Wake me up

5/1/16     11:52am

I hear the chorus of “Thy Will” by Hillary Scott. I’m trying not to cry.

God, I trust you and I don’t understand.

I had a dream last night. I had a roommate. There was a funeral. That part’s fuzzy. But I left my room and ended up at a wall, a cliff by the beach. There was a long flight of cement stairs down. The further I walked the steeper they got until the path was straight up and down. I put my arms out and held onto the thin steps/bricks above me. SO far down I looked into the ocean. And then I let go. It surprised me. I free fell, felt the wind on my face. and a stair caught me. Then it was my choice. I tried letting go again but this time and the next few I fell shorter each time. I fell on a concrete slab, the bottom of a different stairwell by the ocean. “I have to call Dr. M,” I said. I climbed up those stairs. At the top was Scripps Mercy ER. I sat there for awhile, decided I didn’t want a 5150 there and left. (long pause) I want to let go.

I’m sitting in church. I chose me over the last minute finance meeting. So much has changed. Diane is gone. I told X I’m not happy. I don’t think he can understand. I don’t want to be here. I don’t support what is happening. But it’s so important to – and my mom and… My breath stops. My face tingles. I belch up puke & hold back tears. I don’t move much. I took my hymnal down from the choir loft. I’ve had a headache since Friday – disabling. I believe the pain is what’s keeping my behavior appropriate. God, what do you want me to do?

Go to yoga

I’m trying so hard, God. I’m listening. I hear you. Please, hold my hand.

SH Urge: hit head into something hard where it already hurts over and over.

Wake me up, Lord. Put me back to sleep.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2016

The Red Wristband

11-11-15     8:55pm

I was given a gift tonight. D- visited and we sang. I shared some of me with her. She doesn’t want to lose me. I enjoyed the singing, the truth connection, but I still want to die. The exhaustion of interacting used everything in me. I talked to H- in the hall. Then J- came with a gift – a red wristband.

I never thought I would be one of those people who took a million meds or had a rolodex of doctors. I’ve never planned to be a sick person. I didn’t look forward to struggling through days. Yet here I am with a red wristband. I feel defeated. I’ve turned into Janet, only I’m not dead.

What does it mean about me?

  • I have ECT at 9am
  • My doctors are very concerned about me
  • I am sick
  • I have failed
  • I can no longer tolerate living this life
  • I am… free.

I think I can let go now, stop fighting just for tonight. God is here and my family is around me. My insides are hollow and my outlook dark, but my soul rises up. This is the end. I want to die.

I trust my team. I don’t want to let them down. I will sleep safely and meet Dr. M in the morning for ECT. I’m scared but I trust him with the brain attached to this red wristband. I just don’t trust myself.

I thank God for my doctors and my friends & family.
I’ll let you know how it goes.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2015

Janet was my friend

12/29/12     5pm

Dear Jesus,

I don’t know if she believed or not, but I like to believe that Janet is in your arms today. Please bring her all the comfort and peace that she couldn’t find here and introduce her to joy. Thank you for the time you gave me with her. She is an amazing friend. Please be with Chrissy as she deals with this trauma and help me to provide comfort and support to the group. Give me strength to hold everyone up, to maintain my link. Thank you for giving me the resources and fortitude to do this. Thank you for hope.

In your name I pray, Amen.

Janet 2010

Janet hung herself.
I’m going to the donut shop now.
To be with Joe & Chrissy.
Janet was my friend.

Chrissy found her.
Janet was my friend.
I saw her on Wednesday. We worked, talked, had dinner.
I knew she was bad.
I didn’t know how close.

Was the cleaning up all part of the plan?
I doubt it.

She hung herself in the bathroom.
The bathroom we just worked on.
With the flowered rug.
And the Tinkerbell towels.

Janet was my friend.

We went to Noodles & Company after.
She bought me food. We talked.
She laughed.

I met Janet in 2004 in Henry’s group when she was living with her family in Borrego and getting ECT. She was a wreck, but she helped me. She would walk me through guided imagery. We talked on the phone hours a day. She jumped out of a car on the freeway, ran away. Her parents screamed at me. So much drama. But she was my friend.

I couldn’t tolerate her anymore and was glad she disappeared. I hadn’t seen her in years when she showed up at DBSA. I heard of a Janet and prayed it wasn’t her, but it was. I was scared it would be the same drama with her parents and Fidaleo and 17 drugs. But it wasn’t. She was different.

The crippling depression Janet experienced while at DBSA was a vast improvement from when I met her. She had skills, sometimes hope, and a desire for a good life. She lived on her own or with a roommate, drove a car, fed her cats. Those cats were her family, her reasons for living. And the whole month of Halloween.

Janet was a broken little girl living the devil’s fairy tale. With a body that wouldn’t die. But I guess enough is enough sometimes. Her body & mind were weary. It was time to let go.

I can’t imagine her believing it would work. One last try out of desperation. Care for the cats and care for myself. I don’t blame her. She endured years of torture, loneliness and pain. The people she wanted love from the most were mean to her. She had nothing left in the reserve. No doctor, dwindling meds, persistent severe depression. She had her note cards and her kitties and her best friend. She fought the good fight and now it’s over.

Janet was my friend.

I find myself grappling now with the what if and why questions. The words that have no answers. The words that need no response.

