Saturday, January 27, 2018

feeling guilty about a scary situation

Now that the week has come to an end, I'm ready to explain and process a scary situation from Monday night. After a full day of clinic, I was finally home and settled in for an evening of getting work done when I heard a woman's blood-curdling screams of “help me” over and over again.
       I didn’t think. I just reacted and started dialing 911 as I grabbed a cast iron skillet and ran out into the hallway. I don’t know what I intended to do with said skillet, but it sounded as if a woman was being attacked and I couldn’t exactly hide out in my apartment listening to someone begging for help. As soon as I entered the hall, I realized that the screams were coming from my neighbor who seemed to be in no apparent danger, well not from anyone else that is. But she was in danger from herself. She was pulling out clumps of her own hair and throwing herself into the wall while screaming for help. Most of my neighbors were in the hallway by this point with everyone just staring. I think no one knew how to react. It was terrifying. I did my best to calm her down and attempt to restrain her because she was hurting herself. She kept telling us how if we left her alone, she would commit suicide by throwing herself off the balcony or slitting her wrists. After a few minutes, it became apparent that she needed to be sedated and put on a suicide watch. So I called 911.
I have never encountered anything like this in person. It was like one of those mental breakdowns that you would only expect see on a TV drama. It was overwhelming to react to or know what was best to do, especially with a stranger. And there was a small part of me that didn’t want to have to deal with it at all, which I feel beyond guilty about. Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in ourselves that it becomes difficult to think about others. But I couldn’t help but think to myself...I have a test at 8AM, a 6-page paper I need to start, and a blog post I promised my readers I would share tonight. Obviously, none of that mattered in the face of this grief-stricken woman that felt she had no other way of coping with her pain than suicide. I ended up spending the night with the police and paramedics while they got a court order to do a psych hold and evaluation. Then I accompanied her to the hospital and spent what was left of the night notifying her family and friends that she had been hospitalized. But I couldn’t help did I get stuck with all of this? I don't even know this person. 
It felt so much like a burden to not sleep all night. It felt like a burden that I had to cram for my test at 4AM to make up for the lost study time. It felt like a burden to fall behind for the week, both with work and sleep. It felt like a burden to have to care for her pet while she was hospitalized. I felt obligated to help because I knew if I didn't, the worst would happen. But somehow, it’s not enough for me that I did everything I could. Because even though my actions were selfless, my thoughts were not. I guess I'm only human. 


  1. Jasmine

    I am a long-time reader/lurker who has never commented before, but I want to say that I have admired your achievements and enjoyed your blog. Please don't be too hard on yourself. As you wrote, you are only human, and I appreciate your honesty in this post and in your other posts.

    1. Thank you so much for your sweet words. And thank you for commenting--it let's me know that my content is impactful. I've definitely come to terms with this whole situation now, was just feeling guilty before.

  2. I really appreciated this post. This is so often how I feel about being a foster Mom. Like, wait...why did I sign up for this? What am I really doing? Can I just please go and sleep and have some kid-free time? Oh, crap...that was selfish of me to think that.
    I also know what it's like on the reverse side. Obviously, my husband gets paid, but as an officer he deals with stuff like this on a daily basis (plus some). I honestly cannot imagine doing what he does because I completely and utterly freeze up in emergency situations like this. You acted and you did the right thing, and that is all that you can hope to do. Situations like that don't happen to the average person every day and you did everything you could to help. Good for you, friend. You never know the ripple effects that this will have on this woman for the rest of her life.