3 am.

by Lori Dwyer on March 19, 2012 · 60 comments

I’ve ummed and ahhhed and tossed over the thought of writing this post for weeks now. Those of you who follow closely on Twitter would have caught some of the story when it happened, almost three weeks ago now. I haven’t mentioned on it on my blog. It’s part of a whole chunk of stuff that’s happened lately that I haven’t written about–except for that one big fuck up– because its just too close to this space that used to be a lot more anonymous that what it is now.

But… I blog a lot about mental health, and a lot of people read this blog for that very reason. A few weeks back, I had one of my first ever experiences with the crisis mental health system in Australia (keeping in mind that my husband was well beyond intervention by the time we reached the medical system); and to not write about it here feels, above all, cowardly.

The only reason for me not to write this post is because I am afraid. I said not long ago that I was no longer afraid of bullies. It seems I lied. I thought that I and the people I associated with had long grown out of that. I was wrong. I am freaking terrified of women who know exactly how what hurts most, and aren’t afraid to use it. I spent the day after this happened feeling sick every time my phone beeped, because the text messages and social media interactions just got nastier as the hours went by.

I’m scared of that happening again. I’m not going to lie about that– I’m not as brave as I pretend to be. I am scared that blogging this will inflame all that nastiness all over again.

But you what? Fuck that. Feel the fear. Put on your big girl panties and do it anyway.

That’s what being brave’s all about.


In light of what I’ve already said, from here on in it’s factual information on the events that occurred that night– as best I know for sure– mixed with my own rampant indignation. If anyone feels I’ve gotten any details wrong, please drop me an email and I’ll be happy to amend things to include your version of events. In fact, I’d be ecstatic– I’m still not exactly sure what the fuck happened here.

I think it’s suffice to say that the two main protagonists- one who we’ll call Louise in particular- were people I was very close to, had known for years, and knew more about me than most people do– almost everything there is to know, in fact. There is a very small circle of souls in this lifetime that I trust, completely, and, to me, as I am, now, in the After; trust is the only sacred commodity. And I trusted her implicitly.

But, at the time of this event, I had not spoken to either of these people for two weeks– bar a phone conversation, which I’ll recount to you in a moment. It began as a silly little argument that turned all kinds of petty, and then became that particular brand of nasty that only comes from fighting with people you know very, very well.

It felt like a high school drama. I don’t think any of us imagined it would turn out like this.


Leaving out major chunks of a story is frustrating. But, following two weeks of silence, the catalyst for all of this was a simple exchange of text messages. I won’t recount it all– it’s boring, and it was all ‘he said, she said’, the same argument rehashed. I will tell you that I sent a text message that ended like this…

“I know how nasty she can be- please don’t let her take that (my blog) away from me *** (name removed). When I said it would kill me, I mean it.”

And received one back that said this…

“Just call me please”

I then phoned this man– who I’m sure would want a pseudonym, so we’ll call him Elmer– and we had had a conversation that lasted half an hour or so. We discussed a lot of things I can’t even go into in this post– some of them might be related to what I’ve written here and here– and I cried and was in some distress. I was angry– I felt I’d been unfairly treated and this argument that had taken place was just another blow against me.

Suicide, self harm, even that concept that I’ve blogged about before– not so much wanting to die as waiting for it– none of those things were mentioned in that half hour. At one point Elmer inquired what I was doing, and I replied I was sitting in my outdoor laundry, smoking cigarettes. The conversation ended with both of it agreeing it was late, past our bedtimes, and we would talk another time.

Immediately following that conversation, I sent Elmer a text message…

“:( x “

…which he replied to with…

“chin up, your a trooper! Lol sleep tight”

And I guess it’s worth noting here that Louise– another pseudonym, naturally- was, at that stage, a follower of mine on Twitter, as was her partner. I Tweeted at roughly 11 pm that I was going to bed.

(OK. I’m going to break my own commentary here to apologies for giving you every boring detail. This is beginning to feel like an episode of CSI. But its necessary… I don’t want to leave any loopholes, any room for anyone to call me a liar. So I’m writing everything relevant, as objectively as possible.)

Following that text, I did the exactly what I said I was going to do– I went to bed, and fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.


My children climb into bed with me most nights, sometime between the hours of one and four am. There’s certainly room– my bed feels huge, always, without my husband to take up the majority of it’s space. And how can I object to the warmth of two tiny people, one on either side of me, to shield away a bit of that cold loneliness?

The three of us were snug and tight in the darkness at 3am– just hours after I’d gone to bed– when I heard someone knocking at my window, and my mother calling my name.

That in itself didn’t strike me as as strange as it should have. I was half asleep, and I’m used to being woken suddenly from slumber and called into action when the sun is still sleeping– aren’t most parents? I think I thought it was morning, that my mother had my children the night before and was here to drop them off, and I’d slept in…

I’m not sure what I thought, really. I’m not a morning person. Ever. Especially at that time. I jumped out of bed in that stealthy, barely touching the blanket way that doesn’t wake the kids. And answered the door in my underwear and a singlet top.

I know… answering the door in your underwear is never the best idea. I think I thought it was just my mum– not that that really makes any difference, but whatever. Allow me to reiterate that it was 3 am. My mind was still catching up, fighting off the last of those foggy sleep hormones and trying to grasp what the fuck was going on.

“Lori,” and my mums voice is so very ca
lm and low, she’s trying so hard not to let it shake. And that’s when I wake up, completely. I have heard her speak in this tone before. For weeks on end, just after Tony’s death, as she cared for my children and watched me fall apart over and over again. It’s that tone of voice that starts it, that begins the trill of adrenaline in the rock that is my diaphragm and works it way through my body to a siren pitch.

“The police are here. They want to talk to you.”

My mums eyes are bright blue, a reflection of my own, and I can see the apology in them, the slight sadness and fear… and something else that I don’t quite identify until later. Don’t lose it, she’s trying to say. Keep calm. I know you will be angry, but you keep that temper of yours, the way I’ve been trying to teach you to since you could walk and talk.

