Archive | March, 2013

Letting Go Of Levity To Level With People

28 Mar

I hadn’t planned on updating this blog again until I was at the Nice Screenshots stage, but my insomnia, the caffeine in my blood and the slight sugar high said otherwise. So, as I’m wont to do whenever I’m in this state, I’m going to write something serious and unusually eloquent.

For the past more-than-half-a-year I was suffering from severe depression. I’d been experiencing it on and off for many years, but this was the first time that I didn’t really come back up so much as experience a steady but inevitable decline. The deep, miserable, intense feelings I’d normally get when in a depressive state came to be replaced with a complete numbness and disconnection that made me feel like a strange outsider in my own skin trying to act human. I couldn’t stand to talk to or look at anyone because I felt so ashamed of how much of a miserable failure, drain on society, and burden I was. The spaces I felt comfortable communicating in got smaller and smaller until I was trapped not even in my own room, but in my own bed, afraid to even get up and look at my computer. I felt as though I was going nowhere, that I was an idiot who couldn’t even do the bare minimum of things any average person could do, and that I was pretty much a human cancer and a worthless leech who should remove myself from the gene pool and life ASAP. I spent a few months thinking about killing myself and eyeing my bottle of unused Percocets but being restrained by the usual thoughts of “If I’m going to die, at least I should die a hero” or “I should at least wait until after I’ve done at least one worthwhile thing to leave as a trace of my own existence” or “Not existing is terrifying” or “The process of dying must hurt like a bitch.” If I believed in any kind of afterlife I’m pretty sure I would’ve made a thorough attempt at killing myself much earlier than I did.

On the morning of February 5th, I woke up around 9:15 because I’d slept so much that I couldn’t sleep any more, and my dreams for the past week had been manifesting into guilt-ridden nightmares anyways. I stared at the bottle of Percocets just as I had for said past week, reflecting on all the morbid things I’d been reading about how pills aren’t generally that reliable of a suicide method and it’s best to back it up with something like a plastic bag over your head, and that for the highest chance of success you’d be better off using a suicide bag filled with helium or nitrogen or a gunshot to the head. I didn’t have access to any helium or nitrogen, it was doubtful that I could acquire a gun in the city of Philadelphia, and when I went into skyscrapers I found that the highest floors were generally off-limits to visitors. In order to have a reasonable chance of killing yourself by jumping you’d need to jump off from at least six stories up, and my apartment, the only building I actually had roof access to, was only four stories high.

So it had to be pills. I took out all 35 Percocets and set them on my desk. I’d gotten them for when all my wisdom teeth got yanked out, and I’d taken the label off the canister and saved them in case I was really desperate for cash or I wanted to die. Then I went downstairs and grabbed the Mike’s Hard Lemonade from the six pack my roommate had gotten about a year ago, which I’d put off drinking because I’m not much of a lush.

I brought the bottle back upstairs to my room and set it next to the Percocets.

Even with the state I was in, it was hard to push myself that last bit over the edge. So like with a lot of decisions I make, I pushed myself past a certain point so that I wouldn’t have any other choice.

I cut a pill in half, put it in my mouth, and downed it with a swig of alcohol. Then I did the other one.

From there I did it by handfuls until all of them were gone.

After that I went back to bed and tried to close my eyes and fall asleep until it was over.

At first I felt an odd kind of high that was probably from the same thing that makes people take Percocet recreationally. My brain felt like it was having flashes of color or darkness beyond how dark it is when you close your eyes. My breathing started to slow and get shallower and shallower.

There were a few times when it felt like it was about to stop completely. At those times I thought “not yet” and willed myself to breathe until I’d adjusted to the idea or was too tired to struggle anymore.

But at a certain point my breathing went back to mostly-normal and I thought that I’d probably missed the threshold for death. When I opened my eyes my pupils kept veering in a diagonal line up and to the left, everything was blurry and my head felt dull. I thought that maybe I was going to live after all, just permanently impaired.

At that point I got a message from one of my friends asking if I wanted to go to dinner with the gang tomorrow. Despite how much harder it was to type with my vision being as blurry as it was, I managed to reply that I would and that I probably wouldn’t need directions.

Then my mother called, asking as usual if I was okay. Normally I would reply that I was, say one sentence about something I’d eaten that day, and then try to end the conversation as soon as I possibly could. That day I said that I felt dizzy and that I should probably sleep.

After that I closed my eyes yet again and tried to sleep some more.

Around 11 PM is when the vomiting started. For a while I lay there, vomiting every so often, not bothering to get up because what did I care if I was going to die in a pool of my own vomit? I’d be dead.

It got to be 2 AM and I still couldn’t stop vomiting, despite the fact that there’d been nothing in my stomach and I could have sworn I’d thrown up more stomach acid than was actually possible. What did come up was clear with some brownish bits that I could only assume were the ruined bits of my liver. I went downstairs, my nice t-shirt completely soaked in vomit, and drank a glass of water to try and replenish my fluids so that I could last long enough for the not-breathing thing to kick in. On the way there I threw up on the kitchen floor and had to hastily mop it up with some paper towels. I also threw up in the sink of the bathroom next to the kitchen.

It was 3 AM and it just wouldn’t stop. My head still felt dull, my breathing still felt shallow but not as much as it had when it felt about to stop. The back of my throat felt strained. At this point I was scared that I would literally die by vomiting until my bodily fluids ran out.

I stumbled back downstairs, threw on my expendable coat, and, being careful not to wake up my roommate, walked out the door, out of the apartment, and to the emergency room. Since we were in the heart of Center City, I knew there were a million hospitals within a couple blocks of us. I hadn’t wanted to call 911 to get an ambulance because I remembered how high the ambulance fees had been last time I’d been in one.

I wandered in circles, following the various red signs that said EMERGENCY ROOM, until I finally got to one. When I told the receptionist that I’d just made an attempt on my life with 35 Percocets and couldn’t stop throwing up she seemed kind of annoyed or bored or like she didn’t believe me, but she brought me in anyways. The two staff members who saw me after that did a few tests and asked some very basic questions, at least one of which was to determine that I wasn’t a junkie. At the time the levels of acetominophen in my blood were apparently not all that high and they gave me an incredulous look, asking if I’d really taken that many Percocets and if I was sure I’d taken them that long ago.

They took their sweet time getting me down to the Emergency Room proper. My clothes were confiscated and it was only after I actually demonstrated my spontaneous vomiting skills to them that they gave me a barf bag. Once I got down to the ER I was given a bed that had been wheeled into the middle of a hallway, some platitudes about how I was so young and had too much ahead of me to do something like that, the excitable overheard comment of “What? Asians never overdose!” and a cup of activated charcoal.

From there I stayed in the ER for a couple days, then a regular hospital room for a little more than a week in order to stabilize my rapidly increasing acetominophen levels, then a psych ward for about two weeks, which was longer than I’d expected because they wanted to make sure I wouldn’t just try to kill myself again once I got out. Highlight of the psych ward was hearing an ex-con drug dealer on rehab refer to Twilight as “baller”.