I decided to write in plain site on Facebook about my suicidal days, which lasted years in retrospect. In efforts to void a stigma, I also encourage people to seek help if they are experiencing similar thoughts today. I was silent about my issues of suicidal thoughts for years, only to avoid another stigma. The label of being ‘depressed’, stigma. Finding that these issues no longer exist to me, I grew to have a great deal of respect for self once I realized that I could think about those days and talk about them freely. I’ll take you all through a brief journey of my life and times wanting to die. This should clear up the concern some people had for me from my Facebook post, and for those who are not familiar with my work.
Feature photo by Sydney Rae (Unsplash)
I began writing about my suicidal days in June of 2018. It was a dedication to my mother and I realized last week that many of my readers may not have read between the lines to understand what I was actually talking about. I also wrote a three part series later in December about those days wanting to kill myself. This was after I went into a Flotation tank; go read War with GOD I: In Black.
In fact, I mention my suicidal days often in my poetry, which is why I tell people to read with a purpose.
I’m not just spitting out words that sound alike.
Many of my friends and family now understand the drive I have behind writing. The desire to put words together in what I call a mental battlefield, is nothing more than me wanting to explore my self-limits – like I did riding my bike to PDX [airport] when I was seven years old.
As a child I often wrote in journals to create things in my head. So, if Batman wasn’t on I created my own super hero with the help of WCW and WWF. As I entered my teens, I felt like a watcher of the world; a lot like how the wrestler Sting would watch from the raptors during WCW’s Monday Night Nitro. If you knew me as a child I was probably shy and quiet. I noticed then my anxiety was growing because I stuck out like a sore thumb. I was often the only black kid in class, playing ball on a court, or playing an instrument my Mom had me learn.
By the way, thanks Mom – I bought a Saxophone last month.
My anxiety started when I got eyes on me from people who didn’t know me. At that point in life, I’m a tall, dark, and handsome young man. In my experience growing up being quiet, or the observing type individual, I was often given an assumption. I was assumed an athlete, even though at that time playing a sport intensely gave me a migraine headache.
Thanks to Leslie Gregory, I no longer get Migraines.
It irritated me when people would always ask what sport I played, and I would sarcastically respond with, “I’ve never touched a ball in my life….”
I was lying.
I you knew me well, I had hoop dreams up until Alberta Park and the boys at Grant High School showed me real competition. My only competition at the time was myself, my backyard hoop and court, and the disturbing thoughts in my head that kept me from becoming who I am today.
The nights and days I spent in bed praying to GOD, or an almighty power that be, I asked him that I not have the privilege to take in another breath or feel another heartbeat. I didn’t want to wake up from my dreams. I didn’t want my friends, family, and peers to know the real ME at the time.
The truth about my suicidal days is that for four odd years, no one knew. I was cunning in telling people I’m living a dream, although I was because I daydreamed in the days I tried to emotionally kill myself. Meaning I went through days hoping someone would kill me, for me. I was emotionally reckless. I recall the moments I thought about doing it, but I ended up writing and running instead.
There were several contemplating moments when I thought hard about how I’d leave this world – all to avoid nine troubles that had snowballed from several bad decisions I made leading up to that era in life.
I say four years, but it feels like the other half of my life.
The decisions I made leading up to the suicidal episodes were made based on societies popular images of black men. I don’t blame people for driving me to be that way, but rather myself for not recognizing and speaking up on my own self-worth and ambition. My life was meaningless, to me, and I didn’t feel any one would care if I’m not alive. People saw me as something I wasn’t, only to acknowledge my first layer – a tall, dark and handsome black man.
I felt I wasn’t doing the world any justice by just being another black man breathing, but maybe I was too proud? I mean, I was in college. However, 10 layers deeper a writer was tamed, like a chained African lion in the abundant wild.
Through meaningless thought I understood that people are brought into this life promised one thing after birth. Assuming we take a breath and feel a heartbeat, we’re only promised death. That lead to me wanting that next promise in life; because with every breath, heartbeat, and step I took in life it felt heavy. It was painful.
There were days I had a strong gut feeling that held me in bed for days. This drove me to make decisions that made it worse. Like drinking a lot. It was fun and I had a perfect excuse – College!
Drinking and partying was my go-to for years until I realized what I was missing in life. Essentially it was my writing, but I also began working out and running.
During one hot summer day, which I believe was my first suicidal episode, I randomly decided to run. I remember running eight miles without stopping. Keep in mind, at the time I was not a runner. I was stressing over five of the nine reasons I wanted to leave this earth.
