Saturday, January 25, 2014

How I avoided Suicide in my early 20s

First of all, how did I get to this state?

Well, I first realized the stress of college was a problem for me because of having had blunt trauma childhood epilepsy. Intelligence was never my problem but, stress wasn't something I could survive if it lasted for months or years. So, the kind of stress that going to college and taking a full load of classes and making yourself get an A in every one wasn't really survivable for me after having had Blunt trauma childhood epilepsy. Next, it was the 1960s (1969 to be exact) and I broke up with the girl had intended to marry for about 2 years who was a member of my church. She told me in June 1969 that she though she intended to marry my she didn't intend to ever have either sex or children with me. Now, to people today this might seem silly. But, to religious people in 1969 this wasn't that unusual a statement. However, to a surfer boy from the Los Angeles area this was kind of ridiculous and wasn't something I was going to buy into. So, I promptly broke up with her. But, this is the problem, "I was in love with her" and to make matters worse I also was in love with my previous girlfriend of two years and also still had feeling for my girlfriend that I went with for a year before that. But, at the time I had no way to deal with all these feelings because I was only 21 at the time. So, I started to deal with feelings of suicide because of my confusion a little bit as I my parents moved from Glendale to San Diego and I wound up moving from my Aunt's house in the Hollywood Hills (It had a great swimming pool) to Venice where I got a job as an electrician which also included a free apartment with the job as a part of it. However, Venice in 1969 was sort of like Haight Ashbury in San Francisco at that time. People like

Arnold Schwarzenegger

 were lifting weights on the beach along with all sorts of other people then. Also, the day I moved in to my new apartment someone within the last week in a nearby apartment had taken LSD and jumped out of a 2 story apartment onto his head and died. So, it was pretty crazy there then in Venice on the beach.

After about 3 months living there I realized it was just too crazy a place for me to survive so I moved down to San Diego to live with my parents and went back to college. College was one of the things that saved me.

I went into the library and started to read "Psychology Today" magazines because no one in my family had ever studied anything about psychology. As I read I was able to diagnose all the major problems in my family back generations as well as my own. No longer did I have to blame myself or my parents or my grandparents for any problems. I could see the whole thing was multi-generational in all families. All families are screwed up in various ways whether they all stay together like my family did or they break apart as many families were doing then.

So, this was a beginning. Then I took a PHilosophy Course at Palomar College with Sager and he had spent time in a Zen monastery in Japan. So, we got along great and I stood up in class and commented a lot about philosophy. He gave me an A in the class and said, "You're my best student. Please don't drop the class!" I had gotten discouraged in my life and was going to drop out because I was unhappy because not only had my church girlfriend and I broken up but my church decided I could not longer be a church member because I was too 1960s alternative in a very California way. (In other words I grew a mustache and my hair looked a little like the Beatles at that time). So, this was depressing too, because I had friends from all over the world.

To make matters worse rumors spread that I broke up with my girlfriend because she wouldn't have sex with me which wasn't true. Because I would have been willing to wait for marriage for that but not forever. So, this was depressing too to have untruths spoken about me around the world in my church without being able to defend my good name.

One of the ways besides going to college to keep sane was to always have a girlfriend who loved me. I found as long as I had a girlfriend who loved me by my side I couldn't kill myself because I couldn't do that to her. The other reason I stayed alive is that I had seen first hand what suicide does to families and it isn't pretty. Often family member kill themselves directly or indirectly because of the family member who committed suicide afterwards. So, I realized i couldn't kill myself and do this to my parents and friends.

I have always been a very self disciplined person who would be capable of being a soldier if I thought it necessary. So, in not committing suicide mostly it was my own will power because my greatest desire during these times was to die to end my suffering.

Did I do the right thing breaking up with my girlfriend? I think yes. No need to spread the pain into the future. Was my religion right to ostracize me? There are many ways to look at this. I was a respected youth leader at age 21. I drove a brand new Camaro (which I sometimes drove at over 100 miles an hour) and I was at times very adventurous and sometimes even reckless then. But, I was responsible in the way I was a youth leader in my church. But, after I broke up with my girlfriend I was going through so many tortures because I didn't stop loving her that it took me about 5 years to get over her even as I dated at least 25 other women who mostly weren't members of my church.

I am a survivor. It is in my genes. I'm going to survive no matter what happens to me. This isn't true of everyone. We have all seen this. But, I was a survivor and if there was any way for me to survive I was going to. I took it as a mental discipline and a challenge. Emotionally it was a disaster from 1969 until at least 1971 or longer but by 1971 I started to begin to stabilize in my life and do better. By 1973 I met my first wife. We lived together and were married before my son was born in 1974. And the rest is history. When I married and my son was born I could not believe the respect and help that came into my life. My life was actually worth living after 1974. It wasn't easy at all but somehow it was worthwhile from the time I was 26 until now. So, stay alive if you can. You never know what wonderful things you will experience if you just find the strength to stay alive one more day!

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