Andrew Koenig is dead. I did not know him. I knew of his father. I am a huge Trekkie and could tell you the plot of every episode of the original Star Trek series. Andrew’s father of course played Ensign Pavel Chekov in the original Star Trek. Andrew was best known as Richard “Boner” Stabbone on ABC’s sitcom Growing Pains
I did not know Andrew but I knew his pain. As I followed the story of his disappearance and learned about his battle with depression and recent slide into the darkest finality of the suicide abyss, I was reminded of just how all so fast it happens. I read so many things that rang up painful memories of my past. My slide into the same bottomless pit of night.
This slide into darkness has its own unique components for different people. Some are luckier than others in the support they get or their ability to reach out for that support. I was very lucky. I had everyone who loved me living in my city and within a few miles of me. They were all in my life and knew my routines. That is what saved me. If I did not have that I would be dead.
I do not remember placing the Italian 45-caliber automatic pistol that my best friend had given me for a gift on my nightstand. I do not remember emailing him for bullets. I do not remember emailing others of my desire to end my life. I realize now that it was my way of reaching out for help. My only memory of those terrible few days on the edge 6 years ago was being wakened out of a Xanax stupor by people who cared for me. It happens that easy. It was all so easy to slide in the fog from a Xanax coma to a 45 cal bullet. It did not happen. People loved me, cared and intervened.
I have battled depression for much all of my adult life.I really could not tell you how long because you have to realize it’s an issue to start the clock. It has had its ups and downs. Medication works wonders. Talking to professionals helps. Having a family that loves me, recognized something was wrong and was willing to intervene is something that many who suffer do not have. I am very lucky.
There however was one dark period that the low was so low and the fog of depression was so great that I only have vague memories of literally living on the edge of permanent darkness.
I have thought about telling this story before. I have always backed off because of self-interest. I did not want to be perceived as spent. I did not want to be stereotyped, stigmatized or slandered. I did not want sympathy. In the end, it is what it is. If someone can take the message from this that there is hope and recovery from the edge of darkness to happiness and accomplishment in life. If someone will see that reaching out even when you do not want to has the greatest up side at all. If one person gets that I will take all the S’s people can throw at me.