We have all felt alone and misunderstood from time to time, but we all have had or are going through our low moments. According to Google’s most recent death toll, every 60 seconds 105 people die, but out of those 378,000 per hour… 1 in 10,000 commit suicide. That's 378 per hour who lose the fight against suicide.
My story dates back 10 years ago, May 7, 2008, at 1 AM at my bedside when I contemplated suicide. Spending years of breathing fresh air and freedom, the road has been far from easy. It's simple to win when you never quit, but what creates that grit?
What nurtures our growth as human beings to never entertain this kind of thought again? Let’s do a deep dive, but first… my story and some things I've lived out to have complete freedom in my own life.
My breathing was heavy and my heart was beating heavier and heavier with every breath I took in. I was so depressed and beat down, I didn't know where to turn because I was so embarrassed. I made the biggest mistake of my life.
I was addicted to over 10 combinations of drugs, depressed and had no clue where to turn to define who I truly was. I didn't even know what I enjoyed to do because I was depending on what others said about me for validation. I was in and out of rehab, destroyed and shattered to my core, but at 1 AM is when I thought “ending it all” would help me refrain from being a continuous failure to everyone around me.
I didn't know what to do… shame, guilt, and brutal embarrassment smothered my thoughts, but then a thought broke through “my smokescreen” of confusion and overwhelm…
It was simple, actually.
“Call Anthony”, it said, and without skipping a beat - I picked up the phone and called him. It rang and rang and rang and by the 3rd ring I thought he may not pick up the phone.
In 3 seconds, it flooded my mind:
“What if he doesn't answer?”
“Why are you bothering him?”
“He doesn't care about you!”
“Didn't you see he was disappointed?!”
“Why would he even care?”
Anthony: “ HELLO?”
Me: “Hey man, I really could use someone to talk to right now. I really just want to end it all right now.”
Anthony: “Whoa, wait a minute. I'll be down there shortly to talk and listen.”
I don't remember anything from that conversation except one thing…
I walked back into my room from the driveway after our 30 minutes of conversation and I could only hold one thing close to my heart… It healed my heart, but it gave me something I could wrap my emotions around and I finally believed again.
That one simple thing was…
I still matter and the purpose of my life was still actionable. I just had to decide. Speaking from experience, I want you to know you still have a purpose and if you decide right now… we can walk together through this because I understand you.
There are 3 things I’ve implemented into my life to help me maintain over a decade of freedom from suicide:
Grab a Journal
Journaling is something to have saved my life in more ways than one, even to this very day of writing this article. I absolutely dreaded putting a pen to paper because we have “voice-to-text” now, duh. However, after pitching a “hissy fit”, I ended up putting pen to paper and filled out 60 pages of blank in 30 minutes. My mind was racing so I can understand how it feels for this can feel like “homework”, but trust me… it gave me the mental “breath of fresh air” I desperately needed.
When you begin journaling, it’s vital to get a journal you actually like the look, feel, and overall appeal of it. You have to like what you hold so you get overwhelmed. When journaling, it’s important to understand to simply… write. Nothing extra. When one though interrupts another simply write “...” and continue to the next thought. This will let you get things out of your mind, on paper, and in front of you. It will give you a “new pair of eyes.”
Confide in Someone You Trust
It was tough for me to open up to someone, but when I was racing through the thoughts in my head, I didn’t have the time, nor did I care to journal my emotions because they were so unbearable. Anthony happened to be the one person I could humble myself to and feel safe. I felt like he saw me for my potential and not the mistakes I made from immaturity. There was a mix of emotions of wanting to protect myself because I refused to be hurt again, but there was something inside of me wanting more.
When finding or even being that person for someone, it’s important to find or be the person who is there for the person to say what is on their heart. Sometimes shutting up and being there can mean more than the most elegant speech. Remember, silence can be the most comforting sound when it’s spent with someone who genuinely cares.
Be to Someone What You Needed
It’s equally important to be that person, regardless of how you feel, so you know what to spot in someone. The FBI have never been known to study the original 100 dollar bill. The more they study the original, the better they can identify the fakes. Constantly growing as a person means to live as a channel.
There's an old saying, “A hose gets wet when water flows through it”, and that's exactly what we have to be. When receiving help, its endowed a responsibility on us to pay it forward. We were given another chance so another mistake is no worse than the the decisions we made, ourselves.
There may be things where you feel like you can't forgive yourself on or someone you know may be feeling this way, but there's something vital to know right now.
You know better now so you already have an opportunity to do a personal upgrade. No longer are you that same person. You know something no one else does and you have an experience you can carry to help someone else. There's someone needing your voice, but your history is NOT your identity.
You are what you believe about yourself, both positive and toxic. The choice is yours though… right now.
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