If you take a moment to examine me very closely and look beyond the rough exterior, the armor, the swear words, the foul jokes, the innuendo, and the depression, you’ll see me for what I really am: a vulnerable man who cares. A lot.
In the last year I’ve become acutely aware of the fact that my depression never really went away as I thought it did. In fact, it came back with a vengeance and crippled me for nearly two months straight. When I finally hit rock bottom I decided I needed to do something about it and I went to see my doctor. I’ve been medicated ever since. I’m on an antidepressant and a mood stabilizer in addition to seeing a counselor.
I inherited my mental woes from my mother. My mother is bipolar and has been on medication since the early 90′s. In talking with her and finding this out I finally realized that I’ll never be rid of my depression and that it will be a life-long battle for me. Depression is ever my companion whether I like it or not. So I must remain vigilant to oppose it. Some days I do well. Others, not so much.
Since last October, when I finally admitted having depression, I have met many, many people who also suffer from depression. The more I talk about it the more people will talk about it with me. Many of my closest friends have depression and are being treated for it. Many of them have confessed to suicidal thoughts and self-harm. A few have discussed their suicide attempts with me. It always breaks my heart to hear these stories. I can honestly say I’ve never been in a place where I felt death was the only way out.
I have a long history with suicide, though. For nine years I was held hostage in a relationship, and marriage, I did not want to be in by a woman who threatened to kill herself every time I attempted to leave her. When I finally moved on and met my second wife, her brother committed suicide. From the time we started dating to the time we separated I did my very best to help her heal from the loss. But I was powerless to help and I hated it.
However, it is through that loss that we became aware of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. She has been an active member since the death of her brother. I supported her during those times, but never really took an active role. However, upon reading that depression is one of the leading causes of suicide, I decided to step up. Through blogging I’ve met countless people who have attempted suicide.
A couple of months ago I announced my fundraising efforts for this year’s AFSP walk in my town, Cincinnati. With all of the other shit I’ve had going on in my life I’ve kind of forgotten about it and it’s been sitting on the back-burner. But then yesterday’s Daily Prompt reminded me of it when it asked what cause I would put myself behind if I could focus all of my attention on it.
Of course, my answer is suicide prevention since suicide has had a huge impact on my life over the last 16 years. This year’s walk is October 20th, so I still have time to crusade for donations. If you, like me, are so flat broke that you cannot donate to this very worthy cause, I would ask that you at least check out AFSP in your hometown and find ways to help this noble organization. Or help me promote them. Or both.
Suicide prevention is my cause. What’s your cause?