Blog: I Didn't Die, Three Months Later
(originally written 12/13/18)
Three months ago tomorrow, after a year's worth of emotional buildup and inconsistent medicating, I seriously desired death and began fulfilling that desire with a very sharp knife in an empty softball dugout.
It was not a cry for help. I didn't want help. I was tapping out, fully engaged in life's equivalent of Bret Hart's sharpshooter. (If you're over 30 and don't get that reference, your childhood is incomplete. I'd expand, but I'm not here to talk about the past.)
After being dragged away by the fuzz that afternoon, I remember telling them, the nurses and on-call psychiatrist in the ER that there was no helping me, save your breath. Fortunately, they ignored all that nonsense and sent me to the loony bin.
It was major depression talking. Insufficiently treated major depression.
Today, I'm in a better place. Not that I could have gotten much worse back on September 14. Worse would have been crammed in a cell with thirsty man-beasts lacking morals.
I have to emphasize AGAIN, while I'd be lying if I said attempting suicide didn't help my relationships...that's SO not why I did it. I didn't repeatedly stab myself for attention. Anybody who knows me knows I LOATHE attention. Every time I go in public, I'm internally pleading to be as invisible as physics will allow a 330-pounder to be (with 50% success).
Those close to me have, understandably, wondered what specifically drove me to such an act—obviously, it's unlikely someone is driven to suicide by (relatively) bad news or a (minor) spat without some underlying issues. They want to know if they missed any "signs", and they want to be prepared should I revisit that dark place.
I give everybody the same answer: everything. I was down on everything about life, mine and in general. I could get pissed off at anything at any time. I felt like a joke of a father, a fraud who'll eventually lose his daughter's love and respect. My body has aged very poorly in the past two years, and the odds of getting back in (relative) shape dwindle every day—the depression took away my will to exercise.
Because I've deteriorated physically, i can no longer do what I love—deliver packages.
I'm going bald, like every man on this side of my family. It isn't pretty.
I'm not the best son to my mother, who's been supportive of me through every rough patch I've hit since the depression diagnosis in 2012. And there's been MANY.
Additionally, though I didn't realize it at the time, dabbling in Reddit and listening to Rob, Arnie and Dawn every day poisoned my disposition, made me see the worst in everyone, and exacerbated my social discontent. Instead of seeing someone and thinking, "Oh, look, there's a guy", I'd think "Oh, look at that dumbass. Probably can't even count to ten."
Take all the current issues, mesh them with all the guilt and shame I felt over things I've done/said dating back to freaking 1985, and you get a guy who truly hated himself. HATED. Tried not to show it. Tried to be the same old me. Didn't want to be "that guy" who always dumps on people—people can't stand seeing "that guy" coming.
Depression, people. It ain't no joke.
Much of the population thinks depression is synonymous with "sadness". If you don't listen to anything I ever say again, listen to this: DEPRESSION IS SO MUCH MORE THAN SADNESS. It can f--- up your whole fundamental thinking processes. Whatever bad you feel, depression triples it. Whatever good you feel, depression works hard to negate it.
Since being dispatched from the loony bin 9/18, I've missed two doses of my daily meds—one forgotten, the other I slept prematurely—but considering I used to deliberately miss 3-4 doses per week, that's definitely a crucial step forward.
I'm currently on four psych meds: Lithium, Lamictal, Zoloft and Abilify. Plus Adderall on an as-needed basis.
Here's the deal with medication: taking the meds doesn't guarantee I'll feel good. Not taking them guarantees I won't.
Those little pills allow me to function in public (though I'd still prefer to be left alone, I don't dread contact nearly as much). They keep me mentally balanced, prevent me from dwelling on crap I should have forgiven myself for decades ago.
They check my anger—in recent years, I've blown up at strangers for no damn good reason totally unprovoked, with basically zero ability to rein myself in. They help me sleep, which in turn limits the impact of depression.
They're not a cure all—the best comparison I can offer is birth control. It doesn't guarantee an empty uterus, but it sure does reduce the odds.
What I can tell you is I have no intention of any future self-harm. I have no intention of ever skipping meds again, no matter HOW drowsy or HOW fat I get, no matter how inconvenient it is, no matter if I "feel okay".
So many people reached out to me following the attempt; I could not thank them all individually here without my fingers cramping up, so please forgive me. But I would like to especially thank my old teammates Cav, Eddie and Leland for working hard to get me help that day.
I want to thank my mama for staying by my side. Even Josie’s mama has been supportive.
I want to thank April for basically threatening to kill me herself if I ever pulled that crap again. If you know her, you know she ain't playin'.
I want to thank my boys Nate, Juan, Dave and Real Steve for keeping me included and keeping on me about whatever issues I'm dealing with. They don't treat me any differently and I wouldn't want them to. They're the best buds a negro could want.
Jon Tandoc also deserves a mention. Once my longtime bud found out what I'd done, he went all out to reach me and probably would have wound up at my door if the cops hadn't. We had a great talk when I got sprung from the loony bin—one sentence from him made major impact: "You are needed in this world, Skillz." I don't know why, but that really got through to me.
And though we've never met in person, my long-distance pal Tammy builds me up every chance she gets. She doesn't have to do that. We all need friends like her.
Josie, obviously, does not know what happened; as far as she knows, Daddy's scars are from careless drill use. I don't know if I'll EVER fill her in. The risk of her thinking she wasn't enough to keep me going that dark day is just too great.
So there's my update. I'm steady for the time being, just taking it as it comes. I do not want to die. Though most of my previous issues are still there, I do not hate myself. I keep good music on all day...nothing lifts me up like traveling back to the 1980's.
Additionally, I work to avoid that which may upset me. I go to groups and talk. Most importantly, I listen—it's stunning how much you learn by listening, and how much it helps to know others who seemingly have their stuff together are fighting the same fight as you.
Go Niners, Go Dubs, Go Gigantes. F--- the Dodgers.