“More often than not I think about all the pills combined in the cabinet that can ease the pressure permanently.”
I was feeling down and out. It had been a rough night at home with the kids and as I was lying in bed, all I could think about was the abundance of pills in my kitchen cabinet. Why did I hold on to them? Because I have been on so many different medications, I thought I should save them just in case my doctor decided to try one or another again. That way I would save money. Prescriptions add up, especially if you take the pills by the handful each and every day.
I was encouraged to reach out to my doctor the following day, which I did, eventually. I was emotional; the tears were free flowing seemingly without reason. I made the call and was asked to come in to be seen. I hesitated. I didn't have the $35 it would cost for my doctor to, once again, suggest hospitalization. He would waive the fee I was told. I went in thinking he would call in yet another prescription to try and I would be on my way.
I didn't have to wait long. After my blood pressure was taken (it was elevated) I was rushed in to his office. I admitted to having suicidal ideations when asked.
"Do you have a plan?"
"Yes, but every time I think about following through, I stop to think about what needs to be taken care of first. I don't have a set day because something always stops me."
"What is your plan?"
"I've saved all the pills you've prescribed to me over the years."
He scribbled down some notes.
"Last time I felt like this, I thought about hanging myself. It seems like the quickest way to go." (this was approximately six months prior.)
He looked me in the eye and said I had exhausted all my options to be treated on an outpatient basis.
"There are two hospitals I recommend. Shall I call to see if there is a bed for you?"
We conference called my husband. He too agreed I needed hospitalization. I had to get better. Taking my own life was not an option.
While my doctor called the hospitals, I returned to my office to take care of a few things. Why he even let me leave his office is beyond me. If I had my medications with me, I probably would have swallowed them in the parking lot. I don't know how I made it back to work, it was hard to see through the tears. It seemed I had an endless supply. It was like rain falling in sheets and the windshield wipers were stuck. I was a wreck.
I received a phone call shortly after from my doctor. There was an available bed at Wekiva Springs Center in Jacksonville, FL., a combination rehab/mental health facility. Both my husband and I were assured I was signing myself in and could leave on my own accord.
I called my mother to come pick up the kids. I went home to discuss the plan further with my husband and to help prepare the house for my absence; the kids were starting school on the following Monday (it was Thursday). I packed my bag with a few days' worth of clothes and some toiletry items for my stay at the hospital. We had a nice dinner together and I went to sleep.
The following morning I took a shower, wrote a quick post to my supporters, hugged my husband and made the hour drive to Jacksonville; all while sending and receiving countless tweets and text messages from people I knew and didn't know, encouraging me...telling me I was doing the right thing.
Get well! Heal yourself! We'll be here for you every step of the way!
I parked my car, sent out one final tweet, grabbed my bag and headed toward the entrance. I did all of this with hesitancy. Why couldn't my doctor just prescribe me a new medication? Surely I didn't need to be hospitalized!
I opened the door and stepped through.
"My name is Pamela Gold. I'm here to check in."
"Do you have an appointment, Pamela?"
"Yes. Yes, I do."
Paperwork was processed. Questions were asked. Vitals were taken. I blew into a machine to prove I wasn't intoxicated. I was wanded for contraband. A tray of food was brought to me and I ate lunch by myself. I made a few last phone calls before my phone was locked in a safe. I used the restroom.
When I exited the restroom, a woman was waiting with my bag in her hand to take me back. I figured I'd get my room assignment and see a psychiatrist to get that second opinion I was promised. I was going to get some new medication and I would attend some group therapy sessions as well as one on one sessions. I would do this for a few days and then return home to my family with a fresh start. I could do this.
The woman unlocked the double doors with the ring of keys she held. We proceeded to walk and the doors closed behind us with a loud CLICK.
Life as I knew it was about to change for the next six days...