The date is June of 2014. I was at my lowest point with clinical depression. I was still working at my old school, but they modified my job and made a “deal” with me to keep me employed long enough to “find” another job. I had simply taken too much time off from teaching because of serious depressive episodes. The school district had to let me go.
Part of the “deal” was that I had to come to work 4 days a week instead of 5, and I was allowed a maximum of 10 sick days during the year. I knew I wouldn’t make it. I was just too sick. My psychiatrist really let me down here. She said I had to go to Day Hospital (an outpatient mental health program), or, I had to be at work. She would not write me a doctor’s note saying I was too ill to be at work. It was a choice-less choice. I was much too depressed to get myself out of bed. I couldn’t drive myself to the hospital every day and I could not get myself out of bed to get to work. I was literally bedridden with depression. I bathed maybe once or twice a week. No makeup. Dirty clothes. I was terrified.
My biggest fear as an adult had been that I was absolutely terrified that I would not be able to take care of myself. I think this goes back to the struggle for money that I always heard about from my mother. Always, she said-we can’t afford it. Once I signed off on the “deal” with my school, my worst fears were coming true. I did not have a secure job. I had huge amounts of credit card debt that I will explain later, and I had my mortgage. I was afraid to spend money on groceries. I was feeling extreme and constant anxiety to the point that it was crippling me. I was eating much less than normal and had lost a lot of weight because I simply couldn’t allow myself to spend money on food. I ate 2 lean cuisine dinners a day, and a bagel for breakfast. I’m sure I had other foods during this time, but I can’t remember eating them. I know I lost about 40 pounds.
From September until June, I carried on like this. The depths of my depression were truly severe and I am angry that my therapist of 22 years didn’t *do* anything more for me during this time. Why didn’t she put me in an inpatient program? A crisis center”? She didn’t increase my level of care when I clearly needed it. I was living like a zombie. I’d wake up, dress in whatever I could find, go to school, drive home, eat a lean cuisine, and go to bed and sleep from 4pm until 6am the next morning. And when the alarm went off in the morning, it took all the force of will I could muster to get out of that bed.
Finally, I could do no more. I had been considering suicide for a while. I had done research online. What pill could I buy that would actually kill me? The only one I could come up with was benadryl. I had some other type of pill too, but I can’t remember what it was. I weighed the pros and cons of suicide–but I didn’t think all that deeply about what it would be like to die. I thought nothing about how my family would respond. I didn’t feel like they cared.
I picked myself up out of bed to go to school one morning and I decided. On the way home I picked up a bottle of 100 tablets of benadryl. And I had 50 of the “other” pill. I walked upstairs with a drink of some sort. I opened the bottles and swallowed all of the pills. All of them. 150 of them. Then I simply went to bed……