One of the cutest little girls you have ever seen, with adorable blonde hair and a smile that would light up any room, was Alice. As she grew up, her parents remained married, her mom stayed at home, and her dad worked full time. Alice was a non-identical twin with two older sisters. Each night was one that consisted of a sit-down family meal. There was structure and organization. It was not perfect by any means, but she was loved and cared for. Something happened when she was 12 years old; it was not a particular incident per se, but something happened, and this little girl developed severe mental health issues. No one noticed the depression for a while, including Alice, who describes it now as a constant pain in her head that never goes away.
By this time, Alice was 19 years old. Left with untreated and undiagnosed depression, she did what most do; she masked the pain with drugs. She tried all of them, like a pair of shoes, until she found a comfortable fit, which was Benzodiazepines. Also, like a pair of ugly shoes, the benzos never looked very good on her. But she insisted on doing anything she could to get her hands on them.
In the first attempt, benzodiazepines turned Alice into a combative person who would fixate on thoughts of suicide and even homicide. Not sure what to do, her parents sent her to rehab. Unfortunately, they did not have a lot of money or good health insurance, so she ended up in a run-of-the-mill rehab where sex and drugs ran rampant. She made it about two weeks and checked herself out.
In the second attempt, by this time, the abuse of benzos was more of a binging act, and Alice was an addict that preferred the benzos but would do whatever was put in front of her or accessible. She was addicted to getting high in general. One night, while high on a very large dose of Xanax, she lunged herself into traffic, an unsuccessful suicide attempt. In fact, traffic was able to stop, and she wasn’t even injured, but the police were involved and took her for a psychiatric evaluation. She was admitted for a couple of weeks. This was her second attempt at reaching for help through counseling and therapy, and this was the second attempt that failed.
It didn’t take too long for her parents to see a repeat pattern that told them Alice had taken some more benzos. Again, she became combative because she had also received a prescription of Vicodin at urgent care, and because the Xanax impairs memory, she could not remember where she put them. She searched the house, and like a typical addict, her sister found her cutting apart the couch with a steak knife to see if they had fallen inside.
During the third attempt, her father had her back to the mental hospital, but they didn’t feel that her ingesting 21 two milligrams Xanax and drinking half a bottle of straight vodka was an attempt to take her life, and they refused to admit her. The third attempt for help failed as well. There were multiple attempts in between with therapy, but she mainly tried to seek more medications and admitted to therapists that she smoked marijuana so they would not treat her.
With nowhere else to go, her parents had to bring her home. She did call another clinic to see a therapist but couldn’t go for a month. In the meantime, her family held their breath, wondering what was next and when.
Often, it is said that help is available, so why is it so hard to reach out sometimes? When she and her family reach out, they are going to have to stretch and reach just a bit farther than they might be used to. However, the help is there, and it is help that only requires one attempt. If Alice and her family are committed to a resolution, one is available for them, and this is something that really everyone should understand.