The pounding of the rain was so hard that you couldn’t make out either side of the conversation going on. The volume was as high as I could get it and still maybe every third word was coming through. It wasn’t like the person on the other end was going to hang up on me. It was one of those times when once you start, you have to finish.
Going inside wasn’t an option either. It meant being around people, something that would have made the situation so much worse for me that it might have dragged them into something I couldn’t control. So I sat there with the windows completely fogged over, shivering in my car even though the heat was running and the seats turned on to keep my butt warm! I was scared that if someone saw me I wouldn’t know what to say, I wouldn’t be able to do the things that others needed me to. My thoughts were so wrapped up in wanting to hurt myself more than I was already hurting, someone might have stopped me.
I phoned a friend. Or more precisely I called one of those semi-anonymous phone lines where you can just talk until you are so drained of words the silence is comforting. At least until your mind starts back up with the world being a better place without you. Those thoughts are dangerous and for some reason my brain knew that but was willing to force me down that path anyway. Somehow the fight or flight mechanism was at odds with each other, neither wanting to give an ounce of space for the other to assume control.
The voice on the line kept asking if I was alright, did I have someone to call? Too many things had happened in the last few weeks and I hadn’t told anyone. Not about the cancer, not about the ex having walked the same week. At times I was still only functional because I willed myself to function since other things hadn’t gone the way I had hoped. Today for reasons that it has taken me a long time to even come close to understanding, my brain needed a break. Possibly it needed to break? The faceless voice telling me to go someplace safe. Safe? I couldn’t even be in my own house!
I turned the speaker function on and started moving my car from my assigned spot. Several people had seen me but just assumed I was talking to someone about work and hadn’t made it out of my car. I knew where to go but the voice was unhappy to hear I had to go on a major highway. When you call a suicide hotline, driving a car at a higher speed to get someplace you might feel safe? Not something they are comfortable with.
Time stood still and moved at the speed of light. Even thought I’m comfortable driving in nasty weather, I’m sure I wasn’t safe that day. By the time the hospital parking structure sheltered my car, I was actually holding onto the hand rail as I alternated between pulling and pushing myself towards the check-in spot. I couldn’t talk anymore. I just sat there. By now I was colorless from not having eaten in a day or two, shaking from maybe having remembered to take the medication that was supposed to help with the cancer.
The rest of it was a blur. I have no idea how the afternoon went by, it took time to figure out who to call and who to keep away. All I remember is handing some nurse my driver’s license and they did the rest.
Later I found a box of pills under the arm rest that would have taken out several people. You never want to only go halfway with these things! Having admitted to the pills, having admitted that you can pretty much use so many combinations of household items to end a life; you learn how scared you are.
I fight that demon all the time. For some reason that day I won, but it took several others to fight alongside me. At times I’m still lost in the pain and fear, too many things changed so quickly I never had my footing from the first punch to the gut. So by the time the one-two punch came within 7 days of each other, I didn’t have a chance.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Saved by the Bell.”