10 Things I Would Tell My Younger, Suicidal Self

Photo by José Murillo

I still remember that day, that moment, as clear as anything. I was sitting, exhausted and burned out in a shower. Holding the sharp, cold edge to the soft skin of my wrist, I was ready to be done…to rest.

My arms and legs were weeping red, taking the brunt of the lead up to the decision.

As I sat in silence, with the sound of water falling around me, a thought erupted to the surface. Teetering on the edge between this world and the next, I wondered not what my family would think, but how they would feel. I imagined my mother crying, my father bewildered and somehow full of guilt, my brother and sister sad and suddenly lost. I felt so trapped. I couldn’t even have control of my own mortality.

I steeled myself, the last bit of hope drifted away and as I prepared to quickly draw my hand, the atmosphere changed. It was if someone turned a light on inside. I suddenly, somehow knew that I couldn’t do it. An alternate path immediately laid itself out in my mind.

The next morning after a restful night of sleep, I packed up, moved out, left town, made calls, went home and started over.

The decision I made in that moment was the best I have ever made.

Since that day over ten years ago, my depression has never left. There have been easy times and painful times. I have not mastered my own mind and it still seems to be my biggest enemy.

But I have made a wonderful friend, who turned into my best friend and my wife. I have grown a family with her. I have incredible, heartfelt, beautiful kids with their own dreams, desires, likes and opinions.

I have traveled the mountains. I’ve hiked. I’ve camped. I’ve experienced wilderness.

I have photographed, designed and created. I’ve told stories and created them too. I have made deep friends, helped those in need and felt fulfillment and purpose.

I risked it all to move across the continent to start a new adventure in the last frontier with a month of savings. We made it. That was five years ago.

The thought of all of those things not existing, suddenly snuffed out, is too much to imagine.

That was the potential hanging in the balance that day, over ten years ago.

If I could go back and talk to my younger, suicidal self, this is what I would say:

  • Anything can happen.
  • You’ll have low times and high times. In the low times, ride it out.
  • Reach out to someone.
  • Share your feelings. Get out of your own head.
  • Go for a walk.
  • Go on an adventure.
  • Get into a situation where you have to depend on yourself, and be surprised
  • Love others
  • For the love of God, hang on.
  • You never know what’s around the corner and what your life can become.

I wouldn’t trade what I have now for anything.