I was 25 years old the first time I was going to kill myself.
I was curled up naked in my closet, crying uncontrollably, with the barrel of a loaded 9mm in my mouth. The hammer was pulled back and my index finger was taut on the trigger so that it took only a twitch for the gun to go off.
I had been this way for hours.
Then, the phone rang…
It was a very turbulent time in my life.
I was feeling the beginnings of what very soon would be a full-blown mental illness. I didn’t know the labels at the time, but I was feeling the effects of serious depression, an anxiety disorder and paranoia. All I knew was that I felt lost and sad most of the time, and I lived in constant fear of something I couldn’t put a name to.
My first wife and I were separated for the first time and I very rarely ever got to see my kids. They lived in Tucson and I was two hours away. I moved around Arizona several times following the promise of being the manager of a rent-to-own store. I worked 70 to 80 hours per week with only Sundays off. I hated everything about my job. But, I was making very decent money, plus all the performance bonuses, so I stuck with it.
I hung out after work with my employees, who turned out to be the “wrong crowd” I heard so much about. I was medicating my sorrows with alcohol, meth and pot every night. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the drugs and booze only intensified the feelings of utter hopelessness and anguish.
I was obsessed with anything paramilitary and survivalist. I filled my head with any information I could find on the subjects and spent thousands on guns and survival supplies. I was convinced that life as we knew it would end soon and I was going to be ready. I was also sure I was being watched, so I kept loaded guns all over my apartment.
It was a time before I saw a doctor, took any medication, or sat through even one boring therapy session.
The phone had been ringing off and on for about 15 minutes now. It was irritating me enough that I stopped crying and I put down the gun. I sat up listening to the steady ring. The meth I snorted 6 hours ago was still making my head pulse with every ring of the phone.
I had to answer it.
I stood up in the dark closet and touched the wall to steady myself. I opened the door and immediately the light flooded in and temporarily blinded me.
The phone kept ringing.
After my eyes finally adjusted to the light seeping in through the blinds I walked across the room and picked up the phone. It was my mom.
“Hey, are you okay? Your dad and I thought something was wrong.”