Dying of Sadness

As I left another friend’s wake this evening, I reflected on all of the funerals I’ve attended and all the death my age group has experienced in this town. Whether we drown our sorrows in the bottom of a whiskey bottle or a line of opiates, or actually commit suicide, we’re literally dying of sadness.
It’s so easy to take all of your fears and insecurities and mistakes and let them eat you alive. In a small town with one bar and a lot of bored, sad kids, it’s easier to get a pill or some coke or maybe even some meth (if you know the right people) than it is to face the facts. If you don’t get out now, you will die here. Your children will go to school and have the same teachers you had, will spend their time with the children of the people who you could’ve done without seeing again.
I’m the first to admit that when my dad died, I drank until I blacked out every night for months. I don’t remember anything else about that year, except that I was 21, the oldest of the group, and could be seen leaving the liquor store at 10 am on any random Tuesday.
I even got out. Moved across the country, to the seventh largest city in the US, San Antonio. Texas saved my life. But then, I came back. I came back just to watch another friend die.
I can scream about mental illness laws and how terrible they are until I’m blue in the face, but that doesn’t change the fact that the closest psychiatrist is 45 min away, none are accepting new patients, and the only way to be seen by one is in the ER after you’ve attempted suicide. And who’s going to the ER without decent health insurance?
I attempted suicide, many years ago and it wasn’t serious. No one even knows about it because I took a bottle of Tylenol, slept for a while and woke up naseuous and annoyed to be alive. I never tried again.
Every day I think about driving into a tree, or having a freak accident at work and getting run over by heavy equipment (that’s happened twice in this town in the last 5 years, so not too far off the realm). But I won’t do it. I won’t do it because I look around and think about all of the things I haven’t done yet. The places I haven’t seen.
But what if you’re content with the life you’ve lived? If your pain is so strong that the leap off the bridge could happen any time? How does our generation stop dying of sadness?