* Below is transcribed from voice notes I recorded on the stroke of midnight New Year’s 2018/2019. As such my grammar, spelling, and punctuation is even worse than usual. It’s a series of disjointed thoughts. As such, “Reader Beware”

It is just after midnight. It is January 1, 2019. I am lying in my bed. Two or three minutes before midnight I started crying. Not floods of tears. My husband had the kids today, and overnight. Their first sleepover with dad since he moved out a few months ago. So it’s the longest time he’s had them, and it’s been the first time I had a full day to myself. Forget about blood tests and groups to attend. Em. I was initially excited. I was thinking… “I’ll do a movie. I’ll get some sushi. And I’ll go to bed early and everything will be great.” However the day before I started freaking out. I was wondering what it might be like in the evening, with no one watching me. With nothing for me to do except watch a movie. And tempting it might be for me to buy alcohol. And indeed maybe I could buy alcohol before that evening. Before during the daytime. Of today/yesterday – the 31st. Indeed of that very night – the 30th. So these thoughts were going through my head, but they weren’t something I wished to do. They were something I pondered might happen, or pondered that I might wish to do. And I was worried enough about them, conscientious to the fact that this was not safe, that I said it to a few people. I did not say it to my husband. We no longer live together. We don’t spend more than a couple of minutes together when passing the kids to and fro. I could have said it to him and it probably would have made a bigger impact. For once he would have returned my call. For once he would have texted me back. You know? Because basically since he moved out he’s stopped communicating with me over the phone. And email. Anyway I thought about that. About reaching out to him.

Anyway. During the day, in the morning, I was very busy. I had a blood draw in the hospital, and went to my substance abuse program. In the afternoon I was due to meet a friend in a coffee shop near both of our houses. I did that, and we had a great chat. Everything was fine except… I already felt a little anxious. And jonesing. I couldn’t put my finger on why exactly. I did feel a little bit sad as well. She and I had a long talk about everything that had been going on. And eh. With my husband and work, and not having work (ha). Eh – and I told her what had been going on with my husband. And I laid it out, I like to think impartially, but of course it had my slant on it. But facts don’t have slants. So I either lied, which I didn’t, or I told the truth, which is what happened as facts. So like I said, my emotions are mixed with those facts. So if I said “He didn’t come until 7:30“, unless I’m lying, that means he didn’t come until 7:30. So if he said he was coming at 2, and he did in fact arrive at 7:30, that means he was over five hours late. This is not an actually example. My point is that this was how I brought her up to date. I did not say all the derogatory words I think about him (although I genuinely try not to – it adds fuel to the fire). And she knows my husband quite well, and what’s he’s been through with me being sick the last couple of years. Anything I have said bad or frustratedly (is that a word?) about him, she has always said she won’t take sides. Even though she was my friend, she had seen him go through a really rough period with me. And I understood that. But now she said she couldn’t bear to see him. She couldn’t stomach it. She was just so disappointed with the way he was acting. And you know yourself. Sometimes it’s nice to have your thoughts or your beliefs reinforced. “See. I told you so.” “See. I am better than him.” See. See. See. But it’s also disheartening. You knew it all along that you were right. In this instance, and whatever other instances where that was the case. You knew it, but when somebody goes, “yeah, you’re right,” it makes you think “oh God, there’s no hope.” Or “we’re more in the shits than we thought,” kind of thing. So I don’t think I rationally thought that. I don’t even know if I think that now. But there was a sense of that somewhere. A sense of a bit more hopelessness. A bit less hopefulness. Whatever.

