Young, stupid and full of paracetamol #dosomethingyummy
Her name was Alice. She was 22. She'd done all the right things. Studied hard, done well in her exams and got a 'great' job. Bought into the big dream that was sold to young girls in the 1980s: study hard and you'll live happily ever after. So why was she in despair? Why did everything seem so hopeless? Looking back from the perspective of her late 40s it all seemed rather pathetic and stupid, but at the time she was very young, very immature and completely overwhelmed.
The dream was just that. A dream. The great job turned out to involve little more than adding numbers, faxing and photocopying. The thoughts of 40 more years doing the same thing were terrifying. Then other little things went wrong. Alice had been wearing contact lenses for a couple of years, they had transformed her life. Not only could she see clearly at last, but there was a huge improvement in her confidence, no more stupid bullies. But then one night her eyes started itching. And then they began ooozing.
Her 23rd birthday was a week away and the future looked bleak. So she went upstairs with a bottle of vodka and a jumbo sized bottle of paracetamol. About an hour later she had second thoughts and started to feel a bit stupid. She rang the Samaritans. She wasn't even sure why. On the other end of the phone someone asked what she'd taken, and said 'hang on'. Time stretched infinitely until that person came back and told Alice that the dose she had taken was not lethal (wrong). Alice hung up.
The next day she had a dreadful hangover, but that was all. Two days later she still felt ill. So she went to the GP and just happened to mention the events of Saturday night. She doesn't remember what the GP said but she will never forget the way his face changed as he listened to her story.
Hospital. Alice had gone through the Looking Glass alright. And shattered it.
The ward was full of people who had attempted suicide. Some had been here before. Some were regulars.
Alice was in shock. She wasn't really sure why she was there. Even when the hospital doctor gently explained, it took a while to realise that he was actually telling her that she had taken a fatal dose of paracetamol, and because she hadn't sought help earlier it was too late to flush out her system. She would live or she would die. There was nothing anyone could do but watch and wait. It didn't seem real. It couldn't be. She spent her days chatting to the other patients and trying to cheer them up.
And the days went by and nothing happened. Alice was one of the lucky ones. She got better, she survived, and she never forgot that she'd been given a second chance. She got out. In time for her birthday party on Saturday...
Some names and details have been changed.
This post, on the theme of survival, is part of a linky over at Typecast, and has been written in support of CLIC Sargent, the children's cancer charity. For the last six years mums have been raising money by taking part in Yummy Mummy Week which will take place this year from 10th - 18th March 2012.