Journeyman's Row
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5,000 and beyond

Posted on July 8, 2020 at 2:00 PM Comments comments (1)

On this day of July, "2020", I would like to make a most humble announcement. Thanks in large part to those many people who have persevered, since June 21st my website has now officially surpassed 5,000 page views.


As I consider the effort by those many people out there, and lastly myself, to share my poem despite censorship and spam blocking... I must regard all of you as much as the troubling times we are enduring together as a people. While sharing the poem, on social media, I have seen many faces.


Many faces, indeed.


Not of one race, color, or creed, but of many people who tirelessly work and to support essential lives. American, international, blue collar, white collar, front line, at home, graduate, as well as retirees with a lifetime of hard work behind you. I wanted to see a picture of as many of you as I could in order to remember who I am with right now. Who I am with right now as we fight this and stand up to reveal the truth about COVID-19. The thousands upon thousands awakened to the truth about the narratives that surround us.


Not of one race, color, or creed, but of many people who deserve the most dignified respect I can offer as but one lowly soul. Never before in my life have I seen so many people face such an uncertain future as I myself have been living for over the last twenty years because of my mental health. I am unemployed, have no significant other, spouse or kids, and not yet a place to live so either. I struggle mightily in ways my new mental health writing will begin to reveal. I struggle through my days as we all do together facing the uncertainty before us.


Of many races, colors, and creeds, we the people of the world have come this far in our lives such as they are. We don't always agree. Believe me, as I stated in my 2018 article on youth and adult bullying, "We all have our days." We also have our days of humble forgiveness and remarkable compassion. Despite any differences, we are still here together. I have said to numerous commenters on social media, you are still here. That's mindfulness. That's empowerment. That's resilience. That takes honest courage to face what we have and still be here.


Persisting as one great river to carve a path through the rock of oppression that lies all around us...


From all my heart I want to thank each and every person for taking the time to read my poem, the patience to read it all (because, honestly, it is long and stressful), as well as the diligence to share it with anyone you know. A big shout-out to Ms. Trina Faith for sharing my poem with her 2,500 followers on Twitter as well. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much. Keep my poem alive.


I want to conclude this post in memorandum by quoting my idol, beloved actor Robert Downey Jr., from the 2008 film Iron Man.



"I shouldn't be alive... unless it was for a reason. I'm not crazy... I just finally know what I have to do. And I know in my heart that it's right."


You are why I am still here.


You are an Avenger.

Thank you, TWLOHA.

Posted on January 13, 2020 at 2:45 PM Comments comments (1)

Thanks to Ms. Becky Ebert, Editor for the non-profit organization ToWriteLoveOnHerArms (TWLOHA), today my first formal article sharing my 2003 attempt survival has been published nationally (#5). This is one of the most important topics I set out to publish. I cannot thank Ms. Ebert enough. Now, more than ever, safely sharing an attempt survival story cannot be underestimated - especially not at a time when suicide is such a serious concern. But there is hope.


Keep reading.


Three years ago, after I finished blogging for 128 days to begin my advocacy website, I submitted my first mental health writing for publishing consideration. It was a non-profit organization I'd heard about from local community volunteers. My first impression was that it seemed quite reputable. Their blog was full of rich personal stories about a range of important mental health topics. Although I was declined, to be honest my writing was not well developed yet.


The non-profit was none other than TWLOHA.


Two years ago, I'd taken the training for NAMI's "In Our Own Voice" presentation program. Closer to the summer, I then took and completed the re-training. However, for reasons I cannot disclose, my affiliate either decided against having me involved or the program was not their priority. Perhaps NAMI's single best program, to proactively reach people all over an average community, left to help no one here by the choice to waste the training I'd been sent for. That year was also the summer when I was bullied for trying to pitch my recovery story, and stigmatized as a threat for asking about getting a vendor table.


Hence, why I refer to it as the "Summer from Hell".


