I feel like near death experiences are a good thing to fall back on when I lack an interesting story to tell. I have in past entries already covered the time I was nearly killed by another person, the time I was nearly killed by an animal, along with a smattering of entries where I was grievously or nearly wounded by instruments of human technology or non-animal elements in nature.
The only interesting story left to tell is the time when I nearly killed myself. A caveat: if you are made uncomfortable by discussions of suicide, or if you are a person who cares enough about me in such a way that you would be unable to laugh at the idea of my childish misery or failed attempts to end it, then read no further. I made a promise that I would try to keep this blog more readable than my other one so there will be no introspective and pensive recollections here, just the exciting and funny parts.
So when I was 18 I was in love with this girl, and instead of being in love with me back she was interested in some dumb stoner musician douchebag. I decided that rather than live without said girl, I would kill myself. At the time it made perfect sense: I wanted the girl, but I wasn’t willing to turn into a stoner music snob indie-rock dbag to get her to love me back. I mean, what other option did I have? Do something else more interesting with my life and forget about her? Not likely!
So I shoplifted two bottles of sleeping pills from CVS while on my work break from the Byrd Theatre (where I worked at the time) and after work I swallowed one of them with a big glass of water. After the first bottle, before the second I realized what a stupid fucking idea I’d had. I think immediately after swallowing that last fistful of pills I had the first of many glimmers of how really uncool that girl was. As much as I like her to this day, she’s a bit of a loser and I think I saw that for the first time immediately after swallowing all those pills.
I immediately called Kellan who rushed to me and immediately got into rescue mode. We called poison control and asked if maybe if I stayed awake if I could ride this thing out. The man on the phone informed us that my heart would stop if I didn’t get to a hospital. Retreat was the closest hospital so we went there. The detachment of medical personnel never ceases to amaze me. I guess I am egotistical enough that I think that my attempted suicide is worthy enough for professional nurses to freak out as bad as my friends.
But really you say something like “I swallowed a lot of pills” and while you expect them to gush with sympathy, what they actually say is “Do you have the bottle with you? How many did you take?” in very cold factual tones.
I was admitted into a room and we were informed that if Kellan wasn’t willing to remain with me all night then they would station a nurse or something with me. Evidently it’s hospital policy not to leave an attempted suicide alone. Good policy I guess.
I have never done drugs or even been drunk in my life so what happened next was a huge surprise to me. I remember standing up to use the bathroom and falling back to the bed weak and disoriented. The pills hit me all at once, like a wave washing over me. Those of you who have been fucked up before I guess can comprehend to a better degree what I’m saying than others. My body felt completely disconnected, like it wasn’t mine. The audio hallucinations started first, I heard people talking who weren’t there, a lot of whispered laughter especially.
I was hooked up to lots of tubes and wires, heart monitors, oxygen monitors, IVs, etc. The doctor came in to inform me and Kellan that I needed to drink charcoal. To this day I’m not sure if it was really charcoal or something similar or something they just called charcoal. It certainly looked and tasted like ground up charcoal briquettes mixed with water. Evidently the goal is to soak up the medicine in your stomach. I am not sure if me puking it all back up is the intended effect but I definitely did that, a lot.
Around the time that I was puking my guts — and subsequently the charcoal — out, several things happened, my visual hallucinations got really crazy (which included Kellan being replaced by a total stranger, only later did I learn that it was Kellan there the whole time), I started talking insane nonsense, and I completely blacked out. The stories told to me by Kellan are:
1. Immediately after vomiting profusely into a trash can that Kellan was holding for the purpose, I murmured “it looks like a mouse….” and immediately stuck my hand into the trash can and wrist-deep into black vomit which Kellan then spent ten minutes wiping off of my hand.
2. I muttered a lot of stuff about Magic the Gathering, including the phrases “we’re gonna bring back all the classic decks, like green creature decks.”
3. I answered questions which were not asked, example: “the…the….cari….fuckin dog…dogwood…..dogwood…” to which Kellan responded “Dogwood Dell?”and I said “Yeah, that’s where.” and Kellan said “That’s where what?” and I said “Didn’t you just ask me where my old Kung Fu class used to meet?”. Kellan evidently had not asked me that question.
4. I tried to formulate a plan with Kellan to break out and escape when the ambulance came in the morning to transfer me from the ER to the psych ward of St. Mary’s hospital. I can’t remember whether I actually tried to talk to Kellan about this plan or if it existed only in my head.
In the morning I was transported from the ER at Retreat Hospital to the psychiatric ward at St. Mary’s Hospital. Nothing really interesting happened there except that I was fully convinced for the two days I was there that I had given myself permanent brain damage. I normally speak very fast and the words that I want are usually very forthcoming. I consider myself a quick witted and eloquent person but in the days following my suicide attempt I spoke very slowly and had trouble thinking of the right words. I confided in Kellan over the phone that I was sure that I had fucked my brain up. Luckily that wasn’t the case.
To this day I still have not paid the hospital bills from when this incident occurred. My roommates at the time were astounded that I simply threw away all the bills I received. I think it was a matter of principle for me.
When I was released I obviously had to have a lot of talks with my close friends and explain what happened. The best response I got was from my ex girlfriend Megan who, when I told her I had tried to kill myself, said simply “well, at least you made a decision and stuck with it.”
Well said Megan, well said.