A little over a year ago I attempted suicide by downing a fist full of a variety of pills. The attempt failed as you can plainly tell. As a result, I spent three days in the emergency room and three weeks at Belmont Psychiatric Hospital. This was the beginning of the many changes that have taken place in my life since my self induced near death experience.
Now to answer the question "why did you want to die?" Suicide was the simplest and most rational way I could think of to exit a life I found meaningless and to end behavior that was self destructive. All my life I suffered from depression and anxiety. As an adult I always had a good job and had most of the things I wanted, but no happiness or peace or friends. Relationships caused me the most anxiety. Fear of people. Fear that if any one got too close they would uncover some dark secret. Fear that they would find some unpleasant truth about me. Fear that I would be exposed as a fraud. I could not relax and just be myself because I had no idea who I truly was. Because I didn't know the real me, I made up a false me. If I allowed anyone to engage me in conversation I would make up stories about my life and tell interesting anecdotes of my supposed experiences. Meanwhile the real me remained hidden even to myself.
Things really got out of control when I started associating with the homeless men in West Chester. At first my intention was to help. I provided food and bought cigarettes and even beer and provided transportation when needed. They where guys I was comfortable being with; they became my friends and my companions. They accepted me and liked having me around. The truth is I needed them to supply my emotional needs and they wanted me around to provide the things they wanted. The result of my involvement was devastating for me. It cost me many thousands of dollars and resulted in my emotional and mental state worsening. I began experiencing severe panic attacks that landed me in the hospital on several occasions. It had a negative effect on my performance at work such that I lost my job. I had to sell my house because I could no longer maintain it. With all the bad that was happening to me I still could not completely let go of the situation I had gotten myself into.
The depression and anxiety worsened. I just wanted the suffering I was experiencing in my mind to stop. Finally I walked away from everyone I knew and everything I had and for a few days I had some peace. But I knew it couldn't last because I had nothing else. I was exhausted, lonely and lost. I was nearly sixty years old and could think of nothing that made living worth while. So I chose to bring my life to a close.
This brings us back to the beginning of my story. After my stay at Belmont I had to find some place to live. The place was the Good Samaritan Shelter in Phoenixville. I had never been in a shelter before but this place was like home to me. The staff is helpful and supportive. Good Samaritan provides me with a safe and secure home base from which I can build a new life and discover my true self. With the help of Good Samaritan and other community health care organizations. I'm making good progress. I have had some problems with my heart that I have had to deal with but I don't see that as a setback I have enough peace and tranquility in my life so that even a heat attack couldn't get me down.
I have a great job. I enjoy very much working at a local car wash. I enjoy living in Phoenixville, a wonderful town with a vibrant spirit. With the help of my new community and my new friends I am looking forward to a new life of discovery. That is discovering who I truly am. The greatest discovery has been the realization that those deep dark secrets and terrible things I couldn't let any know about were a myth. I'm really not all that bad. In fact I kind of like my self.