I Learned To Talk Openly About My Past From You

I desperately needed to write this week, but this is not the subject I wanted to be writing about. I’m crushed that Anthony Bourdain took his life. I have too much experience with suicide. So much, it has changed my opinion on it, from confusion to understanding. I don’t see suicide as a viable way out, but I understand why people choose to do it. For me, the combination of the tricks that my head plays on me when in overdrive, the low lows of deep depression, and life in general, can make suicide seem logical. Suicide isn’t in the cards for me, and I’ve never ever have considered taking my own life, but as my friend Manny, another soldier chose to do, I know you can always seek the assistance of a police officer to help you out–I have entertained this route once or twice in the 1990s.

I’ve never entertained such thoughts since my daughter was born in 2000. Its just not in the cards, no matter what madness and depression comes my way. I’ve fought through hell before, and I’ll continue to do it. However, I get why people choose to check out. I breaks my heart. Crushes me, and continues to take people I care about away, but I get it. You never can really ever know how much pain someone is in, or what their minds and bodies are doing to them. One thing I didn’t realize from the age of 14-28, is the impact my drug use would have on my mind later in life. There are days I just can’t make my brain work, slow it down, or steer it in any direction that I’d like it to go. I can tell that all the expansion of my mind I did early on in my youth is going to continue to come back and haunt me in some devastating ways, and that it will continue to be something I won’t have much control over.

I can’t help but think this is some of what contributed to Anthony’s state of mind. He openly talked about his drug use in his youth. It was something that taught me that I could do the same. It was only after watching his shows did I entertain the idea of talking publicly about my addiction when we embarked on our summer of Drone Recovery. I had NEVER talked about my earlier drug use, criminal history, and mental illness before that moment. Anthony Bourdain openly talking about his own struggles on his show taught me that I could still be successful, even if I was open about my past. I’m thankful to him for this. It freed me. It might not save me in the end, as it didn’t seem to be enough to save him, but I feel like it will help me in my journey. Hopefully it is something that might also help someone else along the way as well.

I hope you’ve found some peace Anthony. Thank you for everything gave us. I never met you, but I feel like I know you. I don’t question you leaving us. I get it. You wrote. You made art. You spoke your mind. You made a difference. I am forever thankful for the impact you made on me, and the world. Something that I will always think about, and use as I travel the world drinking, eating, and writing. Thank you!