I know I haven't posted in a couple of weeks. The Christmas and New Year season is always a stressful time. Last week, I broke, and ended up in hospital for four days.
Across Sunday night through Monday morning, I ended up taking an overdose of a mixture of oxazepam, seroquel, lorazepam, and an over-the-counter sedative.
After my morning coffee, I just gave up. My mum had gone to meet my Great Aunt for a coffee. Just after she left, I took the rest of my pills. She came home and found me snoring on the couch. A few hours later, she realised I hadn't moved a muscle in the time she'd been home. She looked closer and could tell it wasn't good. I wouldn't wake up. I only gave the slightest response when she yelled my name.
It would've been a perfect way to go. So peaceful, just falling asleep. No pain, no panic, no regret. I've overdoses on different combinations many times over the past 11 years. They've always kept me awake and have usually been painful, as if I could feel the poison burning through my body. I've always panicked and called for help. But this time, I just drifted away. I took the pills, lay down, and fell asleep nearly immediately. In a morbid sense, there was a certain beauty to it.
I'd meant to write a note detailing what I'd taken and put it on the couch or table somewhere, as I used to do for overdoses, but I didn't get around to it. It was worse than last time. I'm not going to post exactly what I took, but there was over 60 pills in a combination of oxazepam, lorazepam and seroquel, plus 10 over-the-counter sedatives. That's over two weeks' worth of meds that I've slowly stockpiled, plus the sedatives. It was my entire stash, so it was bound to be messy.
I don't remember the paramedics getting here. I don't remember getting into the ambulance. I had to be carried. The clothes I was wearing were cut irreparably as they needed access now.
Just like last time, the first 24 hours are a blur. I remember getting a blood test, but not the IV or urine catheters. I remember slurring my words when I woke up, speaking slowly and having trouble making the correct sounds, and the doctor reassuring my mum that it was just from the anaesthetic.
I don't know how a small breakdown escalated to this. Drinking on the Sunday night probably didn't help by the end of it, but when I first opened the bottle and danced around the kitchen, I felt free.
They kept saying “suicide attempt” in handover, but it wasn't. It was for a break, to ease the pain, to put a pause on the world in the same way drinking and drugs had. It was self-harm. It was getting out of my head.
From A&E, to ICU, then back down to a general ward. My legs were like jelly, and balancing seemed like an impossible task. Even with rails to hold, I wasn't allowed to make the 2-3 meter walk to the toilet by myself. When I tried to get up, the scale on the bed would set off an emergency bell because it was too dangerous for me to stand.
It was Tuesday morning they moved me to a general ward. In the middle of the night, I asked a nurse why I'd gotten none of my regular medication. When told I had nothing written up, they sent a medical doctor down to see me. He said I wouldn't be given any of my medication, which was very upsetting.
He asked “Have you been seeing or hearing things that aren't really there?”
I told him no. The thing is, you don't necessarily know when you're hallucinating. You don't know if something's not really there, until someone tells you.
After he left, I started running through things in my head. By the morning, I realised I had been hallucinating, which continued for a day or two. I remember thinking there was maggots in my dinner the first night, and stopped eating after two bites. They were so vivid, I was sure they were there. In retrospect, I should've called for a nurse, and then I would've realised they weren't actually there.
The adhesives on the dressings were making me itch (and one arm still has a rash, a week later). For the first time ever, I took out the IV cannula myself. I peeled away the dressing, and one it was loose, started gently pulling it out. I only had one hand, but still managed to get it out and put pressure on.
The next day, more doctors came to see me. The first thing they did was listen to my chest and mention follow-ups of an x-ray I'd had done, which I thought was odd given why I was there. I guess it's coming to that time of year when my lungs flare up, and I had been getting a hoarse cough and sore chest. They told me I'd had IV antibiotics while I was in ICU after the x-ray. They also said my blood pressure was higher than expected, but gave no number.
Medically, I was okay, just very slow and shaky on my feet, and nauseated. I just needed my head to stop being so fuzzy and making stuff up. Most of the time, I couldn't answer the “what's your name, where are you, what year is it, what day of the week it is” questions.
The new psychiatrist at the hospital is brilliant though – so much better than the Horrible Psychiatrist. He came to see me later in the day. I asked him about my meds, and he said I should've been given them. That there was no point in punishing my by taking them away. I told him about the hallucinations.
He asked what triggered it, and I said I didn't know. Then I thought. I was meant to be catching up with a friend the day before, and they bailed on me. Looking at my record, he noted that my last overdose in November was after being discharged from the Clinic, then trying to get back in, but the psychiatrist refusing. He thinks one of my big triggers in abandonment and feeling like people don't care. I hadn't put it together like that before, but it makes a lot of sense.
I told him I didn't feel safe going home, that I'd just overdose again once I had more meds. He said we could look at an inpatient admission somewhere. He was supposed to come around the next morning before I was discharged, but he never did.
I ended up waiting longer to be discharged as the staff tried to find a bed at the Clinic for me. I spent three hours with my mind constantly changing as to whether or not I wanted to go there. In the afternoon, after multiple phone calls, they called back to say that they had no private beds, and couldn't take me anyway as I posed a risk to myself. They said they'd see what the mental health system could offer me, but they never called back.
Today I tried to make an appointment to see my GP, but she's away for the week. I regretted putting off doing it last week. The earliest I could see her is next Tuesday, but since I already have a double appointment on Thursday, it didn't seem worth changing it. The only problem is that, when the pharmacy delivered my twice-weekly meds yesterday, they gave me no PRNs. I have some left from the last one, but it's going to be a week without. I'll figure it out, somehow.