The fallout from Isaiah and mental illness continues. This is a blog from our neighbor – a very special friend of mine. I was worried about her the night Isaiah died. Actually, Laurie and I said immediately after calling 911, “we need to go to Jocelyn.” I continue to worry and pray for her. This is a very tough read…. Read it at your own discretion. Please join me in praying for her.
Let me begin by saying that this will probably be one of my most serious posts, and I’m hesitating a lot in putting this out there, but I feel like the information is just bubbling inside of me and I’m going to explode if I can’t get it out somehow.
Basically, my life has fallen apart. I know what you’re thinking: “What the hell happened?” Literally nothing. Nothing is different from the time that I was target-free. That’s the weird thing. I relapsed for no terribly apparent reason and I’ve been getting worse and worse still without a cause. Recently, I have had the dosage of one of my mood stabilizers lowered, but I definitely hesitate to put any significance in that.
I’ll break down the week for you.
Monday, February 17, 2014:
I had a meltdown at school. I was sitting in guidance at the end of third period waiting to talk to my counselor. Suddenly, I felt tears start to well up in my eyes. I was like, “Dafuq?” I had no idea why I was crying. I got extremely anxious and depressed. I sat there for a little bit, but I kept spiraling downward. I told the secretaries in the guidance office that I needed immediate help. They said they would try to email and call my guidance counselor because she was in her office with another student. I paced back and forth and my breathing started to get out of control. Suicidal thoughts and shame began clouding my mind. I was flipping shit.
By the time my counselor was free, I was basically sobbing. She asked me what was going on and all I managed to gasp out was “I really want to kill myself.” After we spoke for some time, she called my mom, who came and picked me up. When we got home, my mom wouldn’t let me out of her sight until it was time for me to go to bed. Not long after she left me alone, I cut.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014:
I can’t remember much other than some tidbits of my school day. However, I know that I did cut and burn myself that night.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014:
When questioned on my self-harm at school, I openly said that I had cut and burned. Of course this caused some alarm, but it was known that I had been hurting myself throughout the week as well. Burning just kind of stepped it up. The school nurse checked out my burns and wrapped them. I don’t know why I didn’t expect my guidance counselor to say something to my mom about my self-harm, but she did. I guess I really should have seen it coming. When my mom talked to me about it, I got extremely dysregulated. She really dug into me with points she made about me not putting effort into using skills. The way it came across, however, was more like “Everyone is trying so hard to help you and you aren’t trying at all”. That’s not super far off though.
At that point, something inside of me snapped. For the first time in my life, I decided wholeheartedly that I was going to kill myself. Even other times when I had attempted, it was more “we’ll see what happens” than “this is definitely going to happen”. But on Wednesday I made up my mind that, without a doubt, I would commit suicide on Sunday, the 23rd. I felt almost instantaneous relief. I had an escape. I began planning what I would do. Overdose. My medication and cold medicine I had stashed in my room. Lay on a towel so that clean up would be easier if I threw up. Lock my door and turn on a fan so that if I was having a seizure or in pain I wouldn’t be able to back out and get my mom’s attention. I began writing notes to everyone that was important in my life. These notes would span over 20 people from my friends to my family to my therapist and teachers. I went to bed that night feeling calm and confident despite another aggravating conversation with my mother.
Thursday, February 20, 2014:
I woke up feeling at peace with my decision. I read a text message from one of my good friends saying that I’m meant to do incredible things, and that I’m one of the strongest people in the world. She also said that I would live to be like 105 and then eventually I would go to heaven and have the dopest time together with Isaiah for the rest of forever. That’s when my confidence first started to waver. I was able to accept the compliments and somewhat brush them off.
