On Friday, July 28, the imposter peaked again, above the line below which I feel safe.
I have a suicidal psychosis, diagnosed “depression and suicidal ideation with psychotic features.”
I call my suicidal thoughts “the imposter” because they are not part of my conscious mind. They feel instead like an alien which has taken over the right side of my brain.
In other words, I’m not depressed, at least I don’t think I am.
I’m happy. I want to thrive and make new work and make new plans with my Bill.
But there is a part of my brain that wants nothing but to end my precious life, and has been trying to make this happen for the past 5 months.
There’s been 3 levels to what the imposter shows me then compels me to do (visual thoughts in my mind; I’m not “seeing things” nor “hearing things”):
Within the tamest level (Level 1), the imposter shows me images of myself dead, after I’ve committed suicide, most often images of me hanging from the upper hinge of my bedroom closet door;
within the more difficult level (Level 2), the imposter shows me images of myself doing the act, most often the act of me hanging myself from the upper hinge of my bedroom closet door;
within the most difficult level (Level 3) the level within which I don’t feel safe, the imposter wills me toward the act of ending my life, most often impulsing me toward hanging myself from the upper hinge of my bedroom closet door.
The imposter shows me these images constantly—unless I’m distracted.
The best distraction is a conversation, followed by yard work, then puzzles and games, then movies in the theatre, then movies at home, then a walk, then coloring, then eating, then sleeping…
Until I get rid of these visual, suicidal thoughts altogether, as long as these thoughts are firmly within the lower 2 levels, I’m safe, albeit more frustrated than I’ve ever felt.
On July 28, the imposter’s thoughts entered again into Level 3, the imposter trying to will me toward hanging myself. I was actually looking for things I could use (all of the knives and many of the things I could use to hang myself have been hidden somewhere in our house for 5 months now).
So, the saboteur—what I call the me who does not want to die—pulled me toward Bill and said,
“We have to go to the emergency room.”
We arrived at the emergency room at about 8:30pm on Friday, and I stayed in the emergency department until 4:30pm on Monday.
People tend not to be discharged from wards on weekends; so it took a while for a psychiatric ward slot to become available.
This 68-hour period in the emergency room went extremely slowly.
In this particular emergency department, the same in which I had spent 3 nights 5 months ago, all at-risk patients stay at first on gurneys in the hallway, in the middle of the hustle, exposed.
You are searched, changed into scrubs, then you sit and lay and sit and lay and sit and lay on this gurney for as long as it takes.
Once they deem you safe enough, or once there’s space, you are transferred to the security ward, or into one of the emergency departments’s rooms, where, if you are a suicide risk, they remove as many hooks and tubes as possible.
I was on the gurney in the hallway, in the sleepless stream, the first 48 hours of my emergency-room stay.
The gurney felt like a tiny deserted island in the middle of a vast, turbulent sea, exposed to all the elements, most vividly the sun (the lights) and the waves (nurses, techs, doctor, other patients, beeps, dings, and chugs).
Sunday I was moved from room to room, fine with the changes because these rooms were more dark and quiet.
While on the gurney, a drunk, injured, suicidal man was placed one gurney down. As nervous as he made me with his flailings and sudden outbursts and the security who never left his side, I felt pain for him. He had lost his beautiful wife to cancer this year and he missed her. What he called the “beautiful part of him” was gone. He was a poet as he spoke of her, talking about her face, her hips, her breasts, her voice, her gaze, her cooking…
On the opposite side was a man who had been in a car accident. As nervous as he made me with his own sounds, I felt pain for him as well. His hip was dislocated and he screamed for an hour before the staff could finally pop it back in. As someone with a low tolerance for pain, I can’t even imagine how horrible this must have been for him.
Bill visited me daily, sometimes a couple of times.
He would either sit on the gurney with me, or stand by it, for hours.
Then, Monday, at 5pm, I was transferred by ambulance to the psychiatric ward.
At home, I’d recently been switched from Lithium to Fluphenazine (5 mg), then in this second psychiatric ward, I was switched from Fluphenazine to Abilify. These are the sixth and seventh drugs we’ve tried since the imposter set out to end my life.
I seem so far to feel the most like myself on the Ability (as far as side effects), but I’m foggy, antsy, and unable to do my work, the imposter still showing me suicidal imagery.
I should double the dose. However, it would be $2,000 per month rather than the $1,000 for the single per-night dose (we would pay $500 per month for single dose, or $1,000 for the double dose with the Hannaford discount; we will look into “free Abilify” and Care Partners if this ends up being “my drug”).
My experience at this second psychiatric ward was different than my experience at the first.
The second ward was much smaller, so I felt more boxed in.
It even had a padded room, a squishy, sickly-gray room with no windows, only an unmade bed.
And, the ward was just uncomfortable, the sounds, the chairs, the beds, the pillows, the food, the other patients, so I was on edge and on edge and on edge.
I walked up and down the hall, from one end to the other—all 9 days—before being discharged this past Tuesday. A whole other kind of 9-day walk.
I was supposed to go from the psychiatric ward, to 2 weeks in a partial-hospitalization program at another psych ward.
I went the first 2 days then asked to be released (my hospitalizations have been voluntary so far).
The partial hospitalization was 6 hours of group sessions every day.
Unless I was talking or being directly talked to, I was stewing in the imposter’s juices, just sitting there in a room of other patients, for hours, with no way to distract.
At least in the ward, I could walk.
I have an appointment Monday with Planned Parenthood (thank you Laurie) to hopefully begin the process of hormone imbalance/premenstrual disorder testing. Consistently, the imposter has peaked just before each period.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if I started doing hormone replacement therapy, and all of this, just went away?
If you have interest in making a donation: https://www.gofundme.com/living-and-medical-expenses-for-amy (there are also several drawings available as well as “Perpetual Yard Sale” items).
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (24-hour): 1-800-273-8255