Suicide: A First Hand Account Of Considering Ending It All And Why

Alan 6th Grade

Me 6th Grade Spring 1996 12 Years Old

This is my last article I plan to publish about my life before I publish my memoir hopefully this fall sometime.  I planned to publish a lot sooner but writing a book is far harder than I imagined and life keeps getting in the way of me having the time to write it.  This is a long article but I tried to condense a lifetime of difficulties in one article; so it is far longer than most of my articles.  Think of this as a summary of some of the things I will be discussing in the book about my life I am writing.  I warn you I did not have a “Leave It To Beaver” childhood and the article deals with some difficult issues. I told the truth as I lived it to the best of my memories and did not trade honesty for a more gentle and non-controversial politically correct read.  This is far from my entire life story as I said that will take a book.  It is a summary however of many of the negative things I had to deal with in life.

I ask that you are gentle with me in your comments as this is the most difficult article I have yet written.  It is very hard to be this honest about such family affairs and events in your life.  It is difficult to talk about such things as abuse and dysfunction within a family.  Depending on how people receive this article will largely determine if I will go ahead with publishing my memoir which will obviously go even deeper into such difficult things and many other situations and events.  Some much happier situations than in this article but some are anything but.  I am not going to publish if I feel I will not get emotional support or a lot of negative comments.  I refuse to pour out my heart to the world if people are going to crush it.  I can’t handle that and I am not going to put myself through that.  I ask that you remember this is my life and family I am writing about, to imagine how you would feel in the same situation, and how you would feel if the same comment was said towards you or your family before you comment.  Don’t ever forget a real person is on the other side of online comments.  I want you to comment and encourage you, just please be considerate and try to put yourself in my shoes.  If you read nothing else please read the last section titled “Hope”.

Appearances Can Be Deceiving Of The Pain From Within

I know somewhere deep with my subconscious mind is that same sad, anxious, confused, shy, and troubled boy who always tried to smile and keep the inner reality of my heartache locked away.  I may indeed be older and wiser but I am not yet old and wise.  I have grown both in stature and knowledge.  My emotions are also more complex or at least better understood.  I am no longer young and sometimes naive, just 30 years old and sometimes ignorant.  Whatever innocence I had then has vanished and I am aware of all that is in the world, both the good and the bad.  I have grown into a mature man, although I can sometimes still act immature.

Sometimes in order to go forward one must take the time to reflect back, to put things into perspective, to understand where you came from and question where you are going in life.  Occasionally events happen that cause you to reflect back.  That was the case with me when I learned of the tragic suicide of the much beloved Robin Williams.  I did not know the man’s heart and mind so I can not say for certain; but I know the kind of sadness, despair, and hopelessness that can lead one to considering that tragic end.  Then recently I heard a news story of an 11-year-old local Arizona boy who took his own life, which reminded me of a friend I had growing up named David who also took his life at that age.  I was 12 years old at the time and it was a particularity difficult time in my life; the early preteen and teen years.  At the age of 16 I decided to end it all permanently.  I came very close to swallowing the entire bottle of my heart medication so my heart would stop beating.  I wanted to end the heartache once and for all.  It was not the first time I considered suicide nor was it my last.

That old song “Smiling Faces” applies perfectly to this article.  Smiling faces sometimes don’t tell the truth. They don’t tell of the truth within.  For some people their greatest struggle and challenge in life is from within their own heart and mind.  A struggle that others may have little to no idea about as they try to mask their own emotions with a smile, laughter, confidence, etc…

If you have not felt this depth of despair, if you have not had to deal with a lot in life, if you have not come close to literally giving up all hope then you can not fully understand such pain.  You may have some understanding and feel empathy for others but you are not fully able to comprehend.  It is a little like trying to describe the bitterness of biting into the pith of an unpeeled lemon to someone who has never tasted bitterness before.  As all the descriptive adjectives one can think to use is comparing it to other bitter things.

A photograph is a mere capture of time preserved into an image.  In America it is the custom to smile in photos no matter how your feeling inside.  Perhaps it is our attempt to whitewash the reality of the present.  Our attempt to have fond memories of difficult and sad moments in our life.  Our attempt to deny the hardship in the current circumstances.  Such images convince us all is well, when the reality might break your heart.  We want not to know the truth as the truth can sometimes be very bitter.  We attempt to deny the truth of all the pain in our lives because it is easier to deny reality than allow ourselves to feel that pain even momentarily.  We attempt to alter our perception and memories of those times when all was not well, by smiling in photographs.  Then again perhaps it is our attempt to deny the reality to others or provide us whitewashed memories in old age when we have forgotten the reality of how things really were.  Whatever the case smiling faces don’t always tell the truth.

