Monday, April 11, 2011

Hospital Stay #1

Every time I eat graham crackers, I am taken back to Highland Park Hospital. Unwrapping each packet of crackers, placing them in a bowl, pouring milk from a cardboard box and then eating them as fast as I can before they get too soggy. I did this everyday for nearly 2 weeks. That hospital stay was life changing for me.

As I counted out each individual pill in the living room of my parents house, I thought about how this was it. I was going to just end it all b/c I could not take it anymore. What purpose did my life have? I wouldn't be missed, in fact it would be a relief to those around me to be gone. I was miserable and thought the only way to solve that would be to kill myself. I swallowed those pills. 50 to be exact and went upstairs. It was then that I was overcome with an urgency to tell my sister Holly what I had just done. Perhaps the consequences of suicide were more than what I thought to be. Holly was in her bathroom when I explained to her that I had just taken the pills with the intent to kill myself. She ran to get my parents and I just went and sat on the stairs. My mom started to panic and tried to force me to throw up. I don't remember if I did or not so they forced me into their car and drove me to the nearest emergency room.

After arriving at Lake Forest Hospital, they took me back and the first thing a nurse said to me was, "now why would you go and do something like that?" I was stunned. Here I was, having just tried to kill myself and that is what was said to me? I couldn't believe the lack of compassion that nurse had. They immediately gave me ipecac syrup to induce vomiting along with a TON of water to drink. Instead of the normal pink emesis trays to throw up in, they gave me what I remember to be a bucket that looked like a KFC bucket. I threw up, and threw up and threw up. It was awful. They then decided that I should get my stomach pumped, to make sure that there wasn't anything else in there that could harm me. Having that tube shoved up my nose and then down my throat into my stomach was a feeling that I hope to never experience again. They filled my stomach with fluid and then pumped it all out. My nose was bleeding from the force involved in placing the tube, and I just felt so miserable. After they pumped my stomach, I was informed that they were going to give me a charcoal treatment. What they did was insert this black thick substance into the tube that would then go through my digestive tract and absorb anything along the way, in hopes of flushing out any extra stuff that may have been digested at that point. The charcoal was thick and appeared to be hard to get pumped into the tube. I could feel the temperature change in the tube as it went in and down into my stomach. It was cold and so bizarre feeling to have the cold slide down. After all of this in the ER, they transferred me up to the ICU to observe me overnight. I don't remember much about that room except there wasn't a bathroom. All they had was this little toilet thing hidden behind some fold out privacy thing. My mom had to help me go to the bathroom since I was still hooked up to the tube, had an IV, and other monitors on my body. I hated feeling so helpless and having my mom wipe me, but I didn't have any other choices.

The next morning, it was decided that I should be transferred to Highland Park Hospital to be admitted into the psych ward. They pulled all the tubing out, the IV, and monitors off and wheeled me downstairs on the gurney. They wrapped me up like a burrito with the blankets and then strapped me onto the wheeled bed. It was policy that I had to be transported in the ambulance. I was loaded up and put in the back of the ambulance. My parents drove behind us and I could see them out the back window as we made the drive to Highland Park. Once there, I was wheeled up to the psychiatric unit and the necessary paperwork was filled out by my parents. I was admitted and there started the process of getting help. My mom was due to fly to Europe with Holly for spring break with the choir. I can't imagine what it must have been like to leave her daughter there and then travel across the world- not being able to visit me or see how things were going.

I was put in the unit with other youth so we were away from the adults. Every day consisted of therapy- both group and individual. We also had class time, so that we could stay caught up on our school work. I started on medication to help with the depression and that seemed to help. I don't remember a lot about what happened while there, but I know that things were getting better. I wasn't so hopeless about life and knew that I was getting the help I needed. There was a piano there that I played on a lot. Music was healing to my soul. My dad would come and visit me often. My best friend Carrie and her mom visited as well. I felt loved and knew that I had people who cared about me.

Shortly before I was to be released, I realized that I was going to be leaving the comfort of this place and it scared me. After one of the meals, I kept one of the plastic forks and broke it so that there was a jagged edge. It was with that fork that I started to cut my arms. I knew that if I cut myself, I would have to stay and not go home. Once I was caught, they put me in solitary confinement to make sure that I wasn't a danger to myself anymore. I'm pretty sure I spent 24 hrs there. I got what I wanted though and got to stay at the hospital longer. After nearly 2 weeks in the psych unit, it was time to go home and live in the real world.

Transitioning back to the real world was rather difficult. Some people felt sorry for me, others were appalled at what I had done, and others were truly genuine in their care and concern for me. News spread around school about what had happened and I didn't really care for the spotlight it brought on me. I wanted to be normal and move forward with life, but I was now just another depressed teenager who had issues.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Life Story

I make no excuses for why I haven't posted in 1 year. So, let's move forward.

One of the things I am going to use this blog for is to write my life story. I've felt impressed for some time to start doing this instead of waiting until the end of my life and have no memory. I also have the chance to meet with a small group of fabulous ladies in my ward who are writing their own story as well. The get together once a week and share ideas & goals, give feedback and suggestions as well as offering moral support. I'm so excited to start on this journey and hope that you will share in it as well.