- Tim Wheaton
The “guest” in Episode 69 is actually me. It’s me talking about suicide, including the story about the night I tried to kill myself a little over 25 years ago.
I’ve touched on this topic with a few of my guests, at all different levels. Most significantly, perhaps, back in Episode 62 with Bill Protzmann, where he shares the story of the night music saved him from trying to take his own life some years ago. It’s been something other guests have discussed: having suicidal thoughts at times of their lives.
This is not a new problem for mankind. However, the numbers are increasing. The age range seems to also be expanding. It’s astonishing. It’s deeply troubling. It’s nearly paralyzing.
But, we cannot be paralyzed. We absolutely cannot allow ourselves to sit and do nothing. To back away and not deal with it. To be afraid of reaching out to help. That goes on both sides of this, I think. If you need help, you need to reach out… even if (or especially) you do so before your toes inch closer to that proverbial edge. And to everyone else, we need to talk to people. Talk to your friends, to your family, to your co-workers. The list goes on and on.
I’ll put this right here before I dig into the heart of the episode. I have a Google Voice Number for ANY of you to use: (872) 444-6784. Leave me a message there and I will get in touch with you… or you can even just use that as a safe place to vent or whatever it may be. And, the other number you need is the National Suicide Prevention hotline: (800) 273-8255.
I have been thinking… maybe knowing this episode would eventually happen. When it struck me that this September is Suicide Prevention Month, I felt a giant push to just sit down and finally get this out. So, this is another “guest-less” episode of the podcast. Just me and a microphone.
You can listen to the episode to hear the full story, but, as I mentioned before: at the age of 21, I felt like my life was going nowhere and I was hopeless. Hopeless of having an ability to make anything positive of my life, of ever being in a place to have a productive, adult life. Kind of what I have now, ironically. I’m really nutshelling this… but, I decided to end my life.
I took well over 100 pills one night and eventually slipped into a coma for 3+ days. I know that I should have died. I shocked the doctors by coming out of my coma and living. They were beyond shocked that I didn’t sustain massive organ damage, either. And yet, here I am. My life was not just saved: it was given back to me.
I talked about how this seems to be a significant issue within the world of music, of late. This isn’t the full list, but: Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington, David Berman, and most recently: Neal Casal. It’s daunting to think about. And I don’t claim to know their situations or their reasons. But, I do believe that they didn’t seek help. Nobody has stepped forward telling us that they had a conversation with Robin Williams and they knew he was going to commit suicide. That just isn’t a thing with so many of those who take their own lives.
In this episode, I really run the gamut. Blame that on it being Daddy *Unscripted*, possibly. But, I talk about how devastating it is to me that we even are having conversations about kids attempting and committing suicide. Devastating. It’s difficult for me to even fathom the reality of that discussion these days.
This easily led to me talking about social media. I don’t lay all of these things at its feet, but with social media and bullying and the time we spend on social media, not only being inundated and flooded with the pressures that can create for many people, but the time that it takes away from our relationships of those around us can be extremely hurtful and negatively impactful.
I will always be very specific about the fact that my experience is *my* experience. I don’t ever pretend that I understand other peoples’ experiences because of my own. I definitely believe that I can empathize with and understand their pain. Also, all of this has made me capable of being a better listener to people’s stories and experiences. I feel the weight and importance for that — just listening — since all of this more than ever.
I hope you get something out of this episode. I hope you share it with others. Even if they are people who may not be someone you worry about… maybe they know someone that can use it. Or maybe they know someone who knows someone. Either way, I will remind you of the two phone numbers. My Google Voice Number for ANYone to use: (872) 444-6784. And the National Suicide Prevention hotline: (800) 273-8255.
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Intro and Outro music proudly provided with a partnership by Umphrey’s McGee. Check them out at www.Umphreys.com
You can send questions and suggestions for future guests to us via email to email@example.com and you can always use my Google Voice number for comments, questions, etc.: (872) 444-6784.