Trouble At Home

I was one who usually tried to smile in photos, especially once I got  a little older, no matter how much sadness I felt on the inside.  When I was a young child I can be seen in many photos not smiling, as I did not feel like smiling.  As a young child I did not have the skills to so easily hide my real emotions, and my expression tended to reflect how I was feeling within.  When I got a bit older though I learned how to hide my pain behind a smile.  I suspect it had a lot to do with my father beating me severely with a belt until I quit crying which could be inflicted on me anytime I failed to walk on eggshells around my father.

My father did not give spankings but beatings; sometimes rather severe ones at that, to where bruises and welts would appear.  He would beat me not until I cried, but until I quit crying.  It was his way, which he later told me as an adult when I pressed him on the issue, to “toughen me up”.  He would use very thick western style belts and often times the buckle and all.  Not just on my bare behind but on my back and legs as well, sometimes elsewhere.  He would blame me for it all, including why I got hit other places because I would not be still because of the pain he inflicted on me.  One time he beat me with a belt with metal eyelets all over the belt, so severely in a drunken rage I was covered in very serious bruises and welts all over my lower body.  I could feel the pain of the belt as it hit my spine and was in pain for some weeks after. He would often curse at me during these mad rages and he’d get that evil look in his eyes.

These fairly frequent ordeals of beatings taught me to hide my emotions, especially the “sensitive” emotions around my father as he did not seem to like them much.  It taught me to hold back my tears.  It also taught me how to feel like crap about myself, to be angry and violent, and that anger and violence was an appropriate way to handle your problems.  It is not the physical scars that inflict the most damage but the internal scars on the heart and mind that you can not see.  My father was a large guy and very intimidating, especially to me as a young child.  I was scared to death of my father when he was in a rage or drinking.  Yes, when I was a younger child my father was an active alcoholic.  I saw alcohol change my father;  it was like pouring fuel on a fire.

My father was very cruel in the words he spoke to me often as well.  He was always putting me down, my mother and I most of all and my siblings to a lesser extent.  I was the oldest, only 13 months older, but my father treated me as if I was many years older than my siblings and expected me to act pretty much like an adult.  He called me a sissy, a cry baby, a klutz, a quitter, a coward, worthless, an idiot, a little asshole, a fucking little jerk, buddy boy, a loser, etc… He was always making me self-conscious about myself.  He had a very strict idea of gender roles and if I would say, do, or wear something that he didn’t think was something a boy should say, act, or dress he was always there to criticize me.  He’d expect me to work hard when I did chores or worked outside on the yard, I am talking hard work.  I by the time I was 12 years old could outdo most adults on such.  I would be told to go outside to pull weeds as a punishment, often until my hands were covered in blisters.  I tried to please my father, I don’t know why because of the way he treated me, but I felt the need to make my father proud.  I worked as hard as I could and nothing was ever good enough.  The best I could hope for is “looks okay”, “keep it up”, “not bad”.  More frequently I heard criticisms.

I was a nervous wreck and depressed and I wasn’t even a teenager yet.  I used to get a lot of stomach aches because I had a nervous stomach often caused by my father’s harshness towards me.  My father besides beating me would sometimes slap me across the face, pinch me as hard as he could on the upper arms, grab my arms and shake me, or occasionally even kick me or throw me against the wall.  He didn’t care where we were if I “acted up” (his definition of acting up was anything and everything); he would take me to another room or out to the car and slap me as across the face, pinch me on the upper arms and shake me, or beat me.  He’d put his arm around my shoulder and hold me as tight as he could as we left the store or whatever place we were in, and he’d take me outside by the car, make sure no one was around, and then let me have it.  Then we would usually go home.  He was careful to avoid leaving bruises and welts where others could see and was sure to make sure no one else was around.  My father on a family vacation had us all crying including my mother as he sped as fast as he could around a winding road threatening he “was going to kill us all”.  My father could be a cruel man and at times seemed to take a sadistic pleasure in inflicting pain on me. His philosophy was apparently by putting fear and pain on me as a child somehow would turn me into a better child.  That he would make me tough, strong, and unemotional.  If anything the opposite had happened.

