Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Strange Bedfellows

     When we last left off, I was on one-on-one suicide watch, taking antidepressants, and in mandatory counseling. How is that for an opening paragraph? It catches everyone up to speed, too. I was cooperating as well as I possibly could under the circumstances. The sitters, as the one-on-one participants were called, were tough to deal with for someone more inclined to a quiet, solitary life like me. I was not thrilled at the prospect of taking drugs which altered my brain chemistry. My mind was the only thing I had left at this point. Messing with it was not on my agenda. Privacy is a big deal for me, too, so I often wound up performing intellectual gymnastics in the counseling sessions to control the flow as best I could.
     Were things going well? Not especially. I needed time to think of a way out of this hole I had dug for myself, but no one was giving it to me. Let us be honest here. I backed off my suicide plan, confessed everything to Paulette, handed over my suicide kit, and cooperated with everything Oakhaven management wanted. But I became trapped by the way the system demands these situations be handled. In other words, Oakhaven eliminating any possibility of discovering my corpse in a locked bathroom and, more importantly, not being sued by anyone for not preventing said corpse's existence. Allowing me time to work through my issues was not quite as important as punting me to another team—any team—besides the one that was stuck with me now.
      I was given repeated assurances this was untrue. Oakhaven was supportive of all its residents during their times in need. I was not sure how being treated like a prisoner fit into the idea of supportive, but I was not in any position to protest. In fact, I kept quiet early on with my sitters. It was easy to do. They were mostly concerned with watching television and gossiping with coworkers. Of course, that meant there was never a moment of quiet for me to experience. But there was a general notion antidepressants worked far better for depression than talking things out, so none of the siters pressed me too hard. Counseling was not their venue in the first place.
     People were wrong about the antidepressants being the 'cure' for depression. Or maybe it simply was not in my case. I had-and still have—a very low dosage. It came to be that talking issues out was the ultimate solution. It took a lot of time with Dr. Hiatt at first, and then gradually opening up tp the sitters before I began coming out of my funk. It makes since in hindsight. If my problem was believing I had no life, then the solution was trying to make one with the people around me. Was I suffering a spiritual/existential crisis? Of course, I was. But even the happiest people have those. It is an inevitable part of reconciling deeply held convictions with the unpredictable cruelties of life. Those can be difficult to deal with, but wre not the root causes of my suicidal thoughts.
     The problem with opening up to people is how easily one can let his guard down. It is one of the key reasons I so often do not open up to people outside of written words. In the midst of seeing sitters' family photos, playing games, and simply talking to them, my deep level of depression was becoming more apparent. While I was swimming out deeper in socializing with nursing staff I had barely spoken to in the months I had been at Oakhaven, they were being asked by the administration to report on how I felt and what I was saying. I was even encouraged to confess to Paulette who I had talked to on the day I planned to commit suicide and how this person inadvertently convinced me to back off. I did so under the condition she would remain anonymous for obvious reasons. Paulette's wide-eyed response to the story showed she readily agreed this story ought not get out. This new found openness, which I regret in many ways, was about to cost me. 

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