53 years old. White. Male.
Good life, challenges. typical.
Life however is not typical. Life is what happens when you are thinking about what you have to do and when one gets away while the other moves on, problems occur.
I was going along in my life, with my more than 40 hour a week job, a troubled relationship, lack of friends when something just broke.
I was at a party, not the kind of party most people go to, but the fact was I was surrounded by people who did not judge me. Underneath the 6-4 , 245 pound exterior, is someone with a secret identity. Let’s just say I am a Clark Kent to my alter ego. This place was never one of judgement. People from all walks from white collar millennials to blue collar ink queens came together for their expressions of personality. We were group therapy for each other.
My friends seemed to love my alter ego, but one night, when my real life came out in a waterfall of tears, my non judgmental friends put on their non understanding hats and told me to simply “Feel Better.”
Those of us who suffer or have suffered from mental illness like depression or anxiety know that feeling better is as much of a choice as someone who has just been shot saying “I’ll just shake it off.” Mental Health has no Jack Bauers.
I went home, and the next day, the messages came. “You are a giant cry baby.”
“You were trying to guilt everyone into doing something with you.”
“Are you trying to say I am responsible for your unhappiness?”
My waterfall of tears had no shut off valve. My life was in a tornado and I was sucking for air.
That night, I curled up in my bed and on my bedside table was a bottle of pills I use to help me get to sleep. They are not made for that – they actually keep people from getting seisures, but there is an off label use for it. The drug turns off the brain so I can get to sleep.
What if I turned off my brain altogether? My pain would be gone. The hurt would stop. My guilt over everything would be a thing of the past.
I stared at the white bottle.
My brain was working. My heart was screaming. I wasn’t going to do anything stupid.
But the fact I was pondering it was enough.
My therapists have had a consistent message to me that I had continued to ignore. I refused to put my own life first. I refused to take care of myself because everyone else needed me to take care of them.
It was at that moment I decided to end my pain… and finally do something about it.
I chose to take care of myself.