Andrew Lawton, a Canadian conservative blogger and radio host on whose show I’ve had the pleasure and honor to appear, suffered a life-threatening medical emergency last December.
Today, he courageously discloses the full story behind his health scare: He had attempted to take his life through an intentional drug overdose. Family and faith lifted him up and brought him back.
Please read his entire essay. Take it to heart if you are in despair or know someone who is. The saying is true: One person can make a difference. Andrew is making a difference. You can help him make an even bigger impact. Share his message. Act on it:
On December 9, 2010, I was admitted into Victoria Hospital in London, Ontario, Canada. Given my medical history, when the news got out about my admission, people made assumptions that I had had another stroke. I’ve since learned that some of my friends were under the understanding I had been a car accident; others that I had a heart attack. How these rumors started I don’t care. Any assumptions people made further separated those in my life from the truth, and people not knowing the truth made life easier for both me and my family while in hospital, and since.
Everything shared about me and my medical condition while in hospital was true. I was in a coma; I was on heart and lung bypass; I also had multiple blood transfusions and four cardiac arrests. What people don’t know is that hours prior to my entry to Victoria Hospital, I had taken an intentional overdose of prescription medications in an attempt to end my life. I tried to kill myself. When I described the suicide attempt – and the events leading up to it – to the psychiatrist in the hospital, I didn’t have a good reason. By that I don’t mean to say that there is ever a good reason for suicide, but my understanding is that there is generally an element of logic to it, at least to the victim. In my case, that wasn’t so.
In the weeks and months leading up to the day that would forever change – and almost take away – my life, I wasn’t depressed, stressed, or even sad for that matter. I had, in a very short period of time, endured what one medical professional creatively referred to as “acute hopelessness” through the breakdown of several things I cared about in my life. When these things collapsed, I literally felt that I had nothing in my life to live for. My accomplishments were irrelevant; my family and friends weren’t a factor; I had simply felt nothing. The ensuing emotion wasn’t depression, but rather the feeling that my life had completely lost all direction.
The decision to commit suicide had been made about a week prior to the actual suicide attempt. It wasn’t rational, but it was calculated. I tied up some loose ends and prepared for it internally. But beyond that, I kept up appearances, showing no signs of weakness to friends and family. I kept writing and doing television and radio appearances as usual. I made no attempts to seek help. I knew help was available; I just had no intention of seeking it. Contrary to many others in this situation, this was not a desperate cry for help or a misguided plea for attention. I wanted to die…
Life can be a struggle, but it’s a battle that I fight knowing that I have God carrying me through, and you guys cheering me on from the sidelines. Thank you everyone for all that you’ve done; it has, truly, made a difference.
Thank you. All of you.
The stigma attached to openly discussing this subject remains overwhelming. It transcends politics and race and cultures — and the civilian/military divide, too.
We have been dealing with it in my family in our search for my cousin Marizela, who was taking anti-depressants and had fought such despair for years. The daunting possibility that she took her life — and the signs that cannot be ignored — weigh heavily on our minds as we continue to push for progress in her case.
One of the organizations she supported was To Write Love On Her Arms, a non-profit support group dedicated to “presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.” The group has kindly spread word of Marizela’s disappearance and kept her in their members’ thoughts. If you are in need of support or know someone who could use a helping hand, please check TWLOHA out. You may not agree with all their politics, but as I said, this is a subject that reaches far beyond those lines. Another helpful resource: Hope for Hurting Parents.
God bless you, Andrew, and all the brave, compassionate activists/volunteers dedicated to saving lives and restoring faith and hope to those in need.