She knows what’s going on. I don’t. But there are two police officers, a woman and a man, standing just behind her and my stepfather, who is silent and looks grave and stoic.

It’s not the police themselves that set me off, I discover that night, as I test the boundaries of my post traumatic stress disorder. It’s not the police as people…. it’s their flak jackets. Their vests, black and grey and meshed with compact pockets that bulge with equipment.

I don’t know why… the best I can come up with is that horrible, hot afternoon, being asked my husbands details with a crowd of neighbors standing around me. The shock of it hitting me– it was his birthday just yesterday, and his heart is beating but he’s not breathing, and it was his birthday just yesterday. All the while unable to look at the coppers face. Staring at that black, meshed vest that provided these officers all the bravery and protection they needed, faced with a normal house and a normal woman and a normal man who just happened to still have a noose around his neck until just moments before they arrived.

And that’s what was flashing through my mind, in that two seconds after I opened the door; before I came to my half naked senses and slipped very quietly back into my dark bedroom, my children still sleeping soundly, to at least put on some pajama pants.

My head is spinning and I wonder if I’m dreaming but I know I’m not and I want to go back to bed and what the fuck is going on here?

And that’s what I say when I return to my front door, to my front porch. “What is going on?” I’m too far in shock, too half asleep still, and I have nothing. My mind is numb of possibilities– there are no rushing thoughts of car accidents or death or trauma, all the normal reasons for a midnight knock on the door. All there is is a horrible, heavy, uncertain black dread that hangs behind my head and knots the muscles in my stomach until I feel nauseous.

”Now look, Lori– is it Lori, right, that’s how I say it?” (I hate this, I’ve studied social work and I know all about how to make people loosen up, warm toward you– getting them to say their own name works, almost every time; the friendly tone suggest comradarie against some greater evil. And even though I know what this cop is doing, it still works and I hate it.) “We’ve had a phone call at the station from your friend Louise. You know Louise, yeah?” I nod, dumbstruck, and wonder vaguely if I’m not having some kind of vivid, horrific flashback turned hallucination. “Well, she’s quite worried about you, she thinks you’re going to hurt yourself. So we though we’d better come and check you out.”

In that moment I am so relieved I almost laugh. They can’t be serious. I haven’t even talked to or heard from Louise in two weeks, and I tell them that, my voice shaking with thank–goodness–that’s–over laughter.

”Well, she’s rang us, apparently her and Elmer have been talking. You know Elmer too, right? Yes, you do. And you were on the phone to him earlier tonight?”

Yes, I say, hours ago. Three fucking hours ago. And when we hung up everything was fine and sent me a text and called me a trooper and what the hell is going on??

”So. You didn’t tell him you were going to kill yourself? Didn’t say you were going to hurt yourself?”

That’s when the tears come. I’d like to say I don’t cry much anymore, but that’s probably a lie. Compared to normal people, I cry a lot. But not as much as I used to. Sometimes I think that maybe we are only born with a certain amount of tears, and once you’ve cried a certain amount you just can’t squeeze out anymore sorrow, no matter how you’d like to. I proved myself wrong that night. I begin crying at that point, and it didn’t let up for the next five or so hours; ranging from a trickle of warm tears over swollen skin to heaving, heart breaking sobs that racked my whole body, filled my whole self.

I start to blabber, all tears and snot and distress and dismay. I feel as if I’ve slapped, hard, and my whole face is ringing from the force of it. I talked to him, I tell them, and I was upset, but I never threatened to take my own life, not at all, not even close. If nothing else, Elmer is not someone who I would take those things too– I have a small, select group of people who I love for that very reason, that I can show them my distress, in a clump, through an email or down the phone line… and Elmer is not one of those people.

At some point I notice there is an ambulance parked across my driveway, two female officers in blue jumpsuit uniforms standing halfway between it and my small front porch, where I was, by this point, defending my sanity to two coppers and my parents. My mum stepped up, stepped in, over and over, saying that I was fine, she had spoken to me just that afternoon and I was fine, and she had told the police that when they rang her and woke her at about a quarter to three that morning, asking her to meet them at my house in fifteen minutes. It makes no difference, nothing that she or I say, not the text messages I show them, nothing. These officers had made their decision before they even made that phone call to my mother.

“I’m fine, really, I say. I’m fine but I’m tired– I just want to go back to bed.” And I’m still thinking, naive and optimistic as I am, that this is where it will end, and now they can see I’m fine they will just leave me alone, let me be.

”Look love, your friend has very serious concerns about you–”

”She’s not my friend! Don’t call her my bloody friend! If she was that concerned about me she could have come and knocked on my front door!”

”Well, she’s concerned, and you can imagine the situation that puts us in.” This copper is patronizing, I want to hit her. “Imagine if we did nothing and come morning, you were dead? You’re going to have to come to the hospital and have the doctor assess you.”

”What? What do you mean? Look at me. I’m fine!”

The copper is doubtful, and who can blame her? I was fine. Now it’s three am and I’m standing in the chill of the gloaming in pajama pants and a singlet top, crying as though my heart was being broken into a thousand pieces. Again. And it was just the day before I lopped all my hair off, and it’s messy and sticking up and feels shorter than ever.

And on hearing that, that I am, somehow, going to hospital just five minutes after I’ve woken, when there is absolutely nothing wrong with me and I’ve kept myself safe for over a year now; I let out a deep, shaking wail and cover my eyes with my hands. All I can think of is my kids, tucked safe into the comfort of my residual body heat, still nestled in my bed. What happens if they wake up, to this? How much time do I have before that happens? My son, he’s an anxious little kid at the best of times; and most of what I s
aw that horrible afternoon, he saw too. Sirens have always scared him with the decibels they reach, but now an ambulance doesn’t need a siren to make him panic. As much I try to explain, over and over, that policemen are our friends and they are there to protect us, I can see the suspicion that lurks behind his eyes, and I wonder if he thinks, somewhere where he can’t even articulate it, that it was the police that took his father away…? Waking up to this, his mother crying and gathering her things, officers at the door… I don’t want to think about it too much now, and at the time all I could think was that that simply couldn’t happen, wouldn’t happen, sometimes God will protect little children from the worst of what’s he’s got.

