Nine years ago, I almost died.
At my own hand.
It’s not something that I talk about much. Or like to think about, for that matter. And there’s really only a handful of people in my life that know about it–that know all the horrific, gory details. Not that it’s something that I’ve ever tried to deliberately hide or anything…it’s just not the kind of thing you talk openly about or that comes up in casual conversation. You wouldn’t think that in this day and age that suicide would still be such a taboo topic for people…but the reality is that—unfortunately—it’s still very much so. First and foremost, there’s that stigma of shame that almost aways accompanies the individual that attempted to take their life. And I can tell you, having experienced it myself, that stigma and that shame…it’s damn near overwhelming. It took me a long time to get past that shame…years, in fact. For so long, I felt like I was drowning in it. I’ve never felt so alone in my life as I did during that time. So lost. For weeks and even months after it happened, I just felt like I was being judged all the time. It all started when I was still in the hospital, first with the emergency room doctor and the nurses and social workers, and again with the psychiatrist that I spoke with while they’d kept me in the psych ward for the mandatory 72 hours. My memories of that night are still a little hazy—I was drunk to oblivion, with a BAC so high, everyone said it was truly just amazing that I didn’t die from alcohol poisoning—but I do clearly recall the doctor waiting hours before stitching up my wrist. He wanted to give me “time to sober up”. I’m still not absolutely sure of his motive or reasoning behind that decision…I’ve always just assumed that he was—albeit in his twisted and medically unethical way—to teach me a lesson. I think he wanted me to be sober enough to fully comprehend the extent of my actions. Maybe he thought he was helping me in the long run, using my pain and suffering to physically remind me and thus ideally, prevent me from making the same mistakes or trying to hurt myself again. I would like to think that–as a medical doctor sworn to do no harm—that he was trying to help me and that he wasn’t being deliberately cruel or sadistic. Either way, his scare tactic did work…for the most part. I don’t think I fully realized how far I’d gone and what I’d done until that moment in the little consult room in the psych ward when the orthopedic surgeon examined and then informed me of the extensive nerve damage I’d done and that I needed to have immediate surgery. That’s when it really hit me: the guilt and the shame. I knew that I’d screwed up HUGELY and as such, I regretted my actions. Truly. Still, the regret was—IS–tricky. I know that what I did was wrong and it definitely wasn’t the healthiest/safest way to cope with the feelings that I’d been having at that time. I was going through a lot—a lot had happened and I was, admittedly, not in the right frame of mind when I made that decision to do what I did. I know that I hurt my family and those close who knew, and I know that I hurt myself. I’m not proud of that. But at the time, I was just trying to find an escape from all the chaos, in the only way I knew how…by hurting myself. I wasn’t thinking about anything or anyone else. I was just thinking of the pain and how alone I felt. I couldn’t talk to anyone without them trying to “fix” me and it just seemed easier to make it all go away, to go that far. I didn’t want to deal with anything. I just wanted to disappear…for good. As odd as it sounds, it was that attempt that saved my life. It really was a wake-up call and it made me realize and really take a closer look at what my life had become…and decide that rock-bottom wasn’t where I wanted to be for the rest of my life. As it turns out, I did learn a lesson from it. And it prompted me to change and to take back control over my life. So in that sense, I don’t regret the act. Without it, I don’t know what would have happened or what/who I’d become.
As I said, it took years, but I eventually stopped feeling ashamed of it. It happened, it was over and done with—I couldn’t change it. I knew I’d make a mistake and I accepted that, but I wasn’t going to let it or anyone define ME for it. No one’s perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. Granted, mine nearly killed me, but the logic itself stands. I was only human. I’m not ashamed to talk about it—if people ask. I don’t try to justify or encourage suicide and/or self-harm—but I am an advocate for your life being YOUR LIFE and your body being YOUR BODY to do with it as you so choose. I mean, you don’t know what a person is going through. And you can’t judge someone for their decision when you don’t know the circumstances behind it. You can’t feel someone else’ pain or hopelessness. You can’t know that it’s a person’s only option, their only escape from a world that’s broken them so completely and devastatingly. Until you step into that person’s shoes and have stared down the barrel of a gun or held the smooth metal of a razorblade between your fingers—don’t you dare try to assume to understand. Suicide just isn’t that black and white. There’s so much grey area that people aren’t aware of and that don’t understand.
