I’m going to be really honest here. Maybe it will help someone else, or maybe it will just serve as a record for me.
Last night, I hit a new rock bottom and did something I hadn’t done since my teenage years: I let my self-destructive urges win and I took an overdose of my medications. But I even failed at that, like I’m failing at everything else.
I was having some tough ups and downs over the course of the day. I went out to dinner one-on-one with my middle son and that was really awesome. But most of the rest of the day was really bad.
My oldest son’s car died and he took it to the shop nearest to where he broke down. They ripped him off big time and didn’t even fix it correctly. He was despairing and feeling like he would never get ahead, especially because the cost of the repair was a substantial portion of his savings that he could have put toward a newer car instead. That made me feel helpless and scared and like a failure as a parent.
While my online friends with kids the same age are paying for their kids’ expensive college tuition and buying cars outright for their kids (which are nicer and newer than what my husband is driving), I can’t even afford to pay for my son’s car repairs, let alone put him through college. I can’t afford to add either of my younger two kids to our insurance on our cars because it would more than double it. All this just makes me feel like I’ve never made any progress in my life.
And thanks to the neuropsych exam the other day, I also realized that things are unlikely to get significantly better for me financially. Unless my husband gets some big break equivalent to when my dad got in at GM in his mid-forties, it may be this scary for us forever. I really wanted to work and have a good career but my brain health derailed that plan.
(What lucrative career can you have when you have no working memory and little short-term memory? Even though my verbal skills are still off the charts, I can’t follow directions well anymore and can’t pay attention, making my old career as a writer and editor almost impossible. It just means I have a great vocabulary.)
My husband was having a bad day of his own yesterday. But I couldn’t communicate well with him. As he said later, we don’t suffer well together, and that’s definitely true. It felt like we slipped back into old communication patterns which were very unhealthy. He felt unheard, I felt attacked, but when I tried to defend myself, he said I was trying to prove that I was right and he was wrong. The longer this went on, the more persecuted I felt, the more I felt hopeless. Like I had no one and my life was never going to get better.
During the conversation, I told him several times I was feeling suicidal and had been for several days, but he still walked away from me and left the room because I wasn’t understanding him and he was mad at me. And this is where the stupid, self-destructive part of me comes in.
I intentionally took four times the dose of both my strongest muscle relaxer and my anti-anxiety benzodiazepine medication (the latter of which is actually for relieving muscle spasms and has zero effect on my anxiety.)
The part that’s stupid, that embarrassed me greatly when I woke up today, is that I made sure to look up the amount of the meds that was a fatal overdose and intentionally avoided taking enough to kill me. Does that even count as a suicide attempt? I would say no. But nonetheless, I have never done anything similar, not even at the lowest points of my life, since high school.
What was even the point of taking so much if I knew it wasn’t going to kill me? Stupid. It wasn’t to get attention. It wasn’t to get back at him. I just wanted to be out of pain. I wanted the day to stop. I wanted to stop thinking about how hopelessly fucked my future seemed to be.
Honestly, I still haven’t convinced myself suicide is a bad idea. If I die, my husband can drive my car, get rid of his POS car, and get survivor benefits from social security much more quickly than I’ll get disability. The only thing keeping me holding on right now is knowing that my kids also deal with depression and it would surely mess them up a lot if I did (and maybe they would even do the same.)
My husband wanted me to force myself to throw up or to take me to the ER but I stood my ground. I knew I wouldn’t die. And since we still have insurance for the moment, we would’ve racked up even more debt we can’t afford if I went to the ER. I am so tired of the fact that fear of debt rules my decisions. I’m always avoiding healthcare because of costs.
Frankly, the fact that I have expensive ongoing healthcare needs and now have to go on the county public health plan, which does not have a good reputation at all, makes me feel even more like my life is worthless. And that’s IF the county health plan accepts me; they may not. That public health plan that I really don’t want is actually my best hope right now.
I woke up today just feeling embarrassed and annoyed with myself. Not at all grateful to be alive. Actually annoyed to still be alive. All of the problems were still there, are still there. Escaping them through sleep for a few hours didn’t help anything at all.
I had made an appointment for later this week with county mental health services to see if I qualify. I thought I was going to get some possibly subpar therapy services from them. But my neuropsych told me that if I go there, I won’t get therapy, I’ll just get psych meds. According to him, people like me with persistent depression need therapy and meds usually don’t work. (That’s true in my experience with meds so far.) He said that the county mental health department’s standard treatment for people like me is an SSRI antidepressant plus an antipsychotic like Abilify or Zyprexa.
After he said that, I had decided I wasn’t going to bother with that. I was considering canceling my appointment altogether. Antipsychotic drugs significantly increase the risk of diabetes, which in turn increases the risks of heart attack and stroke. Since I’m already high-risk for diabetes because I had gestational diabetes and also high-risk for heart attack and stroke because of my family history, I wanted to opt out of that. The amount of white matter I’ve lost in my brain also significantly increases my risk of stroke. Not to mention the fact that antipsychotics are notorious for massive weight gain and I’m having enough trouble with my weight as it is.
But much like having to go on the disease-modifying drugs for MS because I’m trying to get disability, I feel like I have to go on these drugs to help me get disability, too. Not only has my choice to work full-time been taken from me by my illness, but now my choice about how drugged I want to be is also being taken from me.
However, after my pathetic half-ass failed overdose attempt, I’m thinking maybe that was a cry for help. Even if I have no access to therapy, maybe I should at least take whatever meds they give me, no matter the risks they present. Doing so will look better for my disability case anyway and I’m not really in a position to get to refuse. That’s the whole point of my life lately, that all my agency is being taken away.
Honestly, I’m not feeling like my life is worth very much anymore. We cannot afford to get by on my husband’s income. He’s not learning new skills to keep him ahead of a very competitive field because he doesn’t have time. I’m definitely not faulting him for that; it’s really hard to learn new skills in your mid-40s when you’re under a lot of stress and lacking significant free time. He would be great in a manager or project coordinator type role. But he keeps getting help desk type jobs that don’t give him opportunities to get management experience. It feels like a never ending cycle. I know he can do a lot more than he’s given a chance to do, but it’s a lot harder to convince employers of that.
We need for me to be working and earning way more than I’ll get from disability. And I really want to be working because my husband is carrying way too heavy a burden and I should be able to help him more and ease his load a bit.
I just really didn’t want my life to turn out this way and I feel like all my choices are being taken away.