Today I read an article entitled, “When You’re in the Gray Area of Being Suicidal” and it got me to thinking about myself, my life, and my future.
Recently I lost my job, not by any fault of my own, but the company closed after 21 glorious years. I do not blame the owners as they have been like parents to me over the many years I worked there and it was definitely time for them to retire and enjoy their lives without the headaches and heartaches of running a business. Even so, I find myself in a situation now that I have never been in; unemployed.
Since I was a child I have had a job, of some sorts, that allowed me to make money, and sometimes support myself. As a child and teen I worked at a local farm doing everything from building fences to mucking stalls, and even digging a swimming pool. I would also buy and sell items with the money I made to make more money.
During high school I started working the graveyard shift at Wal-Mart, back when Sam Walton was still alive and Wal-Mart would close at 10:00 PM. I was in honours classes, played football, and worked full time. After graduation I took some college with a focus on Constitutional law, which I love, but life decided I needed to focus on my recent bride and moving forward with life. I was able to get into a program out of Ontario, Canada, and received my masters from them, unfortunately the degree does not transfer here to the states; a faux pas on my part.
I worked in executive security, and worked as a body guard not only for CEOs and politicians, but for the French consulate during a terrorist threat and for the Philippine consulate during the Ferdinand Marcos ordeal, and I was standing next to the consulate here in Houston when he denounced Marcos on national television and asked him to remove himself from office. Afterwards I opened my own electronic security company and sold it after a few years to get into EMS as a paramedic.
That was 30 years ago.
Since then I have worked for fire departments, county EMS services, and private ambulance companies. I have worked as a paramedic on an ambulance for many of those years, but I mostly enjoyed the administrative side as a district chief in the fire department and the administrator for a private company. During this time I studied, mostly on my own, to learn more and find options “outside the box,” and in each case I created a niche for myself that nobody could fill but myself. I have been incident command at several large incidents, from plant explosions to hurricanes.
The Texas Department of State Health Services know me by name because of my ability to push past common beliefs and practices and show them I can do it differently, successfully, and legally.
I taught myself federal, state, and local law, finding not only loopholes in each, but forcing laws to change and agencies to redefine policies. I taught myself insurance rules and regulations and found loopholes in them which allowed for an improved income stream. I taught myself programming and developed a dispatch system designed solely for the needs of the company, thus saving them thousands of dollars in purchasing one out of the box.
I taught myself everything from physics to history, from philosophy to beekeeping. I have written legal arguments and argued hundreds of cases at the federal level, and have held a child as they took their last breath. I have been on the board of directors for non profits and planted trees throughout Houston as a volunteer. I have raised children and have a very loving family and wonderful friends.
I am a self-educated polymath and I have done a lot in my life. I was Google before Google existed. I have always taken care of myself, my family, and my community.
But now I am unemployed, injured with a hip fracture, and feeling lost. I have not been able to find a job, cannot support my family without counting every penny, cannot work my garden for food, cannot do bee removals because of my injury, cannot work on the house because all of my tools were stolen out of my garage, and was denied state benefits for my family and two year old son.
As I stated earlier, I read “When You’re in the Gray Area of Being Suicidal” and began to really understand what those gray areas are.
I have done so much in my life, but sitting here I feel like I have not done anything. I have influenced so many people over the years, given second chances to numerous patients, traveled and have seen so many wonderful things and have met so many absolutely amazing people, but it seems like that was another life; another person.
That person is, or was, not me. I am unemployed, so that cannot be the same person.
Am I suicidal? Yes, I think about it. Am I going to do anything? No chance in hell will I hurt myself and my family that way.
I will find a job and create another niche. I will be able to support my family, start farming again, and play with my bees again. I will develop my genealogy business and become successful in that as well. I know this, but first I have to walk through this sludge called depression.
I will survive this.
I will endeavor on.
I will enjoy my family.