how does voluntary commitment work?
June 5, 2012 10:11 AM   Subscribe

I am considering voluntary commitment due to a bad last couple of days with depression, but I don't know if I can afford it, what to tell my employer and what the consequences of this will be in the future.

I have been struggling with depression for a while. I started therapy and anti depressants recently, and things were getting better, but yesterday I found myself in the middle of the night with a suicide note, a bottle of pills and a bottle of water next to me. I had enough presence of mind to stop what I was doing and let my SO know.

I am really scared. It's calling me and at the same time I really want to get help but I don't know how, and I don't think my SO knows how to help either. I don't think they understand how bad I'm feeling, which is fine because they have enough on their plate right now. I have left my therapist a couple of messages and I am thinking about going to a psychiatric hospital. I can't believe it has come to this. Overall the anti depressants were working fine but once in a while I get these really low points. Only this low point is not ending anytime soon, it seems.

I feel embarrassed and I don't want to make it a big deal, either, but it hurts a little that my SO is going about their life like nothing. They did tell me I should call the therapist and I think they are pretending it's not important. I understand why, though. I feel ok for half an hour and then I go back to this craziness.

I am in the US. Please tell me anything you know about going to a hospital voluntarily, or if I should stop taking the pills for a few days, or anything. I have no family or close friends here.
posted by ADent to Health & Fitness (43 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Go to a regular emergency room ASAP. Let them know what's going on and let them evaluate you. It might be a bad reaction to your meds. Suicidal thoughts are a side-effect.

You don't need to commit yourself right now, there are steps between trying to get in touch with your therapist and a voluntary commitment. Let doctors discuss options with you and make an informed decision.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:14 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

We recently dealt with this two ways:
1. Hospital ER for a psych consult - took 19 hours before it was determined there was a need for an Inpatient stay and finding a bed at a facility.
2. Psych hospital for a psych consult - admitted to inpatient within 3 hours.

So there can be a big difference. If you live somewhere with a dedicated psych hospital, they will likely have their own "ER" that you can walk in and get help. They may or may not admit you, but you will at least see specialists who can make a determination that you, your SO, or friends cannot really do. They can determine if maybe this med is not the best one for you and try you on others. At the very least, it will keep you from hurting yourself.

I don't know where you are in terms of affordability - not all insurance covers mental health, but ERs cannot turn you away if you are truly suicidal and will work with you. I think your employer only needs to know you are being treated for a medical condition, but I suppose that depends on where you work as well. Don't stop the pills cold turkey - many of them need to be tapered off.

Best wishes - you have no need to be embarrassed. This is so much more common than you realize.
posted by maxg94 at 10:19 AM on June 5, 2012

Print out your question (or load it onto your phone) then get to the ER. Now.

Job issues can be sorted out later, you may be eligible for FMLA protection depending on a number of variables, none of which should occupy your mind at the moment. Go. Now.
posted by moammargaret at 10:19 AM on June 5, 2012

The first thing I would do is tell your SO that you are afraid you're going to kill yourself if you don't get immediate inpatient treatment. I'm married to someone who has had intermittent lifelong depression, so I was sort of used to it as the status quo, as awful as that sounds. He became suicidal and I had literally no idea how bad it was because he had never told me. I don't have depression myself and don't know what it looks like, or what it feels like, and had no experience with anything that serious. I wasn't ignoring him and I loved him more than anything in the world and it killed me that I hadn't been taking his problems seriously enough. So don't discount your SO - he or she really may just not get it, you know? You need to be completely explicit with what you're feeling and what you need.

What we did was pull out the yellow pages and turn to the psych hospital section and found one and drove there. They talked to him for ten minutes and admitted him immediately. My area is lucky to have a private psych facility that is very well-regarded; if yours doesn't, there will be some kind of government agency that can help you find direction.

