On August 26, I called my mom as I so often do. It was a Saturday.
“Your sister has been having problems with her anxiety since yesterday.”
Kristeen had been doing well since her hospitalization in March. I knew instantly that this was most likely not a good sign. Over the next few hours, I sent her a couple texts reminding her that I’m here if she needed to talk. That night, she was in the emergency room. She was kept overnight and given a new prescription for Ativan. She was feeling a little better Sunday, but by Monday, the anxiety returned, fiercer. The following days consisted of worry and endless texts. Kristeen was able to see her psychiatrist on Tuesday and was scheduled to see her therapist on Thursday. Wednesday morning I received a number of texts.
I wish I was dead. I’m just ready to give up on it all. I’m going to go to my doctor’s and see what happens.
That was the last I heard from her. A couple hours went by and we hadn’t heard anything. Mom called her doctor’s office, explaining she understood very well about HIPAA and working in the medical field and understood they couldn’t tell her much, but reiterated how important it was to find out if she had shown up there or not. This was a life or death situation.
About an hour later, my sister’s therapist called back. All she could tell us was that she was in a safe place and she was sure that Kristeen would be reaching out to us later. We would not know where she was for another six hours.
Mom tracked her down to the same hospital she was admitted to in March. Kristeen was safe and more importantly, alive. The very next day, I received a string of texts from her telling me she was being transferred to a crisis house where she could receive more in depth treatment.
It has been a week now and Kristeen is in really great spirits. She is in a residential setting where she receives individual counseling twice a day, and participates in group therapy daily. She is expected to be released on September 13th after putting in for an extension as she wants to gain more practice in the methods of mindfulness and meditation they are teaching the group. I am beyond proud of my baby sister and always will be. It takes a lot of courage to ask for help, but its so much easier than your family having to adjust to a life without you.
Please. If you are feeling hopeless and lost, there are options, and safe, promising options. September is Suicide Prevention Month. It is also the same month that my sister was born almost 27 years ago. I can’t wait to celebrate another birthday with her soon.