A great many people expressed worry and concern for me since reading Heather’s post, “Pieces,” so I decided to write a quick explanation of what happened to me.
Last Thursday I went back to work for the first time since Maddie passed. In the back of my mind I feared it was too soon, but I had heard about people in similar situations who had gone back to work after four or five weeks so I thought I could to. Also my company, boss, and co-workers have been so amazing and would (and did indeed) try to welcome me back as kindly as possible. Unfortunately, on the drive over I was gripped by anxiety and couldn’t stop thinking about Maddie.
Upon arriving at my job (forty-five minutes from our home) I was a weeping mess. I looked up at my building and couldn’t summon the strength to go in, so I called my Dad. I spoke with him on the phone for close to two hours until my cell phone died. I considered driving home right then, but instead went inside.
After about an hour of work I went to lunch with some co-workers and made the stupid decision to have a couple margaritas. This only plummeted me into a deeper depression, so after lunch I told everyone I was going to go home. The forty-five minute drive home was terrible and my mood spiraled lower and lower. I’m sure other drivers were weirded out to see me screaming, weeping, and punching the dashboard.
Once at home I made another stupid decision – to continue drinking. Soon I had ingested way more rum than any human ever should. Unnerved by what I’d done, I called my parent’s and asked them to come over. Upon arriving they found me in a terrible state, and shortly thereafter, when Heather and her Mom returned from running errands, the four of them decided it would be best to take me to the emergency room.
I don’t remember much that happened at the emergency room, but apparently I told numerous doctors and nurses that I wanted to die. That folks, is something you should NEVER DO in public. Trust me on this. In my case it got me transferred upstairs to the psychiatric ward where, for the next five days, I had to eat steak with a plastic spoon, shave with the bathroom door open and a nurse standing guard, and to live in close quarters with an assortment of the saddest, most mentally ill people you could ever imagine.
The hardest thing was that, in order to be discharged, I had to prove to doctors and nurses that I wasn’t a threat to myself or others, and every minute there I was judged on my sanity. The nurses wrote down how I interacted with my fellow patients, how much of the food I ate, what I said in group meetings, you name it. Often I couldn’t help but cry when I thought of Madeline, but I quickly wiped my tears in fear that this might make the nurses or doctors think I truly was suicidal. It was frightening. I started to think of movies like “Girl, Interrupted” where the main character gets locked away far longer than they deserve to be, but nothing they can say or do can convince the powers that be to let them go.
In the end I was finally let out today. It was a harrowing ordeal and I am very glad to be home, but I am trying to focus on the positive aspects of all of this. I participated in a number of therapy groups – some that helped me discuss my grief in ways I hadn’t before, and others that taught me how drinking isn’t a healthy way to address Maddie’s death.
Starting today I am going to focus on doing absolutely everything I can to put my life together and figure out how Heather and I can make a life for ourselves after our sweet Maddie’s passing.