I’ve suffered from depression for years and if you haven’t you can’t understand what it is like. It is not being sad or feeling crappy sometimes. It’s a blanket which covers everything you experience in life. I’ve taken meds and I’ve been to therapy and I’m not living as bad a life as I was 20 years ago when I was living on the streets or watching people I care about die. Doing bad things to survive. So now I’m not surviving I’m living. Sure. But do I feel any better? No, because it’s not something that can be controlled or changed really. It’s something you live with, like Diabetes. You can do things to manage it but you can’t control it truly. It partly controls you.
And I think about killing myself every day. I don’t and I won’t. But I do think about it. It’s not intentional like a day dream or fantasy. It just sneaks up when I don’t expect it. Whispers in my ear and says “isn’t it about time you stop pretending? Isn’t it time to fade away?” And I have to ignore it. When I was 15 a couple of weeks after watching my brother die and seeing my father get taken away by the FBI and finding out that I was going to at some point lose my home in Florida. I sat by my favorite place, which was a small lake near the back of Hidden Springs off Dr. Phillips blvd. I had a .22 Beretta and I knew I wanted to die. I couldn’t get the image of what happened to my brother out of my head. I couldn’t imagine losing my home. I couldn’t deal. I was still raw from the things I did when I was homeless.
I sat there from about 1pm until 9pm. Just listening. Watching and waiting. Holding the gun and feeling its weight and thinking. I watched the houses on the other side of the lake and saw people having BBQs. I watched the fish randomly jump out of the lake. Watch squirrels run across the tree branches above me. Listened to the wind. The whoosh of the cars on the other side of the trail which was secured by a brick wall, keeping me secret from the road. Listened to songs playing on the radio wafting across the lake.
I sat there and I thought about my diminishing family. Thought about my friends. Thought about the things I’d done and the things I’d been through. What the police had said to me. What I knew the future would hold. The bleak past behind me and the dark road ahead. And I just didn’t want to go on. I drank and I smoked and I thought. How black life is. How much of a void I felt every second of the day.
And I thought of the void my mom must be feeling. And how much deeper it would be if I wasn’t here. I thought about my friend Brad and how I could still be there for him and protect him whenever possible. And I thought hard about the selfishness of killing myself. And even though I knew what I wanted and what I felt I needed to do – I managed to slowly convince myself that for the benefit of others it’s worth staying around and suffering. Because maybe I can help at least a little lessen their suffering.
Because of that, because I can still remember the taste of the barrel of the gun in my mouth and I decided – I chose – not to follow through – I’ve never had an attempt again. I think about it every day and I WANT to kill myself. But I won’t. I say to myself “uh uh uh, you had your chance dickhead. Sit back down and do your job.” And I will myself to keep going because that choice was already made. I don’t like going back on a decision. This is my core coping mechanism when it’s 3 am and I am out for a walk into the darkness and I can feel the rising tension in my spine and my every nerve ending is screaming to be put out of their misery.
Sure I still made unhealthy and dangerous choices. I did a lot of drugs. I drank a lot. I smoked a lot. I fucked people I shouldn’t have. I was reckless and stupid sometimes and I would tell myself “its OK, because you’ll be dead soon. That’s not a choice, its fate.” And despite my strength to not kill myself, I didn’t always have the strength to not lessen my odds of dying some indirect way. Sometimes I would do things just to feel anything at all.
But after my brother died. I had promised him I’d stop taking drugs. So I never took one since then. Nothing, no heroin, no coke, no ecstasy, no weed, nothing. I still smoke and rarely I drink, but I have not done drugs since then. And the desire and want seems impossible to stop – but I do it because that promise means more to me than anything. So, yeah. It gives me the strength I need to break that cycle. And now for more than 18 years I’m still sober from drugs.
I sought therapy about my sex addiction. Which did not solve anything – but I tried is the point. There was help available to me whether it worked or not.
I tried several anti-depressants over several years. They made the voices even louder, so I cut those out as well and now I just self-manage through reminding myself that I’d be calling myself indecisive if I decided to change my mind on going through with self-murder.
My point to all this is thus:
People like Chester from Linkin Park who killed themselves, I can’t understand. Because I am poor, I am a loser. I’ve been beaten. Molested. Homeless. Watched people die. And I’ve done very terrible things. But I’m able to still keep myself here through thinking of others and having the willpower to lie to myself. He had 6 kids. How you can leave behind 6 kids to fend for themselves. I can’t understand.
