Busking New York or Confessions of a (psycho) Subway Troubadour (method #2 the slit of the wrist)

In logging all my suicide attempts I decided to go backwards starting with the most recent first which I told about in my last post. Before my final attempt,which was the over dose of lithium, there was New York and my subsequent stay at an anonymous Hospital which resulted from a failed attempt to slit my wrists.

I was in my very early 20’s and had just arrived to meet a penpal who I was introduced to by a friend of a friend.  We corresponded for some time and decided we would give love a try so I packed by bag and rode the amtrak cross country to the big city.  The late 90s were in full swing in New York and I was living with a writer for a semi-popular music publication. He was lucky enough to be able to interview some of Indie Rocks bigger names at the time and they would sometimes visit our little apartment near NYU on 2nd. I loved wandering down the streets,frequenting the crazy little thrift stores I found and just sitting in Washington Square park which proved to carry just as much entertainment as the clubs could provide at night and for a much lower price. I remember a man who use to come and take daily showers in one of the larger fountains in the park. He always wore speedos,carried soap with him and treated the fountain like a regular bath,washing under one arm and then the other. I also loved record hunting at places like Kims and Other Music. My only means of support at the time was busking(playing my guitar and singing for money) down in the dreary under-bowels of New york known as the subway . It was also a great way to meet and interact with folks since I only knew a few people in the city thus far.  I would make enough to cover food and chip in for bills and such.

Things were going well and I finally found a small part time job at a crazy boutique. I also met some great people including a woman who offered to let me audition for her band which played regular shows and sounded great. They reminded me of Helium or maybe a bit like a mellower Babes in Toyland. I had even found a drummer to play with me on my solo recordings and if you were a musician in the 90s you know a drummer is a hard thing to come by. Everything was falling like puzzle pieces into their grand little places but suddenly I just shattered like a vase dropped from the roof of a house. I think it was the little insecurities that ate away at my sanity like flies on on a molasses pie. I was very jealous of my boyfriend who prior to me had dated a big name musician and I always felt like I had to live up to her. I couldn’t. Nightmares about imagined infidelities haunted me and drove me further away from him. I hated myself.

A new style of love blossomed from my self hatred which just seemed to create inner darkness for Ash. It grew like a garden of rotten vegetables wrapped in delirious,darkened fantasy. Our bed was always a place that was never quiet as Ash and I had incredible physical chemistry. It was always sweet before with sweaty tangled sheets and sticky kisses but my sickness made me cower until little by little Ash dominated me in every way degrading me to the very core. My insecurity fueled this dangerous fire that burned me every night. Finally Ash had consumed me completely.

During the course of the next few months I completely withdrew from everything around me. I read Nick Drake’s biography and fantasized about ending it all, romanticizing death and courting it like a lover. Ash never seemed to notice what was happening as he was wrapped up in furthering his own journalistic career. I was lost inside myself and he was blind to my depths of darkness and the fury for my self and what was becoming of me. The weekend before I decided to act on my grim thoughts, Ash received an offer to meet and interview a particularly sexy musician who he offered to cook dinner for at our apartment swearing up and down it was all innocent and meant to get him a better position at the magazine he wrote for. He asked me to leave during the day of the meeting,which obviously fed my fears and manifested the reality of his indiscretions.

I always loved taking a hot bath like Sylvia Plath described in the Bell Jar(which my life had become) slipping down into that hot water,washing all of life’s dirt off until you felt like new again. That evening I sat in the bathroom as the water ran with my headphones on listening to “Roman candle” by Elliott Smith over and over again gathering my courage up, clutching my knife in my hand. Push & pull into skin,drag,push hard,harder see red. The pain feels better than what is on my insides, the burning sores burning on my insides in my mind. Slip into the water and watch it clouding pink, then red,redder. and suddenly a knock…. I shutter at the thought that Ash might push through the door and sink into my red tub with me. Would he be so blind he wouldn’t even notice that? The red that clouded and covered every bit of my pale flesh. “Hey June?” “You want some company?” “I’m coming in”.

