This One’s For the Cowards

 

It happens every time.

Anytime a suicide makes the news, such as Linkin Park vocalist Chester Bennington, you get these folks who disparage the act of suicide as “the coward’s way out.”

Well, if you’re one of those folks, I want you to shut up. Right now.

The reason anyone commits suicide, I believe, is because that person has completely run out of hope. He or she feels as though there is no other option left.

That isn’t cowardice; that’s the lowest depth of despair.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that suicides occur globally at the rate of one every forty seconds. It is predicted that by the year 2020, the rate will be one every twenty seconds.

Every. Twenty. Seconds. Someone is taking his or her own life.

And, also according to WHO, depression, substance abuse, or some other mental health issue is directly related to over ninety percent of all suicides.

These aren’t cowards afraid to face life. These are people not equipped to face life. They need help. They need treatment. They need someone to talk to. Yet we continue to stigmatize mental health disorder, as if everyone who has one is some kind of nut job.

Which is absolutely not true.

Having a mental illness doesn’t mean you’re crazy, and killing yourself doesn’t mean you’re a coward. Those are two severe misconceptions that need to be addressed and, eventually, removed from the public consciousness. The sooner, the better.

 

Now, for all you brilliant minds out there who maintain that suicide is “the coward’s way out”, let me present to you a few more stats, courtesy of militarytimes.com:

“Roughly 20 veterans a day commit suicide nationwide, according to new data from the Department of Veterans Affairs…

“In 2014, the latest year available, more than 7,400 veterans took their own lives, accounting for 18 percent of all suicides in America. Veterans make up less than 9 percent of the U.S. population.

“The problem is particularly worrisome among female veterans, who saw their suicide rates rise more than 85 percent over that time, compared to about 40 percent for civilian women.

“And roughly 65 percent of all veteran suicides in 2014 were for individuals 50 years or older, many of whom spent little or no time fighting in the most recent wars.”

These are veterans.

People who served our country. People who put themselves in harm’s way to protect us. People who look the enemy in the eye and don’t back down.

So, tell me how cowardly you think they are.

Then shut the f### up.

Letter From a Caring Friend

 

In therapy, I’m learning about self-compassion, the concept of treating yourself in times of pain and suffering as a compassionate, caring friend would. One of the self-compassion exercises is to write a letter to yourself from a caring friend, imagining what that person would say to you when you’re down, instead of what you usually say to yourself.

This is the letter I wrote. I want to share it, in case any of you want to write your own letter. And, if you want to learn more about this treatment, visit http://www.self-compassion.org.

 

Dear You,

First of all, I want you to know, I love you. No matter what. I need you to know that.

I’ve seen you suffering for a long time, now. It breaks my heart, and I’m so sorry for what you’re going through. If I could take all your pain away right now, I would do it.

You give yourself a lot of grief when you make a mistake. Any mistake. I know you think it diminishes you as a person in the eyes of others. You feel stupid. You feel like you can’t help but screw up, and you will always screw up, so you’re hopeless.

And you hurt. You hurt so much, you can feel it in your body. Sometimes, it even makes you wonder if maybe, everyone would just be better off without you around.

I’m really sorry that this is your life. I just want you to feel my embrace right now. I have my arms around you, and I’m sending all the love and compassion in me right into you.

Feel it. It’s warm. It’s comforting. It’s enveloping. You’re wrapped in it. Stay in it. As long as you need.

Listen to me: You’re a person of value. There are people in your life who love you. Think about them. Look at their faces. Listen to each of them telling you they love you.

Does that make you feel good? Stay in that moment. They don’t care about the mistakes you make. They care about you. They love you so much. Immerse yourself in that love. You love them, right? Well, it goes both ways. Trust me.

Their love is a soft, warm blanket. Cover yourself with it. Burrow down into it. Feel its warmth. Spend some time there.

This blanket is available for you anytime you need it.

And, next time you make a mistake, just remember: we all make them. We all make ’em! And usually, they’re the same ones, over and over. That’s called, being human. So, ease up on yourself; treat yourself nice. No name-calling. No beating yourself up. You’re still the same caring, loving, funny, good person you were before you made the mistake.

Always remember: you’re fine just as you are. I accept you, and I love you, just as you are. Feel my embrace, one more time, and take it with you everywhere.

And Walk in Love.

Your good friend,

Me

Savior (a set of lyrics)

 

I see you there in that cold, dark cell,
Silently suffering your personal hell.
Nothing but darkness before your eyes.
No one can hear you and your helpless cries.

