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Suicide: in the spirit of sharing.


In the spirit of sharing: A story I've never told. 

It seems the sudden and tragic death if famed comedia Robin Williams has shocked and saddened the entire world. He was pure genius, often our only way of escaping the sadness of our own lives. 

I, too, suffer with depression. This is a story I've never shared in detail before. Some know a tidbit. Some know a detail. But until now I've never shared so much about one of my darkest hours on earth. 

A little over three years ago, I walked out of the door to my temporary home in Scotland with nothing in my pockets but one cigarette and a lighter. 

I walked a Mile to the graveyard, where I sat on the church steps for an hour or two, praying somebody would find me and take me inside, to tell me I would be ok and that life was worth living. 

Nobody came. 

I sat there all alone on the front steps for hours. Finally I moved to the back of the church where I found a spot in the grass and talked. The only body around was one far beneath the earth I sat on. The headstone was dated back to the 1700's, but that didn't matter. I needed a friend, and he was the only one around at the time. Still, I was alone. 

I had been ruthlessly tortured for months, used as nothing more than a pit bull for dog fights. I was nothing. I was garbage. I shouldn't have been alive. I should be in a box under the grass beside my friend in the abandoned, forgotten church yard.  I was a coward. I didn't deserve to live if I couldn't stand up for myself and break away from my imprisonment. 

Finally I realized - nobody was coming. There would be no miracle. There was no Suicide Hotline, and they wouldn't have been able to help me, anyway. Nobody would save me. It wasn't a movie. Nobody cared. Nobody reached out. Nobody told me it would be ok. Nobody stood beside me when I needed it. Nobody. 

I trudged my way to the train tracks. It would be a fast ending to a miserable existence. I would die immediately upon impact, my body never having the time to send pain signals to my brain. Lights out, like a snap of the fingers. Or neck. 

I sat beside the train tracks. I pulled out my cigarette and my lighter. I lit it. I inhaled. Slowly I let the smoke curl up from my lips and escape into the air, just as my spirit would in another five minutes. This would be my last cigarette. 

A kindly soul with his young child approached and he asked me for a light. I offered him my lighter and even told him he could keep it. He insisted he give it back when he was finished, as he would have no further use for it. I wanted to tell him, neither would I. But I had to wait until the child was gone. I wouldn't dare end my life with a child watching. I would never scar an innocent mind like that. 

 As I sat waiting, I heard the train clack-clacking down the rails. The rhythmic beat marched up with words that seemed to float in from nowhere. In my mind, I wrote a sad and haunting poem that sticks with me even today. 

I got up and practically ran the full distance back to my prison. I needed paper. I had to write it down lest I forget it! 

The only thing that saved my life that day - the ONLY thing - was my writing. So the next time you hear me say I'm passionate about it, maybe you'll better understand why. 

It wasn't a stranger. It wasn't even the kid. It wasn't some miracle. It was me. Simply put, it was my writing. And I knew I could never leave this planet without sharing at least some part of my writing with the world. 

I wanted to die, but I NEEDED to live. 

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Vanilla Sky

"It's the little things. There's nothing bigger, is there..."

I've taken several of my favorite lines from the infamous film mentioned in the title of this blog that provoked deep thought within me, forcing me to face some things I've not really sat down and thought about before... and I'd like to share those thoughts.  They're the little things in life, but they really are the biggest moments I've known.

"Every passing minute is a chance to turn it all around."

A few days ago, someone told me to watch the movie "Vanilla Sky" and finally, I did.  I had been searching for something - anything - to capture my full attention for longer than ten minutes.  In this day and age, I'm so accustomed to multitasking that I can't seem to really devote my attention to one thing at a time.  This has been a good reminder that I need to unplug.  I need to escape from the day to day distractions and really focus on what I want to do.  It's never too late, after all.  I can turn it all around at a moment's notice and really focus all of my attention on the things I'm passionate about.  I think, perhaps, it's time I did.

"Once you've been driven off a bridge at 80 miles an hour, you don't invite happiness in without a full body search."

 Some of you may remember the blog post I wrote a few years ago about how I was driven off a cliff in the back seat of a pickup truck and could have easily died.  This statement, and the way it was made, with the once powerful man sitting in a corner against a wall, hiding behind a mask... this struck a chord with me and I haven't been able to shake it. 

I had lost my trust for mankind long before that moment, but that defining moment is one I can absolutely pinpoint my anger and hatred for drunks on.  Someone I once trusted with my life abused that trust and nearly killed me simply because he had too much to drink and made a stupid decision.  Since then I've had my share of broken hearts, over and over, never really able to understand why until long after they're done.  I've learned not to trust and not to believe in happiness without doing some serious searching.  He was right... "Once you've been driven off a bridge at 80 miles an hour, you don't invite happiness in without a full body search."

"The sweet is never as sweet without the sour."
I'd never have known all the heartache if I hadn't known all the love.  The reverse is every bit as true.  I've searched and longed for that fairytale ending.   I thought that's what life was about, and why we were put on this planet.  Finally, I learned the truth - and the truth was a bitter pill to swallow.  But the bitterness gave way to the sweetest wines from the most sour of grapes.  One cannot exist without the other.  And in the end, would we even want it to?  We cannot truly appreciate what we have until it's gone.  We cannot claim to love if we cannot loathe.  There is no good without the bad, no black without the white, no stars without the darkness.  Life is so much more than just searching for that proverbial "one" who completes us.  Life has a million of those people out there.  They all complete us because they are all a part of our life, and our lives are a never ending circle of continuous connections.  They complete that circle, no matter how many or how few they are.  And of all the sweet things I've known, so few can ever compare to a solid connection based on understanding, trust, friendship, loyalty, truth and commonality.  So to the person who told me to watch this movie, wherever you are as you're reading this, I just want to say thank you.  Thanks for being the 'sweet' in the swirling of sour.

"What's happiness to you, David?"
"I'll tell you in the next life. When we are both cats."

Good morning!

Sometime in the early morning hours, I awoke to a rhythmic noise, punctuating and piercing my dreams. My ears tried to block the sound as I attempted to sleep through it, and as it ripped the last of the cloud-world of my imagination from the frontal cortex of my lofty head,  I told myself it was construction workers. 

Only to discover upon full alertness that it was my own air conditioner, and the melatonin hangover causing it to sound like a jackhammer starting up in my kitchen. 

I desperately wanted to go straight back to sleep so that I might continue the dream I had been having regarding a continuation of real life events from the previous night. Sadly, I was left with new dreams instead. 

Good morning, World.