Oh, Snapped! (Part One)

Last Friday, April 3rd, I had a borderline nervous-breakdown. There’s a lot that had been piling up… for years, really… but the straw that broke my back was an upcoming legal case in which I would be a supporting witness against my own cousin. His lawyers offered me money to come testify because, in a strange way, I was his best defense. They intended to destroy my character to discredit me as a witness and make my cousin, conversely, more credible.

I turned it down, of course.

The whole concept that my own family was willing to go to such lengths to protect my cousin, a guy that had been abusing his ex-girlfriend/roommate both physically and psychologically, yet NEVER came to my aid when I was facing a felony for allegedly altering a DMV receipt (petty as all hell, but in NY it was a Class E felony and serious prison time was on the table… and yes, I ultimately suffered through 10 months in a cage because of it). My own grandma, normally one of my few pillars of support, ceased speaking to me over my cousin’s case, siding with those that believed I was simply “attacking the family”, the family that made me the black sheep, in part, due to my petty non-violent charge yet rushed to the defense of a guy that legit laid hands on his ex and had a history of locking her in rooms until she’d agree to “discuss” renewing their relationship. It was completely backwards. And in a strange twist of fate, the date of the trial was set for April 15th, the one year anniversary of me being released from parole so I could move to California. It was too fucked up. How was I being this deeply shit on for doing the right thing?

This situation alone didn’t cause me to snap, but it was definitely what pushed me into the “I can’t take it anymore” category. There are three things I truly hate… apathy, ignorance, and idiocy. My own family was demonstrating all three to the max (again) and I felt sick just sharing the same blood with them. A co-worker saw I was visibly upset and ready to pop early Friday morning and chatted me asking if I was okay. I was honest, told her the situation, and said I wished my blood could all be removed from my veins. It was the first obvious red flag. 

I became self-conscious of that fact, so I went out to my car and attempted to compose myself, to otherwise get it back together. I figured my 130+ IQ combined with a little liquid courage (whiskey) would be enough to sooth my overloaded brain, then I could spend the Easter weekend meditating, going to the beach, smoking weed, and otherwise decompressing. I could bounce back from this, I thought. 
But I started shaking, I couldn’t hold back the tears anymore, and my brain was screaming for me to check out. As in, die. But I ignored that voice and called my only supportive Aunt and Uncle, cousin, and good friend from New York. I was a wreck and didn’t disguise it. Then two of my co-workers came outside along with my boss and I knew that the level of seriousness was about to be taken up a notch.

The three of them were very supportive, most especially my boss who was unbelievably understanding. He shared his own relatable troubles from the past, gave me the numbers to call if I needed them, and hugged me. I’m unaccustomed to that kind of genuine affection and nearly recoiled because I just could not process the stark contrast between apathetic family and the extreme empathy my boss was demonstrating. I knew this guy for less than six months and already he was a million times kinder than my own father had ever been. He offered the day off with pay, but I felt obligated to reward his kindness and worked as best I could for the rest of the day instead.

Granted that didn’t amount to much.

I went home and held it together okay. Until Easter Sunday. Something snapped me right back to where I’d left off that Friday and it grew exponentially worse. The REAL nervous breakdown that I thought I’d already experienced reared it’s full, grotesque head and I all but made the definitive decision to take the plunge from the top of my apartment complex.

I stood five floors up, toes slightly over the edge, wearing only a thin pair of gym shorts. I left my phone inside because I knew damn well that I’d likely crack and reach out to someone otherwise. I was committed to this. I brought with me only that bottle of courage (Dewar White Label whiskey, an excellent last drink in my opinion). My thoughts were a jumble of pros and cons as my brain desperately tried to rationalize suicide and at the same time maintain it’s default impulse for self-preservation. I considered how science theorizes ten dimensions to reality and that we are currently living in the 3rd with only some glimpses into the 4th. Perhaps we were once 2-D and died and that’s what brings us to entering the 3rd. This might sound a little outlandish, but if you do some research you’ll find real arguments supporting similar views within the realm of quantum theory. So through that rational, albeit inconclusive, lens I felt increasingly comfortable with death. Because it wouldn’t mean dying. It could mean evolving!