The weight of the world, you feel in your bones.
You feel abandoned, completely alone.
You tell yourself, this must be the end.
But, I’m here to tell you, you have a friend.

Just reach out your hand, I will take hold.
I’ll be your savior from the dark and the cold.
I’ll show you sunlight and blue skies above.
I’ll show you compassion, and I’ll show you love.
I’ll show you love.

I know this world can break you in half.
You hide your crying behind jokes and laughs.
You’re certain that no one is hurting like you.
But, I’m here to tell you that I’ve been there, too.

So, reach out your hand, and I will take hold.
I’ll be your savior from the dark and the cold.
I’ll show you sunlight and blue skies above.
I’ll show you compassion and I’ll show you love.
I’ll show you love.

I’ll show you love.

Mental Health Gets the Royal Treatment

 

From the Associated Press:

“Lady Gaga Joins Prince William’s Campaign”

“Prince William has enlisted Lady Gaga in his campaign to persuade people to be more open about mental health issues.
“The heir to the British throne released a video Tuesday in which he speaks with the pop star via FaceTime. Lady Gaga, who last year spoke out about her struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder, places the call from her kitchen in California, and William answers at his desk in Kensington Palace.
““It’s interesting to see and hear from you how much having that conversation has really made a difference to you,” William said in the video. “It’s so important to break open that fear and that taboo which is only going to lead to more problems down the line.”
“The conversation is part of the latest blitz by the young royals as they campaign to end the stigma associated with mental health issues. William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, along with his brother, Prince Harry, have made mental health a focus of their charitable work.
“It comes a day after the Daily Telegraph published an unusually candid interview with Harry in which the 32-year-old prince acknowledged that he spent nearly 20 years “not thinking” about the death of his mother, Princess Diana, and that he only got help after two years of “total chaos.”
“Though the royal family has toiled for years for hundreds of charities, the work on mental health represents something of a departure – in part because of the taboo long associated with psychological issues…
“The Campaign Against Living Miserably, or CALM, said research shows that men particularly have trouble telling others when they feel depressed. (Italics mine)
““Prince Harry sharing how he needed support to cope with losing his mother shows both how normal it is to go through a tough time and how much opening up can help,” CEO Simon Gunning said in an email.
“Lady Gaga brings even more attention to the cause. She told Prince William in the video that talking more openly about mental health would let people feel like “we are not hiding anymore.””

Kudos to Lady Gaga, and especially Prince Harry, for talking about their battles with mental illness. Kudos also to Prince William and his wife for focusing on removing the stigma associated with mental illness.

I’ll say it again, guys: depression is a mother*****r. It’s bigger and badder than you, and if you try to deal with it alone, you’re gonna lose. Even a British Prince realized he couldn’t rise above it without help.

And I know one big reason a lot of us don’t get help is that stigma we all attach to mental illness. It means you’re a looney tunes, off-the-rails wack job, doesn’t it?

No, fellas, it doesn’t. I used to think it did.

It simply means that a part of your brain is not properly functioning due to a chemical imbalance, and it can be medically treated. I know; I take medications now to help restore the balance and, I promise you, they make a difference.

And, psychological help is beneficial, as well. I know we have these Freudian nightmares of lying on a couch in someone’s office discussing our childhood bed-wetting incidents or whatever. It’s just you, and a professional, in a safe environment, simply talking about what’s bugging you, and figuring out why together. Like, in my case, we’re getting to the bottom of why I’m so freakin’ irritated all the time. It may take a while, but it’s something I need to do in order to avoid doing serious harm to myself or someone else.

I know this is getting a bit long, but it’s really important to me that you guys understand there is nothing wrong with getting help. I’m gonna keep saying it, so just get used to it, okay?

In fact, I’m gonna be a Royal pain about it.

The Driver Takes a Detour

 

So…

I had my first session this week with a new therapist.

And, if you’ve read enough of my blog, you know I don’t mean physical therapist.

In case you don’t know, I’ve lived with depression for several years. I’ve seen a therapist before, for about five years, but stopped nine years ago, when she retired. (Early onset Alzheimer’s, bless her heart) A lot has happened between then and now, and I feel the need for help again. Besides the medications. The need to talk to someone, and maybe get some help for dealing.

