Trigger and TMI Warning: Turn back now.
I am suicidal.
Absolutely and without doubt, here at the age of 41– I never thought I would write these words. Think them. Laughed at the thought of even checking the “suicidal” box when visiting a psychiatrist for a prescription. But from now on, for the forseeable future, certainly, I will be checking that box without a moment’s thought, to hell with whether it means the doc will give me my favorite sleeping medication or not. Things have gotten really, really bad.
Those of you who read what I considered to be my coming out post, where I briefly detailed the situation I am in, which has been devolving for about six years now, ever since I failed to deliver on my part for a book deal with Penguin/Random House, and became, essentially, a man on the run, owing well over 30,000 dollars for an advance given to me to write a book I never even got halfway through, will have some idea where I’m currently at in this almost comical, absolutely disastrous chain reaction that struck me, as luck would have it, just in time for my midlife crisis.
For those who didn’t read that post, the long and the short of it is this: I am addicted to synthetic heroin. I am functionally trapped in Colombia, in the same neighborhood in which Pablo Escobar grew up, currently still a dangerous neighborhood. I saw a man shot in the chest three times next to my apartment building, in front of a butcher’s shop, blood pooling on his chest as it drained from his face. I have been addicted to various opioids since the onset of the pandemic– I was so terrified of running out of money, trapped in Colombia with no family who could help me from afar– I have almost no family that I have ever kept in touch with, besides my mother, who is 84 and in a nursing home– that I worked and applied to as many online jobs as possible. Some of them were so mind-numbingly monotonous that I turned to codeine to numb me, so that I could put in 10 hours and actually save each month. Protection from going broke in the middle of COVID, while trapped in Colombia. As explained in the prior post, the seriousness of the codeine addiction did not manifest itself until I found myself having to pee every 30 minutes, all night long, into the morning, and through the whole next day. I couldn’t pee standing up. Talk about emasculating, huh. To make it worse, what felt like a full, urgent bladder of urine always turned out to be just a trickle, which I had to strain so hard to get out that my back was constantly thrown out. Then the middle-of-the-night opioid withdrawal wake-ups started, once I figured out a medication (for prostates, oddly enough. Long story) that allowed me to sleep 2 hours at a time. When I went two hours without a swig of liquid codeine, in my sleep, and then woke up, I woke in withdrawal so bad that it can not be explained in words. The best I can describe it as, without writing an entire book (which I am almost done with) is that you wake up with every dark thought possible smashing you in the stomach, in the darkest void of hopelessness you ever thought possible, and with the certainty, absolute certainty, that you are going to take your life fairly soon. There is no doubt in your mind that this is what will happen. It is only now, you think, that you are awake without being drugged up, experiencing your reality as it really is, that you can see your life for what it is: headed for an end, at your own hands, and thank god for the peace it will bring. In your head, you start writing the various suicide notes that you’ll need to send out. You even begin thinking of highly logistical things that only someone who is dead serious about this endeavor would consider. For example, when I considered hanging myself from my balcony, I decided I would tape a garbage bag around my waste, due to the fact that hanged people are known to always empty their bowels after death. I didn’t want to go out being the asshole gringo who rained shit droplets on the heads of passersby 16 stories below, causing bursts of angry Spanish. The list of these hyperrealistic and pragmatic details that churn in the suicidal mind goes on, down to how clean your apartment should be, minimum, before you go, and whether or not you should just cut your debit card in half (a HUGE and fateful decision to make if you’re living in Colombia, where that debit card is your only access to money) before you do it. Once the debit card is gone, living abroad like this, hell, you’re nearly locked into it, like it or not, at that point.