This time, I was right, and God was on my side. My babies, bless them, they didn’t stir until the sun rose the next morning.

This copper, the female one, she’s young– my age– and slight and fragile. I don’t know if it’s an Australian thing or what, but there is an attitude that female police officers seem to take on– a blunt, abrupt, no–bullshit tone, a distance between themselves and the ordinary people they deal with. I suppose they have to– without size and gender on their side, they use what they’ve got to intimidate and take control. That’s their job. The other officer with her is even younger, maybe only six months above the rank of probationary, and I don’t remember him saying anything. I don’t remember what he looks like– my mind has molded his image into the same one as the officer who cried with me as I detailed, for the last time, my husbands name, address and date of birth in those last hours in the ICU.

”What if I refuse? What if I say I’m not going?”

“Then we will have to do it by force and take you anyway… you don’t have a choice in the matter. Might as well just go without a fuss, and let the doctor assess you, and if you’re fine as you say, you’ll be home my morning.”

I look to my mum. I’m sorry, she says, and the look is in her eyes in so helpless. I’ve told them you’re fine, I’m so sorry you have to do this.

I realize I really don’t have a choice, and I am so furious I could spit. I walk tiny circles on my front porch, still crying, smoking a cigarette and murmuring how this was bullshit, how could they do this, what about my kids, I haven’t even talked to her in two weeks, this is bullshit.

My mum assures me she will take care of my children. She speaks to me, softly and calmly, and tells me to get my things and go, don’t make a fuss and wake the kids, just go and we’ll deal with it in the morning.

”But, mum… I’m OK… I’m fine…”

I know, darling, she says. I know and I’m so sorry.

I grab my handbag, iPad, throw on jeans and layers of jackets against the cold. I tell my mum I’m so sorry, and thank her profusely for doing this, for coming out in the middle of the night, and it’s not thanks enough, it never will be.

I am shell shocked and I feel dead inside. I know this feeling too, I know all of this too well, I’ve been here before, and my mind is playing tricks on me, weaving one in with the other. It cold and drizzly and dark, but my head flashes with bright afternoon sunlight and the tones of suburban concrete, heat and sweat and tears.

The ambulance is worse. The ambulance officers are, all said and done, quite lovely– older women, maybe forty five, who both reminded me of teachers I’d had in primary school. One asks if I’d like to lay on the stretcher or sit in a seat and it’s on the tip of my tongue to scream that I will sit, thank you, I am not a fucking invalid and I am not even supposed to be here today.

Before I lose my composure the other chimes in lightly that I probably don’t want to be here at all and I manage to smile. I’m angry, I say to them, and I know it’s not your fault and you are just doing your job but I am so angry.

Name, age, Medicare card, what medication am I on, what have I been diagnosed with. Post traumatic stress disorder, I try to say, but I can’t because a memory I’ve made up has stolen my breath… I can see Tony, I can see through his eyes, the roof of ambulance, and it’s hot and there are people yelling and it hurts, oh god his head hurts so much and the shocks they are pumping through his body hurt too and he can see, just, but his vision is hazed in red…

And I know it’s not real, I know my mind is making this up– it can’t even be a flashback if I never saw it happen. But it feels real, I can feel every bit of it and I want to scream and I don’t. I spit out the acronym “PTSD” instead, and add, between hitching breaths laced with sobs, “and being in ambulance doesn’t help.”

”So, your husband committed suicide, is that right? Your friend says its the anniversary of his death.”

”It is not the anniversary of his death– that was over a month ago. And she’s not my friend, please stop saying that. She hasn’t bloody spoken to me in two weeks.”

”I think she was worried about you. She was trying to help.”

”Help?! By what, calling the cops and having me removed from my house and kids I the middle of night, that’s help? If she was that worried, really, she could have picked up the phone. If she’s that fucking worried about me, she could come to my house, hang out a load of washing for me, make me a cuppa, play with my kids for half an hour!”

”So you’re not suicidal?”

”You don’t think I’ve thought about that?! You don’t think I’ve wanted that?” (the ambo’s eyes widen and I see her mentally tallying this statement, adding it to her assessment) “I made that choice, months ago– I’m here. I’m sticking it out. I don’t get the option of dieing. Why won’t everyone just leave me alone? I’m just doing it. Every day. I’ve bought my house, my kids and I are happy…. I’m slogging it out and I take my medication and see my psych and I’m dealing fine and why won’t they just leave me alone?!”

I don’t realize it then– it’s not until I view the events of that night repeatedly, over and over, my vision shaded by hindsight that I see it– but that’s the moment she seems to realize what’s going on here, to see that I am, as I keep telling them, fine, not a suicide risk at all. But that assessment comes too late for me– in ten minutes we will be at the emergency department of a tiny rural hospital. My house is almost directly between this small, old cluster of medical buildings and the massive modern hospital my husband died in. With those hindsight goggles on, the relief that this hospital was chosen over the other is palpable.

The rest if the journey is bumpy and dark and the ambo, her assessment done, makes small talk with me about my kids, and this time I can answer, not like like last time, staring dumbly at a woman who was trying to normalize the most surreal situation in the world.

Just as we pull up to the hospital, she looks me in the eye and says she’s sorry. It’s the only apology I get off anyone all night. Back at my house, the police have left not long after I did, thanking my mother for coming, and she replies that as if she wouldn’t– if nothing else, there are two sleeping angels here to think of.

