The second time I overdosed was worse, and I hadn’t even been trying to kill myself then. I was upset the entire day, I think, though I can’t remember why that was in the first place. My dad had yelled at me for not packing my suitcase or cleaning my room or some other thing, and I had a sudden vague and masochistic notion that I should hurt myself, badly, to somehow expel the pain I felt inside.
Hearing my father storm up the stairs for the third time that evening, I curled beneath my blanket in bed waiting for it to be over. He’s never been the most sentimental person, but that night had at least started a little more gentle than this. The first time he had sat on the edge of my daybed and maybe he patted my shoulder or my back as he said, “Hey, buddy,” the closest thing to voluntary tenderness on his part. But I didn’t speak and he was angrier the second time, turning the lights on in my room as he left to force me out of the darkness. And now he was back the third time to make good on his threats. Come to think of it, I don’t even remember exactly what he said that made me get up. I don’t think he threatened to beat me; I was too old for that and he was too strong. But regardless, when lying in bed and waiting for annoyance and anger to become apathy didn’t work, I probably just figured that doing whatever it was he asked was better than feeling much worse about feeling so low (what a concept!).
I went into my mom’s room and lifted the opened bottle of Motrin PMs I knew was on her bedroom dresser. I had finished crying by then. Calmly, I spilled the little orange tablets onto my comforter, and I cut the twenty or so left into four big gulps of water. I hid the empty bottle at the bottom of my trash can, then I packed my suitcase or folded my clothes or whatever it was my dad was so mad about.
I remember now the faint sense of panic I felt seconds after swallowing the last handful; I remember thinking, I can’t get it out now that it’s in. I remember now I had tried to move quickly, packing or cleaning or whatever, then showering and brushing my teeth and dressing for bed. I can’t get it out now that it’s in. My mind knew the pain before my body did, but there was a disconnect between the two and a buffering period before they would sync again. I can’t get it out now that it’s in. I knew that I didn’t want to die, and if I did I knew I wouldn’t have tried it this way again. I can’t get it out now that it’s in . But I can think about getting it out. And I can regret putting it in, now that I know I can’t get it out. And I could call my mom for help in the early hours of the morning telling her what I’ve done. I can’t get it out now that it’s in , and neither can the doctors. I can only lay in a cold hospital room and wait for the social workers while my mom cries in the corner. To this day I still hesitate taking vitamins and ibuprofen.
My mom came home at some point after the sun had gone down, and I was already halfway to bed and seeing double. It might’ve been that she yelled at me too after my dad told her of my earlier insolence. I imagine she may have just come into my room to look at me disdainfully, or nod an I told you so, this is what I have to deal with look to my father. Maybe all of the above. I stumbled to my bed in the darkness and dove into my pillow face-first, trying to drown out the thought of just how much I couldn’t get those pills out. Sleep eventually found me.
I woke with my face still planted into my pillow, but panic had overtaken me then and I quickly uprooted myself. The room spun as shadows danced in front of my eyes. The drop from my little twin bed to the floor seemed miles away. When I fell from the mattress I was surprised to learn that I still had a body, and though I could feel the cheap carpet beneath my knees and palms, that body was not my own.
I’m dying. I’m dying.
Did I think that to myself? Or was my body screaming it to me? Suddenly I felt the carpet against my forehead. I’m dying, I can’t get it out.
I groaned as I stood, or as I got as close to standing as I could get. I do not remember hearing anything initially, much less gauging how loud I might of been or how late in the night it was. But I did hear my father’s booming steps again as I made my way down the swirling hallway to the bathroom. Get it out! my body shrieked, Get it out! I retched over the toilet to no avail. Spittle dripped down my chin but I had already known the true reality of what my body fought so valiantly against. I can’t get it out now.
I hung my head down against the cold porcelain of the toilet, squeezing my eyes shut to the blinding glare of the bathroom light and heaving fruitlessly. There was a lot of commotion then.
My mother cried, “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!”
My dad bellowed, “Leave her alone! If she wants to act depressed and kill herself, she don’t have a job anymore! If this what you want to do, you don’t have a job anymore!” (I guess it’s worth mentioning that at the time I had my first job working at the same company as my dad. But that’s neither here nor there.)
I don’t remember collapsing on the floor. I just remember falling, falling, and trying so hard not to fall any further. And then my cheek was against my mother’s breast, as she held me dying on the bathroom floor like some sort of grotesque Pietà, smoothing my hair and murmuring my name and crying. And it was in that brief moment, before I blacked out completely, that my pain was finally expelled.
hm. that was kind of a lot.