Then a substance abuse specialist, whom I went to out of desperation, crying my eyes out (I am the type of person who will only go to a doctor if I see there is no other choice, unless I don’t mind dying soon, and I was that positive that I would take my life within a month or two if what I’ve described kept going) explaining to her that I spent all day swigging codeine to ward off the withdrawal, as well as straining, screaming, over empty detergent bottles, to release my little trickles. With all this addiction trouble, combined with the self-inflicted death of every childhood dream I’d ever had with my abandonment of the book deal I had been blessed (or cursed. The full story of that book deal, and the bidding war which warped what should have been a straight forward book into an utter mess of a proposed autobiography), at my age of 37, which I in no way felt ready to write, provides a pretty good and understandable answer to the obvious question: WHY THE HELL DID YOU ABANDON A BOOK DEAL WITH A MAJOR PUBLISHER, A HIGH PAYING DEAL AT THAT. That whole story takes about 5 pages to tell, takes a lot of delving into the insane big league publishing world, and is also in the autobiography I am currently close to finishing: “How I Abandonded a Book Deal, Ran to South America, Partied Away the Advance. And How You Can Do it Too!” (I am honestly thinking of just selling it for 99 cents on Amazon, if not for free somehow, as I am sure the publishing industry has me on a blacklist in bold letters by now, and I am not interested in money, as much as making sure I live on for many more years, in my written way). Anyway, the substance abuse specialist wrote me prescription for methadone, blithely mentioning that I should stay on it for the rest of my life once I started. She didn’t realize, somehow, being a native of this city, that I could get 20 boxes of month-long supplies of methadone delivered to my door, without any prescription, by any number of the corrupt Colombian pharmacists right on my block, alone. I have video evidence of this, in case anyone ever wants to see how easy it is to get, say, 300 xanax or klonopins passed to you under the counter just by asking, or 10 boxes of oxycontin delivered straight to your front door at 9 AM, or 200 Vicodins (which, to be fair, are actually legal here) handed to you at any drug store in the city. Within a week I had my two methadone pharmacists, who just drove their own cars to my apartment to drop my methadone, basically synethetic heroin, off. At first, as you can imagine, this was a disaster. But little by little I’ve fought back, and I’m at least proud to say, I am now only taking one 40 mg methadone pill per 24 hours, finally, as you are supposed to. Which was cause for celebration when I first finally got back on track, as it were. A moment of pride which lasted two days, before the obsidian-black depression just seeped back in to melt the short-lasting pride I felt.
At any rate, this site was supposed to be little more than a place to store my portfolio. Every piece of writing I had ever constructed. Like a digital business card cum portfolio. But here I am. The writer in me just couldn’t help himself, and I had to start pouring the most painful and embarrassing, dark and urgent facts of my life onto this site. But I’ve realized something.
For someone who is truly at just about the lowest point in their life, and honestly thinking of just disappearing, rather than facing the utter disaster of a life one has made for themselves, a public blog is a bad place to talk about your dark/suicidal thoughts, for oh so many reasons. The biggest reason being that, although all the readers of the last piece were nice enough to just skip reading it (I admit I did choose an odd title and angle going into it, ha, but I was nervous), read it and not say anything, or (and thank you) read it and give it a like, if I continue splashing words on the page in this state, eventually a troll will come along. Or perhaps even someone who means well, but unleashes a barrage of damaging words. That is, after all, how so many suicidal bloggers, YouTubers, streamers etc. in the past have ended up taking the plunge into the abyss: one or more of their “fans” urged them to go on and do it, and stop talking about it. And they then did it.
So this is going to be the last blog post, even though it was only the second, chronicling my struggles with extreme, opioid and careere failure-induced depression. I’ve decided it’s certainly better to stop talking about it, than to go on and do it. And I should be talking to a professional about these issues, working on putting these experiences down in a piece of art (a book), at least. Not wallowing in them on a website, and just waiting for that one troll to come in, like the hot sizzling end of a lit wick attached to a bundle of dynamite.
(NOTE: This site is titled Vet Career Strategist, because I am halfway through my certification to be one. For now my second autobiography about how I failed to write the first autobiography is priority number one. I’m not positive if I’ll continue down the Vet Career Strategist path or not. Although I have a feeling posts such as this one have made my decision for me. Ha. I will likely continue to be a starving, and strange, writer for the rest of my life).
I will give you all any updates on my dark situation, if they are positive. Until then, I’ll continue posting everything I’ve ever written and or had published, as well as make the occasional commentary. I am slated to return to the U.S. in six months, to sleep on the couch of an old friend for a month or so. After that, I have no idea what I’ll do. Besides check into the nearest methadone clinic ASAP and get into their counseling services as well.
Now I’m wondering if WordPress has an algorithm that detects posts like this and automatically emails the suicide prevention hotline number and an uplifting message to the blogger. Ha. As bad as things are (and I haven’t properly explained or gone into nearly sufficient detail of my situation, for everyone who is confused about so many things) I just have to find humor in this, being a humor writer.
“I laugh to stop from cryin,” a blues great one sang.
Now, may the clients for writing/editing/career strategy come pouring in!
Update: I’m generally doing a little better now. Designing visual art, in the form of apparel with funny messages, has helped me more than I could imagine. I haven’t gotten a single sale yet, even, but just knowing that people are at least laughing at more of my work is a good feeling. I thought of this t-shirt during one of my darkest moments: “If Somethin’s Eating At you From the Inside….Shit Out a Good Story.” Hope you enjoy looking at my designs as much as I enjoyed making them. Everyone keep your heads up. (Including you, Jason.)