I’ve finally gotten around to writing this following a reader request I received in April (I’m sorry this has taken so long!!). As the title suggests, this is the third part of a series, and if you haven’t already you might want to check out Part I and Part II. Part III is unique in that it covers events that happened after I started this blog; I’ll include the links in case anyone wants to read my ‘real time’ reactions.
Towards the end of January my mood fell through the floor, and as my interest in hobbies died I found only one replacement: trying to source chemicals that would kill me. I was obsessed with the idea of a painless self-inflicted death, and spent hours every day working out what would work best. The ideal chemicals are illegal, and getting hold of them is both very expensive and difficult…but I was sure that it was not impossible.
Following a difficult weekend which saw my Gran taken to hospital, and a surprising/painful falling out with a good friend, I reached a new dark place. One week later, I tried to kill myself.
I remember sitting at my desk on Friday evening, and reaching for my nightly dose of zopiclone. I was in a strange, impulsive state of mind, and quickly swallowed another pill. And then another. I went ‘med crazy‘. I don’t remember what happened after I took 5 Nytol, but my empty pill box and my internet history later filled the gap: I took 1200mg sertraline in a suicide attempt. I didn’t die, and instead woke up in a delusional state, with intense hallucinations that I misinterpreted as a psychotic episode.
In the middle of all of this I phoned my parents to tell them that spiders were eating the stairs so I was trapped, and they very quickly drove up and brought me back to their house. Somehow I talked them out of taking me to hospital – I couldn’t remember quite what I’d taken, but I did know I’d had at least a handful of Nytol, and I didn’t fancy explaining that to a doctor. The hallucinations stopped over the next few hours, and when I discovered the empty box of sertraline I started to panic about what I might have done. Pretending to my parents that I felt much better, I went back to my uni town to ask myself some serious questions. The answer, that I’d tried to kill myself that night, stunned me. This was not the controlled, planned suicide I had wanted.
I was still feeling very unwell at the point, and now I knew what I’d done, the idea entered my head that I might be slowly dying from organ failure. At first I thought I’d take my chances, but a little survival instinct kicked in and I phoned the non-emergency number. They decided it was an emergency, and sent an ambulance. The hospital said it was a classic case of serotonin syndrome, and that the worst of it was over. I was allowed to leave if I agreed to work with the Crisis team, so I did, but they turned out to be pretty useless.
Time passed, and while the sertraline worked it’s way out of my system, the dark unease didn’t. I returned to self-harming, and drifted along with some minor ups and downs. My GP decided to try me on trazodone to see if that helped, but unfortunately it was just another name to add to the list of med-failures, so it was decided I should go without meds for a while.
That may not have been a bad decision as I had a rather stable period that allowed me to write my dissertation. Then I made a mistake, and it destroyed my head again. I ordered a dangerous chemical; my bottle of X.
Actually having it in my immediate possession was very strange – it felt like I was actually holding ‘freedom’ in my hands. I couldn’t decide whether or not to use it; my mind was split, and the battle was excruciating. But in the end my depression won, and I tried to kill myself with X. Again, obviously, it didn’t work.
That turned out to be the beginning of a 2 month period of persistent lows and suicide ideation that I’ve only recently emerged from. I can’t give enough credit to my GP and the staff at the psychiatric hospital for keeping me alive – I always had that bottle of X nearby, but with constant support I managed to leave it alone. I have to admit, I’m kind of surprised to be alive and writing this; there were many times when I didn’t anticipate living through another day.