One year ago, following my success of having two NAMI Blogs published in late 2018, I busied myself to write about the most important topics I wanted to advocate for. My efforts to branch out into my community had been met with immoral retaliation. I didn't just want to give up what I'd started. Though, I didn't know whether I would get any new writing published let alone to the people who need it. So, I didn't necessarily believe in the success. But I pursued it anyway. Through an incredibly deep passion I've developed for helping people, I set myself on the task because I felt it needed to be done.


“A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.” —James N. Watkins


In 2019, the Nat'l Empowerment Center re-published my anti-bullying article (#3). NAMI published my th;rd Blog with my stunning take on goal-oriented suicide prevention (#4). Unfortunately, in between them a forty-six-year-old local businesswoman, Rebecca Hoover, took her life as a result of being bullied. Her tragedy hit me like a brick wall. One year earlier, it could have been me ("Summer from Hell"). Now, I had a much clearer focus and increasing success writing about mental health. I also found my theme too.


#ItMattersHowPeopleAreTreated

Because it does. Prove me wrong.


The local Suicide Task Force refused to consider either article, despite Hoover's preventable suicide loss. Frankly, the excuses I have been given are shameful. It has been hard to tolerate the ignorance of just a handful of 'community leaders' protected in positions of influence. And no, it is not because now I know I have been diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum. I have been telling it like it is all my life. I say what needs to be said, and some of what needs to be said about mental health awareness is what I have learned. If I am being honest.


What did I do?


Shortly after my suicide prevention NAMI Blog (#4), I finally found both the confidence and tact to try writing a formal account of my attempt survival. Much like when I write poetry, sometimes the momentum can drive me to write more. I knew I needed to be careful how I shared my experience. So, I made that my top priority. Several days later, I finished a draft and submitted it to TheMighty for consideration. They declined it two weeks later. I then revised the article into its final form. When I finished this re-write, to be honest I was awe-struck.


I knew I had previously blogged about parts of my attempt experience before. Though, I didn't exactly know how to safely discuss what I went through without revealing too much information. After all, what filters have I had but the drive to openly share my life? This time it was different. Somehow, I managed to not compromise anonymity or violate suicide reporting guidelines by discussing what my method was. Yet, I still included a surprising amount of detail about what was going through my mind.


I humbly believe I proved that survivors do not need to reveal what the attempt method was. Just share what you felt and why. I had potentially created a blueprint for other survivors to follow...


Loosely covering from 1997 to 2008, I successfully wrote about my attempt survival and incorporated one of the most empowering conclusions I have ever written. I took the confidence from my suicide prevention NAMI Blog and put it to the best use. What happened next was yet another surprise. Completely out of the blue, TWLOHA contacted me expressing their interest to re-publish the article. Honestly, it felt like after three years I had come full circle.


Thank you, Becky and ToWriteLoveOnHerArms (TWLOHA). Thank you for giving me another chance. Thank you for choosing to consider what a community leader once referred to as my "unwanted" recovery story. Well, it is not unwanted anymore. I look forward to writing some of my next submissions exclusively for your consideration. Here is hope you can take with you, and the reason...




"Why I No Longer Refer to My Attempt as Weak"

A Loving Juliet

Posted on January 9, 2020 at 9:10 PM Comments comments (0)

A Loving Juliet”

Poem written by: Jim R. Irion



It is an honest shame,

       an empty terrible pain,

not to have had a chance yet

       to find a loving Juliet.


Plenty of times I have tried;

       many times they have lied.

I wanted the commitment.

       They flaunted being ignorant.


I tried the clichéd hero role,

       the compassionate and caring Romeo,

the knight in shining armor,

       that nice guy in the corner.


I put myself on the line,

       regardless of the day or time.

No matter what it would take;

       felt like the right choice to make.


Now, most of my peers

       have found their dears.

I feel like I’m the last

       guy picked for gym class.


Missed opportunities all along;

       never knowing what I did wrong.

