Paying Attention to the Signs of Suicide

If there’s one thing that most human beings can agree on, it’s that suicide is no joke. It’s hard to poke at fun at someone that just left behind a family that might’ve had no idea that anyone was ill. Anthony Bourdain reportedly committed suicide in France on the evening of June 7th, 2018. The only things I know about Anthony Bourdain are what I’ve watched, or what I’ve read about him. For me, he was one of those guys that I was hoping to meet one day. I would’ve loved to be in the same room as him and just listen. His shows were amazing because he makes you want to be where he’s at, right at that moment. People that know him say incredible things about him too, but even if they didn’t, there was still a life lost to suicide. Kate Spade suffered the same fate earlier in the week. “Why is this dude with the alcoholic blog talking about Tony Bourdain and suicide”? Because I’m afraid to. Seriously, I’m terrified but I can’t let that stop me.
In 2016 I was trying to get off the medications that were given to me by my doctor, but it came with a terrible price. I was on psychiatric medications, like Xanax, Celexa, and Prozac for over three years. I had done some reading and knew that this could be dangerous, but I couldn’t take the mental anguish I was in anymore, so I decided to quit cold turkey. The other problem was that I couldn’t quit drinking either, and it set off a nightmare effect. There was puking, sweating, shaking, severe anxiety, nervousness, and thoughts of suicide. I tried to manage all of this on my own and came out a better person on the other side, but what if I didn’t? I’ll take you through what I remember going through my head at the time, but I don’t expect this to be easy.

I took off work, so I could try to figure out how to fix myself. I shouldn’t have been leaving the house on some days anyway, so I sat in my apartment most of the time, waiting for some kind of miracle to happen. I had my electricity shut off a couple of times in the middle of summer, so for a week I had no A/C, no fridge, no nothing. I honestly don’t know how I was living like that. The thoughts that ran through my head were absolutely terrifying because it felt like they were not my own. I thought “What if I wasn’t here anymore?” “Who, besides my kid, would miss me?” I even tried to rationalize the fact that he was only six years old and might not remember much. Then I thought he might not care either. I found my mom when she passed and sat in the hospital with my dad holding his hand when he died. I felt numb to life and all that came with it, the good and the bad. Sometimes, it felt like I had no feelings at all. Other times while I was in such a depressive state, I felt like I was walking through a garbage dump that were my thoughts. Where would I do it? How would I do it? Do I write a note? Should I delete my browser history? What happens next? I pictured myself being found by the police. I also pictured what life would be like for my kid if I was gone. And since I just cried for fifteen minutes before I wrote this next sentence… that’s what stopped me. Just because I didn’t care about myself at the time, didn’t mean I had to make anyone else suffer. Especially my son.

I didn’t know why that thought stopped me at the time, I just knew it did. What I know now, is that it was the first true unselfish act I may have ever carried out, and that’s why I didn’t do it. I taught myself to find the root of the problem, instead of dealing with surface issues, because the surface stuff wouldn’t be there if the root wasn’t there. It’s like killing a weed, you have to pull it by the root for it to be gone. The analogy might be a little simple, but how hard do we need to make it? It got me to think about what I really wanted in life, and since I have this second chance, I don’t want to screw it up. Which brings me to why I’m writing this article.

One of the things I knew I had to change were my goals, because they didn’t serve any purpose or real fulfillment. It’s because of what I thought I wanted. I wanted a big house, a bunch of cars, and all the crap that’s advertised on TV. Those were my goals. Those should not be anyone’s goals. There’s nothing wrong with having lots of money or having a ton of fun while we’re on this planet, but my real goals needed to have some real fulfillment. By focusing on the wrong things, I had a “fake it till you make it” attitude towards life, and it didn’t give me any type of purpose, so I devalued myself. I treated my body poorly and I treated my mind even worse. I tried to drink myself to death and almost succeeded. I used every superficial way I could to try to feel like I was living, and it was all bullshit. From the clothes I wore, to the things I was interested in, it was all fake. It was put there to achieve more goals of having more things. But what would having these things actually give me to sustain any type of fulfillment? Nothing. It was part of wanting a life that wasn’t my own. It was a part of me not wanting to be me. It was a part of me wishing I was someone else all the time. It’s an empty place.

We hear about famous people committing suicide and think “They had everything! Why would they wanna kill themselves?” Maybe we need to redefine what we perceive as “everything”. I have no idea why Anthony Bourdain or Kate Spade decided to take their own lives. There are many factors that can lead to a decision like that, but I do know that I would’ve defined myself as mentally ill at the time when I had thoughts of suicide. It throwing out my false dreams that made me realize that it was time to get rid of this mental illness and start living my life. When we’re told that certain things are supposed to make our situation better, but actually makes things worse, then where do we turn? Maybe there was a purpose they felt was not met or unserved. Maybe they only seemed to have everything or achieved all their dreams from the outside looking in, but only the surface goals and dreams were met and they felt they had nothing else. Maybe they never found the root of who they were even though it seems to the outside world that they had every opportunity.

Maybe we could be nicer to each other and not be so judgmental towards others. Maybe we can be more compassionate and understanding to someone else’s situation. We’re all human beings that need love and compassion, and some type of purpose. Maybe we can help one another find fulfillment by talking to each other and not at each other. Talk to someone about something important to you now and again but try to remember what important really is when you do. It seems to me that the best way to stop someone from committing suicide is to talk about things that matter once in a while. Problems get messy, but they’re a lot easier to clean up before they get too big. Don’t be afraid to talk to people about life because it may save it one day. Maybe you’re lucky to be reading this and maybe I’m lucky to be writing this. Remember to have a powerful day!

#BeHigherBeings

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