Saturday, August 22, 2009


Or alternatively titled: How my 6 year old saved my life

I'm not entirely sure when I began to get depressed. It could have been during my freshman year of high school when I realized I was a little fish in a big pond that I didn't even want to be a part of. It might have been before that, when I realized my father really was never going to come through for me. It might have been later, when marriage didn't actually make any of the issues in my life better. It's hard to say.

But it is safe to say that by the time the summer of 2002 came around, I was sufficiently depressed. I hardly laughed. I felt no joy in anything. I was constantly irritable and critical and just wanted to be left alone.

The problem though, was that pretty much no one noticed I was depressed. My personality is such that I tend to be a little dry and cynical with my humor and simple jokes only make me smile, I rarely laugh out loud. Well, at least I used to rarely laugh out loud. But that had been my personality for so long I don't think anyone knew that something was wrong.

I was also not your typical depressed person. I made plans for the future. I bought things. I had a rich fantasy life when I would go walking or had time to myself to think. I just also wanted to die. All the time.

I constantly had this voice in my head telling me die. Not like schizophrenics have voices, I knew mine was my own internal voice. It was me inside me. Telling me to die.

I had a constant fight ongoing with the voice. The voice would pop up out of nowhere and I would have to have an internal fight with it. Driving was awful. I almost always heard it. Telling me to drive off the road. Telling me to gun the gas at a stoplight so I would plow into traffic. Telling me to drive into the bad part of Tucson late at night. I would fight with it and white knuckle it to my destination when I could pull my car keys out of the ignition and I was safe. From myself.

It will probably surprise you to learn I didn't realize I was depressed. That I was sick. Really, really sick. But then, no one else really knew either. Of course, I never told them about the voice. Telling me to shoot myself with Brian's gun. Or to slit my wrists. Or to drive into a light pole.

I used to crawl into bed every night and the last thing I would pray for was that God would kill me in my sleep. The idea of having to face the world again the next morning was so overwhelming that I would pray that I would die in bed. At 23.

The summer of 2002 Brian was deployed. You may remember that this was post-9/11 and of course when he deployed everyone was afraid. Luckily he was deployed to Kyrgyzstan and not somewhere much, much scarier.

Other wives told me to keep myself busy. That it would make the time fly by. So I did. I over did. I worked full time. I took 2 accelerated online courses at the college I was attending. I led the Brownie Troop Kylie was in at the time. I was the Treasurer for the Enlisted Spouses Association on the base. I hated my life.

One night I was working on an online course and I had put 6 year old Kylie in the bathtub but left the water running. She was old enough at that point to tell me when the water was high enough.

I wasn't paying attention to her. I never really did. I closed the door to the office and became engrossed in my class. It wasn't until almost an hour later that I realized the water was still running. I stood up, walked 2 feet and my socks were instantly wet. I flung open the door and saw to my horror Kylie naked next to the bathtub, covered in bubbles, dipping a plastic cup into the bathtub and dumping it out on the floor. Over and over again. The entire hallway was flooded. The bathroom and most of the office were too.

I ran into the bathroom, shut the water off and screamed at her. I yanked her out of the bathroom and physically shoved her into her bedroom. I slammed the door. I knew I would hurt her if I saw her. I was afraid of myself that moment and I think she knew it because while I heard her sobbing in her bedroom she did not make any attempt to come out.

Brian happen to call as I was using the last towel in the house to attempt to sop up the water, which was futile. I cried. I told him I was afraid of myself. He told me I was doing the right thing and to wait until I was calm to attempt to speak with her. He sent flowers the next day and the card said, "Please don't kill the kid." I'm sure the florist thought that was hysterical.

I didn't kill her. I didn't even spank her. I was upset with myself. I was frustrated with my life. I was a failure as a mother. I was a horrible wife.

Several nights later I sat on my bed and dumped out every pill I could find. There admittedly wasn't much. Lots of Motrin and Aspirin. Perhaps a few left over Vicodin Brian had for his back pain. Cold pills. Over the counter sleep aids. It would have sucked but I knew I could end my life with what was in front of me. Or I could get more. There was a 24 hour pharmacy just off base that I knew I could get more from.

I know now that I was very, very sick. I wanted a do over. I wanted to end my life and start over. I wanted God to do me the favor of returning me back to the point of about 4 years old and I truly believed he would do it for me. As I said, I was very sick and obviously not in a healthy frame of mind.

The voice in my head was screaming at me. TAKE THEM. DRINK YOUR SODA AND TAKE THEM. PUT THEM IN YOUR MOUTH.

One thing saved my life that night. Kylie. And she doesn't even know it.

