The Songs That Saved My Life - The Pod Of Alan - S1:E7

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Topics Include

  • Trigger/Content warning for suicidal ideation, planning, and attempt
  • A surprise announcement
  • My Uplifting (Suicide Prevention) Playlist
  • Trying (and failing) to describe depression
  • My downward spiral
  • My suicidal planning
  • Rationalizing away reasons to live
  • Taking the first steps, literally
  • To be continued in the aftershow


NOTE: This is an auto-generated transcript. Sometimes the computer gets it wrong. Let me know if you see something weird.

00;00;00;15 - 00;00;15;04

Hey, folks, before we start this one, I need to put in a content and trigger warning. There's talk about my suicidal ideation and suicidal planning and my attempt at suicide. Obviously, that didn't happen, but just that is the conversation that ensues.

00;00;15;05 - 00;00;34;26

So if that stuff is a problem for you, skip this one and the next one, which is the after show. They both have that in there and we'll see on the other side just. There will be crying in this one, almost certainly.

00;00;35;28 - 00;00;51;29

But that's OK. A statement I heard like a long time ago. The person is comfortable enough in their masculinity to cry like, I guess that's true, but the other thing I was thinking of is like actually being comfortable enough in your humanity to cry is more the way that I would describe that.

00;00;52;29 - 00;01;09;09

I don't know. It's an odd one to me. I have been overwhelmed by emotion, like I've been moved to tears of joy by music. And that's where this kind of hit me a little bit, but on the protection of music.

00;01;09;20 - 00;01;22;21

So how this all started. We're going to go back to this morning where I'm driving into work, just listening to the radio, and they started a commercial and they're basically like, Hey, we as a radio station believe that mental health is an important thing.

00;01;23;01 - 00;01;33;07

It was kind of jarring because you have these little pop tunes going on. Then all of a sudden they get in serious voice, Hey, we take mental health seriously, and we believe it needs to be more brought out in the open.

00;01;33;23 - 00;01;53;23

So the Sunday, we are going to do a special called The Music That Saved My Life. And. That got me. It's getting me a little bit right now. This is going to be an interesting ride to see how choked up I get at various points.

00;01;54;19 - 00;02;07;18

Don't be surprised. Bear with me if I'm unable to talk for moments at a time here. But like that got me like I was not ready for that, like so mental health and having to talk about mental health is fine, like that's I hear that kind of stuff all the time.

00;02;08;03 - 00;02;22;26

But those words, the music that saved my life, you know, that thing that you do when something when you're not ready for something you like, physically pull your head back a little bit and kind of like push your lips because you're about to break down.

00;02;23;18 - 00;02;38;22

That happened. And the reason that that happened is because there is 100% music that saved my life. OK? Quick, get it here. And like, we're going to add it real quick because I want to go find the playlist for a second now to read out some songs to you.

00;02;38;23 - 00;03;05;05

So stand by. OK, so we're in here. Oh, this is interesting. They somehow Spotify has rearranged the order of my playlist because the top playlist used to be a playlist called A-to-B was uplifting. The reason that that should have been first, and I'm kind of disappointed that it wasn't.

00;03;05;24 - 00;03;26;25

Is that is the playlist that I play when I'm having suicidal ideations and can't get out of my own head. I will turn on that playlist and I am safe. And that playlist has kept me safe and has kept me from, I mean, just the yeah, god, this is so God.

00;03;26;25 - 00;03;41;14

It's weird and fucked up to say, but like it has saved my life because that music has kept me from committing suicide. I've always thought music is powerful. I've always thought that as long as I can remember, I've been amazed by music.

00;03;41;14 - 00;03;54;17

It's fantastic. It's incredible. I don't guess I really had the realization that it is moved to the level of life saving us for me until that happened, like, I kind of knew that in the darker days or whatever.

00;03;54;17 - 00;04;07;06

But like after having not been in the midst of darkness of depression, I hadn't really thought about it. I hadn't like, I still enjoy music. I'm listening to it all the time and I love it. But I hadn't thought about that.

00;04;07;06 - 00;04;23;13

Like, Holy shit, this is the reason that I'm alive. I would like to thank just a few at the start. So fat bottomed girls by Queen Summer Girl by Hayim. Here comes the Sun by the Beatles. Every day is Winding Road by Sheryl Crow, sexy motherfucker by Prince.

00;04;24;06 - 00;04;39;22

I'm going to post this whole playlist because this is an important playlist to me, because again, it is the reason that I'm still alive. So how did we get there? How did they figure this out and the trick is I didn't totally figure this out in the darkest of the depression.

00;04;39;22 - 00;04;56;09

I was spinning and spinning and spinning on the idea that I didn't want to live or what was the point of living. I was in this state where I was depressed. The brain was not doing what it was supposed to be doing.

00;04;57;04 - 00;05;09;15

And this isn't sadness, it's depression. That's a different thing. I was not sad. I was just under this like people. People have described it as a fog. While I was depressed, I wouldn't have described it as a fog.

00;05;09;16 - 00;05;24;06

And I still that's still not the right word because there's a pressure to it, but also a numbness to it. If you've not had severe depression, like I can't tell you about it unless you've had it, because there's no shared experience there.

