By Raquel Lyons
Shaky and anxious with tears in my eyes, I tell the police officer, “I’m feeling suicidal.”
An hour ago my only goal was to make it home to feed my hamster and get to sleep as soon as possible. It had been a long day, with extra stress in my three hour drawing class from trying to use charcoal to draw some taxidermy birds that looked like taxidermy birds.
It had been my goal at least, until I drove around the ponds in the center of my town. Then, the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder kicked my brain up a few notches as I crawled a steady thirty miles an hour, watching the moonlight glittering on the inviting water, hearing the whispers of my brain entice me with thoughts of suicide.
Afterward, I got angry and floored the gas pedal. I only caught the glimpse of my speedometer on the way down, but I remember the revving of the engine and the pull of the car as it propelled forwards and the serious, cold faced look plastered across my facial muscles.
I just had to get home, that was it, but the possibilities of death swam in my vision as I imagined hurling the car towards a pole or swerving unexpectedly or slamming on my brakes.
…Instead, I saw the approaching headlights and the swift blue and red lights flashing in my rearview mirror as the police officer did a double take and came back for me.
I was honest with the generic named police officer and I watched as my weekend plans fell away from me when he called for the ambulance to come pick me up.
Another psychiatric hospitalization: my fourth time.
I had to call my Mom from my cell phone, held up in the palm of my right hand, telling her I had gotten pulled over…again.
To the officer I uttered, “I’m so sorry,” repeatedly. In my mind I thought, this wasn’t supposed to be happening.
I was apologizing for the resources I was taking up, for the fact that I’d been driving when I shouldn’t, that it’d be yet another hospitalization during a point in time where I was meant to be stable and okay. I was apologizing for what didn’t feel like such “a big deal.”
But still, I was feeling suicidal and I needed help.
At the time it felt like feeling suicidal and actually being suicidal were two different things–and I think suicidality as a spectrum can involve that–but what really made the difference in that moment was that I was actively behaving recklessly and I was only about one further action away from becoming another suicide statistic.
The reality of that is hard to swallow. Part of me would love to do anything I could to dismiss the severity of that statement.
Yet, at what cost would that be?
I’d be lying to myself and placing denial ahead of my own recovery journey if I didn’t state my circumstances clearly both to myself and to you, the reader.
Tying into this, a couple of people close to me have questioned whether it’s a good idea for me to use this platform to talk about these recent events, however–from the moment it happened I was already ghost writing this mini-series.
I don’t believe I have the heart in me to edit my story–to edit out the most important parts of my recovery journey. I’ve written it before: Recovery is a series of ups and downs in which lapses and relapses can occur. Honesty is a strong value of mine in my recovery and it allows me to be open and vulnerable across an array of audiences.
I have a blogger friend who once told me that I won’t always have my recovery to wellness material together and how that IS okay. By speaking out about my experiences–the falls, the triumphs–is to share one person’s trials with recovery from a mental health condition. It’s important to know that not every day is a good day, that I’m only human and therefore make mistakes, and that readers like you can learn from what’s happened to me and be aware of similar behaviors in yourself or loved ones. Is that not the purpose of storytelling? To find purpose, authenticity, accountability and to shine light on suffering so that others in the darkness feel less alone?
That is my goal in writing these articles. I want to raise awareness and share what my story has been as it continues to unfold. In choosing to write this mini-series, I am choosing to look back on recent events and determine what helped, what didn’t, what’s changed and how does it fit into my recovery.
A more recent Mass Media article. I submitted the “Voice from the Darkness” as three parts a few weeks ago, so this is a more recent work that I was meant to submit this past week but didn’t get the chance to. Any who, I’m thinking it’ll be about four parts or so. I have another article I want to work on, too. Basically, I’m coming up with a lot of series articles 🙂 I also want to do a destigmatizing article too.
This piece was written/edited: 9/25, 9/26, 9/29
Hope you enjoy! 🙂 ❤ ❤