where the writers are
Jumping in Front of a Train

February 19, 1999

I’m in California with Kira and it’s nice to be out of Las Vegas. I feel good mentally compared to the way I felt last night before I went to bed. I thought that the world was crashing in around me. I think I’m going to kill myself by either jumping in front of a train or a truck. Probably the train since it has more momentum. I can’t keep rapid cycling. It’s killing me. My thoughts aren’t very clear; I’m tired of taking medication. Every time I go to take the pills I wonder why I’m bothering.

 

In an earliest post on my personal blog, Favorites and More, I talked about having favorite parts of the book. Although “favorite” is relative. Sometimes they’re paragraphs that make my heart ache, sometimes they make me laugh, but I do have favorite parts of Magical Shrinking.

The journal entry above came right after what I describe in my “Favorites” post. I went to Walt’s office and sat in the parking lot until he showed up. I knew I was leaving for California to go to my roommate’s parents’ house. I was in such a crisis mentally.

I had high hopes for our road trip, and it helped. It was the first time I went three days without smoking crack in about three months. We didn’t have any drugs with us at all on the trip – not even any weed. It was a sober weekend, and it was ugly to face myself. To meet Kira’s parents and pretend to be someone else, a roommate who hadn’t gotten their daughter into smoking crack all the time.

Kira and I both had Walt as our medication doctor. She and I met in the hospital’s partial hospitalization program (PHP). In PHP, you spend all day at the hospital going to groups, but you get to sleep at home. When she said she needed a roommate I jumped at the chance and moved in. The first night in the apartment I smoked crack with my boyfriend and introduced her to the drug.

We would smoke so much crack, and spend so much money, that in the mornings I’d lie on my bed and cry. I felt so incredibly guilty.

She and I were both diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which didn’t work out well. We were a terrible combination. We were both depressed, both getting high, and it quickly became a disaster. We did make sure we each took our medication, but I wasn’t sure why I bothered taking it.

She helped me on my quest to be anorexic and bulimic by practicing anorexia herself. She lost so much weight from smoking crack and starving herself with me that her friends came over to have an intervention. I told them they were crazy, that Kira was fine. And they believed me and left her alone.

But that weekend in her hometown, after I’d spoken to Walt in the parking lot of his office, there was no hiding. It was a crossroads for me. I decided my life was worthless and there was no point in trying any longer. I’d take the pills and go to my appointments with Walt. But that was it. I woudn’t eat and wouldn’t stop using drugs. I’d just have to stop asking people for help and say screw it. If Kira was going down the same path I told myself it was her choice. She was a grown up, too.