This tiny, ancient hospital is quiet, asleep in the early hours of the morning. The emergency department is dark and hushed, only a triage nurse on duty. Ambulance officers return my cards but forget my medication, I don’t notice until later and I don’t care. Before they leave, they take my blood pressure and note it down, and the medical routine of it seems so farcical and absurd I almost laugh.

And now there is nothing to
do but sit and wait.

And so I do.

My feet are tapping tattoos on the Lino floor and my whole body is still shaking with spitting anger. A mothers fury at being taken from her children. The rage that is felt by anyone, but white middle class civil libertarians in particular, when they are deprived of liberty. And that eats like acid– I had no choice. A simple phone call, combined with the stigma of a suicide and my own mental health diagnosis… and there I was. Essentially held captive. My mind is running with images of women in long gowns and bloomers, tucked away in dark rooms and fed horrible therapies, enemas and electric shocks and dunked in freezing water, the diagnosis being female hysteria.

And the irony of it is, I cannot be too angry. I can sit here and shake with fury and sob and pour salt down my cheeks, but I do it silently. I’ve felt it from the moment I discovered what the police where a my door for– do not be too angry. Do not lose the plot. The will schedule you and lock you up.

And here, in the hospital, waiting for the doctor to come and make his assessment, decide my fate, it is worse. I’m aware of every action, even tear, every muffled, hitched sob. I am paranoid. I have every fucking right to be.

After ten minutes– twenty, maybe? I do not know– the triage nurse leads me to a tiny white assessment room. I flop myself, shoes still on, onto the thin, uncomfortable bed, curl into a ball, and cry more. I whisper into the silence, quiet enough so no one hears and mistakes it for psychotic behaviors, wishes that sound like prayers to my dead husband to help me, save me, hold me, where is he and why did he leave me? I grab my phone, began sending mostly incoherent and panicked text messages to the few people I still trust– at this point, I’m still stupid enough to include Elmer. I even log onto my Facebook to send a short message to Louise, which sums up to ‘don’t ever talk to me again’, but using language my mother would be ashamed of.

And I cry some more.

Eventually, finally, the doctor on call enters. He’s young and detached, a general practitioner with no mental health specialty to speak of, and looks at me as if I’m some kind of exhibit in a zoo. I recount my story, the pitch of my voice rising. Reminding myself not to be too angry, don’t sound too paranoid, just give him the facts so we can get the fuck out of here. He asks if it’s the anniversary of my husbands death and I almost scream– it seems this information, incorrect as it is, has been taken as pertinent and passed down from emergency operator to police to ambulance to hospital.

No, I say, as calmly, as I can. That was six weeks ago. Six weeks can be a long time in grief.

He looks me over, head to toe, one last time, and I feel his eyes peeling me for bruises, cuts, tracks, any damage, self inflicted or otherwise. Apart from a few tattoos and piercings and hair cropped close to my skull, now standing up in an unattractive faux hawk; there are none.


As he begins to ask me routine questions about my meds, my shrink, my support network, I see him lean over my notes– so far blank, save my personal details, and write one word, in capital letters– DISCHARGED. I am so relieved I begin to cry again, and remind myself to stop or he may change his mind.

“OK. You can go now.”

“Thanks a lot”, I reply with all the sarcasm I can manage, and I’m dialing my mum before he’s even left the room. I know, the police told my mum before we left the house- I have to make my own way home.

I manage five minutes of sitting, waiting, legs bouncing, my head thumping and my eyes red and sore, in that tiny white room before it’s too much like the Quiet Room and I need to get out, I have to leave before I start screaming.

“I’m going,” I say to the triage nurse and she nods, barely taking her eyes off the paperwork she’s examining. The doctor who examined me, the only other person there, doesn’t even look at me.

And I walk out. Just like that. It’s half past four in the morning, I’m half an hour from home, I have no transport.

Just like that.

Thank goodness for my mother.

Standing in the frosty dark, chain smoking cigarettes and waiting for my mum, I phone Elmer, not caring that I am waking him before his alarm would go off. He is half asleep and confused and I know exactly how that feels. Maybe it’s better for honest responses. He assures me that after we finished our phone all at midnight– it feels like days ago, weeks ago now– he went to bed, and didn’t speak to Louise at all.

I am so confused and my head is spinning and when my mum gets there I start talking, trauma and grief and disbelief spilling out the whole half hour drive home.

Its half past five before my mother and I return to my house, where my step–father is watching my still sleeping children, and I say a little prayer of thanks to their dad that they didn’t wake while I was gone. And I wait until they do wake, and have breakfast with them and dress them, all shades of normal except for the fact that their grandparents have joined us today, and isn’t that lovely?, and my children think its wonderful.

Normality done, assured for the day, and I run. My mother– again, bless her, what I would do without her I don’t know– takes the day off work and let’s me go.

As serendipity would have it, I have an appointment with my shrink already booked for that day, and I watch her eyes widen in disbelief as I recount the story, the first time she’s heard it. Despite taking her details, no one thought to call my psychiatrist to tell her that one of her patients had been taken to hospital for an emergency psychological assessment.

She is angry for me, indignant for me, and I finally feel justified– I am not a crazy person. I am not crazy and the police should have stopped this before it got that far.

I get at least five more messages that day, from Louise and Elmer and two of their friends– text and FaceBook, and, although this is hearsay it continued on Twitter into the day after as well.

Many things were said. I think the one that hit me deepest, an icy spike in stomach, was that “threatening suicide is a very serious offense, as I should know.”

The incident went into both police and hospital records as a malicious mental health report, and I’m told it can’t possibly happen again for that very reason, that the police will be more cautious next time.

I don’t believe it. I think these officers made their decision– that I was being taken to hospital, whether I liked it or not, the moment they heard that word in association with my husband’s death- ‘suicide’.

That awful, cloudy, toxic stigma. It follows me everywhere I go.


These are the facts, as I know them. As I said, if anyone has anything to add or clarify, please email me– to be totally honest, I’d love to to know what actually happened that night. Any extra detail much appreciated.

