I woke up in an emergency room again. No idea where I was or what day I was. It was 2014 and I clearly remember it was the day before the election for the Governor. I had been out of the hospital after my first attempt for 10 days and things were rapidly getting worse. My marriage had been destroyed, I wasn’t allowed near my home or my son. Every comfort that I had relied on in the past was gone so I began turning to another comfort. I turned to alcohol and a lot of it. I was staying at a hotel and had planned to check myself in on a Monday morning. I can remember sending my ex wife pictures of me sitting outside the hospital waiting to go in. Despite her affair and lies that followed I was throwing myself at my ex trying to salvage my marriage. Finally I can recall telling her that I would take myself into the hospital as long as she promised I could come home when I was let out. I told her that walking myself in would likely mean I would only be kept a few days. I will never forget her response. “You need to be in there for more than a few days.” Then communication went silent. The emails and text message stopped. We weren’t to be communicating in the first place. It was like I was given orders and I needed to do what ever necessary to complete the mission she had given me. The only way I knew to get myself kept in the hospital for more than a few days was to harm myself. And unfortunately for me the mission I was given was to keep me away from a court hearing and never got to back to my home. I was played but so far deep in the fog I couldn’t see it or accept it.
I stopped at a local grocery store and picked up some roasting bags and proceeded to the hotel closest to the hospital I ended up in after my first attempt. I got to the hotel and took the time to order a pizza and I can remember thinking this is a crappy pizza. I kept trying to communicate with my ex but no response. It was like I was begging for an alternative method. Another way to show I was serious about my recovery. But nothing ever came. I knew what I had to do. I swallowed roughly 100 klonopin pills and other meds and put the roasting bag over my head and secured it. As I began to doze off I ripped a hole in the bag. I was so beside myself that I staged a suicide attempt just to get into the hospital for more than a few days because I felt that my ex would allow me back home once released. I was found the next day still alive. I can still feel the death rub first responders do when they find someone unconscious. The next thing I remember was waking up the day after the election in the ER. I had to hide from my family and friends that I staged this.
Unfortunately the hospital did not have a bed for me so I was transferred to a hospital with a larger unit. When I first arrived the psychiatrist on call placed me in an observation room. I was in there alone in what I would say was more like a prison cell. If I wanted to go anywhere like meals, or therapy I had to have a staff member with me. If I went to the bathroom I had to leave the door cracked. I created this mess and I couldn’t tell anyone. I lied to the psychiatrist and therapists on the unit. They had no clue the real reason why I did what I did. This all leads me to the lesson I have for today.
We are quick to dismiss a therapist or psychiatrist because we don’t agree with what they tell us. But as one therapist told me, if you feed me bullshit I will feed you what sounds like bullshit. How can you expect anyone to be able to help you if you are not being honest with them. You go in and sit and talk with a therapist and tell them what they wanted to hear. I was good enough to talk my way through sessions. At the time I wasn’t putting stock in the therapy sessions. All I cared about was seeing the psychiatrist to get my medication refills. I was getting zero help from what they were providing me because it was based on lies I just told them.
You must remember that your relationship with your therapist/psychiatrist and you is like any other you have. You will get out what you put in. We often talk about being fake around friends and family but the people we have a chance to be real with we end up being just as fake with. Your relationship is vital in your recovery journey. Not all relationships last and the therapist/patient relationship is no different. If it’s not working for you then try another. You are not bound via contract. And remember YOU are paying the bills for the visits.
WARNING: DO NOT STOP SEEING YOUR THERAPIST AND/OR PSYHICATRIST UNTIL YOU ARE ABLE TO SECURE APPOINTMENTS WITH OTHERS
Therapists take different approaches. Some will try to push buttons to get you to talk while others will just listen and offer no insight. I can remember one therapist that looked at me and said people only attempt suicide because they want everyone else to come in and clean up their mess. That was the last session I had with that person. Why continue a relationship if the person you are dealing with thinks you are fake. I walked myself into a hospital for help and the unit nurse told me to go home. She said if you are going to talk about committing suicide then man up and do it. I was shocked. In disbelief. This was a person who just told me that if I was going to talk about suicide to man up and do it.
If you are new to the mental health world be aware of the differences between a therapist and psychiatrist. If you believe you are going to go in and see a psychiatrist and lay on a comfy couch and talk for an hour you are mistaken. Psychiatrists are their to manage your medications. They want to know if there are any side effects, or if your symptoms are worsening or if new ones have come to the surface. Your time with your therapist is when you will be able to sit and discuss what is going on in your life. This should be your safe place. The place you feel comfortable discussing anything.
Do you continue going to a mechanic after they did bad work on your car? Continue to go to the same accountant after they mess up your tax return? See a lawyer after he gave bad legal advice? Then why continue to see the same therapist if things aren’t working for you?
You must be diligent in finding a relationship you feel is best for your recovery journey. I will caution this; we all know their is a shortage of psychiatrists in the US. I just began seeing a new therapist 2 months ago and they don’t yet have an open appointment to see a psychiatrist. You might want to continue seeing your therapist and psychiatrist until you can find a new one unless you can get commitment to see your personal doctor. Keep in mind that a lot of private practices take on what I’ve heard called “easy fix” patients. Someone who is upset because their son or daughter didn’t get into Stanford etc. Other practices are bias to what type of insurance they will accept. The table is tilted to the side of the provider. They know there is an abundance of patients so they can afford to be picky over what patients they accept but DO NOT GIVE UP. If you are new to mental health and doctors; know that if you live in the US., most health care providers will allow you to see either your therapist or psychiatrist in any given week but not both. So if you have an appointment with your psychiatrist that week be aware that you likely won’t see your therapist. It was one of those lessons I learned along the way that made zero sense. Much like the law that requires your right to own a gun be taken away if you attempt suicide in the states and given a 302 status; but you are not required by law to see a therapist once released. I’ve never owned or wanted to own a gun but it does baffle me why they are concerned about your gun ownership but not your recovery.
There are many paths on your recovery journey and the relationship between you and your therapist/psychiatrist is like a compass that can help point you to which path to take. Don’t accept the same old same old when it comes to your recovery; because all you will likely ever be is the same old same old.
Remember… YOU MATTER!