So, here we go. I’m starting again with someone new. She seems nice enough on first encounter. Hopefully, the two of us can crack my head open and let all the toxic waste spill out, and wade through it as we work to solve the cryptic, perplexing enigma that is yours truly. Wish us luck; she’ll need it.

And, dudes, let me take this opportunity to tell you again what I’ve told you before: It is not a weakness to admit you need help. I know we’re men, and we’re just supposed to handle everything, but believe me, depression is bigger and badder than us. Plenty of male suicides in America prove it. Mike Wallace, the toughest, most badass newsman ever, couldn’t handle depression on his own; it nearly killed him. Then he sought help, and got it.

There is no shame in getting help. You get that? You don’t have to face this monster alone.

I’m reaching out. I know I need it. Please, guys, (and girls) reach out with me. Help is there. You can get it.

Note to Self

 

Shame on you.

You fat son of a —–.

You’ve been this way for most of your adult life, and evidently, you don’t care. Because if you did, you wouldn’t continue this slow suicide you’re committing.

Every day you drag all this excess weight around puts more wear and tear on your heart, your joints, and your self-respect.

You already have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and Type 2 diabetes. You looking to add to that resume? Heart attack? Stroke? Cancer?

You know better. You’ve gone through enough weight loss programs and read enough information to know the right things to do to get healthy. You know you need to eat better. You know you need to exercise.

And yet, here you are. On the couch, mindlessly working your way through another bag of chips as you watch TV.

OK, so you don’t care about yourself; whatever. I know you even eat the way you do sometimes out of nothing more than pure self-hatred, and you’re punishing yourself by what, and how much, you eat.

And, yeah, you’re depressed most of the time, so you generally don’t give a f— what kind of shape you’re in. I get all that.

But do you not care about the ones in your life who you love and who love you and want you to be around as long as you can? You can’t even care enough about them to make any kind of effort? How do you think they feel about that?

 

Think back to your childhood, sitting at the dinner table not eating your vegetables, listening to your mother tell you to “think of all the starving children in the world.”

Yeah, dude, think about them now. Think about them as you reach for a few more strips of bacon and another biscuit or two. Think about them as you plow through a slab of chicken fried steak the size of Rhode Island, smothered in cream gravy. Think about them as you stack slice upon slice upon slice of pizza onto your plate. Think about them as you serve yourself a second or third helping of mashed potatoes. As you consume diet soda by the gallon, because hey, it’s diet, what’s the harm, right?

And think of how privileged you are to live in a land where you can stuff yourself like a Thanksgiving turkey anytime you want. Where you can go to a restaurant and sit down to a plate of food that’s enough to feed at least two people, and shovel it all in without batting an eye. Then have the nerve to look around in judgment at all the fat asses surrounding you, wolfing down their onion ring towers and their monster burgers and their piles of chocolate dessert, and go tsk, tsk at their lack of control, their obvious absence of discipline.

Then think of the millions – yes, millions – of children in that same land, who go to bed hungry more often than not.  Think of how exponentially more of those there are worldwide. 795 million people – roughly 1 of 9 people in the world – do not get enough to eat.

Then think about how they’re not your problem, they’re someone else’s.

And, oh, yeah. Think about their malnourished, bony bodies as you stare at that double chin and that disgustingly large gut every morning in the mirror.

As you stare at the one man responsible for the sorry shape you’re in.

Shame.   Shame.    Shame. 

Health Update

As I’ve mentioned before, I suffer from clinical depression.

I also have a lot of anger simmering just below the surface.

Reading the news lately has only worsened those conditions.

Therefore, for the sake of my own mental health, I will have to refrain from keeping up with current events for the foreseeable future.

I don’t like that; I try to be an informed citizen of the world, with at least some awareness of what’s going on.

But, the more news I read, or see, or hear, the closer I believe I’m getting to a complete breakdown. Seriously.  😖

And, no, the news I view is not fake, despite testimony to the contrary. Oh, if only it was.

Someday, hopefully, I can channel all this anger into some constructive, positive action.

But, at this point, it just channels into more anger. And I simply can’t take it.

I know I need help. I’m gonna see about getting some.

Wish me luck.

Makes Me So Mad

 

I come home from work at night, to a nice house, with a fridge and pantry full of food, a sturdy roof over my head, and a warm and cozy bed to sleep in…

…and waiting for me there is my loving, devoted wife of nearly 33 years, along with my two precious, beautiful black cats, who are excited that Dad’s home, and it hits me how incredibly fortunate I am…

…and in that moment, I’m as happy as I’ve ever been in my life. Even better, I have this moment five times a week!