My father once I got in grade school rarely showed me affection.  A hug from my father was rare and he tended to hang out in his room away from everyone.  When I was very young he would hug me more and occasionally kiss me, but as I said once I got into grade school he backed off a lot on affection though he never was an affectionate person.  I craved affection from my father as a child but was rarely showed any.  I can recall after getting beat by my father, him often realizing he went too far, attempting to apologize.  However the blame was always directed back at me; “you should have listened”, “you should have stopped crying”, “you shouldn’t have moved around so much”.  He would then often ask to see my behind so he said he could see how red it was and rub my behind.  He was very adamant my pants and underwear had to be down both during the beating and when he would ask to “check” after. Sometimes his hands wandered to my private areas.  No longer was he speaking in a gruff and angry voice as when he was beating me but in a soft and subdued tone.  Sometimes a quick back rub, a hug, or kiss.  These episodes would last as long as a few minutes.  One minute my father was beating the hell out of me and yelling at me then a short time later acting completely different.

I back then just saw it as my father’s way of showing affection.  For a kid so used to being yelled at, beat, and showed little affection by my father I had some sense my father loved me during these times.  I know that may sound wrong being the inappropriate nature of these events, but as a child that is how I felt.  I was used to it, being touched and rubbed on my behind and sometimes private areas by my father, as it happened since I was very young.  I as a child didn’t know anything of societies disapproval of such and that it was considered inappropriate what my father was doing. When I got to be about 10 or 11 I would move his hands away sometimes as I felt different down there.  I can recall being in a dressing room when I was around that age and my father smelling of alcohol.  I needed new jeans for school and I had to try on some pairs.  When I removed my pants my father started rubbing on my behind and private area.  I felt uneasy about it this time as I felt different, I moved his hands a few times.  When he did not stop I said “Dad stop it”.  The look on my father’s face was one of embarrassment and shame.  He immediately got up and told me to get dressed and that we were leaving.  I saw a lady waiting for her son in the dressing room next door as we were leaving give my father a scared look and look at me as if she was seeing if I was okay.  I didn’t realize at the time why my father was so anxious to leave before we bought the jeans.  My father stopped touching me inappropriately after that.  Around that age he also stopped showing me any affection; not a hug, a pat on the back, an arm around the shoulder etc…  If I wanted a hug I had to give him one and it rarely was reciprocated. Even a kind word or praise was rare.

My mother would yell at us a lot and sometimes break things when she got really upset but she was not typically one to be physically or emotionally abusive towards us.  The thing about my mother is I watched my father yell and curse at her, threaten her, and occasionally threaten to strike her which a few times he did.  My mother was also an alcoholic and when my father quit drinking due to a diabetes diagnoses and turning his health around, she at the same time began drinking more.  We were younger teenagers at the time.  To see my mother passed out drunk on the couch, acting off the wall goofy, and slur her words was difficult to see my mother like that.

My mother and father both had a lot of financial difficulty and we were living in poverty when we were younger children.  There was always food in the house but the cupboards and fridge got pretty empty sometimes.  My parents fought about money most of all.  When we got a little older and my father got a good job and my mother began working full-time, including a part-time job on Friday and Saturday night things got better in this respect.  There was often a lot of screaming and arguing in the home.  It was a dysfunctional and abusive home.  I would come home after a hard day at school and just go in my room and lock the door.  Sometimes I would cry after a day of being bullied at school and coming home to all the chaos at home.  I felt I had no safe place to go except for my grandparent’s home on my father’s side.  I hung out a lot over there.  If it wasn’t for them I don’t know where I would be today.

Trouble At School

As I wrote about in the past I was bullied a lot in school, for all my school life pretty much.  It started to get more severe in the 5th grade, got worse in the 6th, and junior high was brutal for me.  It started out not that bad; I was called a nerd, a loser, when I started to have to wear glasses for my school work I was a four eyes, saying I threw like a girl, that I dressed like a baby when I wore shirts with cartoon characters and animals on them, they pushed me around, knocked over my lunch tray etc….

In fifth grade the bullies learned new vocabulary such as fag and gay wad, we didn’t know exactly what it meant we just didn’t want to be called that.  Sixth grade got worse in that respect and the bullying went to a whole other level.  As an example two bullies came up to me on the playground and started making comments and throwing around the faggot slur and such.  I should have left then but I figured letting them call me a few names would cause them to leave.  They did not leave and one bully started talking about that his uncle was in prison.  Then started saying you know what happens to guys in prison and how they get raped.  I became very uncomfortable the direction the conversation among them was taking and tried to leave.  One bully yelled for the other one to grab my legs while the other one went behind me and pulled down my jeans and his shorts and pretending like he was raping me.  They were both laughing and joking like they were “bubba”. I the whole time trying to get free as the one bully was rubbing against me through his underwear and mine, as the other one was holding my legs.  I finally broke free and ran like I never ran before as I was scared.  I had no idea what they were going to do and was startled over the whole ordeal.  I went to the assistant principle’s office and told her part of the ordeal, but I was too embarrassed to tell the entire truth of what happened.  I was not a tattle-tale but they took things way too far that time.  They both were suspended and when they came back to school one of them threatened he was going to bring his older brother and his friends who were in a gang to beat me up.

