”A story about a suicide”

A personal story of Neja, who is writing with tears in her eyes

Ever since I can remember, from the first memories of my childhood onward, my parents have been drinking every day. They had a container next to their bed to vomit in and still went to the bar the next day, and so on. It went so far that my mother started to hide liquor in my closet. She said that it was so that my father wouldn’t drink it and that if we would get visitors, she’d have something to offer them. But this was just an excuse so that more alcohol was left for her.

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They never spent time with me; there were never any conversations, no playing, and no games.

We had darts in the living room and three times a week, two family friends came for a visit and to play. On these occasions, there was loud music and even more alcohol. If I asked them to turn off the music and keep it down, because I couldn’t sleep and had to go to school the next day, they would yell at me and send me back to my room.

I didn’t cry and I didn’t realize that there was something wrong with this. I thought that they had justified reasons to behave like that and that I was the one doing something wrong. I thought that this was normal. On several occasions I saw my mother with other men while she was drunk and while my father was passed out on the bed. He knew she was doing this and he also knew that my mother had several abortions of which he wasn’t the father. He got drunk, as if that was a solution. This too, was “normal” to me.

I put a wall around myself

I was a very unsocial child and I didn’t get along with my peers. It started in the third or fourth grade when my classmates started saying that my mother was a wh*re, that my parents were drunks, and so on.

I put up a wall around me and spent my time at home. I would watch TV all day while my classmates were outside playing games with each other, e.g. basketball, football, etc.

That’s when I started realizing that this was not normal and that other parents didn’t do this. I realized that they had normal relationships, that parents loved their children and that they had told them this many times. My mother was paying more attention to other men, “friends”, to drinking alcohol, and hanging out at the bars. I had nothing from my father – nothing except him being drunk, lying unconscious in the bedroom.

I had nobody to turn to. My grandmother lived in Kamnik, I had no contact with my step-brother, and I couldn’t rely on my friends … well, I didn’t have any.

I went to high school in Kamnik just to get away from all that was happening at home. It wasn’t easy for me there either. I wanted to be in a group of friends very badly, but I “wasn’t accepted” by any.

Living in the house

I met my ex-boyfriend during summer vacation between the first and second year of high school. He was violent towards me several times but he has changed after some time. We first lived at his mother’s place and then we moved to an apartment in the upper floor… This is complicated. In my parents’ house, we were owners of a bigger apartment below and a small attic studio above that.

Initially, my mother and her lover lived in the upper studio while I, my father, and my boyfriend lived together in the apartment below. We were all living in the same building – me, my ex, my father, my mother, and her lover. I was completely confused at that time. When my grandfather (from my father’s side) died my father inherited a house about 40 km away. My mother didn’t hesitate to send him off to live there. As for us – we switched the apartments so that my mother moved from the upper attic studio to the apartment below it and we moved upstairs.

When I got pregnant with my daughter, we moved to the one-room apartment of my ex’s mother, because she had a small pension and couldn’t pay the bills anymore, so we switched places. When my daughter was one year old, my ex took out a loan and we moved to a bigger apartment.

That is what it was like, moving from place to place.

Family …

My ex was insanely jealous, I was his property, and when I gave birth it got even worse. And I saw everything in black-white and I was not able to make compromises.

I gave birth to a healthy, beautiful girl in 2005 when I was 20 years old. I fell into severe postpartum depression and I didn’t take care of myself or my daughter. Everything was too much for me, from breast-feeding and lulling to sleep, to anything related to her. My ex didn’t help me and he acted like he didn’t care. Not about our daughter, but about me and my depression. When our daughter was 3 months old, he was deployed (he is a soldier) and I stayed at home with my daughter and things got even worse for me.

I honestly couldn’t get rid of my depression for 3-4 years and during this time everything spiralled downwards.

I never visited a psychiatrist or any kind of a doctor and I wasn’t able to help myself. It was like being stuck in quicksand.

Everything exploded in 2008. Things seemed black or white to me. It all started when I impulsively left my ex and went to live on my own with my daughter.

My mother died and my brother and I had a huge fight about our inheritance. I fell into depression for the second time. Not because of the inheritance but because my brother had deceived me.

I took everything very personally and it was catastrophic if someone offended me in the slightest.

After five months I felt sorry for leaving my ex and I felt like couldn’t breathe for several days from the anxiety. On top of it all, I lost my job at about that time.

So I was alone with my daughter, anxious, depressed, with no money, friends or company, without support from my parents or brother, and with high expenses for the apartment.

It was too late when I realized that I wouldn’t be able to handle all of these things alone and that leaving my partner that I still loved after all, was a mistake.

