Welcome to Part III. Today I talk with the doc and get sent to the ER. Not the best day in my life but one of the most helpful by far. Click here to read Part II.
And we’re back at the morning when I wanted to let go.
They say the hardest thing to do is to let go.
Lemme tell you something – that morning, letting go was easy. I was weak, tired, frustrated, confused, and overwhelmed. I had nothing left to do but to let go. So I did.
As I drove myself to the doctor’s office, my mind was blank. I don’t really remember the drive. When I arrived, I went back pretty quickly and shuttled into a little room with a nurse. She asked why I was there. Didn’t I tell you on the phone? Why do I have to repeat myself? It wouldn’t be the last time. I sighed and let the monsters out of the bag. I was too far gone to care about consequences.
I sat in the doctor’s office confessing all of my dark secrets. But it wasn’t me.
No, I floated above myself as this other woman confessed to a multitude of sins that I had not committed. To thoughts I had certainly not had. To horrible things like not bonding with my child and wanting to smother her with a pillow. My mouth moved, sound escaped, but surely it wasn’t my voice uttering these things. I am a good mom. Good mothers do not want to do things like smother their children or abandon them at the hospital. Good mothers can do anything. Good mothers are perfect and kind and… well, like June Cleaver.
My house was a wreck, I slid closer and closer to carrying out these horrific pirhanic like thoughts swimming through my brain, I barely slept, barely kept up with anything anymore. There was no way in hell good mother applied to me.
She spoke slowly and deliberately, asking how long it would take me to get to the local hospital, what route I would take, if I felt I could drive myself.
I asked if I could go home to get some of my things. I needed a breast pump. My breasts were starting to sting they were so full. (It was almost 4:00 p.m. now. I had not pumped since 11:00a.m. and normally pumped every three hours.)
No. You have to go straight to the hospital. Can you do that?
But I need to get my things….
No. Hospital. Now.
Okay. If you say so.
She and I walked quietly to the front of the office where she helped me check out. (Sidenote: I carry that receipt/slip with me in my wallet to this day. It reminds me of how far I have come since then.)
I left and walked to my car. I called my husband to tell him the doctor sent me to the ER. I’d call with an update when I could.
When I arrived at the ER, they were waiting for me. The doctor said she would call ahead. I was triaged and sent back almost immediately.
The ER doc on call came in, sat down and asked me what was going on with me.
I told him. Quietly and calmly.
“I’m here because I do not want to be Andrea Yates. I don’t want to be Andrea Yates. Please, keep me from being Andrea Yates.” I pleaded with him as he sat across from me, legs crossed, arms crossed, yet seemingly warm and open. Relaxed. He stood in a very relaxed position. This made me comfortable.
I remember this ER doc. He kept telling me how much courage it took to seek help. He commended me for my bravery. Shortly after the ER doc left, a nurse came in and a security guard showed up. My belongings were taken away from me to keep them safe. (Translation – to keep ME safe.) I talked openly with a social worker about my situation, my thoughts, everything. I don’t remember what he asked or what I said to him. I do remember asking if I could have a breast pump. It was now nearly 6:00 p.m. I believe. My breasts were moments away from bursting.
The social worker talked with me about hospitalization. I nodded in agreement. I needed help. I needed to rest. He disappeared to make some calls. I wish I had known about Emory at this time. I would have requested to go there. But I didn’t so off to elsewhere I went.
My husband arrived with some of my things including my breast pump which I received permission to take with me. He looked exhausted and scared. I’m sure I looked the same – or worse.
Shortly after he arrived, the transport driver showed up. I asked to go to the rest room and had to be quick about it. I hugged my husband good bye and followed the driver to the van.
I don’t know what time we left the ER. The inky sky swallowed me whole as tiny rays of light beamed down. I missed the sun. I felt even more trapped and alone as the van glided over streets I had driven time and time again prior to this night. Yet tonight the buildings judged me, the stars judged me, and the headlights of the oncoming traffic judged me. They all knew – they all knew why I rode in the back of the medical transport van.
As the driver turned onto the main road away from my town, I took a deep breath. I had no idea what the rest of the night held but I already felt a tremendous sense of relief.
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Although, I didn’t make that trip to the ER, I remember being curled up in my bed, hugging my knees … looking at my best friend who was in tears, telling me I wasn’t crazy. I was desperate to go because I didn’t even know myself then, I hated what was happening, I hated the thoughts, the panic, the anxiety … I hated not having control when I used to be the one who had, or thought I had a handle on life … boy was I wrong. I asked my hubby if he could take me away and he just looked at me, sad, confused and didn’t know what to say … I didn’t go, I had my loved ones gather around me and take care of me that day … and the next, … and the next, .. I made it to the Dr.’s office and was sure he was gonna send my to the ward where I felt I belonged cause I was a horrible person, … but he didn’t and he gave me a card to make an appointment with the therapist. I went to see the therapist and was sure she was gonna call the ‘men in white suits’, as I spilled everything out, … and she didn’t, and told me I wasn’t alone … I crumbled and cried, and cried in shame, in pain … the slow, long, painful beginning of healing began … thank you so much Lauren for sharing, truly I can’t count how many times I’ve come to this blog in the thick of it, as a source for healing! Thanks so much!
Miranda’s DH here…. occasionally I bounce around to her friends’ blogs, and this is amazing writing, and so important to share this powerful story. Many thanks.
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Thank you for sharing. I want to write my story, but not sure I’m ready. I try to forget it, and I am. Not sure if it’s the best thing though. I remember standing in my living room mid panic attack saying “I have a newborn and I am trying to check myself into the psych ward, what has happened to me?” I just want to hug who I was that day and that girl it will all be ok. It is so helpful to hear other women’s stories.
Wow. I mean. WOW. Your descriptions are so full of imagery and beauty and yet it’s such an awful hell that you went through. Your story is so important. SO. IMPORTANT.
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Lauren, although this is terribly painful, this is so beautifully written. The way you describe your transport in the van “felt even more trapped and alone as the van glided over streets I had driven time and time again prior to this night. Yet tonight the buildings judged me, the stars judged me, and the headlights of the oncoming traffic judged me. They all knew – they all knew why I rode in the back of the medical transport van.” Is THE EXACT. SAME. WAY I felt when my husband drove me to the ER for the first time. I felt that EVERYONE knew…
Gosh, this is powerful stuff Lauren and thank you so much for sharing this!!! BRavo to you!!! It’s funny because I keep the arm band that I wore when I was in the ER…twice. I carry it with me in my wallet and everytime I’m feeling low, I will look at those id bands and feel somewhat relieved because I have come very far indeed.
I huddled into the pillow and blanket the driver was nice enough to give me – I was exhausted. If I huddled far enough down, no one would see me and then they couldn’t judge me – right? The streets also seemed so strange – as if I were seeing them for the very first time. The level of paranoia surrounding my experience that night was off the charts.
I am glad you’re reading and relating so much to my story. THAT alone makes all the hell I went through worth it – I always said that if just one other mom learned something from my experience, it would be worth it. And it has been- over and over.
Take care of you,