Obviously I wasn’t doing a good job convincing myself NOT to jump.

So I tried thinking of everyone that I cared about and the impact my death would have on them… the hurt, the anger, the disappointment, and in some instances guilt… but it wasn’t enough. The negative thoughts were winning handedly, so I spoke out loud to try and override them.

“Okay, David… you need a reason for yourself to live. You can’t stay here just for other people. That’s not enough. YOU need to care about YOU. So why is the future worth being here for?”

The only thought I had was how much I was looking forward to the next season of Game of Thrones and the new Avengers movie. I began to sob at how pathetic that was and it was downhill from there. I bent at the knees, ready to leap… then stopped and drank more. This process continued for roughly 15-20 more minutes, this prepping-to-die-but-not-having-the-balls-to-do-it process. One random person drove by and shouted, “Jump! Jump!” As callous as that was, it actually bought me some time because I wasn’t about to kick the bucket just because someone told me to. If I did this it had to be entirely my choice, no one else’s.

More whiskey, more tears, more talking out loud. I spun around and saw mountains in every direction. Nature’s beauty started to give me a slight flicker of hope, but it was abruptly interrupted.

I looked up and saw an LAPD helicopter starting to circle my building and recognized just how far this had gotten out of hand. Behind me, maybe eight feet lower than the platform I was on, two cops approached. They asked me who I was an what I was doing, if I was depressed, etc. I stumbled to speak, partly due to being intoxicated and partly because I had already shut down. I’d mentally checked out; I couldn’t even conceive of a future. Yet here I was talking to a person? It didn’t make sense. The cop made a lame textbook attempt at negotiating me back down to where he and his partner were, but I told him flat out that I had no reason to trust cops. Instead, I told him I was willing to hop down to my sun-deck and that I’d go inside, let the cop in, and we could talk in there. He rejected this idea because, presumably, it briefly meant I’d be out of his line of sight. Then a third cop showed up. And what did he do?

He laughed.

I snapped, “What the fuck are you laughing at? Who the FUCK do you… you think this is funny? I’ll show you funny!!!” I quickly moved back to edge and began chugging more whiskey. Unfortunately (at least, at the time it felt unfortunate) I couldn’t kill myself anymore because I’d be doing it because of a cop. And I hate cops. Again, I felt the purity of my decision had been taken away from me. So I hopped down to the sundeck to do what I had offered. I enter my loft and turned to go down the stairs… and there they are. A dozen cops had swarmed into my living room and to my surprise at least half of them had their guns pointed at me.

“Hands in the air! Show us your hands! Don’t move!”

It was all just so Hollywood. I laughed, admittedly sounding and looking very unstable, at the absurdity of it all. They wanted me to walk down the stairs with my hands on my head… backwards. Sensitivity and common sense were notably absent and the fact that I, in that brief moment of insanity, was able to see that made me all the more unhinged. I turned around, put my hands to my side, and walked down the stairs.

“How about I do what I need to do and you do what you need to do?” I said.

A younger, presumably rookie cop appeared more nervous as I approached. A slight twitch of the hand, increased whitening of the eyes… he was ready to pull that trigger and I didn’t give a damn. If I had been a person of color I have no doubt I wouldn’t be writing this right now. They didn’t shoot, but tackled me and cuffed me and asked me plenty of questions. Most of that was a blur because they asked me why I was going to jump and the answer would have taken hours if not days to explain. I was barely able to form a coherent thought.

They insisted I needed to receive a mental evaluation whether I liked it or not, tucking me into a squad car in cuffs as if I’d committed a crime even though they repeatedly assured me that I wasn’t under arrest. They took me to a psychiatric emergency room at a local hospital and it was there that I discovered what REAL crazy looks like…

TO BE CONTINUED…    

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