My clients were concerned. When they couldn’t reach me, they called first my wife, and then the hotel. I was lying on my back, unconscious, covered in vomit, when the police and EMT’s found me. They thought it was a murder scene. Vomit covered the bed and the floor. It had projected up the wall behind me, and coated a massive picture that hung over the bed. Apparently the pink Benadryl pills, along with the tens of thousands of milligrams of other medication I took, created the effect of blood. I had been unconscious for a solid ten hours by then.
I was twelve when my mom killed herself. My parents were divorced. My dad was remarried and lived nearby. My older brother lived in his own apartment, so it was just me and my mom making our way.
She sometimes left me home alone when she went out drinking. I begged her to stay home, but she would only promise to be home by a certain time. My neediness was useless to change anything.
I slept at my dad’s house the night my mom died. More accurately, I moved in. A few blocks were all that separated the houses—a slight but infinite distance. This time the sleepover wouldn’t end. When the sun rose I wouldn’t have a home to return to. Home as I knew it had vanished.
The year had grown harder, week-by-week and month-by-month. There were days I couldn’t scrape together the energy to get out of bed. I’d dropped most of my college classes spring term to avoid failing – I, the straight A student to whom school came so easily. Anxiety made it impossible to eat, and I lost enough weight that people asked if I was anorexic.
I didn’t know it wasn’t my fault.
I will never forget how cold the tile floor was on that hot September afternoon, as I slid down the wall of ICU room number six.
The statement that made my knees buckle, as I stood at the end of that hospital bed, was, “No, I did not mix up my medicine. I wanted to die. I do not want to be here any more.”
My clearest thought was how I was not enough. But if not me, how was our beautiful baby boy not enough to make my husband want to stay? I wondered how I could possibly face family and friends at our son’s first birthday party the next day, alone. I wondered if I would spend the rest of my life the very same way.
After Ben’s birth in September 2011, I suffered from severe sleep deprivation, psychosis, and postpartum depression.
It was the darkest time in my life. I was hospitalized for nearly 2 weeks and separated from my newborn for most of that time. The situation was completely beyond my control but I felt so much shame over it. With the help of good doctors and my amazing family I began to recover and finally feel like myself again.