Present Day, May 7th, 2017

There is this thing called “The Wise Mind”. If you are not familiar with it, here is the 30-second overview.

It is assumed that we operate through two different lenses within our mind. There is the Reasonable Mind. The Reasonable Mind is largely based on research. Statistics. The ability to make decisions based on the information that is provided. Analysing it and thinking it through to a “reasonable” solution.

Then there is the Emotional Mind. The Emotional Mind is largely based on…well, emotions. Whichever ones are present at the time: fear, anxiety, joy, happiness, anger, stress, and the list goes on and on. The emotions of the moment hold sway in bringing about an “emotional” decision.

The Wise Mind is located in the Venn diagram overlap. It is able to take reasonable information, combine it with emotional feedback, and come to a place of wise decision making.

Healthy people spend the majority of their time operating from the position of the Wise Mind. Especially as the decision looms larger with its ramifications and impacts. However, I would contend that MOST people operate with at least some leaning towards the Reasonable Mind or the Emotional Mind. Not necessarily an unhealthy leaning, but a bias none the less. This contention on my part is not without plenty of agreeance, potentially including yourself. It is all very similar to the right brain/left brain theories many of us grew up listening to.

I would also contend that unhealthy people (especially HIGHLY unhealthy people) are operating from an almost exclusive Reasonable or Emotional mind position. AND…that as you delve into the world of emotionally or mentally ill individuals, you will find an exclusive mind operation in many instances.

Which brings me (or us) to me (or us). Here is what I believe I have learned about myself recently through reading, studying, reflecting and therapy interaction regarding the Wise Mind.

First, on a day-to-day basis, I have grown up through the first 40-plus years of my life operating with a Reasonable Mind largely to the exclusion of the Emotional Mind. I thrive on intellect. Logic. Information. Data. Facts. The tangibles. Let me emphasise, not only with a leaning towards the Reasonable Mind but with a barrier being erected to block out the Emotional Mind. And for a given period of time, things progress rather smoothly.

Then along comes a trigger event. A piece of information. A moment of activity. A human interaction. Something that the Reasonable Mind can not make sense of. It simply cannot handle it in and of itself. However, due to the barrier, rather than being able to move into the locale of the Wise Mind, the pendulum radically swings to break through the wall into the Emotional Mind causing a complete meltdown. Now decisions instantly begin to be made from strictly an emotional point of view. Illogical. Radical. Fear founded decisions.

Proactive becomes reactive. Rational becomes irrational. Informed becomes ignorant.

Looking back, the people who have witnessed these swings in my life have most often responded to my rantings with “You aren’t making any sense.” (i.e. Not reasonable) Or “What’s going on?” (i.e. This isn’t making any sense) Maybe “Where is this coming from?” (i.e. These dots don’t logically connect)

It’s coming from a place of complete imbalance. A mind operating like a teeter-totter with the evil kid on the playground doing that thing where he pushes off the ground with all his might to send you on a downward death spiral only to immediately drop his fat ass to the ground again and shoot you right back up in the air.

Ironically enough, the solution seems quite logical. As I operate from the place of the Reasonable Mind I need to continually be pressing myself to open up more and more emotionally so that I might find myself moving towards center. Towards the home of the Wise Mind.

Problem is, one of the other factors working in the Reasonable Mind is past experiences. And past experience tells me this side of the wall is where I want to stay.

Wednesday, August 24th, 9:40 a.m.

It was time to put my thoughts to writing. Not my rational, sincere, honest thoughts. Rather the thoughts of my mind gone mad. The emotions of a heart spiraling out of control. The reflections of a brain that at this particular moment was losing the tug-of-war.

Yes, it was time to let my wife know that I had finally figured it out. That the moment had come…

I drafted the following email at the hotel room before checking out. I went back home for three purposes: 1) Gather my Kindle, Chromebook to assist in tying up some loose ends before killing myself, as well as a few clothing items for the journey, 2) Leave an important, handwritten declaration to assist my wife in future legal matters, and 3) Look around one last time at what was my life…and give it a proper goodbye.

Then, sitting in the driveway with my truck idling, accessing our wi-fi network (already considering ways to avoid being tracked), I sent the following communication –

082416-0954am-email-1

 

Wednesday, August 24th, Mid-Morning

My mind has an amazing ability to be rational while behaving completely illogically all at the same time. Maybe it is that tug-of-war previously described. The battle between an emotional desire for death and a natural wiring for self-preservation. And maybe exemplified as powerfully as ever the morning when my thinking seemed to come completely unhinged.

I was ready to run. But how?

The simplest option was my vehicle though this carried a couple immediate downsides. First, highly traceable were anyone to actually start looking for me. Second, I didn’t trust myself. My most common form of suicide ideation has always involved a death while driving. Head on into a tree. Or the cement post holding up an overpass. Or maybe even other traffic. The problem being I wasn’t ready to die. Not just yet. I had some things I still needed to take care of. Important things. I needed more time.

Commercial flight was another option. With an active passport even flight out of the country. I knew this would cover the most distance the quickest. There is an airport in my hometown, and two larger ones roughly an hour away. Again, immediate downsides. In today’s age everyone would know when I got on, where I got on, and where I was getting off. I could run, but I couldn’t hide. And things would move way too fast. My plan was still unfolding.

Then it hit me. A train. Trains move slower. However, here was the greatest benefit…they stop. A lot. And as far as I knew, there would be no record of when I got off and didn’t get back on. Disappearance was totally within my grasp. So I got online and bought a train ticket. From the nearest Amtrak station, roughly 70 miles away, to somewhere in the state of Washington more than 2,000 miles away. I can’t even remember where.

I do remember that it would not leave until roughly 1:30 in the morning on Thursday (more than 14 hours later), would require one train transfer in Chicago, Il, and a second in Sacramento, CA far from where anyone would be looking for me. If I found the stamina and willpower to stay alive, I would be buying almost 60 hours to tie up loose ends, finalize any communications that were important to my peace of mind (an ironic thought, I know), and finally have achieved the isolation and distance necessary to end my life.

I purchased the ticket on a credit card that I was confident my wife had forgotten about, and even more confident she lacked the information to access online. I would later learn I was wrong on both accounts.

Almost three months later, the processing and logic seems all so clear. As if it was yesterday. It has not always been so. It wasn’t that day. It was almost as if all these thoughts took place in a hidden part of my mind and the actions simply followed. As if my desire to die couldn’t shut down the natural wiring to keep me alive. To buy time.

Getting on the train gave me a 12 hour goal to stay alive for. Being on the train gave me a 48 hour window of anonymity.  The self-preservation part of my brain won this tug of the rope. And in many ways pulled me into an almost trance like state that would dominate my psyche for the following day and a half.