But, then, there’s this depression thing…

…that shows up from time to time, uninvited, and pulls me down into an overwhelming blackness, where it goes through its regular pitch about how life really sucks, how nothing you want to do is really worth the effort, how the world is evermore rapidly declining so what’s the point, and how you’re just a worthless, useless, hopeless piece of nothing, and why are you still even around…

…and, obviously, I’m not so happy, then.

And, too often, I will visit both these ends of the spectrum in the same day.

It certainly isn’t boring.

 

Of course, the depression never really leaves. Even in my happy moments, there is still this undercurrent of anger, which is how depression typically shows up in men.

What am I angry about, you ask? Well, any number of things, but mostly, I stay angry at myself for mistakes I’ve made, and continue to make, in my life.

Yeah, I know we all make them, and I shouldn’t be so tough on myself, forgive and forget, etc.

But, even when I can bring myself to forgive, which isn’t always, I can never seem to pull off that forget part.

I mean, how can I forget? It happened, it’s in my memory; how am I supposed to get it out? That’s what I struggle with. I envy people like my wife, who can just let stuff go, and put things behind her, and it seems like it should just be so easy, but it isn’t for me.

For one, certain circumstances in my life are constant reminders of some past mistake. It’s kind of hard to forget something you’ve done when you’re always reminded of it, you know?

I guess I should talk to someone about this. Besides all of you, I mean. A professional. Someone who can maybe help me cut loose all this weight I’m dragging around.

My body already drags enough around, as is.

I do cherish the happy times, though, when they come. I do, really. I’d just like them to come more often, and the other times, less often.

I’d like that very much.

 

The 0.05 Cu. Ft. Cell, Part 2

image

In a previous post, I mentioned a website called http://www.wingofmadness.com, a site dedicated to educating and helping anyone who suffers from depression, or lives with someone who does. I recommend it.

I’d like to share a portion of one post from that website, entitled, “What Does Depression Feel Like?”:

Sometimes the Depression Self-Screening Tests are just too clinical, and the symptoms don’t really “click” with you. Some of the criteria are general, and if you’re suffering from depression, specifics are easier to understand.

I know that I might not have diagnosed myself with depression just on the basis of those symptoms. I had no change in appetite, and no sleep problems (getting out of bed was what was difficult). Below are some un-clinical symptoms.

Things just seem “off” or “wrong.”
You don’t feel hopeful or happy about anything in your life.
You’re crying a lot for no apparent reason, either at nothing, or something that normally would be insignificant.
You feel like you’re moving (and thinking) in slow motion.
Getting up in the morning requires a lot of effort.
Carrying on a normal conversation is a struggle. You can’t seem to express yourself.

You’re having trouble making simple decisions.
Your friends and family really irritate you.
You’re not sure if you still love your spouse/significant other.
Smiling feels stiff and awkward. It’s like your smiling muscles are frozen.
It seems like there’s a glass wall between you and the rest of the world.
You’re forgetful, and it’s very difficult to concentrate on anything.
You’re anxious and worried a lot.
Everything seems hopeless.
You feel like you can’t do anything right.
You have recurring thoughts of death and/or suicidal impulses. Suicide seems like a welcome relief.
You have a feeling of impending doom – you think something bad is going to happen, although you may not be sure what, and/or…
…You have a very specific fear that torments you constantly.
In your perception of the world around you, it’s always cloudy. Even on sunny days, it seems cloudy and gray.
You feel as though you’re drowning or suffocating.
You’re agitated, jumpy and and anxious much of the time.
Your senses seem dulled; food tastes bland and uninteresting, music doesn’t seem to affect you, you don’t bother smelling flowers anymore.
Incessantly and uncontrollably into your mind comes the memory of every failure, every bad or uncomfortable experience, interview or date, like a torrent of negativity.

Trust me; I can check several of those boxes, as, I’m sure, many other people with depression can.

Now, gentlemen, for you I offer the following, from a post on the same site called, “Men and Depression”:

In the last few years, attitudes have begun to change about the prevalance of depression in men with the advent of some new ideas. The mental health community is beginning to use these to challenge the long-standing beliefs about men and depression.