Don't stress about the job details - you will be able to work all that out after the fact. The most important thing is listening to yourself and getting better. I can tell you that in my husband's case, he basically just called in sick and then after a couple of days, when he felt safe and more stable, he called and looked into a more formal medical leave.

Most importantly: Don't be embarrassed. This is not your fault. You have an illness and you need help. And you can get better!
posted by something something at 10:22 AM on June 5, 2012 [11 favorites]

if I should stop taking the pills for a few days

NO! The meds may not be working, and you may well need a complete medication review and adjustment, but stopping them cold turkey is almost certainly going to make matters worse.

I am so sorry you are going through this. I have been there myself, so please believe that I am with you in empathy and that I am pulling for you 100%, so if I sound scoldy it is because I am terribly concerned for you, not because I am judging.

Every serious suicide attempt needs to be taken as seriously as a heart attack. By which I mean, you need to do the same things that you would do if you had a heart attack. Not call your doctor and leave a message, but getting yourself to an emergency room (or even better, as others have said, a hospital devoted to caring for psychiatric patients). This is a life-threatening medical emergency, and needs to be dealt with just as you would deal with a heart attack or kidney failure or any other life-threatening medical emergency. Our culture does a shitty job of making that clear to people dealing with depression, but please listen and care for your precious self.

Love to you and my deepest good wishes and hope that you will find the help you need.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:32 AM on June 5, 2012 [9 favorites]

my therapist just called me back and told my SO to take me to the emergency room. I regret how big this is becoming...I am very confused.

Thank you for your replies. I was wondering if mine was a serious attempt or not really since I didn't take the pills. I just got things ready but did not do anything. The therapist told me it was an emergency because I "have a plan". I feel like I am fretting about a problem that only exists in my head.
posted by ADent at 10:39 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

I remember that you posted in the holdkriss hoax thread that you were having a hard time with suicidal ideation. I'm glad you're getting help now. The confusion you're feeling is a symptom of your disease, the way chest pain is a symptom of a heart attack. Don't judge it; just get help.
posted by judith at 10:40 AM on June 5, 2012 [5 favorites]

If you're confused, then you're doing the right thing by getting help. If nothing else, time in the hospital will give you a break from your life so you can get better focused. Listen to your therapist!
posted by something something at 10:52 AM on June 5, 2012

You can't afford NOT to go. Please go.
posted by sugarbomb at 10:56 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

I feel like I am fretting about a problem that only exists in my head.

Seriously, that's like someone with a heart attack saying "I feel like I am fretting about a problem that only exists in my heart," or someone with kidney failure saying "I feel like I am fretting about a problem that only exists in my kidneys."

Of course this is a problem that only exists in your head. Your brain is trying to kill you right now.

Assembling the pills and writing the suicide note makes this a serious attempt. Thank {$higher power of your choice} that you did not ingest the pills, but the difference between DEFCON 1 (actually taking the pills) and DEFCON 2 (having the plan in place, assembling the pills, writing the suicide note) is not that great. Where you were at is considered a life-threatening stage. You need help, and you deserve help. Right now, your brain is trying to fake you out of getting help, because it is still sneakily trying to kill you.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:56 AM on June 5, 2012 [16 favorites]

I see you've already got the note to head to the ER. So stop reading this and go there now.

Seriously, go. Now.

When you get back you can read the rest.

You should never feel embarrassed about suffering from depression. It's the result of a specific chemical balance in your brain. Note I didn't use the word "imbalance", because it's not imbalanced, just balanced differently.

There's a lot of stigma surrounding depression these days. Despite the fact that it's out there it's not something you should be worried about. You can't fix it, it's entirely out of your control. What IS in your control is you getting the help that you need, whether that's from in-patient therapy, medication, talking with your significant other... WHATEVER IT TAKES.

