Spring of 2001.
I sat in my empty home. A gun pointed at my head. All I had to do was pull the trigger and all the pain would go away. I didn’t want to be where I was. As a young man, I struggled to see my future. This paralyzed me. I honestly can’t remember much of it. I just remember a lot of pain and somehow my career continued and my life continued. It was a miracle. Anyway, finger now on the trigger, a few shots of tequila, a few beers, and a Valium into it. It was just all bad. To this day, never again have I felt that much emotional pain.
I didn’t end my life that day, but I was closer than I ever thought I would be. In my life I’ve had three serious relationships. This was the aftermath of the second one. The third one was with my wife. I endured a lot of pain during the first two break-ups. The pain from the second one built on top of the pain from the first one. It was all just very ugly. I made a lot of mistakes. It was a progression of endurance, sort of like a stair case, from frustration that seemed to intensify with each passing year. Anyway, I didn’t see a future and I didn’t want to live anymore, and not just that day, but I didn’t want to live anymore for a long time.
Suicide has been on my mind from time to time. I’ve thought about it a lot. I think about addiction a lot as well. I feel like I have an addictive personality, but honestly I’ve never had a long-lasting, hard addiction to anything. Maybe to sadness, but not drugs or alcohol. I think about who would be affected if I was gone. I think about how things would change (for the better, without me). It usually brings tears, but not always. Sometimes I just feel numb. Those moments are the worst. More times than not, I want to feel something!
I have friends who tell me they’ve thought a lot about suicide as well. Most people would panic or judge them. I don’t panic and I certainly don’t judge them. I talk to them. I ask them questions. I usually invite them to dinner and sometimes I invite them to come stay with us. I try not to abandon them. I don’t view suicide as some final sin that sends you to Hell either. I feel sorry for people who think that way. That type of thinking stems from legalism, or perhaps something even worse, who knows. I don’t know, but I know it doesn’t feel right, and my “feelers” are sharp and keen.
Having suicidal thoughts doesn’t make you crazy. In fact I think it makes you real and it supports my opinion that we are all broken in some way. Most people aren’t willing to admit they are broken. Perhaps they were raised to exude perfection or quite the opposite, maybe they are so broken that it hurts to admit it. The ones who can admit it will feel a liberation that others don’t experience, for example: I am broken, now I don’t have to pretend anymore. I can now make my life about something meaningful. There is a purpose for me. I will focus on that.
It literally takes one millisecond for things to change. If you can hang on, please hang on. Reality and statistics say that not everyone will. It’s a part of life, but you never know what is right around the corner. Things can change in an instant. That’s how time works right? Anything that changes, really only takes one millisecond (or less perhaps). There may be lead-up to that change, but change is so quick, we can’t even see it.
I am broken, now I don’t have to pretend anymore. I can now make my life about something meaningful. There is a purpose for me. I will focus on that.
Hang in there friends.