It started on Tuesday. I was feeling down, and looking for support wherever I could find it. I was getting through the day relatively safely though, until he said it.
I was talking to A, and made the mistake of sharing old photos of me, pre-ED. I was at my set point, healthy, borderline underweight. For reference, my BMI would've been somewhere between 17.3-18.8. At the time, I was comfortable with my body, and logically, I knew I wasn't fat.
It makes me sick to even think of what he said, but long story short, he told me I looked like a cow.
Then, when I reacted, he tried to justify it as a compliment.
I stopped replying to his messages. I tried to talk to mum, but after expressing that it made me want to die, she walked out.
I talked to a couple of my friends from here. It helped, but nothing could stop the negative thoughts.
Then the pill popping got out of control.
I'd already had 4 earlier in the day.
I had the last 8 in the pack around 7pm after he said it.
By 8:30, I opened the new pack and took 100 Senokot (senna).
Now is probably a good time to mention that these days, I only use them when I legitimately need them, with the occasional 'emotional' use (which, I admit, has become more frequent in the past two months). But I haven't abused them for years, so generally speaking, I felt safe keeping them around.
I told myself that I deserved all the pain I would get. That it couldn't be worse than what I was already feeling.
And maybe, just maybe, it might make me less of a cow.
I popped ten at a time into a pill cup, counted them to make sure I hadn't dropped any (I'm paranoid about dropping any meds and having Bill or Misty pick them up), then swallowed them and popped ten more. I couldn't stop.
Before this, I think I'd only taken a max of 8, maybe 12, in a day. But I couldn't resist the urge to OD anymore, and it was either these or the other meds I've slowly been stockpiling.
I fell asleep curled up on the couch, repeating aloud
“I'm just a cow and cows do not deserve to live.”
(Note: This is not entirely true. Livestock probably have more purpose and right to live than I do.)
One of the last things I saw before going to sleep was yet another message from A -
“In what must be karmic payback, I just had a car accident,”
(Drama queen. He scratched his bumper while parking.)
“That actually happened … I'm gonna give up and go home and forget there's a world outside my bed for me to fuck up.”
At midnight, I woke up. 'Cramps' don't even describe what I was feeling. I was in agony, and felt like my insides were ripping apart.
I grabbed the emergency container I keep under the couch for random bouts of nausea, and vomited up my stomach's contents in two almighty heaves. With a fever, sweats, chills, and my heart racing, I knew I'd fucked up.
I called out for mum. I couldn't move, I was in so much pain. I asked if she could grab me a bucket and some water.
“What are all these pill packets from?!”
“All of them? How many did you take?!”
“I'll be fine. They're not that dangerous. I just need to stay hydrated and keep my electrolytes up, and probably have killer cramps for the day.”
I thought I'd be camping out in the hallway outside the bathroom with water and a sports drink, but mum wasn't comfortable with it because of the AN and my physical state. She wanted me to go to the hospital. I asked her to check if my brother was awake to drive me to Private A&E (she still can't drive), but as it was so late, their A&E was closed. I'd even been keeping $190 aside recently for their admission fee because I've been feeling so unsafe lately, I figured I'd end up in A&E for one reason or another.
I asked if she could just check with the Nurse on Call hotline first. She rang, and they weren't too sure what would happen, so they forwarded her call to Triple Zero.
The paramedics came out and checked me over. They didn't know what effect so much senna could have on me, so they decided to take me in. I grabbed my phone, wallet, and Boo, and got into the ambulance.
I always feel ridiculous taking up time from the emergency services for something self-inflicted, both with the paramedics and in A&E.
In A&E, they had to google senna. No one really knew what to do or what would happen. They decided to just play it by ear and try to manage the symptoms as they arose.
Over the next several hours, I had 3 litres of IV fluids until I could stomach starting to take fluids orally. They gave me various painkillers and things to help with the cramps and nausea, as well as slow down the digestive process, but nothing was helping with the pain and cramps.
I didn't get much sleep that night. I dozed on and off through the next day, between meds, OBs, IV changes, running to the toilet, doctors assessing me and nurses checking up on me.
Around 7am, someone from the mental health team came down to see me. I was nervous, but at least the Horrible Psychiatrist no longer works there (who was always a little too eager to section me, and scared me out of going to the public hospital for several years).
Everyone kept looking at my record and asking if I was sure I wasn't trying to kill myself. I told them it was just for self-harm. I felt too stupid and embarrassed to add that I thought they'd make me less of a cow (which I know is ridiculous because I know laxatives don't make you lose weight).
“Do you take them daily?”
“No – I haven't abused them for years. These days I just keep them around for when I actually need them. This was just... impulsive. Self-harm.”
They asked if I wanted to link back in with ED services, but these days I can just twist the truth a little (just a little). I told her I was seeing a dietician weekly, and that she was monitoring it, plus regular appointments with my GP and seeing a psychologist, even though I've actually only met the psych once. That seems to placate them without referring me for ED specific treatment. I might embellish a little, but it keeps me where I'd rather be.
