A few days ago the question that has probably been on her mind for a long time finally came out… I knew it would come sooner or later and I knew that I’d have to look her in the face and tell the truth. If I lied, she’d know. Like everything else around here there is never really the perfect moment so I think it was on Sunday during a commercial break on some dumb movie we’ve probably seen a million times time.
“Have you ever wanted to kill yourself” she asked me.
“Yes”, I said.
She took a deep breath and asked, “Recently?”
“No. I’m better” I replied.
I know that “13 Reasons Why” has people buzzing and I am okay with it causing so many people to talk about depression and mental illness. I really don’t think it’s something young adults should be watching in this day and age honestly. It’s just my opinion. I think as adults we are better suited to pick it apart and take it in – but as a lost teenager, I am not so sure. But I wouldn’t really know because I refused to watch it. I might end up reading the book on the beach this summer so I can experience it the way the author wanted it.
It was 1996, I was strung out on morphine at the University of Pennsylvania hospital and for 5 months in traction. Metal bars drilled through my legs and holding my hip in place so it could heal around two pins that were holding it together. I was gaining weight rapidly. I was in a very dark place. My mom never left my side for moms. I was 24 and just broken. A drunk driver put me here. I was angry. I was crushed. And while the first few days I was medically put out when I came through, 90% of my visitors had come and gone without me knowing. It was just mom and I.
I had ripped out IVs, hallucinated that Bill Clinton was coming to visit me and that a Barney balloon someone brought me was trying to kill me. The only thing on tv in the middle of the night back then was Highlander and Quantum Leap. There was no Netflix and on Saturday mornings my mom would go to the street to see if any good bootleg movies on VHS were being sold.
This was a dark bottom. I didn’t want to see my mom washing her underwear in the bathroom sink of a hospital room. I didn’t want to be lifted by a bunch of young nurses in a crane type hoist to be washed or have my sheets changed. I didn’t want to hear the doctor tell my mom I should have had my jaws wired shut so I couldn’t eat and be so fat.
I didn’t want to live anymore. It hurt too much. I slipped into a depression and sometimes went days without saying much. My family had moved to VA that summer and my baby brother no matter how tired my dad was from work would make my dad bring him to Philly to see me every weekend. Snow storms and downpours they came and I did look forward to those visits. I slept through Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and my 25th Birthday. I was in a dark place.
This was the time where I just wanted to go to sleep and not wake up. This was a time in my life where I thought the world didn’t need me, wouldn’t miss me and that it was better on everyone to not be around.
I left the hospital shortly after my 25th to go to a rehab for a few weeks to learn to walk and get around. My mom wasn’t allowed to stay with me so she went to my apartment where my grandma had moved to stay close to me. I was discharged in the middle of a snow storm on what ended up being my wedding anniversary years later and the day my best friend died. (Maybe I should see if that number comes out in the lottery often).
They had moved me into a new apartment and it was a 1 bedroom so my grandma stayed with me and my mom went home. She’d been gone for a long time and my brother was still young. I am not sure what happened or how but my grandma saved me. It was hard, watching my grandma empty my commode bucket just sucked. But she didn’t care. She walked to stores, the laundry. And little by little, I got better. Sure I was frustrated but little by little I needed the world and the world needed me. Fuck that doctor! Fuck anyone that says I can’t do something.
Chris Cornell committed suicide two days ago. I wasn’t a big fan of Soundgarden. I did like a few songs and I did love his voice. It amazes me reading the comments on social media of people that just don’t get it. He had it all, he was a millionaire. What does that matter? So was Robin Williams, Prince, Elvis, Kurt Cobain etc. If people want to debate drug addiction as an illness what is depression? Something you can cure with a lollipop?
Amy Bleuel started the Semicolon Project and after 1000’s of people got semicolon tattoos (including me) she felt so much pain that she ended her life. Her own movement didn’t save her.
It’s incredibly sad to me. But I have embraced that my story is important. That’s why I tell it here for no one to read, or for me to just go back and read. Maybe someday my step sons will want to read about this journey I was on and understand something a little more than just the fact that there aren’t Oreo’s and chips all over the kitchen anymore (Yeah that sucks too). That this shaped me. This changed me. This saved me. This made me strong. That in the end a few amazing women in my life helped make me better. That I made me better. And 21 years later after a very scary and dark time of my life I am still here and I still want to scream from the mountain tops. There is love out there. There is hope out there.
So yeah I shared deeply today. Yes, I answered her honestly. She cared. And I am okay.
Now if you pay attention to me, you should know someone close to me, someone who helped save me, felt so much pain that they wanted to sleep forever, that it affected me. That I got a 21 Pilots tattoo before you knew they existed, they helped save someone I loved, that the image is spot on to me and it is on my wrist to remind myself and those around me to Stay Alive. Our story isn’t over. I am a big fan and support the To Write Love on Her Arms organization. I have a lot of their shirts and I love them and their message. So people have asked me about it and checked in on me because I share their stuff. I am good.
But I guess this is the longest blog in awhile but with all the suicides recently I felt had a story to tell.
I will catch you up on why you probably really came here today. I was hoping to have more to tell honestly.
I have spent the week at 312 and up and down in that pound number. I trained hard too since i trained WITH coach 3 days plus on my own – plus classes. I had really hoped to have been at 300 by Memorial Day. Kinda bummed out about that. But I know in my heart I am working as hard as I can.
I have to get my ass to the gym. I am better and I don’t want anyone worried about me. I am just about ready to delete this whole blog and skip this shit this week. It’s taken me all morning to write this.
We can get better because we’re not dead yet.
I’m glad you didn’t delete it. I think once you’ve lived through a dark depression like that, it changes you in ways most people can’t understand. I cried through this whole post. And it means a whole hell of a lot that you shared it. God bless you, and the beautiful women in your life that saved you. Now, you’re saving all of us in a way. Thank you.
Love you – thanks for the talk this week too!
Right back atcha!