Everbody Hurts

Surviving suicide

March 1, 2024

Edited March 18, 2024

The Lost Dinosaur

In chapter 33, “My Dream Avatar,” I mention how close I was to committing suicide. I wrote that chapter in July of 2023. It took six months before I would actually attempt suicide. During those six months, I was desperately trying to find ways to feel like I had a purpose. I polished up my resumé, created a portfolio website, and signed up to receive job offers with Indeed and LinkedIn. I replied to at least two dozen offers. I heard back from a couple, and the others just faded into the abyss of dead job applications. Although I have not lost all hope, I have slowly come to realize that I am no longer as viable a candidate for graphic design as I once was. I have not worked in 7 years and have lost touch with all the latest advancements in software that I used to use daily. At 53, I'm feeling old and not so hip. When I consider that a close friend of mine retired at 50 after serving 25 years as a police officer, I realize that maybe my ship has sailed. I was forced to grieve one more thing I had “lost.” What have I lost? More or less everything. I'm not trying to be a martyr or victim; I sincerely did lose just about everything I held so dear.

Over the past six months, I was also actively pursuing a possible reconciliation with my wife after being separated for over two years. I thought, “Would my wife and I ever get back together?” which, of course, worsened my depression.

I sent the emails out in the middle of the night. I never imagined that someone would be up at 2:30 AM to see my email arrive in their inbox or my post on Facebook.

Ready, Set, Go

So, here I am, still on this side of life. I’m alive. I had been planning this for six months and knew exactly how I would do it. I would swallow a bottle of morphine (Statex) and a bottle of Ativan, then press send on the emails I had prepared for my friends and family late into the night. I would also post my goodbye chapter on Facebook and send the link to that chapter to my Being Invisible audience. I was READY. For six months, I would stare at those two bottles every night, sometimes opening them but unable to muster up the courage, eventually abandoning the idea until the night of Sunday, January 28th, which is of no significance, when I would finally go through with it. I sent the emails out in the middle of the night. I never imagined that someone would be up at 2:30 AM to see my email arrive in their inbox or my post on Facebook. I’m quite sure that it was either my massage therapist or a Facebook friend (who also suffers from autoimmune diseases and is very compromised) who were the first to see my message. My FB friend contacted me within minutes via Messenger. She was pleading with me to call 911, but I would have nothing to do with it. I wanted to die. I believe that my massage therapist called 911, as did many others. Within 20 minutes or so, there was a knock at the door; it was the police. My plan had failed. I was rushed to the hospital, where I was given “Naloxone,” also known as “Narcan," which saved my life.

Naloxone is an opioid antagonist: a medication used to reverse or reduce the effects of opioids. For example, it is used to restore breathing after an opioid overdose. Effects begin within two minutes when given intravenously, five minutes when injected into a muscle, and ten minutes as a nasal spray.” - Wikipedia.

I don’t remember being taken to the hospital or much of anything in the hours that followed. I remember trembling and shivering from feeling cold and requesting hot blankets several times. My wife showed up Monday morning and stayed by my side all day. At one point, still under the effects of the overdose, I decided to stand up while my wife had stepped away momentarily. I stood up, tilted my head backward to take a sip of water, and just kept going and fell flat on my back like a tree being felled. I injured my bottom, back, head, and neck. I don't think it's anything serious, but it’s been over four weeks, and my back and neck are still sensitive. I had x-rays done to see if I may have fractured some ribs or have done some damage to my neck, but I will only have the results in a few days. I really fell hard.

Surviving Suicide

So what is surviving suicide like, you may be asking? It’s complicated. First, there is a feeling of having failed. If you attempted it, it’s because you wanted it—but it didn’t happen. So, there is a part of you that still wishes you had been successful. In my case, I don’t feel an overwhelming sense of relief that I’m still alive, although my desire to live has been growing over the past few weeks. I’m still enduring the same physical, emotional, and mental suffering—although I am not in that black hole anymore. Surviving it has left me bewildered. I have unintentionally hurt some people. So, not only do I live with my existing suffering, but I now have to work at trying to rescue relationships. My wife was obviously seriously affected, but she has been a rock and has been there for me virtually every day since the event. We are separated, yet we interact the same way a unified couple would. It’s rather incredible, really. As the days and weeks pass, I find myself feeling like it was a whole other person who attempted suicide, but I'm still struggling with my life and its purpose.

5 Seconds

I’m now faced with living with the stain of having attempted suicide. That’s how it feels, like a permanent stain. That's hard. I've spoken with others who have either attempted or just thought about suicide, and they all concur that unless you've been there, you really can't know what it feels like. It's impossible to describe. All I can say is that it is dark, sad, mind-bending, and dreadfully overwhelming. You cannot see a way out of anything. Every door is closed and padlocked.

Practically everyone I know knows that I tried to kill myself. From this day forward, I will always be seen as "that guy." I wonder what they must be thinking. I know that some people close to me were hurt and angry, and I sincerely apologize to them. I'm very sorry.

