*Content/trigger warning: this post discusses self-harm/suicidal ideation.
**I know some of you will be thinking “I had no idea you felt this way”—that’s why I am sharing this.
Super Bowl night, I found myself in the ER again, squirming in a hospital gown with no underwear. There, again, of my own doing, chasing the Super Bowl drinks I’d had with pills, giving into the voice in my head that said I was better off dead, where I wouldn’t feel that deep, paralyzing emotional pain.
They asked if I wanted to admit myself, and I politely declined. Having been down this road before, I know that the psych ward is for stabilization and safety. I believed I was safe at the moment from doing this again, knowing I’d end up right back in that ER. But what about a month from now? A year from now? I feared I’d ultimately be successful at completing suicide. As much as I didn’t want to live then, I didn’t want to die, either.
After the first trip to the ER, a friend and her mom insisted I go to an inpatient treatment center. The hospital suggested I do an IOP (intensive outpatient program—it’s 3-5 hours of therapy a day, five days a week). I don’t need that, I told myself and them.
I thought I could manage my depression—or the diagnosis I later received, bipolar II—on my own, with therapy once a week and monthly psychiatrist appointments. Meaning: doing the same thing I was doing. What’s the definition of insanity? Ah yes, doing the same thing and expecting different results.
Waking up in the bright light of my bedroom on that cold February morning, I knew if nothing changed, nothing changed, and I knew what I needed to do: attend an inpatient program