I got a month paid leave to recuperate, to get better soon, whatever that means. I spent some of that time watching TV, or reading about birds, or fighting back nightmares, but mostly what I did that month was take the time to reflect on what a seriously fucked up life I've had. I even made a list, at least, a mental one, of the chronology of shit that's gone wrong in my 38 years spent on Earth.
Age 9-The Babysitter
Age 33-Held at gunpoint for the first time; this time by Mrs. Hendler
Age 33-Framed for the murder of Kristi Hopkins, my sort of hooker girlfriend.
Age 34-Pushed out a second story window by Nigel Crane.
Age 34-Stalked by Nigel Crane. Held at gunpoint again. Had a man dead in my living room.
Age 38-Held at multiple gunpoint by a bunch of pissed off Mexicans in a bar. Thinking I'm running low on my luck here.
Age 38- Kidnapped, buried alive, slowly eaten by fire ants, nearly suffocated, and nearly blown up.
Ultimately, I've concluded that my 30's have not been good years.
I start to worry that I'm feeling sorry for myself, that I'm spending too much time whining when I shouldn't be thinking about me at all. After all, there are other cases, other victims, other problems. There are other people who've had a lot more happen to them than me. Still, I think of my mental list and I can't help but think, "God, I've gone through a lot of shit".
The thing is, though, that I've been depressed before. Serious, clinical depression, not just being upset that the cute girl at the lab didn't want to go out to dinner, but honestly depressed, wondering what's the point in life. And it's always been hard but I guess I've gotten through everything; I've always managed to rebuild, always turned the incidents of my life into things that make a person. I've always moved on; I've been able to not take it with me. I've had people. . .take advantage of me, I've had people watch me. I've had people put a gun to my head.
But I've never been the one to do it. I've never held that gun myself.
In all that time of moving on through depression, in all that time of contemplating suicide, I never understood how easy it would be. I never put a gun to the bottom of my chin to blow my brains out.
And now I have. I put that gun to my chin. I had my finger on the trigger. And if the others had just been a couple of minutes later, I know I would have done it. I would have squeezed, and I would have died.
When I was finally out of the coffin, finally pulled through by that crane to land on hard earth, I couldn't do much of anything but hold on to the ground and shake and shake. It took me a few minutes to realize that I was free. It took me a lot longer to accept that possibility as fact. I kept moving my fingers and touching the ground, trying to reassure myself that this wasn't some hallucination, that this wasn't another nightmare. I tried to convince myself that I was really free. But it didn't happen for awhile and a part of me believed that I was still in the box, or worse, I had pulled the trigger. I had committed suicide and I was dead and this, this was Hell.
Once I finally began to believe that I was alive and that I was safe, I started working towards getting better. I tried to stop crying and to fight the nightmares and to not take it with me. And it was hard, God, was it hard, but I believed that after the first few weeks were over, and after the first day back at work, I would be on the road to recovery. I would go back to feeling normal again.
I was wrong.
Every night for the last week I've sat in this same place on the couch, eyes looking but never seeing, hand on my gun, always on the gun. Sometimes, I close my eyes and put the gun to my head and think how close I was before, how unbelievably close I was before, to ending it all, to stopping it all. I think of how close I am now, how easy it would be.
Because I'm sick of the aftermath, I'm sick of all this shit. I'm sick of the nightmares and the fear; I'm sick of people feeling sorry for me. I'm sick of telling Warrick it's not his fault, sick of telling Catherine not to cry. I'm sick of pretending and I'm sick of dealing. I'm sick of holding this gun and knowing just how simply I could end it all. I'm sick of trying to decide if surviving is really worth this living. I'm sick of trying to decide if I want to be here at all.
Sometimes I wake up and I'm so infinitely grateful to all my friends who tried to find me, to everyone who put in so much effort. Catherine literally got a million dollars for me; I mean, how do you top that? Sometimes I am so grateful for what they did to get me back alive.
And other times I think, God, why did you work so fucking hard? Why did you work to get me back, if this is the kind of life I have to live? And sometimes I wake up and feel regret that they found me. Sometimes I wake up and wish that I had pulled that trigger.
There are days that I am terrified that I'll really use this gun. Today isn't that day; I've already decided not to use it. But I don't know how I'll feel about tomorrow or the next. Some days I'm so terrified because I know that I could do it.
But other days I'm just as terrified because I think that maybe I won't do it at all. I think I could pull this trigger but I won't, because it would be a betrayal. It would hurt the ones I loved, the ones who sacrificed for me. I think I could pick up this gun but maybe I won't ever be willing to betray my friends.
And then I'll maybe stay this way forever, fighting back nightmares and tears. Maybe I'll be this way always, having to hold a gun to remind myself that I'm alive.
I can't decide what I want to do but I know I'll have to make a choice eventually. I have to figure out whether this life is really worth living or not. And some days when I work on a case, or when Greg makes another stupid joke, or when Sara and I just talk about whatever's going on, I think that life might be worth it, that I might be okay with where I am. But there are so many other times when I wonder, when I think maybe I would have been better off dead. I think that maybe once your buried, you are never supposed to come out alive. I think maybe once you've got the gun, you're only meant to pull the trigger.
And I sit here on this couch, eyes closed, trying to think. And I know that the worst part of surviving is the choice that I have to make.