I imagined what it would be like the next morning. I don't know if all people contemplating suicide do it but I certainly considered what the world would be life if I were gone the next day.

Kylie would have to find me. Cold and dead in my bedroom. With no note. She would have to, at 6 years old, remember to call 911 for help. Except there would be no help that would save me as I would be dead. There would also be no one there for her. We lived in Tucson and at the time no family lived nearby. (My cousin Heidi lived there as a traveling nurse but at the time I don't recall her living there)

I had a few friends but no one that I was close with. No one that Kylie knew who would take care of her until family could arrive. That would of course be my mom. Who would have to fly from Alaska. Which could take at least a day, maybe 2. Kylie would be all alone in a strange place with a dead mother and no one she knew.

It's not that I loved her. Although I did and do. But being as sick as I was I didn't really feel any emotional connection with anyone. I just didn't want to mess her up anymore than I already had.

I couldn't do it. I threw all the pills away. All of them. It sucked later when I came down with a cold and had nothing to ease the snotty nose. But I did. I decided I couldn't do that to Kylie.

The next day I had an appointment with my talk therapist. Who had no idea I was depressed. Yeah, I was so helpful for myself. I had a therapist that I saw weekly and I faked my way through every appointment. I told her about the previous night. I told her I had wanted to die. I was still not aware that I was sick. I laughed about it, with no realization of the danger I was still in.

She insisted I see a Psychiatrist. That day. She told me she couldn't see me anymore if I didn't. I fired her. After she made a couple of phone calls and got me to see someone the next day. I was so angry with her. I didn't need medication. I didn't believe in it. I wasn't crazy. I just had a bad night. Couldn't she see that I just had a bad night?

I went to the Psychiatrist the next day. Angry. But she had told me that my insurance would do something, I can't remember what now, if I didn't go. I think I believed they would somehow drop my medical coverage although I'm pretty sure that's not what she told me.

I took some test in front of him. I thought this was a waste of time. I told him so. I told him I was fine. He "graded" my test. Told me I had social anxiety and depression. Serious depression. We talked about why I was there. I mentioned the voice. His demeanor never changed but he wrote a prescription for Prozac. He told me I needed to go to mental hospital for a few days of rest. I told him I couldn't. I had a 6 year old and no one to help me take care of her. He told me to quit my job or at least take a leave of absence. I told him I couldn't do that either. My husband wouldn't let me.

That's actually true. I ran it by Brian a few days later. I told him everything. While he was deployed. I told him I had wanted to die. I told him about the Prozac. I told him about the pills. He told me I was right, I couldn't quit my job. Or even take unpaid leave. I had to stick it out.

He was a prick about that part of it. But in his defense, I just don't think he realized either how bad it was. I don't think he could comprehend what I was telling him.

I told my mom. She wanted to come out. I told her not to. That I was fine. But I didn't tell her everything. I didn't tell her about the Night. I never told her. I just told her that I had been seeing someone and they had referred me to someone else who said I was depressed. I know she never told Nana about my anti-depressants.

About 2 weeks after I started the Prozac things seemed different. I couldn't place my finger on it but I was slightly different. But sleepy all the time. I went back to my Drug Pusher as I called him and advised I could not continue the Prozac. It made me too sleepy to function.

So he gave me Zoloft. The sleepy went away and I could tell I was getting better. I was coping better. Life didn't seem as bleak. The desire to crawl into my bed and pray for death every night lifted. I slowly got better.

Time went by and I switched to Wellbutrin which I loved. I laughed. I enjoyed things. I didn't burst into tears for no reason any longer. I didn't fake my way through interactions with people and for the first time in a really long time I felt emotional attachment to my child. And my husband. And everyone else around me.

I don't take anything anymore. I weaned myself off them after Lulu was born. And I feel fine. My brain chemistry was luckily corrected, possibly by her pregnancy although I'm forever doing a self check internally, listening for the voice or taking stock of what is and is not going on inside of me. So far I'm fine.

And it's all because of Kylie. Who never knew she saved her mothers life. Just by being.

You might wonder why I'm telling you all of this, in the middle of a blog about pregnancy and first days of school. I'm telling you because sometimes no matter how big a pain in the ass my now teenager is I think back to those really dark days and thank God that she was there that night. Across the hall. Saving her mom.



Somehow "God works in mysterious ways" seems trite and inadequate. Maybe "Isn't God weird sometimes" is better?

At any rate, I've thanked God for Kylie before, and we'll be doing it again tonight.

On a random note, and I hope you don't mind, I find the whole bathtub scene hilarious. This from a mom who almost lost it the day her two year old "painted" herself with yogurt, while wearing clothes.


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