I had my share is what I thought to myself and then packed up my things and closed the door behind me. This was my last day, I thought to myself. This is the last time I would ever find myself at a place like this. It was enough for me to feel determined. I had finally found it within myself to move on. It was clear tome, however, that my fears would lurk behind me like a strange impending ghost,which I would always attribute to the tales of my insecurity and the wreckage of my past. I was young in most ways but too old in others. It was a fine time to be me, I suppose, although in fairness, I found the promise of my future and the benefit of my new beginning to be intimidating. There was no one around answer to. There was no more rules which I would be made to follow and no more counselors, no more reasons for meetings, no more trips to the hospital in an ambulance and no more suicide watches, no more doctors in white coats with clipboards and questions, and no more dish crews or sub par meals, cooked in a kitchen of an institution. No more bad coffee. No more room checks in the middle of the night and no more walks to the pond just down below the hill at the back of the property.
I was ready to say goodbye. But this time my farewell was different. I wanted to leave and I wanted to get away but my intensity was different this time. My intentions were different and my energy was placed in a different direction.
I was fresh from a poor decision to attempt to end my life. And my reasons for this were simple. I did not want to be me anymore. I did not want the weight on my shoulders and I did not want the fears and the insecurity. I was tired of trying to find my place in the circle. I was tired of feeling uncomfortable,unwanted, and unremarkable. I wanted my thoughts to stop turning and the heart to stop feeling but life keeps moving, in which case, nothing ever stops and quite honestly, I felt like I was stuck on a bad ride.
My choice to go was pushed by an altercation that came out in one of my groups. I was confronted and embarrassed in group. The trigger pulled because I was late, and next, the entire group turned to me, focusing on me and my needs to improve. We sat in a circle of approximately ten people and a counselor who was an old white-haired woman with a stern voice. To me, she appeared like an angry grandmother. She was a woman in recovery though. She was a drinker and perhaps old enough to be around when the 12-Step program was first written.
I felt exposed. I felt humiliated and outraged and in retaliation, I decided that I was going to show them why they should have been nicer to me.
I walked out of the room quickly because I knew if I moved slowly or spoke with anyone it would be harder to complete my mission. I was stopped however before making my way to my room by my primary counselor. His name was Kent.
Kent stopped me to advise that we had our one on one session in a few minutes. I advised Kent that I would be back in a few. I told him that I needed to go to the bathroom and that I would be right back.
I remember the thought process. I remember saying to myself, “Don’t talk.” I told myself, “Don’t stop. Keep going,” because I knew a distraction might prevent me from going forward.
My room was an upstairs room. The facility used to be a hotel until someone purchased the land and decided to use this as a rehabilitation facility. My room was one of the bigger rooms with three other roommates but I knew they were in group and I knew I would be alone.
I moved fast. I ran straight up the stairs and ignored anyone that I saw. I wouldn’t look anyone in the face. And there were reasons for this. First and foremost, I didn’t want to see them. I didn’t want anyone to see the intention in my eyes. I didn’t want to lose my nerve and I knew that if I saw someone I liked, I would fail to move forward. Also, I wanted to move quickly because I wanted to punish the world. I wanted them all to feel terrible for the way the spoke to me. I wanted the guilt to kill them the same way my shame had killed me.
Bursting into my room, I walked over to my drawer to retrieve a pair of jeans. I went into the bathroom and closed the door. I did not lock the door though because I knew at some point, someone would have to come and find me. Next, I closed the lid on the toilet and stood upon it. I wrapped one of the pant legs from my bluejeans around the sprinkler pipe and spun the other leg around my neck.
The shower curtain was drawn across the bathtub, which was cheap looking and bluish. The flowery wallpaper was yellowed with age. The wooded cabinets and the décor were from generations before mine.This would my last place. This would be the last thing I saw; this tiny bathroom, the pant leg around the sprinkler pipe, the bathtub, and the tiled floor. After taking several breaths until lightheaded, with the other pant leg from my jeans woven around my throat, I closed my eyes and sunk down to bid the world goodbye.
I can remember my last thought. I remember the pain I felt and the despair. I could feel myself about to lose consciousness and I thought to myself, “I guess this is it.”
I am not sure how long I hung for. Once I passed out, I suppose my body convulsed,shaking enough that it made the weight of my body pull the knot that I wove around my throat. I passed out and woke up on the floor. But before this, I had a dream —or maybe this was a vision. Maybe this was a divine intervention or maybe this was just the receptors in my mind, firing off in the grand finale of my imagination.
