Two years ago this week, I wanted to die.
It was the day after Thanksgiving. My relationship of nearly 7 years had ended. He kept the condo, and “our” friends, so I was homeless and lonely. My job laid everyone off, so now I lost my work family and community. I hadn’t closed on a deal in nearly a year. I couldn’t return to my career as dancer because of an injury getting so bad that I could barely walk. I had lost my self esteem. Moving to Florida had been so challenging and worn me down to nearly nothing. I had lost my will to dream. I didn’t believe my life was worth living anymore.
I wasn’t crying at first, sitting in my car running inside of the closed garage. I decided to make one last call to a friend I hadn’t spoken to in years who was a psychologist. No answer. I looked down at my phone wondering how much time this was going to take and realized I hadn’t left a note. That’s what you’re supposed to do, isn’t it? Leave a note explaining why I had to take my life, to stop the pain? I started typing the message on my phone and my battery died. Great, another thing reminding me that I was a failure. Coughing, I turned off my engine.
My brain was so foggy from the CO2- I went outside to the backyard for air.
I felt lost. Lost. Numb. Empty. Nothing. And it wouldn’t stop.
The phone rang.
Karin was calling me back.
I was shocked. The damn thing was just dead! How the…??? I am not sure when I started to cry. I remember trying to hide it from her. She wasn’t fooled. Suddenly I was feeling again- anger, shame, loss, grief, sadness with no end but somehow when that call rang, I felt Hope for the first time in ages. Karin patiently and kindly listened to me as I let myself break, loving and gently, like an angel. I remember the feelings, the relief and the immense drain, but I only remember her asking me one thing: “What would make you happy?”
“I want to help trans kids.” That was the first time I had said it. I don’t think I even knew it until then.
“Jacob, that’s beautiful,” she replied, “How do you want to help them?”
It was that conversation with Karin when I realized that I was looking for permission to want to make a difference. I needed permission to find fulfillment, and that it was OK, even healthy to want to be happy. It wasn’t something to feel guilty over.
This didn’t fix everything for me, but it did show me the importance of reaching out before it gets too late.
Looking back I see things differently now and I am truly grateful for the grace of this second chance. I still struggle with my issues, but I have more good days than bad ones now that I have found something bigger than myself to live for.
I wasn’t planning on writing this letter tonight, but something is telling me that I need to share this message with someone out here. Suicide is highest around this time of year, during and right after the holidays. Tough times will never outlast tough people. That doesn’t mean times don’t get hard, but it also doesn’t mean that you are weak. You dont have to be strong either! You just need to know that you can ask for help. YOU get better. YOU improve. And as YOU start to recover, you will receive your will to live again.
If you are struggling with any of these issues, please reach out. If you don’t feel you can call a friend, then The Trevor Project has a 24 hour hotline to help you. You can call, chat or text with a counselor whom will listen and support you.
And in case you need to hear this right now, I love you.
By grace, I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.
On behalf of Sherlock, and all of us at The Sherlock’s Homes Foundation!