As many of you know based on last weeks blog I’ve joined a joint venture with a good friend @mjnanna to start a group designed to help divorced dads with a mental illness. I’m pleased to announce our hashtag will be #Dads4Dads. We wanted it to be clear that this is a group focused on dads helping each other with the struggles they are facing on a daily basis.
This week I want to discuss something that I have plenty of knowledge on and its suicide. Most people think that suicide is a rash decision made to spite someone or strike back at someone and in some cases it is. But for the most part there is planning and often researching that goes into a suicide attempt. I can’t tell you how many hours I was on the internet researching suicide methods. There was the obvious like jumping off of something to using a firearm. I didn’t have access to a firearm and I really never wanted my suicide to cause long term effects on the person who found me. I always wondered what it might be like for the person that saw me jump from a bridge or how it would effect the person that found me once I landed. Anytime I attempted suicide I always left a note immediately visible warning people to not go any further unless they were professionally trained.
I attempted 6 different times and each time I changed my method. Sometimes it was a minor change to the last attempt or a complete method change. There were a couple instances that I thought I learned where I screwed up on my previous attempt. For instance I won’t go into far detail but I learned after a failed attempt that your body will thrash about in certain circumstances as it fights to live. So on the next attempt I took zip ties and zip tied my wrists to my waist to keep my hands from being able to reach anything in its desperate attempt to survive.
None of these attempts were taken lightly. I had my last wishes typed. Goodbye letters typed. I had instructions on how disperse the near million dollars in life insurance for my son. I had an apology letter to first responders. I felt guilt that they had to take time to come take care of me when they could have been out saving someone who wanted to live. I left snacks for the first responders because I wasn’t going to be around to eat them.
My clothes were packed, even most of my household items. I wanted to make it as painless as possible for those who would have to collect those items once I was gone. I wanted to make sure everything was explained as best it could. And I wanted to reassure everyone that there was nothing that could have been done to keep me from trying.
The irony in all this is that as much as I studied and researched I failed time and time again. The last time I attempted I honestly thought I was in hell but hell was actually a place on earth. I woke up in the same hospital as the time before. This time was different. Everything was done right. But I was revived. So when I woke up in the hospital I thought ok I’ve died and gone to hell and every time I try after this I’m just going to end up right back here. I was so pissed off. How the hell did I survive. The first time I saw the doctor once I reached the psych floor said that if he let me go that day I’d probably go kill myself. I said doc I want to jump out that fucking window right now. Needless to say that’s not a good thing to say. I ended up with a 24 hour a day babysitter. I called them my bodyguard but they were my babysitter. Any where I went they went. If I went to take a leak I left the door cracked and they stood outside the door. I ignored everything for days because I couldn’t for the life of me understand how I survived. Finally I realized I wasn’t going any where unless I started participating. That was my final attempt. I’ve had plenty of thoughts of suicide and still know how I’d do it if I was going to do it again but I’ve not come close to acting on the thoughts and ideas.
I know what its like to be a father and husband and to lose everything in a blink of an eye. I know what its like to lose faith and trust in everything including the justice system. I know what its like to feel your child is better off without you. I know what its like to feel like you’re a loser because you can’t provide the same things you once provided your child. I know what its like to see the tears in their eyes when they have to go back home to their other parent. I know what its like to swallow tears because you hate not being able to see them every day. I know what its like to be a father and think your child will be much better off in a stable place with your ex and the new man in their life. I know how hard it is to hear stories about their week that you weren’t there to be part of.
I can say all these things because I’ve lived them. I can say I went through some of these things because I didn’t know any better. But now I can say YOU don’t have to go through the same things because WE are here to help you. Your child deserves the best you that you can be. All those things you want to provide them, all they really want you to provide is time to spend with them. Don’t let your mental illness become the crutch of your child’s future. #Dads4Dads is here to help you. Don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for help. Your not doing it just for you, your doing it for someone that needs you to be there for them.
REMEMBER… YOU MATTER!!