Deep breath in…
and back out…
This is going to be the realest talk I ever do. It’s going be raw. It could be uncomfortable. But it shouldn’t be quiet.
As most of you know, I lost my father back in 2011. I was on a cross-country road trip with a girlfriend when I got the news as we were pulling into Forth Worth. I was 1,500 miles away from home when the words “He’s gone…” came from the other end of the line.
The years that followed are my darkest. Grieving, job loss, relationship struggles and then unhappiness with the new job.
I spent entire days in bed. I scheduled my workdays around knowing that I wouldn’t be able to drag myself out from underneath the covers and forced myself to sleep. No matter how much I slept, I was drained and exhausted. Whatever physical release I got from crying ended eventually — I had no more tears left.
What I remember most from those days was how much I wanted it to end. When I say end…I meant everything. I hurt so much at that point that I just wanted relief. And if it came by my ceasing to exist on this planet, I was okay with that.
I never physically hurt myself. I never made an attempt. The one time I seriously contemplated putting an end to it all, an invisible force held my arms back from veering my car off the highway. I was ready to just swerve off the road, on the Garden State Parkway right after exit 165. I live 3,000 miles away from that spot now, yet I can see that mile marker like it’s right in front of me. It was the place where I thought I’d just finish it all.
What kind of force it was or why I didn’t act on my self at that moment, I can’t tell you. I’m pretty sure it was slightly out of cowardice and ironically, self loathing. I figured I sucked so much at everything, there was no guarantee I’d finish my execution successfully. And that would be a whole slew of other problems to deal with then.
To say I reached some grand epiphany after would be a lie. The journey to happiness was a long, uphill battle and it’s a path I’m still on now. Thankfully I have never felt as despondent as I did in that moment and the ones leading up to it and I’ve learned how to cope with depression rather than treat it as a negative label.
But I am the semicolon. I am one of thousands who put a semicolon at the end of our sentence instead of a period. 800,000 of us aren’t that lucky.