Deb's Mental Health And Wellness Guide
~In Memory Of Eric D~
(Eric committed suicide using his own a rifle on 10/10/10)
I met Eric online in an AOL chat room in 2003. I was so manic (but didn't know it) and was chatting every moment of every day that I could (to include work) since 1995. I was in all the sex chat rooms and I think we met that way. He was in one too.
We started to chat and found out that we lived near each other. It was SO nice to meet people from my area online. Many of them became my chat buddies. Eric became a chat buddy too.
One day online, he told me that he was going to kill himself. Eric, as I found out later, struggled with many things since he was an infant. As his parents tried to find out what was wrong with him...seeing doctors, taking a variety of meds for a variety of potential diagnosis's, nothing went totally away. He struggled with health issues all of his life until he died.
When he im'd me (Instant Message) that he was going to kill himself...it must have been around 2004 maybe 2005. He owned an upscale hair salon and I raced to the shop to help if I could. I had never met him in person but I had to try to stop him or help somehow. I walked into his shop and told him who I was. Thankfully, he only FELT like killing himself but had no intentions of really doing it. As I learned from knowing him...he felt like killing himself all the time. (He was fine when I arrived and looked fine too. He asked me not to call an ambulance, as I wanted to do that. He had customers coming in and he was working. So after an indepth conversation, I felt he was alright and left the shop. Thankfully, he was alright afterall and never did anything to hurt himself then).
From what I remember, Eric had a breakdown several years before I met him. He was given many diagnosis's and put on different med regimens. I believe his diagnosis finally was Schizo-Affective Disorder/Bipolar Disorder. UNFORTUNATELY, Eric decided several years later NOT to take his meds or took his meds when it was good for him. He also decided to deal with a psychiatrist he had years before who prescibed his meds over the phone WITHOUT seeing him in person. I begged him to please see a new psychiatrist and get a new evaluation and med plan. He wouldn't do it as he just felt so broken that he couldn't go through seeing any more doctors or going through any more med changes. I TOTALLY understood what he meant as I had and was going through the same thing...too many psychiatrists and each one had a new med plan. How I was able to function at all was sheer perserverance. (But you do what you have to do to survive, make money, work, commute, grocery shop, keep a clean home, deal with family, friends, relationships, sex, etc...need I say more?)
All of the meds he took made him feel so manic, so depressed, SERIOUS depression and SO sick. How he was able to work is beyond me...and beyond him. He had no idea how he got through every moment...let alone every day. (He did say that he had to go to the back room of his salon to lay his head down on a table as the depression was so deep and debilitating).
Eric told me one day that he kept a rifle in a closet in his home and that it had special bullets so that they would splinter in his body... which would make sure he would die if he pulled the trigger. I begged him to give me the rifle but of course he wouldn't. When someone has a death wish, they will find a way, no matter what, to kill themselves somehow. I believe the police had been there several times. Who knows what was really going on.
Now it's 2005 and"I" stopped taking MY medications and disappeared from April 25, 2005 - December 31, 2005. On July 6, 2005, I was committed and finally diagnosed properly and given a med regimen that has worked for me to this day. As I was getting well, Eric was not and was acting stranger and more bizarre and he wouldn't get help. So in 2008 or 2009, I needed to take a break from having him in my life and told him so. I couldn't beg him anymore to get help, take his meds, stop threatening suicide, or please DO SOMETHING! I think he ended up loving the attention. He complained all the time and it just became too much for me, and what I understand, for some other people too...especially the ones he chatted with online. I was working SO HARD to get well and as I progressed, he seemed to be getting worse.
One of the things that stopped as I was getting better was CHATTING and surfing through chat rooms..especially the sex rooms. So I lost touch with my chat buddies and when all was said and done...that was fine with me. I had outgrown the dark world of chat and knew it wasn't good for me anymore.
So one day in 2011, I went online to check the mail in my AOL screen names mailboxes (and I had a few depending on my mood), and was im'd by another CT person, who also had Bipolar Disorder. He asked me if I knew about Eric? I said I didn't as I had been trying hard to get offline and wasn't chatting. He said Eric committed suicide on 10/10/10...on a Sunday, which was his day off from the salon...as well as Monday. Maybe the date 10/10/10 and being home and whatever else, made his brain and his mind snap. He took out his rifle from the closet and shot himself. I understand that his father found him as his father lived in the downstairs apartment. It was a multi-family house that Eric's dad owned. After Eric's breakdown several years before, I believe his wife left him and took their son. So Eric moved into the upstairs apartment and that's where he lived still when I met him and where he died. And yes, the breakup of his marriage and the loss of not having his son living with him was A VERY BIG part of how miserable he felt. His wife ended up divorcing him and got remarried.
