Fridays Should Be Funny?

This is a hard video to watch if you have experience with this topic, either your own personal struggles or the struggles of someone you care deeply about. But it speaks to me with electric power that both burns and galvanizes my personal resolve. It is, perhaps, the most beautifully and carefully done thing I have ever found on this particular subject matter.

I have myself battled suicidal thoughts in my lifetime. And even though I have won the battle in the past, I realize that the war is never over, and you fight it every day no matter how long you live.

But coping with suicidal ideation, and knowing how to find the help you need, and eventually being that help for others, is something worth knowing about. And it is critical to get it right when communicating that to others. Because some very good books and movies have touched this landmine of a topic and caused readers, especially teen readers, to actually go through with the act.

So, if I finish writing my book about depression and suicide, and then it causes the very thing I have been fighting, then I have lost the war. That must not happen.

Suicidal thoughts are one of the worst after-effects of surviving a traumatic event. And if you read the actual words in my posts instead of just looking at the pictures, you may remember that I was once a victim of a traumatic event. He not only sexually tortured me, he convinced me that I was going to die if I screamed for help. It led to a long period of traumatic amnesia, hating my naked, helpless self, and self-harm every time I had sexual urges. I was lucky. The Methodist Minister, father of my best friend at the time, taught me the real facts of life and saved me from myself. I was saved again when I reached out in a secret phone call to a friend and got him to admit to me that I was not worthless and beyond redemption… even though I never revealed to him what happened to me, or why he needed to tell me not to kill myself. And it probably even helped that the high school guidance counselor spent an awkward afternoon with me trying to understand how I could be so terrified of something I didn’t even remember and couldn’t tell him about.

My experiences from that traumatic event and tragic time in my life led me to become a school teacher before I tried to become a writer. It led me to want to help others, especially those like me who have been forced to spend time in the existential darkness.

And along the way I did help some kids overcome things that were similar to my own dark woes. But, then too, there were ones I tried to help that didn’t make it.

Ruben joined a gang in San Antonio and died in the crash of a stolen pickup truck.

J.J. got drunk and drove his truck in front of a train at a local railroad crossing.

And I wouldn’t have survived either of those things without help. Sometimes life is more fragile than we realize… or know how to cope with.

But I have also spent hours upon hours sitting with kids in emergency rooms for suicidal ideation on three different occasions. And I have visited kids in two different behavioral hospitals more times than I can keep track of. And the number of times I have actually helped someone dear to me survive a suicidal episode is a number I have no way of accurately counting up. They don’t always tell you what you have done for them after the fact. But, then again, sometimes they do.

And now my work in progress is a book about having the blues so bad… Well, the scene I wrote last night made me weep for twenty minutes. About the same amount of time I cried over this essay. If you read the whole thing, congratulations. You are very brave and a decent human being, and I am sorry for whatever bad feelings I may have caused with my words.

In case you need it, no matter for who…

  • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

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Filed under autobiography, battling depression, Depression, novel writing

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