“I’m moving out.”
“What did you take?”
She was not pleased. And neither was I.
It was two days after law school prom and I hadn’t slept in 48 hours. Accustomed to 10 hours a night, was unacceptable. I tried everything– melatonin, smoking green, having a few drinks. All to no avail. So I got desperate. Kept awake by my anger and an accidental ingestion of PCP– ecstasy can be a dangerous drug– I resorted to more drastic measures.
I was home alone and my roommate was working late– I didn’t expect her back before 10 pm. Searching for a solution to my sleepless problem, my mind drifted towards my lorazepam. I was– and still am– prescribed 3 milligrams of the delightful controlled substance a day. Relying on its sedative powers, which would surely be accelerated by the few drinks in my system, I delved into my purse and popped 5 milligrams. The tablets were quick dissolve and I placed them under my tongue to ensure quick delivery of the drug into my system. Then I sat on the couch, watching some vapid television, and waited for the pills to work their magic.
No luck. Half an hour later, I was just as awake as I’d been before. I popped 5 more. Still no luck.
After ingesting about 15 milligrams, 5 times my daily dose, I started to lose the few shreds of discretion I still possessed in my sleep deprived state. When I was up to 20, I was still awake. I started researching overdose amounts– not to kill myself but to ensure the opposite, that I wouldn’t kill myself. The internet wasn’t particularly informative but I gathered that it was pretty difficult to OD on lorazepam alone. To be sure, I texted the Ex, a fourth year dental student with a good working knowledge– scholastic and experiential– of pharmaceuticals.
“How much lorazepam is an overdose?”
Ten minutes later I got a call from my best friend.
“What are you doing?!” Her angry voice sang into my drugged ear.
“Watching TV. What are you doing?” I probably slurred.
She had gotten a call from the Ex, who told her that I was trying to kill myself. I assured her that I was not. She asked me what I’d been taking. I low-balled her my dosage and told her I was, and would be, fine. She was not pleased but, being 1000 miles away, she had to take my word for it.
In a few short hours I had ingested what remained of my bottle of pills. I was up to a whopping 55 milligrams. At some point I had decided to finish off the bottle. 3 milligrams a day is a fairly high dose of the stuff. And taking 55 over the course of a few hours was pretty much unheard of.
And then my roommate came home. She could tell I was pretty out of it– I was draped lazily across the couch and my condition was hard to hide. Tired of putting up with my constant drug use, which had accelerated with each week that I backslid away from my promise to stay sober, she told me she was moving out.
We exchanged some unkind words and she stormed out of the apartment. I stormed off to bed, finally tired enough to get some sleep.
But I wouldn’t get the rest I so desperately desired. As soon as turned the lights out and sat on my bed, seconds away from pulling my feet up and myself under the covers, I was greeted by angry, glaring flashlights and the authoritative voice of a policeman.
“Ma’am, you’re going to have to come with us.”
My roommate had called the ambulance. And before I could protest, I was on my way to my second hospitalization.
This one wasn’t voluntary.
“I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m FINE.”
No one would believe me. I was able to walk without assistance, even though they did their best not to let me, speak with only a slight slur, and recount exactly what had happened. They took my vitals at the hospital and everything came back normal. There was no administration of an antidote, no pumping of my stomach. I was fine.
Unfortunately, no one would believe me. Scared by my ingestion of an ungodly dose of a controlled substance, the authority figures I was beholden to chalked my behavior up to a suicide attempt. Which meant I was headed straight for the psych ward, on a 72 hour involuntary hold.
Back in the place I hated the most, the place I swore I’d never return to, I was irate. One angry phone call to my roommate later, I was done. I knew my situation was bad but I never dreamed it would get worse.
She moved out.
I had taken 55 milligrams of lorazepam.
And everyone was done with me.