The 7th and 8th grade were absolute hell for me.  The words fag and faggot became so commonly directed at me that when I heard one of the bullies say it, I assumed they were directing it at me which more often than not they were.  Basically every homophobic slur you can think of was said to me at one time or another.  I was in no way openly gay or flamboyant, but because of the way I had a higher pitched voice, was sensitive, creative, and how I combed my hair apparently led them on that I was different from most other boys.  I also hung around a couple of other boys who were also labeled gay by other bullies, so it led to further bullying and rumors.  For a kid questioning his own sexuality during this time in my life and thinking I might be gay, it was even more difficult to accept myself.  They made me feel absolutely horrible about myself.  They could not accept I was different from them and put their insecurities and fears onto me.  It had a lot to do with immaturity and homophobia being so prevalent in our society it filtered down into the school yard.  Whatever ounce of self-esteem I had left at the start of junior high was nearly gone by the end of junior-high.  A handful of teenage boys took whatever self-worth I felt and stomped it out flat.  High School got better especially after my freshmen year as the bullying was more talking behind your back and rumors by then.  Still my mental health issues after so much negative events in my life, took a turn for the worse in high school.

Mental Health

I was struggling with depression and anxiety nearly all my life.  As you can see I had plenty to be sad about.  No teenager has an easy time during that time in their life, but some have a much more difficult time than others.  I had many events in my life and situations that greatly took a toll on my self-esteem, self-worth, and how I saw myself.  This is just a short summary of my life but it is far from the whole story, that will take an entire book which I may publish sometime soon.  I have thus struggled with things my entire life and have never had an easy life.  I for years smiled like everything was fine but once I hit puberty the weight of my life began to crush me.  Things began to effect me more, I couldn’t just shake it off anymore.

When a friend of mine committed suicide when I was 12, him being only 11 years old, it was the first time I felt how fragile life is.  One day you’re talking to someone and the next day they’re gone.  It made life seem even more unfair as David was such a nice kid and had a gentle spirit, but because he acted different and talked a bit different than most other boys some bullied him.  His dad also seemed hard on him the times I observed David with his father.  Whatever the case was going on with David, he couldn’t handle the pain any longer in his life.  He apparently had taken his back pack strap and hanged himself from his top bunk.  To think an 11-year-old could get that sad it tears your heart out.  I got very sad in my life too starting from a young age but until I became a teenager I never thought about suicide.  David taking his own life was the first time I really became painfully aware of suicide in the real world.

After so much troubles at home and bullying on a daily basis during the school week.  After losing a friend.  After many negative events and experiences in my life.  After all the hormonal changes started in puberty.  Life began to get very depressing and difficult for me.  It began to weigh so heavily on me I began to question everything; life, God, and the world.  Life was never easy for me; but life began to seem unbearable, God if he existed at all seemed distant, and the world seemed so screwed up.  I didn’t want to go to school, I didn’t want to go to church, I didn’t want to do anything.  I slept all the time as I was tired and it was a good way to avoid life.  I didn’t have the appetite I once did.  I would just start crying over certain things.  I would become very irritable and angry.  I would argue with my parents all the time, especially my father as lots of resentment built up over the years.  I stopped going to family events and functions.  I spent most of my time alone.  I started to think about suicide sometimes.

Eventually I got to a point in my early teens where I knew I needed help for my mental health issues.  My family doctor gave me a prescription for an anti-depressant and recommend I see a psychiatrist.  I began to take the meds and took my doctor’s advice to see a psychiatrist.  She was a wonderful psychiatrist and adjusted my meds and changed them a few times.  She did primarily medication management so I went to counselors in addition to her.  The counselors helped me some, but they never went very deep into anything.  I was also reluctant to bring up anything very personal, so many of the things I was feeling and dealing with I kept to myself.  I would just say things like I was depressed over life and felt nothing was going right in my life.  Cognitive therapy I found most helpful, which was basically changing the way you looked at things.  It caused you to think more rationally and realistically about things, and allowed you to see where your thinking was not rational or realistic.  This all helped but I still got very depressed sometimes.