Rock and a hard place, hey? The police can’t ignore a mental health report. Nor can they lay charges ev
en if the report is deemed incorrect, or malicious– for very obvious reasons. No one wants to discourage people from accessing the system when there is a genuine threat to anyone’s safety.

But the onus of risk assessment lays firstly with the police. The fact that my mother– who had talked to me much more recently that the reporter– assured them I was fine, and the fact that they obviously woke me from a deep slumber; those should have been enough, logically, to tell them I was not at immediate risk. There were other options available to them here– take my mothers assurance that she would stay with me. Check on me in the morning. Alert my shrink to the situation and have me check in with her in the morning.

Instead, they made their decision before they assessed the situation. And I have no doubt my husband’s suicide- over twelve months ago now, a different Lori, a different life, was a huge influence there.

The attitude, stigma and education level of the NSW police force toward people with mental health problems has come a long way in the last ten years. Not far enough. There is not enough education, not enough training.

When on the phone to my mother, the police office told her not to call me before they got there, not to knock on my door if she happened to arrive there first. I’m still baffled by this, as was my psychologist– wouldn’t the best idea be to get in touch, get someone talking…?

And, strangely, when the police did arrive at my house, at the same time as my mother, they seemed alarmed that there was a light on inside. As my mum explained, with small children there is always a light inside– our hallway light burns all night.

But why, if they thought I was suicidal and in distress, where they surprised there was a light on inside? Shouldn’t I have been awake anyway?

Again, ironically, I’m lucky– had the GP I saw decided he was unable to properly assess me– which would not have been much of a stretch given his lack of mental health training– I could have easily sat in the emergency room for twelve hours, waiting for the local emergency mental health crisis team. I could have really lost my temper, and become an involuntarily patient for a minimum of 72 hours, and anywhere up to twelve weeks.

Put a sane person in a psychiatric institute, and it can become very difficult to get them out again.

Had my mother not been contactable, my option would have been to wait for a DOCS (social services) official, who would sit with my children while I went to be assessed.

Had my mum not have been able to pick me up, I may still be standing outside that small hospital, chain smoking cigarettes.

A lot of things could have happened. They didn’t. But that was only by a the most finite breadth, a tiny tip of fate’s scales.

I amaze myself with how much the whole thing fucks me up, how quickly I spiral down, how intense those flashbacks can still be.

And then I amaze myself with how quickly I dust off and recover.

I’m so accustomed to PTSD now, so accustomed to a kick in the guts, so used to saying goodbye to friendships; within a fortnight this is just another blip on the radar.

Sad, but true.

I am made of fucking steel.

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{ 60 comments… read them below or add one }

Janet NZ March 21, 2012 at 4:57 pm

I used to work in a medical centre.
They asked me to go to a phsychiatric hospital to collect drugs for a patient.
I went.
It was pre-arranged. The hospital knew someone would be coming.
They locked me in.
Interrogated me for fucking ages.
They would NOT phone the medical centre to check the details.
I have NEVER been so afraid in my life.
Darling girl – you need new friends.
That is all.
I'm sure the cops mean't well.
Sort of.
I understand your mum.
She knows how low you have been, and must have been shitting herself (pardon, but my manners have deserted me)
God, I wish I lived close enough to wrap you in a hug.


Lou Lou March 21, 2012 at 5:58 am

I am so so sorry you had to go through this. What a complete nightmare. If they were that concerned why didn't they get in their car and drive over, of phone a friend closer by etc Why the drama? I agree, putting a load on or the kettle would have been far more supportive than having you stand there in your knickers answering the door to police at 3am. What on earth were they thinking? Shame on them. But you rock! EYE OF THE TIGER.


Anonymous March 21, 2012 at 5:10 am

It really upsets me to read this. You do not deserve this at all. If anyone is depressed and on meds, people who are not (or dont think they are depressed/ need meds) DO NOT understand those that do. And they think all of these awful things, some true for some people, others, definitely not. Not everyone that is depressed considers suicide. But thats not what the "normal" people think. For most, depression=suicidal tendencies. I am SO sorry you had to go through this. First you have to recover from what Tony did, now this?? On top of all else? You are made of steel!! You have to be. A weaker individual would have never come as far as you have. And your "friend" SUCKS!! She had so many options, why choose this one?? I hope eventually you post what you come to find out really happened that night, as I would really like to know the chain of events. Praying for you…. xoxoxoxoxxxxoooo. Lisa


Abby March 20, 2012 at 11:27 pm

You are amazing.. So is your Mum :)


Kelly March 20, 2012 at 10:13 pm

You're awesome, and it is so disappointing just how many people on this planet need to grow the fuck up and stop behaving like pre-teens. Even most pre-teens I know behave better than many so called "grown ups".

Hold your head up high. You are an incredible, amazing and strong woman, no matter what you may feel at times.


invivamus March 20, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Big hugs x


Anonymous March 20, 2012 at 9:12 pm

(not to sound stalker-y, I'm an old PHS'er) I well remember 'Louise', and I saw some of the crap go down on facebook, and remember her 'friends' who were also sprouting crap. Unfortunately, I wasn't surprised that they behaved the way they did, it was like being sucked 15 years back in time seeing the way they were talking to you, just like they spoke to many others. I fully agree that if they thought you were in danger, they could have knocked on your door – hell, she probably would have made it to your place quicker than the police anyway if it was that bad.

I admire your strength. You have been to hell and back, and you are surviving it, and even if it doesn't feel like it, you are getting a little stronger each day.


sarah braaksma March 20, 2012 at 7:57 pm

So angry they could just walk into your home and disrupt your life like that..be careful who you trust huh?! Glad you're ok and yes you are made f strong stern stuff you are a mother who roars!!


Anonymous March 20, 2012 at 12:38 pm

As an American, this story is so odd. On one hand, I can see the greatness of having a system to help people, on the other hand, this seems so f'd beyond belief. Your ex- friend is a biotch and seems to have wanted to cause you grief. Good luck, Lori, with all of it. And you are made of steel — the same type they made samurai swords from!!


