26 July 2020

In The Way Back

Since I've got suicide on the brain thanks to one errant post and an explanation follow-up...

There once was a time when I had the gun in my mouth.

Nothing in my life was going right and everything I tried made it worse.

I had no money, I was couch surfing from friend's place to friend's place and it was killing those friendships.

Having once been 4.5 lb. of finger pressure from firing that round and going through the long, slow recovery from that VERY dark spot; I feel that I'm a good judge of how far from it I am.

It's a delicate moment explaining to a psychiatrist that you felt like suicide was the answer but also wish to remain a gun owner.

To quote a trite phrase, "I'm much better now."

Back during my legal drama I was very bummed, but not suicidal, and had lots of free time to kick the VA in the balls about my chronic pain from my service connected injury.

The prescribed gabapentin.

One of the rare, but serious, side effects is suicidal ideation!  I got three days of the initial dosing done when the thoughts started.  Because I knew where the dark place was, I knew I was walking right at it and stopped taking my prescription.  Oh, my legs didn't hurt anymore, that part worked.

I wonder if I'd never been so distraught to be seriously thinking about it in the way back if I'd have been unable to stop it on the gabapentin with the legal drama looming over my head.


  1. I was profoundly suicidal in my late 20s and early 30s. I used to sit on my bed and dry fire a 9mm Baretta in my mouth at least twice a week. I used to constantly think about it. The odd thing was that I wasn't really "depressed" in the sense of being profoundly unhappy or in despair. It was just this strange urge and sense of meaninglessness to it all. It all seemed like just so much work to go through all the crap one had to go through just living from day to day -- everything was just drudgery. I remember reading a blog by a philosophy graduate student at the time who went through the same thing. He sat down and wrote a very well-reasoned examination of life, and came to the conclusion that it was, essentially meaningless. It was essentially the same conclusion that Solomon came to in Ecclesiastes -- that everything was ultmiately "vanity."

    I had much the same opinion. The only reason I didn't kill myself at the time was that I knew that it would devastate my father (my mother had died of cancer some years earlier). I made a pact with myself not to kill myself until after my father died. I had no particular desire to live, but I also had no immediate demand that I kill myself. So, I promised myself that I would commit suicide as soon as my father passed.

    Then, things changed. The first thing was that I returned to my Christian faith. I know it sounds like a cliche, but *real* faith in God through Jesus Christ was transformative. I had been raised in the church, but sort of went through the motions. Somewhere along the line, I developed a real appreciation for what "faith" really was -- it isn't what most people think it is. Since this isn't a place for apologetics, I won't go into it, but if you "get" it, it's a game changer.

    The second was meeting my wife. Suddenly she provided yet another source of meaning in my life. The combination of faith and family gave me an anchor that changed everything.

    I remember waking up one morning when I was about 45 years old and being extordinarily happy with being alive. I thought about all the bullshit I told myself in my 20s and 30s, and thought about how lucky I was that the 30-year-old me had enough of a sense of responsibility to put off suicide until my father died (he died the year I turned 50). By the time he died, my attitude about all of this was 180 degrees different than it was in my 30s.

    Now, every day I get up and thank God I have another day with my wife and the ability to live my life the way I think it should be lived. And every day I go to bed and thank God for another day lived that way.

    Since I've been there, I would only say to people in their 20s and 30s who are thinking about the meaninglessness of it all that you don't have to kill yourself *today.* It's always and option, but once you take it, you won't have any others. Wait until tomorrow. Eventually you will turn 40, or 50 or whatever, and it may well be that things will change. Faith helps a lot, but again, I don't want to evangelize too much. All I can say is that I am extremely grateful to my 20-year-old self that my sense of obligation to my family overruled by more selfish desire for self-destruction.

    1. There's a lot of parallels with my path there.

      The Lovely Harvey was instrumental in changing my trajectory.

      I get what you mean by "faith".

  2. Hey Angus;

    I heard about gabapentin, I got it prescribed for my pinched nerves in my back and I have heard that stuff will turn your brain into swiss cheese, needless to say, I don't take it, unless the pain is excruciating. I am doing physical therapy to get better so I can avoid "the Knife". I have lost a lot of weight like 40 pounds, and thegoal is to get down to my service weight or as close as I can get. I truly understand the darkness, and the only think that kept physically putting one of my pistols in my mouth was my catholic upbringing...but it was a photo finish. I did wonder how better it would have been if I wasn't here. Also I have had that discussion with my Dr and my prescriptions, he also is a gun owner and understands my concerns.

  3. Was prescribed gabapentin for neuropathy thanks to a really bad case of shingles on me face. Only thing it did was help with the nerve pain.

    Now, actifed? Some of the other super-wowser allergy meds? Oh, boy, the bad trips I took on some of that stuff, like LSD bad trip. Being sucked into the now alive pattern in the Persian rug, drowning in blood, all sorts of stuff. And depression. And suicidal thoughts. But that was back in my pre-teens and teens.

    It was the anti-depression drugs that really made me truly think about self-slabbing. Yikes. Years on that stuff and the best day ever was stopping those. And, funny, the crushing depression that I had for years disappeared, too.

  4. Thanks, Angus, for "guttin' it up" to talk about this...you too, billo, MrGara and Beans. I was late 30's (now 70 y/o) when the "reaper" and his ideas first came to visit. Had the Super B_hawk, the rod, the patches, the Hoppes #9 all strategically on the cleaning bench, a 240g JHP in the tube. It was gonna be, "...he was cleaning his gun, and it went off..." I would like to say it was a strong walk in the Faith that stopped me, but it wasn't. I was a newbie on our local EMS crew, and my first and third DOS (dead on the scene) in our little town were self-inflicted GSWs. So I asked myself which of my boys (8 and 10 at the time) did I want to find me, and which would hose my brains out of the rafters. I couldn't see an end to the crap at the time (hopelessness), but I also realized that that was the most selfish act a man could commit.
    Today, I take no credit for "standing firm," or any of that crap. God is the strength of my heart. That's where it starts and stops.


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