I have had a request for an account of when my symptoms first appeared. Here is that story.
I was five years old. It was almost Christmas. My father and I were taking photos of the exterior of the house. He wanted pictures of the Christmas decorations.
The candle in the window of room was off center. He asked me to go upstairs and center it. When I got there the candle looked fun. I imagined it was a rocket. I picked it up and acted like it was lift off time. It was soaring into the clouds. I was soaring with it.
My father started shouting,”Stephen stop it. Put the candle down and center it.” His gruffness upset me, so I started playing with the rocket more fervently out of spite.
He went into a rage, was screaming,”Don’t make me come up there.” and ran into the house. I hid under the bed. Overwhelmed with fear and anxiety about what would happen when he got to my room, I had the thought that I should go into the bathroom and drink that stuff he told me to never drink. It was iodine. This was the first time I thought about taking my life.
I have no recollection of what happened next. I have had suicidal thoughts ever since. They are like a comforting old friend that says, “if it gets to be too much, you always have me.”
©2017 Stephen L. Martin
Photograph: Apollo 15 launch