Anyway. She got ready to leave. And em… she left. And I decided… “you know what? I’ve about two or three hours… actually I’ve all the time in the world until Starbucks closes, cause I don’t have kids right now. Tonight.” So I went to a table and I pulled out my laptop, my tablet, my books. Everything to study. And I thought to myself… “you know, I’ve a few bills to pay and that. I need to get to that. Eh, it’s probably a bit late.” But I said to myself, “I need to go to Walgreens, the pharmacy, because I didn’t have one of my pills this morning. I was out. And I’m supposed to take it twice a day. And I’m already feeling, like, jumpy. And I can’t guarantee that’s from my emotions. I could be from the pill. Because some of my pills, if I don’t take them in the morning, I really notice it by the afternoon. I feel awful. So, I called them, and they said “yeah. Everything is ready for pick-up.” The pharmacy closes at five – today, new years eve. I figured I better get to the pharmacy, which meant leaving Starbucks at four thirty. And it was already three, and I figured, “oh God, I only have an hour and a half, and an hour and a half is to much (not sure for what).” I was all over the shop. So I tried to start studying. And I got seven minutes in. Cause it tells you, you know, that the video is seven minutes in. And I’d taken in nothing. I knew I should be listening, learning, and something. And I had no idea what I had just watched. And I tried it again, and just nothing. So, I gave it up as a bad job. There’s no point in trying to make yourself study when you can’t. So I said “Right. I’m obviously not going to be productive today. Well if the most productive I get today, is me getting a blood draw, me going to group, and me getting my medication… That’s as good as it gets today. And that’s fine.” You have to allow yourself these days. You have to. Especially if you need them. And I need them. Becuase if you don’t take them, or you don’t just allow them to happen, your anxiety, your depression, your sadness just spirals, and spirals, and spirals. Over what? Over the fact that you couldn’t study or more that seven minutes. Or the fact the you forgot to take you pill one morning. These things are minimal issues. Well the pill could be serious. But basically they’re minimal issues. Put them together, and if it’s time after time, and if things keep going wrong (even though it’s small, little things) then that’s the tough part. For instance I had two medical issues I’m concerned about… not concerned about… concerned is too strong a word… one should be concerned about… Em, quite similar issues. Could be extremely serious. probably nothing. That kind of thing. Em. For two reasons I suppose, in one way I’ve had so many severe health problems, and I’m not yet dead, when I probably should have been a couple of times. Em. Maybe that’s one reason I’m not freaking out. The other is… I just don’t really care. I don’t have the same level of fear about some things. I have phobias. And irrational thoughts and all that shit. And they (even though they aren’t real, or whatever) completely kill me with fear. But if… you know… you tell me I have to have open heart surgery… which I’ve already been told twice… I’m pissed off because I know it’s going to hurt. I know I might die. But I’m not scared. Even last time. I thought I was going to die. The second surgery. I really believed… It wasn’t even that I thought I might die… I believed I would die. My first surgery had been so bad, with so many complications, that I was convinced they could not fix my heart again. I’m like… I wasn’t scared. I remember calling my parents from one of the meeting rooms in work. It was the day before I was due to go in. And em. Yeah it was weird. I just like said to them, you know, “Hi. I know this is a weird call to make. You know, we all know why I’m calling.” I didn’t want to go lean heavily on the “I love you and I’m never gonna see you again.” And I wasn’t crying because I wasn’t upset. I felt bad for them. Cause I was gonna die. And I remember like, not being like, trying not to be too heavy on it, but at the same time, but at the same time… not joking, I didn’t joke about it. But I think I said something like “Well we all know this is a very serious surgery, so I just wanted to call you and tell you I love you very much before the surgery. But sure I’ll see you in a week when you come over.” That kind of stuff. But I did not think that I would see them in a week. And I worried. I can’t remember what my husband and I decided, but I assume I decided to be buried in Ireland. Or cremated in Ireland. But I didn’t think about any of that. That’s not my worry. I’m dead. It’s not my choice anyway. If I haven’t put it in my will, who cares? And I can think quite pragmatically like that, and I think that. I think it makes people feel that I’m detached or something. When in fact I’m a very emotional person. I get emotionally attached very easily. I eh, you know, wear my heart upon my sleeve. There’s no… I can’t bullshit anyone. I can try, and I probably do try, but I can’t. I’m not good at lying. I’m not good at being a strong force, and carrying on. If I’m a little bit scared I can kick ass. If I’m petrified, which doesn’t happen unless it’s a phobia, em, that’s a different matter. Like I don’t know what I would do if there was a big explosion, or you know… But if, I don’t know… I like to think I’m good in an emergency. Physically I’m very unfit. I’m like an obese seventy year old. That’s how my body is. Em… I am obese, so there’s that. But I’m forty, but my body is at least like a seventy year old. My heart, my knees, everything. My joints. Whatever. Anyway. I’m going off on a tangent here.

