DISCLAIMER: The following true story contains graphic descriptions of strong emotions and suicidal intentions, and may not be suitable for all audiences. If you or anyone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts please reach out for help. Here are some outreach programs: There is always hope, even in our darkest hours.
988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: 988
Crisis Text Line – Text HOME to 741741 for free, 24/7 crisis counseling
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: 1-888-333-AFSP (2377)
Suicide Awareness Voices of Education: 952-946-7998
Within the woundedness I had become, I was trying desperately to love myself again. I’ve been lost, afraid, alone, void of my masculinity, and at times, hopeless. None of this meant I was broken. I’ve been existing with the tiniest amount of dignity, and from that, I found courage and strength to find that which I had lost. Myself. Although there were times when I couldn’t believe in myself, it doesn’t mean I don’t now. All the times I needed a hug, I had to give that to myself. All the times I needed to hear that I’d be okay, I had to whisper that to myself, and somehow, believe it. Through all the pain, despair, and darkness I had become, there was always the most minute light in the far distance. That was where I looked, because I knew that was me… way over there… separated from myself.
I wandered aimlessly in that direction, as the light grew more faint. I grew so tired of chasing what I felt was elusive. Myself. But now I fully understand I needed to go through that darkness until there was none left to search through. Time didn’t exist in the vacuum I felt I had become, nor did it matter. Honestly, not much did matter because I didn’t care. I didn’t have the strength to care, let alone, love, nor did I want to. I was consumed by my pains, void of all other emotion, incapable of even trying to feel anything else. I grew tired of my existence, and myself. Somehow, I knew my only option was to end my misery. But how?
Hours became days. Days became weeks, and weeks became months, and it all just melted into one very long minute. I cursed the day because I knew I had to once again endure this. I welcomed the night. It brought peace when I was able to sleep, but only briefly. All I could consider was how would I end this charade playing out that I called my life. I just wanted it to end and I didn’t care how. That brought comfort when nothing else could. I spent time fantasizing about all the ways to release myself from this misery. Some made me laugh, some brought a smile, and then one in particular resonated. Now to put a timestamp on it and see it through.
Before enacting my demise, I decided to maybe see if anyone was listening to my cries for help. I knew no one where I was living and I had no friends left anywhere. I was sure my family wouldn’t understand, so I didn’t even bother with them. It was looking pretty bleak on finding ears to hear me. This only left me more determined to plan my getaway and finally rid myself of the hatred I felt for myself. I had one more plea left before I exited this world and it was a longshot. Afraid to find the answer, I couldn’t find the courage to ask the one question I desperately needed to have answered. So, there I left it for my fear to do the bidding I needed from another. I wasn’t worthy of life, and I was taking up space someone else could use. I’m done.
I acted quickly and decided to go one more day, just to see if I could hear what I needed. I remember having an awareness about my surroundings I couldn’t imagine. I saw everything somehow differently as if maybe… just maybe I could give this one more chance. I listened and all I heard was a deafening silence, as if I were in a void where we go when all else ceases to exist. My darkness became total through that day as I went deeper into that void of despair. Ahhh… finally… rock bottom. At least I’m somewhere. I felt safe and satisfied that I could not fall any farther in this darkness, the end was indeed near. I was now at the mercy of my pains as I surrendered to them. Their control was complete and all inclusive, and I finally felt an inner peace not felt in way too long. I’m finally free from myself. Thank-you.
I treated myself to one last meal with what little money I had. A medium cheeseburger, fries, and a small drink. YIPPIE… I guess I couldn’t expect my last meal to be like His, but I did find it rather fitting for a lowly excuse of a human being. Me. As I ate, I felt as if I had become someone else. I was filled with rage, anger, hatred, disdain, and it showed in my eyes as the others there looked at me in terror as I projected my emotions. I was soon alone. How comfortable and familiar. How fitting for the piece of shit I was. Well, that was good. Let’s do this. I made my way home with a sense of eagerness for the night’s activities. I made my final drink and smoked my last joint, thinking I was going out with style and ease.
I sat at the computer playing my usual games and wanted to hear my favorite CD one last time. I felt it was appropriate for some reason. Images and Words by Dream Theater. I began to cry as the songs played because they all spoke to me in their own way. It didn’t take long for the tears to be fully uncontrollable, just like me. Enough already… get it over with. I reached for the loaded weapon and held its cold hardness… just like me. Without any further thought, I raised it to my waiting mouth, tasting its steel. I was crying so hard that I couldn’t hold it for long as my strength left with each tear, so I placed it on the desk. The final song of the CD began to play. For some unknown reason I closed my eyes and heard what I needed to hear; someone else looking for kindness, beauty, and truth. Finally, someone knew what I was feeling. I shook violently as I cried much harder than I ever had in my life.
