I was just 20 years of age when I nearly died. I had one previous suicide attempt when I was 17, but this one was the closest I got to not waking up. I want to share the insight of this suicide experience with you purely to show you that when we are hospitalised, its not as 'easy' or 'safe' as you may assume. Just because we have not passed away, we still need that love and support you would show if we were hospitalised for a psychical injury. Emotional injuries take longer to heal. We all need to remember that for any future experiences you may have with suicide/ mental illness.
The biggest symptom of BPD and PTSD I suffered from in my early adolescence was flashbacks of abuse and chronic emptiness. I believe both symptoms were present when I had my near fatal over dose that night. I was having confrontation with two close friends at the time. Due to not having any resolution with the situation at hand and also trying to manage my newly diagnosed mental illness, I isolated myself in my room for three days. It was on the third day I felt like I had no one to reach out to. I had two house mates at the time, and they had no idea how much I was suffering until they discovered me in my room the night it happened. I will begin to explain in detail what happened and what I was feeling at the time of my suicide ideation.
The room was dark. I was laying flat on my back trying to block out the memories that were surfacing. When the memories surface, I tend to become very paranoid and then the paranoia will exhaust me, so I will become numb. The numbness then creates the chronic feeling of emptiness as its trying to block out the absolute agony and despair I feel each time these memories surface. Going numb is a coping method. Unfortunately the numbness is quick to fade, then the pain surfaces to the skin and it feels like 90 degree burns in my stomach and my chest. I become very tight in my throat and my head pounds. In this state of distress, I resorted to over dosing on my anti depressants and sleeping tablets I was given by my GP at the time. I was never referred to a psych and at that age, I wasnt educated enough to know I could demand the help I needed in order to make sure I would survive these periods of crisis.
I was in this dark room at melting point with my pain, I leant over to the cold wooden floor boards my mattress was on. I had counted out 30 efexor exactly to make sure it worked. I was on 80 mgs at the time, which is a very high dose if you know anything about anti depressants. The effects of an over dose (which I started to experience) are fast heart rate, seizures, vomiting and eye dilation. I took 30 of them and 10 sleeping tablets. The sleeping tablets I was prescribed at the time was Seroquel. Seroquel side effect include twitching, tunnel vision, problems with speech and nausea. So you can imagine the way it reacted to being in my system. The next 12 hours of my life were going to be the ones I fought the most.
I started to remember the twitching happened first. My leg was numb and it could not stop twitching. I started to go in and out of sleep. Its when I started to vomit my house mate found me and knew straight away they had to get me to the emergency department. I could not speak and had my head in a bucket. I had taken too much to just get it all up via vomiting out my guts. As soon as we arrived to emergency I was put straight on a bed. Heart monitor, drips and needles were all jabbed/placed all over my body, mainly my chest.
The seizures started to happen when I was in emergency. I was slipping in and out of consciousness, the doctor and nurse begging me to try stay awake. I was so out of it from all the medications I had taken, I could barely keep my eyes open. I was seizing on and off, going in and out. The last memory I have is the light above my head and completely shutting down. I dont know what happened in the emergency room until early hours of the morning.
I cant remember the full procedure the doctors did to bring me back, but I woke up in the intensive care unit of Bunbury hospital. A nurse came over to check on me. Completely unaware of how i got to ICU, she told me that I was lucky to be alive as my heart rate had reached 148 BPM. I was lucky not to die of cardiac arrest on the bed in Bunbury. I woke up at 4 30 the next morning from my over dose. I was scared, numb and completely out of it. I felt like it was all some nightmare I just could not wake up from.
I didn't get the help I needed afterwards either. I was lucky to be alive yet there was no follow up, still told me to take my medication and follow up with my GP. For years and years later down my mental illness track, it is only the last three years I have been able to look into proper treatment. I have been medication free for the past two years. I have fought in a system who really hasn't catered to the proper treatment I have needed. I weaved and worked my way to where I am today to be able to cope to the best of my ability. A near death experience on numerous occasions has lead me to life changing solutions. I know what you may be asking- yes death may have been seen as the result I wanted. I want to give you a bit of a more insightful explanation for my suicide experience, its not always death and not waking up that I want to stop. Its the pain I have to carry internally, deep within me that I was to stop. Its the agony and reminders of the abuse and pain I have endured. Its the pain added on by other peoples hurtful actions I have had to carry. It gets so over whelming to the point that not waking up seems like the only option at the time. I couldn't 'choose' to stop the pain any other way in my suicidal and irrational head space.
I share this so people can be a bit more clued on with warning signs and how to support someone after an attempt. Please know that your support is still warranted even though they are under professional watch and support. Doctors and nurses can help with the medical side of things, but we can all help with the humane side. The kindness and compassion that should be shown. You need to understand these things are not a choice in behaviours. No one chooses how to feel. The only choice that can be presented is how they work through the after math of a near death experience. Even though they have survived, it doesn't just miraculously disappear the feelings of suicide and agony. So it is up to the people around them to try their very best to make someone feel loved and cared for. God forbid the people who turn a blind eye and punish someone for wanting to end their life. Do not punish someone for wanting their emotional injury to heal.