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My Thoughts On Suicide...

Brother Jeff

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I just posted this to Facebook a few minutes ago and would like to share it here too. A little over three years ago, in May of 2011, many of my friends here helped me pull through an awful time in my life. I am so happy to still be alive on this earth, and while there are times that I'm not around here much, I am so happy to still call so many of the people who helped me three years ago my friends. I love you all so much...


A couple of days ago I posted my thoughts about Robin William's tragic death from suicide, and I shared a lot about my life dealing with bipolar disorder. I'm still thinking about it because Robin's death really hit home hard with me. I have been that depressed and in that much pain myself several times, I am a survivor of several suicide attempts.
This is not going to be a pleasant post to read. It's about suicide, and that is a subject that is terribly difficult to deal with, and most people would rather not think about it or talk about it. I'll understand if you don't care to read beyond this point. But like depression and mental illness, suicide MUST be talked about and brought out into the open so that people who are suffering emotional agony beyond the comprehension of most people can get the understanding and help that they need. There is nothing worse than losing someone to suicide and being left with incredible grief and the agony of wondering what you might could have said or done that could have saved a life. That's what Robin William's family and friends are going through right now.It's the agony that so many people who are not so wealthy or famous go through when they lose someone to suicide. But you don't hear about them so much...
I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in February of 1998, at the age of 32. That year was a living hell beyond belief. I was miserable, deeply depressed, and in and out of the hospital several times. I was on a drug called Depakote for the bipolar disorder. It can work great if taken as prescribed, but at high doses it is very toxic to the liver and is usually fatal. I overdosed on it twice, and each time I came very close to death. If I had taken just a few more pills either time, I would not be here to talk about it.
In 2001, I tried to commit suicide again. I ran the car in the garage and somehow ended up at UTMB in Galveston, TX instead of being dead.
In May of 2011, I got hit with the worst episode of bipolar depression I had experienced in several years. I tried to commit suicide again with the car in the garage, but after about 15 minutes, I realized that I didn't really want to die. I just wanted the unbearable, agonizing emotional pain to STOP. I drove myself to Providence Hospital in Anchorage, and ended up spending a week there in the mental health unit. They helped me so much, and I will forever be so grateful to them! I was still depressed when I got out, but I was much better and no longer suicidal.
Right before I went into the hospital in 2011, I posted this thread to an internet forum I still frequently visit. I read back through that thread this morning and cried. I remember how deeply depressed I was. I remembered how much agony I was in. I remembered how badly I wanted help but at the same time how badly I wanted to die so the pain would STOP.
I'm still amazed at the outpouring of love and support I received from my friends there a little over three years ago. Some of those people haven't been on that forum for quite a while. People come and go on forums all the time. But their love and their caring still mean a great deal to me. This is not a forum I would normally ask my Christian friends to visit. It's not a religion-friendly site, at all. Some of the things said my religious friends will find offensive and I apologize for that, but please read it anyway. If you want to understand ME and you want to understand the agony of suicidal depression, read it. It's six pages long and will take a few minutes, but you will learn so much and be so amazed too at the love and support that I received. Those people helped me pull through an awful time in my life, and I am still happy to call many of them my friends.
I wish Robin Williams could have found the love and support that he needed when he was hurting so deeply and so badly. We lost a very talented and funny man to a terrible disease.
I'm sorry if this post makes my friends uncomfortable, but it's got to be talked about. Not just on Facebook, but everywhere, among average people and among the mental health professionals who can save the lives of those who so desperately need them and their help.
I am happy and I am healthy now. I love my life and I love living it. But I know just how incredibly fortunate I am to still be here...
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I've been around for a few of your episodes, Brother. Don't go thinking that you're the only one that's still glad you held on.


We all are!

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Good post, Brother Jeff.  I have only been here a few months but I have come to appreciate the one man positive energy generator that is Brother Jeff.  Glory!




I realized that I didn't really want to die. I just wanted the unbearable, agonizing emotional pain to STOP.


This perfectly captures how I felt when I was suicidal in the past.  How I got out of it was doing a deal with myself to give living one more try.  I just gave myself a few more weeks to see if I could find something that helped.  Luckily I found it, through non-pharmaceutical medicine.  That's a whole nother story though.


Just wanted to get across to people who haven't felt suicidal some of what it is like.  Supporting people with depression works in a lot of cases.  I have lost 3 friends to suicide and seen the pain their families feel.  This is one of the most important public health issues facing our societies.

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The tragic suicide of Robin Williams has impacted me much more than normal given that he was a celebrity that I of course didn't know personally.  I think it's because he enriched me and the rest of the world so much.  He was very funny, and his serious roles were so real.  I have to say he was my favorite actor.


Moreover, as far as I know, he wasn't just a funny, moving actor, but a really fine person.  I can't know for sure, and I do not try to follow celebrities' private lives that closely, but from what I understand, he really made the world a better place in his private life, just like in his acting career.


I haven't known a great number of people who have committed suicide or attempted suicide, but I have known a few.  One of these people is a good personal friend who seriously contemplated suicide some 20 years ago.  He shared with me, I did my best to be a friend and encourage him, he went to therapy, and he worked through things without taking his life.  He may not be famous, but he has really improved the world for those he remained to share it with.  Whatever role I may have been able to play to encourage him back then, I feel was probably the most worthy thing I ever participated in in my life.


My sample size is too small to draw any real conclusions, but I really liked all of the people I knew who committed, attempted, or contemplated suicide.  Like I imagine Williams did even on a personal level, they made the world a better place, even though they had to deal with depression, or like Robin Williams, had to deal with other horrible issues like substance abuse.  And I don't know why it seems to often be the ones who have more to offer that often have a tendency to take their own lives.


I do know that I will miss Robin Williams.  I think I will miss him more than any other celebrity that has died.


I miss my friend that took his life around four years ago.  He was only a work friend, but I really liked him.  He embodied all of the finer qualities a person could have, at work, and to the smaller degree I knew him outside of work.


I'm glad that my friend that contemplated suicide 20 years ago is still here.  He is still my friend and I think he is a help and an inspiration to those around him.


And I'm glad that you are still here, Jeff.  I think that the world is a better place with you in it.

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