When I was around 15 or 16 things began to get worse mental health wise.  They got so bad when I turned 17 I as someone who almost always did well in school dropped out in the eleventh grade.  Before I dropped out I was starting to sleep in during the morning and miss the bus, not study for test, not care about doing well on assignments, and largely checked out.  Finally I decided to quit going at all.  I missed entire days of school without telling my parents.  Then I just dropped out completely.  Years later I got my GED to complete my education.

Concerning Suicide

At 15 I began considering suicide though I had quick thoughts of it before then, this is when I began to more contemplate it.  I lost my grandmother who I was close to when I was 15.  I was always close to my grandparents on my father’s side.  I was in the 9th grade and my grandmother had been sick for years before she died.  9th grade was still fairly difficult as far as bullying as things didn’t began to calm down a lot until 10th grade.  I was still barely getting over the hell of junior high and starting high school at a new school.  My parents and I argued a lot, especially my father and I.  I began to become very mentally unstable at this time with all this compounding negative events taking place during that time.  My moods were all over the place and could change in short order.  I began becoming very angry and agitated, I was always depressed, often anxious, and outside of going to school became quite isolated.  Well when I turned 16 things exploded, and all that had been building up finally got released.

My father and I were getting into heated arguments all the time at this point.  I was in the deepest depression I ever had been in up until that point.  I outside of going to school, stayed home.  I would stay stuck to the television, video games, or the computer mostly, that or I would be sleeping.  I was an emotional roller coaster and could go from crying to in a rage in a short time.  I occasionally got so angry at my parents I broke things around the house.  I’d get right in my father’s face and tell him off.  I told him I wasn’t a little boy any more and he couldn’t control and hurt me any longer.  One day an argument go so heated things got physical. I dared to push my father and he pushed me back.  We even took a couple of swings at each other, mostly me as my father was mostly trying to hold my shoulders down.  I became angry and pushed my father to the ground and told him I was going to kill him as I acted as if I was going to strangle him.  I wasn’t really of course I just felt I had to prove to my father I was tired of his crap and wasn’t afraid of him any longer.  I got up and he said he was calling the cops or he and my mother were going to take me down to the mental hospital to try to get me help.  He threatened to call the cops once before, and one time drove me by the county jail and had a talk with me.  This time I knew he meant it though.

All that resentment I felt for years toward my father finally came out in that fight.  I was never completely out of control of my emotions during the fight, but never was I so out of control.  My threat was not real but my father thought it was.  For the first time as the fight began I saw that my father for once was afraid of me instead of it being in reverse like when I was a child.  Shortly before the fight the same day I seriously came very close to swallowing an entire bottle of my heart medication as I wanted to die.  I had been especially moody during that whole week.  I knew my father would have me thrown in jail for assault if I did not go to the mental health clinic so I agreed.  I knew I would not do well in jail.  We went and they asked me some questions as my father called my psychiatrist to let her know what happened.

Luckily for me they were out of beds and placed me in a day program instead.  They asked if my parents felt safe with me being back in the home and they said they did.  I went to the program and it lasted several hours everyday during the work week for a few weeks.  It mostly dealt with controlling your emotions, anger management, and how to cope with depression and anxiety.  I was the oldest person there and felt kind of out-of-place but I liked the program okay.  I still had problems after that but things never got near to that level after that.  That was a wakeup call to me; the close suicide attempt, the fight with my father, the threat of going to jail or to be committed to a mental hospital, and my father threatening to kick me out of the house.

As far as the close suicide attempt I contemplated it several times but never until then came close to doing it.  Who knows if I didn’t get help then I may have eventually went through with it.  I never would kill anyone else but I could have easily saw me swallowing that bottle of pills or slitting my wrist.  My father had guns in the home but kept them in a heavy safe as he said he did not feel safe leaving them out since I have been suicidal in the past.  He also worried during heated arguments with guns being around, anything could happen.  My brother concerned him mostly as he was into guns and had a hair-trigger temper.  I never contemplated shooting myself though, that seemed too dramatic and I feared I would chicken out or end up a vegetable the rest of my life.  After losing my friend David to suicide from hanging I couldn’t bear the thought of ending my life that way.  My plan was to swallow the entire bottle of my heart medication for a rapid heart rate so my heart would stop beating.  That seemed like the most pain-free way to end my life.  I been through a lot of pain in life but I certainly don’t like experiencing it or seeing others suffer from it.