In that instant I saw my family sitting in front of a coffin… my coffin. I saw on their faces the anguish that I had placed there. They were in shock and a personal pain one should never feel. I did this to them. I did this… I DID THIS… I began to yell this over and over. I cried even harder until I threw up, then cried even harder, shaking violently. At some point I lost consciousness because I found myself on the floor, my head pounding. I still had the visions of my family as they sat before my coffin, and I couldn’t unsee them. My conscious wouldn’t allow me to put this on them. I began to cry in earnest once again. I unloaded my gun, put it back in the closet and sat, numb and crying. I couldn’t feel the anger and rage anymore. In fact, I had a total lack of sensation, as if floating.
The way that your heart beats truly does make all the difference in learning to live. I picked up the phone as if compelled. I was greeted with the usual hello. Please help me. Please. They couldn’t understand what I was saying through the tears and did their best to calm me. I don’t know what was said or how long we talked when the door flew open, and the EMT asked if I was okay. I said thank you on the phone and hung up. My response was my state of emotional duress. They knew this was a mental health check, possible suicide attempt. They were very calming as they gathered my things and guided me to the ambulance. I never felt lower in my life as I did when they closed the doors and drove away.
I knew where I was going, and the humiliation overwhelmed me. I had to admit I needed help because I had problems. I realized this whole time, all I had to do was reach out, and I would find someone to listen. Complete strangers told me I was going to be okay. That’s all I needed to hear.
The rest of the story is unnecessary to recount, because I wanted to bring an awareness to the lives of those in mental anguish. Because of my experience, I have that understanding, and use it to help others in their time of need. When you ask someone if they’re okay, and their response is “I’m fine…”, tell them they’ll be okay. Don’t allow them to shut down. Give them a hug, and embrace them in their naked vulnerability… anything… just don’t let them shut you out. They may be going through something similar to what I did almost 25 years ago. I’m fortunate because my conscious spoke for me, and it wasn’t for me to end my life that day. I also feel we have that decision that only we can make. We never know what another is enduring as they experience. At least be understanding.
Don’t believe for one minute that we are “weak”. The traumas we endure are deep, and somehow, we can’t find a way to overcome what many would say is easy. We’re not you, so please don’t look down on us. You haven’t been in our shoes. We all may have a similar experience, but we experience it differently. Just because you can find peace in your pain, doesn’t mean we can. We choose not to bring you into our pain because it’s ours. We’re not stoic, too proud, or untrusting. The wounds are just too deep, and the pain is too much to bear. We all process differently, just as we experience differently.
Please understand, if we don’t really know you, chances are, we won’t engaged in conversation. We don’t want unsolicited advice, and please don’t tell us you know what we’re going through, because you don’t. You may have had similar experiences, but we don’t respond or react as you do. You will have better luck getting us to listen if you are honest. It’s a better idea to say you can’t begin to understand our pains and traumas. Just don’t patronize us by saying you understand. Say you have some understanding from your own experiences, as we don’t feel as if anyone else has had our exact experience, not as we live with that pain.
Know that we have learned to keep up a major facade, allowing you to believe there is nothing wrong with us, that life is good. Underneath the fake laughter we are absolutely in turmoil. Behind every conversation is the need to run and be alone in our pain. We’ll do our job, just as we always have with a smile, and you’ll never see what we hide within. We’ve become masters of illusion to the outer world. We don’t want your pity or your sympathy… that’s meant to make you feel better… not us. Don’t take it personal if we tell you it’s not your problem, and for God’s sake…don’t treat us like the piece of shit we already feel like.
Listening is the most important part of a conversation, so please, learn to listen to others. Shut down your ego and listen from the heart. The unspoken words speak way louder than those spoken. Let them know you care. They need to be heard. Give them support, don’t just pacify them. There are some of us who feel pain so deep, that we can not overcome them in this lifetime. For them, it’s the only way out, but we at least have to try. They will step out of this plane and into the next to continue healing, just as we will when we leave our body. Much gratitude for staying till the end. Please remember my story. You never know whose life you will make a difference in. Heal well, journey well…