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Prepare for the Dark Side

Living in a state of depression

The majority of my life was spent in and out of a state of depression (I had my own zip code) and often, I was quite manic. I regularly experienced suicidal thoughts. I spent years thinking life sucked with a big fat capital “S“. In my mind life was a jail and often I thought about breaking free. I generally lived under a big ugly dark black cloud of my own making.

Humor always got me through somehow. I was awarded the distinction of being “Class Clown” in high school. But the humor in the days of old was largely self-deprecating and anger-based.

Imaginary Friends

As a child my parents and teachers often referred to me as, “serious”, “precocious” and “lacking in self-confidence”. I spent a great deal of my time reading and generally lived in a magical fantasy world. I liked it there. My imaginary friends always had time to play! I always had trouble relating to kids my own age so I spent most of my time playing with my siblings and dreaming.

My mom stayed at home and my father worked full time. We ate dinner together every night as a family and by all rights, we had normal childhoods. My parents are absolutely fabulous and I cherish and honor them deeply.

My teenage years were a nightmare and young adulthood wasn’t much better.

Drinkin’ and Druggin’

I spent 10 years working in the restaurant business supporting myself through college and graduated with a fairly useless B.A. in History. The restaurant business was challenging, crazy and supported years of bad behavior where I engaged in drug abuse, excessive drinking and a host of other unhealthy things.

Up until a few years ago, I was still generally a depressed angry mess lacking in confidence and often had no will to continue to live my life.

Godsmack

On October 8, 2005, e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g changed.

Early in the morning that day I received a call from my friend Jim’s ex-girlfriend, Karen. Karen and Jim broke up years prior so I had no clue why she was calling me. After general and uncomfortable pleasantries were exchanged, her voice cracked and she started to stammer.

The worst news of my life…

Christa, I hate to have to be the one to tell you this but Jim is dead“. She proceeded to tell me he committed suicide the day before. He used a hand gun and literally, blew his brains out. In one instant, he was gone, gone, gone.

My eyes bugged out of my head. My heart sank. My stomach knotted and twisted. My entire body started to shake uncontrollably. I dropped the phone, fell to the floor and let out the loudest, deepest and most heart wrenching primal wail of sorrow that anyone has ever heard, ever. My wail of sorrow and tears lasted for minutes, hours, days and months – and by all counts, several years later (3/8/09), I still shed tears.

I refer to that day, October 8th, as Godsmack.

Friends from the start

Jim was one of the first people I met after moving to Delaware and we clicked as friends immediately. He was a warm and loving person with bright eyes, a gregarious personality and had a host of talents and abilities. He also had his share of problems. He struggled with depression like me. We often shared our pain and heartaches with one other. Talking about depression and sadness is not a topic most people choose to discuss but in each other we found a willing ear.

Jim’s tragic choice to end his life changed my life forever. In his death, I rediscovered my life. It is very hard for me to write that, but it is true.

His suicide forced me to totally assess my life and how I lived it.

I was on his path – a fucked up self-destructive path of my OWN making. Just three days before he died I was considering the option of jumping from the top floor of a high-rise building in town, Park Plaza to be exact.

Aftermath and the world of the survivor’s

The aftermath of his death gave me the opportunity to see and experience for myself how suicide affects the survivors. After living through this wave of destruction, I realized I could never do this to my family or my friends. Jim made his choice. He chose to leave this earth early. I choose to stay until God calls me home. I choose to stay and to serve.

My life’s mission is to encourage others not to give up. Never give up!

When Jim shot a bullet into his brain he also, figuratively speaking, put a bullet in mine. He didn’t kill me with that bullet. He saved my life. This tragic shock therapy was a smack in the face by God himself. God said to me, “Wake up Christa! Wake up girl!

No pills or shrinks could lift me out of my funk but Jim taught me the most valuable lesson of my life.

LIVE!

Luckily, on October 6, 2005, I had the chance to give Jim a hug, thank him for helping me and tell him I loved him. The rest of his friends and family weren’t as lucky. I will always cherish that moment.

To Jim – I carry your heart with me in my heart, always. I hope I’m making you proud. I miss you!