What about my family I would leave behind you may ask?  At the time being how much my parents and I argued and didn’t get along I figured they would quickly get over it.  I figured my father would even secretly be happy I was gone.  My siblings by this time were not close to me at all.  I had very few friends in school and no friends outside of school.  I certainly felt I had nothing worth living for.  Life was so difficult for me all my life and I wanted out.  I saw absolute no future for me.  I had nothing in the way of goals and dreams.  Those were shattered long ago I felt.  I was so depressed, angry, and felt so hopeless that death seemed preferable than being alive.

Hope

I look at my life since then and it hasn’t gotten better in spite of those who told me it does; but I have gotten better able to deal with things, to take life as it comes, not let the little things get me down, and I am trying to make the best out of my life as I can in spite of everything.  My parents and I get along quite well today, though I don’t see them often.  I am much better able to control my emotions; though I do get angry more than I should and still get deeply depressed sometimes.  I saw what my father’s anger and other issues did to my mother, siblings, and I so I in no way want to continue that legacy.  I still suffer from emotional scars and after effects from my childhood and teen years, but I have tried to go on the best I can and not let my past dictate my future.  I have tried to let go of the hurt, anger, and resentment.  I am working on fully forgiving those from my childhood and teen years who caused me pain.  I am still very much a broken man, who grew up in a broken home, but I am determined to repair those breaks and have as good of life as I can.  I am determined to help heal a broken heart by helping heal a broken world.  My activism in human rights gives me a sense of purpose in my life, helps others, and helps myself as well.  My life has caused me to develop a lot of empathy for others.

I still get really depressed sometimes and occasionally have suicidal thoughts.  I still suffer with mental health issues.  I wish I could say it got better to encourage others, but it has not.  I though as I mentioned have gotten better, I have gotten stronger, I have gotten more in tune with my emotions and the world around me.  I still am far from where I would like to be in life, but life is a journey of a thousand miles, you don’t accomplish everything over night.  You may even fall along the way; but you get up, dust yourself off, and go forward with life.  When you give up all hope, reach out and ask for help, people will help you.  Don’t let silence turn fatal.  Sometimes we think we suffer alone, but the truth is there is many suffering all over the world with similar things your suffering with.  You’re an individual so no one is just like you of course, but you are never alone.

I encourage you to take all that pain you feel, that you have felt, and try to reach out and help others suffering.  Helping others is very therapeutic, even if all you can do is help others by writing encouragement and bringing awareness to people of those suffering in the world that will be helpful to them and healing to you.  Allow yourself to feel and express your emotions, but seek calmness and peace in your life not anger, strife, bitterness, resentment, fear, doubt, depression etc… .  Life is too precious and short to spend it being miserable.  Bring healing to others and you will help bring healing to yourself.  Don’t spend all your time trying to fight unbeatable foes, rather spend it making a difference in the world and people’s lives.  There is a purpose you will find in the world for you, you just have to seek it out.  No matter where you find yourself in life, no matter how difficult the situation, how hopeless you feel realize you can survive it.  I still have more I have to overcome in life but I am not giving up.  Even if the entire world stopped believing in me I will continue to try to believe in my self.  Whatever situations await me in life I plan to make the best out of them as I can.

Suicide is never a solution, suicide is a tragedy. Suicide can be prevented.  Suicide hurts most the ones you leave behind.  I know better than most life is not fair, life is not easy, and life can bring you a lot of pain; but life will still go on so try to make the best of it.  There are people who care about you and want to help, you just have to find them.

I am here if you ever need someone to listen and offer moral support.  I am not here to judge you, just to try to help you if I can.  I have been through a lot in life and have known several others who have been through a lot in life.  I have heard many people’s stories from various walks of life, and am pretty good at understanding people.  I have always been one who has had compassion and empathy for people, including people many do not have such for.  You can ask those who know me, and they will attest to that.  Maybe it is because I tried to be nice to people and was honest; whatever the case people have confided in me with their stories and problems over the years.  When I was younger I didn’t often know anything to say but I just listened.  Listening and caring is the most important thing.

Some of the stories broke my heart, some caused me to feel a bit uncomfortable, and some caused me to question my own former beliefs on things.  They all though have taught me to have more empathy for people, be less judgmental, and caused me to want to help people more.  If I can help one person or save a single life, then that makes it all worth it to me.  I assure you I have seen, experienced, and heard a lot in life; I doubt there is anything you could tell me that would cause me to be too uncomfortable to try to help.  I don’t always have a solution to help people but I try to point them in the right direction to finding one.

