I Told Her Things (Why Did I Do That?)

At first, they were just passing thoughts.

Maybe I should pick up a few packets of Panadol from the supermarket. Just in case. 

Over the weekend, they started getting a little more specific, and I started to realise that they probably weren’t going to pass.

How many Panadol did I take that time last year when I felt shit for a few days but didn’t actually have to go to hospital? I should look it up in my notebook.

Next Wednesday, it will be a year exactly since I had surgery on both my arms for severe self-inflicted burns. And my brain has, for no apparent reason, decided that I have to mark the anniversary with an overdose.

I had a session with Nikki yesterday, but I didn’t mention it. Mostly I was still making a statement about not trusting her with information about self-harm (‘You don’t get to know; you’re not my friend any more‘, says the six-year-old), and I was afraid that she’d just call the crisis team again, and if she sends Flora to my doorstep one more time, I swear to God….

But I’m also just sick of therapy being crisis after crisis. I’m sick of every session being about trying to keep me alive, and relatively intact. How will I ever learn anything or change anything if all we do is put out fires?

This morning, the thoughts escalated again.

It wasn’t really so bad, last time I overdosed. I only vomited for less than 24 hours, and you can endure anything for a day. And I could take my laptop to the hospital so I wouldn’t miss any work – I’d probably be well enough to start working by the morning. 

I was deliberately pulling up the body memories, trying to assess how bad it would be, and I gagged a little, remembering swallowing the pills. That was enough for me to decide that I don’t want to do this. I don’t want my clothes cut off because I’m half-unconscious and bleeding; I don’t want my breasts exposed and heart rate monitors stuck all over my chest; I don’t want to vomit into a bag that’s already filled with bile.

But I also don’t trust my own ability to keep myself safe, so I need to be in a hospital. The last time an anniversary came around I was sure I wasn’t going to overdose. When I bought the pills, I was sure I wasn’t going to overdose. When I made a crisis call to Anna, I was sure I wasn’t going to overdose.

I overdosed.

So I was planning to make a few calls and see if I could be admitted to a private psychiatric facility next Wednesday, just for one night. Maybe I’d tell Nikki the following week, if it came up, or maybe not.

And then she called this afternoon because she’d made a mistake with the billing yesterday, and it all came tumbling out. Fuck, what is wrong with me? I didn’t even decide to tell her; it just happened. I asked if she knew whether any psychiatric hospitals do short-term admissions, and it backed me into a corner – I had to explain why I was asking. Fuck!

I didn’t want to be a fucking attention-seeking drama queen about this. I wanted to just handle it quietly and then get on with it. I feel so ashamed that she called me for a two-minute conversation about billing and it escalated into a 19-minute conversation about safety planning. That I’m so high-maintenance, so dependent. Now she has to spend her time calling hospitals, as well as the community support program I asked her to refer me to, all because I couldn’t keep my mouth shut and handle my own shit. I feel like that annoying kid nobody likes who just follows people around and won’t stop talking; like a huge heavy albatross around her neck.

I feel panicked that I told, that I lost control. Parts of me are pushing me to overdose now, just do it, you have to, just do it.

I know, I know. I’m trying to keep myself safe; I’m reaching out for help; these are positive, healthy steps. I don’t care. I’m so mad at myself right now.

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I Told Her Things (Why Did I Do That?)

16 thoughts on “I Told Her Things (Why Did I Do That?)

  1. Oh Rea, I am sorry you are going through this. I think you have an incredible amount of self-awareness to see that you may need to be hospitalized and work proactively toward that. I know telling Nikki was not in your plans, but I hope she also sees what I see – a person with incredible strength and insight working so hard to do what is best for herself – and I am sure that she is more than willing to help. I know that doesn’t take away your feelings, but please know (as you told me) that you deserve compassion and help just as much as anyone. Gentle hugs to you (if that would be helpful!) xx Blooming Lily

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    1. Sometimes I think I’m trying so hard, and I feel so sorry for myself that things aren’t getting better (poor brave little soldier), and sometimes I think I’m doing the minimum necessary to make it SEEM like I’m trying, without really making a proper effort. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle, I suppose.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What you just said – I feel that way too! And both sides (trying hard and not making progress, and feeling like you’re not really trying) feel so frustrating, at least to me. You’re right, the truth is somewhere in the middle. xx

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  2. Sirena says:

    I am really glad you told her. Handling your shit alone isn’t handling it, it’s avoiding it. You chose to do something different and I’m really happy to hear that. I know it must be scary. I don’t see this as attention seeking, I see this as keeping yourself safe, of choosing to step out of the self-harm pattern which really leads to nowhere good or productive and making a step towards something better. It’s going to be okay. Well done 🙂

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    1. It’s frustrating, because I can’t think of any response from Nikki that would have felt okay. I really hated her ‘taking over’ and making calls for me, but if she’d left me to handle it myself I would have felt alone and miserable. I obviously wanted something but I have no idea what it is.

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      1. Sirena says:

        I think it’s terrifying when someone else takes control, even if it is for our own good. I felt rage in times that happened. And I know what you mean about needing something but not knowing what it is. I always felt like when I finally accepted defeat and allowed people (professionals) to help me it was a huge anti-climax.

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  3. I get the whole being mad at yourself thing too. But I am glad that the part of you that is being proactive in upping the level of care, and the part of you that told her things (are they the same part?) did break the code of silence. I think it was the right thing to do even though you hate it, tell shame to shut up for a minute! When I told Elle that I felt bad for calling the crisis line because it felt like attention seeking, she rolled her eyes. Not necessarily therapeutic but was kind of helpful. I think you need more people on your side, helping you combat those thoughts that seem to be reasonable but are really not. Tell shame, and the mean stuff to shut up for a while. I am sorry this is happening to you and you are feeling scared and vulnerable and out of control and upset and all that. It does suck, but I am hopeful for you.

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    1. I don’t think they are the same, because the proactive part got really, really unhappy about her ‘taking over’ and making calls for me – it really wanted to be in charge. This whole thing probably should have resulted in more connection with Nikki, if I was a normal person, but instead it’s the opposite.

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      1. Umm whats normal? I think your reaction is completely “normal” for someone in your situation. You are doing the best you can to cope and survive and I hope you keep doing that. I agree with the others. You are brave to reach out for help, even though the help sucked.

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  4. I think it was good to ask for help. That’s really brave. I’m on my phone so can’t write a more in depth comment, but just wanted to say this. And seeking attention is a very legitimate thing to do. I’m sorry you’re feeling really down.

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  5. We are talking a week from yesterday, right? You told her because you want to live. Maybe a part of you is not wanting so much suffering, learning and gaining awareness into other ways? I don’t know..
    What I do know, is that you are so brave to ask for hospitalization and acknowledge your urges and thoughts. I really admire your decision. And I hope it has worked out (that a plan is in place), and that you can rest on the anniversary.

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    1. Actually, a part of my decision to look into hospitalisation was because of you – I remember you saying you believed in my ability to step up and do something, and that motivated me more than any of the lectures I’ve had from friends and therapists.

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      1. It makes me feel satisfied to know that my words helped in some small way. I think one of the hardest parts about therapy and this process we are all in, of trying to stay alive and figure out how to live meaningful lives that we want to be in, is facing the absolutely tragic truth that we have to step up and do something, over and over. Even when we didn’t create these messes for ourselves. I find that truth unbearable at times, and wish my therapist or some magic person out there could make it better. I hope last Wednesday went okay, would love to hear/read an update.

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  6. Dearest Rea,

    It’s not being a drama queen to ask for hospitalization or to tell Nikki you need help. It’s the wise part deep inside you that wants you to survive these terribly difficult times. That same wise part that so often leaves insightful, caring messages on other people’s blogs. She is very compassionate and smart, that wise part. I’m glad she loves you and wants to protect you from other parts that feel desperate for some pain relief.

    Healing is so non-linear. You can feel stuck and stuck and stuck in the same place for a long time. It’s not pleasant (actually, it’s hell), but it doesn’t mean you can’t get better. It just means you are feeling stuck. When that’s happening, the first priority is survival. So maybe it has been crisis to crisis lately. It sure doesn’t help that you have essentially no continuity of care. The key thing is to hang on through this nightmare until little by little, you find yourself a step away from the cliff. And then two steps. And then you see a path away from the cliff, and you start to go that way.

    Until you find that path, treasure the wonderful wise pare for everything she does to save your very important, very precious life. Love, Q.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. At some point I realised that as usual, you’re right – the thoughts were trying to tell me something. To get my attention, to remind me that I never really dealt with having surgery last year, and that I need to process it now. I couldn’t, though, because it feels so stupid. It shouldn’t be traumatic, and it isn’t, really. It’s more that I had to go through it completely alone, and just get back to life like nothing had happened, because my therapist was away for months and there wasn’t anyone I could talk to about it. It wasn’t a big deal, but I hurt myself so severely I needed surgery – it is a big deal. I can’t let it go.

      Trying to be hospitalised was just avoidance, really. My wisest, bravest self would have told Nikki about it, to see if having it heard would finally release it. But I was too ashamed of making a mountain out of a molehill, and when I told her the reason the thoughts were coming up, she was totally confused.

      “So what is it about having surgery that was so traumatic? I mean, you’re not afraid of pain, so…”

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