When we were last here I was sitting on the floor with a bottle of pills, a bottle of vodka, and my car keys. Like I said, I remember that night vividly. I was ready to get in the car and drive around drunk hoping something, anything, would happen. That’s just how bad I was, and how badly I wanted help, even if it meant jail or worse. I wanted help, but I didn’t want to ask for it.
But my dog, who I loved dearly, was sitting there on the floor next to me. If I got in my car and something happened to me, there would be nobody home to take care of my dog. I don’t why I stayed home, but I did. Maybe I never really planned on getting in my car after swallowing those pills with the vodka. Perhaps I was just threatening myself. Maybe my dog saved my life that night. Maybe something, or someone, else did.
Shortly thereafter I called my mom and told her I needed to come home. I believe it was around New Years because that’s the only reason she had the time off from work. She told me that I could not bring my dog with me if I was coming to stay at her house. We went back and forth about that for a while. Finally, I gave in and said “if Pooky can’t come then I’m not coming either, never mind”. But the next day my mom came anyways. I packed all I owned into her car, and Pooky and I rode back home with mom.
It was a very difficult time, full of doctors appointments to properly diagnose me. They said I had bipolar disorder. I was prescribed every medicine under the sun until the doctors found something that helped.
At home I had to sign a “suicide note” promising my parents I would not hurt myself in any way. That’s how bad off I was. I was very depressed, very addicted, and going through withdrawals (which I hadn’t told anyone about at the time). I had no friends anymore where I lived. So month after month I sat my mom’s house taking my medicine and waiting to feel better. I was fighting to feel better, but there was such guilt. My little sister hated me. I know this because she told me, and rightly so. She had been home all those years I was gone. She watched what my disappearing from real life (because I’d become an addict) did to my parents. That was hard to think about, it still is.
Eventually my parents decided I was well enough have my car back, and I was well enough to get a job. A friend of the family got me a job at his business. I ended up working there for 5 years, it was a great job.
I remember one day eating at a restaurant called Sonny’s with my dad. He sat across from me. I remember the exact table where we sat, near the front of the restaurant. I was facing in towards the restaurant, watching all the tables. He noticed me looking around, “people watching”. He was happy about it, and I couldn’t figure out why. He said I was so much more alert, wasn’t just staring into space as I had been for months. I was looking around, noticing things and people. “It’s like you’re back”, daddy said.
I was “back”, the medicine was helping, and I wasn’t using illegal drugs. So I worked and made friends and started living a normal life. I was back … for a while. Then I left again.