So I just finished the series Thirteen Reasons Why on Netflix. It was overwhelming to me even though I am a 41 year old male. I sat through every episode in the past 2 days. I thought it would be one of those shows I watch and end up turning it off within the first 10 minutes. The story and the themes involved were so compelling I had to keep going. I force myself to turn it off being I watched it alone, which I do not recommend. Watch this show with people you love and trust. Being someone who has been dealing with depression for 20+ years I feel for the characters.
This brought forth ideas I have been thinking about a lot lately given the suicides of both Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell. It brought me back to when I first attempted suicide in the Army. I am glad I did not because of what I am trying to do with my life know. I was lost for a long time, no one understood me it seemed. I was lucky though I was young and stupid the way I tried to do it.
I had only left home twice before one was to go to Boy Scout camp the other was to go work on a hog farm for 2 weeks. I had a fuck of a hard time in basic training. I was one of the weakest in my platoon, always getting the platoon punished for my screw ups, always being screamed at and being called names buy the Drill Sergeants and other members. Though, my Drill Sergeant Terrance did pull me a side one time and gave me a little hope saying it would not be this way in permanent duty. I joined to get away from bullies ironic right maybe get to travel and earn money for college. I made it through my Advanced Individualized Training just barely there. Granted I had achilles tendonitis for the last 6 weeks and I was held over till I could pass the physical fitness test.
When I made it to my duty station in Fort Lewis, Washington I still felt alone. I met a guy who invited me to his church group. When I got there I was so out of place it was an Episcopal Church I think, they were dancing around speaking in tongues. I could not deal with that I left after the service and never returned. It was too strange even for me I was and an odd ball amongst a completely different type of odd ball.
I did meet one man who took me under his wing Staff Sergeant Bill Lester. He had been in for about 20 years and was kind of a loner himself in ways. He stayed in the barracks during the week and went back to his home in Yakima on the weekends. He even took me to meet his family a couple of times and celebrated my nineteenth birthday with me. I felt good when he was there. When he retired that is when I started having issues. Some of the other guys in the barracks I did hang out with we even played D&D and Vampire the Masquerade a few times. The issue I had was when I got back from doing a temporary tour of duty down in California.
Two new guys had just been Dwight and Tom. I did not have many issues with them so much as with the other guys in the barracks we had all gone out to see Rancid at an underground club where we met a woman named Velvet. I was not interested in here but two of the other guys were. Tom and I forgot the other guys name he was a real piece of work though. Velvet was not in to the other guy who we will call Sam, she was in to Tom. Sam and the other guys said she was Sam’s. This caused a rift in the barracks. All the other guys were pissed at Tom because they had thought he had stole Velvet. I was not on either side I was with Velvets choice which was Tom. I was caught in the middle of it all. I hated it Tom And D were not trying to make me choose sides. I still felt like I was being pulled from both sides though. Till one day I tried to overdose on about 8000 mg of motrin. I knew nothing about drugs at this time except for what I learned from the DARE Program and what some of the guys in the barracks told me.
I ended up in the hospital in the mental ward for a night and had to do counseling sessions for like a week. Eventually things calmed down though the barracks still felt divided. I would hide in my room when I was not working watching movies and smoking cigarettes sometimes going over to Tom and D’s room to play some Playstation. D is a good guy and he did encourage me to come over and hang out with them until I was released from the army due to physical fitness test failure. I had failed one prior and I had to pass this one too stay in. The NBC Sergeant who was one of my NCOIC’s (Noncommissioned officer in charge had dusted me the night before the test. I had to continually hold a gallon bottle of pine oil in my hands while my palms were turned up having my back against the wall in a open sitting position. Then he would have me switch to holding 2 bottles while standing and keeping my arms parallel to the ground. this went on for about 2 hours switching positions about every 2 minutes or so. Even though I had been through all that the night before I still tried my hardest to pass the test, I missed it by 2 pushups and 2 minutes in the 2 mile run.
After is when I started using Marijuana it was on the bus ride home in Fargo, North Dakota. I did not give a shit at this point and I was feeling rebellious and wanted in my mind it was a big fuck you to the army. I ended up getting involved with a dude Named Mike Welsh. He had started a group called R.A.I.D. (Revolution Against an Indecent Democracy). I found out the guy only actually started the group to get laid and he tried to have his way with my sister who is younger than me. After that I left the group and found out later that R.A.I.D. had fallen apart after I left. That was the last time I followed politics for many years after.
I did hang out and live with a few friends that I had met through Mike: Tony, Jesse, and Adam. Previously I had been diagnosed with depression after I had all this shit went down with Mike. Then Kurt Cobain committed suicide and I was living with Tony we were talking about it. I was not a big Nirvana fan till after his death I think it was because it was then I understood his music having tried to commit suicide myself. When we were talking about it Tony had made it clear about his point of view on people who commit suicide. He was of the mind set that anyone who did that was a coward and the he would not go to anyone’s funeral who did. This is when I started to learn to hide my feeling and who I actually was. I did not want to lose the few friends I had. I started to live for them and not myself I was using Marijuana a lot and I was experimenting with other drugs as well like: LSD, Mushrooms, Opium and one time I tried Crack. I remained friends with the guys till about a few of years ago when I had lost my job, wife, two hernia surgeries. Once again I was lost this time I felt completely alone even when I was with people. Tony had let me stay with him and his new wife. Both good people I just was trying to find my way again every weekend I was getting drunk till one night I got so drunk I puked all over their floor while trying to make it to the bathroom. I moved out shortly thereafter.
In my new place I started pushing people away. I was going through major changes and looking for reasons to stay alive. I realized after a couple of years I needed to get help thanks to the story of Malala Yousefzai. I was looking at my life in a whole new way. Here was a young woman who had stood up to the Taliban and here I was battling the demons within my own head. It was then that I decided that I was going to better myself but not for me. I wanted to better myself to help build a better society for everyone. From that point on word I have been battling those demons going to the V.A. for psychological help and get back into school to become a teacher. I am now almost done with my A.A. and doing it well.
Basically the moral of this story is I know it is hard and things never seem like they are going to get better. The thing is that you never know when something or someone is going to inspire you. Things can and will get better. If you are feeling lonely talk to someone anyone. Society for now is tough but there are people out there trying to make this a better place for you. Maybe they can help to inspire you to live and be better because life is not about trying to be perfect or living up to other peoples standards, it is about trying to make ourselves better and making the world somewhere we can all accepted.