Anonymous March 20, 2012 at 11:37 am

sweetheart keep doing what you are doing. You are SO strong and brave. Fuck these arseholes out of your life- they are the opposite of friends. Much love to you.xx


B March 20, 2012 at 11:23 am

Jeebus, I hope your "friend" is satisfied with the totally unnecessary upheaval, painful triggered memories and emotional turmoil she has caused. Because she didn't bother contacting you before going to the police, I'd say that she was on a power trip and was trying to take matters into her own hands but without the responsibility.

As for the police, they need proper training in mental health assessment. Why even involve the police in the first place? Why not send out a couple of ambulance officers to assess the situation and then use their discretion from there? So angry for you Lori.


Belinda March 20, 2012 at 9:38 am

Lori, I'm just speechless! I felt so angry for you hun :( So sorry you had to endure this.


Jane March 20, 2012 at 7:25 am

Omg! Don't you just want to scream 'leave me alone'? Melissa is right a true friend would come to you're door not send the police.


Melissa March 20, 2012 at 6:28 am

So sorry this happened Lori. Obviously a horrifically bad judgement by your "friends". A true friend would have come to your door, not called the police. How awful.


In Real Life March 20, 2012 at 5:24 am

What a nightmare for you, Lori. I am so sorry to hear that you had to go through that terrible ordeal. How scary! *HUGS*


GurlNxtDoor March 20, 2012 at 4:35 am

Wow. I feel angry and indignant for you too. The state of mental health/ilness awareness and education is a joke in our society. You have just lived through and blogged about one of my deepest fears. Thank you for sharing. I feel stonger because of your story. Thank you.


Mirne March 20, 2012 at 2:52 am

It all sounds bloody awful. What a thing to wake up to. Fuck Fuck Fuck. I'm also used to PTSD, although other people around me aren't (except my hubbie, who is also a PTSD victim). And saying goodbye to so-called "friends" is something I've been doing for nearly 6 years (since our first died). Sometimes being without these people is better. Relying on yourself and those your absolutely trust is just about all you can do.


Dorothy Krajewski March 19, 2012 at 10:37 pm

I'm sorry you had to go through this, Lori. I well know that sense of betrayal when the people you trust give you up and send trouble your way. Even though the experience was short, the bruises and rage it left behind may well take a long time to heal from.

Take care…


Bambi Kay March 19, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Yes you are, girl! You're made of Steel!
Love, hugs and God bless to you three.


Oops-Lah March 19, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Some people thrive on drama – on other people's drama that is! I'm so sorry you have to deal with this crap. It is unfortunate how the police acted in this case. I'm sending good wishes and hope you'll be able to put it behind you. I know that's easier said than done, but you are STRONG, there's no doubt about it!


janzi March 19, 2012 at 9:36 pm

Just read your blogs and felt the pain, but also the hope that all will be well with you and your babies.. It must have been the most horrific nightmare, but you have come through it, and I hope that today is a better one for you.. You have a lot of well wishers, they must outrank all those silly awful people who are nasty to y ou.. remember we are all rooting for you.. good luck from old blighty!! J


Darnie March 19, 2012 at 9:32 pm

OMG Lori what a traumatic horrific experience for you. And those coppers did have a choice…as you said they could have asked your mum to stay with you till the morning. I was once in a position to sit with my sister after a genuine suicide attempt. The police and ambos at the scene "turned her over" to my and my brother-in- law's care as she begged not to go to hospital. We promised to stay with her till morning when we would take her to her dr. And that is what happened…in a calm, kind, supportive way and that was after a genuine crisis. Congratulations for the post, painful as it must be to write, hopefully it will make your "friends" question their motives. Whose interests did Louise have at heart…yours or hers? Maliscious or just plain selfish and stupid? x Darnie


Jen March 19, 2012 at 8:27 pm

I am furious that anyone would do anything so malicious and hideous to you (as if you need anything else on your plate!), but at the same time there is something in all of this that quietly makes me happy; while you didn't need the help at the time, and the police should not have been called, I actually kind of like the fact that they showed up despite the fact it was 3am, and that they didn't take no for an answer. I know that was totally, completely and utterly the wrong thing for you at that point, but the number of people who get themselves into an impressive state of calm once they decide to end their lives is scary. As furious as I am that this happened TO YOU, I must admit I like the fact that if you (and I mean "you" in the royal sense… people in general) really were in danger, there wasn't a risk of you telling them you were fine, and them regretting it desperately the next day. It's a fine line for anyone – friends, family, police, doctors – to tread. And while this incident caused you a lot of pain and anger, I think I'd rather the risk of some people getting massively peeved at the system, than people who actually do need help being overlooked. I know most networks still have a lot to learn, but I'd rather they do too much than not enough.

All that said, the people who did this to you without speaking to you first? Disgusting.


K March 19, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Wow that is brutal. You did really well to cope with it, and I hope you can start finding some peace in the world, and from the world around you.


dachlostar March 19, 2012 at 8:10 pm

Malicious. Yep. I think that pretty much sums it up.


Kim @frogpondsrock March 19, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Oh Lori sweetness, Love to you xxx I dont have any words really. Von told me this was hard to read, it would have been even harder to live.


