I awoke from a deep medicated sleep by voices laughing behind the hospital curtain. The nurses were chatting at their desk and I silently wondered if I knew any of them that might come in and give me a kind word. Suddenly I heard the voice of my former obstetrician and remained quiet hoping she would not know I was there. Hearing her footsteps fade into the distance I suddenly ached for her to be by my side to reassure me that everything would be okay. I longed to see her smile or even hear words of anger that attempting to take your life was not something you should do.
Seeing the light of the moon cast its glare on the floor I knew that I would have to relive this day for the rest of my life. How many times had I done this and how many more times would I want to do it again? I felt my still tear-stained cheeks and knew that the hours of crying had not helped. This time it had been close; so close that I could taste it. Death had called out to me to be his friend and my stupidity had left me still standing on the other side with the living.
In a depressed state I had consumed two bottles of Tylenol and not realized that they were time acting capsules. When I awoke at 2:30 that night one by one were exploding in my stomach without enough punch to finish my life.
As I drove to work I stopped every few miles and wretched on the side of the road. Why was I still here; was there a reason? I walked into my store, collapsed, and called a friend. Did I make a plea for help because I wanted to live this time? I told them I was okay and the phone fell out of my hand as I collapsed into a chair and heard her frantically calling out my name.
I gazed outside and saw the morning light break as I watched life pass by looking at me with silent voices. Fading shadows of my friend accompanied by men dressed in black suddenly began banging on the door. The small group were feverishly trying to get me to open the locked door and they refused to take no for an answer. My inner voice told me I was going to live even if I wanted to or not. I turned the door key slowly and they rushed me by ambulance to the nearest hospital. I was placed on a gurney while frantic speaking nurses worked hard to find the veins in my arm to start an IV.
With each movement they uttered angry words that I was going to live whether I liked it or not. The tears of self pity started to flow and would not stop. A nurse came in with an “activated charcoal” beverage and stood there while I drank the vicious liquid. Her mumbled words explained that consuming this liquid in large amounts was going to make it possible that I live. The room suddenly turned dark and I hoped I would drown in my tears but all I heard were voices telling me that I needed to live for tomorrow.
Hours later I was still surrounded by yellow curtains that offered me no hope or advice. My eyes were as swollen as the veins in my arms that still held the IV. There was a reason I was alive and I needed to understand that. Visions of former attempts flared through my mind as I saw stomach pumps and therapists all wanting to know why I wanted to die. I saw faded visions of conversation explaining how the voices of depression told me this was the only way to escape.
From the age of 6 I had been handed way too much to endure and it took its toll. No one could take away that feeling of family loss as it grew and multiplied until it took over my soul. Pills and doctors could not remove the sorrow and it grew like a large expanding tumour with every suicide attempt. My inner voices kept repeating I would have been better off dead as I pulled the curtains aside and looked out the window.
I sighed and looked at the moon, frightened of what I might find tomorrow knowing that tears are always something you can hide but inner voices carry on.
Photos and text by Linda Seccaspina 2012
Dedicated to my good friend Lisa C. who understands.
You can read more of Linda’s work on Zoomer’s
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