Late Summer/Early Autumn 1996
I stood there in the dark, my room partially illuminated by the lamp by bed – a futon with a green mattress. My desk across from me with my typewriter and miscellaneous junk.
I looked at the couple pills in my left hand and the bottle in my right, contemplating my future.
A few months prior…
I’d applied to work at a day care facility at the beginning of 1996. They were willing to intrust into my hands a class of three year olds that I would create lesson plans for and teach.
I worked my way through finger printing, back ground check, and Tuberculosis testing. I took it with great ease when my TB test registered just shy of being positive. They said I was cleared, but I needed to come back in six months to be retested.
I wound my way through the rest of spring and early summer. Snow storms, loading grade school children on and off the school busses, and teaching colors / shapes / numbers to a class of three year olds that had stolen my heart.
I soon found myself back at the county clinic getting a repeat TB test. Within a few minutes the results were obvious as a giant welt formed on my arm.
I remember a rush of the unknown sweeping over me those next couple weeks. Fears of what might or would happen. Isolation. Being torn away from my friends. I remember waiting for an chest x-ray and being relieved when the results returned that the illness was inactive. I only had a positive skin test.
I had to go on medication. Horrible medication. For the first several weeks I had to have blood work done to insure my liver was not getting damaged. I gained weight – lots of weight. My already acne prone skin broke out even worse. And I fought depression like I never had previously.
Fast forward back to late Summer/early Autumn 1996
This wasn’t the first time I’d thought about ending it all, and it wouldn’t be the last; but it was the closest and realest I’ve ever actually come.
I remember standing there in my room looking at the few in one hand and the many in the other. I remember thinking, “I could just take all these pills and be done with it.” I remember shuddering back to reality and quickly putting the lid on the bottle and taking the couple Ibuprofen for my headache.
They say that suicide is a cowardly act, and in part I agree. But I’ve looked down that barrel and know with great intimacy how much it feels that sweet release will come if you were just separated from life.
It’s been just over 15 years since that night. I still battle with how much easier everyone else’s life would be if I wasn’t a part of it; but thankfully I’ve never found myself in the place I was that night.