Debyl1 March 19, 2012 at 5:28 pm

I have tears in my eyes reading what you were unjustly put through and for your wonderful strength.Show then they may bend you but they will NEVER break you.Keep growing stronger from the beautiful love of your family.You are amazing x


Lipstick and Licorice March 19, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Unacceptable behaviour from a 'friend'


Anonymous March 19, 2012 at 4:44 pm

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Its hard when you have someone constantly threatening to kill themselves and it becomes a weight to hard to bare BUT if youre not saying it, not doing anything to indicate it then it seems this was one of the worst acts of cruelty and mental torture I've ever heard about. These "friends" have used their knowledge of your most horrible intimate experiences and your trust in them to inflict even more pain. No-one needs people like that in thier lives. I find it unfathomable that two groups of first responders didnt think to contact your psych. Thank God for your Mum, and that your kids weren't pulled into this nightmare. I cant even imagine what would have gone through their little heads had they heard and seen it all. You have every right to be angry. I hope you can somehow twist this to your advantage, to help you be more determined to live life to the fullest, if only to show the bastards! Take care


My Mummy Daze March 19, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Lori. This sounds like an absolute nightmare. Those ones when your legs are lead and you can't make them run and your voice has disappeared so you can't scream. I'm so sorry that your 'friends' let you down, and that our system failed you. Very disturbing. Much love xxx


Miss Pink March 19, 2012 at 2:33 pm

I still do not understand how the people who were worried about you couldn't show up on your doorstep?
If I was worried about a friend, even an ex friend, I would be on their doorstep. Even if I had to drag my kids out, I would be on their doorstep knocking and checking on them.
Calling the police would be the last resort. Too offical, and really, it's a push in the wrong direction. I'd feel threatened having the cops called on me if I were really in a state like that.

I don't know how you didn't lose it Lori. I would have been raving mad. I know, it doesn't help you out in that situation, but I would have been mad.
I didn't see the FB drama go down, but sometimes stupid shit like this helps us to do a bit of a clean out of our lives, and catch some people we may have looked over before.
It hurts, but from there you can rebuild, plant new seeds of friendship and let new flowers bloom.
Love you xx


Nellie March 19, 2012 at 1:52 pm

In your place, I would hate this "friend" with a concentrated fury beyond imagining.

That was fucking bullshit. The whole damn thing. They can all get fucked.

The helplessness of it, of strangers having such control and power over my life would have driven me mad.


Maid In Australia March 19, 2012 at 1:26 pm

OMG – you poor thing. How fucked up is the system that this can happen, and yet they cut back on help for people who need it. Thank God for your Mum and your own mental and emotional strength. No person should have the power to do what your so-called friend did to you!


Tamsyn March 19, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Fuck them all Lori, you deserve so much better than this shit.


Donna March 19, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Far out, un-freakin-believable Lori! You are a survivor in every way xx


mummy_chelle March 19, 2012 at 12:57 pm

You are my hero. How you manage to get through this crap time and again and still stay strong I have no idea. I am so sorry that person did this to you but I am so happy she was shown to be the person she is through her actions.


Rebecca March 19, 2012 at 12:43 pm

I am so sorry you went through this Lori. Its not easy with a mental health issues being used against you for their own spite. Like you said she has called you in two weeks. Massive hugs.


C March 19, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Lori – what an ordeal yoi went through. Must have been really scary. You have a wonderful mother and stepfather and I'm glad they were there to look after your kids.

I don't want to identify myself fully for this commer but I want to say something. Last year when the one I love was suicidal I rang Lifeline and Beyond Blue and also received help from a counselor. I didn't know if I was saying or doing the right things To support him.

They all said I needed to have an emergency plan for him. Even though I am maybe 750 km away. They told me to notify his local police and hospital in advance that he is in danger of suicide, and that if he tells me he is at risk at that moment, I am to call the police who will go around to see if he's ok.

I did not feel comfortable doing this. I was scared it would exacerbate the situation and he would lose confidence and trust in me. And so I continued to be his main source of support, hanging on the phone 750 km away. It was tough. Would I do things differently? I don't know, things aren't the same between us now, he no longer needs me. But I think I did save his life.

You're right – stuck between a rock and a hard place.


Anonymous March 19, 2012 at 12:29 pm

My heart broke reading this. What a horrid horrid woman your so.called friend is. As if somebody who is emotionally struggling needs to be woken at 3am with mayhem at her door??? :s Friends are there to catch our thoughts and understand them. A good friend knows when help is needed. She should have gone to your mum. She is obviously somebody who has little character as nd wished to bignote herself. What a sad sad woman!!!


Melissa March 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm

I remember this night vividly, or at least, the next morning. I remember the vitriol of your 'friends' on FB. I was so angry at them, so angry for you. So *incensed* at the unfairness of it all.


Rin March 19, 2012 at 11:45 am

I wonder if you will ever speak to this 'friend'. It sounds like she is on a bit of a power trip and should have never, ever betrayed you like this.

I know you hate hearing this but everything does happen for a reason and maybe this happened to show you that you don't really have a friend in her at all and this was a way to force you to cut ties for good, or maybe it was a test to show that you are an amazingly strong woman and that you can get through anything life throws at you.

Thank you for sharing this. I can see how hard it was for you but I really appreciate that you can be so honest with all of us here. It is just another way to show what an amzzing person you are.xxxx


Sharon A. March 19, 2012 at 11:20 am

Also, your post has reminded of two years ago. It was actually before your husband died. My partner, who still has severe mental illness, was repeatedly told by various professionals he MUST be admitted to a psych ward for an indefinite period.

We could not get him there to save ourselves, despite mental health workers pushing and pushing to get him there. We kept being told to pack for the next day, and would you believe, it's been two years, and he's still never been. Thankfully, he now doesn't need it, but back then he did.

Your post is a clear sign of how wrong we're getting it and it needs to be changed.


Sophie March 19, 2012 at 11:20 am

Oh god. I am so angry.

Unless you actually said the words "I am going to kill myself," I cannot see how she can justify doing what she did. I can only imagine that somewhere along the line, your "FRIEND" (ha!) decided she had had enough of dealing with your grief and thought this would snap you out of it. She's done this so she can back out (disgracefully in my opinion) and wipe her hands of this situation.

This is so not about you Lori, this is about her.

Time doesn't heal, it reveals… and I am always stunned at how the people you think couldn't possibly turn their back on you… do. And yet perfect strangers have the compassion and sensitivity to totally get it. This is a fucked up world we live in.



