I stayed

Twenty years ago tonight, I made my first and only real suicide attempt in the Florida room of my childhood home, my mother’s home.

I remember I was on the couch, reading through the Bible, 13 years old. It had been a few months after my first hospitalization. I was first hospitalized in late 2000, after confessing suicidal ideation to my art teacher.

I was in 6th grade and had always trusted my art teachers. Really I was talked into going in the hospital, and I resented being just barely too young to fraternize with the teenagers. I just stared at the Lincoln Logs on the floor.

I argued with one of the staff that I didn’t belong there, that I wasn’t crazy. I remember resenting this fellow, but he wasn’t wrong in that I was there for a reason. I strongly resented having to share the contents of my hospital journal with my parents, especially my mother. I know I was really angry. I know I sang praises in my room to cope.

Anyway, the following February I am with my mother for the weekend (my parents divorced when I was 7). She is not with me; she is on the other side of the house, on the computer, on the phone with a friend of hers, probably talking about the physical pain she was in from some accident. My pain wasn’t physical.

My pain was in my brain.

I remember being numb. I remember that night, I remember the date. I walked over to my mom and told her what I had just done, take all of my weekend medication at once. I did not know if it would kill me, but at that point, I did not care. I hurt too much. But that night I was numb.

They gave me charcoal and my stomach was pumped. Grun-Grun and Mom tried to take me back home, but they couldn’t. I was cuffed in the front, procedure I guess, and was seated in the back of a police escort to the hospital, soon enough following the first admittance I was remembered. I could sit with the teenagers now.

My second stay lasted only 72 hours, while in the fall I was stuck there for a week, likely because of my big mouth. I must’ve learned to keep it shut this time.

High school came and went. I flew under the radar and kept my nose in a book, or skipped the class together and read in a bathroom stall for privacy. I wasn’t a truant, per se, but I missed several, several days, not wanting to get out of bed and faking “sick.”

I was sick. But I don’t remember any more medicine. I didn’t feel as bad in high school. I kept to myself so everybody no longer knew my business. I don’t remember suffering.

But I do remember starting to drink, by myself at home. I didn’t stop drinking until I was 26. I haven’t had a drink since I was 30.

I turned 33 last month.

I’ve managed to stay.

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