Maybe more than altruism it is my subconscious mind feeling like I failed to help my friend David, memories of my own difficulties in life, or feelings of being inadequate; that causes me to want to help people.  Whatever the driving force is behind my desire to help people, I have decided I should dedicate my life to doing just that.  I am not a believer so I expect no heavenly reward, I am not looking for people to say how great a guy I am, and I expect no monetary gains.  I just want to help people.  The only selfish motivation behind it, is helping people also helps heal me.  It helps heal my heart and mind and encourages me to be a better person.  I encourage others to reach out to people who are hurting as well.  Together we can save lives and make the world a bit brighter.

Alan Curtis Montgomery

You can talk to me anytime, about anything, at worldhumanrightswp@gmail.com .  I assure you I will respect your right to privacy in any personal correspondence and not give out your email or other information to anyone for any reason.  I am not a psychiatrist or certified counselor nor do I pretend to be one, but I have educated myself a lot in mental health.  I know sources you can turn to for more answers and help than I can provide.  I am interested in helping people as an empathetic friend would, not as a mental health expert.  If you prefer to remain anonymous that is perfectly fine with me.  Before you decide to give up on life reach out first, to a mental health professional ideally, but at least to a family member or friend or someone else you can confide in.  I am here if you need someone to listen or advice. 

Below is a great infographic and helpful resource about suicide; sent to me by someone in a personal email from The Social Work Degree Center after she saw my last article I wrote about my friend David’s suicide.  I thank her for the E-mail and resource she provided.  I also greatly appreciate her readership and the compliment she gave me for the blog.

Suicide
Source: SocialWorkDegreeCenter.com

President Obama Addresses the Nation on the ISIL Threat

You have our full support, Mr. President.

World Human Rights

Suicide, Kids Giving Up Hope: A Heartbreaking Local Story and Memories Of Losing My Friend To Suicide At A Young Age

Sad Boy

Last night I first heard the news that an 11-year-old San Tan Valley, Arizona boy whose father was a police officer committed suicide.  Samuel Epps, 11, became upset after an argument with his father, went into his parent’s bedroom, locked the door, took his father’s unsecured 9mm handgun and fatally shot himself in the head.  Every indication pointed to suicide and not an accidental shooting.

Initial reports stated that there was no known mental health conditions the boy suffered with nor was there ever any indication he had thoughts of hurting himself or thoughts of suicide.  Sadly in Arizona there is no law that requires a gun be locked up and kept out of the reach of children.  There are laws on neglect though which this case could fall under.

Samuel attended Benjamin Franklin Charter School, which is a K-6th grade school.  Amazingly the charter school stated they had no plans to have a grief counselor at the school, stating that they thought it was unnecessary being it was a tight-knit community.  Experts have criticized the school for this decision.

A local group called Teen Lifeline, reported they have had callers as young as 10 years old call the group’s hot-line after they contemplated taking their own life.  They stated the younger the child the less coping skills they have, the more impulsive they are, and the less awareness they have things get better in time.  They also said it is rare that a single incident can drive a child or teen to suicide, but things build up over time.

This story hit very close to home for me and not just in the sense San Tan Valley is about 30 miles from here in Mesa, AZ but growing up I had a friend who took his own life also at the age of 11.  It was a shock to everyone when it happened and it was the first time I lost someone close to me.  Who would think an 11-year-old boy could get so sad he would take his own life?

I first met my friend David in the 4H Program of which my siblings and I participated in.  4H is a youth organization administered by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture of the United States Department of Agriculture.  Basically it is a youth organization where you learn about agriculture and animal husbandry. 

Our local 4H Chapter started with a Community Garden in Mesa, AZ where we lived.  We were there from the groundbreaking of the garden and my father and I were involved with it for about two years.  It started out with a lot of people involved.  Then when the work got hard most quit including my other family members.  The summers are so hot here, we had to get up before daylight to start working in the garden.  With the irrigation we had to go sometimes very early in the pre-dawn hours to help control the water flow so the plants were not destroyed.  My father, two older gentlemen, and myself were often the only ones there working.  Sometimes a few other men would come to help out. 

Occasionally David’s father would come and I recall David only coming once.  David had no interest in gardening and I recall his father being very strict on him and upset with him that David wouldn’t help out.  David had no interest in getting his hands dirty, shoveling dirt, picking weeds etc…  Finally David agreed he would water the garden with a hose and sprayer.  David’s father was very critical of David and told him to quit being a sissy when he was complaining about it being hot outside.  After being yelled at and criticized by his father I saw David had tears in his eyes and told his dad he wanted to go home.  They left shortly thereafter.