Your main job is to take care of you. Your job will be there when you get back, FMLA will take care of that and the people at the hospital should be able to help you with the paperwork for that while you're there. If he/she's worth anything your SO will also be there the whole time. We all have stuff going on, and we don't always notice things like we should, sometimes we just need a swift kick to the face... so just be sure to tell him/her very specifically that you need additional help at this very moment in time.

After that only your doc can tell you what to do with your meds.

Good luck, and I'm glad you're getting the chance to do what's best for you. Not everybody has that opportunity.
posted by Blue_Villain at 11:02 AM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

First of all, starting antidepressants can sometimes LEAD to suicidal thoughts. It is very, very important that you get to the doctor about this. Having the pills and the note equals having a plan. Your life is in danger; you are having a psychiatric emergency, which is as real and as potentially fatal as a cardiac emergency or a pulmonary emergency or a neurological emergency. Feel free to fret or be confused or anything else, but GO TO THE HOSPITAL.

Your job will handle this exactly as though it were any other life-threatening emergency. If you were having a stroke, would you stop to line up FMLA before you went to the hospital? what if you were in a car crash?

I actually understand exactly the "regret of how big this is becoming"; I took my very small baby to the emergency room one night because he was having trouble breathing, and the whole way there I was concerned that I was making a mountain out of a molehill. Until he stopped breathing in the car when we were almost to the hospital. The folks at the hospital confirmed for me that the only mistake I made was in not calling an ambulance.

Your life is just as much in danger now as my tiny baby son's was then. Please, please, please, stop reading and go. You are a precious spark and we need you here.
posted by KathrynT at 11:06 AM on June 5, 2012 [9 favorites]

I'm hoping you are already at the hospital and in good hands. My mother took me there and I admitted myself for a much less well thought-out plan.

Perhaps the worst thing about depression is the feeling it gives you that what you have is not a real problem, that it's all in your head, that it's your fault, that things would be so much easier if you just weren't around. None of that is true. It's an illness, and, as commenters above have noted, it can kill you as surely as heart disease does.

I hope it doesn't, and I hope you get some help.

As for what to tell your employer--I agree with others that you don't have to worry about that now. But I believe I simply told them that I'd been hospitalized for a medical emergency and gave them an ETA for my return back to work once I had one.
posted by newrambler at 11:08 AM on June 5, 2012 [6 favorites]

The last thing you should be worrying about right now is how big a deal this is becoming. You deserve to get the help you need.

You must have been in a lot of pain and despair to even consider wanting to kill yourself and that's something that deserves a big response. The your therapist and boyfriend are taking this seriously because its serious. You deserve and you need help right now and its ok to lean on other people who care about you to get it.

I hope you feel better soon. I think you've done a really brave, thoughtful and good thing by bringing this to the attention of others.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 12:09 PM on June 5, 2012

I did not go to the hospital...

I am feeling really self-conscious about it and the idea of going there is making me feel really bad. My SO and I have agreed to spend the whole day together, and tomorrow, too. The therapist will see us together in two days (the soonest she could).

I sat down with him and explained how everything happened. He is a little upset and asked me how I could do something like that without telling him that I was in pain. I had a hard time explaining to him that in that moment it made perfect sense not to tell him, because the main objective was to die, and telling him would have trumped it, until I finally reacted out of the blue and ran to bed with him. I think he's mad. I am terrified that I was capable to be so determined for this when I am such a procrastinator with important stuff.

Thank you for your words. My mind is really clouded and I feel like I am making this such a big deal...I will talk to the therapist on Thursday and will do my best to recover, I just don't want emergency rooms and public crying.
posted by ADent at 1:24 PM on June 5, 2012

Getting some sort of assistance is one of the best proven routes to recovery. I know you feel as though your heart, brain, and mind is on your sleeve, but people can't read your mind, they won't know why you're crying in the emergency room.

And people in the emergency room are also going to be wrapped up in their own emergencies.

