In July of last year, I survived a suicide attempt.
Honestly, on up until today, I never wanted to talk about it. I would have been perfectly happy going to my grave never mentioning it again. But then news broke that Washington State QB Tyler Hilinski had committed suicide. Earlier this week, Rick Springfield discussed a suicide attempt of his own. I felt it would be irresponsible of me to never mention my own attempt ever again.
I’ve also been massively depressed the last few days. This has been my first bout of depression since the attempt. It’s been so bad that I contemplated not tending to this blog ever again…to give up writing altogether. Needless to say, I’ve been quite emotional which is why news of Hilinski hit me like a ton of bricks this morning.
The act of suicide is an uncomfortable discussion. I get it. I’m not even linking this to my personal Facebook page (that I haven’t checked in months) because I know that someone would get overly concerned (I’m not currently suicidal) or others would simply be too bothered by it. But I think it’s time, so here we go:
In July on that fateful day, I had attempted to hang myself in the woods early in the morning. That failed.
I meandered around town, contemplating whether or not to disappear forever or just find a more suitable place to end it all. Finally, I found a hotel room. I was probably drunk and looked disheveled, so I can’t imagine what the lady at the front desk was imagining. But I checked in and decided to nap, sleep it over until I came to a decision.
When I awoke, I decided: “I’m ready to die today.”
I found the hotel stationary and composed three suicide notes addressed to various people. I don’t believe that I have ever expressed the content of those notes to anyone. I’m not sure I ever will. This was probably the hardest part of it all. What does one say to loved ones that are about to get the shock of a lifetime?
Afterwards, I cleaned up and looked at myself in the mirror for the last time. I remember this being quite surreal. “There is no future”, I thought. “This is it”. It was at that moment my emotions shut off…everything became procedural.
I wasted no time. It was obvious what the method was going to be: hanging. I constructed a noose with the bed sheets and I quickly tested the closet rod for sturdiness. When I realized that it could hold my weight, I undressed. For reasons I can’t explain, I thought it fitting that “naked I came into the world, naked I leave”. I put the noose around my neck, said “God forgive me”, and dropped to my knees.
That was it…a wink out of existence.
Where there was something…was now nothing.
Then I awoke on the floor.
There are several thoughts that go through your head when this happens: “That noose shouldn’t have broke!”, “Where the fuck am I?”, and “Is this Heaven or Hell?”. I was also reminded of Hugh Everett, the founder of the “Many-Worlds Interpretation” within quantum mechanics, who believed that consciousness changes worlds at the moment of death therefore, from the perspective of the individual, consciousness lives on forever. Did I just prove him right? All of those thoughts quickly rushed through my mind.
Then my naked self started bawling on the floor.
What I’ve seldom mentioned to people was that I also shat myself between hanging and falling to the ground which gave a nice gash to the back of my head. Blood was everywhere, which again, made me think what was going through the mind of the front desk lady when she saw me check out crying and bleeding from the head only a couple of hours later.
But I decided to not give suicide a third try. Clearly I wasn’t meant to die that day. Just hours later, I was checked into a psyche ward where I pleasantly spent the next ten days and was afterwards sent to rehab in Houston (where, in case you haven’t read, I dodged a hurricane).
This wasn’t the first attempt I had. I had plenty of suicidal ideation in high school. I remember that I used to fantasize about jumping off a tall building but was too afraid to act on it. Finally, in college, I attempted an overdose which sent me to the hospital where I also spent some time in a psyche ward. It was this event that derailed my military career. But after years of build-up, finally I cracked in college.
In the years between my first attempt and second, images of a noose began to spring up in my mind. I always told myself that I would never attempt suicide again, but when under stress or severe depression, that noose became a comforting image: I could just end it all, at anytime. I believe Rick Springfield said something to the effect that thoughts of suicide was like a lingering friend…it just sticks with you for life. It can even be comforting. I suppose that’s sort of been my case….suicidal thoughts became my retreat…a friend that’s there but you don’t talk about.
I’m not going to say that all suicides are the same, but this could be why some people do it without warning. Hilinski didn’t seem like the kind of kid that would commit suicide, but we don’t talk about these things.
I wish that I had more answers.
As I discussed in my “Creating a Better World” series, we’re broken people. I suppose that there’s a disease of loneliness and desperation permeating the United States. We see this everywhere. It’s in the Opiate Crisis. In the Mental Health crisis. We’re too buried in our phones and social media to interact with one another. We’re too caught up in cheap news to trust each other. It’s easy to point fingers, but these problems won’t go away until we decide, as individuals, to shut the computer, turn off the phone, and look at each other in the eye.
On that note, this is partially why I might be taking a step back from this blog. As weird as it is to say, this thing has been contributing to my depression. I’ve become too concerned with viewership and watching others succeed while I’m middling along. That’s entirely my own fault, but I always told myself that once when I became concerned with views, likes, and follows that I would stop doing it altogether. That shouldn’t be why I’m doing this. But more importantly, I want to practice what I preach. If I want to be a better person in a better world, I have to spend less time around a computer.
I want to thank everyone that’s been following me.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255