In my dream, I saw myself as a little boy, frightened, and being led to the side of an old schoolhouse that looked like something from the television show Little House on The Prairie.The small schoolhouse was church-like with green grass beside it and small playground. There was a little boy all dressed in white. He wore white pants and a white shirt with black shoes. He was swinging on the swing set. There were two girls playing there as well but they were standing, both in very white dresses.
I remember that all the colors appeared so vibrant and too bright for my eyes. There was a woman next to me. She was kind and gentle like a nice kindergarten teacher. She leaned down beside me and pointed to the other children. I was frightened and intimidated with that “New kid,” feel. The woman comforting me was dressed in old fashioned way. She was beautiful though. I know she was. She was familiar too but I could not see her face.
After pointing to the children, the woman turned me around as if to explain that I had to go back and “Run along now,” because this was not my time yet. And when I turned to go, the next thing I knew, I woke up on the floor in the bathroom.
I regained consciousness with my body still shaking in convulsions. And in that moment, I had a realization of what just occurred. I realized that I had tried to kill myself and that my attempt failed. I was scared and hurt. I was in pain because I had to come back and face the truths which I had tried so hard to run from. I was petrified of the shame I would feel because now everyone would know that I was nothing, that I was worthless, and that in the end, I couldn’t go through with it.
In addition, I also felt a strange sense of paranoia —it was like I was about to get inn trouble for what I had done. This is not the first time I tried. No, this was just the closest I had ever been to death. And now I had to endure. Now I had to deal with the fact that I did not and could not follow through. I thought I was a joke. And maybe I was to some people. But I was tired of feeling laughed at. I was tired of being me. More accurately, I was tired of living the life that I had and more importantly, I just wanted to rest but nothing ever seemed to stop.
I stood up and went down to meet my counselor. I sat down in his office. He could see my face. He could also see the mark around my throat. My face was red and my bloodshot eyes were leaking tears.
Going against the voices in my head, I told Kent everything. I told him why I did what I did and what I was thinking while I did it. I told him how much I hated the world. I told him how much I hated people but more importantly, I told Kent how desperately I just wanted to be loved and how much I just wanted to feel as though I belonged somewhere, as if I fit and felt welcomes. I told Kent how it was to be me. I told Kent that I was tired of feeling that constant shame. I was tired of the impending doom. I was tired of the thoughts in my head and most of all, I was just tired. Period. End of sentence.
The ambulance came and I had to undergo evaluation. By the time I was back, the news had already broken. Everyone knew what happened. Some men, grown men too,they came in to see me. They wept for me, which was odd because I truly believed that nobody cared. I sat with a man whom I believed hated me, and he did (in part) but only because I reminded him of himself at 18 years-old
I just didn’t want it anymore . . .
Well, you’re gonna have to take it, said a man who I will name as Mathias. You can’t do that, kid.
You can’t just throw away what God has given you.
He told me, I know you’re hurting. Shit, kid, look around you. Look where you are. Look at this fucking place! This ain’t you, son. This ain’t your life. And it ain’t gonna be either. Not on my watch.
He yelled at me crying, “You can’t do this to me!”
I felt him is all I can say. Somehow, I felt everything this man had to tell me. I felt him because I knew he understood, and for the moment, Mathias and I spoke like a father would speak with his son and a son would speak with his father.
Mathias told me, you cannot let anyone or anything dictate your life anymore. That’s your job. You can’t let the pain win. You have to get up and fight back, son. You have to.
But what if I can’t?
Then I will help you, Mathias told me
At that time, I can say I have never felt as safe or cared for or protected. I swear this man was an angel to me. He was a tough man; he was a hard man, a correctional officer, heavy-handed and physically strong, but yet, there he was weeping with me, beside me, and he never left my side until he knew that I was going to be okay.
In fact, there were a few that thought it might be fun to pick on my sometimes; one of which was addressed by Mathias himself when cornered in the bathroom with Mathias explaining, your ass will get broken if you go near that boy again. After that, no one ever bothered me again because no one and I do mean no one wanted to see Mathias angry.
On my last day, I overheard a few of the other patients laughing about me. They said I would be dead before I made it down to the end of the road. They said I was a joke.
Packing my things to leave, I made one clear decision. I was going to prove them wrong
As for my friend Mathias, unfortunately, there was a reason why he understood me so well.Years later I learned that one night, at home alone, my friend Mathias hung himself in his apartment.
I never had the chance to really thank him. I sure wish he called me. I’d have known what to say. I’d have told him he was my friend and that he saved my life. I’d have told him I love him because in loveless times like the minute before the decision is made a little love can be lifesaving
Sleep well,my friend
Struggles I have but I’ve never gone back on my word to you
Never will either—
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, please reach out. Do not throw your gift away. Reach our please because believe me, there is hope and there are people that understand
And if you can’t find someone, then reach out to me
I will help you