So many missed social cues.

       Autism had me confused.


By then, it was too late.

       I was almost thirty eight.

Here I am all alone.

       No Juliet to call my own.


Melanie, Becky, Lacey, Jenny;

       just the first four of many.

What does it matter now?

       I’m almost forty anyhow.


No sexy good looks

       or bulging muscles to flex.

No fat pay checks

       or flashy new cars yet.


I already tried online dating

       when I thought my luck was fading.

All I got was more chicanery.

       Then I stopped because of misery.


I don’t know what to do anymore

       to find this true love I pine for.

Before I invest in a casket...

       I long to find a loving Juliet.

There Is A Time

Posted on January 5, 2020 at 1:05 AM Comments comments (0)

There Is A Time”

Poem written by: Jim R. Irion



There is a time for pain

       that can send you reeling.

There is a time for love.

       Oh the unrivaled feeling.


The Darkness in thee.

       The Light in thou.

Balance them equally.

       It is possible to do.


All prayers could feel lost.

       Not much hope left in sight.

I have been there and back.

       I know what this is like.


Many people think me nuts.

       I’m a talker and a realist.

Why won’t I just shut up?

       It’s my nature to be honest.


Does sunlight not shine

       creating so many shadows?

The good, the bad in life

       are nothing to be afraid of.


So charge through the fog

       and grasp the Light.

Pierce the Darkness

       despite its might.


You’re not too negative.

       Don’t let them shame you.

Remember I was here.

       Tell that to them too.

Social Media Syndrome

Posted on January 5, 2020 at 1:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Social Media Syndrome”

Poem written by: Jim R. Irion



That moment you stop scrolling

       through your Facebook news feed;

all your friend's happy lives

       you've just irrevocably seen.

How sad this time of year

       can be without someone.

Since I'm in the mood

       here is my poem about one.



This is nothing you want to read.

       My "someone, someday" is not with me.


All these pictures with your kids.

       Partners, pets, the smiles and grins.


Friends or family, would I really be missed?

       Maybe someday I may end up testing this.


Too many friends my life is no part of.

       React with a ❤️, please show me some love.


I'm sorry I'm not a more popular person.

       Accomplished, married, any number of children.


I try, I hope, to be like many of you.

       Next year though, I just hope to see it through...


My daily headaches have not stopped yet.

       Someday soon I may not wake up again.


I think back to high school all those years ago.

       Who am I? With nothing to show.


If you're reading this, and truly do care,

       please don't unfriend me if you have love to spare.


A genuine act of generous kindness

       can still help when my life is toughest.

Why I No Longer Refer to My Attempt as Weak

Posted on October 20, 2019 at 2:30 AM Comments comments (2)

"Why I No Longer Refer to My Attempt as Weak" ©



As an experienced advocate, I am strong enough to understand my suicide attempt better than other survivors can typically handle. This strength enables me to understand the trauma involved in ways I recognize can greatly benefit many people. So, I have addressed the following suicide topics carefully to make sure this discussion is as safe and productive as possible. Despite my effort, there may still be details explained or implied that could trigger certain readers. Please be mindful of this as you continue.




        Before 2017, when I began regularly volunteering as an advocate in the local mental health community, I referred to my suicide attempt as weak. That was until a co-volunteer encouraged me to do otherwise. She told me, "Other people have died from less." This person was an experienced facilitator of mental health services in the community. So, I valued her experience as much as I respected her opinion for the empowerment. By shedding light on why I viewed my attempt as weak will allow me to reveal more about surviving suicide than is typically discussed.


         In the years before my attempt, I recognized how fragile life could be. During my senior year in high school, I lost a former classmate in a tragic car accident. I prayed and prayed with every fiber of my being that she would recover. She fought hard but unfortunately succumbed to her injuries. A few years earlier, during 1997, I lost a fellow 9th-grade classmate to suicide. The next day, when everyone found out, the hallways filled with so much tearful sorrow it was unlike anything I had ever experienced. I remember asking a teacher if it had been me would everyone be as distraught as they were about him.


