“Know that no matter how quirky or strange you may think that you are … The diamond that you are will be recognized by somebody. So, take strength in who you are … there’s a partner and a family for you somewhere.”
Experienced Suicidal Thoughts
The following is a transcript of Dennis Smith’s video story.
Hi, I’m Dennis Smith, and I’ve experienced suicidal thoughts.
At the age of five, one of my first childhood memories was of my parents fighting. After that fight occurred, where I’m not sure if she left, he said, “You must leave,” but that’s when their divorce occurred.
Not having a mother going to a very suburban school and in York County, where it was middle to upper income, I knew I was very different. I navigated society, school, on my own. If there was a tough moment, you know, I had to do it by myself. I didn’t have a parent to come home to to voice what happened during the day and when my father came home after working a second job. You know, we all know that he was tired. He was dealing with his own burdens of his divorce, at that point in time, and the demons within it.
I think those abandonment issues have affected me a great deal of my life. I met my wife in high school on a blind date, married for 29 years, very happily, successfully; two grown daughters, now 30 and 32. My heart swells with love for them, of course, and … very successful, independent, strong women. They’re great.
In 2009 was pretty much the tip of or the beginning of a mental health crisis in my life … just overworked, stressed, not getting love or affirmation that I needed, and I felt very disconnected at home. And I think it’s just a matter of those stresses led to a lack of sleep, a mental health problem with spinning up into hypomania, which is a chemical imbalance.
That of course, had a dramatic impact on my marriage. She had great fear of where I was headed, and there was a moment that I knew that our relationship was broken and it wasn’t going to get any better.
That sheer terror of having to split your life apart from somebody that you’ve been with for so long was just a very, very difficult.
My psychologist called it a perfect storm. So many influences of stress from so many different places were just piling up, and I didn’t have any coping skills that were effective as far as relieving me from them. Those thoughts of being alone, depression, anxiety just kept flowing in, and that’s where the thoughts of ending my life started.
It was a day like any other, you know, of depression anxiety. I didn’t have a thought in mind, saying why I should do this or not to do this. I’m like, I just I just want this to end.
The steps from there were just, what do I have in this household to end my life?
I’m not sure why I went into the bathroom to look at myself while doing this, but I did. Thankfully there too, because it, self recognition in the mirror, was very powerful, I’m sure. But that’s where things spun up and after struggling with that I don’t know how long. If I had to take a guess, maybe ten or 15 minutes of just being in a trance, thinking, and trying to coerce myself to do it. The moment passed.
You can look back and see the components of a mental health issue and what leads there, and I’m joyful. I’ve lived a lot of good life since. I love the perspective and the sensation of my heart pounding out of my chest in a good way. It just makes me empowered to try to share that with other people. And if my tears of joy after sadness can lead to somebody else’s … tears of recognition as well, that’d be great.
For me, you never say you’ve made it, because once you to say you’ve made it, the world jumps up and bites you in the ass. So life today is sweet. Every day is not perfect, but having borne the pain of destroying ignorance in myself just by learning. It’s powerful.
I retired back in September, one from 33 years as an insurance professional. I was remarried. I’ve been married for three and a half years. Sandy is one of those people that just brightens my day.
So how’s life today? Very rewarding. Very good.
Know that no matter how quirky or strange you may think that you are … The diamond that you are, will be recognized by somebody. So, take strength in who you are, whether you’re thinking that you’re messed up or not. There’s a partner and a family for you somewhere.
“One More Moment” brings to mind to me all those things that I would have missed had I not taken the time, in the moment, to not take my life.
So you are worth one more moment.
One More Moment was developed with support from: