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.
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.