Please do everything you can to get and be at a safe place/safe space.
posted by tilde at 1:46 PM on June 5, 2012

If you're not going to the psych hospital, please AT LEAST give your partner your "suicide kit" that you were talking about in the holdkris hoax thread. I know you are confused but you need to get rid of that stuff NOW.

Also, keep your priorities straight -- public crying is a lot better than death!

Finally, what is up with your therapist that they can't get you in today or tomorrow? Can they refer you to someone else you could talk to in the meantime?
posted by feets at 1:55 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

My mind is really clouded and I feel like I am making this such a big deal

Your brain is trying to kill you. That's not making a mountain out of a molehill, that's an emergency.

I hope you and your SO have emergency-level response plans in place in case you have additional suicidal ideation or attempts between now and Thursday. Ideally you'd be in an ER now, but if you can't or won't, you two need to plan to get to one, stat, if you find yourself even considering a repeat of last night.

Whatever your brain is telling you, whatever your doubts, whatever your or your SO's uncertainty about how to handle this, this is a big deal, and you need to treat it as the life-threatening emergency it is.
posted by deludingmyself at 1:56 PM on June 5, 2012

Can you get your SO to hold all the pills you had that you were going to take? Keep taking your meds but please get them out of your house or into the hands of someone safe. Suicidal ideation can flip to acting in a split second (as I'm sure you know) and just having an extra step can save your life.

Don't be afraid to go back on your plan of waiting to see your therapist and showing up at the ER if anything changes. They will understand.

You are not blowing this out of proportion. That is the illness talking. Believe me, I've been there. You have a right to feel the way you do and you have the right to get help. You are not bothering anyone.

Can you find a number of a crisis line and put it in your phone in case you don't sleep? In case you need someone besides your SO to talk to in the next two days. They are trained to just listen even if you just want to cry or babble about something else.

Please take care of yourself. Hold on. It can get better.
posted by kanata at 1:57 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

Honey, I understand you're feeling self-conscious and embarrassed. That's perfectly natural, and I get it, and I am full of sympathy.

Right now, though, I want to say, again, that you're not making a big deal out of nothing. This not something you're doing to yourself, this is not your fault. You're ill. It's okay! People get sick sometimes, and need to be treated to get better. It's not a failing, it's not a burden. No one wants you to be ill or in pain. Your SO loves you, other people in your life love you. It's not making a fuss or being a burden to ask for help to get better-- it's actually the opposite. If you need help to get better, getting that help will make it easier to recover, easier for you, on your SO, on everyone.

It's good that you told your SO what is going on, but you really, really need to re-consider going to the ER. Other people have made the excellent point that this is not really anything different from a heart attack or other medical emergency. This is absolutely true. If your SO had a heart attack, would you think he was 'making a fuss' by asking to call an ambulance? No, of course not! And this is not fundamentally different.

I know you're scared. I know. It's scary. You're doing a good job by telling people what is going on. But please, please, consider going to the ER and getting help now. I know it sounds like a huge pain, but it's not putting anyone out. It's taking reasonable steps to deal with a serious health issue.
posted by Kpele at 1:57 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Also, if you haven't: perhaps show your SO this thread?

We're thinking of you. Hang in there.
posted by deludingmyself at 1:59 PM on June 5, 2012

ADent, I don't have anything to add other than to encourage you to please, please take this seriously. Know that many of us out here in the world are pulling for you and want you to be okay, even strangers. You're not alone, and there is absolutely no shame in asking for help at any time, for any reason, and that it's especially okay to ask for help when you are setting up preparations to do something that can't ever be undone. They're not just preparations, they are a step in that direction.

There is no good reason to set things up so that it's easier for you to kill yourself. None.

I hope that you're getting the help you need. It gets better.

My mind is really clouded and I feel like I am making this such a big deal....I just don't want emergency rooms and public crying.

ADent, I want to say this with as much compassion as I can summon: what you are talking about is a big fucking deal. It will be a big fucking deal -- most likely involving an emergency room and public crying -- for anyone who cares about you. Please don't minimize the danger that you are putting yourself in. You have some ideation, and you made a plan. That's a huge step in a bad direction.

