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Born With a Rusty Spoon: Episode 72

...Tell stopped by the hospital every day on his way to work. To the bewilderment of the patient in the other hospital bed, he joked about how the wind was whistling through the bullet hole in my chest. She finally realized that we were making the best of a horrible situation...

Bertie Stroup Marah regains equilibrium after attempting to take her own life.

Within a week after having the correctly prescribed medication, my brain chemistry regained equilibrium, and I could think clearly, and with proper perspective. For the first time in what felt like forever, I had relief from depression. Although the last six months were the worst, in looking back, my depression had been growing for several years.

My family and Gloria and Tell stood by me. It was difficult to convince them they were blameless for not recognizing the extent of my depression. Gloria, in particular, was laden with unwarranted guilt. I explained many times that my doctor said that it would not have made any difference how much people tried to reason with me; without the proper medication to correct my thought processes, nothing would have changed my mind. Not one of them chose to lecture or condemn me or deride me for my bad decision. Instead each one of them was overjoyed with thankfulness for my survival and showed complete unconditional love and support.

Tell stopped by the hospital every day on his way to work. To the bewilderment of the patient in the other hospital bed, he joked about how the wind was whistling through the bullet hole in my chest. She finally realized that we were making the best of a horrible situation.

While I was in the hospital, I avoided looking at the ugly wound in my chest. Instead I glanced away when the nurses changed my bandages. After I went home, however, I was forced to look. The first time I saw my reflection in the mirror I was stunned at the gaunt face staring back at me. I finally allowed my eyes to drift to the awful wound in my chest. I was horrified. The realization of what I had done nearly knocked me off my feet. I knew at that moment that my life would never be the same and that I would never again deceive myself and others about my emotional fragility. With that I started sobbing.

After eleven days of recovery, my reentrance into my working world and society at large was handled in the only way my background had taught me to deal with an overwhelming situationówith humor and grace. I did my best to put my coworkers at ease. There was a hushed silence as I walked into the office bent forward from the pain in my chest; my posture alone was a reminder of what I had done. Naturally everyone was uncomfortable and anxious in my presence.

"How are you, Bertie," one of my coworkers inquired nervously.

Resisting the urge to reassure her I had checked my gun at the door, I said, "I'm pretty good considering I lost the fight at the OK Corral."

My humor seemed to put everyone at ease.

The kindness shown me during this worse time of my life was overwhelming. I received many phone calls and cards wishing me well. I had expected everyone to shun me. I thought they would judge my suicide attempt to be an act of weakness. Instead, they told me how glad they were that I had survived. I have kept all the cards from well wishers and continue to read them from time to time. I am still touched by their outpouring of love and I treasure their acts of kindness offered at the lowest point of my life.

I have tried to use my experience with depression to help others suffering from this horrible illness. I encourage them to get professional help. I explain that it is no different than seeking treatment for any other dangerous and debilitating illness. I look forward to the time when information and knowledge will completely eradicate the stigma of mental illness.

I hoped that some good could come from the awful thing I went through. I still reach for that hope. Back then, it helped me make my decision to change my life and make the most of my second chance.

**

To buy a copy of Bertie's wonderful book please visit
http://www.amazon.com/Born-Rusty-Spoon-Artists-Memoir/dp/1935514660/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1282226141&sr=1-1-fkmr0

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