The Aftermath of a Suicide Attempt

The super-sweet security guard magically disappeared once we reached my hospital room, and was replaced with a “sitter”. When someone attempts suicide they are not allowed to be alone for fear they will harm themselves. Usually a medical assistant or monitor technician is talked into staying late or coming in early to literally sit at the patient’s bedside. Since I’d attempted to overdose on muscle relaxers I thought I’d fall asleep as soon as the last of my family went home, and told the young girl to feel free to watch whatever she liked on the TV, that I was going to be asleep anyway. Famous last words.

She watched Family Guy all night. If you know me, you know there is nothing a hate more than Family Guy. Well, perhaps venomous snakes or Jim Carrey movies. Anyway, I didn’t sleep a wink. The next morning I expected to go home, since the hospitalist the night before had said something about me “getting out of here” the next day. Obviously I was still not thinking clearly. I got an awesome visitor that morning, though. Dianna pranced in, two Starbucks cups in her hands and her belly reaching the door a full second before the rest of her. I said to my new, wonderful, non-Family-Guy-watching sitter, “Oh, this is Dianna, the friend I told you about who’s pregnant with her sixth!”

The sweet sitter said, “Haven’t you figured out yet what causes that?” to which Dianna replied, “Why yes I have, and my husband says I’m very good at it.” I love setting people up for that line, and DK never fails to deliver it with sass 🙂 After Dianna left I settled in to wait. After a  thirty-second consultation with my new psychiatrist (oh, just what I need – another doctor in my life) I’d discovered I’d be moving to the Crisis Management Unit. Don’t let the name fool you. It’s the lock-down psych ward. I’d been there before, but only as a nurse seeing consults with a doctor.

When I was finally transferred, around mid-day, they stopped my family at the door. They confiscated all my belongings (including deodorant and comb), cut the strings off my pajama bottoms, and gave my family members a list of the things they had to leave in the car when they came for the one hour of family visitation allowed each day (no phones, no coats, no jewelry, no shoestrings – it was a huge list). Then they let me hug each one goodbye and rolled me into the unit.

Other than the one man yelling about his lunch order not being correct and that he’d been denied cutlery (probably a good decision) it was very quiet. Everyone was in sweats or pajamas, no one wore shoes, and none of the women had done the makeup-jewelry-hair thing. People were working puzzles, vacantly watching a large TV in a comfy-looking sofa area, or lying on beds in rooms I passed. So far, so good. They’d let me keep a book, and jammies are my thing. But the next twenty-four hours were like nothing I’d ever imagined.

This is the third in a series of five (umm, maybe six) posts about my recent attempt to end my life. Here are links to the first and second. I’m sharing details and insights from my inpatient and outpatient experiences as well as my ongoing care. Please feel free to comment, but realize I reserve the right to delete anything malicious. And while Michael and I have chosen to be open about the incident I’d prefer anyone who knows my children “in real life” to respect their privacy and let them process this experience their own way, in their own time.  I’ll be linking up each Wednesday to Pour Your Heart Out at Things I Can’t Say.

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9 thoughts on “The Aftermath of a Suicide Attempt”

  1. My husband recently spent time in a ward like that. I remember my visits there well. Same rules. Same odd sense that the whole ward was holding its breath. My thoughts are with you and your family. I know the pain and struggle you’re going through.

  2. I’m glad Dianna was there to add a little sass and love to the experience for you. I’m sure the whole thing still seems surreal.

  3. I’m such a ninny, it took me a few minutes there, thinking, ”wow, this aide is so sweet, but I’d really like to talk to Angie’ ….. But I realized she wasn’t leaving. Then it hit me she was the sitter.

    She may not have watched Family Guy, but I thought she was a bit chatty. 😉

  4. Love that you have a friend with SASS!!! She and her baby bump and starbucks are the perfect presence for you. 🙂

    I’m sure you felt stripped of everything… may have been a relief? Maybe a burden. Maybe both. But I pray the ‘experience’ you had that you couldn’t have imagined is one that changes and transforms your precious heart and life.

    1. Other people, later, told me they felt very peaceful and safe in that environment. I just felt stripped of all control, but it was the right situation for that time.

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