The following is part of a section of a combination memoir/recovery book I intend to self publish by August. This is just a short section of it.
-BEFORE GOING ANY FURTHER, PLEASE READ THIS OUT LOUD AT LEAST THREE TIMES-
The “advice” I am about to receive is NOT from an expert on mental health. It is from a man; a man with a story and epiphanies he developed from his stories that he wishes to write about so that he MIGHT help other people. If I have a mental health issue, I should see a mental health expert while concurrently reading this book. In fact, I should mention any content in this book that I found helpful and tell said mental health expert about it. And although this disclaimer is long, I still have to read it two more times.
Consider all the times in my memoir when I thought about ending my own life the most. What was the common thread? The common thread was this notion that time was running out. A suicidal person thinks that there is a time limit for everything. As I just explained in the previous chapter, the high school mentality, which we are trained as a culture to adopt our entire lives, relies on this notion.
According to the high school mentality, there are certain things that you needed to have done by certain times, and if you did not do those things in that time, then there is something wrong with you. This message is sent out as indirectly as possible, with no known source. This helps protect its longevity. The suicidal person wears this mentality like a solitary scarf in the middle of winter in the Arctic: It freezes them into doing nothing. When they see that they have not done certain things by certain times like society told them and when they believe that there is no way they can do these things, their spirits sadly freeze in time (by dying).
Now there are times where this pressure is good. For example, I mentioned in my prologue that when I came across Caleb “Blackdragon” Jones’ article entitled “Every man should be worth $1 million by age 50” it inspired me. It inspired me because when I read it, I was not suicidal. I did not have thoughts of taking my own life when I read it. I also have a road map to achieving that kind of goal, and am excited about it because I want to do it for myself. When you want to accomplish things for yourself and not to impress anybody else, that is when you can (and should) get emotional. I got a knee-jerk reaction of anger when I read that article, because I knew he was calling out people like me who have $100 in the bank (on a good day). But I also knew that I have all the tools I need to be worth a million dollars by 50. And most important of all, I am doing it for me.
This is the crux of what I call Immortal Individuality.
Unfortunately, our poor suicidal friends are too emotionally raw to take on that kind of pressure. Immortal Individuality involves living for yourself, but not at the expense of others. Our poor suicidal friends are way too emotionally raw to do this. I should know: I was one of them. For many suicidal people, just the thought of getting out of bed to go to work or school is something that weighs heavy on his or her mind. This is exactly how I felt during most of 2011, which was the year where I came the closest I ever came to actually killing myself. I felt that no matter what I was doing, I was not doing it fast enough. I always felt like I was behind everybody else, no matter what.
Recall what I wrote about Hannah from 13 Reasons Why. Throughout the book and the Netflix series, she felt trapped. But she also felt like she was left behind. This is how I felt when I first began developing suicidal thoughts at the age of 18, as documented explicitly in my memoir. I felt like time was running out for me. I also felt surrounded, surrounded by people who had done all the things I missed out on. And I felt like I had a very limited amount of time to accomplish certain things. When I realized that I probably was not going to do those things, I started thinking of ending my own life.
All of my suicidal thoughts had a common thread; the thought that I was not doing enough things fast enough. When you always feel behind something and you cannot catch up no matter how fast you think you are going, it can and will paralyze you into going through the motions at best, and giving up on everything at worst. As documented in my memoir, my life consisted of me doing the latter by settling on doing the former and being in a weird limbo of both going through the motions and giving up on life for nearly 15 years.
This is what happens when the high school mentality takes over your life. It is what happens when you do not compare yourself to others the right way (there is a right and a wrong way to compare yourself to others), and when you think you need to accomplish certain things at certain times.
So what is the solution? How can somebody stop this seemingly never ending cycle? The answer, friend, is a formula that I have created.