After crying and getting a preview of my next four years of life, I put on my Adidas trainers, Nike socks, Adidas shorts, and a black tank top. I played my music at high volume and ran hard. I ran like I was running away from the feeling, leaving my guts back on the concrete carpeted floor in my apartment. Through music, I forgot why I was running.
In retrospect, the run itself did nothing to fix the situation. It was more like a Band-Aid. When I got home I felt better, but only until I cooled down. I realized I had no appetite as the feeling was coming back after I showered.
So, I started writing.
My writing was just another Band-Aid, but I would never consider it that way. In the context of time, my running and writing may have been temporary ‘fillers’, but today when I read those suicidal letters, it was ALL me. And I had issues.
I began writing again in my days I was too much of a Bitch to kill myself. And please do not think that because I still write and run today, that I’m covering up suicide through layers of myself; but rather it is the same layers that people assumed of me, that I had to kill to get to TheWriter.
I understood the label I would have gotten from psychiatrists and psychologists – a depressed black man with anxiety. I understood what depression meant, which I felt was a victimizing stigma. I could not imagine anyone calling me depressed, I did not want help because I believed deep down I was nine layers away from happiness.
At the time, I was a psychology major at the University of Oregon. I worked on campus as an assistant to all the counseling and psychology professors at the College of Education. I understood all the clinical diagnoses, how people are treated based on their past environments, and the real challenge of trying to find the right person to talk to.
I understood death better after my father passed two years ago, and thinking back, he was one of the significant reasons I didn’t follow through with suicide. Deep down I felt something told me to be stronger for him, my family, and Me.
There were several events that lead me to making better decisions and becoming TheWriter I am today. From my friend’s silent encouragements, co-workers looking up to me, and my Mom, I knew this was not how my life should end.
Ironically it was shortly after my suicidal era that my mom, Judy Ann Kent, gave me her journal she wrote in about me as a new born baby boy. I was hungover from the suicidal days at the time, trying to make things meet. I also did not smile much. And through reading my mother’s words, it hit me.
She wrote about the smile I brought into this world just moments after I was born. The joy she felt by my presence changed her life and it spoke to my soul as I read it. I then began to regret my suicidal days because it was clear that I wasn’t just another black man breathing on earth. I was Judy’s son, and Harold’s son; who’s last words to me was, “my son…!”
He passed two weeks later.
And like the Sun rises with you,-Budd (TK)
It also shines with you.
Because if it did not rise with you,
Who’d see the shine in you?
And like it rises in the morning for you,
So should you!
I write to create realities that do not exist. Much like the issues I had when I WAS suicidal. In retrospect they did not exist in reality. I’d argue they existed in two places, my head and gut. Some people will argue this is a chemical in-balance, which it is because there are chemicals [microbes] being transmitted from the gut to the brain – via the vagus nerve. That feeling will mess with any one’s psyche.
I learned over a four-year period that people can choose how to react to those internal feelings. People often play into them and do things they regret, because in reality there is nothing in front of them. I often felt heavier when I walked, but it wasn’t like I could tell a friend I felt ‘heavier’.
Later in my 20s, my anxiety built up again and I never knew why until two years ago. I was not suicidal, I was not depressed, and my job was great. I got to travel and see a lot of this world. But I would often get a feeling of doubt, frustration, an ego trip, and a gut feeling that did not belong. Whether or not it was due to me working in an all white environment, I couldn’t picture myself doing anything else but writing. So, I started vehicledigest.net for fun and wrote about cars.
I also fulfilled my #AVGEEK passion by working for a global aviation publishing corporation. But even through my success and passion in aviation, I left that $6-figure opportunity to write.
Please do not label me a once depressed black man. I say that out of gratitude and humility, because the people who’ve read this far are the reason I’m still here.
The fact that I’m able to read my suicidal letters, talk about it, and laugh, is definitely a result of GOD’s plan. And to mention, I had some harsh words for GOD back then. He definitely fucked with my expectations by allowing me to become TheWriter.
I have a trilogy I plan to complete by the end of 2019. For all three books, TheWriter will fuck with the world’s expectations as GOD did for him. The story starts from a concrete floor. I developed the story-line running up a hilltop of glory by my home, and sparring with amateurs.
Thanks, Coach George.
Although I got through years of suicide alone, it was never about being strong or a victim. I may have felt that at the time, but I was stubborn and being myself; wanting to do everything my way. I strongly suggest that for those who are experiencing suicidal thought’s today, please seek help. I took a big risk going at it alone.
However, for my first trilogy, maybe I won’t be the same stubborn black man and publish it my way.
Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Budd writes to encourage readers to explore the depths of their inner ocean, an unexplored self, because it's fun once you get through the emotional part... “The world around us is our vehicle, what you'll read is how I digest it.” -Budd