I’ve never known anyone like her and I’ve never loved anyone the way I love her.
My first best friend, the one I love and hate the most.
She makes me brave. She makes me mad. She calms me down. She knows where I’d hide the bodies.
I almost lost her.
I almost lost myself.
The fear of not knowing if she was dead or alive was crippling. I forgot how to breathe for a brief moment.
On Thursday, November 29, 2018, my sister attempted suicide. She made a pile of all of her medication and started swallowing them. She text a friend then went outside to smoke then laid down in the bed and went to sleep.
When her friend found her, she was unresponsive and foaming at the mouth. He had no idea what she had taken or when. He went around the house and destroyed any evidence that he had been there then called 911. When the deputy arrived, he left.
The medics tried multiple doses of Narcan, but she wouldn’t come around.
Her friend took some of the notes she had written to her children and ex-husband so not to be incriminated in her death and hit the rest in a dresser drawer. I only found them because I was being nosey looking for some pajamas.
He called me from her phone Friday at 5:15 pm… nearly 24 hours after finding her unresponsive. He left no message and turned her phone off.
After not hearing back from her by Friday night, I text her ex-husband to see if she had picked up the girls for her weekend visit. She didn’t.
I called the Sheriff’s office and had a deputy go by her address. He called and said she was not home but her car was there and 2 days ago there was a medical call at her address and someone was transported to Ochsner Medical Center in Baton Rouge. So I called them. The charge nurse said she was sleeping but couldn’t tell me anything else.
The next day, Kendall’s friend called me at work. I had text her phone with the number since he only called while I was at work. He told me she had overdosed and didn’t know anything else.
I called my mom-e and we had no idea what to do. When we were all together in Iowa we had resources, contacts, etc. But with us all living in different states our choices were limited since they couldn’t tell me anything over the phone.
So I headed for Baton Rouge that afternoon.
By the time I got there Sunday morning she was awake but not alert, she was sedated because she had become combative and was trying to leave the hospital.
When they started asking me questions about her medical history I didn’t understand why it wasn’t in her chart. I knew she had seen a doctor since being there, she had even had surgery so there had to be something in there and WHY HADN’T THEY CONTACTED HER FAMILY?!
I was so mad, but then it all clicked together when I told them how to correctly spell her name and gave her date of birth and social security number to verify who she was because her ‘friend’ did not know how to spell her name so they had no medical history on her. They had nothing.
So I spoke with the doctor and they started her on a new medication to help her get back to normal.
How did all of this happen?
My sister was diagnosed as bipolar when she was 13 and has been on numerous medications as she has gotten older. The medication she had been taking wasn’t controlling her symptoms and she started having hallucinations that were terrifying; voices that told her to hurt herself.
She had reached out the best she knew how. She had confided in someone she thought she could trust but he didn’t take her seriously. He didn’t even know she had a mental disorder. He thought she would snap out of it.
She didn’t. She couldn’t. She needed help and he had no idea what to do so he did nothing.
Mental disorders, illnesses, conditions, aren’t something that you can snap out of. Depression and anxiety are very real. When you combine them all together the smallest inconvenience can trigger major episodes of crippling depression and even suicidal ideation.
I am sharing all of this with my sister’s permission. We sat at a plastic table with snotty noses and teary eyes and she told me that people need to know how real this is.
If someone tells you they are depressed or thinking about killing themselves, get them help.
It’s not just a problem somewhere else, it’s a problem everywhere. Millions of people struggle with thoughts of suicide. They don’t see a way out. They can’t see past their present circumstances.
But there is hope.
I challenge you to get involved. Reach out to those you know who struggle. Reach out if YOU struggle. You’re not alone.
Visit American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for more information. Get involved in your local chapter and support those who are involved if you aren’t able to yourself. This is a preventable disease. Yes, a disease. Once you are infected with depression, anxiety, PTSD, thoughts of suicide or self harm, it doesn’t just stop.
We have to eliminate the stigma with mental illness. It doesn’t mean you’re weak, it doesn’t mean you are too far gone. The broken pieces can be put back together.
I love my sister, y’all. I know I am a terrible sister and live really far away… I don’t call, I don’t write… but I would do anything for my sister bear. Well, accept go to jail for her in 2001, but you get the point. I don’t know what I would do without her. She’s super smart, sometimes she’s funny, mostly kinda lame, but I love her anyway.
I can’t do this without you, sister. I want to fight with you until we’re 100 and race our hover rounds.