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.
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.
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.
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!