This article content sensitive topics that could trigger past trauma or make you uncomfortable. i.e.: suicidal thoughts, depression, mental health
A little more than a year ago (2015), my life was perfect. At least, from my own point of view. I was engaged to the most formidable woman I ever knew and we were living in our beautiful spacious condo with our kids, our three cats. People were paying me very well to share my passion about technology, and travel all over the world to help developers succeed with their projects. My friends and family were an important part of my life and even if I wasn’t the healthiest man on earth, I had no real health issues. I was happy and I couldn’t ask for more… Until my world collapsed.
I was 4500 kilometres away from home when I learned that the woman of my life, the one I spent one fourth of my young existence with, was leaving me. That was, the end of my world! Like if it wasn’t enough to lose the person you share your life with, some people I considered friends ran away from me: sad Fred is no fun, and obviously, when there is a separation, people feel the needs to “take a side”. Right before, I realized that the company I was working for, wasn’t the right one for me, so I decided to resign: I wasn’t able to deliver as I should take this in the equation with everything else. Of course, I had no savings and it’s at that exact moment that we had water damage in our building and that I had to pay out a couple of thousands for the renovation. During that period, I sank deeply and very quickly: someone calls depression knocked at my door.
For months, I was going deeper in the rabbit hole. Everything was hard to achieve, and uninteresting: even taking my shower was a real feat. I was staying home, doing nothing except eating shitty food, getting weight and watching Netflix. I’ve always considered myself a social beast, but even just seeing my best friend was painful and unpleasant. I didn’t want to talk to people at all. I didn’t want to see people. I didn’t need help even if I felt I was a failure. My life was a failure. During that period, my “happiest” moments were when I was at a bar, drinking: alcohol was making me numb, making me forget that I was swimming in the dark all day long. Obviously, that tasty nectar called beer wasn’t helping me at all: it was taking me deeper than I was and as any stupid human, I was trying to get back my love, in the most ineffective way ever, to stay polite with myself. On top of that, even with good will, everyone was giving me shitty advice (side note: in that situation, the only thing you should do is being there for the other – you don’t know what the person is going thru and please, don’t give advice, just be there). That piece of shit that I was seeing in the mirror couldn’t have been me: I was strong. I’ve always done everything in my life to be happy: why I was not able to make the necessary changes to get back on my feet? Something was pulling me to the bottom and was putting weight on my shoulder. I wasn’t happy anymore, my life wasn’t valuable anymore. Maybe the solution was to kill myself?
Seriously, why live in a world where the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life, the woman who wanted to spend the rest of her life with my own person, was running away from me? Why live in a world where people were spitting on me, not literally, in the lovely world that is social media? Why live in a world where the job I thought I was born for was maybe not made for me? You know that thing call the impostor syndrome? I wasn’t happy and I wasn’t seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I had no more strength left. I didn’t have a proper night of sleep for weeks and no healthy meal since, forever. I don’t even talk about exercise… I was practically dead already, so one night, I drank like never before, and had the marvellous idea to nearly harass my former fiancé: I wanted her back. She closed her phone, it was the end: I decided it was the end. I was an asshole. I had enough. I wasn’t able to take more of that shit that is life. Fortunately, I blacked out, being truly intoxicated, before doing anything irreparable… until the cops knocked at my door. They were there to check if I was still alive. Two cops, at my door, wanted to see if I was alive. Can you imagine? I’m pretty sure you can’t. I was shaking and nearly crying: they were ready to smash my door if I wasn’t answering them in the second after I did. I reached a point where people who still cared about me were worried enough to call the police. Can you imagine again? Worrying the people you love so much that they need to take drastic actions like this? I was terrified. I. Was. Terrified. Not about the cops, but about me… I was at a breaking point! Fuck…
At that exact moment, I decided I needed to try to take care of myself. I started to see a psychologist twice a week. My doctor prescribed me antidepressants and pills to help me sleep a bit. Until now, I didn’t take any medicine for my severe deficit attention disorder (ADD – ADHD, with hyperactivity, in my case) that was diagnosed years ago, but I asked my doctor to add this to the cocktails of pills she was giving me. I also forced myself to see my close friends and I stopped taking anything containing alcohol. It was a complete turn over: anything that was helping me to see some light out of that terrible time of my life was part of my plan. Actually, I didn’t have any plan, I just wanted to run away from that scariest part of me. I even started to write a personal diary every time I had a difficult thought in my mind, which was more than once daily. It wasn’t easy. I wasn’t happy, but I was scared. I was scared to get back to that moment when the only plausible idea was to end my life. The frightening was bigger than the sadness, trust me. Baby steps were made to go forward. It was, and still is the biggest challenge I ever had in my life.
