I don’t know exactly how to do this thing called “life”. I don’t know what direction to turn…left or right? Straight? They say the only way out is through, as if I was carving steps with my own bare hands into the treacherous mountains, chipping away at old and tired rock. Arriving at the summit, I stood. I stood as tall as I ever have, as tall as I can be, I thought. Until ascending through the darkness, propelling myself carefully around the cliff’s ragged edges, lowering myself to the level ground, It is here I saw great potential. I climbed a mountain and found with its chiseled depths and crevices that it was not the mountain I was climbing which was remarkable, no, that was not it. It was the skill each step, each movement, each milestone that the mountain provided for me to carve my story.
In light of recent events, I was in midst of conversation with someone whose opinion I (thought) I valued considerably.
Mental Illness does not discriminate– not gender, not race, not socioeconomic status, not nada. To believe one is above all else [successful people] over I would assume the antonym of which, it is paramount we reflect why it is that even with all the recourses in the world, people still find the need to exit on their terms.
Wondering why “successful” people die by suicide is like saying money can cure suicidal actions.
I wish it were the case, as I have had every. single. opportunity. to receive treatment, medication, therapy, hospital stays, above all else, a wonderful family, which did not prevent me from trying to take my own life. I speak about this now because now more than ever we need to look and dissect the way we treat people who have struggles with their mental health.
I can tell you, waking up on a ventilator in ICU post suicide attempt is probably the single most terrifying experience I have had. It doesn’t make me lesser of a person and does not equate to successfulness. Successful people are not immune.
To die by suicide is a very tragic thing. To have attempted and to live to tell the tale is the greatest gift. To have friends who saved my life, to have family who stood by my side, to have recourses available to me at all times, and yet to still feel so empty, such a burden, and so incredibly overwhelmed is simple proof that the way we are treating depression (etc.) isn’t working.
I called 911 the other day, a friend notified me she had taken an overdose. I found her location, called the paramedics, and yes she is ok, but I’m here to promise you one thing:
I love you enough for you to hate me forever.
Here I am, almost a year out from my Bi-Lateral Saddle Pulmonary Embolism that, if left untreated, could have taken my life. I spent a month in the hospital (26 days actually, to be exact), from ICU to medical floors, transferred to two hospitals, here I am, that girl; the friend, the daughter, the horsewoman, the dog lover, the writer, the artist, the person who is beginning to not only recovering from a life altering medical emergency but one who is finding herself through it.
I have a multifaceted case (well, let’s start this out with: who doesn’t) of PTSD. Not only trauma based childhood stuff, but complex relationship with medical uncertainties. Tying into my OCD, the genuine fear that something is wrong surges adrenaline through my system, kicking that OCD into gear—If you do X then Y won’t happen. If you do A, B won’t happen. Largely, this has followed suit of me obsessing over small health issues that, because of such life threatening ones I’ve experienced, manifest into obsessive compulsions to fix the situation. Generally, it goes like this:
Something feels wrong. FEELS wrong. I have a multitude of health issues as it is, including a very intricate, incredibly rare Areterious Venus Malformation (AVM) of my left femoral artery, transversing the femur bone, which takes up much of my left thigh. They believe that this, paired with the recent port placement I had, lead to the pulmonary embolism. Amidst the leg issue, I have an autonomic nervous system dysfunction where my body cannot regulate its heart rate and blood pressure, often ending in me passing out or falling. Oh, and while we’re on falling, lest us not forget the two TBI I have sustained, one while riding my horse, fracturing my occipital (back of the skull) and the other, with a migraine, splitting open the side of my head as I fell into a door passing out. So, it is not without reason for my deep fear of death and dying, or at least, having a medical complication arise that is completely out of my control.
But, one may ask, especially after reading much of this blog—have you not spent so much of your life trying to take it? Well, yes, I suppose. On my terms, though, and in some weird way that makes it all different. I will say, being on a vent and waking up from it changed me. I never want to get to that place again, for fear of truly being gone, and leaving all my loved ones behind to clean up the mess that I so thoroughly fought to make.
The OCD/PTSD manifested itself in becoming the most frequent of flyers at the local trauma center emergency department—I’m known by my first name as soon as I walk in the door, nothing to be proud of, in fact, I’m so ashamed each time I enter, but the shame I feel is nominal compared to that of the distress I’m experiencing, and I sometimes, often times, wish I could express this to those who treat me. That I don’t WANT to be in their ED, but the fear is so strong it overrides any shame I have in being there.