Memoirs from an African/Native geeky American with PTSD that everyone thought that was from Southeast Asia
Death wasn't ready for me
Other than waking up vomiting everything I had consumed that weekend, it’s pretty sad one of the first thoughts I had was “fuck, I’m such a failure I can’t even take my own life”. I wonder who knows about this? Why am I having so much trouble breathing? What’s going to happen next? How in the world am I going to be able to pay for this hospital bill? I am not working and I have no health insurance. I am so fucked. Why didn’t I die!? Why am I still throwing up? The vomiting is becoming more and more painful and I start yelling for help. I see a male nurse sitting at the desk and man did he take his sweet time getting up and asking how I was feeling but now that I think about it, this man probably sees people trying to commit suicide by pills all the time and from the research I did before the hospital, it is more common than you think. At that time my judgment was flooded with darkness and didn’t care that I was trying to make that number larger.
After I come to, the feeling of embarrassment is heavier than the gravity on Jupiter. “Oh my G-d? what have I done?” Who else knows what happened? I keep hearing faint yelling from my mom and soft talking by my closest friend. I hope this is just my imagination and not actual events of my mom and friend finding me at the beach passed out. Throughout that early morning I’ve had more blood drawn from than the previous 28 years of my life. I called every nurse who drew blood from me a vampire. They enjoyed the process of looking for a “good” vein way too much in my opinion. “How are you Mr. Sha………. heed?”. There always some struggle with the pronunciation of my last name. Most don’t even try to pronounce my first. Can’t blame them. Even to other Muslims, my first name is outrageous.
My stay at the hospital wasn’t long. Even after consuming a bottle of pain killers and emptying a bottle of cheap vodka, there were no signs of permanent damage. Physically I was great shape. Mentally I was in never never land. Once I was moved from the emergency room to the ICU I was able to have visitors. Did I mention I had the feeling of embarrassment after I woke up? Well, that feeling was nothing compare to when I had people come and visit. The first ones of coarse were my parents. When I saw my mother come in the room I immediately turned into a 4-year-old and hid underneath the covers. I was feeling of coarse feeling embarrassed for myself but at the same time I was feeling pretty embarrassed for my family. I honestly wasn’t too concerned about what my father was feeling. At this point he went from signs of dementia to full blown Alzheimer’s disease. The way I view situations with him “he’ll soon forget”. Knowing that their son who people would consider pretty normal and even seemed like “a well put together guy” (that was something I heard over and over from doctors and nurses) was actually losing a battle against hordes of emotional demons. Sadly, that’s the simplest term I can put what I was feeling and going through. Although on the outside I was holding my head up high but on the inside I felt like every day was the worst day of my life. I was experiencing nightmares asleep and while I was awake and also feeling like something was just tearing my spirit to shreds on a daily basis. Oh well, doctors just labeled it depression and PTSD.
After all the blood drawings which felt like gallons I was moved from the ICU, because I was on Suicide Watch I had to have someone who worked at the hospital by my side 24 hours a day. Everything I did I have to have someone watch me. There wasn’t much I couldn’t do because I’m in a hospital room with another patient but coming from someone who takes so much enjoyment in one’s privacy this is something that made me feel very nerve wrecking. When I had to urinate and even defecate, I had to do it with the door open. I held in my shit for 3 long days until I just couldn’t hold it in anymore.
One of the memorable moments of the hospital stay is when my closest friend came to visit. We had known each other for a decade and actually been roommates for the past 6 months. Some people were upset that she had no idea how bad I was. There really was no need for anyone to be upset with her. I had transformed myself into Batman when it comes to hiding my issues. She had asked “BD, what’s going on?” “What drove you to this?” The part that sticks out in my head is I was explaining how PTSD has affected me at work. Fire drills, school fights, so many events where I would end up hiding underneath my desk. Trying to convince myself that something catastrophic isn’t going to happen. That was the second time in my life I have balled my eyes out in front of her and probably the first time I have cried since the Boston Bombing. Before that moment, I couldn’t feel like anything that wasn’t rage.