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Hulloooo down there! Hey … you … can you hear me? Yeah, you. I’m talkin’ to you.
Man, it’s dark down here.
No don’t bother looking. Of course you can’t see me. After all, you and I aren’t occupying the same, uh, dimension — for lack of a better word.
Sorry, I don’t mean to get cosmic on you, but it’s really true. Oh, I’d read about it before, this “state of mind,” but I never really understood it completely until just now.
What the hell is Goldman talking about? Come on, fella — explain yourself, or we’re gonna quit reading right here!
Fair enough. I’m talking about the fact that the day before yesterday, I found myself sitting in the waiting room of a mental hospital.
The reason? Simple. At about 3:00 a.m. the preceding morning, I was fairly convinced that it was time to hop off of this little ride. Yeah, right. That’s what I’m saying.
The Big S. It not only seemed possible. It seemed absolutely and perfectly logical.
Fortunately, enough of my brain cells were operating properly that I made a call to the hospital.
So, there, now you know.
Anyhow, I didn’t check in, nor (obviously) did I do the deed. But the fact that I actually got to that place in my psyche (I’d glanced in that direction before, but not ever like this) has caused me to raise this issue for all of us to consider.
Taking one’s own life — that’s a very taboo subject in a way. I mean, believe me, I thought long and hard about writing this column (not that I know exactly what I’m going to say here) for fear that people were going to send ambulances screaming to my door or something stupid like that. Fortunately, nobody knows how to locate me — which is just how I want it.
A quick rehash: Those of you who’ve been reading this column for any length of time know that, since, approximately the age of 20, I’ve been battling with manic-depression. I wrote this column for over a year without ever hinting at that ugly truth; in fact, I created a persona — the Journalistic Hitman, a sort of Mickey Spillane-ish character — for the express purpose of hiding that fact.
It was kind of funny when I took off the mask (which took place when I began writing my “Demon Hunter” columns for WND). A good many of you accused me of simply putting on another mask. Well, I guess I deserved it.
Unfortunately, over the past, say, three years, it’s become rather fashionable for people who struggle with mental illness — depression in particular — to cart out their woes in public. Never has victimhood rung its bell so long and loud.
I’ve read all the books –“Touched By The Fire” by Kay Redfield Jamison (a psychiatrist who is also a manic-depressive) and the long rather arduous tome (I forget the name) by humorist Art Buchwald, one of many writers who also suffers from this illness.
I didn’t want to include myself amongst these folks. I find their confessionals to be rather self-serving. Yet at the same time, when I did it, it was a matter of life and death to me to ‘fess up in front of the world.
Thus, this column. I mean, the fact is, there’s a great amount of shame and humiliation in telling you guys what I (almost) just did. But I have to. Do you see that? In a way, it’s like putting the safety catch on the gun (not a literal gun. I disposed of all my firearms some time back). Now that I’ve ratted myself out, I think if I get to that spot where I start considering it again, I may not be able to do it so easily.
You know it’s funny. After years and years of therapy, I really don’t understand this deal any better than I did in the beginning. I do know this, however. There’s a definite spiritual element to depression. But that’s a whole other column.
By the way, don’t be fooled if I sound glib here. Long ago I learned how to put on a good face in front of the world. But the truth is that right now, every single act — I’m talking about eating, going to the bathroom, anything — requires a monumental effort. The idea of going out of my house is nearly impossible. I’m not answering my phone. And I have the very clear realization that while I may be in the same physical world as other folks, I’m occupying completely different mental territory. The feeling of being cut off is not just an illusion. It’s the truth. That’s another reason I’m writing this. By doing so, I’m plugging myself back in, in some way. Reconnecting.
See, there are lots of people like me in the world. People who probably, right this minute, are considering ending it. And many of those people aren’t fortunate enough to have an outlet where they can expose themselves — yeah, get naked — in front of millions of people.
It’s a helluva thing, I’ll tell you — to be on this side of the typewriter, knowing that I’m embarrassing myself (at least that’s what it feels like) in front of the world. Admitting shameful and cowardly thoughts. Because that’s what they are.
So I want to thank you guys, even though I don’t know you. Thank you. I really mean it. And in case you haven’t gotten the message, I plan to stick around.
See y’all next week.