Three years ago today I almost made the mistake of taking my own life.
In that moment thirty six months ago though, the idea of suicide seemed much less like a mistake and more like a decent solution to a horrible problem. That problem was a gripping depression, an overwhelming sense of loneliness and a struggle to find any sort of lasting fulfillment in life that wasn’t because of drugs or alcohol.
So, I sat in my room and I wrote my suicide note.
Three years later to the day, it feels weird to put pen to paper again to reopen a door that for a long time I wanted to stay as shut as possible.
But in other ways, it seems fitting because this year has been the first year I’ve ever been willing to open that door and see whats waiting on the other side of it.
Turns out the other side of it isn’t so scary. I guess I’ve found the same to be true of life since Feb 26,2011.
I used to think that joy was going to come find me. Now I see you have to go find it. You have to take chances; on opportunities, on moments, on people. You have to love harder than you think you can; with people, with your faith, with yourself.
You have to go looking for the thing you want to find.
I’ve spent a lot of my last three years looking.
What I ended up finding was simple.
I found out that our deepest struggles don’t also have to be our deepest secrets. I’ve found out sometimes you just need to go see your counsellor. I’ve found out that there is love waiting for you as soon as you stop waiting for it and go out there and grab it with both your hands.
And I guess more than anything I’ve found out life can be good. Scars heal. Bruises fade. Things that were broken get fixed. And time gives us all the gift of acceptance; whether we’re happy about it or not.
It turns out, it’s pretty easy to walk away from a night where you want to end it all. The hard part is finding a reason powerful enough not to walk back.
My reasons are pretty simple: I love my family. I love my friends. I love being a work in progress. And I believe in second chances. In comebacks. In redemption.
Today, I’m not the same person that wrote that suicide note just three years ago.
Things are different. Life is different.
I’ve been blessed to travel the world, to get to do work that I believe in and to literally live my dreams that I had as a kid.
I have incredible family, friends and community. They are all talented, flawed people who wear their imperfections all over them; the same wear I wear mine all over me.
Around Christmas, I was in an airport in Seattle. I met a young guy who was a university student and knew some of my story. He asked if he could buy me a coffee and I said I only drink tea. He called me a ‘typical Canadian’ and I laughed, despite not knowing if that really is very Canadian to only drink tea. Then he asked me if could ask me a personal question. I said yes. He said “is it hard to talk about almost killing yourself?”.
I guess the short answer would be yes.
But I believe the better answer is that I would be much more uncomfortable if I didn’t talk about it.
I can’t hide from my past. I can’t change any of it either. And quite honestly, I have no desire to anyways.
I know who I am. And I’m okay with it.
And maybe thats the biggest change you can ever ask yourself to make; to stop hating who you are and start to love yourself. To love your story. Even the messy parts of it.
Especially the messy parts of it.
This is one of the messier parts of my story.
And I’m really glad I get to share it with you.
Because, in almost every way, that means I’m still living it. I still have a story. I still have more mistakes to make. More love to give. More moments to witness. More life to live.
And so do you.
Perhaps that is the greatest blessing of all.
Here’s to life on the other side of despair. Here’s to believing in better things, as my friend Jamie Tworkowski would say. And here’s to having them come true.
The Difference Between Loneliness and Solitude
1. Loneliness is a painful, negative state.
2. It is where we feel alone, and cut off and estranged from other people. Thus, we may feel as if we are excluded, unwanted, unimportant or unnoticed.
3. We can be surrounded by people we know and love and still experience feelings of intense loneliness.
4. Loneliness feels like punishment or rejection. It is rooted in a sense of deficiency or inadequacy.
5. It is something that depletes us, and is imposed on us.
6. Loneliness can lead to self rejection, and even to self loathing and despair.
1. Solitude is a positive state.
2. It is where we are perfectly happy to be by ourselves, and relish and enjoy our own company.
3. Solitude can help us get in touch with, or engage with, our true self. It allows us to reflect on ourselves, others, our life, and our future.
4. Often, solitude is a springboard to greater self-awareness, greater creativity, fresh insights, and new growth.
5. Solitude is something we choose. It is something that restores and builds us up.
6. Solitude grounds us in who we are – and that enables us to reach out and give to others.
depression is when you don’t really care about anything
anxiety is when you care too much about everything
and having both is just like whatHaving both is staying in bed because you don’t want to go to school and then panicking because you don’t want to fail. Having both is wanting to go see your friends so you don’t lose them all, then staying home in bed because you don’t want to make the effort. Having both is insanely hard and sucks to deal with.
I have been there and it’s not fun. I’m one of the lucky ones to not suffer from it anymore but sometimes those old thought patterns return.