“What the f*** June?”  “What the hell?” It was all he could get out.  He kept repeating this in shock until finally he stumbled arms forward grabbing my bloody naked body out of the round bath tub which resembled a giant soup turine. It was a bloody soup of me. Me soup. Ash’s slight but deliriously tall frame some how managed to dry and dress my floppy,bleeding corpse wrapping my arms tightly with clean rags. “no no no” i whimpered. “Please leave me” “Ouch Ash,..Please”.    “June what have you done?” “Look at this mess you’ve made” ….all i could manage was “Ouch ash…..Ouch Ash”

We lived in a high profile building above some other business’s and Ash could take no chances calling an ambulance as it might risk unwanted attention and negative press for his precious career. My head reeled at the cruelty of Ash parading me down the street like an injured drunk waving violently for any passing cab. The rags held my flowing blood at bay for the time being but I was still quite heady from the loss of blood in the tub.

The cab ride was short as the hospital was just 20 or so blocks away. I laid collapsed in Ash’s lap as he stared out the window and stroked my hair torn between love and defeat. Sadness and hatred at the loss of respect I knew he was feeling piled on with a sickening amount of pity. i didn’t want his pity and now i could never have his love again. This stain of an incident had made me flawed in his eyes and now my soft pale virgin arms  were scarred forever with the tattoo of love lost. These new lines on my arms formed words that everyone could read. “psycho” “disturbed” “crazy” “nuts”

After stitches upon stitches,  I was immediately admitted into the “crazy bin” of a semi notorious N.Y hospital. That is a story in and of itself. Because i was of no notoriety I was placed in the geriatric section of the psych ward where men forgot to wear their pants and women screamed and howled in fits of schizophrenic obliteration. Their were only a few people near my age and I was lucky enough to room with one of them.

Willow was a beautiful lesbian of ethnic descent and I found it odd that they would room 2 young and fairly attractive women in one room. Especially when one of them was a struggling lesbian and the other a vulnerable broken hearted tom boy. Sometimes I wonder if this was done with the intention of entertaining the bored male doctors and member of staff hoping for some girl on girl action. I will admit that I found Willow or Wil as she preferred to be called very beautiful and we clicked becoming good friends. Both of us there for the same reason …not so much a broken heart, but an inner darkness that we couldn’t shake.

Wil worked for a mainstream music publication and had a dreamy job in my eyes at least. We would talk for hours,drinking copious amounts of the chamomile tea they forced on us. It was that or decaf coffee that tasted like what I imagine a stale maxi pad might taste like, full of metallic iron flavor. Like dogs we were taken on walks with several orderlies watching us and leading us single file through a near by park. Lookers on stared at us like a geek or freak parade walking by them slipping in and out of their imagined perfect lives for an instant. I wonder what they thought of us? Sometimes the nurse would tell me that I resembled Juliette Lewis along our walks although I am not sure she was really familiar with who she was. This comforted me somehow as in my head the mirror reflected a pale and slight monster with eyes filled with confusion.       MORE SOON!       I feel I must again add with much emotion that slitting your wrists will probably not kill you and will leave you with horrible scars that will constantly haunt you. If you do get deep enough to do damage you risk losing function in your arm and hands by cutting tendons. When you are in public the lines(scars) will speak to people labeling you “crazy” or “psychotic”. Wearing short sleeve shirts only proves to be an exercise in futility constantly wondering who is looking and if they will ask you where you scars came from. You will fumble with lies about falling through windows or breaking mirrors but you will always know what those lines mean. If only people were kinder. it is up to us to help stop the judgement held against those with mental illness.

