I was rushing through a typical, ravenous post-work Target run, mentally justifying spending $10 on Sumo Oranges, when a voice bellowed from beyond banana mountain.
“Hey! Are you the suicide guy?!”
Abruptly, three trendy teens rounded the citrus display. One of them placed her arm around my waist between a lanky limb and the overfilled, red basket.
“You have made such a huge impact on my life. You don’t even know.”
We small talked a little bit and laughed about the Oreos in my basket. She gave me one more side hug and then it was back to my boujee oranges. As the trio disappeared, I couldn’t shake this weird story I never intended to live.
The suicide guy. Is this who I am?
I am not a huge fan of my brain; its rollercoaster highs and lows are beyond exhausting. One day I feel intent to take a leave from my job and run the ministry full-time, the next I fantasize about deleting everything and going to back to a quiet life of scenic puzzles and anonymity.
I set out to help people but accidentally woke up being publicly known for the worst part of who I am, the part I work so hard to silence.
Can you imagine going through life like that? “Hey! You’re the over-eater guy!” “Drunky!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” “Shoplifter man, What’s Up?!”
The hardest part is I truly believed when I found the courage to talk about this dark secret, my relationships would be strengthened. I thought people would press in and want to support me through all of this.
But I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I lost some of my closest friends who said, “I love you but I don’t want to know anything about it.” Some people who didn’t completely disappear, never bring it up or quickly change the subject if I do. Others whispered behind my back and cut me out like a kidney donation.
And this is my reality, thousands of hugs and standing ovations and “I don’t want to hear about the ugliest parts of you” from many I thought I loved most.
Does someone love you if they pretend the parts of you they don’t like never happened?
Turns out nobody ever likes to talk about suicide, so nobody does. And we sit with a suicide rate at a 50-year high.
I love getting to be an inspiration for others. I love your knowing tears and your grateful hugs. I love that although I have lost so much by sharing this story, so many of you have gained.
Suicide is one of the very worst things that can happen to a family, a wound that seems to never fully heal. If one family doesn’t have to go through that hell because I stepped up to the microphone, every part of my struggle will be worth the sacrifice.
Like most of the best things in life, this is all just harder than I ever imagined.
So thank you for being with me. Thank you for your encouragement in little and big ways. If I’ve impacted your life, I would be so grateful if you would take 30 seconds to leave a comment or send an email.
I don’t know what’s next for all of this.
I’m taking a break from speaking until next year.
I spent 50+ hours editing version three of the book last week in Greenville, South Carolina.
I’m getting ready to send the book proposal out into the universe hoping someone is ready to take a chance on me and this story.
I’m focusing on caring for myself and listening to my heart.
If someone in your life has ever shared about suicidal thoughts or you’ve ever wondered if they do, please be brave enough to press in. I know it’s hard and awkward and dark but please don’t abandon them. They need you to stay more than you could possibly know. And while you’re there, find the courage to share the worst parts of yourself so they too can truly love you for who you are.
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A post shared by Sam Eaton (@recklessly_alive) on Apr 5, 2019 at 1:52pm PDT
If you’re struggling to hold on please watch one of our videos or read A Letter to Anyone Who Feels Like Giving Up. Talk to your doctor or a counselor about what you’re feeling. You’re not alone in this fight, I promise.
And, next time you see me overspending on produce in Target, please do come to say hi. I will be overjoyed to meet you, hug you and share my Oreos. You are the reason I do this and I love you more than I love myself.
Maybe just don’t call me the suicide guy. Cool?
Check out my Spotify Playlists Here. I made this playlist, “Depression & Suicidal Thoughts” just for you.