“Ask for help.”
Well, that’s what everyone says. It’s great to ask for help, but what happens when you do and you feel like you just got given a massive slap in the face? Just pushed to the side? Passed on to the next doctor or health care department? People don’t want to say the wrong thing, they don’t want to hurt the little feelings you have left. The people that often can take the pain away (the “professionals”) have often seen a case like yours a million times before.
A few weeks before I tried to take my own life I was seeing a GP. She had referred me to a psychologist and put me on antidepressants. The psychologist had a waiting list which felt like a mile long and the antidepressants that were prescribed just weren’t a good fit. The little bit of sleep I was getting was taken away as soon as I tried this certain antidepressant. I was awake for days, not eating or drinking. I was just lying in a dark room wishing the pain away. So, I went back to this GP, I was taken off the antidepressants and put on to another one. I was also given a prescription for two sleeping tablets. Yes – two individual tablets – not two different types of tablets. I was so highly strung at this point the sleeping tablets didn’t work and trying another antidepressant felt hopeless, but I did it away.
Monique Bowley, Mia Freedman and Jessie Stephens discuss what you’re meant to do when it comes to mental health crises on Mamamia out Loud. Post continues below.
After being on the new antidepressants for a few days I said to my Mum, “you have to take me to the hospital, if you don’t I’m going to do something”. She knew exactly what that meant and off we went.
Mum told the nurse what had been happening and we were asked to take a seat and wait to see a doctor. A few hours went by and my name didn’t get called. Another couple of hours later and still nothing. On the seventh hour, a nurse came out and said there had been an emergency on the mental health ward and if I didn’t think I was in need to see a doctor I should probably go home.
So, we did just that.
Mum was not impressed and as soon as we got home she called an 1800 helpline. The operator on the other end said to take me immediately back to the emergency room. We got back in the car and went back up to the hospital. Once we were back at the hospital it was pretty much the same process.
I had to tell the nurse what was wrong (as if I even knew) then sit down and wait.
A few hours went by and my name was finally called. I was in a consultation room with Mum, a doctor and a nurse. I was assessed and was given a sleeping tablet and sent home. What a humongous slap in the face. I’m here in front of medical professional, telling them I want to kill myself and all they can do is give me another sleeping tablet and send me on my way. At that point, I felt like if the emergency room at the hospital can’t help me NO ONE can.
The next morning, I tried to take my own life.
My darling dad found me. My parents called the ambulance and I was admitted to hospital (there is more to that story, but that’s for another day.)
Why is it that I had to get to that point?
I had been doing everything I was told to do. I'd told my family how I was feeling, I'd seen a GP, I'd taken the antidepressants prescribed to me, I'd gone to the hospital when my thoughts were overwhelming. Somehow none of that was enough. If I had gone to the emergency room with chest pains or a broken leg, would I have been seen straight away? Most likely. I felt like I was put in the “too hard basket” and if dad didn’t find me, my name would have been printed in the local obituary along with the many other people that just couldn’t do it anymore.
What went wrong in my case? Does this happen to a lot of people? Are hospitals so full and underfunded that I just couldn’t have been admitted? Are doctors and nurses not equipped to deal with mental health issues? Would I have gotten better and not tried to end my life if I was admitted?
What have I put my family and friends through? Will the guilt go away? Questions like this fill my brain almost daily and I still don’t have the answers. I don’t know if I ever will.
All I know for sure is, I’m still here.
If tomorrow I wake up and don’t want to get out of bed that’s okay, because there is another day after that and I plan on sticking around for many more days to come.
This post was originally published on This Glorious Madness, and was republished here with full permission.
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If you think you may be experiencing depression or another mental health problem, please contact your general practitioner or in Australia,