Disclaimer: This post series is going to deal with very sensitive topics including suicide, abuse on many levels, and hard truths. If you or someone you know is somehow included in this blog series, please do not be offended by what I may write.
It is my life, and my perspective.
I want everyone to know where I come from and what I have overcome, and I believe that everyone is entitled to their own personal truths. I know that many people deal with hard things in their life, and you may never know because it is so well hidden, especially when it appears fine on the surface. Most people would never guess that I’ve had the life that I have based on who I am at this point, but I wasn’t always the person you see today. I hope my story has an impact on those that need it, and to know that you aren’t alone.
Previously: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
The mechanic business did not pay the bills for very long, and we eventually had to move a couple more times over the course of a few months. D took a job at a local oilfield maintenance business for awhile and eventually settled on becoming a contractor for local farms and businesses. I would frequently be taken to jobs with him on various farms and help him to complete the work.
Most of the time, I enjoyed going with him because I got to see new places and learn new things. To this day, there are many things I know how to do because of him. Between having me work at the mechanics shop and accompanying him on contractor jobs, he gave me quite a few basic life skills. I learned how to use all kinds of tools, from screwdrivers and power drills, to soldering irons and torque wrenches. I know how to perform basic tasks on my car, and I know how to caulk a bathtub. These are a couple examples of why I am grateful for this man.
What I didn’t enjoy, was that if I didn’t get the tool he needed fast enough or if I didn’t do the right thing, I would always get insulted and smacked around. After the years of this occurring, I finally began to tire of this life.
I hated being yelled at.
I hated being called names.
I hated being abused.
I hated being the fat kid.
I hated having no friends.
I hated moving every few months.
I hated how he spoke to me.
I hated how I felt like a slave.
I hated how he treated my mom.
Being that he was my step-dad, I didn’t feel comfortable calling him “Dad”, when my actual father was still alive and in contact with me. Then one day, I decided that maybe he treated me this way because he didn’t think of me as his son. Maybe I could change that. I remember walking over to the bedroom door, excitedly planning my sentence of how I was going to let him know that I was ready. I stood at the door, body buzzing with nervous energy, and I let it go. I spoke to him and called him “Dad”. It was the biggest moment for me. Hoping and wishing that with this one word, I could change everything about our relationship and how he treated me.
It didn’t work. It fell flat and in that moment, I realized that he truly didn’t care about me at all.
That’s when I knew that I wanted to die.
I spent months thinking about suicide. It was all consuming. I realize that I was only 11, and that it seems too young to even consider such a thing, but I was. I had full access to an unlocked and unprotected gun and ammunition. I knew how to use it, as I had been shooting since I was 8 years old already. I planned what I was going to write on a suicide note. I thought about how, when and where I would go through with it. There were many days when I was alone and I would go into their bedroom, open up the closet and just take out the gun and hold onto it, wondering if this was going to be the last thing I ever touched.
I felt so conflicted and confused. Every day was more confusing than the next. All I did was contemplate the act of suicide. I had my good days and bad days. I never once talked to my mom about this at the time. I wanted to be strong for her. I didn’t want to let it show that he was beating down my soul, day in and day out.
I wanted to end my life, but I didn’t want to hurt my mom.
I didn’t want to be abused anymore, but I didn’t want my life to be useless.
It might seem stupid to some, but to me, my cat was my everything. Sox was the one friend I could always count on. I knew he would listen to me talk, and I knew he would let me hug him when I needed to cry. He was always there for me, and D knew this. He threatened me constantly by telling me that if I ever told mom what was going on, he would kill my cat. There was no way that I could ever risk losing my one and only friend. Sox is one of the main reasons that I am still alive today. I poured my heart and soul out to that animal and he loved me when it seemed that no one else would. I could tell him everything that ever happened to me and I knew he would keep it all a secret and never tell anyone.
One day, I decided to pick up the phone and talk to someone. I knew I needed to speak with someone real, and I had already been seeing the phone number for years on almost every milk jug we ever had. The number for Kid’s Help Phone. I spoke with someone and they helped me greatly. I remember being frustrated with them and angry because it seemed like they didn’t understand, but I do believe that as I look back on this time as an adult, I can safely say they also had a hand in keeping me alive.
When I held onto that gun, I realize now that I quite literally was holding my life in my hands at 11 years old. It was during one of these times that I made my decision.
I decided I was not going to let him win.
I was not the one who did anything wrong.
I did not deserve to die.
Last year, I was at the gym doing some cardio and browsing youtube when I saw there was a music video trending with an interesting song title. Curious, I clicked on it. Soon after, tears were streaming down my face as I felt the full impact of this song. It was everything that I had ever felt, from the despair back then, to the joy I feel now. I realized right away that the song title is actually the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. If you can spare a few minutes of your time, I would highly recommend that you watch this powerful music video. Hear the words and feel the impact. They resonate to many people in many ways.
To me, it shows me how far I have come.
6 Comments Add yours
Every year the company I work for nominates and votes on a “charity of the year”. This year we have chosen (democratically as a company of hundreds of people) to support Suicide Crisis. It’s so important to actually talk about these things and to not stigmatise it. Be open and caring. Thank you for sharing your story Nigel. I remember us sitting on the benches at camp and talking for ages. I remember writing things on rocks, praying over them and then hucking them over the cliff. You are such a huge blessing in the lives of so many people and as hard as it is to visit our pasts, thank you for sharing how you came to be the awesome guy you are. Love you! Tracey
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Thank you so much! I love those memories so much and I’m really happy to be sharing my life as well. Love you too!
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