Some days I don’t want to do anything. I don’t want to get out of bed. I don’t want to shower. I don’t want to go to work. I don’t want to even be. I just want to hide from the world.
I know I’m not the only person that feels this way but at the time it’s hard not to feel very alone.
This may sound shocking to some. People know me as a very happy guy. I’m positive, up-beat and I always look for the good in every situation and every person.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t have days when I feel less than 100 percent… or even 50 percent!
Life can be hard. Some mornings seem darker, colder and less welcoming than others.
Some nights seem longer, more lonely and scarier than others.
Our lives have an ebb-and-flow to them. Some times we are up and some times we are down. For some, the downs seem way down and the ups seem few and far between.
I lost a friend recently. I guess you can’t really say he was a friend. He was someone I knew. He was someone I liked. He was someone… but now he’s gone.
We played in a band together years ago. He was incredibly talented. He played guitar and when he played he seemed to go to some other place. His fingers moved up and down the neck of the guitar creating the most amazing sounds. His eyes would be closed and his head would bob back and forth. His long, straight, dirty blond hair would swing in time with his music and you could lose yourself as you watched and listened to him play.
It seemed like he knew something I didn’t. He had a creative edge to him that I envied. He could hear music in the air and then use strings and a piece of wood to make them come to life for others to enjoy. He had a gift.
He also had a great smile and an infectious laugh. He saw the world through the eyes of emotion, creativity and music. And when we talked about things he always seemed as if he was patiently waiting for me to catch up to where his mind already was. He was special.
Eventually, this band like many bands ended. People quit. People moved on to other projects and interests. We all went our separate ways.
I kept in contact with some members of the band but not him. He seemed to cool for me to be friends with. Not because of anything he did or said. I was intimidated by his talent and assumed he wouldn’t want to be friends with me.
He seemed destined for something bigger. He could have been famous. He could have ended up on the cover of magazines. He could have made videos, written hit songs and toured the world playing music. He could have been someone I would have told my kids, “I played in a band with that guy once.”
But he didn’t do any of that.
I received a text the other night from one of my friends from that band.
“Sorry for the lack of communication. Hope you guys had a good holiday. I’m not sure if you saw on the news but Scott died this week. He went missing on Monday and they found him yesterday. No one knows any details yet. It just sucks. Sorry it’s bad news but I thought you would like to know.”
My heart sank. As I looked at the words on my phone and they didn’t seem real. Nothing in my life had directly changed but something suddenly seemed missing. I hadn’t talked to him in almost 20 years but I felt his loss.
Over the next few days I searched for news articles to help fill in the blanks of what happened. All I could find was his missing persons report.
‘Police search for missing man.’
Then, three days later, I found an article. I skimmed the words.
‘Missing man… 44 years old… body found… self-inflicted gunshot wound.’
I still don’t know what to do with this information. It somehow doesn’t seem real. The person I knew is gone. He’s gone because he didn’t want to be here anymore. He chose to end things rather than go on. That makes me so sad.
Maybe if he knew how talented I thought he was… maybe if someone had told him he’d be missed… maybe if an old friend had reached out… maybe.
I guess the point of this is not to bring you down but to remind you of something important. Everything ends eventually. No matter how bad things seem at the time, they will not last forever. Life changes. Your life can change. Your life WILL change. Everything is temporary. But choosing to end your life over a temporary pain is permanent.
I know what it’s like to not want to be here. I know what it’s like to feel trapped in the life you live. I know what it’s like to want to throw in the towel and give up. But I also know what it’s like to turn your life around. To turn your life upside down and then put it all back together again, even better than it was before.
Things can get better. People do care. Every life is precious.
If you are still reading this, I’d like to ask you to do something:
Tell the people you care about how much they mean to you.
Find an old friend and reach out to them.
Look up someone you haven’t spoken to in years and say hello.
Share the love you have for people with those people. Don’t just keep it to yourself because you worry it won’t be returned.
I never reached out because I was worried that Scott wouldn’t remember who I was. I didn’t think I mattered enough to him. And now he’ll never really know how much he mattered to me.
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org to get help.