Since my dad passed away on Nov 24th, my life has felt a lot like this air creature. Sometimes standing upright, looking normal for a few seconds, then bent over and upside down, in agony the next. I guess that’s how grieving a parent feels. I’ve grieved grandparents, an aunt, close friend, pets, but this is so much different. It’s pangs of regret for all the things my dad didn’t get to do, and then it doesn’t seem real. Like he’s just been at work and will be home later. It’s quite strange. Everything feels frozen in time.
On Tuesday night, October 22, 2019, I attempted suicide. I spent 1 full week in the hospital. Mental illness and suicide runs in my family so I’ve known since I was a small child that I was never meant to stay here. I’ve had a couple of brief isolated happy times in my 39 years of life, but honestly, the majority has been pretty miserable.
My dad is dying with stage 4 lung cancer and we have to take him to the restroom and care for him 100% My mom gets frustrated with being a caregiver to us both. After she stormed to her bedroom for the evening on Tuesday night, I decided I no longer wanted to be one more person she’d have to help.
I went into my room, poured a handful of pills into my hand, swallowed them all easily with some bottled water and regretted it a tiny bit, but didn’t do anything else. I put on some pants and a flannel shirt and was going to go downstairs and sit in my car and wait. Evidently within 7-10 minutes I fell down in my bedroom floor. I don’t remember anything.
I woke up out of it Wednesday, while being rolled to a bigger hospital room. I was under constant physical surveillance. In other words someone stayed in my room 24/7 and even had to watch me.go to the bathroom.
Then I was transferred by police, in handcuffs, to the mental hospital.
It was hell on earth. Except the food was really good and they fed us constantly!!!! They take all your possessions away when you arrive. No cellphone, no dental floss, art supplies, clothes with strings, everything. Any clothes a family member brings is thoroughly searched before you can get them. Nothing to do all day long but color pictures, play card games, or board games.
Every hour felt like 3. I couldn’t believe I was stuck there for the next 5 days. They check your room every 15 minutes at night and wake you up at 5 am for vitals check. Then they come back at 7am for early meds, and at 7:45 am they wake you up for breakfast. It’s not like the movies where they keep every one drugged.
I got my regular meds. Nothing more, nothing less. Words cannot express how much I wanted to come home. It felt like torture. I learned a lot though. I learned that every one there has it 10 times worse than me. Many of them were addicts, alcoholics, going to be homeless when they were released, had been sexually abused, and had nothing.
It made me realize that I have it so good, and I need to start living my life again. I know I won’t live forever, but the book that is my life, has a few more chapters to go.
Mind racing, hot then cold then hot again. We’ve all been there at one time or another. Some of us are always struggling every night to get to sleep. I usually don’t have any trouble staying asleep once I fall asleep, but the falling asleep can be the issue. People roll their eyes at the classic “close your eyes and count sheep” advice.
But have you actually really ever tried it?
Not actually visualizing fluffy, white sheep but just counting. Start at 1 and just keep counting until you fall asleep. If you can count 1 count with every breath, then that is probably most relaxing, but if not, just close your eyes and count at whatever pace is comfortable. Sometimes I am asleep by 100, sometimes I’ve gotten up to the 600’s and am still awake. The point of the counting is it prevents your mind from racing or thinking of anything else while trying to slip off to dreamland.
Now sometimes, for me, counting isn’t enough. Occasionally, my eyelids will just not stay closed. That probably sounds weird, but then again, maybe it doesn’t’.
For most nights now, I picked up one of those sleep masks. Mine is an Alaska Bear silk mask in black that I picked up from amazon.com They come in different patterns like polka dots, do not disturb, and starry night.
$9.99 at Amazon.com
A mask is really great because it forces my eyes to stay shut when they don’t want to. Once I can get my eyeballs to stay closed, then I start counting starting at 1. This usually works wonders for me.
Other good sleep habits are:
- Keep room as dark as possible or wear a sleep mask
- Put away all phones, tablets, e-readers, computers, turn off tv’s 30 minutes ahead to prepare mind for sleep
- Try not to eat or drink too close to bedtime.
If you are still having trouble sleeping, falling and staying asleep, certainly speak with your healthcare provider for a thorough check up.