A lady we called Bev whose idea it was to start the garden in the first place decided it would be a good idea to start a local 4H chapter for all the kids in the area.  I was very big on the idea as I liked gardening and animals.  My siblings were also excited about it as they liked animals, but not gardening like I did.  I was surprised as many kids participated in the program that did, including David.  The problem was finding adults to lead the different classes.  We only had one couple who ran a weekly class on gardening who participated religiously.  The other adults in the program rarely would participate so we mostly were involved in the gardening program which I liked very well.  David was not involved in the gardening part of the program so the only time I saw him is when we had a function to attend related to the program.

David was 11 and I was 12 and my siblings 11 years old at the time.  The other kids in the program were around the same age range though some were significantly younger and a few were teenagers.  I did not know David that well as David hung around with two girls who were his friends, and I mostly hung out with my siblings and sometimes with an older teenage boy who I had a fondness for named Daniel who was also in the program.  I talked to David sometimes when I did see him and I remember him seeming sad a lot.  He would often smile and laugh but he seemed like something was bothering him.  Some other kids not in the program he said were teasing him one time because of the way he talked and acted.  David had a high-pitched voice, hung out with mostly girls, and acted more typically the way girls would act.  He dressed like any other boy but he was different from most other boys so he got picked on.  David was also very sensitive so he cried easily.  I would ask him if he was okay and he would just say something like some kids were picking on him.  I knew David was hurting inside, I just as a 12-year-old kid myself had no idea how much.  I wish there was something I could have said to make him happy, to reach out to him more, to do something to convince him not to do what he did.  I wish I knew then what I know now.  I am just glad to have known him and glad I was his friend, I only wish he was still with us today.

One day the telephone rings at my house and my father picked up the phone.  I hear my dad talking and him seeming upset.  He said how sorry he was to hear that and how did it happen?  He then said if there was anything he could do and talked a bit more and then hung up the phone.  I then came in the kitchen.  My dad then just blurted out, ‘You know your friend David from the 4H program his dad went to wake him up this morning and found him hanging by his back pack strap tied to his top bunk.  David killed himself.’  I was absolutely devastated; I went to my room, and into my walk in closet because I wanted to be left alone and cried for about an hour.  My mother tried to get me to come out and I told her to leave me alone.  She tried to comfort me by telling me he was in a better place, but that provided me no comfort.  David was gone, he wasn’t coming back, and I would never see him again.  I never had lost anyone before.  What 12-year-old kid would expect to lose his friend to suicide?  I have tears in my eyes as I write this today, even though it happened about 18 years ago.  You never can forget something like that and time never fully heals all wounds.  Time heals a lot but you still miss the person and it still hurts some when you think about it.  I still miss David and it still hurts me to think how much he was hurting inside.

I had my own situations in my life where I too contemplated suicide and one time came close to doing it.  That is for another article though of which I will be publishing soon.  I was 16 and nothing was going right in my life, and I wanted all the pain I felt inside to stop.  After having lost a friend to suicide at a young age and coming close to a suicide attempt myself, I understand the pain of suicide better than most.  I understand the heartache, the hopelessness, the desperation.  I understand the feeling where you feel like not living is preferable to being alive.  I understand loss.

There is so many people of all ages who have taken their own lives, both young and old, rich and poor.  Suicide involving young people hurts most of all to hear about.  It is happening too much and too many times people say I had no idea they were hurting.  Well perhaps we need to get in closer contact with people and speak less and listen more.  Perhaps if someone comes up to you hurting you can listen and provide moral support.  Perhaps we can as a society work more towards suicide prevention, involving young people most of all.  It hurts your heart knowing so many kids and teens are hurting so badly inside they turn to suicide in a desperate attempt to make the emotional pain stop.  We have to get serious about suicide prevention and reaching out to people who are hurting, who are marginalized, or who are without friends.  Be a friend, be a listener, be compassionate and merciful you just may save a life.

In Loving Memory of my friend David, Samuel Epps, Robin Williams and all others lost to suicide

Alan Curtis Montgomery

Cuts at W.H.O. Hurt Response to Ebola Crisis – NYTimes.com

Copyright The New York Times

Relatives of a man who died of what appeared to be Ebola waited outside their home in Monrovia while a team of workers sprayed and disinfected the area. Credit Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

A Message To ISIS: You Evil Cowardly Infidels Who Hide Behind Mask

ISIS Infidels

I’m here because of your arrogant and brutal policy towards human beings because of your insistence of continuing your campaign of torture, rape, and murder across Iraq and Syria and beheading our journalist despite our serious warnings.

You, ISIS, have yet to gain for your actions through yet more ISIS fighters bombed on the battlefield for just as your knives continue to behead people, our bombs will continue to strike dead your fighters.