire to dim the torment switch in your head. You’re blinded by darkness. And only eternal darkness seems like an antidote.
So the psychiatrist asked me if I’d been referred to the psychologist there.
Eh. Yeah you referred me. I’m still waiting to hear from them.
Oh, let me check.
Quick office hop.
No, you aren’t referred.
Oh, right. That explains why I haven’t heard from them then. Why I don’t know, pissed off, yes.
I think you might benefit from the psychological treatment first before you’re referred to a sexual assault service, I don’t think you’re strong enough to deal with the issues that will arise there. The nightmares seem to be a manifestation of your fears and helplessness.
Well, yes, that makes sense.
See the Community Psych Nurse after we’re done, she’ll call to your home twice a week and help you with practical things you need to get sorted.
I’m guessing she won’t do the washing up which was a ducking epic task in my head today. She’s calling tomorrow with a form I need to sign to register me for a five morning per week for six weeks day hospital programme on coping skills and working through my self harm and suicidal tendencies. How am I going to manage five mornings per week? That means getting up, showering, eating breakfast and facing the world every day. That scares the hell out of me and fills me with the most indescribable dread. It will be exhausting. But I guess it’s better than this.
PietaLady asked me if I thought I needed to be hospitalised. She seemed to think I did and Psychiatrist hinted at it too, reminding me I could call them any time (during office hours) and the doctor on call in Vincent’s out of hours. We all know how my visits to Vincent’s went four months ago. Four months. That’s how long this is going on.
Why am I not better yet?
You might recall me trying to ask Remise for help to be told they didn’t want me to get dependent on them, that was the first time I called. Forgive me for not having much faith in State Mental Health services. To me, it seems there are too many strands to the system: Remise; Baggot Street Psychiatric and Psychology; John of God’s; Vincent’s; St. Patrick’s, Milltown; Community Nurses. Who am I gonna call? Might as well be the ghostbusters.
None of the interested parties seems to know what the other is doing and I’ve had conflicting advice from them leaving me feeling like I’m wasting their time and there’s nothing wrong with me. I really feel I should have been hospitalised by now and currently I’d benefit from it massively. But yet here I am. Laundry folded.
I guess I’ve made it through another day. In one way, I’m dying to get to my bed, in another I’m dreading sleep. The SaltScrubs and the vivid powerlessness await.
I wish I knew if you dream when you’re dead. If you do, that would be a reason to stay alive.
Please remember to talk if you are feeling low. If you identify with anything I’ve written about for gods sake get yourself to a hospital now! You’re as messed up as me! There is always someone to talk to. 💋