Looking at ibuprofen tablets makes me gag.

There was a day, ten years ago, when depression and desperation made me compulsively down thirty tabs of ibuprofen. I chewed them, each and every one. I remained, but with the most intense stomach pain I’d yet experienced.

After that, I stopped compulsively trying to end my life. I set deadlines and thought about how to do it. But never again would I rifle through the bathroom and sit at the kitchen table and take action.

When I was in high school, I took a photography class. (I turned out to be the complete opposite of a natural at mounting photographs.) I was left with an X-Acto blade, which I used to carve my wrist when I felt the intensity of a depressive adolescent. What could I do, other than aim for the only visible exit from that life? But I carved under my wristwatch line, so nobody would see it. In my first college dorm, this behavior bothered my roommate so I had to reassure the person in charge of the dorm that I was not suicidal and the roommate moved out.

After my DUI, I didn’t understand why I survived. My car was wrecked; the parked van was wrecked; I had a small bruise and nothing else. In the months that followed, I actively fantasized about suicide and thought about how to do it and set deadlines.

The universe doesn’t want me to die at my hand, though, and so it wasn’t important to me by the time the deadline came.

Later, I became intensely suicidally depressed. I fantasized about suicide and constructed plans and set deadlines. But it wasn’t important to me by the time the deadline came.

A few years before The Ibuprofen Incident, I talked to my doctor and tried a few antidepressants. We tried four different ones, and the side effects for each were worse than the mood disorder, so I stopped trying. When I told my mother that I was trying Zoloft, I had to reassure my father that I was not suicidal. We never talked about my legitimate suicidal ideation, but I wonder if the university called them.

I have a huge fear of ibuprofen now.