Culture Editorials

gXp Public Service Article: Suicide, Mental Health and You

I’ve talked about the subject of suicide before, back in my Pop Cults days when DC Comics ran that ill-advised competition to have artists depict the character of Harley Quinn in various states and one image they used as an example was of a jovial-looking Harley about ready to commit suicide in various ways. I decided to talk about suicide and how making light of the situation was dangerous tactic, especially for those who have thought about or have even attempted to commit suicide – as I had once back in 2000. For my own personal sake, I thought I was over the whole notion of suicide. Oh, the idea lingered in the back of my mind for years and years after I had gotten help, and, for the most part, I seriously thought I had been “cured” of my suicidal thoughts. But earlier this year, in the month of May, I learned just how wrong I was.

On a personal level, the past 18 months have been really trying on me – so much so that I felt a ton of emotional weight on my shoulders and started breaking my mind and spirit. My youngest son had a severe mental break down, I suffered a head injury at work that put me on the sidelines for several months (which probably didn’t help things out in any way), I had family issues that had remained unresolved and were weighing on me, and some issues with my wife (none of it her fault as I was and still am the kind of person to keep things bottled up) just seemed like too much to bare at the time. So, I thought that the best thing to do at the time was to just bring things to an end and hope that everyone would be better off without me. So, after midnight, I set off on the streets with a pocket full of pills, looking for a quiet place to take care of things. It wasn’t until my wife kept calling me, noticing that I wasn’t home and panicked, that it snapped me out of my funk and went home. After that, I sought out help to get myself straight.

Before this event, I used to self-medicate myself. Oh, it wasn’t through drugs or alcohol – after my initial suicide attempt in 2000 I had all but quit drugs and drinking (though I do engage in social drinking with my family and friends). No, my self-medicating techniques involved me diving into my passions and using them to lose myself and escape my problems. I would play video games, read comic books, watch anime, and write… oh, man, do I love writing. Writing became more than a passion; it became something that I used to make a (small) name for myself in the geek community. Because ever since I started writing as a passion and escape, I found a home for myself in the community. First on the AOL message boards, then on blog sites like Blogger or Game Trailers, and finally on sites such as Nfamous, Pop Cults and my current passion project, geekXpop. But after years of continuing to bury my problems, things surfaced and showed me that despite the initial success of my self-medicating, I needed the professional help that I had been denying myself.

It wasn’t until I realized what I would have lost did I see the need to get the help I need from those qualified to help me. Oddly enough, I thought it was interesting that my doctors felt it was good that I had the kind of passions and escapes that I utilized. Well, they wouldn’t use the word “escape” as that has some pretty negative connotations, but rather they used the term “distractions” as they were more appropriate as they were temporary fixes. They suggest that a combination of help and distractions would be beneficial to my long-term mental health. But I know now that there was no way I was going to succeed by just self-medication alone. I needed help and it wasn’t until I got that kind of help that I really needed that I finally started feeling more in control. The control I felt I had before was just an illusion; this control I have now is real control and a more soluble and healthy than I ever had.

I apologize if this entry seems a bit too personal or emotional, but I hope that my confession here might, in some small way, help someone else out there who needs the kind of help that I have recently been getting. There is no shame in admitting that you need help. Getting help will make you a stronger person, it will help you in your relationships in life. But it won’t be a miraculous instant fix – there is no instant fix when it comes to your health; but it will pay off in the long-run. It will make a difference weeks and months in. In the months and years to come, you will see the difference mental health makes in your life. Please, don’t be afraid of getting the help you may need if you feel you need them. Whatever you may be thinking would be a better solution if you kill yourself, believe me – it is not the kind of thing you want to leave your family and friends with.

If you feel you need help, please utilize the following contacts to get the help you feel you need:

Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Crisis Text Line: (text) 741741 with links phone numbers to suicide counselors nationwide

I urge you, please use these resources available to you. For your own sake and that of the people who love you.

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