I met a stranger last weekend that piqued my curiosity while sitting at my favorite coffee place in Kensington Market, I was in the process of writing my last post and she caught my attention because she was working with some tarot cards. Some level of mysticism runs in my family, my dad’s mother dabbled with tarot cards and tea leaf readings and my father was into palmistry and researching old and weird things. Then there is the Filipino side of the fence, some really interesting stuff over there. Anyways back to the market, I was curious and asked her if those were tarot cards, she said yes but there was something about the way that she talked that made her even more interesting. I said hey if you’re ever looking for a guinea pig to do a reading on I’m game and so we agreed to meet up that Sunday. I wasn’t sure if it was going to happen but she texted me to confirm, Sunday rolled around and I found myself at my favorite coffee spot once again. We chatted for quite a while, I love hearing the stories of peoples life adventures and she had some pretty great stories. We got onto the reading and I have to admit I can’t remember the last time I’ve had a reading myself, she asked her cards what they thought of me and they fucked with me a little which was kind of funny for both of us, the cards made fun of my “Think” tattoo (that thing is a story for another post). The process of a card reading is an interesting experience, if you’ve never done it you should try at least once if not just for the amusement of trying something new. The first reading we did was very on point, not scary or anything but it hit close to home on topics I’ve personally been avoiding cause I feel trapped to manage them. The second reading, no different from the first was just as on point and really hit home the fact that a. I need to stop avoiding shit and b. my life is pretty dope and I do some pretty dope shit (thanks Kanye). She commented that my readings were some of the most consistent shes ever done and then we got kicked out of the coffee shop because they were closing.
I have talked about my struggles with depression and anxiety but I’ve tended to skirt around the last one calling it dark thoughts or darkness. Well to bring that shitty bastard to light, its name is Suicide and it has had me as a passenger on its fucked up ride for as long as I can remember the depression and anxiety. There are plenty of reasons why I’ve never talked about it, the biggest one I would reckon is fear. The fear of judgment and persecution for admitting suicidal thoughts has kept me pretty silent about it over the past few decades. It gnaws at you though and if left alone will eventually win, a couple of years ago I caved and started talking to my counselor about the pit of despair that I felt I was in. She asked about suicidal thoughts and I nearly shut down at the fear of being sent off for mental examination or whatever, I have bills to pay, I can’t miss work. I admitted sure I think about it, but I’m good, these talks help, let’s move on. Back then I thought about it daily, and today? well, I still do. But here I am.
I am very aware that I am not alone in this struggle, people close to me, people in circles around me, people on social media and total strangers are all on this fucked up ride too. I’ve heard stories from good friends about their own struggles or those of family members they love dearly. It has been interesting to hear their perspective and how they are managing themselves or assisting their family member. Total strangers have reached out about the photos I post or words I write helping them when they were having hard times. It is nice to connect as humans and talk about something very real, something that can be upsetting but that is a part of being human I feel. The brain is a magical machine that we don’t fully understand, it can do some pretty amazing things and I am grateful for mine but sometimes it can be a real dick. Anyways the connection thing, it has been rad to connect to people but it has mostly been in private, which I understand given the nature of the topic. People get uncomfortable about it, even in this climate with more acceptance in the realm of mental health and wellness people clam up tighter than Jason Kenney in a gay bar.
So why am I talking about this unsettling business on the internet, where it will be seen by all the peoples and archived for eons and potentially get me flagged by the man for being mentally weak or whatever? Because I am tired of feeling weak when I know that is bullshit, I’m still here for as long as I can, and so are the people I know and love who are on this ride and so are the humans I have yet to meet but are also on the ride too. By sheer will and tenacity, I am here, we are here, we are doing our best. Maybe you didn’t know we’ve been fighting so hard to spend time with you and the people we love and doing things we enjoy. I don’t want to be the poster boy or voice for the people who feel lost, I just hope this helps you think differently. Because it may not be obvious to you that someone you care about is fighting for their life every day and they possibly may not want to draw attention to that because you may treat them differently. At least that is what I fear, and I am tired of being afraid. So here I am.
The new Canada Suicide Prevention Service (CSPS), by Crisis Services Canada, enables callers anywhere in Canada to access crisis support by phone, in French or English: toll-free 1-833-456-4566 Available 24/7
For numbers in your own province click here
For readers in the United States click here
For friends in the UK click here