I was once in the opposite role, tending to a friend who was suicidal and who ultimately did end up dying. I was not hurt or angry; I was just in shock and very, very sad. I remember doing everything I could to try to help him, but it was of no use. He was determined. I never wanted to hurt anyone and could never have predicted some of the reactions I received. Many people have come forward, some I’ve known as far back as grade school, with words of encouragement and support. I got responses from people I never thought I’d hear from and no responses from some I was sure I’d hear from. I've learned that each person deals with this sort of thing differently. I realize I have no control over what others think. But I do hope that they can forgive me if they feel hurt in any way. My tending psychiatrist has strongly advised me that I should be spending my time right now working on my relationship with myself. It’s tough, but I'm trying my best. As mentioned in chapter 33, “My Dream Avatar,” when I wake up in the morning, I have a 5-second window where all my suffering and pain are absent. After those 5 seconds, I have to face my life, myself. It’s not easy waking up to “Oh yeah, I’m the guy who tried to kill himself and spent over three weeks in a mental hospital against his will.” I feel like an earthquake survivor with nothing but rubble surrounding me. How do I rebuild my life from here? All the problems I had before the attempt are still there.

The next few months will be challenging. My life is very complicated at the moment. I have had to deal with such things as looking for another apartment, applying for disability, maybe needing to go to a food bank, and a fender bender that put my car in the shop. I’m trying to rescue my marriage. I'm trying to rescue relationships. I'm trying to rescue myself. On top of all that, I was living with insane people with real mental health problems for 26 days. One guy was convinced I was Pee Wee Herman! I swear. The poor fellow is schizophrenic and bipolar and suffered from cerebral palsy as a child, leaving one side of his body underdeveloped. He was such a nice guy; it was hard to see that he could be completely normal one minute and then completely disconnected from reality the next. He imagined that he had met people like astronauts from NASA. Sometimes, he thought he was Superman. He has all sorts of fantastical plans that, of course, he will never achieve. It’s sad to see people who suffer from actual mental illness. I went along with the Pee Wee Herman thing by smiling and nodding, but I eventually had to tell him he was mistaking me for someone else. He believed me, but then two days would go by, and he'd start thinking I was Pee Wee Herman again! Being surrounded by people who are mentally ill was not easy. Occasional commotions would happen between patients that could be quite disruptive (and a little scary, frankly), especially at mealtime. I also witnessed racism and homophobia several times—it was quite an experience.

Don't panic

I’m out of the hospital now and back home, but while I was still in their care and found out that they wanted to keep me there for another week, I flipped! I had negotiated 12 more days after the original 7 days, but now the doctor wanted to add another 7 days! I had no choice but to oblige, although I could have contested it in court. In any case, that was truly disappointing. To be fair to the hospital and its staff, though, I have to say that they did a great job of tending to my needs. I lucked out and had a private room with access to a private bathroom. I also had two of the best nurses working in that unit and a terrific psychiatrist. They made life there a little bit easier, and I'm grateful to them for that. I'm also grateful to all those of you who were so supportive in your Facebook posts.

While still in the hospital, I reluctantly notified my landlord that I was not renewing the lease, but then, when I got home, I changed my mind as certain things fell into place, and chose to stay one more year. Thankfully, the panic I felt about finding a new place in the next two months disappeared. I was so anxious about it. I also have surgeries coming up that I am dreading, like a shoulder replacement with a 6-month recovery timeframe (it's my right shoulder, and I'm right-handed, so that will be a challenge), a knee biopsy, and perhaps a knee replacement. How will I get through all of this? I honestly haven’t a clue. I’m just going to take it one day at a time. What choice do I have?

This is my 2nd experience in a mental health hospital, and it has shown me once again how bad things can get for people. We all hurt at some point in our lives. Some of us hurt all the time—like me. I find myself hurting in so many ways—physically, mentally, and emotionally. R.E.M.'s “Everybody Hurts" beautifully captures what it's like to feel the way I feel. Everybody hurts...sometimes.

Patrick Franc - A.K.A. Your Friendly Neighbourhood Bionic man

Everybody Hurts – R.E.M.

When your day is long
And the night, the night is yours alone
When you're sure you've had enough
Of this life, well hang on

Don't let yourself go
'Cause everybody cries
Everybody hurts sometimes

Sometimes everything is wrong
Now it's time to sing along

When your day is night alone (hold on, hold on)
If you feel like letting go (hold on)
If you think you've had too much
Of this life, well hang on

'Cause everybody hurts
Take comfort in your friends
Everybody hurts

Don't throw your hand, oh no
Don't throw your hand
If you feel like you're alone
No, no, no, you are not alone

If you're on your own in this life
The days and nights are long
When you think you've had too much
Of this life to hang on

Well, everybody hurts sometimes
Everybody cries
Everybody hurts, sometimes

And everybody hurts sometimes
So hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on, hold on
Everybody hurts


  • Susan T.

    Pat, I am grateful that you are here. Grateful for another chance to read your words on a page. You have a gift. I wish for you to have a better quality of life and that your upcoming surgeries bring some relief. Your voice is important and I believe you are shining a light on all those who suffer similarly whether physical or emotional. You are brave. Keep shining!

    • Patrick

      Dear Susan, thank you so much for your kind and supportive words. You've been behind me from the start with my blog!

Add a Comment
Your email address will not be displayed or shared.