Friday, February 20, 2009

I prayed for the relief that death would bring...the only way out of the pain

I used to wonder how someone could get to the point where things seem so hopeless, so filled with pain, that the only way out is to die. There were times as a child, and as an adult where I would beg God to make him stop, make it stop – take away the pain. I didn’t want to die, I just wanted the pain to end. Last Summer I no longer ‘wondered’ how someone could get to the point where they saw death as the only way to make the pain stop. I no longer wondered because I was that person. I was overwhelmed with emotional pain that I was unequipped to handle and I became so hopeless that I welcomed, and actually pursued death. Some people think, “how selfish” – suicide is such a selfish act…and there was a time in my life when I shared these same thoughts. But I now realize that life can seem so hopeless that one can feel as though they are more of a burden on the people in their life, that their death would not only bring them relief, but would also be a relief to others.

One afternoon, after a particularly difficult therapy session, I knew that I was going to die. I remember pulling it together enough to pick my children up from daycare, and knowing I could not take care of them, I called a friend of mine to come and take them for the evening. And although I had spent the drive home from dear therapist’s office planning my death, a part of me must have wanted to live, because after I took a handful of anti-anxiety medications and a few sleeping pills, washing them all down with glass after glass of wine, I called a very close friend of mine. I did not ask her to come over, but I was crying, inconsolable and incoherent, and when she offered to come over, I did not tell her not to come. Some part of me, a small voice inside of me must have wanted to live.

I don’t remember much after my friend arrived, there are moments I remember, but much of the evening, I remember only from what she has told me. I do remember her offering, practically begging, to take me to the hospital, and I remember refusing to go. I wanted to die, why would I go to the hospital? To make my point clear, I took the empty wine glass I had been drinking from and shattered it on the floor. I then picked up a shard of glass and begin to make deep, jagged cuts into my forearms. I remember doing this and I know that it was me, but it was as though I was watching it from outside my body. Even though the cuts were deep and my arms were quickly covered with my own blood, I felt nothing. My friend grabbed some towels to soak up the blood but as I remember it, she remained calm; she did not panic or act like this was in any way an unusual situation.

The next thing I remember is talking to dear therapist on the phone and her trying to get my attention, to assess how ‘sick’ I really was. I was tired; I couldn’t understand why she was asking me questions, or calling me at home. I just wanted her to be quiet, but she wouldn’t stop talking. “Grace, what have you taken? Grace, how much have you had to drink? Grace, who is there with you? What did you take?”
Leave me alone! Why are you calling me! It’s too late ~ just leave me alone…let me go, leave me alone. I can’t do this any more.
But she would not leave me alone. She would not hang up the phone.
In those moments I was so angry at her for interfering with my plans.
It was weeks before I could talk about this night with dear therapist, and months before I would be trusted enough to have more than 2 days of medication in my possession at any given moment….I apologized to both my friend and my therapist for my behavior and for putting them both in such a terrible position. My friend shrugged it off as though suicide watch is part of the normal duty of friendship. Dear therapist later told me that she desperately did not want me to be her first suicide.
I never thought I would get to a point in my life where I would choose death over life, but I’ve been there, not so long ago. Life is fragile, and sometimes other people do things to shatter the lives of innocent people….but it is not hopeless. I have fallen since that night, and each time I fall, dear therapist reminds me that I am still alive, that I have gifts to offer to this world, and that she will not abandon me on this journey. And as much as I have fought myself, my past and dear therapist ~ she is still here with me. I have tested her over and over again; the children within me cling to her, and then push her away and then scream at her for not being there. But she has been true to her word, she has not abandoned us…even though the little voice inside me will add….not yet.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, Grace. You have such courage and strength to share this with us. Thank you.

    I'm finally getting over to your blog after communicating with you over at the Child Abuse Survivors ning/network and after your kind comment on my dot com site. My computer got a virus and crashed and I'm using a really old, slow lap top right now, but I'm trying to get around to some blogs. I'm going to add you to my sidebar links so I can come back and visit you again. Take gentle care.