I don’t remember how many times I tried to kill myself. I don’t know about everyone else, but my attempts were never a “cry for help.” I am a person of action: when I decide to do something, I don’t waste time calling people making threats; I do it. I’m 39 now. I know it’s kind of twisted, but you have to understand my personality: i’m quite anal-retentive, perfectionistic, and I have obsessive/compulsive disorder. There is one attempt that I call “my favorite suicide attempt,” when I came closest. I was married to my husband at the time. I closed myself in my bedroom, got all of my scrip meds together, a pen and my journal, a bottle of water, and sat down. I knew if I swallowed a handful of pills, I’d just vomit. So what I did was take between three to six pills of five or six different medications every fifteen minutes, and write in my journal. I wrote down how many pills I took and what type, and what time. I figured if I didn’t succeed in killing myself, I’d have a record of what happened, and have better success the next time around. My preferred method of taking myself out has always been overdosing on prescription meds, and I’ve always had more than enough. Whenever I was prescribed a new medication, the first thing I did was look it up in my PDR to see what physiological system it attacked or incapacitated upon overdose. I was methodical about what I took. I knew what overdosing on lithium, benzodiazapines, ssri’s, and opiates would do to my liver, kidneys, and cns: I was coldly methodical. My journal was an interesting read after the fact. My grandmother brought me up for the first three years of my life, so my first language was Spanish. But after that, I spoke only English. It was interesting (to me) to note that after I lost conscious memory, but was still walking and talking, I wrote solely in Spanish in my journal. My downfall was how polite a person I am. Before I collapsed, I left my room to say goodbye to my husband. Apparently I didn’t look right, and then I passed out. He didn’t bother calling 911. He picked me up, put me bodily in the car, and sped to the hospital, where they put a size 12 tube in my size 3 nostril down to my stomach, and did a lavage to try to flush out the pills. I have flashes of memory of the nasogastric tubing — it was awful and painful — and flashes of seeing Brian, my husband, crying in the doorway. The hospital I was taken to didn’t have a psych ward, but they kept me, because they were worried about the lithium’s affect on my liver. When I came to, I had an IV in both arms, and I was in the ICU. When I realized I was still alive (because I could feel my heart beating — slowly) I was PISSED. I left the hospital AMA barefoot before the PET (psych evaluation team) could get there. Brian was angry. I was angry. I couldn’t understand why, if he loved me, he would want me to live with such pain. I still believe in my right to take my own life, should living become unbearable, but I have since decided not to do so. I believe I have that right because I have no obligations to any others, namely: spouse, children, or family. There is only me. I believe in euthanasia. If it is mercy to allow cancer patients assisted suicide, then why is it not the same for people who suffer mental anguish? Pain is pain, and pain hurts, no matter whether it is physical or mental. As a matter of fact, I think mental pain is worse, because physical pain will eventually heal; mental pain is the gift that keeps on giving. Why the stigma if your pain isn’t apparent on the outside? As I look at my writing above, it looks, even to myself, cold and hard: there is no “why.” Do you want to know why? Here is the story of Lori: my mother was abusive in every way except sexual. My older brother was abusive in every way. I ran away from home when I was 13 to escape my mother’s abuse only to be imprisoned in the home of a black man who raped and sodomized me whenever he felt like it. I was there for a year. The first time I was raped was by my brother when I was 8. The first time I was raped by a non-family member I was 12. There’s more, but why bother? Isn’t that enough? The last thing my mother said to me before I ran away was, “I should have had an abortion. You’re the reason your father left me anyway.” In later years, after I’d met my first husband and was trying to conceive, I confided in my mother that I was afraid that I might be unable to have a child. I was crying. Her response was, “well, it’s not from lack of donors.”
All these years later, it doesn’t surprise me how long I was actively suicidal: it surprises me how long it took me to make my first attempt, and that I never succeeded.