 

 

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How not to kill yourself

Suicide is an enigma as Camus so eloquently says in his book “The Myth Of Sisyphus”. It is something I ponder everyday and wonder if it might be the choice I am forced to make due to the many travails of this mess of a life. I have attempted suicide more times than I can count in a quite serious manner but have never been successful but very,very close. I want to record and share these happenings with what result? I am not sure…. I am hoping my failure may lead to someones success. Not a success in actually committing the act but maybe my stupidity and expressions of pain could ease one out of the act and into the knowledge that so many others are experiencing this disease called depression or the like. Remember that mental illness is a sickness just like cancer and it kills and eats away at us in a similar manner. I want to avoid sounding preachy and just get to the nitty gritty…. so here it is…..

Method 1: Overdose of pills

I was 25 and struggling with life in a small town after recently fleeing city life in Los Angeles due to a dirty, heart crippling, break up. No words could ever articulate the fiery,sick feeling associated with being abandoned by someone you thought was your last safe harbor. I loved him an eternal amount and spent hours staring into his eyes,head turned on our backs whilst listening to the traffic below in our dimly lit flat. We were both struggling musicians trying to find our voice and an audience in L.A and naively I never doubted that this would some day manifest into some sort of sweet reality for us both. Then one day he told me that he just didn’t love me anymore coldly and quite out of the blue. My last relationship was with a physically abusive man and when I found Pete he was so gentle I just fell into a safe place that I did not think I would ever have to leave. As i mentioned, the break up was grueling but to make matters worse shortly after he ripped all my organs including my heart and mind to pieces he was signed to a record label and haunted me through the the ether of internet fodder i:e articles in music blogs and being dubbed into a group of what was called musical innovation but was basically a bunch of over hyped hipsters squaking out the same thing that had been done 30 years before. Anyway… Landing back in that small town where anyone over 22 was married with children was the epic horror and failure that filled my nightmares. I was living with my parents and working as a waitress at a tiny greasy spoon that could of easily doubled as Mel’s Diner. Every day I felt the horrific pain of abandon and defeat like a fire destroying and agonizing me ..it all just felt like a bad fever dream and i ached to wake up back in LA buried sweet in sounds of traffic and chaos. Good chaos. I had one friend in the small town who was of course much younger than I since as i mentioned most folks my age were married and too engrossed with their day to day to want to spend time with a girl cursed with singleness and 25 y/o who still lived at home with the folks. i was a complete anomaly in my town with my thick rimmed spectacles(which now seem to be the norm)pixie cut(no one seemed to consider short haired girls as much worth) and jet black hair. In my town your hair was dyed fried and to the side. The pixie cut has once again become the fashionista go to style but in a very small town long hair is considered a woman’s glory and women with short hair are seen as tomboys,lesbians or just generally unattractive by the opposite sex.  I was so lonely and isolated and it was driving my already weary mind more and more to the edge. The parents I lived with were cold and staunchly religious. My father had gotten physical with me on several occasions in the past,when i was a teen, among other things and this was just another thing festering in my bomb of a brain. I had been seeing a psychologist since my arrival and she admitted to me that she had patients who had committed suicide. I guess this should have been a deterrent but it was not. In a small town there are not many therapists available especially on the pitiful wages that i made. I was labeled bipolar and had been prescribed lithium in a quick mechanical fashion. Oh the joy of overmedicated America with quick labels thrown on us like bottles in a factory. The lithium made me heavy and sleepy and everyday dragged on. I felt like a snowball being rolled picking up more and more trash crap and generally horrible feelings. Then the day came and I could take no more. It was something I was always thinking of but on this day of crying and shouting to the sky, screaming at god, asking why ,it just made sense. I had a way to do it and more reasons than i felt I could handle. I had been listening to a lot of Nick Drake and Nico so I put the song”These Days” by Nico on and took my bottle of lithium in my hand. I spilled out the contents and began shoving the pink sick pills violently into my mouth. It was easy. I sat and waited for the comfort of death to take