I was going to kill myself two and a half weeks ago. Calm down, it’s cool; I didn’t. I’m sure most of you who follow me have seen me post about how long it’s been since I quit alcohol. It’s coming up on 21 months now and that’s pretty incredible for someone who was addicted to crack and heroin in their mid-20's. But I had a secret (not just the dolls buried underneath old man Wiggins’ abandoned cabin). I never said I was sober. I went out of my way never to use that word, because I wasn’t. I’ve been smoking pot since I was 18 and never stopped. Today, I have 15 days completely sober and I don’t think I should write these words which is exactly why I’m going to.
I’ve battled depression since I was a teenager. I’ve had two suicide attempts in my life. This last time was different. Before I get into that, let me talk about pot. Rather, here’s what pot did to me (instead of making sweeping generalizations): it slowly choked to death every good quality about me.
The last three years I have been a terrible human being. I didn’t remember people’s birthdays and, much like Janice in accounting, I just didn’t give a fuck. I stopped going out of my way to make drawings or music mixes for my friends. I started three different screenplays that I got two pages into then stopped. I was that guy that would post things like, “BIG THINGS HAPPENING!” “JUST YOU WAIT!” “HONK IF YOU’RE HORNY AND A VIETNAM VET!” (okay… maybe not that last one). I lost weight, which was scary because on a good day I weighed as much as a scarecrow full of wheat, because I was always worried. Worried about being found out as a fraud. My older brother and his amazing wife had a daughter and last week, after two years, I bought the first present I’ve ever gotten for her. That’s simultaneously pathetic and awesome (the fact, not the gift. The gift was a dope construction doo-hickey that she loves).
I started therapy today and am going to meetings again. I feel like my life has meaning and I have worth. I have an amazing job where I get paid to write jokes. When I first got it, I thought I deserved it and believed it would make all my self-hate magically disappear. To my surprise, there are no magic hats in which to stuff rabbits of arrogance, jealously, or denial into another dimension where they disappear. Maybe there are turbans or bowlers, but I didn’t look around much. Every night I would come home and smoke. That was my reward for making it through the day. I stopped thinking about anything more than two hours out. I stopped caring about my future. I’m not saying if you smoke pot this will happen to you, this is my experience. I had a pot delivery guy (yes! they’re real, like in, “Half-Baked” haha, remember those cool guys in their 20’s/30's who all lived together and couldn’t make coherent sentences, those cool cats! 420! Blaze it! Ignore the bills man. Bills are just pieces of paper asking for better pieces of paper. Bills are williams, man) and I was a regular. “My guy” texted me one Christmas to make sure I was okay because he hadn’t heard from me in three days. Typing that sentence makes me want to vomit every liquid out of every orifice simultaneously. I was 33-years-old going on 15. Pot was my escape. I didn’t have to face how much I hated myself.
I didn’t move out to New York and sacrifice as much as I have to become a full-time loser, yet. That’s exactly what happened. Every time I turned on social media I was jealous. Why was everyone else in my circle of friends getting better at writing? Why were they going up the comedy food chain? Why in the fuck were they posting pictures with famous people and I was still recounting the time I held an Oscar when I was 11 (still a cool story but, c’mon dude). It was because they were getting up early and doing hard work. Poor little Sam. Poor little privileged white male whose only real problem in life has been his ego. I hated myself and for somewhat justifiable reasons: I was boring, always grumpy, never not tired. I felt like the picture in “Back To The Future” where everyone slowly faded out. I felt like Ben Carson’s eyes look like.
So I made a plan. I saved up two months worth of pain pills and then bought another 50 of something that, when combined with alcohol, would kill me. I had done research. My Google history was hilarious, in the most macabre manner. I had manic days where I felt good, followed by the lowest of lows. So my Google search read something along the lines of:
“How much Xanax does it take to kill a human or like a scarecrow-thingy?”
“When is ‘Nathan For You’ on?”
“Best painless ways to die?? Are they sure-fire? How long will I feel it if I drown myself?”
“How to make a blueberry pie in only an hour.”
“Nearest artisanal noose stores in Williamsburg.”
“Are cuddlefish regular fish, just hornier?”
“How much alcohol do I need to mix with sleeping pills in order to never wake up again?”
