I am my father’s daughter. Like my father, when I find a subject I relate to or a hobby I enjoy, I learn everything I can about it. I don’t mean this in a normal way. My father never made it past the 8th grade but taught himself everything one needed to know about most animals specifically birds.
He taught himself how to breed Exotic Birds on The Endangered Species List and obtained a Federal Permit to do so. He was 1 of 11 people in the United States to successfully breed one species. He knew about diseases, diet, flight patterns, temperatures, everything.
I was born into a family filled with addicts and people with mental illness. I spent a lot time around all of them. Both my parents come from big families but mom’s side was a very close bunch and also very dysfunctional. My mom was the oldest and did her best to help her brothers and sisters no matter what. My sister and I always went with her even if that meant visits to the State Mental Hospital or a Group Home.
My sister and I always talked about one of us becoming “crazy” like it would be the worst thing in the world. It kind of was. I already knew it was me, my parents already knew it was me. The only one who didn’t see it was my twin sister. It would take her 20 years to admit I was sick.
I know all the ins and outs of being hospitalized against your will. I know what happens when you swallow a bottle of prescription sleeping pills after drinking a case of beer and a pint of Fire Water. If someone gets you to the Hospital early enough you get charcoal, which I did the first time. If you get there a little later they pump your stomach, which they did the 2nd time. If you fight them they also restrain you.
I know if you cut your wrists a certain way you can do permanent nerve damage. Which I did on one occasion so my pinkie is numb most of the time.
I know after so many visits to the ER for attempted suicides they can keep you and they did. No one came to talk to me or give me any tests, I sat and watched TV with all the other people who were either detoxing or had mental health issues.
I know after about 4 or 5 visits to the ER for attempted suicide a judge can court order you to undergo therapy and see a psychiatrist. I was court ordered several times but no one ever diagnosed me or asked many questions they just handed me a bucket of pills. This is common for State run facilities.
Every single time I tried to take my life I was drunk. I never tried sober. I thought about it sober but never acted on it.
People say “Why didn’t you ask for help?” I say “Because I was drunk, confused, couldn’t get out of my own head, all I could think was what a waste of space I am, how no one loved me, how could anyone love me?” When did I have time to stop and think “Gee I should probably call my sister who is sick of hearing me cry all the time”.
It doesn’t work that way. When you’re in the middle of a tornado you can’t think rationally and that’s the point.
I don’t know why people expect this.
We need to reach people before they get to the tornado.
It’s the only way this will work. If you know someone with a mental illness call them, invite them for coffee, tell them you love them, give them purpose, stop them before the snowball starts going downhill picking up those negative thoughts growing larger and larger.
I want to know I matter. I want to know I’m still loved even though I’ve f*cked up so many times. I want someone to hug me and tell me it’s ok even if it isn’t.
This is why I am more qualified to speak about mental health and addiction than any Doctor or Talk Show Host because I live it and I’m still here.