me into its dark arms. The music and pills moved me into a slowed state and my body began to tense and feel cold. Panic gripped me and held me by the throat shouting into my face to stop what was happening. Earlier my parents had left the house so I believed myself to be alls alone and had planned it that way but i heard the door and was confused as to what I should do. The panic was too much so I slowly lifted my horribly heavy body off the bed and decide to admit to my parents what i had done. As i have mentioned this was not my first time so their reaction was awful judgement peppered with disbelief. But this was real and I was dying. Lithium is horribly toxic and a wretchedly painful way too go. My stomach ached and throbbed. My head exploded and my skin was growing icier and more pale with each passing moment. My father dragged me into his big red,dirty pick up truck and off we went to the hospital. On the ride there I fell in and out of consciences like Alice falling down her rabbit hole. I don’t have any solid memories of my fathers reaction as I was too sick and in too much pain to notice. In that time I never felt like he would care if I died and maybe he would feel relieved at getting rid of the freak he had created through his flawed gene pool. Suicide was an inherited gene in my family. I feel much differently now about that statement but more on that later. Immediately upon arriving at the hospital I was carried onto a gurney and pushed quickly into an operating room where they hooked several machines onto me. I was surrounded by doctors and nurses and my father began to sob in thick horrible waves. Seeing my father cry was a grueling punishment. I heard the doctor talking about how my heart was slowing and that I might have to be taken in a helicopter to a larger hospital for kidney dialysis because my organs were beginning to shut down. Suddenly a nurse pushed a thick hard tube through my nose and into my stomach. All these things were happening so quickly. I asked the nurse if I was going to die and she said she honestly did not know and that lithium was a very toxic substance. I was barely conscious at that point and was very close to death. i knew this and i felt it as well. In some brief instance while unconscious I thought I saw strange beings that i could not even describe in human terms. They were strange and dark and death did not feel like a sweet relaxing thing at that point but just a cold darkness filled with strange abstract objects and beings. I am going to be pretty graphic in the next few sentences but I want you to know and feel what this was. It was a mistake. I awoke alone in a dark room with many machines hooked into my body including a catheter. I don’t know if you have ever experienced the excruciating torture of a catheter but if you have not what they are is a hard,cold tube pushed into your urethra through to your bladder. The tube that went from my nose down into my stomach had been removed at last. I looked at the monitor and noticed something was off. I noticed an air bubble traveling up the tube that was delivering some medicine or fluid into my arm intravenously. The alarm went off for several minutes before the nurse came and I was really freaking out thinking how this little bubble could stop my heart or at least that was what i thought. The nurse finally came and corrected the problem and I was left alone in the dark riddled with pain again. The charcoal that was used to cleanse my stomach decided it was time to make its grand re-entrance into the world and i was over come with stabbing cramps alerting me to the fact that I had to excrete that mess or die trying. Their were so many machines hooked into me  including the catheter that I had to have help in the restroom as the thick foul smelling charcoal exited my body in huge painful waves out of my tender anus. All this well having to hold my catheter and in the presence of the nurse. My whole body ached in a way hard to imagine and my mind was prickly,electric,sensitive ,raw. A few days later when I was finally able to string together words and thoughts Doctor Whether explained what I had done to myself and suggested that I had done some very severe damage to my liver and kidneys and that I would need to stay for further observation. Of course. He also laid upon me the possibility that I might have to have permanent kidney dialysis for the rest of my life.     PART ONE TO BE CONTINUED.  Just a note …if you are considering suicide by overdose don’t try it. As any ER nurse will tell you it is pretty near impossible that you will indeed die and if you live you are left with both physical and mental problems beyond your wildest imagination. You are also guaranteed a hard tube shoved up your nose and into your stomach and left there  hours while it pumps the contents of your stomach. do not underestimate the amount of pain it will cause you and your loved ones no matter how much you think they do not care about you. This was he last of several suicide attempts for obvious reasons and others I will get into later.