I met Heidi my Freshman year of college.
She loved to go to the beach. On the weekends we would fill up a cooler with beer and drive over to the coast to bask in the sun all day. She’d visit me at work and vice versa. We’d go shopping together. Heidi loved to run.
She was in my wedding. Our kids used to play together. She went through a rough patch. Lost a business. Got divorced. Had to get on meds. Went off the meds. I hadn’t talked to her in about six months. One night I happened to drive past the entrance to her neighborhood and an eerie feeling washed over me.
The next morning I called her cell phone. No answer. I left a message. About a half hour later my cell phone rang.
“Hello” I said.
“Amanda?” Heidi’s Mom asked…”Amanda…Heidi killed herself.”
I was devastated. She had dropped the kids off at school, picked up the gun, drove back to the entrance of her neighborhood and shot herself in her car. I wondered to myself if there was something I could have done if I had just called her sooner.
Heidi was depressed. She needed professional help. However…some of us kill ourselves slowly every day.
1 Don’t Exercise – Have you ever encountered someone who was sad after a workout? Exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins are like tiny little natural drugs you can give yourself if you just get up off the couch. If you’re not used to exercise, start small. Stand up and do some basic breathing techniques. Oxygen is good. Stretch. Take the smallest walk down the street and back. Run. Lift heavy things. When you don’t exercise you cheat yourself out of the feeling you get after the workout.
2 Don’t Sleep – Last night I got 11 hours of sleep. This morning I am able to get creative and write this post. I don’t normally get 11 hours, but I do get at least 8-9 hours a night. There isn’t an award given for burning the candle at both ends. How do you feel when you don’t get enough sleep? Why set your day up that way? Turn off the friggin’ TV! Get to bed.
3 Drink Alcohol – Alcohol is a depressant. It can make you fat, kill brain cells and give you a hangover…or worse diabetes, liver cancer, high blood pressure and stroke. All of these things are slow and silent killers. I’m working on eliminating this one myself.
4 Do drugs – Did you ever watch “Pulp Fiction”? Yeah…that big needle sticking out of Uma Thurman’s chest. Overdose. It kills.
5 Do work you hate – My father made a great analogy the other day. This is like being nibbled to death by baby ducks, from the cradle to the grave. If you do work you love you’ll never work a day in your life. I’m not saying you should quit your job today. We have to eat and we need a roof over our heads. Money can get us those two things and a job can get us money. What I am saying is that you can start something up on the side that you enjoy. Grow that thing in the free hours that you have in your day so that you can eventually quit doing work you hate. Don’t have any free time? Bullshit. Stop watching NCIS. Put down the remote control. Come home from the pub. Get the hell off of Facebook. It’s not that you don’t have the time…it’s that you don’t make the time. It’s not that important to you. Things are about to get real good. A ton of people got rich during the industrial revolution. Look around. People are getting rich. We are in the midst of another amazing revolution. Reach out your hand and grab a piece of it!
6 Listen to crappy people – Not everyone is going to like you. That’s OK. Be OK with that. It’s not your fault…unless you’re a real asshole. But I’m going to assume that you’re not. Most people who don’t like you, see something positive in you that they wish they had themselves. They are jealous that they don’t have ‘that thing’ and this makes them hate you. That person has self esteem issues that they are projecting onto you. You don’t have to listen to them. And you don”t have to engage. Promise me you won’t engage. Be confident in who you are. You’re a good person. Why are you listening to them anyway? It’s your life. Choose to be around the people who love and respect you. Anyone else is dead weight. Cut them loose.
7 Think negative thoughts – Your boss hates you. Your boyfriend is about to leave you. Your plan was ruined. The IRS is beating down your door. You can’t pay the bills. Someone betrayed you. Get a grip. YOU are the only one who controls that wet three pound organ inside your skull. When you find your brain drifting into negative thoughts, make a conscious decision to say to yourself “NOT USEFUL” and push that thought away. Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but doesn’t get you anywhere. When I find myself worrying or thinking negatively I first tell myself “Not Useful” and then I change my surroundings. I’ll get up and go outside. Breathe in the fresh air. I’ll call my mom. Get some water. Take a shower. Go for a run. Turn on music I enjoy. Text a friend. All simple techniques. But they work. A constant stream of negative self speak can send you into a tailspin of depression.
8 Hate people – Hating others is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. People go through life wondering what everybody else thinks about them. Guess what? They don’t give a shit about you. They are only wondering to themselves what other people think about THEM. Trust me on this one. Find the people who care about you and love them back. Smother them with love and affection. Leave the hating to the haters.
I can’t bring back Heidi. Nothing I can say or do can ease the pain that her three children must feel on a daily basis. “I miss you Heidi. I wish you were still here.”
Don’t kill yourself. Choose life instead. There’s still hope. We need you!