        By the time I graduated, I viewed the concept of suicide as a one-way trip. You make your choice, commit the act, and that was it. No do-overs. No second chances. It never occurred to me an attempt was survivable nor why my classmate wanted to end his life. While attending college the following year, my own mental health began to decline. "If I cannot decide whether or not to live my life, then no one can make that decision for me." I felt powerless to stop losing my will to live despite being surrounded by dear friends who cared about me very much. I was also deeply conflicted.


        I longed to settle down, eventually to marry and perhaps have a family of my own. I had some aspirations for success, financial independence, maybe some sights to see. All I wanted was to have my place in life with a genuine sense of belonging and happiness. Instead, women never seemed interested. Some even retreated from me on dance floors as if I had a dreaded plague. I was also unable to choose a career without feeling I had no idea what to do with my life. Eventually, by 2003, without a direction or purpose, I was willing to let go. How did not matter as much as when or why.


        I tried to rationalize the decision itself. I would either be successful, and my suffering would be over, or I would have a near-death experience that would force me to learn from my mistake. Years earlier, I had heard about Dannion Brinkley's brush with death after being struck by lightning. Beforehand, he was an uncaring person and often mean to others. Fortunate to survive the experience, Brinkley had a complete change of character and became a much more considerate person. What more could I lose? No note could begin to explain what I felt. So, I did not leave one. Who would care or understand?


        There was no way to know whether specifically what I chose would cause any serious harm. Although I knew what would, I no longer cared about my safety and blindly took the chance anyway. Because of how I carried out my attempt, I felt every bit of my experience and was wide awake the entire time. Regret, anxiety, guilt, fear, anger, misery, all incredibly strong. For five to six hours straight, my mind defied the limits of sanity. I survived. No one could see it in me that I had given up. I still looked the same. However, I felt terrible guilt not just for what I did, but how poorly I did it and for still being alive. I felt like a coward.


        Why? I survived when others had not, such as my fellow 9th-grade classmate. Neither did I lose consciousness or suffer serious injury compared to other attempt survivors such as Kevin Hines. Therefore, I regarded my suicide attempt as weak. Was I being hard on myself for failing to carry it out? Perhaps. I was still responsible for the decision to attempt. No life-changing near-death experience. It was nothing more than a sleepless night wracked by pain and guilt. Either way, this was now my burden to bear.


        Less than a year later, in 2004, a familiar type of tragedy tested my fragile recovery. A childhood friend and next-door neighbor perished in a car accident not far from where we both lived. Unlike my former senior high classmate, he did not suffer. Where I had been selfless and more concerned with praying for her recovery, my reaction to his passing was drastically different. I wanted nothing more than to take his place despite knowing he was already gone. I was still willing to throw my life away. Eventually, I moved on. However, I refused to face my past or what I had done to myself.


        It took me four more years before I finally came to terms with my suicide attempt. My paternal grandfather lived with my parents and me for one year before passing away in 2008. I had only ever seen my grandparents once or twice a year before then. One night while eating supper, my grandfather and I made childishly funny faces at each other across the table. In that moment, I made a one-of-a-kind connection with both him and my dad. I now saw undeniable value, happier memories, and positive personality traits that defined who I was as a person. I no longer felt disgraced about my past or undeserving as a human being.


        I now valued myself and my life for both the bad and good.


        For 14 years, I considered my attempt as weak. Regardless of the outcome, I should have been more concerned about the choice and effort to harm myself. The best course of action would have been to seek out some form of treatment, counseling, and psychiatry. The mental health co-volunteer was correct to encourage me to reconsider how I felt about my attempt. She turned this powerful negative into an empowering positive experience I could share with others. She also helped me believe I was not an unwanted recovery story.


