Depression and the Death of a Hero

13 Aug

Depression and the Death of a Hero

Let me start with saying that this is not an easy post for me to write. It is definitely “troll bait” and I know it, but I feel that this is a necessary post. It could help someone out there, somewhere, who has that little voice in their head telling them they are worthless … and that’s enough of a reason for me to write. If you feel the need to troll, so be it, but you won’t find the reaction here that you want. Also, this post is not proof-read. I want you to read my words raw and filled with emotion.

Where do I begin? I suppose with a simple acknowledgement that one of my favourite actors and comedians has died. It’s not his death that bothers me, it’s how and the questions left with insufficient answers. Suicide leaves in its wake some of the most lasting wounds on everyone other than the person who is gone. Let’s go back almost 20 years so you understand where I am coming from.

April 1995, I was living in a rooming house for teens on the down and out. I wasn’t some sort of criminal, but it sure felt like a half-way house. One of the people who stayed in the house was named “Carrie.” We didn’t really talk too much. She kind of kept to her section with its own separate bathroom and such. From my journal, it happened on April 4th when Carrie would become the first person to show me what suicide looked like. According to my journal, Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” was blasting throughout the house when I came home. I went upstairs and her door was open, but I could smell something on the air, something that wasn’t right … so much blood. On a towel in the middle of the floor, down the hallway leading to the bathroom, it was unreal how much of it I could see and how it was the focus of my attention. I found her laying in a tub of water and her own blood, her wrist slit and I had never felt so helpless. She told me to leave her, but I just couldn’t. It didn’t make sense to me.

Carrie was taken to the hospital that day and I never knew if she lived. I don’t know if she shook the demons and I don’t know if she has led a long and happy life or not. I want to know, but to be honest, I only ever knew her first name. I do wish she was my first and only time I intervened, but there would come another and just a short year away from that day and this time I had wished it was me and not him ….

I kept no journal entry of this, the darkest time in my young life to that point–and easily the single time I carried a heavy burden of guilt over for years to come–but it’s burned into my memory. Before I get into that, let me tell you a quick story.

I thought I had met Chris for the first time in his basement apartment during the winter. Mike brought me to his place, we listened to Rush, Metallica and other bands we liked while smoking cigarettes as though they were going out of style. The three of us were like kindred spirits. There a connection between Chris and I that just felt like we had been friends all our lives. Well, we did know each other in the past. My mother lived next door to his family and I would go over to his place quite frequently when I was quite young. We had that familiarity not because we only thought alike, but because we were just simply reconnecting. I looked up to him. He played in a band and was trying his hardest to make it somewhere with music, but he had some awfully dark demons.

The first time I faced down Chris’ demons we were out at this event. He took off furious about something. I can’t remember what it was, but I chased him down and found him pacing on the railroad tracks. We talked, frankly said, we argued about life and what it’s worth. I have always been on the side of fighting adversity for the sake of the fight and what might come from it. Chris, however, was very much … lost. My mother tried to talk some reason into him during my 18th birthday party, but something dark stirred in him that simply could not overcome. Yet in spite of this, Chris and I rented an apartment together … and as roommates we did not get along.

I can remember the sound of the knock at the door. How the tears smelled and how her voice sounded when she told me he was gone. I can remember my confusion and disbelief. How I felt as I walked to that bridge with Mike. The sights and sounds. Everything. My world slowed right down. The next few days passed as though it was a life time. I was so angry. Hurt. I felt guilty.

It took me so very long to wrestle my own dark demons back and put them in check after that. I drank. I did drugs. I womanized. I did anything I could to make the pain go away and I stopped caring about myself. I let it all go to hell. In some ways I am still wrestling with my own sense of guilt and sadness from a time a lifetime ago.

Yesterday the world lost an icon. His suicide brought back a lot of memories for me because … I looked up to Robin Williams as a source of inspiration. His characters taught me to chase my dreams, to believe in love, to chase after the girl and … to laugh. His death reminded me of how fragile someone’s world can be when they feel absolutely alone in the face of the vast greatness for which they are admired for. I wished he, like Chris would have stayed. I wish they would have continued to share with the world all they had to offer. Finally, I wish that Carrie had a long road ahead of her without the demons.

Will (Grimsbeard)



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