Breathing and Trying Not To Throw Up

I’m dying,” I tell myself.

No, you’re not,” I reply. “Stop being stupid.

Then I catch myself.

Why do you feel like you’re dying, honey?” I ask, the way Q and Rachel have taught me.

But there’s no answer.

I’ve been falling apart for days now. Since Sunday. I feel…weird. Like Rea has died, and I’m someone different altogether. I feel completely hysterical and completely calm all at once, and I couldn’t go to work if my life depended on it. (Which it does, sort of, at least the part that involves having a roof over my head and food in my fridge.)

Something is very wrong.

Yesterday was Monday. Yesterday Nikki texted to confirm that I definitely wanted to cancel my appointment today, which I did, even though I didn’t. (Money, money, it all comes back to money.) I told her yes, but could we move my Friday appointment to Wednesday, because I felt like I was decompensating?

Today is Tuesday. Today I’m sitting in the emergency department, covered in blood and trying not to throw up. Today I was stupid.

At midday, I called Nikki. “Can you call the private hospital and find out if they have any beds available?” I would have said. “I don’t know what’s wrong but something very bad is happening and I don’t feel like I’m going to hurt myself but I’ve never felt like this before and I think I need to do something.” That’s what I would have said, only she didn’t pick up.

That was okay. I knew she would call back. Instead, I took some deep breaths. I opened the blinds. I lit a candle. I went for a walk and bought some flowers. I took some more deep breaths. It’s okay, just breathe, you’re okay. 

She called back, and everything went wrong. I fucked up. I asked her to call the hospital, and to come over and do a session, but I panicked and I couldn’t breathe and instead of waiting for her to come, and going to the hospital, I took an overdose, and I cut my arm, very deep.

Nikki was in my house. Nikki isn’t supposed to be in my house.

And then she took me to the hospital, in her car. I’m not supposed to be in her car. And she stayed, and she got paper towel to mop up the blood that was running out through the bandages, and she gave me chocolate, and a hug, but then she left when the doctor took me me to get stitches, after he’d decided that probably I hadn’t cut any arteries. And I wanted to cry, and ask her not to leave me, but I don’t do that, so instead I said I don’t want to get stitches, but she left anyway.

I messaged Carol and asked her to come, but she has a full and rowdy household tonight.

So now I’m sitting, breathing and trying not to throw up.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me.

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Breathing and Trying Not To Throw Up

19 thoughts on “Breathing and Trying Not To Throw Up

  1. I don’t think you’re being stupid for not being able to find the right words. “I’m dying” might not be 100% accurate but it’s as close as you can get to naming how you’re feeling at the moment. The brain handles emotional pain with the exact same circuits as physical pain so it’s not surprising that it is interpreting your severe emotional pain as being life-threatening. It sounds like you are completely and utterly overwhelmed by everything that is going on for you at the moment, especially the emotional strain of your relationship with Nikki. You haven’t fucked up completely. You reached out for help after you hurt yourself, and I’m glad you did that. I hope that you can get a compassionate and helpful response from the people who are looking after you right now.

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    1. I really had trouble explaining to Nikki that I didn’t in any way believe I was actually dying, it wasn’t like having a panic attack and thinking you’re going to die. This is exactly it. It’s the way my brain is interpreting and expressing the degree of emotional pain I’m feeling. You really get it. Thanks, DV.

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  2. You were overwhelmed. Instead of going straight to coping in your usual way, you tried so many other things first. Rea, I know it feels like you fucked up, and I know that’s all you see right now but I see growth. You asked for help, and even when Nikki didn’t pick up you managed to contain it for a bit.

    My guess (and I could be wrong) is that when help was on its way you got overwhelmed by the prospect of doing this all differently. You did so many new things and you did so much right.

    My heart is with you, and I am beside you, and I hope all around you are full of compassion. Sending you love and light. And I’m so glad you reached out for help.

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    1. I think you’re exactly right. I definitely panicked at the reality that I’d reached out to Nikki and she was taking me seriously even though I hadn’t done anything drastic to communicate distress. And the idea of going to hospital without being severely physically injured, and going VOLUNTARILY, feels so impossibly wrong. You have a lot of insight, PD. Thank you for always being there to offer care.

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  3. Rea, if I could get on a plane to Australia right this minute and come sit with you in the hospital, I would.
    Like PD, when I read this, I also noticed how skillful you were. You held yourself for a long time (days, it sounds like). That is impressive. I know it doesn’t feel that way, but it is.
    ((<3))

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    1. I smell like the deadest of dead rats right now, so be careful what you wish for (probably even o chem is more fun than that). Thank you, though, Lily. It means a lot to have you by my bedside even though it’s only in the virtual sense.

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  4. Oh Rea. You did so good. Really, really good at holding so much, so many overwhelming feelings. You tried so hard to do things in a different way. And that is good. You haven’t screwed up anything. I’m glad Nikki was there for you– and I can imagine how overwhelming it was to have her at your house. Once Bea came to Kat’s school for a meeting, and even that felt..odd; like this person who means a lot and whose opinion I value so much, was seeing more sides of me, or something. Anyway. I can just imagine how it had to feel to have Nikki in your space– but it is a good thing she was there for you. I’m sorry she had to leave and that you are in the hospital. But I’m very glad you are safe. That matters. You matter. And I can sit with you, as long as my puppy can snuggle with you, and we can drink hot coco and color together. Xx💟

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    1. Thank you, Alice. I don’t know how I would be getting through and processing all of this without having this space to write and reflect and share. After my interactions with the hospital system this week it’s really hard to believe that I matter, but it’s nice to hear it from you.

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  5. I want to echo the comments of others who noticed how many positive coping strategies you used. The fact that they didn’t feel like enough yet, in a very scary moment, doesn’t take away from the good work at all. It’s very difficult to make the kind of changes you are trying for without some difficulties along the way.

    I sent you an email separately as well. Please be gentle with yourself.

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    1. The sulky part of me doesn’t CARE how many good strategies I used, because if it ends the same anyway, then what does it matter? I guess I just have to believe that it does matter, that every slow glacial step towards change does matter.

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      1. I think so, anyway, I think those slow glacial steps matter. But I also hear the protests and frustration of Sulky Part. Sulky Parts wants results! I don’t blame her (and sorry if I pissed her off).

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