***Started as a draft on Thursday early a.m. and them saved although unexpectedly public, just as I was really starting to form my thoughts, and I’m just now about to put this together & put it “out there”….it’s about as open & raw as I can get….it may be uncomfortable for some, but it might help someone in the long run, and that’s the intent.****
So, about it all….
I’m sitting here at 4:24 A.M.on Thursday morning, kind of reveling in how wonderful the night was on Wednesday night with the show, how great the night was seeing some folks I hadn’t seen in a while, how great the weight loss has gone at 92 pound off and still going, with about 28 or so left to go to hit my goal and what I want to do with it after that, the things that are going on with my acting goals, music goals, the general direction of my life right now, the happiness phase I feel I’m in, and just “things” in general….and Robin Williams entered my mind. i read a letter from his daughter written today, i believe….along with a couple of other notes on facebook of others opinions on his suicide and the bothered me for a couple of reasons. It didn’t really connect to Robin, for me, anyway.
When I heard of Robin’s death, I was on a surprise visit to my mom who’d just had surgery the previous week, and we were having dinner in the rehabilitation facility where she was. She told me about it and I immediately grabbed my phone to verify it and to find out what happened. I discovered that it was from suicide. I literally dropped my phone when I read that, for a variety of hard-hitting reasons. As I look back on the moment right now, I can actually envision Christopher Reeve in the scene in “Somewhere In Time” when he reaches in and sees the 1972 penny…..and is sent reeling back to his real world….his forgotten future…or past…however you look at it…somewhere else for him. I dropped that deliverer of information because I couldn’t “see” Robin Williams, this man of a million laughs and smiles and giver of warmth and laughter and happiness in that act of desperation, but in the same quickness of a flash, yes I could. And the only reason I could, is because I have been in those shoes.
Other than any discussions that come in the next year as I ramp up the release of “Worth The Wait” as there are several times this subject is touched on within the songs in the album, and I hope to have some marketing opportunities to discuss these songs, this subject may get buried. There are good things and bad things about that. “Good” for me, because as the last 6 months have proven to me that improving my mental stability and being able to move on from the destructive past is the best thing to do and provides the best opportunities of all. “Bad”, though, because I KNOW that sharing the information with others can be of help. As I wrote above, a good portion of what I’ve read since Robin’s suicide has been in my opinion poorly written, and while not necessarily faulty on anyone all the time, there’s still journalistic responsibility out there, although that phrase is completely out the window these days in most cases especially when it comes to the internet. I often wish I technically wrote better because even my misdirected and grammatically slipshod electronic chicken-scratchings are better than a lot of the binary drivel I find representing official documentation. However I datagress..
I am writing from the angle here of someone who has been in Robin’s shoes. Not as the actor, although there’s the slight sliver of the performer that Robin was, in the frame of just being a performer at heart, an entertainer, wanting to make people happy, make ’em laugh, make ’em feel something, bring a smile to their face and if you can really reach ’em, maybe bring a tear as well, reach to them with your heart and your soul, because you’re born to share that part of yourself. You open a part of yourself as an actor or a performer that others who don’t perform just don’t do, you’re exposed, you’re raw at times, and it leaves a little mark on you. But it’s ok….because that’s what you WANT to do.
So if you end up falling to depression….you just can’t imagine how intense it can be. But I’m not saying that it’s MORE intense than anyone else with depression. Clinical depression is a terrifying experience. My personal experience was horrifying. I spent nearly 3 years, from 2006 to 2009 in a severely depressed state, sometimes so horribly bad that I barely got out of the bed for the whole day. Long stretches of time where I had no employment, no drive to do a thing, didn’t pay bills, barely took care of myself, my family, my pets, did the bare minimum requirements to survive and dragged down eventually to the slowest mental crawl and my body started literally to shut down. My systems started not working, despite medications. I developed a tumor-like growth that couldn’t be explained despite multiple testings. There were other factors mentally at work that eventually began being revealed that will be discussed later, but the depression era for me? Led me to one answer:
And I was ready.
I had a date planned and I had a method, and I’ve never written these out anywhere before. But I’ve also never been where I am today, happier than I have ever been in my life, and honesty and my current mindset, and that’s only been reached because of who I am now. So my plan was to reach my 42nd birthday in September 2007 and spend it with people I loved. It had been some hard years and some hard struggles and while we’d survived them I was honestly tired of the fight. I was going to spend that month getting affairs in order after the 1st, had recorded some new material, and on September 30th, I was going to finish a full bottle of hydrocodone & a bottle of acetominophin, get my body pillow, get my comfortable spot and lay down and just go to sleep. Never worry about another thing. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I’d even made sure that my life insurance policy clause time period that had excluded suicide had been passed. My letter was written, and under the keyboard of my computer. And it was September 29th.
I’d had a shitty day. Emotional, argumentative, pissy, nothing going right…..if we’d still had a gun in the house I may have even just taken my anger out with it on myself that way, which had crossed my mind many many times in the past but I just saw it as too gory, messy and really not “my style”, nor did I want to leave that image for anyone, especially my loved ones. That thought alone should have been my indicator that I REALLLY didn’t want to die, at least by my own hand. But many other times, I thought of other ways to end my life: hurling my car off a bridge, driving into oncoming traffic, finding a way to jump off a building, even wishing I’d be shot in a robbery or some kind of horrible gang shooting…..most other times, I just wanted to die, to escape the problems that kept seeming to follow and haunt me and “fuck up” everything i touched, wanted or involved myself in. It also seemed I could never, ever escape the ghosts and horrors of my past, the things that followed me to every room regardless of whether I was inside or outside.
So on September 29th, Ed walked in from work and we almost immediately started to get into a quarrel. There was palpable tension in the air. We went from room to room discussing it, whatever it was, with the tension rising with each level of the conversation, and in the bedroom, the room where I planned to not be alive in the next 24 hours, he said, “BECAUSE, Kenny, I’m terrified that I’m going to come home from work on day and find your DEAD BODY!”.
You could have knocked me over with a breath, much less a feather.
I hadn’t voiced my wishes to anyone, no one at all, and I was not in counseling at the time. But here was the person I loved, and at that point had been with as my partner for 10 years nearly (we are at nearly 16 now) telling me that he was afraid I was going to do the very thing I was about to do. To put it street wise, shit became real immediately. And it snapped into place. I KNEW my actions, the thing I was about to do WASN’T “me”. I realized SOMETHING was truly WRONG. And the next day I called my doctor instead of putting that letter on Ed’s desk. I tore it up. I asked for help. I got help. And it is ALL because the person who loved me the most SAID they were afraid I was going to do this. (By the way, the counselor and I still see each other, she’s wonderful and has helped me with SO many things along the years.)
Today I’m here, happier than I have EVER been. Sitting at 100 pounds lighter than I was, healthier, smarter, more creative and more ALIVE than I have ever been, and more importantly – able to TELL YOU and others that when someone is thinking about trying to commit SUICIDE – they can not concentrate and think of the effect they will have necessarily. The thought might be there and it may be clouded, but they are not trying to be selfish. They just cannot sort it out.
Sit with them, listen to them, give them suggestions on how to get through whatever it is, help them take baby steps to sort out problems, take time out of your schedule to help them do it, find ways to get them counseling, do what ever it takes to help them see that suicide is not the answer. See if they are on other medications and see if suicide is a problem with that drug. Do whatever you can to intervene. It is so worth saving a life for everyone’s sake.