Today is #WorldSuicidePreventionDay. I felt as if it may be the right time to explain exactly what happened in August. To anyone reading this, I apologize for the possibly jumbled layout and please know that I touch on multiple difficult subjects and discuss what drove me to attempt suicide on August 22nd 2018.
As some of you know, the past few years have been difficult for me. I was always a very busy and active person, I usually worked multiple jobs while going to school full tim and playing sports. I never knew what it was to be a couch potato - my very military parents never allowed it. I joined the Canadian military in 2014 and due to an unfortunate training accident, ended up tearing my right hamstring, partially dislocating my left hip, tearing my 3rd meta and developping nerve damage in my right dominant hand. I was in a wheelchair for a few months, and being confined to base was difficult on my mental while injured (although the CAF is wonderful and I have nothing to hold against them). I left in 2015, where I decided to go back to school to study Respiratory Therapy.
During this time, I started experiencing symptoms that I didn't quite understand and related to my previous injury. I could no longer stand in my labs, I had difficulty intubating because of tremors in my hands, I couldn't grasp some concepts even though school had always been excessively easy. I then started becoming sick - the first year was just severe colds, weakness and the flu once every couple of months. I was also at home, where my mum is also severely affected by fibromyalgia and my sister just started being in remission for stage 4 neuroblastoma so I never felt like I was "as sick" as them.
It wasn't until I wen't through a rough breakup that things started to get worse due to stress. I wasn't able to move how I wanted - it is like my brain can't send the proper commands for my body to move at times. I started having bronchitis even though I was extremely healthy, and also became very brittle. I easily started breaking toes and fingers, but blamed it on being clumsy and having triplet sisters under 2 at the time.
When I met Auggie , I was starting to feel better. I had lessened my stress, living at home with my family and getting ready to head back to school. My life was turned upside down not due to them, but an ex that decided to stalk us and make our lives miserable and ruin our names in the queer community. I ended up with : a fractured ankle, pneumonia x 2, bronchitis over a dozen times, abcesses, lost my hair, breast infection, pleural rubs, arythmias, bradychardia and so much more. After going through intensive therapy and dozens of rounds of antibiotics and medications within the span of only one single year, We decided to move to Halifax to start new. I was hopeful, I never expected things to turn out the way they did.
Before I moved, I had made sure that I had everything settled before leaving. We were both financially stable, I was mentally well and physically as good as I could have been with the limited medical support in Ottawa. I had a job lined up , and my friend had rented us a condo which was supposed to be wonderful. As soon as we moved, we realized that we lived in what we like to refer as "a retirement community". We were completely isolated, in a community pretty far from downtown and difficult to access public transport, and then our upstairs neighbors blew their washer which completely destroyed our bathroom. No one fixed it.
During this time, the company I was supposed to work for never called me back to confirm my first day so I started working for a company that deals with mental health in children by doing psych evaluations. However, my coworker that sat less than two feet besides me had bronchitis, passed the cold along to me and I was out for a couple of weeks. The day I came back, they refused my doctor's note and let me go.
One day, when I was home alone, I was scrolling through social media when I felt a sudden sharp pain in my lower stomach. I then felt like I was truly dying - as I was passing out in a puddle of my own sweat, I managed to text Auggie 911, and say goodbye to my family with an I love you text. Sounds dramatic but I truly thought I was having a heart attack with the amount of pain I was having. After being rushed to the ER, I was told I had ovarian cysts explode and probably had something known as PCOS. i knew that I needed more support and help so I called the mental health crisis team and with the help of the ER, received referrals to the pain clinic at the QE2 and a mental health center that provides counselling.
I had my first appointment with my Social Worker (SW) in January which extended an hour and a half longer than typical interviews as there were many intersections that we needed to discuss and I have not had an easy life for a 24 year old. I was assured that I would get the help I needed at this center , and was referred additionally to a DBT program that I would take alongside 1-on-1 counselling plus trauma counselling for sexual assault at another center. She was supposed to revise my case and see me in a couple of weeks. The day of my next appointment came and she cancelled due to illness, which is understandable. I called back, left voicemails, then went to the office, then left physical messages until I had sent out about 20 different ways of communication.
While this was happening, we moved out again, to an apartment in downtown Halifax. We were told this was a dog friendly apartment, and there had been no issues previously. The first night, we closed the lights and heard some moving around. After turning on the lights quickly, we realized we had a cockroach infestation. Not only that, but the landlords decided that they did not allow dogs, and I ended up severely allergic to the dander that had been left behind.
We moved out about a month later, to another apartment downtown. At this point, I was constantly sick, had difficulty walking and leaving the house, would only have one good day per week, had insomnia and excessive chronic pain. I was not ready to accept my limitations yet and kept pushing, and was hired on as medical emergency assitant for a large Halifax based company. I had previously been let down by two companies ; one local company that wanted to hire me on for social media management and the day that I was supposed to start decided they did not have the budget, and another that wanted me to implement a whole social media service, working 40+ hours a week, but be expected to keep a full time job as well. I was hopeful as this was a sit down job, with a company that was apparently very queer and disability friendly. I started working overnights as this was the ONLY shifts that were not on rotation, would have the same days and I was already insomniac.
When I started working, I quickly realized that the training we had was not sufficient and the job expectation was completely different than what was expected. I would often be the ONLY PERSON IN CANADA to deal with patients because we were under staffed. We were told at the start that most of our calls would consist of colds - most of my calls consisted of sexual assaults, deaths, severe injuries, surgeries and one possible kidnapping. I received no support and even worse, we were constantly told we were doing things wrong and were causing this company to lose it's clients. All except one of my coworkers who worked overnight got excessively ill to the point of hospitalization. I gave them notes upon notes stating I had disabilities, I was ill, etc. During one of the last sexual assault calls, my PTSd was triggered. The medical staff following me felt it best that I transfer to another project that was being offered, which was work from home and much less stressful. I am also severely allergic to honey dew melon which they kept bringing in as treats for employees, even though I asked multiple times for emails to be sent out so as to bring to fruit.
