Experience is a Hard Teacher

They don't want to take their own lives. They don't want to get addicted to drugs. They just want to find a way to make the pain stop. Since losing Heather, I have learned much. Since losing Heather, I have heard some very cold comments from people. Since losing Heather, I have also seen some really good people. I have heard people say that suicide is not a disease. I have also heard people say that addiction is not a disease. I will agree with both. The disease is Mental Illness and it is killing too many people that we know and love every single day.

Why are we losing so many people that we love and that love us in return? I can't answer that for everyone but I can answer that for me. Back when I was in high school, I tried to take my life. I didn't succeed, but I did learn something. I saw that my Mom's heart broke a little bit that day when they brought me back to life. Her pain didn't end my pain, but through seeing her pain, I knew that no matter what, I couldn't take my own life. I may have still thought about it over the years, but I knew I wouldn't go that route.

My entire life I have heard what a smart person I was. Okay. I still didn't see that. All I saw was that I was still hurting. There may not have been a specific reason behind it, but I knew that I didn't want to hurt anymore. So, what do you do when you can't take your own life, but the pain gets too intense to do much about it. Drugs. A little here, a little there, before you know it, the drugs take over. They take you away from the pain in your heart so that you can get through one day to the next. I didn't start with crystal meth. I started with Valium. A drug that is completely legal and prescribed by way too many doctors over the years. I didn't even start with Valium. I started with alcohol.

Over the years, I have heard so many times who bad marijuana is. Even many of our politicians and leaders will tell you how bad it is and we have to control it. For me and many others, marijuana was sanity. Marijuana mellowed me out. Marijuana never made me take my life. Marijuana didn't lead to to hard drugs. Marijuana may have gotten me grounded and I may have watched it flushed down the toilet a few times too. Marijuana never led me down the path to hard drugs. What was my "gateway" drug? The "gateway" drug of choice for me, and many others, was alcohol. It's legal, you can get it anywhere. There really is no control for it. It's readily available in most homes, just sitting in a bottle waiting for you to take it. To this day, I rarely drink and if I do, it's maybe one or two glasses, a year. Alcohol kills in so many ways.
Alcohol was the "drug" of choice for Heather. She drank copious amounts of alcohol. It increased her depression to the point that she gave herself permission to take a gun to her own head and end her life. If she had tried to smoke marijuana to give herself permission to end her life, she would have passed out long before she ever could have pulled the trigger. I didn't see how much alcohol Heather was consuming until after she was gone. I then heard stories of how much she was drinking.

Back when I first attempted to end my life, there wasn't anything specific that was causing me pain. I think Heather worded it best in her note to us. The world caused her pain. She couldn't understand how people could be so cruel to each other. I couldn't either. She didn't think it was fair to make her live in a world she didn't want to be in. I didn't either.

However, no matter how much pain I have felt over the years by some very cold and heartless people, nothing has ever come close to the pain of losing my daughter. That pain is the reason that I know I will never take my own life. That pain is the reason I know I will never turn to drugs again. That pain is the reason I very rarely drink and when I do, it's no more than one glass.

Before you judge people too quickly. Look at your own life. When you have a bad day at work, do you relax with a bottle of wine? Just one simple glass. That simple glass sometimes turns to a bottle, maybe two. The cruelest people I have seen in my life are those that give in and let alcohol control their lives. If you turn to the bottle to end your sadness and pain, you are leading down the path that could take your own life. Alcohol is a depressant. Alcohol has destroyed more lives every day and that number increases.

Stop judging others and take a hard look at your own lives. While I know I would never choose suicide again as my answer, many don't others do not know the pain of losing your daughter. Yes, I could stop writing these posts. They aren't easy to write. But, when I hear that someone has decided to keep on living. When I have heard others getting the help that they need and becoming counselors for others that know the pain of Mental Illness, it gives me strength to keep going.

How about we all look at our own lives before we start judging others. If there is one person in your life that you cause pain too, then yes, it's time for you to get some help. It's time for you to put the bottle down and start getting help.


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