What a week it has been. Before I go into what all happened I want to warn you this post is about a suicide attempt. If this is a trigger for you I recommend you stop reading.
I felt a manic episode coming on. It had been two days without sleep and I was full of energy but also quite irritated and mean. I get easily annoyed by simple things when I start getting into a manic swing. I tend to get snappy to those l love most. I went to the ER and explained the situation. They prescribed me a dose of Zyprexa to help calm the episode. It worked really well. I went home and slept about 36 hours. When I woke up I felt a lot calmer. Things were good……until the pendulum swung the other way. Within two or three days I had swung into a deep depression. I was in a lot of physical and mental pain. I may not have mentioned it in previous posts, but I was injured during my military service. For 11yrs, I have dealt with chronic pain that sometimes becomes consuming. There I was, in pain and wishing life would just stop. I became hysterical, unreasonable, and determined to stop the physical and mental pain. I grabbed a knife and started working on my wrist. I tried hard, but the blade was dull. Then I saw it. My husband who handles and secures all my medication had forgotten to put away my afternoon medication. I decided that a handful of that medication would do the trick. Within 20 minutes my husband realized I was acting very strange. He noticed the bottle and called the ambulance. They forced me to go to the hospital. I took my time hoping the medication would do its work before we got there.
After triage treatment I was sent to the Adult Assessment Area. This particular area is where they put addicts who are brought in before being transferred elsewhere. The rooms have nothing but a wooden block with a mat on them. No windows. You never know the time. It is complete isolation from any stimuli. You are only allowed one blanket to keep yourself warm and are left in isolation. The very thing a person with bipolar shouldn’t be is left in is isolation with nothing to do but live in their head for 72hrs.
The doctor saw me for 10 minutes each day and decided that was enough time to change up my meds until I was medicated into submission. I refused the extra medication which I knew from previous experience was bad for me. I was in physical pain that kept growing because of the terrible beds. It took them nearly 24hrs to get my pain medication in the system and actually give them to me. Needless to say, between physical and emotional pain I was not doing so well. I was woken up at all hours as they brought in addicts who were screaming and fighting being there. I just laid in the bed listening. There is very little human interaction. Isolation is actually a form of torture used in POW camps yet that is how they treat those with mental health issues.
My psych doc came and visited me. To know she cared enough to come visit meant the world to me. She brought me some really great reading materials that not only gave me something to do but also treatment approaches to think about. Finally, after three days of trying to have me transferred to a VA they let me go. They VA didn’t have any room for me. I went home and assume life as normal. I was still alive so there must be a reason.
The next day I went to the VA to pick up my pain medication with my caregiver only to find out that because I am a suicide risk I would no longer be prescribed pain medication. Now to better understand this I have been on a low dose of pain medication for 11yrs since the injury. I was cut off because of my suicide attempt which did not include the use of pain medication. There was no taper down, I was just cut off. Once the VA flags you as a suicide risk the flag stays in your chart for 90 days. That means for at least 90 days you are denied controlled medication. I was hysterical. It felt like the VA was saying that because I survived I would no longer receive the medical support I need. Now I understand why so many vets start taking illegal drugs to treat pain after the VA cuts them off. There are no programs to help vets who have had suicide attempts but still have legitimate pain issues. You get left out in the cold.
I realize I made the decision to overdose in my attempt to end my life. I take responsibility for that. I realize because of that I will no longer receive treatment for my back and hip. What will I do to ease the pain? That, my friends, you don’t want to know. I am still taking my bipolar meds faithfully although I seriously considered just stopping everything. Let them put me in an institution where I am so drugged up that nothing matters anymore. Sigh… I have a family I love. One that supports me despite my many shortcomings. Sometimes, I think they would be better off without me. Without the drama of dealing with all that comes with living with and loving me. God has kept me here for a reason, a purpose. I have yet to figure it out but for now all I can do is wake up each day and try to live some semblance of a life. I get intellectually that suicide is not the way but when emotions and pain take over that logic no longer works. If you feel that way, please take a minute and call someone. Call anyone and tell them where you are at. You matter. Don’t go about things the way I did. Make the call. You are here for a reason.
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