I’m sorry that we insist on giving you hope but what else is there to do?

Surely other peer specialists have encountered deeply depressed people who have tried and failed at multiple attempts at suicide. And they tell you, “it’s my life and if I want to kill myself, you can’t stop me.” At that point the side of you that thinks Dr. Jack Kevorkian was right comes out and wishes Dr. Jack was alive and helping people with his suicide machine.

However the rational part that dominates your brain may utter something about hope, as long as you’re alive, it still exists.How can you engage people who are so through with everything you know about living? I have heard from other peer specialists who tried and failed at suicide. I always seem to find something, some reason to keep living even in the deepest despair. Reasons emerge from the sublime to the ridiculous and I keep on trying to reach other people after I have convinced myself.

I think back to all the things I would have missed if I had drowned many years ago instead of being rescued and the list is incredible. For starters, there’s the Internet. When I graduated from library school, searching for bibliographic citations was all the rage. You had to have specialized knowledge to search these databases and wait for your printout. These are all things that anyone can do on any number of devices that I would have never seen.

If I had died, I would have missed the San Francisco Giants winning the World Series and the New York Giants winning the Super Bowl.  I would have missed the entire concept of recovery and remained in the nightmarish would of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

I would have never seen my nephews grow into men and become fathers. I would have missed those wonderful essays in Freethought Today from high students across the country including one from Milwaukee. I would have missed an opportunity to find my way out of darkness and the love of my family.

Most of all, I would have missed becoming a peer support specialist and sitting and talking with you today.  I am there holding out the hope for you, as someone was there with me years ago.It can be a struggle but it is always worthwhile. I’m sorry but I always have to give you hope. It is part of my nature.



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