Please, please go to the hospital. By your own admission, your boyfriend isn't trained to help you in this situation. You are not setting yourself up to succeed here. This is your brain fucking with you, as Sidhedevil notes above. Don't let it win.

You can choose. Right now, in this moment, as you seem to be stronger, you can choose to get help in a way that you might, later on, not be able to get help. You can choose to start beating this thing, right now, while you have breath to sound the trumpet for reinforcements. Or, you can wait until you are out of breath. I've got to be honest: waiting doesn't sound like the best strategy to me.

Can you allow for the possibility that checking yourself into the hospital won't necessarily be a big scene with a lot of crying and shouting and drama? That it might be staffed with people who will respect your needs? People who will show you compassion and will act discreetly around what you want and who needs to know it? Can you imagine that the people you will see are on your side, that they want to help you be strong and to beat this thing, and that, if you tell them that having a big deal out of it is not going to help you be strong, maybe they will respect that and help you to not have it be a big deal?

Can you imagine that your boss, no matter how tough or mean he or she might be, would definitely rather have you in the hospital than have anything happen to you? Can you imagine them saying, "You're sick. Do what you have to do to take care of yourself. We'll be fine without you for a while." Can you imagine that your boss would rather have to fire you for not showing up -- if it came to that, and it really should't come to that -- than lose you in the way you are talking about?

Can you call one of the many, many hotlines that are listed on the wiki and talk to someone there. It won't be a big deal. You won't be bothering anybody: they are there because they really, really want to help you.

At the very least, please keep checking in here. Many, many more of us than you know are sending hope and prayers and good feelings your way right now and we'd love it if you kept us updated.

I don't mean to write a novel. This stuff is serious. Take care of yourself. There's help. There's no shame. There's help.
posted by gauche at 2:00 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]

Can you allow for the possibility that checking yourself into the hospital won't necessarily be a big scene with a lot of crying and shouting and drama? That it might be staffed with people who will respect your needs? People who will show you compassion and will act discreetly around what you want and who needs to know it?

This, this, this.

I have been through this experience. I was able to drive to the emergency room and stood pacing outside its doors, crying for about 20 minutes until I worked up the nerve to go in. Like you, I knew I needed help, but feared making a scene. The reality of it was that all I had to do when I walked up to the desk was say, "I need to see someone in mental health please." From there, the emergency room, the psych ward, the EMTs and the behavioral hospital nurses took it step by step. There was no shouting, no scenes, just calm questions and answers and tissues for my tears.

The reality of the situation is that the people who will be there to receive are both trained to deal with this -- your tears, your brain, all of it -- and they do see it frequently. They will not judge you for crying. They may even ease your discomfort with the situation and bring you a surprising bit of comfort by showing you compassion while they are handling your recovery step by step. (I still remember how oddly comfortable I felt in the back of that ambulance, thanks to the kindness of my EMTs.)

Please do this for yourself. Speaking from the other side, it is possible to surface through this. Going to the hospital will help.
posted by houndsoflove at 3:02 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

Speaking as somebody who has been where you are, go to the hospital. Now. Your brain cannot be trusted right now and you need to get into the hands of professionals. You shouldn't be putting all this on your SO, it isn't fair and more importantly, it isn't safe. He's not trained, hospital staff are. Please go now.
posted by zug at 3:07 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]

PLEASE go to the ER now! Maybe you should show this thread to your SO so he knows exactly what you are thinking and how confused you are at this point. Stop worrying about everything and just do what you need to do now to save your only life.

