Suicide is shameful to most, but I’m somehow not ashamed by it. I did what I did because of my own conviction. Sure, alienation played a part in it, but nothing could compare to the overwhelming feelings of spiritual dissatisfaction. Life was meaningless. I was passionate about my apathy, my universal despair. The art I absorbed and am sometimes drawn to only reinforces these beliefs.

It’s taken me many, many years (17, to be exact) to take a long, hard look at the clinical depression I’ve wrestled with my entire life. Most people I know today wouldn’t understand or believe it, but that’s what comes with doing a complete mental 180. My only hope is that, through some of my most brutal honesty, any suicidal or depressed people out there read this and find a way to cope long enough to find out how beautiful and valuable this little, fleeting slice of existence can truly be.

I took an industrial-sized bottle of Ibuprofen and chased it with a 2 liter bottle of Coke. I grabbed all of my Paxil and all of the allergy medication in my mother’s cabinet and swallowed it gulp after gulp. I laid down in my darkly wood-paneled room and fell asleep, hoping to never wake up again. I did wake up, vomited on my 70s shag carpet and had to admit to my saint of a mother what I had done when she came home from work. She’s a nurse, ever the caretaker. It was too late to pump my stomach. My loving, caring parents who always looked out for me in spite of how much of an ungrateful, greedy, lazy, disobedient asshole I was had to watch their only son twitch like an epileptic seizure episode asleep in a hospital bed before them, powerless.

When I awoke, it was no choice at all to admit myself to the clinic. There were no other options. If my father wasn’t high up the chain in the behavioral health world, I would have been there for weeks. Maybe I should have been.

There was no room in the adolescent unit. That fact still makes me sad. How many confused kids like me were sitting there still reeling and wishing death upon themselves and living in this bizarro summer camp of a psych ward. There was no room in the teen unit, so they put me in with the pre-teens. I got to meet 11 and 12 year olds who tried to slit their wrists or beat up their parents. One had urinated on his teacher’s desk.

I made friends with one of the kids because we both liked hacky sack and re-watching the 3 VHS tapes we had in our unit: The Nutty Professor remake, Baby Geniuses, and Flintstones: Viva Rock Vegas. I can see his face, but I can’t remember his name. He tried to hang himself with a garden hose and his dad had unexpectedly come home from work early, found him and lifted him up to save his life. This wasn’t the first time he tried. The first time, the rope had broken. That’s why he upgraded to the garden hose.

I wonder where he is right now. I hope he found happiness or some small form of contentment.

My parents would visit daily and bring me my favorite fast food and Jones Soda flavors. That stuff was amazing. A person who spent the majority of his life fat like me could always be bought with food. My sister would come with them too. I don’t think they knew how to approach me. They saw me as a fragile glass teetering on the edge of impulsive insanity. This assertion was so far from the truth. Everything I’ve ever done in my life has been deliberate. Emotional and arguably illogical at times, but always deliberate and always considerate of multiple angles.

When I finally lied my way out of in-patient care, I spent a few weeks in outpatient. They’d bus me from my home back to the facility and I’d be in all-day group therapy sessions led by an eastern-philosophy-loving Japanese guy. All of the other patients were at least close to my age this time. This was one of the most humbling and eye-opening experiences of my life as it finally gave me a clear window into my own greatest strength and weakness–empathy.

I met a girl who, by all accounts, should have been the happiest girl alive. Her name was Wendy. She was skinny, beautiful, and had a warm and likable personality. She grew up fat and had developed an eating disorder. Being fat most of my life, I could empathize with her former self, but her waif-like form that now appeared before me seemed almost surreal. How could she be unhappy? How could she hate herself?

I was unbelievably ignorant toward eating disorders. I had no idea that control was at the root of it all. Inadequacy and body dysmorphia with a healthy dose of obsessive compulsion to quell the feelings of chaos in one’s life. I could totally understand that. I’m over-simplifying, of course, but she taught me so much. For the longest time, I even though I was in love with her. I ran into her randomly a few times after the program. She’s still beautiful and genuine. Now, she’s married with children. I have nothing but gratitude for the insights into my own ignorance that she provided for me.

Another guy was this big, fat heavy metal dude. Picture the Pantera t-shirts and tattoos. He looked so tough and scary, but he was as gentle as a puppy. He used to drink a bunch of liquor, listen to death metal and cut himself. His self-hatred stemmed from a physically abusive father. He was a truly nice person. The world knows how to break people like that.

The last person I remember was far and away the most tragic. He was abducted by his crossing guard and kept locked in a rape dungeon for several days. When he returned to school, the other kids heard about the incident and bullied him relentlessly. They called him a “faggot.” How this tortured soul could face a room full of his peers, even in the environment we were in, and admit that kind of dark, evil and repugnant shit is beyond my comprehension. He had balls of fucking titanium. Anyone who lived through that and could still face the morning sun was a hero of personal willpower.

He inspired me to work through my own issues instead of running away. If he was still breathing after all of that, we all had a chance. We all had hope. Bless this guy for sharing such a bright and humbling light down on all of us with our superficial problems and first world philosophical quagmires. Sometimes staring too long at the cave walls under your own precipice blinds you to the vast, wonderful sky that awaits outside. There’s so much more to life than negative thought loops. I still need to remind myself of that sometimes.

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