J and I talked more about my cousin today. He asked how she is doing, and I told him that yesterday was her fourth ect treatment and she had some short term memory loss, which was scary. She couldn’t remember her address or what her house looks like. We talked about ect and its pros and cons for awhile.
Then I brought up the same thing I talked about last week, the thing that has been bothering me. What it is is this. My cousin called me that Saturday at 3:30PM. She told me about the overdose and I said I’d be right over. It takes at least 35 to 40 minutes to get there. I asked her if there is anything she needed, and she said she needed some food. She said she thought she had some Chipotle in the refrigerator (I know Chipotle restaurants are in limited areas so some of you might not know what a Chipotle is, but they are abundant here.) I said maybe she would like Chipotle food that hasn’t been sitting in the refrigerator, and she said she would like me to stop at Chipotle and she told me what she wanted.
So I drove to her city, and then plugged Chipotle into my navigation system and saw there was one 1 mile from her house. I went there, and it was in a huge shopping center, bigger than any that we have in this area. And now it was 4:30 on a Saturday, and this shopping center also had a movie theater with 10 theaters, and it was packed with cars and they were all inching along. I couldn’t even find the Chipotle in there. I saw Panera, Noodles and Co., and every other chain restaurant. Finally I rolled down the window and asked someone where the Chipotle was. I was feeling extremely anxious at this point.
I drove over there (it was in a separate building from the main center) and luckily someone was pulling out of a spot right in front, so I pulled in. I walked into the Chipotle, and there was a huge line, as there ALWAYS is in every Chipotle. At that point I called my cousin and said there was too long a wait, and she said she didn’t want any food anyway. So then I drove to her house.
So that is the true story. My cousin took an overdose, I didn’t call 911, and I stopped at Chipotle to get her food. I talked about it with J last week, and he told me that I made good decisions, I got her help, and she didn’t die. I talked about it again this week, how it makes me question my judgment and my intelligence. I said that maybe I was afraid of what I would find at her house, so I delayed it by making a stop, which is so selfish of me. I think that if everyone who is praising me knows I did this stupid thing, they wouldn’t think so highly of me.
J again tried to reassure me that I did what I thought was best at the time. I did not know what the lethal dose of acetaminophen was, I did not know that one must get treatment within 8 hours, and I did not know she was very sick. He said that she was not slurring her words or acting sick in any way so how could I know the seriousness of this. And he said I changed my course of action when I got to the Chipotle and saw the long line. He said I did nothing that I should be regretting.
I asked J if I did do something stupid or bad, would he even tell me? He asked what would be stupid or bad? I said, what if I stopped at Chipotle on my way to my cousin’s because I was hungry. Would he say “You have to take care of yourself before you take care of others, like on an airplane when the oxygen masks come down you have to put on yours before you take care of your child?” I told him about my cousin’s mother, who has been in therapy for 10 years and has the same issues, it seems her therapist just reinforces whatever she tells her.
J said that he would not make a judgment about this type of behavior, but he would ask me about it. If I decided to stop for food before going to my overdosing cousin’s house, he would ask me to explore why I did this.
He told me that I now need to go to Chipotle, to desensitize myself, because I said that I am purposely avoiding driving certain ways because there would be a Chipotle there. I said that I think I would throw up if I went into one. He told me to park in the parking lot and stay there five minutes. Then go in and use the restroom.
He said that he has never eaten at Chipotle (what? How can this be?) and he saw one the other day and was thinking of trying it, but then he remembered how I said there is always a long line, so he didn’t. I wonder if he will think of me every time he sees a Chipotle, which around here would be pretty often. I said, “I guess I should be glad that my cousin didn’t ask me to stop at Starbucks.” (They are on every corner.)
Later in the session, when he was reassuring me for the 100th time, he said he was not just blowing smoke or telling me what I want to hear. He said that he also did not know many of the things I learned from this experience, in regards to the treatment for this type of overdose. He told me that last week one of his other clients took five Lexapro. In the past he would not have been worried about whether the person would die, but since hearing my cousin’s experience, he called the prescribing psychiatrist and tried to really find out if five Lexapro would be life threatening.
He said that he doesn’t know what my aunt’s therapist or therapy is like, but perhaps her therapist realizes that my aunt is not a strong person, is easily overwhelmed, and to protect her she has advised my aunt that she can’t be so involved in my cousin’s life.
Then I told J that my good aunt, the one I have a relationship with (who J calls “the good aunt of the east”, to differentiate her from “the wicked aunt of the west” – which cracked me up, and is all due to the fact that I never give him anyone’s names, he even said today “I don’t know their names”) told me a few days before my cousin’s overdose that she felt there was some manipulation going on. And yesterday when my cousin wasn’t feeling well after her ect treatment I told her that I would call the nurse’s station, and my aunt again said that I am being manipulated, that my cousin should learn to ask for things herself. J told me that from what I am telling him he doesn’t see manipulation, and he explained what manipulation would look like to him.
J then told me that this experience is a microcosm of how I live my life. That I did so much for my cousin, I might have saved her life, but I am focusing on a 20 minute period when I think I did something wrong. And he doesn’t even think I did anything wrong, I did what I thought was best given my knowledge of the situation. I am always too hard on myself, set too high expectations for myself, and never live up to them. He told me again, for the 200th time, that I did well in this situation, that I should regret nothing.
He asked me if I would do the same thing again. I told him that I would not stop at Chipotle, as for the rest I don’t know. Then I said that if I did know what I know now, I would have called 911 as opposed to taking her to the hospital, because when it actually happened I did not know about the 8 hour time frame for starting treatment. But if I again had not known this, I would probably do the same thing again, without the Chipotle.
I have to lot to think about in regards to the Chipotle. In addition to reminding me that I might have made a poor choice that day, Chipotle also brings up fearful feelings in me, like I am remembering the experience at my cousin’s house and in the ER and ICU. How could I get scared by a Chipotle? It’s just a restaurant.