Saturday, April 2, 2011

December 2, 1998

*This was written Dec. 2, 2004. It was the first time I had written or talked about the day since is happened.*

I don't know what triggered it. Maybe it wasn't anything specific. It had been building for months. I wandered in and out of my days, shifting from mind shattering panic to near catatonic states. Somehow I still managed to get kids up and dressed, drive the girls to school then get them picked up and fed... but it was like an empty shell going through the motions. Between getting home from school with the girls and making dinner, I lay sprawled across my bed, awake but somehow unconscious... lost in listening to the noise in my head.

It could happen so fast... I'd go from just dragging my leaden body around to flapping my hands, nodding my head or using any number of other odd little movements which were the only things keeping me from taking on of Charlie's belts and hanging myself in the garage. I was taking the Xanax the internist prescribed. It took the edge off the panic but did nothing to quiet the noise.

I remember Daniel asking me to play cars with him that morning... I sat on the floor and burst into tears because I didn't know how to play. This had happened before. I couldn't even play with my four-year-old! What about John? Did he get any interaction from me at all? I know he did but I can't remember one moment of enjoying my own children during that time... You're a horrible mother. You're destroying your family. look at yourself. You're worthless and a failure. You can't even play Hot Wheels with your son. I'd never been so numb.

I had a burn on my arm the size of a plum... the result of several days using lit cigarettes to stave off the panic... but that was weeks ago and it was almost healed. The cuts on my ankles and calves were tiny but precise... not long enough for stitches but each deep enough to allow for a pint of relief. I remembered doing them but... it was so odd to watch myself act and have no power to stop it... and the gallery of hecklers and screaming voices just kept getting louder by the day.

The boys were napping. There was just enough time before they woke and it would be time to pick up the girls.

It wasn't my leg this time. I took off my sweater. i'm sorry. i can't do this anymore. i'm sorry. i've ruined everything.

Standing over the sink. Water running. When I hit the vein, causing a small geyser, the relief was overpowering. I just stood there and watched.... pouring out the pain.

Ringing in my ears. Sick to my stomach. I can't staunch the flow... I don't want to. I'm scared. I'm relieved. I'm scared. I'm determined.

I turned off the water and pulled my sweater back on... stuck a towel on my arm and found a phone. "Pat, I cut my arm. I can't stop the bleeding. I'm scared."

She was twenty minutes away. I dropped the towel, leaned over the counter with my arm in the sink and rested my forehead against the cool mirror. I needed to wash away the mess but couldn't turn on the water.  

Things are fading. I'm going to be sick. I can't stand up any longer. i'm sorry. i'm sorry. I scoot around the corner of the sink and sit on the toilet. Pat will be here soon. She'll help.

I can't breathe. I can't move. I don't remember anything. What's happened? I can't breathe!

I'm on the floor. I see a shape in the doorway. It's Pat. She's called an ambulance. She's pacing back and forth in my bedroom, praying.

"Oh God! I'm sorry! I didn't mean to! This wasn't supposed to happen! I'msorryI'msorryI'msorryI'msorry." She kneels at my side and brushes my hair from my face. She's crying. I can't breathe. I can't move. I'm scared. I'M SORRY!

WHERE ARE MY BOYS? They're with the next door neighbors. They're okay. Charlie's been called. The Pastor is on his way.


The paramedics arrive. There's no room in the bathroom. They remove the shower doors so they can all have room. Oxygen. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean this. I'm so sorry."

They're so nice. They shouldn't be. I was stupid. How could I do this? They should be angry and condescending. They should be sarcastic and cruel. This can't be happening.

How could I let this happen?


I had to write this. I have to get it out. I don't talk about that day... not really talk about it. Never have... not since 2 days after it happened. I don't talk about the mess that Pastor R and Pat cleaned up by themselves so Charlie wouldn't have to deal with it. I don't talk about the lies we told the kids so they wouldn't have to know what really happened to Mommy. I don't talk about the humiliation of being wheeled out of the house on a stretcher, seeing neighbors staring at my blood soaked body... or the whispered gossip for weeks after. I don't talk about it. I don't talk about the ER nurse dismissing the paramedic's estimation of blood loss because if it had been that bad he'd have hooked up an IV en route... or how he tried to explain they'd not had time and he couldn't do it over bumpy roads... or passing out in the bathroom when they asked for a urine sample... or shitting myself while unconscious. I don't talk about what a very close call it was... and I don't talk about the shame... the paralyzing, choking shame... for all of it... that day and every day of the next 18 months. I don't talk about it.

Because I shouldn't feel ashamed, right? I shouldn't want to crawl in a hole for what I did to my family, my friends and myself, right? I should be able to look back, be grateful I'm alive and got help and move on, right? Because no one wants to hear or see such raw emotions... no one wants to feel uncomfortable in the face of such pain, right?

So I don't talk about it.