Mrs BC March 19, 2012 at 10:17 pm

Lori I am so angry for you! A family member has been in a similar situation, & that feeling of having your rights just stripped away from you is fucking brutal. The medical system & the police have ALOT to change about this process. Also – Louise & ELmer are both cnuts, who need to be shut down, pronto.
You ARE made of steel.


A Dose of Dannie March 19, 2012 at 11:07 am

OMFG!!! I would have been mortified your mum sounds brilliant you are lucky hun. I wish my mum and i where on speaking terms bit after 3 years i doubt it .Always hated coppers and still do
Hugs beautiful try and stay strong xxxxxxoooo


keeksaz March 19, 2012 at 11:02 am

I am so sorry you had to go through that. My husband called and told the police during an exceptionally bad fight that I was suicidal. Sadly, from prior experience I knew exactly what I had to do. I grabbed my son, locked us in the bedroom, changed and made myself as presentable as possible and acted dumbfounded when they showed up while I sat there playing with my son. It was terrifying and I don't think I took a full breathe until I was finally able to drive away with my son on my own. There were no less than 9 people in the room with me from police to firefighters to paramedics. I toed the line and spoke carefully. Yes, I have a history of depression, no I'm not suicidal now. I have a doctor, and counselor and psychiatrist and network of support and I'm better. Yes, we had a fight, no I did not threaten to kill myself.

He had a lot of different options if he was truly worried about me, but worry had nothing to do with it. It was pure selfish evil and thank god I was able to walk away. He never gave a thought to what would happen to our 9 month old baby asleep in the other room. He was almost charged with domestic violence and I was almost hospitalized.

I'm just so tired.

I'm so sorry you had to go through that and you're right, that is not a friend. There are so many steps between being concerned and putting someone through hell. I don't understand why people can hurt others so easily.
Especially when it's so easy to do just the opposite.


Jen D March 19, 2012 at 10:59 am

I could barely control my own anger reading this; I cannot IMAGINE being in that situation. I am so sorry.


Bella March 19, 2012 at 10:49 am

It's your blog, so you shouldn't have to…but maybe it's worth putting something on it somewhere that if people are worried about what you are writing, they need to contact you directly in the first instance, and after that your mum. I have a friend who has some fairly major MH issues, and she uses her blog as a safe place to work through what's in her head, but sadly, has had to put that exact thing on her blog because of 'helpful friends'. She's no where near as strong as you are – I'm hanging out to share your blog with her when she's strong enough.

As for the so-called friend who thought it might be fun to ring the police – you are better off without those people in your life, undermining what you are trying to do. I totally agree with you – if she was a friend, she would have come to see you for herself, had a cuppa,and played with your kids…not rung the police at some unearthly hour and dragged you through that. With friends like those, who needs enemies?


Sharon@Pandamoanium March 19, 2012 at 10:49 am

What the fucking fuck??? I can't tell you how sick this makes me feel for you, and for those poor ppl who have gone to major hospitals with mental health departments, begging to be admitted, and get sent away only to suicide directly after.

I've lost two brothers to suicide. I know the feeling of not having the option of that way out.

The system is one giant clusterfuck, and I am so sorry you got caught in the wrong end of it like this. xxx


exumbrerum March 19, 2012 at 10:47 am

I'm so sorry that that happened to you. It makes it harder when you can't hate the person in front of you, doesn't it? Keep fighting. :)


Danielle Quarmby March 19, 2012 at 10:46 am

I admire you, Lori, for surviving over and over and over, with all this crap that comes up to challenge you. What a horrific experience, and so unnecessary! :(


Anonymous March 19, 2012 at 10:46 am

You're very lucky. I was scheduled last week (for no reason other than that I have a psych history) and was kept for the 72 hours before they revoked it, despite me explaining that for the last six years I have done nothing to hurt myself, have managed well and been compliant with all aspects of treatment. I'm so sorry this happened to you too and I'm glad you're home now with your angels. xx


Tracy March 19, 2012 at 10:43 am

Hells Bells!
First love your hair cut.
Second Yes you are made of steel
Third Thanks goodness for mum's <3 there for us even as adults.
fourth…That really is Fucked.
Take care


Sharon A. March 19, 2012 at 10:33 am

I'm so sorry you had to go through that. Thank god for your mother and your stepfather. You're right, NSW police need more training in mental health YESTERDAY. We had someone here who WAS claiming to be suicidal and the police wouldn't help us admit that person, claimed they couldn't. We later found out they could've called the emergency mental health team and worked together.

And a few weeks later, after being continually knocked back for help, this person did make an attempt to take their life and it nearly did kill them.

Makes me so fucking mad.

You did well Lori, you did exactly what you needed to do.


Veronica Foale March 19, 2012 at 10:31 am

Oh Lori, I would be angry too – so incredibly angry.



Marlene March 19, 2012 at 10:29 am

un-fucking-believable!!! There were so many wrongs that night. You should never have been taken from your bed/home/children.


Jen March 19, 2012 at 10:21 am

Wow. I am amazed that something like this can happen especiallly when I've heard of stories where people who are really crying out for help find it very hard to get. You are made of steel.


Anonymous March 19, 2012 at 10:16 am

I would be angry too. Based on your recollections, the signs for suicide were just not there when the police arrived at your house. Not only that, if your mum stated that she would stay with you…

I am so sorry that you had to experience that and thankful that your children were asleep and none the wiser of what happened.


Pandora March 19, 2012 at 10:09 am

Jesus. How horrendous! I'm so sorry you had to go through that. The casual arrogance and ignorance of both the police and the duty doctor is sickening, frankly.

Beyond that, I'm lost for words, except to agree with your last sentence – you are made of fucking steel.

Please take care

Pan xxx


Madmother March 19, 2012 at 7:20 pm

I have to ask, what was her explanation? Or Elmer's? Did he indeed talk to her as he denied?


Why the fuck would you do this unless you were some lame attention seeker, desperate to be noticed?


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