I was likely never in danger of dying from the overdose itself. I was more likely to die choking on my own vomit while unconscious on the bathroom floor. Not exactly a glamorous exit off this mortal coil.
They send you down to inpatient wearing nothing but oversized paper scrubs and a pair of grippy socks. I wasn't allowed to wear a bra. You can wear approved, non-drawstring clothing after your first psychiatrist consult, which usually takes about 24 hours.
A few people didn't have anyone to bring them clothes and spent their entire week in those paper scrubs, which eventually shred and rip and disintegrate. We raided the ward's lost-and-found and found some community t-shirts, which could get passed along to the next paper-scrubbed newbie. Three female patients ended up wearing the same shirt with a vaguely sexist slogan on it, which they shrugged off because at least it wasn't chafing their boobs.
You learn fairly quickly to always change your clothes in your bathroom, since your room doesn't lock. Your bathroom doesn't actually lock either, but the staff is at least obligated to knock before they barge right in.
I was too depressed to shower the first couple days. A tech finally handed me a bottle of baby shampoo as a hint.
The IV port on my left arm developed a blood clot and an infection. I spent my first day in inpatient terrified out of my mind as I watched the swollen, blotchy redness spread from my shoulder down to my wrist, convinced that I was about to die from some hospital-borne super-bug, trapped on the island of misfit toys, two floors away from proper medical care.
I was eventually sent off for an ultrasound, but no one told me why. Given the number of cups they'd made me pee in since removing the catheter, I panicked briefly about a possible pregnancy before a nurse checked the order and confirmed it was for my arm.
(I was not pregnant, of course. I actually had my period all that week. The hospital provided massive, bulky pads; I discovered I was still wearing the tampon I'd arrived at the ER with on Wednesday.)
(Later that day, my side of the room flooded. My roommate spread out a carpet of towels for me. We then got into a two-day stand-off with housekeeping over our trash can, which was filled with a paper bag [no plastic bags on the psych ward], all my used pads and about eight inches of water.)
(The county hospital psych ward is no Sandra Bullock movie. It's barely a low-budget Brie Lawson indie film. Right after housekeeping agreed that the flooded trash can was not our problem, the room promptly flooded again.)
I worried they'd have to amputate my arm. Instead, they gave me a band-aid, an antibiotic and told me to sleep with it elevated. It got better after that. I still have a gross little ball of scar tissue on the vein.
My right arm wasn't infected, but my elbow was still a bloody mess. They had to use my wrists and hands for blood draws after that, which almost never went well the first or second (or even fifth or sixth) attempt.
I have dreams I'm back there, that I'm trying to get off the phone before my call gets shut off for group therapy, or that I forgot to fill out that day's menu order and won't get a proper food tray. Or that I'm crying. Or the person next to me is crying. Because there was so much fucking crying.
Jason took this photo of me in the ER, after I was intubated and put on a breathing machine.
"I wanted you to see what it looked like," he explained. "I wanted to make sure you never, ever forgot."