Well this is where the blog challenge list I chose gets seriously real. I was going to skip this one but decided to go ahead and attack this one since maybe someone will be helped by it. If anyone is reading this that is.
Unfortunately there is not one time… there were many. Very recent at that. Not recent as in yesterday but within the past year. I never talk about it but I think I should now because I am alive to tell the story.
I did not grow up in a great situation like most average kids. My parents were divorced before I was 5. My brother and I were latch key kids. Mom worked 2 jobs and one was overnight. We got dropped off at school but had to walk home and take care of ourselves. There was no daycare or afterschool program like there are today. We had to find and make our own food until mom got home. We were poor. I got made fun of all the time for wearing the same clothes all the time. I stunk. I had a government assisted lunch program card so I could eat. They made me stand at the end of the line so they could make sure the paying kids got the hot meals. I ate many a bologna sandwich since they were want was given when the hot food ran out. I had to sit a separate table most of the time since the tables filled up with kids. I could never go to outside of school activities because we just couldn’t afford to. I got picked on and laughed at so much it became expected. It had such a huge impact on me. My dad never paid child support so it was not like we got newer clothes often. My mom had to shop at Goodwill a lot since that was what we could afford.
I remember the first time I thought being gone was a good option. I think I was in third grade at the time. There was one kid who wore this ugly shirt to class and got made fun of so bad he never wore it again. He came from a family with money so he always had nice clothes. That shirt was just a mistake from day one. His parents donated clothes and that shirt made it in to that pile. I know this because it was a shirt my mom bought at Goodwill. So guess who wore it again? Yep. And that is when I remember vividly getting hammered with jokes and laughter since everyone knew we got clothes from Goodwill. I never told my mom about it and I ended up tearing the shirt so I didn’t have to wear it again. The kids were so mean to me. All I thought was that I should just jump in front of the train after school. It was a horrible time for me as an impressionable kid.
As I got older I never was the one who could go to things with friends just because we couldn’t afford it. I had some friends who could afford to go and one of 2 of their parents knew what was going on about that and would pay my way into a pizza party or 6 flags. I had good friends who had amazing parents like that. It was rare but at times I got to be one of the regular kids. I look back and can see how much my mom struggled just to feed us and clothes us so I understand now why I was not able to go do things. With that, in junior high and high school I could not afford to go to School dances or Homecoming because we just didn’t have the money where I could ask a girl and buy her a corsage. My times were spent at home. That is when the loneliness and depression started. Being “that kid” was hard to be and even harder to understand. I did not develop those skills needed to be normal and have good social interaction skills. I was awkward and misunderstood. Those kids get isolated and treated bad. Mix that with depression and you tend to think so poorly of yourself. That was me in a nutshell. I never viewed myself in a good light. There was no sense of worth from day one so I never knew what it was to view myself in a good way. I never found value and worthiness then.
I started masking myself. I started drinking at a young age. Hung out with the older neighborhood kids to feel good about myself. My dad was a post Vietnam vet alcoholic who was at the bar every night so he would buy us beer if we had money. So I was cool to the older kids. Once they all got older and left I had nothing. Once I graduated I left Irving and went off to college. I failed at that life and moved back to Dallas and got a job. I did not date much because I was too afraid to even talk to anyone. I lived alone. Made just enough to survive. I made some friends and would hit happy hours here and there. I spent a lot of time at home drinking alone. Eating bad food. I became a big fat ugly person, inside and out. I was depressed. I was lonely. I had a gun and thought many a night that I just needed to put it in my mouth and end this life I was leading. Thankfully I never did that then.
Later in life I was doing better. I was making more money and had nicer things. But I was still the same miserable person on the inside.
If you ask my friends who their funniest friend is, I would be close to the top of every list. If not right on top. My life turned into being the fat funny friend that everyone had. That was my life. I would go out and meet friends and we would eat and drink and I would make everyone laugh. Then when the night ended they would go home to their husband or wife or boyfriend or girlfriend and I would go home to Jack in the Box Breakfast Jacks. That was every weekend. Drunk, bad food and loneliness. I got up to about 350 pounds. That led to the heart attack. If you are reading these blogs then you can go to my most difficult time and read about that.
Surviving the heart attack was a blessing but back then I wasn’t going to be mad if I didn’t make it. A fitting end to a miserable person. But most importantly an end to the loneliness and depression. No more worthless existence. I welcomed it but it did not come to pass.
Since then I was unknowingly thankful that I made it but the lack of self worth was still the strongest part of my life. There were so many nights I would sit at home alone and just wonder why I didn’t just die that January night. I tried to reach out in some ways but people either didn’t understand or didn’t really care. I heard so many times the standard “oh you will be ok” or “just get over it dude”. So reaching out was not something I was going to do because no one wanted to really care and help me with real words.
So I never would come out and say “I am thinking about killing myself”. I do not think anyone would know how to react to that. The last thing I would want to hear is “just get over it dude”. There is something every single person in that place needs to hear. Every one is different and what they need to hear is different as well. But the common thing they need to hear is that someone understands and will do anything to really help. Not just pawn off the emotions you are venting with fluff words. People in this place spend a lot of time self destructing. Either by actions, words or thoughts. Some are a combination of a few or all. It is a cry for help. People usually respond with a “oh he/she is just being crazy right now” which is such a turn your head away thing to do.
There was a point last year where bad news after bad news was hitting me and it was all leading me down a path of no return. There were medical issues and the thought that I was a burden to all which were all running together. I was self defeating with actions and words. Now there was one person who I was always talking to because she was proving herself to be a good and caring person. You know that person you want to be close to. I kept her at a distance because I did not want to get involved to that point where I put myself out there too far because one more bad moment would push the depression to that point of no return. Well I didn’t have those friends I could really talk to anymore, those ones that understand and would drop everything to help if needed. I did not have anyone to reach out to and that made things horrible.
When we self destruct we show signs of it. For me it is self defeating. I would always get that “just get over it dude” line or I would say something defeating about myself and would get pacified with the “oh stop, you’re not”. No one would stop and say, “hey, do you need to go somewhere and talk?” or say something that would stop the self destruction.
Well I was self defeating. I was tearing myself apart via instant message. Really just giving myself all the reasons I had to just stop this train and get off. I told her such negative things about how I looked and I was not being kind. I was hoping to get that “just get over it, dude” so I had all the ammo I needed. For the first time I didn’t get what I thought I wanted. I actually got what I needed. I was ripping on myself and I got a reply of “hey, don’t do that to yourself. There is nothing wrong with what I see!” It was just that simple for me. In my moment if defeating, someone stepped up and didn’t speak fluff words to me. Someone validated me by taking away the value I was giving to my self defeating tactics. It was simply showing me that I had worth and value because someone cared enough to stop me from what I was doing to myself. It was not huge at all. It was a drop of water. But to someone dying of thirst, a drop is the most important thing to come along. It gave me a drop of hope and it eventually started to grow in volume from there. My self worth and value issues got a slight push into the right direction which is what I needed.
I know there are people who take their own lives every single day. People who live in silence. People who make attempts to reach out but no one seems to listen. People who self defeat and self destruct right in front of everyone and no one steps in with real words to stop them on that path they are on. It takes a single moment to turn someone around. To talk them off the ledge. We take life for granted if we stop caring about it. We need to not just find value in ourselves, we need to nurture it. We also need to find value in others then SHARE it so they can understand that their value is visible to the world so they can nurture it as well.
Anyway, no one may read this but hopefully someone will and it may help…