        Being alive is not something to feel ashamed of. You are meant to be here just as much as me. If you are comfortable and willing to, you can share your story as I have and should not be misjudged or feared. As sharing mine has shown, there is someone very special at the heart of the story: You. You own this moment of your life and can do so many good things with it. If by few others, I will always hold a special place in my heart for you. Why? Because I do not hide from who I am anymore. I respect the journey that led me to be who I am today. And I will never stop caring because you are why I am still here. You are my reason to be.




© 2019 Jim R. Irion.

My article is protected under Fair Use copyright law.

Formal publishers must contact me first.


• ToWriteLoveOnHerArms ( 2020, January 13; IPR). https://twloha.com/blog/why-i-no-longer-refer-to-my-attempt-as-weak/.


This body of writing also serves as professional presentation material (approx. 10 minutes). Interested parties should contact me right away to make arrangements at no cost or charge.




About The Author:


I am a two-time Pennsylvania State University graduate and mental health advocate with over ten years of dedicated community service volunteering. My primary focuses are suicide prevention, anti-bullying and empowerment. Currently, I am a NAMI member trained as an In Our Own Voice presenter. I also have QPR Gatekeeper layperson suicide prevention training.


Be sure to check out my NAMI Blogs today.

My th;rd NAMI Blog

Posted on September 25, 2019 at 5:05 PM Comments comments (2)

One year ago, I faced challenges which seemed to end my future of being a mental health advocate. Where could I volunteer, or be an advocate, if not first where I live? Those involved are well known and highly respected members of the mental health community. Individuals who are not only older and wiser than me, but whose collective reputation and connections far exceed my own. People whose past and present accomplishments dwarf anything I have ever done. Their hard work has helped a small percentage of this community's residents in ways that are priceless.


My "unwanted recovery story" cannot compare.


Yet, before each of the incidents those involved already knew I am a suicide attempt survivor. They knew "(Stigma) harms the 1 in 5 Americans affected by mental health conditions. It shames them into silence. It prevents them from seeking help. And in some cases, it takes lives." NAMI's Cure Stigma PSA Campaign Manifesto. "In 2017, there were an estimated 1,400,000 suicide attempts." AFSP.org Suicide Statistics.


On local social media, I have seen "Not being a part of the solution makes you part of the problem" rhetoric being posted. I disagree. I am part of the solution. NAMI certainly thinks so. My first two Blogs talk about being an advocate while in recovery and what to do if you face discrimination. To persist, on June 20th I self-published a stunning article on anti-bullying that NAMI Submissions had already first considered to publish earlier this year.


Entitled, "It Matters How People Are Treated", does not take a side. It takes a stand. Against youth and adult bullying that affect people every day even to suicide, my article takes a stand when it should. Not next week if you feel like being mean to someone. Not next year because of political differences. Now; when this life matters most. I am not a suicide victim. I am a human being seeking to be a "victor" instead.


Pick a side…


I have. It's called life.


Bullying behavior and stigma continue to affect people much like mental health conditions and suicide symptoms do: regardless of whom you are. In late 2016, I made the conscious decision to face my mental health, because I knew what th;s was like and all the lives at stake. I didn't stop with helping only myself. I accepted the challenges I knew I would face. I chose to help others even though I am still facing th;s worse now than before.


Su;cide is universal.


At the end of each day, suicide should bring most or all of us together with serious determination to resolve it. If you were to ask a suicide attempt or loss survivor just how important life actually is, you should get a very honest answer: life matters. Thanks so incredibly much to NAMI Submissions and Oryx Cohen of the National Empowerment Center, my published writing has helped me endure what I face in my community. Now I can focus on critical issues that need addressed as of yesterday.



"People keep telling survivors to move on.  Some do, but not me.

Even if there's a small chance, I owe this to every moment of silence to try."

(adapted from Avengers: Endgame trailer #2).