I was crushed that he finally gave in to killing himself but I will tell you that it was probably a relief for him that his life was now over. He had been so debilitated for so many years and you reach a point when you finally realize that you just can't go on anymore. I know that feeling. I was SO depressed in 2002 that in September 2002 I wanted to die and was hospitalized for one week. Then in November 2002 I wanted to kill myself. I was hospitalized for 26 days. Once they added a new anti-depressant to my medications. I went "up, up, up"! That's what I say when I talk about that moment. I was so low and then I felt that I was going back up, up, up! (What was really happening is that I was delusional and manic. I thought an angel was pulling me up and God was going to wisk me away. As you can tell, no-one diagnosed the mania.)
I chatted with our chat friend and then tried to find out what happened. I did see his obituary online but I had to see for myself what had happened to the store as that was the only real contact I had for him. Was it still open? Could his staff tell me what happened? Could someone give me his mother's number???? I was frantic.
I immediately raced to my car and drove to Eric's salon. But when I pulled into the parking lot...the salon was no longer there. It was now a frame/photo/gallery store with no signs of Eric's name on the door. But I will add that the large sign outside of the row of stores still had Eric's salon name on it. For some reason, I was glad to see that his salon's name was still on the professional business sign. His salon was everything to him and helped him live as long as he did...as he never wanted to hurt his client's, his staff, his mother or his son...for that matter. He loved his mother and his son very very deeply.
I didn't know anyone that I could contact to find out what happened to Eric so I decided to go into the store that Eric had called his professional home for many years. (His brother and his father are hair stylists too.) I went into the store and looked around. I was frozen stiff when I entered and slowly looked around the store...imaging the salon and what was here and what was there...
I had to know details but who could I contact? No-one...so I went to the counter and asked for the store manager. The man that came out of the back room said that he owned the store. I asked him if he knew Eric and he said yes...he knew him VERY well and wanted to move his business into Eric's salon space after the tragedy. He felt it was a good thing to do. Hopefully Eric's soul knows that he touched many lives.
He was a friend of Eric's and knew his brother and his father. One of the things that I remember is that he said that Eric was deeply hurt when his father criticized him and put him down. That probably happened most of his life or maybe since his breakdown. I met his dad but have no idea if that was really the truth. He said Eric and his dad had a fight or a falling out and Eric was depressed. The store owner thinks that might be one of the reasons Eric decided to kill himself. In defense of Eric's father...I have no idea what happened, if that story is true or what his dad would say if he heard this potential reason. All I knew is that Eric was dead. I found some peace talking to this friend of Eric's. I was able to have some sort of closure.
So on Sunday, October 10, 2010, I tried to improve myself with another health endeavor. I was addicted to diet coke (before that it was diet pepsi and before that it was TAB. Remember that?) I had been drinking diet soda probably since middle school when Tab came out in the 70's (give or take). I never stopped drinking it and know now that it is one of my manic addictions and it was time to stop it. It has been said that the Aspartame in the soda can help to cause depression. So why on Earth was I drinking it? The last thing I can handle is more depression.
So while I was working on my addiction that day and tried successfully not to drink anymore diet coke, Eric was making the decision to kill himself. Two incredible ends of the spectrum of brain health. But I will also say that I am NO BETTER than Eric in any way. I could easily have killed myself many times during 2002 but didn't. I always went to the Emergency Room to get SOME relief!!
I will add that I worked in a Casino at the time in 2002 as a Concierge (inbetween both hospitalizatons) and befriended a security guard and you know the real reason why? Because he had a gun in his holster. One night I asked to see it. I held it in my hand behind the Concierge desk and thought about shooting myself right at that moment. But I didn't do it because what it if didn't work and I became a vegetable or something? And HOW awful it would be for everyone in the Casino and all of the employees who worked there to see a dead woman on the main lobby floor.
Eric couldn't do it anymore. No more hospitals, no more restraints, no more medications, no more psychiatrists, no more mania, no more depression, no more suicidal ideations, no more pain. Eric is really each one of us...when we fall to the lowest level of our being and make the decision to live or to die. It's a choice that could go either way...
I will say that I loved Eric in my heart and that I do miss him. But I will also say that I am relieved that his excruciating suffering is over. There have been other people in my life that have tried to kill themselves but failed in their attempt. I am hopeful that this post will help them to pick up the phone and call their doctor, psychiatrist and/or their therapist immediately.
If a person is suicidal, the best advice is rush to your Emergency Room at your nearest hospital. They will give you immediate attention and support.
As they say...
"You are only as sick as your secrets."
MAY YOU FINALLY BE AT PEACE ERIC. MANY PEOPLE LOVED YOU AND WE MISS YOU ALOT!!!!