One evening, I was with my best friend at a Jean Leloup show: for a small moment, first time for months, I was having fun. I was smiling! And I started to cry… I realized that if I had killed myself, I wouldn’t be able to be there, with a man who is loving me as a friend for eighteen years and supported me like no one during that difficult time. I wouldn’t have been able to be there, singing and dancing on the music I love so much… At that exact moment, I knew I was starting to slowly get back on my feet. I knew that it wasn’t only the right thing to do, it was the thing to do. Thanks to my parents, my friends and the health professionals, I was finally feeling like my life was improving. It was a work in progress, but I was going in the right direction.
Still today, life isn’t easy. Life is continuing to throw rocks at me, like my mother getting a diagnostic of Alzheimer and this week, a cancer. I’m still trying to fix parts of my life, trying to find myself, but I can smile now, most of the time. It’s a constant battle, but I now know it’s worth it. Anyhow, I have mental illness and I’m not ashamed anymore of it: I’m not ashamed anymore of what happened! I’m putting all efforts I can to make my life better. Again, it’s not easy, but small steps at a time, I’m getting better. Since, there is a semicolon tattoo on my wrist (picture above) to remember me that life is precious. That my life is precious. I could’ve ended my life, like an author ending a sentence with a period, but I chose not to: my story isn’t over…
P.S.: If you have suicidal ideas or feels like you are going thru what I’ve lived, please call a friend. If you don’t want or can’t, call Suicide Action Montreal at 514-723-4000 or check the hotline number in your country. You deserve better. You deserve to live!
I’m glad you’re still with us. Lots of people feel the same. You’re an important part of the community, Fred. Look out for your health.
Thanks Anastasi! My health is becoming one of my priorities now.
Bon retour Frédéric! Je suis content de voir que tu aie pu tourner la page et que tu reviennes à la vie.
Merci de partager ces moments personnels difficiles. En espérant continuer de te lire encore longtemps.
I’m happy to hear that you have recovered from all this. It is perfectly normal to feel down sometimes, but don’t let that control you. Your life is valuable and meaningful. Nobody can take that away from you, because this isn’t something that depends on what other people can do to you, but what kind of person you are.
I’m pretty sure you have heard all those cliché motivational stories, so I’m not gonna bother you with them now. The best advice I can give to you is the words from Churchill: “never, never, never give up”! 🙂
Thanks Timur, it’s getting better!
It’s good you made it out of the pit!
Life sucks many times …
Long time ago I was taught a technique which has saved my bacon many times since! It goes like this:
when shit hits the fan force yourself to watch what’s happening like when you watch a movie at the cinema!
On the screen is drama, happiness, adventure, boredom etc and you as spectator are going through all those feelings despite knowing that everything there is unreal and following a script!
Apply the same in your real life by distancing you from what is going on if too intense.
The best way of achieving performance is by constantly practicing this technique in your daily life: that will allow you to benefit from it under huge stress.
Thanks for the technique Augustin.
Hi Frederic ! I am your new reader from Asia. Finding you by your inspiration book which collected lots of useful and wise advices. you are really a great guy and sharing the spirit of courage! Your book and story really help lots of my classmate and friend! We will be your tribe and back you up! Best wish!
Thanks a lot for the kind words Weiting! I’m glad I was able to you guys.
I felt this way after my husband, father, and mother all died in a very short time. One day I came very close to ending it. It was a wake up call. I had two children and two grandchildren who could not lose another person in their life. Struggled for a long time but got back the will to live. Now every day is new and exciting.
Thanks for sharing your story: I’m glad you went thru it and are still there for your kids and grandchildren!