Everyone is different and I don’t want to disparage him. I’m just saying. I can’t understand not finding a coping mechanism to make it work. Especially if you are a multi-millionaire who millions of people look up to. Forever their last memory of him is that it was all too much and he bailed. He gave them hope through his music and now he’s taken it all way.
When you are alone and lost and can’t understand why you feel the way you do and you can’t deal with the life you are living. It sounds like sound advice to kill yourself. When you see someone like him who has so much and throws it all away because he couldn’t deal with his thoughts and feelings – it makes you feel like it’s completely impossible to go on because he had so much – money, respect, fame, power, access to any form of help he’d request – but he still couldn’t stay. How can you – who is nobody – go on?
Well I’m telling you that you can. Not through faith, not through chemicals, not through strength. But through logic. Apply logic to your problems and flow chart them to where you need to be.
Still taking drugs to stop feeling bad about being touched by your dad? Seek medical advice, get on a replacement drug and counselling regime. Speak to your doctor and ask to speak to a therapist. Understand that you are not unique – you are the unlucky 1 outta 3 who got touched up by someone – deal with it by understanding that your story is not special. It sucks and it’s a tragedy sure, but don’t keep it a secret, by telling someone of authority about it you free yourself from the secrecy of it, the burden of being the only one who knows and you can try to start and cope and heal through advice and self reflection. However, understand that “friends” you choose to tell come and go in life and their own priorities often supersede yours, so be careful who you trust. No one can hurt you like a friend.
You’re gay and you can’t come clean about it? You fear or have gotten harsh reactions from people? Shamed? Feel like you are doing something wrong? Feel dirty? This is 2017. Yes, there are still bigots and assholes and closed minded people here – but they are fewer and further between than ever before. There are community groups, pride parades, special interest groups and places devoted to gay lifestyle. Don’t hide it, don’t fear it, if you feel it, embrace it. If nothing else the more secretive you keep your sex life the more likely you will engage in dangerous sex and risk yourself. Because you’re putting yourself into a don’t ask don’t tell situation. Don’t hide away, be the person you feel you are deep inside. Don’t hate that person. Talk to a doctor, therapist, Samaritans, gum clinic, anyone. Go to discreet forums on reddit and find people and talk to them. Discover and respect yourself and don’t pretend you can’t.
Feel lonely? Can’t get laid? No friends? Can’t talk to chicks? Feel like the older you get the harder it is to make a real connection with people? Can’t understand why people aren’t swiping right on you on tinder? Or hating yourself because you blew it with that girl from Plenty of fish and beat yourself up about the fact that your friends are all running around fucking everything that breathes and you are jerking off to porn everyday feeling lonelier and lonelier? The road blocks are your own. Most of life and all of sex is based on two factors – attractiveness and confidence. If you aren’t happy about any of your personal traits – then others won’t be. Go fix them. Fat? Work out. Feel stupid? Take a night course or read one full Wikipedia page at random every day, watch good YouTube videos about people explaining science, whatever, do something not nothing. You are happy with yourself but don’t anyone else is? Prove it. Be confident and remember if you believe in yourself, you project that to others. Let them know that you are cool and if you aren’t their type that’s life and move on. Not everyone wants anyone, but there is several hundred someones out there for everyone. Here goes another novel idea. Get off your phone. Put it in a drawer and go somewhere and meet people spontaneously. Join that gym and talk to chicks there. Go to the library and borrow books, read them there and spark a conversation with the girls there, ask what they are reading, etc. Live your life and go out and explore. Talk to people to get to know them – not to hope to fuck them – and you’ll be surprised how you aren’t lonely any more.
Nothing can cure depression. Not really. But we can mitigate some of the effects. We can talk ourselves into surviving another day when it feels like something we can’t believe in. Don’t put faith in a book or a cause. Don’t buy into miracle cures. Don’t feel you are not strong enough. Talk to yourself. Make a friend. Be closer to your own thoughts and feelings than anyone could dream of. Be so at one with yourself that you learn and adapt to how to control those feelings. You can’t stop them. But you can redirect that pain into something positive.
It won’t be easy.
Dying is easy. Quitting is easy.
Living is hard. Surviving is hard.
Repeat after me:
One foot after the other. One foot after the other. Keep moving. We’re gonna be OK. OK?