About staying home for another day....what if you wake up again with the idea that killing yourself is a good choice, and your SO is asleep and does not wake up until it is too late? Please consider that people do love you, you are not able to think clearly enough to make rational choices at this point, and what you are dealing with needs medical supervision now, not later.
posted by mermayd at 3:22 PM on June 5, 2012

I should add, I have been to the ER for mental health reasons. I was not as badly off as you, but when care professionals said I should go to the ER immediately ("before the sun sets" was the wording used, at 4 PM), I took them at their word. Everyone involved was extremely kind and compassionate, and they very quickly got me the help that I needed. If you memail me, I will tell you more about the experience. I also felt like maybe I was making a big deal out of nothing, but the nurse who was taking care of me said "This is part of our mandate, at the ER. We are a community entry point to the mental health care system for people who are in immediate crisis. I'm glad you came."

The problem you are having is, as far as the ER is concerned, a common one. It is one of the reasons the ER exists. They want you to come in; it is because of people like you, in the circumstances that you are in, that we have emergency rooms. You are having an emergency. There is a room for that. You should go to it.
posted by KathrynT at 3:36 PM on June 5, 2012 [5 favorites]

My mind is really clouded and I feel like I am making this such a big deal.

Sweetheart, this is your life. It is a big fucking deal.

You know what? It's really, really common for people to not want to "bother" emergency responders when they're having a true emergency. I myself didn't want to "bother" the fire department when I had a house fire, because I thought it wasn't that big/they'd judge me on how it started/whatever. I spent precious minutes not calling 911 when I saw smoke because of these extremely common self-censuring feelings.

Going to the ER or to a psych hospital ER/intake RIGHT NOW is your best chance of surviving this illness. They will not judge you or think you're blowing anything out of proportion. In fact, they'll recognize your plan for what it is: a true life-threatening emergency.

THIS IS AKIN TO YOUR HOUSE BEING ON FIRE. Someone needs to put out the flames, and you simply aren't qualified to do it right now.

I have experience in this. I know your mind is clouded. It can actually be extremely freeing to turn over responsibility for keeping you alive to... someone who's professional and possibly even warm and sensitive. Someone who's trained for years, who's seen things you can't even imagine; they have no desire or probably even any remaining ability to feel judgmental about your suicidal ideation.

What they will do is assess you and maybe find a bed for you so you can start receiving treatment for a very real illness that is threatening your very survival.

I urge you to get your SO to take you to a hospital ER or psych hospital tonight. Right now.

Right now, ok? Your house is on fire. We all the see the smoke. Even you see the smoke. Let them put it out. They're the professionals. They WANT to put out your fire.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 3:49 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

I am feeling really self-conscious about it and the idea of going there is making me feel really bad.

Worse than the idea of dying?

I mean, it's great that you've enlisted your partner in helping you through the tough patch you're having, but please for heaven's sake if you have another bout of suicidal ideation GO TO THE HOSPITAL.

There is nothing to feel self-conscious about. If your kidneys started failing, you'd go to the hospital, wouldn't you? If you had a heart attack, you'd go to the hospital, wouldn't you? Suicidal depression is equally a life-threatening medical emergency, and it's equally beyond your control and NOT YOUR FAULT IN ANY WAY.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:20 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thank you everyone...for a while I felt that I was overreacting since my husband's attitude has been a little bit nonchalant. The therapist told him to take the pills away, but he didn't. I decided to give him the pills myself, and he just put them on his desk right in front of me, where I know I will be able to reach them later during the night (he does not wake easily).

I guess I am happier thinking his attitude is reasonable and mine isn't, otherwise it would be too painful to assume that this is a serious issue, only he doesn't really care about what happens.

I am starting to think the second option is true. I will pack my bag and some books, and will drive myself to the ER. I am a little brokenhearted, and didn't know I would be facing this alone. I asked him if he was bored and he told me he was, so I think spending time together isn't an option and frankly I don't even know if he'll help me.

I will go to the hospital as soon as I'm packed. You guys have been true friends. Thank you.

posted by ADent at 4:55 PM on June 5, 2012 [5 favorites]

I guess I am happier thinking his attitude is reasonable and mine isn't, otherwise it would be too painful to assume that this is a serious issue, only he doesn't really care about what happens.