Related posts:

James Karl Thompson “Jim”

Suicide: Part 1 – Facts & Warning Signs

Suicide Survivor’s Guilt

When a loss becomes a gain

Survivor Q & A: Kelli Karlton

Grieve, Give, Giggle

Suicide Survivor’s Guilt

How to Help Suicidal People

25 Tips for Survivor’s of Suicide

Remembering Them

Walk to beat depression and suicide

Wilmington’s Out of the Darkness Walk, photo essay

Bitch Slappin’ My Funny

Karmic Timing: No Coincidences

Another Man Down

Walking for MHA, a personal story

Reflections on World Suicide Prevention Day


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Comments

  1. I don’t know about Jim, but I sure am proud of you, girl! And feeling really blessed by your presence in my life.

    It’s on purpose, ya know… :) I know that as sure as I know my own name.

  2. Thanks Suze, that means a lot to me. I’m lucky to have you too. My message and intention to help others would not have come to pass without your participation. Namaste* sister!

    *Some interpret that as meaning the inner Buddha and light in me recognizes the inner Buddha and light in you.

    I like to think of it as, my fabuliciously hot self recognizes your fabuliciously hot self.

    Let’s just agree on this: we both rock! :-)

  3. Well Christa I am so glad you chose the path you did. You have so many people who care and love you deeply. Besides Rosie could not live without you! Keep your head up and focus on that Bold and Beautiful Future you have in front of you… Lots of Love Sista!!

  4. I remember that day like it was yesterday – and know how terribly devastated you were. But somehow, to your enormous credit, you have transmuted the tragedy of Jim’s death into a reason to be – and serve a cause that is greater than yourself. Even while struggling yourself, you have so generously helped so many others with wise counsel, consistent support, and even the use of your own home. GiggleOn is yet another example of your BIG heart and genuine personality. The lifelines that you are now throw to others will no doubt inspire and save at least one soul from being pulled under by the black sea of depression. And for that, both Jim and I are so proud of you. GiggleOn!

  5. Christa…thanks for sharing your story about Jim and your own journey. Having been a social worker for many years, I sadly have seen too many suicides. Each person had their own reasons for the action and they made sense to them, if not to us. I have always felt there is a lesson for the survivors about life, if they are open enough to see it. You did and good for you. As you go forward and try and help pthers with your site, I wish you well and much peace…C

  6. It has been suggested that I share this with you all.

    As I have witnessed the death by suicide of too many colleagues, a common thought has emerged. So many of these folks thought they were totally alone and that no one cared. There was no one they felt they could turn to and share where they were, their pain, their torment.

    This really came home to me with the death of a corrections officer I worked with on committees and in the community. He took his own life by hanging leaving a wife and kids. When I attended his funeral with one of my senior staff there were probably close to a thousand people crammed into the church to pay their final respects. I commented to my supervisor that this man suffered great torment and probably thought there was no one who cared or he could have turn to. And yet here were 1000 people. Many of whom I know would have tried to help him in his moments of torment. But few if any knew. He did not share. And I wondered if some who might have suspected something amiss were castigating themselves for not taking a risk and reaching out.

    What did I learn from this? To better keep my eyes and ears open to signs. To make sure that my colleagues knew I cared. And to try and never be too busy if I sensed “that” pain.

    If you have come to this site feeling no one cares, chances are you are wrong. You make a difference to someone. Reach out, talk to that person.

    And we all go through our too busy days, be aware someone may be hurting. Listen to them, show them you do care.

    And above all if necessary get them some professional help. They matter enough for you to do something that might save their life.

  7. Carry – thank you for sharing this story and for your sage advice.

    Friends, family and professionals are but a phone call away. You are not alone!

    For more information about preventing suicide and treating depression visit http://www.save.org

    Every life is meaningful and beautiful!

  8. We lost our 20 year old son to suicide on 28 May 04. I am so glad to have found your site, I’m badly in need of having something to laugh about, something to make me smile, Caleb would hate to have us all depressed and dragging around. thanks for this site!!!

  9. Christa,
    Stumbled upon your website. My daughters had suicidal thoughts when we were with my ex-husband. We are happier now. I am sure you are too. Two decades of longing and sadness for me but never thought of ending it like you. Recently, after losing something I nurtured for more than a year – an anchor of a relationship that was weak, I realized I was not complete. That was when I learned to anchor myself on God. All these time He had been waiting for me. For the first time in my life I feel complete and filled with Him, I now feel I lack NOTHING. God completes me. In the despair of your soul, God is knocking in your heart. God knows how sincere you are in your efforts to reach out and help others, to do good deeds. BUT at the end of the day, in the darkness of the night- when you find yourself alone, search your heart and soul and see if God is TRULY in your life. That is the key to deep peace and true happiness. Ask for it, keep asking, and it will be given to you. Until then, will you only feel complete.
    In God’s Love – Anna

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