Trigger Warning: See title above. Did anyone else have a problem with National Suicide Awareness day? I did. I even wrote a negative comment on someone’s blog which I never do. I apologize if it was you. One of the problems I had was it is only one day. It wasn’t thought about the day before and it would be forgotten about the next day. And where was it when I was suicidal almost every day last winter? Not that a “How are you feeling” text would have cured me. The other problem I had was seeing the word suicide in all caps and large font everywhere I looked. And I wasn’t looking for it.
My last attempt was a huge mess. I got kicked out of the homeless shelter for something stupid and I only had enough on my credit card for two nights in a hotel. I had been having mixed episodes and delusions all summer. Being suddenly real homeless with no plan did not help.
The first night in the hotel my brain started making plans for me to kill myself. It devised a mathematical formula that dictated the date and time, how many beers I would have to drink and which pills and how many to take with each beer.
My first call for help was to my case manager, “Hello Sharon, this is me, can you call me when you get a chance?” I didn’t exactly sound stressed but that is me. I hide everything. During the next two days I called everyone I knew and I was crying and saying, “I don’t know what to do.” But I never mentioned I might be planning my own death.
The night before I started my plan. I had to buy the beer early because I had to start drinking at 4am and the stores were closed at that time. All the math made perfect sense to me in my sleepless delusional state. I started washing down the pills; some of them deadly and others benign. Whatever, I had a lot of everything. An overdose of Latuda is irreversible. I’m not sure but I think not having food in my stomach let it wash through my body. You are supposed to take it with a certain number of calories. So I guess I got “lucky.”
Sharon finally called me back. It woke me up. She waited so long because I didn’t sound stressed on the phone and she thought I was calling about housing and she had no news for me. I didn’t tell her what I had done but I was freaking out. She told me to come to the office. (She didn’t know I was drinking) She saved my life because after the call I started puking a lot. Strangely I tidied up the hotel room before I left.
Trying to get to the office I realized I could not operate a car. Me, being the super intelligent guy I am thought I needed some caffeine to sober me up. I pulled into the store and went inside. When I came out there was a cruiser behind my car. The cop was out and pulled his gun on me and started dropping F bombs. Somebody had called them. I was standing frozen holding two Pepsi’s. Nothing sobers you up more than having a gun pointed at you. The cop was screaming at me but he wasn’t telling me what to do besides yelling that I was going to blow the fucking breathalyzer. I had already told him I was trying to get to the mental hospital.
The backup cruise pulled in and the first officer holstered his gun and started talking in a normal voice. He calmly cuffed me and stuck me in the back of his cruiser. I told him I was trying to kill myself and all the drugs I had taken that day. (Funny the only one that made it into the police report was the controlled substance.) They brought me into the station and threw me in the cell. I was really wishing I would die so they would get in trouble and I would be dead.
It turns out they left me in the cell for so long because the gun wielding cop was at the courthouse for several hours trying to get a warrant to draw my blood for an alcohol test. I have talked to many people who worked in the legal/ drunk driving system since and they were all shocked when they heard he got a warrant. Not one of them had seen that before. The officer was turning my mental health problem into a legal problem. The protocol is to bring me to the state mental hospital for an evaluation. I could have and should have still gotten a driving under the influence charge but they were supposed to make sure I wasn’t dying first.
Would things have been different if they had suicide awareness day back then?