It is the year 1997. I am travelling along the Pacific West Coast with the lady I thought was the love of my life. We had dated for about 6 years, moved in and lived together for another two and a half, ultimately I had figured I loved her (yeah… I take longer sometimes… O:) ). So I proposed to her in the winter of 1996/1997. We got married on August 22nd, 1997. And now we’re driving up the coast (yeah, yeah, I know – we got it all wrong, you drive down Highway No. 1…. just don’t rub it in, thanks! 😛 ), the love of my life on my right side, breathtaking views on the left. As close as we can come to heaven here on earth, these 12 days had to be it. I was in heaven!
Fast forward to today: I suffered from what the experts call a “burn out” in 2007 – I now know this was just an external symptom of something much more profound and much more debilitating (for anyone needing to know: C-PTSD for all my life almost since birth) -, had to exhaust my savings in order to counter burgeoning disability that’s amounted to 100% by today, lost wife (divorce), career, friends, a self-sustained life, health, identity and – perspective. Between July 1st and way into 2011 I went to bed every night hoping and praying I would not wake up the next day and not being able to escape the one pressing thought all day: “You’re done, bugger. All done.” And I will not candy-coat anything: I had started investigating reliable methods of ending my life. I not only felt I was done, but from – by now – hundreds of hours of personal research into my situation and a way out of it, there was one bottomline feedback: Yes, you’re done. Be happy with what you got. This isn’t any different today.
But…. I’m a capricorn. Stubborn. Making other people sick and wanting to kill me for being stubborn to end “stubborn”. No. I felt that this just is not an acceptable finale to my personal story.
I’m digressing (as usual). The point I want to make is this: Around where I live, I turned to certain people, friends, e.g.. At first, simply for blowing off steam when adversity had the better of me and occasionally for trying to get some consolation and encouragement from somewhere. I was being met with responses like “Don’t call here anymore, I can’t take you.” Or: “I think, somebody had better kicked your butt soon. And I have a feeling it’s going to be me.” My personal “favorite” to this day (hint: sarcasm…): “Well… there are still a lot of people who are a lot worse off than you.” (In my mind, I am preparing a gargantuan “FU” statue for those wayfarers…). The one place I really found consolation, compassion, encouragement and – oh…. so important! – understanding and along with it: empowerment! was, is – who woulda thought? – this place and my community of Facebook friends. Not all of them, but a core of active friends, who – I gather – have fallen on hard times before themselves and who very likely – in addition to the trials and tribulations everyone faces – have been carrying burdens not of their doing for a long time themselves. For, as the ingenious Tim Lawrence says:
This is my way of extending my heartfelt “Thank you” to you. You know, who you are. If not for you – and a little bit of good luck here and there when adversity had my mind explode with angst from existential fear, something I had not encountered until then – I very likely might not be able to sit here and write this any more for the simple reason of no longer being on the planet…