A³ (C) + I² = Recovery
Everything starts with Accepting, Adapting, and Adjusting to all the adversity you are faced with. When you multiply this by the curiosity of how things will be in the future and add Immortal Individuality (the ability to do things for yourself but not at the expense of others), the solution is recovery. It is broken down to a science, which is why it is represented as an equation.
This looks like a complicated math problem, doesn’t it? Well, for most, it does appear complicated. But also like any other math problem, no matter how complex, it is comprised of many smaller, simpler problems. Every complex equation on the planet is solved in many, many steps. This is something that my father taught me when I was very young. I had no idea that it expanded beyond math and science.
This is something that many people either ignore or deny because they like to think with their emotions. As I mentioned in the last part, we are trained to think with our emotions. George Carlin was only partially right when he said that BS is the glue that binds us as a culture. For emotions are also the glue that bind us as a culture.
Does this mean that it is bad to have emotions? Absolutely not, for emotions are what separates us organic creatures from inorganic ones. Things that last thousands of millions of years do not feel any emotions. But things with shorter lifespans do? Have you ever wondered why that is? Could it be because emotions take up a lot of energy and are a precious life force? Call this an unfounded theory, but it works for me. I, for one, think emotions are a precious life force. So why waste it on frivolous nonsense?
And be brutally honest when I ask you this:
Do you know that you are wasting energy being upset about things beyond your control? How often do you do this in your daily life? How often do you do it online?
For now, its okay to be afraid or ashamed of the answer. You’re supposed to be. Nobody wants to admit that they are wasting energy on things that they cannot control. What you shouldn’t be afraid of is learning how to use that energy more productively. You should welcome the voice that tells you: Your emotions are a precious life force. Know when to use them!
You see, judging from my own thought processes of someone who was suicidal, I have a theory about suicidal people. Many foolishly connect being sad all the time to being suicidal. This is not true. Suicidal people are heat magnets of rage. But for fear of being seen as an inconvenience to the walking wounded around them, they hide this. This paradox alone makes a suicidal person a slave to their emotions. And as I previously mentioned, emotions can take a lot out of a person. This is why most suicidal people have very little energy and complain about not having energy; they’re pumping it out all the time!
Think of it this way: not only do they constantly think that they have a limited time to catch up to the accomplishments of others and always feel like they are behind, they would likely be very frustrated about it, right? In my late teens until my mid 20s, this was the crux of my existence. When I thought about killing myself, I was a very unpleasant person. Oh, I hid it very well, deceptively well in fact. At times, I even fooled myself. But when I was alone, when it was just myself and my own thoughts, I was toxic mess.
Emotions ruled the day back then. I felt like there was a conspiracy against me, as I documented explicitly in my memoir (specifically in the later part of chapter 3). I was mad about this. When I got really bad grades in my return to college (Chapter 7), I was furious. When my father died (Chapter 6), I flew into a rage the next day, taking a baseball bat to a family portrait that I found lying around the house. When things got really bad, in 2011, I was about out of energy. I would spend upwards of 14 hours a day in bed.
Suicidal people regularly overdose on emotions, and are addicted to them to the point to where they almost rely on them for survival. Any emotion applies: Sadness, fear, anger, even happiness are all fair game. The solutions you will read in the final part of this book will serve as a cleansing of sorts, but for your emotions. Similar to people who take things that cleanse their bodies of toxicity, the final part of Giving up on Butthurt will cleanse you of just that: being butthurt about things. And similar to a cleanse, you’ll still retain your necessary functions (having emotions, for purposes of this discussion), and they will be much more effective when it is over (you’ll know what to have emotional stake in).
For several years, one of my closest friends told me that I need to let go of the bad things that happened to me. Although I knew what he meant, I never knew how to do it. I now know how to do it. I came up with an intricate system of how to do it, and I now feel obligated to present it to you. This last part is dedicated to him.
In part one, you learned about every last gory detail of my life.
In part two, you learned about four specific narratives that influenced the suicidal behavior I was exhibiting from age 18 to 30.
And now, in this last part, I reveal my specific instructions of how to give up on butthurt.