The most important new idea, in my mind, is that depression actually manifests itself differently in men than in women. While women tend to exhibit the classic symptoms of sadness and loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, men tend to more frequently exhibit less classic symptoms like anger, irritability and abuse of alcohol.

image

(My therapist told me that 13 years ago. Guess she was ahead of her time.)

Now, I haven’t resorted to alcohol abuse, but I sure have the anger and irritability down good. And I’m willing to bet, so do a lot of you guys. Look at that list up there, again. Do you identify with any of those symptoms?

I remember an incident a few years ago, when I let my depression medication run out, for several days. By that weekend, I had a fuse so short as to be almost nonexistent. I couldn’t get that prescription refilled soon enough.

Understand two things: To have depression does NOT mean you’re crazy, and it does NOT mean you’re weak.

It’s due to a chemical imbalance in your brain, and it can be treated medically.

Not that a few sessions with a psychiatrist couldn’t help. I had five years worth of them, myself. I just think that alone, in most cases, is not adequate.

Now, keep in mind, I’m not telling you this as a medical professional, because I promise you, I ain’t one. I’m simply sharing some of what I’ve learned in the course of dealing with this illness. My purpose here, primarily for the guys, is to destigmatize depression. YES, it is a mental illness. (And it’s time to destigmatize that, too, but that’s a whole other discussion.) YES, you can get help.

NO, it’s not a sign of weakness, either to have it, or to ask for help.

Why am I focusing on the men so much? Because men are less likely to seek help for depression than women, and more likely to commit suicide.

Again, from “Men and Depression”:

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) men are four times more likely than women to die from suicide; it’s the eighth leading cause of death for men in the U.S. (emphasis mine)

That is a statistical fact. And it doesn’t have to be.

Ladies, I know it’s serious stuff with you, too. But, fellas, this is a Red Alert.

For yourself, your family, your friends, your job, please, get some help. It’s available.

And there’s NO shame in it.

I wish you all well.

The 0.05 Cu. Ft. Cell

This one is kinda long, just so you know, but I need to say all of it.

 

This is how depression sometimes feels to me:

image

Sometimes, life gets so overwhelming, I can literally feel The Weight of Everything. My shoulders slump. My sides hurt. It actually feels like the boulder is about to flatten me.

I get to thinking about all the mistakes I’ve made and continue making in my life, couple that with all the many ways I feel inadequate as a human being, and finally, contemplate all the wrong there is in this world, and how truly hopeless it all seems, and that big rock is almost too much to hold. It’s a chain reaction of negativity that, unfortunately, is easily ignited.

This, also, is how depression sometimes feels to me:

image

I’m at the bottom of this deep, dark pit, and I can see light way up above me, but I have little hope of making it to that light, because it’s just so far up, and the climb looks almost impossible.

And nobody knows I’m down there, because I don’t let anybody know. How screwed up is that? But, when you’re depressed, you have a good (you think) explanation, which I’ll get to later.

It’s been determined that the average adult human brain takes up 1400 cubic centimeters, or .05 cubic feet.

Doesn’t sound like that large a prison cell, does it? I’m telling you, though, when you suffer from depression, it’s plenty big enough.

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to My Life.

 

I was diagnosed with clinical depression back in 2003, and have been taking medication for it ever since. I don’t know for sure if it’s hereditary, but some members of my family on my father’s side were and are afflicted with it. Tragically, it drove one of my uncles to suicide.

It is one tough mofo of an adversary, I promise you.

Initially, my therapist told me that depression usually manifests itself in men as anger, not sadness, as with women. That made sense to me; the first time I visited her, and she asked me why I was there, I told her I was just mad all the time. Everything and everybody just pissed me off; in fact, I was hoarse when I got to her office, because I arrived really late, due to one road closure after another, and I was yelling the entire trip (windows closed) at anyone and everyone who was in any way responsible for those closures.

I…was…MAD!!!

That was pretty much how I rolled, though; anything could set me off. I didn’t like anyone, either. It was like this t-shirt I saw recently that read, “I used to be a people person, then people ruined it for me.”

I knew that needed to change, especially because it was causing tension at home. I was giving my dear wife a lot of grief she didn’t deserve, and I needed to stop. I wanted to stop. I knew I had to do something. And I needed some help to do it.

Now, folks, here’s a great thing about depression:

It has no use for logic or reason.

I mean, after all, let’s think about this a minute; I’ve had a pretty good life. I was raised in a loving home. I got a college education. I’ve got a loving, devoted wife, a nice home, decent health, decent job, money in the bank, never been in jail, never gone hungry, never gone homeless…exactly what the hell have I got to be depressed about?