By 8am, the nausea started to ease, and I had my first oral intake with a cup of coffee. But the cramps just kept getting worse. After 8 hours of trying multiple doses of two different painkillers, all to no avail, the nurse looked through my chart and returned with oxycontin.
Given my history, especially regarding substance abuse, I'm still surprised they gave it to me, but I guess that shows how bad the cramps were (and I have a relatively high pain tolerance). Even though I knew I'd get bad cramps, I wasn't expecting them to be as bad as they were.
Later in the morning, they gave me more oxycontin. Around 9am, they moved me from the main part of A&E to a 'short stay' bed, for those there longer than A&E but not long enough to move upstairs to a ward.
It was midday before the cramps started to ease, and then I just felt completely weak and drained. Exhausted, I revelled in being able to finally lie down straight instead of curled up in a ball, and dozed on-and-off for the next couple of hours.
Later in the afternoon, the doctor said I should be fine to go home soon. She said I should get some Buscopan from the pharmacy, that it was really good for cramps (and what finally helped, plus the oxycontin, but I knew I wouldn't be getting that at home), and to keep my fluids up.
I got home just before 3pm, completely exhausted and still feeling the effects of the senna. I asked mum to pick up some Buscopan, as well as Hydralyte, when she walked to the pharmacy to pick up my regular meds, plus requested a script for 500/30 paracetamol/codeine from my GP.
I spent the rest of the day drinking proper coffee after having instant in hospital, sorting out my usual daily notes, and trying to compile notes for my journal, not having the mental energy to actually write about the incident for a few days.
I went to bed early and just crashed, although I had to wake up through the night to run to the toilet and have more meds to deal with the painful cramps, which returned every 4-6 hours after the meds wore off, and continued for the next few days.
By the next morning (Thursday), I was mostly just passing torrents of water, and trying to keep myself as hydrated as I could. I had to run to the toilet three times in 5, maybe 10, minutes before I finally made it to my armchair with my coffee.
The rest of the day was spent just resting on the couch, watching movies and replaying the same old games I've played through a thousand times before, trying to keep myself distracted as I tried to replace the water I was losing.
I also saw the dietician that afternoon. After discharge, I asked mum to see if the dietician had any gaps for the next day, plus checking when my GP would be able to next see me. Thankfully, the dietician had a cancellation and we got a call around midday Thursday, although my GP couldn't see me until the following Wednesday.
I didn't actually make it to my regular Tuesday appointment with the dietician (the day of the overdose). Leaving the house is getting so much harder, and I couldn't bear the thought of catching another Uber that morning. Throat aching, tears falling, I stayed at home. 650 meters and 3 minutes' drive shouldn't be so hard, but it is.
The cramps started to ease across Friday, although they still came back whenever the meds wore off. By then, I doubt there was much left in me to pass, but I still seemed to be losing water as fast as I drank it.
It was a solid 72 hours until the physical side passed, and then on Saturday, I had to face the mental side of it. It hit me like a tonne of bricks. I felt so anxious, so disgusted, so sickened. I just wanted to call up in a ball and disappear. The overdose might've hurt, but at least I didn't have to face the mental and emotional pain for a few days.
I had extra PRNs throughout the day. I didn't want to think. I didn't want to feel. I just wanted my head to stop. To be honest, if I had more laxatives, I probably would've done it all over again just to escape this pain.
For now, I'm spending most of my time frozen on the couch, marathoning movies and Dr Phil. My heart's still poundingpoundingpounding. Everything hurts too much to even keep up with my notes – recording what I do, smoke, eat, goals, everything.
It was only yesterday that I started to process it all. The comment, the overdose, the time in hospital, the impact of it all. I spent a total of three hours journalling about it all, which took most of the day with coffee breaks in between. It's taken even longer to break it all down and write this blog post.
Now I'm just waiting for my digestive system to get back to normal. I'm still taking my fiber supplements each day with my morning coffees, resisting the urge to take more laxatives as I know it'd just start the endless cycle again.
I wish I could tell you that I've learnt my lesson, that I'll never overdose on laxatives again.
I am planning to restock, because sometimes you do genuinely need them with restriction.
But in my head, it just seems like a viable option or when I get the urge to overdose and/or self-harm. It doesn't feel as risky in terms of death compared to some of the other meds I've overdosed on, and it keeps the pain from self-harm lasting for days, blocking out everything else.
As for my 'friend' (and I use this term loosely), I am trying to cut contact, but it's hard. There's a worry that if I go AWOL, he'll call/text, and if I don't answer, may just turn up on my doorstep. But part of it is on my shoulders. Friends who I can actually see in person only come around once in a blue moon, so it's not the easiest thing to give up. Although, as my brother said (the only person outside of blogger who knows who said it, and now wants to skin him alive), that is not a friend.
On the upside, I think being told I'm a perfect cow has killed my appetite for a long time. There are no words for how disgusted I am with myself.