Here's a third option--he doesn't understand what depression is and thinks it's the same as sadness. And/or he thinks that you can just "snap out of it." Both beliefs are really, really widespread in our culture. He may not be callous, just terribly misinformed.

I am so, so glad you are going to the hospital. I will be thinking of you. You will always be in my heart, because we have fought in the same war.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:21 PM on June 5, 2012 [7 favorites]

I'm so happy to read your update. I hope you are there now. If you aren't and come back to read this before going know that we will be there for you in that waiting room. You aren't alone driving there. Yes, it sounds silly to some but I'm there with you for that ride and wait. I will be thinking of you.

I've done that drive myself and it is the best thing I could have ever done.
posted by kanata at 5:43 PM on June 5, 2012

I am so happy you are choosing to take care of you. You are doing the right thing! And it is hard! But you are right to do it! Mucho strength and warmth flowing your way from me right now....
posted by tristeza at 5:46 PM on June 5, 2012

You are doing the right thing. You are important and deserve to do this for yourself. I am so happy for you! Everyone here is!
posted by srrh at 5:51 PM on June 5, 2012

Thank you for writing again, and thank you for going. You are doing the strong thing, even though maybe it doesn't feel strong right now. Good for you.

Take care of yourself, and know that we are right here, and we're thinking about you and pulling for you.
posted by gauche at 6:12 PM on June 5, 2012

I think the most likely possibility is that your husband loves you deeply and just doesn't know enough about depression. It is hard for people who have never been suicidal to know what it's like. It's like a lot of illnesses in that way. It is hard for non-diabetic people to understand why their friend can't just eat whatever they want. Yet these mysterious inner problems (just in their pancreas, just in your brain) can be deadly. This is why you need medical professionals.
posted by salvia at 6:23 PM on June 5, 2012

Oh thank goodness. I'm so relieved that you're going to get yourself some help right away. You're doing the right thing and it's very brave. I'll be thinking of you, along with everyone else here.
posted by Kpele at 6:45 PM on June 5, 2012

Good for you! Yes, going is the best choice. Don't be too hard on your husband, as others have mentioned he is unable to see inside your head and understand how overwhelming your suicidal idealation is. But right now you need to focus on you. This is the time to reach out to all your resources, friends and family that can help you. You are very brave and you are worth it.
posted by saucysault at 7:22 PM on June 5, 2012

I am glad you are going to the hospital. I went through this with a roommate - who did not act on a plan but had a plan very well thought out. We spent the night in the E.R. where a doctor spoke to her at least three times and nurses checked on us regularly. She was admitted and had a bed with other patients around - who she could hear (who weren't all quiet, just so you can prepare for that - if you still have internet). I believe she payed a $75 co-pay for E.R. visit. She continued with daily outpatient therapy for the next two weeks. She dealt with the paperwork with her job afterwards and received some type of disability. She only informed her job that she was ill.

Trust the professionals right now. Your brain isn't well and those close to you are likely not trained in what to do or say. I'm proud of you for seeking help.
posted by quodlibet at 7:24 PM on June 5, 2012

Thank God or Whoever that you are going to the hospital, and thanks so much for letting us know. I lost a sister in law to suicide,and many years ago an aunt who did not reach out for help when they needed it. You will be ok, it might just be a medication reaction, but whatever is causing the current crisis, you will be in the right place to get it sorted out. I was thinking about you all night. All will be well, just keep thinking that.
posted by mermayd at 2:43 AM on June 6, 2012

I'm glad you gave your husband the pills, and sorry he didn't put them away more thoroughly. I hope you are at the hospital now, and please know that we're all thinking of you <3
posted by feets at 3:24 AM on June 6, 2012

This is after the fact, but I think this might help other people who are trying to evaluate the seriousness of suicide.