I didn’t do something I should have done today. Today in group… I don’t know how to say this without revealing too much. Today in group, someone spoke out about their suicidality. Feelings of suicide. You know. Wishes to kill themselves. Plans to kill themselves etc. And I told him to go to the Emergency Room. I said “I know we’re not allowed give advice, but you need to go to the emergency room. You need to go right now.”
He said “No. no. I don’t.” And I said “You do actually.” And I said “If I was in charge, I’d actually call 911. And get the Fire Department to come and get you.” And then the leader of the group said, well he did look at his past and said “Have you talk to so and so [sic]?”. “Yeah.” And all the while… for the next… the group only lasted about another twenty minutes… and I was sitting there thinking “I’m not doing the right thing. The right thing for me to do would be to walk out of this room and call 911. The Police and The Fire Department.” And the guy who we’re talking about, who I hardly know… I’ve talked to him twice, maybe three times… will be pissed at me forever… but he’ll be alive tonight. And maybe it’ll save his life long-term. Or maybe it won’t. Maybe he’ll kill himself the day he gets out of the psyhc ward. I’ve no idea what’s gonna happen him. But he’ll be alive tonight. Now most people who talk about suicide don’t try and kill themselves, and certainly don’t succeed, but I’ve been through the psych ward enough times, to know what someone “awww… I want to die” or what someone “I wanna die. This is how I’m gonna do it. This is when I’m gonna do it. I don’t wanna see anybody anymore. I’m done.” That is ‘Hello. Call 911 please.‘And I hope you will never be afraid to call 911 for someone who’s suicidal. Well you can be afraid. I just hope you’ll go through with it anyway. I don’t know if it saved my life. I know I have… I don’t think it has actually. I’ve had 911 called on me, because of actions I’ve taken, while drunk, that were perceived as suicidal. So like, I mean the first time was when I drank too much… I hadn’t drunk in seventeen months… I’m an alcoholic… Em. I hadn’t drank in seventeen months. I absconded from residential treatment. Residential treatment for psychiatric disorders. And I drank five whiskies, or old-fashioneds, or whatever, and I sliced up my arms. And the paramedics were called for that. And I did that several times. Like it got to be, like every two week, like I don’t know how often. Like five or six times between May and October. And the last time in October was severe. I was so drunk I have no idea if I called 911, or if my doctor did. I’d called him a few times. He’s taken calls in the middle of the night. He was great. Eh. He is great. Em. And I don’t know. I know I called him that night, but I don’t know if he then… if he got me to tell him where I was, and then he called 911. Or if I called them myself. You know I might have even walked myself to the E.R. that time. Anyway. Point is, I was in an ambulance a ton of times for that shit. Another time I brought a knife to group. It was in my bag sealed. Like I hadn’t opened it. It was from the shop and I hadn’t opened yet. And I told me therapist, “I’ve a knife and I’m not sure that I’m safe.” Now I knew I wasn’t going to kill myself, but I wasn’t sure if I wasn’t going to cut or not. Em. And I wasn’t intending to kill myself, but I’m on blood thinners, so cutting my arms for me, is different from someone else cutting their arms. Even with that, they could bleed to death, but I’m way more likely to bleed to death. Anyway. Back to the October time… I needed seventy nine stitches and that wasn’t good enough to stop me losing blood, to the point that I needed two units of blood transfused. Em. Yeah. So stuff like that is not to be played around with.