That feeling of absolute hopelessness—I haven’t felt it in so long. Until today. And that’s why I’m writing this. It’s been a horrible, brutal week for me. Starting Monday with an out-of-the blue email from the attorney in Tennessee informing me of his intention to withdraw from the case. Of course, I was floored and I contacted him back to find out what had happened—considering that as of not even 2 weeks ago, I was told that everything was fine and that the case was progressing as it should. He claimed he had been hired by my NY lawyer to file the necessary motion in Tennessee and that he hadn’t from the NY lawyer since their initial phone conference. Thus began the day-long hassle of trying to reach that NY lawyer myself, and his ultimate reassurance that everything was fine and it was all just routine litigation and not to worry about it. That was Monday. On Wednesday, after the scheduled phone conference between both lawyers, my NY attorney came back with a completely different story…this time saying the insurance had filed a motion to dismiss because they claim that my insurance policy didn’t have Uninsured Motorist Coverage for accidents that occur out of the state of New York in a state whose law doesn’t mandate their drives to have Uninsured Motorist coverage on their insurance. It’s a long story that I’ve literally been going at for days now and STILL don’t have any real answers, but the gist of it is that because the accident happened in Tennessee, which doesn’t have that mandate, my New York policy and UM coverage is essentially useless—despite the fact that had the accident had been my fault and the guy still uninsured, my insurance company would have paid him for 100 percent of his injuries and damages. It’s fucked up…to put it bluntly. I mean, you get car insurance and full coverage, get charged with these exorbitant premiums, just so that a situation like this DOESN’T happen, and then you have the very unfortunate of said accident happening in one of the like 4 states that doesn’t have a particular mandate, and your own insurance company screws you over the coals with fine print and litigation. I mean, what the hell is the point of having insurance if they aren’t going to honor the coverage you paid/are paying for. Its total bullshit is what it is.
To add fuel to the fire, I can’t even talk to or get any answers on all of this that I’ve been told because I’m not the lawyer. And my lawyer won’t send the insurance company the letter they need from him saying that he’s no longer my lawyer—which he’s essentially already said that there’s nothing else he can do for me, which in my book, is the equivalent to saying that he’s no longer on the case. I’d like to think that he’s trying to help me, but I’m not an idiot. He’s a lawyer. He’s in it for the money. And since he seems to think he might be able to get the insurance company to negotiate and payout their previous settlement off that I’d rejected months ago…of which, of course as my lawyer, he’d be automatically entitled to 33 percent of it. He wants the money, for sure he does. Does he deserve it—hell fucking no. He hasn’t done enough work to say so and certainly not enough to be entitled to a third of anything I may be offered. I mean, he hasn’t done shit. Well, except for get pissed at me for refusing the original settlement and demanding that he pursue the case to trial. I haven’t even heard of him since that, until this week after all this happened. He didn’t even tell me that they’d hired a Tennessee attorney to handle the case. I found out about that when his paralegal called asking me to sign a medical authorization form for them. He didn’t explain what the Tennessee case was for or what the lawyer was hired to do. And the Tennessee lawyer has a completely conflicting story to the one the NY attorney is now throwing out with. Basically, the TN lawyer is saying on thing and the NY lawyer another and I can’t confirm or deny what’s being said or what’s true because I’m not fucking allowed to talk to the insurance company. So basically, I’m screwed. I don’t even know what to do at this point, or what I can do. It sucks.
Honestly, I don’t even care. I’m just so sick and tired of it all. I literally came up to New York for nothing. I left Nashville, the place I call home, because that’s what the lawyer and my family insisted I needed to do—to seek treatment and get a lawyer. I’ve done all that, for 14 months, I’ve done it. And where did it get me? Absolutely fucking nowhere. The doctors, while they’ve confirmed this all being permanent now, haven’t been able to find a treatment that helps with the headaches. They’re at a loss for what to do and basically, I’m stuck just dealing with the damn things and oh well. And now this with the lawyers. I mean, what the fuck. And what really gets me is that it’s been 14 fucking months and this NY lawyer didn’t catch or find this supposed clause in the insurance policy that he’s had this entire time? Clearly someone wasn’t doing their job. I’m just now finding this out? It’s such fucking bullshit that it’s not even funny. It’s ridiculous. Because these lawyers didn’t do their job and because the insurance company has decided to be a sneaky, fucking asshole…I’m the one getting screwed. How is that fair? It’s not. At all. I never should have left Nashville. This was pointless and a waste of my life and I’m just so pissed that after all this hoop-jumping, it was all for nothing.
That having been said, I think the hopelessness is a little justified. I mean seriously…why me? Why does this shit keeping happening to me? I’ve paid my dues and then some, so why is the universe still trying to rape me sideways in this life thing? I don’t understand it. And to be honest, I’m tired of trying to find the answers and to understand. I don’t care anymore. I just want it all to go away. I want to disappear.
I mean, can you blame me?