This earth, love, life, my friends, family, this job, this position, or you?
A few days ago the school I work at had a day where they have workshops and assemblies for the student body. They have them every so many weeks. It’s a good idea. It breaks up the monotony of the regular daily schedule and gives the kids a chance to learn a little differently. Well this one was on stress relief and suicide prenvention 😳, yup. This one may get a little heavy.
So I will be extremely honest and transparent, I have pondered the idea of suicide a few times in my life. As a boy, I was a small kid and I got teased a little bit about it. But I had a cute factor. I was also teased by my cousin, he called me a girl and tried to treat me like one. He even gropped me a few times which led to some fist fights with him, no big deal! As a tween I grew a little but I was skinny. No visible muscle, scary looking, most of my cute baby features, gone. I didn’t know it at the time but I was bullied. To me it was normal behavior of the guy who looked like he was 16 in middle school. By highschool I had some muscle tone, I was a “pretty boy”. I embraced the role. I dressed the part, talked to girls, hung out with friends, my confidence was at 9000. I was a narcissist. My dad was not impressed. He was this hulking guy from a bygone era and did not really understand me. By college I was brought back down to earth. I couldn’t talk my way to an A in class. Mommy was not there to save me. My dad basically said you’re on your own. I also struggled maintaining any type of relationship minus the one I had with church. I had all my biggest break ups or lack of hook ups between college and the age of 30. I also met my wife in this time frame.
After 30, I was committed to just myself. Then me and my wife, at the time,my friend, started dating. Then we got married. She was/is a feisty woman who pushes me to be more. I didn’t know it at the time but I was in a state of depression when we started dating. She pulled me out of it. When we got married, 30 years of lack, teasing, bullying, self image issues, unwanted gropes, and failures hit me hard. I had to be a leader for this woman and I only knew how to look out for me. I had no money and my debt was too much to bare. What should I do?
That’s when it hit me the hardest.
I could end it all and not have to worry about anything else. No one would even care. My parents have 2 other kids, they will get by. My wife will move on. She’s young, she will start over. I hardly have any friends now. Do yourself a favor and end it now.
All the years of little whispers hit me the hardest during me and my wife’s early years together. It all was attached to anxiety and lack of self worth. My wife saw me transform from a confident young man to a wounded wolf unfit to lead our pack.
I am not writing this for attention or for a pity party. I’m writing this because during the school assembly I was inspired to talk about my silent struggle with these thoughts. During the assembly John Halligan talked about how his son committed suicude back in 2003. I am not going to tell his story, look him up. Not being mean, I just would not do his story justice. During the assembly I started to think about my son who will be starting school soon. We got to the end of the assembly, my eyes welled up, we clapped, I looked away and put my focus elsewhere, the assembly ended. But his words, his experience, it bugged me all day.
I recently had a conversation with my wife about a stupid thing I did that upset her. After she was done talking those thoughts came back. I knew I messed up, and I apologized, but hearing about myself, all my flaws and failures, it hurt. I began to question my very existence. But then I remembered the words of Mr. Halligan. He said “you are loved and you matter”. It made me realize she only said it cause she loves me and wants me to do better. I can’t compare her to the kids who teased and bullied me in school or put all my failures on her. I have to do better. That’s when I got the courage to write this.
I said a lot but I do want to leave you with some things that helped me get through.
Be honest with yourself
My thought to take my life was not this big gradiouse thought. It started as a small form of self hate of my size, my failures, my anger, my regrets. It grew from the words of those who teased me. I waved off the thought many times but the more I did that and the more I was teased, the more I thought about it. Depression and anxiety was left to grow in me, unchecked.
I learned to be honest and say (after 30+ years old), this bothers me and I need to talk about it and get it out. SO, I talked about it and I hit the gym. Did I get bigger? Nope, LOL. But, I feel so much better and I got healthier physically and mentally.
Focus on what you can offer not what you can’t do
My dad was big on telling us what me and my brothers could not do. So I got really good at noticing what I’m good at. Like, I have ridiculous balance. My dad knows this too, he used to send me if he had to do things in high places (clean gutters, take limbs off the roof, get stuff out the crawl space in our house, etc…). I have a way with words. I have a way with kids. People like to just talk to me, total strangers. I have cataloged so much history in my head. I can tell you a movie (not those b or c list remakes) just by watching 5 min of it. I’m a work horse when I need to be. I can give some good advice.
Not trying to be vain, I just know there are some things I can do and you should list yours and be proud of your awesome list..
Everybody will not like how great you are
My pastor said something during a sermon one sunday. “You are one of a kind, there is, and will never be anybody like you”. There is something only you can do and some people, only you can reach. Some people will not like that. That is ok. Continue to be unique and great.
Know you are loved
I know if something happened to me today my wife would be devastated. My family would be so hurt. So I not only live every day for me but for them also. There are some people that are attached to me, and I just recently thought, “ how would this affect them”. I have over 300+ friends on social media and I know at least 200+ (a lot of them are family members) love me in some way shape or form.
Believe in something more than yourself
I am a Christian male.I believe God is watching over me, but I do not put this belief on everyone else. If you do believe in any type of God know that there is a purpose for you. Shoot, I don’t care if you believe in science or that aliens created us. Know that you were not just a random causality.
Casualties are never complex, they are not lucky, or, by chance. Example, you catch a falling iron by the handle. Now if you are a pro at that, it’s probably because you had a lot of practice in doing it. My point is luck and chance can never explain the full complexities of your existence. In my opinion saying we exist, by chance, is an easy way to give a reason for our existence. In some ways saying creation is the reason sounds easy too, but there are a lot more factors that go into creation then luck. I am more than just a random event. I and you were created for and with a purpose.
One of my issues is that I feel like a nobody, daily. I don’t have enough money, muscles, or confidence. Then I am reminded of Odysseus. Just follow me for a sec. SO in the odyssey, Odysseus, gets to an island. The island was inhabited by man eating Cyclopses. He fought one of them and blinded him. When the cyclops asked “who blinded me, who are you?” Odysseus replied “Nobody”. The other cyclops found their blinded brother and asked “who did this to you?”. He replied “nobody”.
I know the odyssey is a myth but “nobody” can be powerful. Nobody can stop an army of tanks on the road (Tiananmen Square). Nobody can save the lives of soldiers and still be awarded a purple heart (unknown soldiers in war). Nobody helped a musical genius write symphonies that are considered today’s classical music (Beethoven’s mystery love).
I am ok with being nobody. Yes, of course I want to be remembered but if my actions out live me, it will be a life well lived. Remember you are loved so don’t be selfish. Your story is a story that is not just for you. Someone needs you. Someone needs to know about you. Someone else’s life depends on you. Your presence and your story is what somebody else in this world needs to hear and see, so continue to thrive and live so you can save that person.