The next day after I applied, I received a call from my HR stating that they had received my transfer, that they wanted to keep me and that I would be switched as soon as they had someone to take over for me - which initially was supposed to only be a couple of weeks. A couple of weeks dragged into a month where I was still receiving difficult calls and getting sicker as I worked, until I called HR back asking if they had heard any news. I was directed to the head of HR to discuss my disability to see if we could switch me faster.
While this was happening, I had two men in my backshift group make excessively homophobic comments. I reported it to my supervisors, which was filed to HR. I was told that the person who had made the most serious remarks would be moved to day shift and the other person would be talked to. What actually ended up happening was that the one person was talked to and nothing else happened. No sensitivity training, no switch to dayshift or even put in a different location. Absolutely nothing was done other than a slap on the wrist, and this coming from a company that walks in the pride festival every year.
I sent an email off to the head of HR and did not hear back. Then, I sent an email off to my Project Coordinator asking for them to reapply for my benefits card as I was supposed to have had medical benefits for over three months yet they kept not putting in requests for my card to be sent. This email was sent to the head of HR, who decided this was the best time to blame me for not having my benefits, and then replying to my email completely ignoring my disability and stating that unless I was to "show up more and meet their standards", I would be staying in the same position until minimally October.
Their abelist ideologies and the way they treated me afterwards made my life a pure hell. They practically forced my to quit so that they would no longer have to deal with someone being ill. Not ONCE did they ever talk about my disability, even though in every message I begged for a chance to explain myself. They refused and ignored me, even with medical documentation. My 2 weeks notice to quit stated specifically that due to disability, I could not achieve the results they were expecting. After I put in my notice, no one spoke to me.
At the same time, I had met someone who seemed relatively normal. Because I had been told that I would be getting this job, but to work from home I would need an office, I moved in with her. It was a rash decision after only dating for a few months, but it was necessary for my work and seemed like a great idea. I have yet to heal or even process all of what happened, so I will keep this short - during the couple of months I lived with her, her dog attacked me to the point where I now have additional nerve damage in my right arm and several scars , she sexually assaulted me at a Halifax Pride event while too inebriated to remember, gaslighted me with her ex, hung out and got drunk with her ex multiple times after shit talking me (and the time after she sexually assaulted me) and made me feel awful for having a disability. I had multiple PTSD attacks, sometimes several times per day with her. It was too much to take, and during this time my friends dropped off and I barely heard from them. I was completely alone, without any medical help, getting sicker and now without a job in an abusive relationship.
I went down to my Social Worker's office the next day after the sexual assault. She took me in for an emergency meeting, and I finally thought I would get the helf I needed. After spending an hour with me, making me recount trauma, she decided that I was too complex of a case for her and that the trauma center could deal with me when my referral would go through. I refused, begged for 1-on-1, told her I was not okay and suicidal, yet she decided to move forward with her decision in no longer seeing me.
The day I tried to overdose, her labrador/great dane 120 pound dog had attacked me again. I was terrified and told her to bring him to the vet. I was panicked and remember crying and screaming while on the floor. She left, in a hurry, and I didn't hear back. I thought she had been attacked by her dog and was dead, or injured. I tried calling her and her friends, yet no one knew where she was. Towards 10 pm that night, several hours after she left, she texted me to say she had been napping . I completely broke down. I realized I was now completely alone, sick and disabled, feeling like I didn't deserve to even know if my partner was alive. I called the mental health crisis team and they came to check on me.
Towards 1 am, she woke back up and we had a 10 minute conversation in which she managed to make me feel worthless again. She went back to bed after I told her I was not mentally doing well and that the mental health crisis team had just left. I had managed to calm down and was getting ready to go to bed before this. The conversation pushed me. I take responsibility for my actions and what I chose to do, I just wish situations would have been different and I would have known what I know now.
I texted everyone I loved them, wrote a letter and said my goodbyes. I expected that someone would be there in the morning so Phin , my dog, would not have to be alone for too long. It breaks my heart to even just consider what she could have gone through. It's silly, but she really is such a wonderful source of support and love.
I took quite a fair bit of muscle relaxants and wine, then expelled quite a bit of muscle relaxants and wine not much time later. I managed to drag myself in the shower where I stayed for a couple of hours. I'm not entirely sure what happened between that night and the next morning, but I remember the first text of my day being Auggie who instantly knew something was wrong although my message wasn't excessively dramatic. They came to get me, and as soon as they saw what state I was in, they took me out of the situation. My ex did not come back for four days, and then got angry at me because I had left my suicide note there and it took eight full minutes for me to text her I was okay. She found a suicide note written three days earlier and thought it was for that morning.
I was moved out within a couple of days, and have been trying to access help since. I still don't have a counselor, but I do have a doctor and my appointment for the pain clinic is this Wednesday. I now have a referral in for a psychiatrist and for the trauma center.
This isn't a story to gain your sympathy, this is to show that these things can happen to anyone. A few years ago, I was a physically fit, mentally stable, educated young adult who was joining the military. It is also to show that people do try to access resources, and most often than not, the resources are not there and people are not treated with the dignity they deserve.
I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to do moving forward, and that's okay. I wish I could say that I see the beauty in the world now and my hope is renewed, but every day is still a fight. However, with every day that passes, smiling gets a bit easier and so does thinking about the future. I know now that I am loved, I have some wonderful people that I did not expect enter my life and become wonderful support and I am trying to prove to myself that although disabled, sick and exhausted, I am still beautiful and hold value to this world.