A quick note: The title of this post says it all: I am going to struggle my way through writing this, for a multitude of reasons. Another note: There is really no controversy here and you may think the title is “clickbaity” but understand something: What I’m about to reveal is something that has traumatized me since the day it happened. I alluded to this event in an earlier post, and said someday, I may be able to tell the tale without freaking out.
Hopefully, today is that day.
1.24.13 – The rest of the story
In January, I told the story of my suicide attempt and the events that proceeded and succeeded it. There were a few details I left out, such as the medication’s name I searched on the internet, names I know, and other things I just wasn’t ready to share yet. The first two categories are things I will not ever publicly divulge, hopefully for obvious reasons to you. The third, I can talk about, but it has to be on my terms.
There’s one major part of the story I left out I’ve felt for some time now if I shared, it may help ease the trauma and shame of someone else who may have a similar experience to my own. For my own mental well-being, I’ve kept it under wraps, but sometimes, exposing things to the sunlight is a good thing to do. I also recently found out that I’m not alone in this, and my experience of what I had happen isn’t isolated.
Within minutes, the ambulance came along with the police. I was mortified and in tears. I remember the EMT’s asking me about school and where I graduated from, but nothing else.Excerpt from my January blog post – 1.24.13
“The ambulance came along with the police,” when I wrote that back in January, that was already more than I was willing to share, however, the storyline wouldn’t have been complete without it in there. I knew it would someday set me up to tell the rest of the story – particularly the “police” portion.
Now, before I go any farther, I just want to say that I am very much in support of law enforcement. My dad has had a long, storied, and distinguished career in law enforcement and one of my best friends is in school as we speak to go into the field. I know what it’s like to go to bed every night as a kid and worry that your dad may not come home the next morning. I know how thankless of a profession law enforcement can be. Saying that the police acted stupidly is something that, for me, is almost heretical. However, they too are human and do make mistakes. I believe what happened to me that night at the hands of an officer was wrong and has led to years of shame, fear, and trauma.
“Do you want to press charges?”
When the police officer arrived at the doctor’s office that night, nothing was explained to me. I thought he was arresting me, and I was incredibly scared. “What did I do? I didn’t break any laws, did I?” I thought to myself. One thing you should know about me is that I am a rule follower. I don’t even go over the speed limit, for crying out loud. So imagine you’re at the lowest point of your life, and the cops show up for reasons you don’t fully understand, and then take you and handcuff you, still not explaining what’s happening or why it’s happening. I didn’t know if I was being arrested, or being taken to the hospital. But I certainly thought it was the former considering that you usually don’t get restrained to take a ride in an ambulance. Nothing was being explained. Somehow, after what seemed like forever, I found out that I was being taken to the emergency room. But what happened next continues to fill me with shame, dread, and trauma, he asked my parents if they’d like to press charges against me. For what exactly? For being sick? For almost dying? For needing obvious help? Of course my parents said no. But the damage had already been done.
Why are you telling this story, Tim? What do you want accomplished?
I’m telling this story because I fear that this treatment is far too common for someone in a crisis scenario and someone could honestly wind up getting hurt because of it. Luckily in my situation, that didn’t happen aside from the trauma I have carried with me surrounding the event. But first responders not having adequate crisis intervention training is a problem in America. Too few police departments even offer this as part of their officer’s training and many of the others only train certain officers. I’m not looking for heads to roll, I’m just looking for a better way to handle these very intense situations. We could do without the handcuffs in most cases and we could do without the criminalization of mental illnesses or making those suffering from them feel like a criminal. If more had been explained to me, that I hadn’t broken any laws, that I was going to get the help I needed and I wasn’t going to jail, that may have made a huge difference in how I perceived the events taking place.
I also tell this story to hopefully show others who may have had had similar experiences that they’re not alone. I still feel I was treated like a criminal that night and it’s still something that causes me deep shame. That shouldn’t be happening to anyone and if divulging more detail about my own story can ease someone else’s burden, then it’s worth it to me to share.
I’m going to wrap this up, because yes, this is still a raw wound, even six years later and writing just these few words has taken a toll on my psyche, but in a weird way, I feel better getting it all down on paper.