If at first you do succeed, try, try and do more. Push yourself as far past what you once thought was nothing you could accomplish. Challenge your impossible. Own it: i'mpossible. Reach for the stars. Read my perfectly timed th;rd NAMI Blog to find out more about how suicide prevention is possible and imperative to take seriously.



"We Need to Take Suicide Prevention More Seriously".

(click on title for web URL)

I know I am not alone

Posted on September 24, 2019 at 2:45 AM Comments comments (0)

"You are not alone" has yet to be helpful, because no matter how identifiable someone is my life situation has still remained relatively unchanged. That does not mean I have been sitting here obsessing over negativity with too much time on my hands. You are not alone is a positive form of honest encouragement to share with someone who may be dealing with challenging mental health symptoms. When I encourage others to believe they are not alone in their struggles, I say it with conviction. I am an honest, tell-it-like-it-is kind of person. I would also rather be realistic so I can tailor my encouragement to each person's needs and make a stronger connection. Even while I struggle to hang onto my own life by a bare thread. What makes my experience with mental health more difficult is with how I blend in so well to even my friends around me.


Typically those with my degree of prolonged depression and advanced anxiety symptoms have poor hygiene. I dress well and when volunteering in the community always present a professional, well-kept appearance. I was also raised to be this way. There are people whose mental health inhibits them from functioning or learning to the point of disability. I have a college degree; a Bachelor's of Arts degree in History with a Criminal Justice minor despite having Autism and ADHD. I come from a middle class background and happen to have a roof over my head still because my parents can afford to. This doesn't make me a spoiled rich kid who is lazy when it comes to making career decisions. My appearance, intelligence, functionality, or economic background should not be the basis of judgments.


When I admit not having much left in my otherwise normal looking life to keep me here, I should not be regarded as a heathen either. Suicide attempt survivor or not. I am being honest and shouldn't be stigmatized no matter how negative I am. When I reach out it isn't because I want to be a pain in your ass, or look its Jim Irion he's got issues. I won't respond or I'll ignore repeated messages he sends on social media. When I don't reach out it is because I am either paranoid of having offended you, feeling guilty for messaging too much, or doubtful that you want to hear about my otherwise under-achieving life. Despite all this, I still have people insist I talk to someone about my feelings. Well, the problem is I have tried and failed. My needs versus someone's happy-go-lucky life. Stalemate.


I suppose the biggest paradox of all is how I live and breathe while people know 'my signs' yet seem oblivious to my mental health. Numerous times in recent weeks I have contemplated, for only moments, what if I just ended my life right now to see who would actually care. It's a shame I couldn't do a 'George Bailey' from It's A Wonderful Life with Clarence the guardian Angel. I despise how people say they wished they'd seen the signs after a person's suicide. I am as close to another attempt as I could ever hate to be. Yet, people all around me know about my mental health and seem I don't know... blissfully ignorant? As I continue to exist under such extreme emotional stress, I can still be a capable advocate because of who I am.


I am sincere. I am considerate. I am compassionate. I am passionate. I am loving. I am forgiving. I am mindful. I am alive. I am also honest.


So, when I say that suicide prevention needs to be taken more seriously I am literally speaking from fresh, first-hand experience. First-hand as in the mere minutes before posting this.

You are not alone...

Posted on September 24, 2019 at 2:45 AM Comments comments (0)

One of the scariest things I could admit right now…

…is just how close I feel to letting go.


Make no mistake about both the honesty and reality of my answer. Yes. I honestly do not feel enough is keeping me here invested in my life. Is this a suicide note? No. I've never written one even though that didn't stop my attempt sixteen years ago. Am I trying to be the center of attention? Only for as long as it takes you to read this. How recent are these feelings? Mere minutes ago. Why haven't I gone to the local Crisis Center? They cannot help. Believe me. I've considered it more than once. But Jim! You must. Or at least talk to someone who can help you get through this moment. I've tried but fewer people have reached out to me or who are capable and willing to listen. Most are rightfully busy with their own lives, their own families, children, pets, and hobbies. Some happen to be overwhelmed with their own mental health issues...