I ate breakfast. I didn’t want to, but I knew that if I didn’t eat, people would know that something was different. I headed off to school. If I could get through the school day and my following therapy session, I’d be in the clear away from my support staff and therapist. My plan was to avoid my guidance counselor and emotional support teacher. I have daily check-ins with them that I was going to skip. I didn’t go to my first one during homeroom, and things were going okay first period. I was partially paying attention to chemistry, but mostly just writing more suicide notes. I started to get impatient. I wanted to die immediately. Sunday seemed ages away. I decided that I was going to die Friday, the next day.That’s when it occurred to me that another one of my support staff is in my second period. Unavoidable interaction. If I skipped the class, someone would know things weren’t normal. I started getting anxious, but I tried talking myself down. “I can do this.” “I’ve acted before, right? I must have learned something in theater.” “It’ll be okay; its almost over.” I decided that I was just going to try to keep our conversations to a minimum.
I skipped my first period check-in and went straight to second. All I needed to do was keep my cool through second period. It seemed easy enough. I sat down and realized we had a test in that class. Shit. I have testing accommodations in my IEP. She was definitely going to talk to me about that. My support teacher came in and started talking to all the other kids that I guess get testing accommodations too. I thought in a brief moment of hope that maybe she’d forget about me. They were getting ready to leave the room, and I got excited. I thought I was good to go, but then she turned around and asked if I wanted to go with them.
“I don’t know. I’ll probably hand it in blank.” I said less nonchalantly than I would have liked.
She said that that’s why I should come with her. If I turned her down, it would be obvious that something was up. I followed her and the other students to an empty classroom. She passed out the tests. I stared at the paper. I knew the answers, but I couldn’t bring myself to write. Math seems so irrelevant when you’re going to die in a day.
My teacher sat down with me and read me the first question. Without thinking, I said, “It doesn’t matter.” My voice shook and tears began to form. I was surprised and instantly angry. I had no idea why I was about to cry. I was disgusted with my emotion. I needed to die then. I decided to move my death date once again. I would kill myself that night. I took a deep breath and forced myself to maintain composure. She said that she knew it doesn’t matter, and that surviving is what matters for me, but if I wanted to get out of those hallways eventually, it mattered. I didn’t know what to say. My vision got blurry. More tears were coming. FUCKFUCKFUCK is all I was thinking. My teacher got up and brought me a box of tissues. She came around behind me and gave me a hug, whispering “You are greatly loved.”
That’s when I really lost my shit. I felt a pang of agony in my chest. The tears flowed freely. I couldn’t control it. She asked me if I wanted to go to guidance, and I said no. I couldn’t afford letting my guidance counselor see me like that too. Raising alarm was the very last thing I wanted. I thought about all of the people that I love and that love me. It was sinking in that I would be leaving them that night. I thought about Isaiah leaving me. I cried. She asked if something had happened the night before that was upsetting me. I said kind of, but that it wasn’t important. She said “Everything about you is important.” Even more crying.
I sat in that room and cried for a little longer before I stepped out into the hallway. That’s where I began all-out sobbing. After a few minutes, I saw my teacher look through the window in the door to check on me. I’m sure I looked like a complete mess. It wasn’t long after that that the school social worker came up to me. She asked me if I wanted to come into her office.Shit. What have I done? I’m blowing it! I followed her downstairs into her office. She tried to get me to talk to her about what was wrong. I said nothing. I just cried.
After a bit of her prying, I said, “I don’t want people to care about me.” She asked me why I wanted that, and I just shook my head. I felt like I had already said too much. She said that whether I want them to or not, a lot of people care because that’s what they do. I cried some more.
Eventually, the social worker had to go to a meeting, so she walked me down to guidance. I was very hesitant because I had no idea how I would handle talking to my counselor that I was usually so open with, but again, if refused to go, things would seem even stranger. I was still crying uncontrollably once I was in my guidance counselor’s office. She asked me many questions, trying to get a grip on what was going on. I said “I don’t know” or “it’s not important” to almost everything. I must have cried nonstop for 45 minutes or an hour before I snapped. She asked me what one thought going on in my mind was, and I said “People love me.” I was exhausted from the war that was going on inside of me. Part of me was screaming to shut the hell up, and the other just wanted to be honest. She asked me why that was upsetting me. What felt like forever passed as the argument continued in my head. I blurted out between sobs, “I’m going to kill myself tonight.”
