ďHereís the dose of reality, Kelsey. I tried to commit suicide last Monday. Iíve been in the hospital since. Your stepfather came home from work early, and I guess itís a good thing that he did, or this would be a call about my funeral instead of my hospitalization.Ē
ďDonít yell at me.Ē
ďI wasnít going to yell. I was going to say that I understand. Iím not saying it doesnít hurt. I just know how it is to feel completely trapped by your situation. Iím also not saying that what you did was right, Mom. Because it wasnít. It was very selfish, and although we may not be the most religious family, itís not exactly the best insurance policy for your soul, either. Weíve never been the type of people to take shortcuts, so I donít understand why you were trying to take one out of life.Ē
ďWell, Iím bipolar. My lithium has kept it under control for the last 16 years. This last depression spell was particularly hard because I was having panic episodes simultaneously, which has never happened before. Iím going to be meeting with a psychiatrist, probably three times a week for the next few, then slowly decreasing to about once a week. I should be checking out of Harbor tomorrow, or by Monday at least.Ē
I let her talk as long as she needed to with minimum interruption, and tried to breathe normally, even though there were tears caressing my cheeks on the way to their final resting places on my sweatshirt. When we said goodbye, I immediately had my own manic episode with a dose of panic. I desperately searched for airfare and a dog sitter, trying to figure out how to get next week off work. I felt like I had to be there with her, regardless of the fact that I was the last family member to learn about this situation, per her wishes. My brother had found out on his birthday, three days ago, and hadnít bothered to call me. My stepfather knew on Monday, obviously, and failed to notify me. My other brother didnít call either, although my stepfather told him first. I felt like shit. My heart was buried deep in my stomach, throbbing, heavy like a sunken ship on the ocean floor.
Feeling completely helpless, I curled up on the bedroom floor, cradling a picture of Mom. I was bawling my eyes out, flipping through contacts in my phone, deciding which friend would be home in the middle of afternoon and knew my family enough to understand why I was so upset. Itís hard to think about losing my mother. I consider us to be pretty close now, for the first time in my life. Iíve tried to figure out what might have triggered her depression, but I keep coming up empty. One thingís for certain, thoughÖ Itís hard to find answers when you canít go directly to the source. If she wanted me to know, she would have told me. I keep repeating that to myself, but Iím still baffled.
What is it that pushes someone to think thereís only one way out? How could death be better than life? Does my mom not know that she is loved and adored by three doting children, who would each die a little bit with her if she had succeeded? What lasting repercussions will there be on her body from swallowing all of her meds and overdosing on her insulin? What happens next?
Questions swirl like planets in orbit around my head. They press in from all sides, and thereís a voice inside my head thatís screaming, ĎHow much more of this will I have to carry?í