Depression is a horrible thing. Large or small it harms. In 22 years ago I lost my mentor, my safety net, my mentor.
He was coming home after having pizza with a friend of ours. This was unusual because the friend had not wanted to go to the regular restaurant. He was driving home on the interstate in a light rain. About a half mile from his exit he came up over the crest of a hill at around 65-70MPH.
In his lane was a stopped car. He swerved into the lane and missed the stopped car but spun out ending up pointing south in the north bound lanes. An Este semi-trailer also doing around 65-70 MPH slammed into his car.
My friend was killed. According to the autopsy it was “instant.”
A car with a doctor pulled over and people rushed to give first aid as there were some four or five vehicles involved. The doctor that was the passenger got out and attended to the living.
In the post accident report it was found that only one person had any alcohol in their bloodstream and at way below legal limits. The doctor who wasn’t driving. He had had a glass of wine with dinner. He had his wife drive because of that glass of wine and the fact that he had had a very long day.
My world ended the next morning when I got an email from my mentor’s father stating that his brother had died the night before. I didn’t think his father had a brother so called to find out. Turns out that his sister had used their fathers email account to send out the message to the mailing list.
I was the person to tell all his friends that it wasn’t his uncle that had died, it was him.
It hurts even now.
For the next 3 or 4 years I lived in depression. I rode my bike on a 100 mile one way commute three times per week. On the way home, alone in my helmet I would look at every overpass and say “Just aim right there and it will all be over. It will be painless.” And each time for dozens of overpasses I would say “not tonight”.
I don’t remember if I was on any medication for depression at that time but if I was, it didn’t seem to help. My depression stayed with me but my will to live exceeded any drive to suicide when my wife-to-be became pregnant. It was something to live for.
But depression remains. It has cost me clients. There is this place where I knew what had to be done but there was always something else I wanted to do. It was hard to talk to people because I knew I was disappointing them.
Earlier this year I decided that yes, I was actually clinically depressed and got help. A little blue pill. Not that one you dirty minded folks. I did not want to do it for fear they would “red flag” me. They didn’t.
It took about two months before I started functioning on a more normal basis.
Suicide is no longer something that is just a step away. It isn’t a consideration.
One of the things I remember is reading how Bob Owens had driven to the end of his street and used his firearm to kill himself. As a voice in the 2A community it hit hard. I vowed that I would never disgrace the 2A with a firearm. It helped.
So I give you this song. It is from the movie and is longer than the version on the TV show.
Suicide is NOT painless. It hurts. It hurts you and it hurts those around you. There are people there to help. Don’t be afraid to reach out if you are hurting. There are people that care for you, even if you can’t see or feel them.
If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) any time day or night, or chat online. Crisis Text Line also provides free, 24/7, confidential support via text message to people in crisis when they dial 741741.