See? Logic and reason. Depression gives that the finger. It says, “I don’t need no steenking reason!

Which, of course, makes me even more depressed, because I feel like I have no right to it. People whose lives are in the gutter, people with some terminal illness, yeah, depression in them would make some sense, at least. But me? Gimme a break, pal.

Yet, I still get depressed: Over my health, over growing old and looking it, over my numerous faults, over global warming, over all the unspeakably inhumane ways we treat each other, over the specter of Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton becoming President, over no particular thing at all. I descend into the pit. The boulder becomes heavier.

And, yeah, I know I’m not the only one thinking these things, but see, that’s another wonderful thing about depression:

It talks smack to you.

“Everone else has it together, what’s your problem, dude? Do you see anyone around you screwing this up as bad as you?”

And, many times, I don’t.

 

OK, Men, here’s where I need you to pay a little more attention.

Years ago, I was at a meeting (not that meeting), and the conversation got around to being depressed. As I was the only guy in the room, one of the women turned to me and said, “I don’t know, do guys get depressed?”

I was shocked. It never occurred to me that would even be a question. I thought, wow, we must really be good at hiding this.

Now, mind you, not all men get depressed, any more than all women. But, since women feel more comfortable sharing things, you just don’t hear about the men. For one thing, depression is viewed as a weakness, which MEN MUST NEVER SHOW, being the mighty defenders of Truth, Justice and The American Way that we are. Depression means we’re weenies, and getting help for depression is even more weenieish, am I right, guys?

Well, let’s consider, for a minute, the late Mike Wallace, the outstanding reporter for 60 Minutes. He was regarded as the toughest journalist out there, never one to shy away from the hard question, never one to avoid confrontation, never one to back down from getting at the truth. Tough guy. A MAN.

Guess what, fellas: he got depressed, seriously depressed, to the point of contemplating suicide. Admitted as much on, of all things, 60 Minutes.

Guess what else: He got help for it, then did an ad on TV saying it’s okay to ask for help.

Here’s three things you really need to know about depression right now:

  1. It’s NOT a weakness.
  2. You CAN’T just “snap out of it.”
  3. You CAN get help for it.

Listen up, guys. You want to do something manly? Something that takes big, brass balls? Get help for your depression; it’s available. I mean, you wouldn’t believe how many resources there are online for you.

Don’t know for sure if you’re depressed? Go to Webmd.com, Healthline.com, or whatever medical website you prefer, and read up on the signs and symptoms, and find out where you can get help. (Ladies, you look, too, for your man or for yourself.) I also highly recommend http://www.wingofmadness.com

Now, understand something, mis amigos. I got help, but I am by no means cured. Depression is treatable, not curable. I still have my occasions of irritability and anger. I still have my days of total pessimism and bleak world view. I still visit the pit. I still feel the weight. Those things aren’t going away. But they’re more manageable, now.

Usually.

 

Now, let’s get REALLY serious.

Thinking about suicide? Brother, I’ve been there. Many times, I’ve ruminated on whether the world would be much better off without me in it. Usually, it’s just a fleeting thought, but I’ve had at least one Hamlet Moment in my time, believe me. I’ve had that hopeless, useless, worthless feeling more times than I wish to remember.

You know what brings me back, every time? My wife. And my two cats. Silly? Maybe, but…

As bad, as terrified as I may feel sometimes about going on living, I feel infinitely worse about leaving them. I picture my darling wife trudging, as through water, through a house where everything she looks at reminds her, in some way, of me. I think of those precious cats futilely scouring the house, looking for Dad, not comprehending that he’s gone, forever…

and I just can’t. I just can ‘t.

Do I like admitting this to the world? ABSOLUTELY NOT. It’s a part of me I’d just as soon keep private, thank you. But I think of Mr. Wallace, and then I think of the last moments of comedian Robin Williams, putting that belt around his neck, completely bereft of hope, his pain and anguish going all the way to the marrow, and…

This could go one of two ways, in other words. The first way, while more painful, is still the better option.

Really, it is.

My wife and pets are my lifeline. If you can’t come up with any lifelines in your life, please, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, open 24/7, at 1-800-273-8255, and let THAT be your lifeline.

And to one person in particular, (you know who you are) remember all the people who love you, including me. We are all here for you.

You’re not alone, I swear. There’s a way out of that f*****g prison cell.