When I was introduced to suicide almost five and a half years ago it fucked me up.
It fucked me up good and proper.
It sent me into a downward spiral that without a handful good cunts around me including my kids Dylan and Holly and my amazing wife Wendy I may not have been able to lift myself out of.
When Wendy and I walked into Brett's garage on the morning of 1st September 2013 to find him alone in the dark, on his knees, cold, stiff and very fucking dead having taken his own life, I entered a realm where I was outside my own body watching this fucked up scene unfold in front of me while at the same time, living it.
My head wasn't my own, I was on some fucked up auto pilot mode doing what needed to be done.
Brett's suicide changed me completely.
Initially I was angry - very angry, confused, upset, desperate for answers even though I already knew and understood why he decided to kill himself - and fuck it all, he did make the choice to kill himself. He wasn't, I don't believe, in the grips of some deep depression, he was confused, angry and hurt.
And he chose to die.....but I digress.....
I was drinking heavily and the drinking was amplifying the anger which manifested in the form violence toward inanimate objects, namely a solid wooden door in our garage.
I wanted to hurt.
I wanted to feel pain, physical pain.
If I didn't do that, I was absolutely going to hurt someone else.
Fast forward to today and I'm no longer that guy.
Some five years later I'm a different person.
The things that anger me these days are different, more simple and generally easier to overcome.
I've done a lot of work on myself, I've gone in search of ways to better my own mental well being and along the way I've connected with many people from all the many sides of this fucked up thing called suicide.
Let's be clear:
Suicide is not the problem. Suicide is a result of a problem, or problems.
It doesn't have to the result, but it is a result, not that actual problem.
If we really want to prevent suicide, we absolutely must address the problems.
This undoubtedly starts within each and every one of us.
The way we treat each other absolutely has a bearing on our mental health.
Of course I'm no highly educated expert, I have no certificate on my wall saying I went to university for several years in order to claim to know what's going on in everyone else's head.
Frankly, when all the psychological jargon is busted out, my eyes glaze over and you'll probably catch me staring out the window.
The same applies to when it's written, I just can't read it.
I don't understand it, I don't need to understand it.
I'm a simple man with perhaps overly simple views.
I haven't even attended any suicide prevention courses. My bad.
My initial journey into this fucking disaster zone was when I went in search of....something.... after Brett died.
I went searching for my tribe and while I found them, I also collected a lot of other stuff as well.
What became obvious pretty quickly is that there are many self proclaimed experts who claim to know what's required to reduce the suicide numbers.
There are massive egos at play and the desperate need to either access or retain funding.
Yet nothing is changing.
Sure, the current government launched a massive inquiry into mental health and addictions and to date, fuck all has come of it. I'm not convinced that much will come from it.
The inquiry that should have been launched is the one that looks into systemic New Zealand in it's entirety.
The education of firstly teenagers and adults multi culturally.
The teaching of all things life, including basic respect, work ethics, morality, contraception and parenting skills.
Arguably, these things are more important that the academic side of education.
Until we can become an accepting and inclusive society nothing much will change with regard to reducing suicide numbers.
That doesn't mean we should stop trying.
I've done my own little research projects on social media to figure out people's acceptance of certain things and it appears to me that by and large, the majority of people don't want reality.
A positive quote with a pretty picture is far more acceptable than an honest viewpoint will ever be.
What's also become obvious, is that despite what everyone portrays, this whole industry - and that's what it is, an industry - is full of little cliques.
It's easy to see who engages exclusively with who and why, if you look.
It's easy to see who pays lip service and who rolls up their sleeves and cracks into it.
So I guess for me, I've traveled full circle through this minefield and arrived back where I started.
Back at the beginning, where people are left to make sense of the suicide death of a loved one.
I'm not really sure what this all means exactly, but it's getting clearer to me now that where I thought I fitted, I don't think I do.
I've always been more comfortable out on the perimeter, perhaps I should go back out there and stay there.
I'm thinking about writing a new book.
Beyond Suicide; Aftermath and Beyond.
The book nobody will want to read.