“When is ‘Nathan For You’ on?” (I was STONED out my skeleton, people!)
And so on and so forth.
I finally picked a date, after Facebook memories brought up the only picture I hadn’t deleted of the only woman I’ve ever cared for, it pushed my mental car into overdrive off a cliff. I’ve been alone for the last two years. No sex, no touching. I kissed two women in the last two years. Because I was convinced I was worthless, ugly, stupid and, to be perfectly honest, I was most of those things, but only because I let myself become them.
So I sat down and started writing out a note but that was taking too long and I wanted to leave a nice one that was pithy, at least, so I went to my computer and that’s when shit got weird.
What font do you choose when you’re writing your suicide note? Times new roman is too formal. Wingdings is non-sensical. I ended up going with Comic Sans because soon the world would be sans another comic (clever boy, don’t I know it). I printed it out and started googling hotels. I live with four roommates and I’m not a complete dick, I didn’t want one of them to have to find me and be like, really? You couldn’t have done the dishes first, dude? So I decided I would treat myself. I would go to the Waldorf. I found out that was out of my price range. Do you know how depressing it is to be completely depressed and not have the money to at least off yourself in a classy joint? I ended up going down a rabbit hole of hotel reviews on Orbitz and found a bunch of nice B&B’s upstate. I can give you recommendations next time I see you.
I said fuck it. I’ll just do it here. I went and took the bottle of vodka I’d had stashed behind my bed for three weeks out and I looked into the mirror one last time. I saw the ghost of the man I was.
But then the strangest thing happened. When I quit drinking, I made up my mind I would never do it again. I rarely attended meetings because I would have been a hypocrite and felt even worse, at least in my mind. I put 30 pills inside my mouth and- my body refused to let me drink alcohol. If I didn’t mix them, I would possibly die, but more likely than not I would live and have brain or body damage. I learned enough through my research to know that and what time ‘Nathan For You’ is on. I didn’t want to do that to my family and what few friends I had left. Make them take care of me because I took the easy way out.
I called a friend. They know who they are. They talked me down that night and I literally owe them my life.
Why am I writing all this? Is it self-serving? You betcha. Can it help anyone else? God I fucking hope so. You might have noticed over the past two weeks I’ve been even more emotional than usual and that’s because I’ve wanted to tell this story. I’ve learned that people look up to me (not a lot, but some) and people care about me, I had just pushed so many of them away with my behavior that I couldn’t see it.
So here we are. I promised myself I would wait 30 days before I would write this but I had to get it out of me. I’ve told a few people and been shocked that people who I love and respect and look up to because they have their shit together have told me they feel the same way too. A lot.
But you deal with it by being honest.
People have told me they would have never guessed I was going through this, which brings me back to why I’m writing this. Too often we put on a display for the world, many people have said this sentiment before and much more eloquently than I’ll ever be able to, but it’s so fucking true.
Don’t feel sorry for me for a moment. I’m alive and more so than I’ve felt in years. I have a job, a small circle of friends that are borderline angels, a family that would do most anything for me. I’m the luckiest guy on Earth. I won’t tell you about any plans I have, if I do, they’ll reveal themselves when they’re supposed to (good plans, for the future).
My DM and email will always be open for the rest of my time I’m lucky enough to have. I have been in touch with strangers and friends and want anyone, ANYONE who is feeling isolated and worthless to know, you matter. I will answer any message I get.
I’m so thankful that I’m typing this right now (is this Times New Roman? I’m not sure). Reach out. There is light at the very bottom of the tunnel you’ve buried yourself under, or maybe had fallen on you inadvertently.
There is no problem worth killing yourself over. I wish I hadn’t done drugs but maybe that’s why I’m here now. I don’t recommend almost dying multiple times in order to feel worthy of life but my path led me here so who am I to second-guess any of it? All I can do now is take it one day at cliched time and enjoy every precious second that I get going forward.
I love you.
More than anything in the world, remember that.
“Nathan For You” is on at 10:00pm Eastern.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: I choose not to keep any of my writing about mental health behind a paywall. If you’d like to support my writing I’m on Venmo (@samgrittner) and PayPal (firstname.lastname@example.org).