“I NEED HELP NOW!”
If you are feeling suicidal, don’t lock it away inside yourself. Talk to your friends, to your partner, to your doctor. Any fight is easier when you fight it with others by your side. Be proud that you have made it this far. Recognize that it is fear that is holding you back and not bravery. There is nothing brave about bottling up your emotions to the point where you feel suicide is the only option. There is nothing manly or tough about shutting loved ones out from the truth of what you are going through. Being a man or being a strong woman, means realizing that you are not alone in this world and bravery is asking for help when you need it.
“OKAY, SO NOW WHAT?”
Chances are that you, the reader has tried desperately to help yourself, through many self-help books, articles, and stories. If you’re like me, you’ve felt that many are trite, feel good, crap. The “feel good” doesn’t seem to last long. Many authors are hawking some concept or product that’s appealing, and if they work at all, it’s only temporarily. The effects wear off and the cycle continues. Repeat cycle.
“Hey, why don’t you just suck-it-up and look on the bright side, things can always be worse and chances are somebody, somewhere, has survived it and so will you. Only weak, pathetic, crazy people need help.”
How would I know if I were crazy anyway?
Would anyone tell me if I were mentally ill and would I listen?
What if I am sick in the head and have been all along?
“No, you’re just weak.” I’ve said that many times to myself and yet deep down, I don’t think I really believed it. Tired of struggling to live, yes, but I wasn’t weak. I can acknowledge that; I have proven my strength to myself many times. So that’s not the problem. It’s more as though life’s struggles are problems without good solutions.
No one around me asked me directly, “What would it take for you to believe that you need professional help? To be able to say, ‘I’m hurting, and I need help.’?” Even if there was such a person to ask me that question I doubt it would have changed the fact that I had to lose everything I held valuable before I could realize the truth. What I was doing, over and over again, wasn’t working and I was not any closer to living the life that I desperately wanted. A life that deep down everyone wants. A life filled with happiness.
It meant admitting [to myself] “I’ve been wrong!”
“I have been living my life based on incorrect information.”
It wasn’t clear what I should do.
Not just the stigma from others, but to leave my zone of comfort to do something that I knew would be a challenge like no other. I had to willingly undergo a mind altering process, through a form of brainwashing, from strangers. Now that is crazy!
I’m unemployed and searching for any crappy job. Without my own transportation, opportunities to indulge my binge cravings were limited. I smoked cigarettes throughout the day to help reduce my anxiety.
The negative thoughts bombarding me:
“You are the biggest loser,”
“fat and gross,”
“You’re so fucking stupid!”
“You deserve to suffer.”
“Your record is permanently marked with nine felonies.”
“I’ll make sure your mistakes haunt you for the rest of your life.”
“You hurt the only person who loves you, you know?”
“You really fucked-up!”
“You’re not worthy of existing.”
I was hurting so badly I felt deep physical pain inside for I had hit rock bottom. Thoughts of overdosing or jumping off of a high building, ledge, or bridge played over and over in my mind. I didn’t want to go on struggling and I didn’t want anyone to know how weak I had become.
“Men don’t cry and they certainly don’t talk about feelings.” Men need women and other men to believe they are strong, independent, and emotionally distant so as to not come off as having ‘feelings’ which is characteristic of being feminine, homosexual, or even worse, sensitive.
Men need justification, an excuse, to connect with other men – sports, work, women, church – over a beer to loosen tongues yet appear tough like the guys in the beer commercials. Why can’t men be close without an excuse? What if a stranger gets the wrong impression, or even worse, someone sees you expressing feelings.
It was ignorant to think that I could control my feelings.
I was ready to end this miserable existence. I cannot imagine a much more dire circumstance by which I should realize that I need help. Yet, I was still resistant. I finally made an appointment with my insurance company’s mental health services department. There was nothing left for me to lose. What little pride I had left in myself was overshadowed with a disappointment I couldn’t shake. My antidepressants weren’t giving me enough relief from depression. I reluctantly made it to my first appointment with a therapist and then a psychiatrist for a medication evaluation. I felt crippled by the pain induced by the constant thoughts reminding me of what I had lost.
My eating disorder was my escape from the crippling guilt and shame I felt from being a sensitive homosexual who failed constantly at supporting myself. When binging and purging wasn’t enough, I would smoke cigarettes. I would often smoke enough to feel nauseous giving me temporary relief from the hunger. I felt desperate, ravenous, similar to that of a cigarette smoker with an empty pack, isolated without access to more. I’m digging desperately through an ashtray hoping to find enough butt that I could smoke.