Like I’m alive. I’m here. My first suicidal feeling was almost three years ago. My first feeling that I was really, actually, gonna die, very shortly, from suicide, was just over two years ago. It was Christmas day. Christmas day 2016. And I went for a drive because I couldn’t handle life. I needed to be away from my husband. Away from my kids. I just…. He said I was in the bed for half the day, popping Xanax. I don’t remember any of that, for obvious reasons. I presume he didn’t let me drive in that state. If I tried to fight him, I’m sure he’d have fought me, or called the Police. Maybe he didn’t. I don’t know. I do remember all the drive, or some of it. Cause when you’re depressed you lose your memory as well, not just on drugs. And I remember. I went for a drive because “Oh I need to get out of this. I need to get out of this.” And I’d written suicide notes to everyone, the week before. And on the drive, on the Christmas day, I was just driving along Irving Park, it goes on and on out towards the country, the suburbs, and O’Hare area. And eh. I can’t remember where I stopped and turned around. I turned around. And on my way back I went over a bridge. Probably The Des Plaines River. I’m sure some people will know where that is. And I. As I was approaching the bridge, my head said “you know… you could just flip your wheel, and fly off that bridge there.” And I was like “Yeah I could do that. Yeah.” And I didn’t have the urge to do it. And then the urge came. And I was like “No. I’m not gonna do that. That’s crazy.” And it wasn’t like an overwhelming urge. Just a “That’d be nice now to do that. Wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t it be nice to get it over with?” And that was the moment I went, “Oh shit. I’m actually… I’m actually gonna die soon from suicide.” And I’d had suicidal thoughts before, but I never thought I was actually going to act on them. And I felt within the next month or two I’d be gone, if I didn’t do something about it. So I went home, and I can’t remember if I told my husband. I feel like I did. He must have known, because of what followed. Anyway. So I said to myself, “I’m in real danger on killing myself. Not this instance. But I’m just putting it out there. And this is serious shit happening now.” Whereas for the last nine months it had been upsetting, and I had felt horrible, and I was worried that I might do it, kind of on purpose, by mistake. But this was the first time I was like “This is… We’re not playing with this anymore.” So I honestly don’t know what order things happened in. I think the 27th of December was my last day at work. Whatever it was anyway, my husband and I… No. I went to see my psychiatrist. It was a couple of days after Christmas anyway. And… Told him everything that was going on. And he said, “I want you in hospital now.” And I was like, “no. I don’t need to go to hospital. I don’t need it. You can treat me outside hospital.” You know, bargaining for your freedom, bullshit. Em. That’s not when you need to be bargaining for your freedom, honey. Yeah… I mean… I don’t know if I was scared even. I was just like, “I’m not going to a psych ward.” Not even the stigma, cause I just didn’t care about anything at that stage. Just the feeling of loss of control. Like I… Anyway hospital fucking bed… they make you wear a gown… and de de de de de… I hate that crap. I’d been in the hospital so much. But the psych ward you can’t even close your door, have a magazine, de de de de de. A magazine has staples, so you’ve to take the fucking staples out. This kind of shit. Mind you, I didn’t know this at this stage, I suppose. So. I went home. It must have been the next day. No it was a weekend day I suppose. So I’ve no idea what happened when, but I think it was the next day. My husband and I were talking. Walking with the kids. Deciding what was what. And em… We talked and we said, “yeah. We should go back. Or I should go back.” I can’t honestly remember cause my memory from the last two years is just awful, but especially when I was severely depressed. Another time was when I was severely medicated. And another time was when I was receiving E.C.T. (electro convulsive treatment). The one where they give you shocks in the head, that everyone thinks is so brutal.

Anyway. I’m tired. And I’m not crying. So I’m gonna go.

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