Life Unexpected

By Julia Bernstein

About two months ago, I woke up in the ICU in Milwaukee after accidentally overdosing on Gabapentin. I took the Gabapentin that morning because someone had stolen my anti-anxiety medication and I couldn’t fall asleep. All of a sudden I felt as if I was choking, and I was freezing but sweating intensely. I remember the paramedics coming into my friends house, where I was located, and trying to talk to me but I was unresponsive. I don’t remember the ambulance ride to the hospital and the next thing I knew, I woke up with tubes and IV’s everywhere. I felt as if I was being picked and prodded like a piece of meat.

My parents came up to Milwaukee from Chicago immediately. I supposedly gave a nurse their phone number but I don’t remember that either. When they walked in, I started bawling into their arms while squeezing their hands. All I could say was how sorry I was for all of my past actions. I truly didn’t think I was going to make it through. I was sure my life was over.

After spending 3 days in the hospital, I ultimately came through. If you read my publication titled “Borderline Personality Disorder,” you would have seen that I have been suicidal in the past. After those 3 horrifying days, I could not be any happier that I survived. All I could think about was how I wanted to start over and start cherishing life. I know that I will never become suicidal again.

After the incident, I moved back to Chicago. I moved back in with my parents and for the most part, lived under their rules. I attended a program called “Compass” for about 7 weeks. Compass is a health center for personality disorders, substance abuse and eating disorders. I was primarily there for my anxiety, OCD, depression and just overall confusion. At first, I attended for my parents. Then, I started going for myself.

Compass changed my life. I was so hesitant to attend at first but all of the rest of the patients ended up becoming like a family to me. They were all going through similar issues and we were learning so many skills and ways to cope with those issues together. No one was judgmental which I think was the greatest aspect of it. The therapists were also so wonderful and understanding.

If there is one thing you get from this publication, I want all of you readers to know that it is possible to truly start believing that EVERYONE HAS PROBLEMS. I finally stopped stigmatizing my mental illness and admitted that I have a problem and needed to address it. If you want to achieve anything in life, you need to GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY. I learned an abundance of skills to help me do this and I could not be any happier that I attended this program.

I am now seeing a therapist once a week while managing a restaurant. My overall happiness has increased immensely. I am loving life. There are just so many beauties in life and I want all of you to realize that. Read self help books, attend a day program — do WHATEVER IT TAKES for you to better yourself and your life.

You can sink or swim in this world. Choose to swim. I almost didn’t have the choice but I am so glad I did, and I believe that I am swimming.