At the most common and least dangerous end is suicidal ideation - defined simply as a desire to die. The usual clinical response to this is what's called a safety plan - a series of things the person indicates she will do if things progress, and the person is assumed to need additional support. The medical equivalent would be high blood pressure, a serious problem but not an emergency.

The next stage is a plan. That means she has an idea of how she would kill herself. This includes the research level some of us engage in related to suicidal ideation. A safety plan is also in place here, if necessary with specific responses to specific plans (for example, if there was a gun in the home, removing the gun and putting it where the person can't get it, or the example above of removing the pills and putting them where she can't access them). The equivalent is of someone with all the risk factors of a heart attack (unless the person has experienced suicide in their lives, in which case the equivalent is someone who survived a heart attack).

The next stage is means. The moment someone gets means, that is a 911 call. It's the equivalent of a heart attack RIGHT NOW.

You were at the third stage; you did the right thing.
posted by Deoridhe at 6:53 PM on June 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

About twelve years ago I put myself into the hospital when I had been feeling suicidal for many days and felt I was at risk. I had good health insurance at the time, and also short-term disability insurance.

In my case it was very much the right thing to do. It's probably always the right thing to do if you think you're in danger of killing yourself, even if you don't know how you'll pay and how it will affect your work.

I was in for a week and it wasn't much as I expected. I ended up having a room to myself. And it was...peaceful. One thing that I didn't expect is that being there, under those conditions, meant that the outside world was almost completely shut-out. Partly physically, but also the circumstances were such that I had implicit permission to just not think or care about what was going on outside. And I dearly needed that. There were a few people who were there involuntarily. But 80% of us were severely depressed people; and, of those, about 80% were women. Most of the remaining patients were alcoholics going through medically supervised detox (just stopping drinking when you're a severe, long-term alcoholic is actually extremely dangerous). A few were manic-depressives in a manic episode. One young college student was in the beginning stages of schizophrenia and he understood exactly what was happening to him.

Some people didn't react well to being locked in and monitored. Mostly the involuntary ones. It didn't bother me at all, really. It sort of emphasized that there was a barrier between me and the outside world, which I liked.

Admittedly, the group counseling didn't do me much good, but that was mostly due to my personality and my feeling that I didn't need attention as much as many others did. And after I went home, I didn't follow up with outpatient stuff as I should have and my depression didn't improve so, after about ten days, I went back and spent another week in the hospital. Eventually, I felt better. I stayed away from work for three months (with pay) but had to go back before I really was ready and that didn't go that well.

I went through a very, very bad period through the second half of 2010. It really was the most severe extended period of deep, major depression I've had in a lifetimes of suffering from chronic major depression. And while I have Medicare, I really didn't have many options this time around for hospitalization and I basically spent about five months feeling suicidal every day and having suicidal ideation many times every day. It was horrible.

As you mentioned was true for you, the nights have always been the worst for me. I'm a night owl, anyway, and prone to being up until 4AM. And so those late hours when I'm in a crisis depression are really bad. I feel very isolated and without resources. Once I start feeling really bad, then I start feeling even worse.

Which brings me to this: please feel free to contact me (see my profile page) if you ever are feeling suicidal and want some human contact. Many years ago, by my middle twenties, I think, I stopped ever calling friends or family because I became ashamed of thinking that my crisis was their problem in any sense. And so I pretty much never call any of the people who probably would want me to call. But I might call an internet friend or internet friendly stranger who invited me to, if that makes sense. So I'm inviting you. Here's at least one person who would be willing to talk to you if you feel like that would help.

And, in fact, there's a bunch of people out there, professionals, who are eager to help if you just ask. I know how hard it is to ask. I usually don't. But I should.

You should. Know that people care. Even complete strangers. It's a funny world that way.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:35 PM on June 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

Metatalk followup
posted by Pomo at 7:38 PM on June 6, 2012

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