As you can imagine, this sparked a whole ton of shit. At that point, I just started spewing word vomit. The majority of my plan came tumbling out of my mouth. I regretted each thing I said more than the last. She called my mom of course, who came and picked me up early from school. My mom and I went to Friendly’s after that. Kinda weird, I know, but oh well. She was probably trying to cheer me up. There we started brain storming where to go from there in terms of my life. However, I was still not very committed to living at all. We did it anyway. Unsurprisingly, hospitalization joined the list along with dropping out, being a bum, doing the same thing we were (regular high school and potential work), and some other things. We didn’t figure out which one we were going to stick to. I had a therapy session at 3 o’clock that day, so we were going to wait to get my therapist’s opinion. I thought for sure that she was going to hospitalize me. I had a suicide plan. That’s usually a direct ticket to inpatient. My mom said that if I wasn’t completely open and honest with my therapist, we were going to leave her and find a different one. Now, I have no idea what that would do to help. Seeing someone brand new while in crisis seemed like the worst idea proposed so far. Not to mention the fact that I’m relatively attached to my therapist of two years.
So we got to the therapy office and I was anxious as shit. So many things were at risk. My suicide plan, my freedom, my relationship with my therapist. I was freaking out inside, but I tried to stay as calm as I could on the outside. My mom had called my therapist when she was on her way to pick me up, so she already knew about my plan. I told her what my week had been like in a recap that was similar to this one, but with more swearing. We talked about all the options that my mom and I had come up with. She said that if I went to a hospital, it was likely that they’d only discharge me into a longer term program because I had been discharged home in each of my other hospitalizations and time after time failed to remain safe. This was shitty news. A long term treatment program (like a residential or group home) was not going to make me want to live.
At the end of my session, we brought my mom in and talked with her a little bit. Not much was decided for sure except that I would have two sessions the next week instead of one. I wasn’t confident in my ability to even get to next week, so it seemed like a pretty thin plan, but I let it go. My mom said that she would be my one-on-one staff, which means that again I would not be out of her sight.
After I was home again, I began to feel numb. Everything felt so surreal. My mom made me help her clear my room of razors and pills. We found razors that I didn’t even know I had. Each time we found one, I slashed my wrists open in my mind. Holding a box cutter, I knew how easy it would be to cut deep enough to really fuck something up. I knew that my mom would be able to get medical attention there fast though. Death would be highly unlikely, and then I’d definitely get sent away. Not worth it.
Thinking that night, I allowed myself to fall further into my numbness. The thought popped into my head that maybe I was in shock. I had believed with every fiber of my being that I was going to be dead that night, even after I told my guidance counselor. I wouldn’t have gotten as upset as I did if I had had any doubts.
In the days following Thursday, I tried to go about things as normally as I could. I went to a leadership summit on Friday with students from my school’s Gay-Straight Alliance. Then my friends and I went out to eat. Saturday, I went to breakfast with two of my good friends and hung out with them while they played guitars. My brother and I got a surprise visit from some friends at our house and then went to an auction, a pizza place, and some antique shops. Later Saturday afternoon, my sister came home from college, so that was really cool.
It all sounds great, right? It is great. I’m surrounded by so many wonderful people, but I am plagued by the desire to leave them all. All the while it’s been very much in the front of my mind that I’m not supposed to be here. If my teacher hadn’t said anything to me, I wouldn’t have broken down, if I hadn’t broken down, I wouldn’t have seen my guidance counselor, and if I hadn’t seen my guidance counselor, I really wouldn’t be here. With each person I talk to, I picture them at my funeral. I run through the suicide note that I left for them in my mind. I feel such guilt for wanting to abandon everyone that loves me, but at the same time I feel a crushing amount of disappointment that I haven’t yet.
Today is exactly one year and four months since Isaiah passed away.
It’s also the day that I had originally set out to die.
I have no idea what to do.