Can you see a pattern beginning to emerge?


There are a lot of contradictory facts about my experience which do not fall within common "norms" for mental health. What will really bake your noodle later on is the fact that I could easily keep going. Allow me to demonstrate. My not wanting to go to the Crisis Center is not from being stubborn or resistant. I am an over-thinking person. Therefore, for me many cognitive behavioral therapies often do not work. I simply defeat the purpose by assessing myself and knowing what I feel would help. When I say that Crisis cannot help I am telling the truth. When someone tells me I am not alone I never really feel comforted. When someone tells me not to give up I struggle now to hang on, because I've already given these issues a chance to be resolved.


Oh you will find someone someday only for it to be twenty years later and no special 'someone' at all. How very discouraging.


What may strike you as remarkable is that I am still here within minutes of saying such negative statements. But I am an advocate for positive mental health awareness. I need to be positive whether for myself or anyone who reads my writing. Smile. Things will be alright. Things will be alright when people stop labeling me like everyone else they see. I love to take different points of view in my writing. So, why not take a page from my own advice. Several times my counselor has asked me how I expect to help people if I actually feel so lost. What would I say to myself as a mental health advocate? There are people all around me. People who can and eventually will listen when I need someone to reach out to. However, during the last two weeks, I have stopped messaging people on social media to test what would happen. Few people have reached out to me...


I am experiencing both the effective and ineffective points of view as a mental health 'consumer'.

When tomorrow ;s as fearful...

Posted on September 6, 2019 at 2:45 AM Comments comments (0)

(originally posted on TheMighty.com)


"So many battles waged over the years... and yet, none like this. Am I destined to destroy myself, or can I - can we change who we are and still live? Is th;s fate truly set?"

(adapted from Patrick Stewart, X-Men: Days Of Future Past film)



Unlike before I chose to face my mental health in late 2016, every day since has been an almost daily battle for me. Yes, it is true I made an extra commitment to advocate for awareness. This was also done without anyone to mentor me. So, when I say I am a grassroots mental health advocate I really did start all on my own. All alone. I felt a calling to help people like me because, knowing what th;s is like, I could not live with helping only myself.


Regardless of having chosen to be an advocate, with extra responsibilities and stress, I still had to 'know thyself' too. I needed to reflect on past and present experiences in order to learn from and share them with other people. Mental health recovery takes time. However, I also began to over-think my daily life in ways I had not done before. The passage of time also played a greater role as I turned thirty five, and now soon thirty eight. Not old but I have been around long enough for my symptoms to have had greater consequences.


Because it took me until October 2018 to reach out for full treatment, several of my affected personality traits are tough to address. Not impossible, but still challenging. Sixteen years ago, my suicide attempt bears a striking resemblance to my life today. My days were numbered. I was living on borrowed time. It seemed as if I was on the verge of emotional collapse despite appearing outwardly normal. What about now? Forget seeing my reflection in a mirror every day. Simply letting my mind wander, to think where my high school classmates are compared to me... Too many words for a simple sentence.


Sure I can say I'm still here. Sure I can reassure people they can each overcome their issues. Even suicide ideations, losing a loved one, a dear friend, or themselves having attempted too. Sure I can be honest that not everyone will make it, and offend some people in the process. Heaven forbid. Although I don't have a life-threatening illness, or live in poverty, I can say that still being here is not because I am "privileged", special, or have it easy. I am hard on myself enough as it is. As my counselor describes, I am my own worst bully.


When tomorrow is as fearful as the day that never comes...

...even being only in your late thirties can feel like a death sentence. But I can also tell you something much more unexpected coming from a suicide attempt survivor. Something that isn't clouded by doubt, skin color, gender, political views or voting preferences, not by race, economic background, intelligence or religious beliefs.


Choose a side? I have.


It's called *life*.