A few months back, four in fact, I took an overdose. Quite a gigantic one too. 150 Tylenol in a park in San Francisco. Just typing those words feels difficult. I thought I’d started to connect to it, as something that happened to me. But it turns out I hadn’t. Until now.
It’s amazing, the stages of healing. I feel like its almost a path that’s been pre-scripted. A path that’s there for you to follow, you just have to find your feet and take those steps. Be them big or turtle shaped.
Right this minute I feel fear. I feel terror at the thought of being back in that space again. Being back in the space that nothing can keep you from feeling there is a reason to live. From so subtly your conscience changing into a disassociated state. So subtle yet so specific, the time and date and moment it happened. The switch flicked and that was it. A call with your ma. That’s what did it. She nailed it. In the midst of struggle and pain, it was one last time to try again. To try and have a mother who knows your name. Your name for you, not the fucked up character she wants you to be. But it failed. Again. It switched you to what’s-the-point mode.
How can you feel you’re worth it when your own mother thinks so low of you. When your own mother hears you were raped and all she can do is hurtle hurting words through the telephone line, to your desperate and confused ear.
I could type for hours about this thing. About the background. About the turmoil. About the pain. About the confusion of how it could be so. But I won’t. Not for now. To touch in with the surface pain is enough. For now. I fear disassociation. I fear overdosing. Those two together serve enough to take it easy. To take those turtle steps as opposed to the one-giant-leap i’d prefer to go.
But that’s the difference. That’s the change. That’s what all this has brought me: so so much.
Of course, with (almost) every inch of my being do I wish it hadn’t have happened. And I hadn’t quite realised that until yesterday. Holy crap I wish so hard it wasn’t true. That I hadn’t walked to that supermarket and bought that bumper pack of pills. That the American government didn’t allow such big packet to be sold. But the truth is, it was so true to what was happening in that moment I would have found any way to make it so. That’s the fucked up thing. That’s the nugget of sorrow, of confusion, of disbelief, of complete and utter total weirdness of it all. I was so in it. Nothing else mattered. No one else mattered enough. Just myself. For the first time in my life I was thinking of just myself… and that is what I chose to do…?
Just that statement. That question. That realisation, leaves me hanging. Leaves me suspended on the tight rope walk of life. To sit for a minute and realise thats what I did. That’s what I chose to do. The most self destructive thing there is. To try, with all your might, to take your own life away.
But in that minute of the most ultimate self destruct moment I did, came the most self nurturing, loving and self-supporting thing I could have done. And could ever do:
I saved my own life.
I called for help.
I did what (almost) every inch of my body was screaming out not to do. My mind, my heart, my soul. It felt like.
But I couldn’t stop.
I couldn’t stop calling 911. I tried my therapist but she was in session. So I called the next best thing – the folks that would save my life.
No matter how hard I tried to stop myself. No matter how I tried to click the ‘hang-up’ button on my phone. I didn’t. I just couldn’t. I knew that I’d started the call so now I had to continue. Things would have been so much more nasty if I’d have dropped it and let them find me. Something inside me wanted to live – something inside me knew I deserved to – and something inside me took the most courageous, strong and self-loving step. Of calling for help. It was the step into a new chapter of my life. It was like the new chapter started that minute. That there makes me feel gratitude and relief for this hell-ish experience. Talk about something happening for a reason.
Me as a new being. This being? It’s still me, but loving me. Taking pride, acceptance, love and acknowledgement for me. And all that I’ve been through and done. A being that asks for help, because in the days that follow, I had to. I couldn’t do it alone. I can’t do it alone. None of us should do it alone.
In my way of being, my characteristics, the thought of having caused so much heartache. So much trouble. So much turmoil. So much guilt. So much attention, would make me want to sneak away and, I guess: not live anymore. Always. Always, that would have been my response. And that would have been my response to something way less than this – something that holds such insignificance if held up next to this. A suicide attempt.
But that’s the difference. That’s the change right there. As much as I can watch myself wanting to feel that. Wanting for all the aftermath to be a reason to not keep living. To be a reason to add to my list of how I’m not worth it, of “look what I’ve done, I don’t deserve to live… I’d rather leave everyone in peace and stop making lives difficult… I’ve asked enough now. Any more would be too much… My friends don’t deserve this… They’d be much happier free from this. Free from me… They love me, they really care for me, but I can’t ask what I need from them and so I can’t, I can’t live on…”
But I don’t think that. I dabble with it. I watch it. I worry about it. About those thoughts, and what effect they might have. Whether they will take me back to that place. Whether they will take the driving seat. But then I get up. I breathe. I bring my focus back to what’s important in life. I breathe deep. I listen to my body, and it’s fight. I listen to my heart and it’s determination. I listen to my mind and it’s strength.
I feel that urge to get through it. That knowing that I will. That understanding – that new understanding that’s never been here before. The one that says, and that knows, that this is just a blip. That this is just a section – a chapter – of something much bigger. Of a life that will spell out happiness. That does spell out happiness, I just need to really feel it. Connect with it.
And most of all – know I deserve it.
The want to get better is there. But whenever I think it, type it, say it, there’s a choke. There’s a lump in my throat.
Does that mean I don’t want it? Does that mean it won’t happen? Does that mean I’ll stay this way forever?
I don’t think so. I think it’s my mind – my anxiety – ricoshaying off into my body. It’s the doubt, it’s the worry, it’s the undiluted fear. And it’s also the lack of understanding – the lack of knowing. The lack of HOW.
But that’s life, right? We aren’t to know a the how’s. We aren’t to know every detail of what’s going to happen and how it’s going to work out.
But just knowing is enough. And I know. If I connect to my heart – to my core gut instinct. It knows. It sends relief throughout my body. So it knows.
Sure, I need to really know I deserve it, but it’ll come. I see the fear of really connecting with the want to get better, is in fact, just that fear of giving myself what I deserve. Of letting myself live the life I love. Of letting myself get better in the knowing that I do, as a matter of fact, DESERVE IT.
We all deserve it.
You all deserve it, dear readers.