I’m going to the donut shop.
Janet was my friend.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2012

Keep up the fight

10/20/12     10:50pm

So, I worked a DBSA table at the Out of the Darkness Walk today. It was fun. I went to bed early last night, which was good since my alarm went off at 4:30 this morning and I got up at five. I was dragging but awake until I had 4 pixie sticks and a mini candy bar from the table next to us. I was suddenly alive. ;) It was nice to have people there working with me, to not be alone. I’ve been relying more on other people lately while my mom’s in New York and it feels good. I’m spreading my wings, expanding my person-ness.

After the walk we went to Kansas City Barbecue and I stuffed my face and then to Seaport Village. I love food. It brings me comfort. I did something stupid though. I indulged in onion rings. I’ve been trying to stay away from onions as much as possible as they make me feel awful and interfere with my breathing. But I forgot how dreadful they make life and decided to get them anyway. Ten hours later I still feel awful. I slept for four and woke up to pee. I’m moving slowly, can’t think, head hurts, watery eyes. I thought I’d just go back to sleep but my mind started racing and I had to take a Xanax to calm down enough to read Facebook. I don’t know what’s happening. Total system shutdown. But it’s not like yesterday.

Yesterday I got in a fight with my therapist. I was already feeling overwhelmed and then a mere comment about a group he leads turned into a horribly triggering conversation. I went from feeling somewhat okay to total rage in an instant. He asked what was going on and I told him straight up I felt the need to burn down his office. We continued to argue. He checked in again and I told him I no longer cared to burn down his office, I just wanted to die. I probably would’ve tried it except that I had a two and a half hour bus ride home and by the time I got there I was exhausted and had been triggered by other things and just gave up and slept. I was thoroughly exhausted and went to bed at 9:45pm. Worked out okay since I had to get up early today. And today it was like it didn’t exist, until I was having an anxiety attack while unable to move a whole lot and started talking to him out loud in bed. It helped. I need to eventually type out my thoughts and send them to him. But for tonight, I just make notes here with my kitty asleep on my lap. I love my kitty.

Found out today that my mom will be back in a few days. I’m glad. I could use some predictability around here, even if it comes with extra house guests. If we ever go eat, don’t let me eat onion rings. I’d really like to ride a carousel. And I like my pink polka dotted shirt. It fits now. 

Well, here’s to unicorns and snowy brows. I must try to sleep now. I’m counting tomorrow as a day of rest. A day just for me. I deserve it and so do you. 

Keep up the fight.

Love, Michelle

© Michelle Routhieaux 2012


11-5-10                10:37pm

I found myself in that place a few weeks ago. That place where I could not go on. My agitation was unmanageable. I could not fix it or stop it or understand why. I wasn’t running from a stressor or event. I could no longer stand my existence.

And I realized late one night that this was the mindset in which I should take myself to the hospital. I was losing control and the danger level was too high. But in that moment I realized I don’t want to be saved. I also realized there was no one I could call, no one who could listen and just be with me in that feeling. No one. I had to do something so I doubled my Seroquel and thankfully (miraculously) felt much better the next day. And when I woke up I finished the thought. It’s not that I don’t want to be saved. I do. I want to be saved from what’s ravaging my body & mind, but not from the thing that’s saving me from the thing no one can save me from. That I don’t want.

It’s been a few weeks. The mindbending agitation has not returned. I feel calmer – more confused. More movements. More colors and creativity. Dissociation. I need to dance and paint the sky. I don’t remember my problems, which is both good and bad. The thing I notice is that I am lonely. And it makes me think a lot about death.

The need in me for comfort is so high that I will do almost anything. I made a list this week of why I’m not killing myself and I was proud of myself for realizing that I don’t actually want to die. I want the pain to stop. I want to be held. I did not feel safe Monday night so instead of going home I slept over with a guy I barely know. It saved my life. He doesn’t know that. Doesn’t need to.

I’m quiet tonight in the music and the chaos. Too much stimulation. I need quiet. I need love. Saved.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2010

The Candle

I went to Survivors of Suicide Loss Day this weekend and everyone lit a candle in memory of their loved one(s). While the conference itself was great, it was the candle that moved me.

As I stared at it I felt & thought many things.

The Candle

5-22-10                 11:31am

  • Guilt – I’m supposed to do something to save it but I don’t want to.
  • Fear – doing something to help it will hurt me or draw attention to me.
  • Helpless – there is nothing I can do to affect the time this candle burns, what I do won’t matter, won’t make a difference.
  • Hopeless – It’s not my place
  • Life – As I watched I noticed a brown speck near the wick just twirling, a sign of life.
  • The Pain of Waiting – I don’t know when but I can’t stop it. I just wait. Like D- and the bus stop. I just want it to stop. I want to blow out the candle. Just make it stop. Please.

I’ve noticed no one else at my table is watching the candle.

When it was lit, I didn’t pay attention. As it burned, I didn’t watch. But I noticed when the white candle was completely clear. Now there’s nothing I can do but watch. If only I had noticed. There’s nothing I can do. This candle is going to kill me.

I want to protect the candle. Fear of someone blowing it out. Wondering if that would be more therapeutic.

I don’t want to eat lunch. I don’t want to leave it.

People eat lunch and talk.

I just watch…

I miss my dad…

I’m tempted to ask how long these candles burn. But no one can know.

I’m angry I can’t change it.

Didn’t want to leave but had a good conversation.

Automatic Thought – I shouldn’t be here.

Angry. Damn it! Go out candle.

Angry – my perspective is so different. I shouldn’t be here.

I forgot & went back to blow out the candle. The effect. And I walked away.

I know the people around me did not experience this candle as I did. But it was so powerful. To go through so many emotions and stages of trauma and grief in such a short time with a candle is amazing. It’s powerful and difficult but good. Thank God for the candle.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2010