Before I move forward I think it’s only right to let you know that I was no stranger to depression. I can remember seeing my first counselor and being prescribed Prozac for my depression. It’s no wonder that I suffered from depression due to my childhood, not to mention that I wasn’t the pretty girl in school or the thinnest. So I fell prey to teasing from an early age but something was starkly different with my post break-up behavior. I started to feel this battle within myself and the dramatic changes in my mood. For the most part I was feeling severe depression from the traumatic events of my separation. My parents were rays of hope but for some reason no matter how much they supported me, a change was coming and it would forever stay.
One night when I was all alone, and my parents were sleeping due to their work schedules, I started to have these battles within. No matter how much I tried to distract myself with TV, movies and just hanging outside alone on the porch with a divine cigarette. (They were my “drug” of choice.) I couldn’t fight the internal dialogue that was telling me to end it all. Finish it. Stop the pain. After hours off fighting, I finally gave up. I wanted to stop the pain. I wanted to disappear from this earthly existence that seemed to get worse instead of better.
That night the struggle within continued non-stop, and I decided to give in. That night I took a handful of Vicodin, left from a tooth pulling. I laid in my bed and took a sharp knife to cut both my wrists. I watched the blood come pouring out and felt bliss, it’s going to be over soon. This was my time, by morning I would be dead and the pain would be forever gone. Unfortunately I was awakened by my mother who discovered my attempt. She called my family doctor and I was immediately admitted to the local hospital.
At the hospital, I was admitted to the psychiatric ward. There were two parts of the ward you could be admitted to. For me, since I attempted suicide I was admitted to the portion that was totally restricted. In this unit there were empty rooms with only a mattress and a camera for the staff to watch. This was a required stay for at least 24-48 hours since I tried to kill myself. It was a very sterile and sad place. Lonely but watched at every move. I couldn’t even take a shower without a staff member in the room. I felt exposed and vulnerable. In the common area of this unit I meet a resident that claimed to be Jesus and he was going to rape me. He started to scream and shout, not making much sense. So a team of large men came in, dragged him to his sterile room, and held him down while the nurse gave him an injection. This scared me terribly because of my childhood experience. I would lay in my empty room with a mattress and camera and wonder how did this happen to me. I was supposed to be dead. I was supposed to be pain-free. After one very long day and night in the confined unit I was cleared to be admitted to the regular psychiatric ward. I had a room with another girl. I’m not sure what her diagnosis was but she was very intense in her hand washing and repeating her tasks over and over. Almost like OCD. She kept me up at night washing her hands non- stop. In this unit we had a regular schedule. We woke at 7am and started our days with breakfast, therapy, psychiatrists, and crafts. Occasionally we were allowed to make and receive calls and watch movies in the common room. I met a lot of people who seemed just like me. I took comfort in their presence unlike Jesus in the other unit. I exchanged information with some of the other patients. After several days of a ritualistic schedule and doctors appointment I was diagnosed, the words still ring in my head, “You are Bipolar.” They tried to explain this new word to me but everything was still very confusing and foggy. They started me on a regiment of drugs and it was a lot. I couldn’t feel sadness, happiness or anything for that matter when the medicine kicked in. I just functioned as a robot trying to understand what was going on and what happened to my life. Little did I know that there was so much to learn about my new friend.
This is when I met The Other Side of Me.