I almost died two days before Thanksgiving, 2009. I had been experiencing a plethora of problems after graduation from college, none of which I was adequately coping with. I had been diagnosed in December of 2007 with bipolar disorder and my medication was not sorted out yet. I had been in a major depression for months at that point. I had dropped out of grad school because I couldn’t handle it, I was in the off-again part of an on-again, off-again relationship with the man that infected me with herpes and mocked me when I told him that I was self-harming one night.
The night in question I had taken two Ambien to help combat my insomnia and sat down to read over some of the old entries in my secret personal blog. I looked back over the year that I had had after graduation and realized just how horrible it had been. I hadn’t been able to find a job, I was still living at home, I had been dumped by someone that I really liked without even the decency of an explanation, I couldn’t manage grad school, and a thousand other disappointments stacked up until, in an Ambien haze, I realized that this was it; my life was never going to get any better. It would just keep getting worse and I had to put a stop to this now.
I took the rest of the bottle of Ambien. I had just refilled it and had only taken two pills the night before. So I had 26 pills left, after taking two already that night. I took the rest of the bottle and wrote out a short will, leaving everything to my parents and assuring them that it was better this way. I then went to sleep.
I vaguely remember getting up and going to the bathroom. I vaguely remember talking to my mom. But my first clear memory is 5pm the next day when I woke up in the hospital. I saw my mom and asked where I was and she told me. At this point, I realized that I had, 1. Not managed to actually kill myself. 2. Fucked up. 3. Probably landed myself back at a psych ward for the second time in 6 weeks.
My mom told me later that the doctor had talked to her while I was unconscious and he told her that he wasn’t sure why I was alive. It was hardly a miracle though. I had been building up a tolerance to Ambien because I had been using it so regularly. I had been taking two instead of one, which was the dosage on the bottle, just to knock me out. I most likely survived because I had had so much in my system already. Keep in mind, the recommended dose is 10mg and I consumed 280mg. So, granted, that was a massive overdose, but still.
Although I don’t remember any of it, this was the closest to death that I’ve ever come and my first ambulance ride. In the end, I survived it and the inpatient stay afterward and things slowly did get better. I can’t say that things are perfect now, but things have improved and I’m much better equipped to deal with life and all of the strange things that come along with it. I have to say, it’s pretty strange to survive your brain trying to kill you. But honestly, I just have to hold on and hope that it doesn’t try that again.