My relationship with my daughter

I love her immensely, but at that time I didn’t know how to show it. From all that “shit” that happened to me in 20 years – the alcohol abuse, beatings, depression, anxiety… I was not able to establish a normal mother-daughter relationship.

She is a beautiful girl and is attending second grade now. Back then when everything exploded, I didn’t think of her at all. And I have no excuse for this.

I was not able to save myself and although it would have taken a lot of work, the biggest mistake was that I didn’t seek help.

The decision and the consequences

I am writing this with tears in my eyes. The apartment that my daughter and I lived in was on the eighth floor. When my daughter was not at home, I jumped from the balcony.

I hit the grass with my head 10 cm from the concrete. I had a collapsed spine, broken pelvis, an open fracture in my left leg, and fractured both of my heels. I was in a coma for 20 days, during which I had two operations on my spine. I had external fixations on my pelvis and leg and when they woke me up I had surgery on my pelvis and after one month on my leg. I have 2 fixations in the spine that hold the vertebrae apart.

The pain was so severe that no one could imagine it if they haven’t experienced it.

I was then taken to intensive care for 4 months and was quarantined for one month due to ESBL infection. After the surgery on my leg I could only sit on the bed for a maximum of five minutes at a time and then had to lie down because it hurt too much. I was gradually able to sit for longer periods every day, so this was kind of a success. The worst was when I was in a wheelchair and I didn’t know if I would ever walk again.

When I was in quarantine I stood up with the help of a physiotherapist. At first I could only stand for a few minutes, but every day I could do more. At that time I was already able to do a few steps every few hours.

After that I went to the Soča rehabilitation centre. There I was already able to step on my left foot because the fracture had healed and I was able to learn how to walk again. At first with a walker and then with crutches.

When I jumped, my father stopped drinking overnight. Unbelievable. He visited me regularly in the hospital and was very supportive. So I went to live with him afterwards. While I was in the hospital, my daughter was living with him and coming home to her was a beautiful moment.

How to explain to a child?

I don’t have an excuse for why I didn’t choose to live for her or why all of this was necessary. It was all my fault. It will be hard to explain to my daughter why I did it. How will she take it?

Now she is in the second grade and slowly I will have to gather the courage to tell her. But how? I don’t know where to begin.

Medications

As a consequence of my jump I have nerve damage on the left side of my body and I can’t feel my leg. Well, not the whole leg, some places I can and other places I can’t feel, but I can move it. The toes on my left leg are the only part that doesn’t function and I can’t step on them.

Also, I don’t feel when I have to go to the toilet. This is Cauda equina syndrome. But over time my muscles have strengthened a little so I don’t need diapers. It gets a little awkward only when I have a cold and I cough or sneeze, and if I laugh too hard.

Well, my head remained intact, but I have epileptic seizures from the shock. Since the fall four year ago, I have had two. Ever since I started taking medication it has been okay. I took the painkillers Zaldiar and Tramadol. Over time, small doses didn’t help anymore and I became dependent on them and nothing else helped.

So I went to rehab in 2010. I was there for three months and I gradually got off the painkillers. I took Ketonal but it was not working for me because it gave me stomach problems.

When I was hospitalized in the psychiatric clinic I was on Apaurin, Seroquel, Lyrica, Loquen, Mirzaten, Cymbalto, and Lamictal. I got rid of Tramadol, but got addicted to everything else.

Now I only take Lamictal and Lyrica which helps with my epilepsy, anxiety, and neuropathic pain. I combine painkillers Zaldiar and Ketonal.

I have changed, for the better

When I go to the psychiatrist she asks me how I’m doing, but is already writing a new prescription for me and then after five minutes she dismisses me. This does not help me at all. But talking helps. Her nurse is far better, has more time for me, and gives me good pieces of advice.

It’s interesting how I’ve changed, and in my opinion for the better. I laugh more, I am more sociable, and more relaxed. Although constantly in the back of my mind a light blinks telling me all of this was really not necessary. Especially for the sake of my daughter!

I wrote down this confession in hopes that it would make things easier for me. Even though I cried a few times while writing it. Maybe this story helps someone.

I didn’t know then. But if someone is as desperate as I was – they should seek help before it is too late! People should not be afraid to entrust their problems to people close to them: parents, good friends, doctors, etc. They should try to help themselves with things that they look forward to. Let them know that after every rain the sun shines, and that if there was no bad, we would not appreciate the good. To appreciate the little things, tiny little things which over time, when you look back, seem large. They should also inform themselves by reading books and articles on the Internet…

You now know my story and how necessary it is to react when experiencing symptoms of any kind of mental illness. Anyway, thank you for reading. It means a lot.

Neja

Are you in distress?

If you are in distress seek help immediately.

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