00;05;24;16 - 00;05;41;18

I can't think of experiences outside of depression that I can put enough pieces together of, like, Oh, it's like, you know, being really tired and like, it's like. And those are some of the things that I try to do to try and help make that connection across the non connection of not having a shared experience.

00;05;42;13 - 00;05;56;24

But like, I haven't found any of those that are close enough that I'm like, really? Just like, Yeah, that's pretty close. Saying like, this is this will give you another idea. So when I was in the middle of this stuff, the loop that got me would be, I can't learn, I can't think that is required for me

00;05;56;24 - 00;06;05;22

to do my job. I have to be able to learn. I have to be able to process information. I also have to be able to coordinate thing. But like that, learning was kind of the key that got me because I couldn't do it.

00;06;06;07 - 00;06;18;09

That was the first domino that fell in the downward spiral because that turned into, I can't think. And if I can't think that means I can't do my job, and if I can't do my job, it means I'm going to get fired.

00;06;18;15 - 00;06;25;29

And if I get fired, it means I'm not going have any money. And if I don't have any money, it means I'm going to lose my house. And if I lose my house, I don't know what the fuck is going to happen after that.

00;06;25;29 - 00;06;48;09

But Phuket. I would just loop and loop and loop and loop on that, I would get to that endpoint and there was no further thinking than that. It was depression and desperation. But it didn't feel desperate. It just felt like depression moved into what would have been desperation.

00;06;48;09 - 00;07;05;02

But I couldn't feel desperation. I just felt nothingness and was then at the point of like, what is the point? I guess that's an existential crisis. I don't really know. But it was definitely suicidal ideation. I was sitting there thinking about, I should just kill myself.

00;07;05;26 - 00;07;20;10

Like, it wasn't that crystal. It almost wasn't the language when I was thinking that I'm a visual thinker, so I would kind of see these things. And then I would just see myself not be there. It wasn't that I would see myself committing the act of suicide.

00;07;20;28 - 00;07;32;04

I would just walk down that path of not being able to think of not being able to work, of losing the house. And then I would get to this point where it's like I should just disappear or I just couldn't see myself.

00;07;32;21 - 00;07;52;07

It wasn't even dissipation because there was no thing. It was just dark and gone. It almost wasn't, even though I was thinking that level to it. I'm repeating this. I know, but I can't. Like, I'm still searching for the language and I'm still searching for the description that makes sense.

00;07;52;29 - 00;08;04;21

I'm at peace with it, totally not making sense because in my head like I can, I can still feel all of these feelings and I can still feel the echo and the memory of what this was like. I just can't describe it.

00;08;05;10 - 00;08;20;28

And like, I'm not bad with language, so take that for what it's worth. This is such a foreign thing that I am unable to describe it. I was in this place. I was in this state of this loop and this loop and this loop and this loop.

00;08;21;27 - 00;08;39;05

It was dark and it was night, and it was 2:00 a.m. And finally, I started getting into the idea that I was not interested in living. This is like looking at a photo that you took that is very emotionally meaningful for you, even though there's not a lot going on in it and showing it to somebody else and

00;08;39;05 - 00;08;51;17

like, Oh yeah, OK, it's a photo of, you know, a piece of duct tape. Cool. And you're like, No, but you don't understand this duct tape saved my life because this duct tape was the duct tape that I used to like patch over the hole in the dam that was about to explode and who knows whatever.

00;08;52;12 - 00;09;10;02

You have all this connection to that photo and this this emotional meaning to it that nobody else in the world has. That's a similar thing that's happening here in my brain right now, so I can tell you these words, I can say these things to you and I can try with the power of language, which is really

00;09;10;02 - 00;09;30;14

amazing to convey this information of this feeling, even with the best that I can do with language. It still falls very short. I crossed the threshold from what I've learned is the difference between suicidal ideation, which is kind of thinking about it in general, like what I was doing there to suicidal planning.

00;09;31;01 - 00;09;40;19

And that is the next phase that happens in the train. If the train continues to roll where you go from, I can see me non-existing or I'm going to like, I kind of want to kill myself where I like.

00;09;40;19 - 00;09;53;26

I don't want to be here because it didn't. I didn't want to kill myself. I just didn't want to exist. I didn't want to be there. The only way to get there, though, would be to kill myself. I was in a dark enough place that I actually then started planning.

00;09;54;24 - 00;10;06;17

It's still kind of surreal to me, but it was like I was unemotional, like my emotions were turned off on this. I was just sitting there thinking I could go in the bathtub and cut my wrists. I live by myself.

00;10;07;08 - 00;10;20;20

It's probably going to be a long time before people find me. That's going to be gross. By the way, I guess I'm going to put I'm going to put a trigger warning before all this stuff so that we've got out of the way, but like this is going to be some dark stuff because I like I laugh

00;10;20;20 - 00;10;36;29

at the absurdity of the stuff now because I'm out of danger of it. It is both laughable and very serious, depending on the state. And for me, it is very much laughable right now because I was basically to the effect of I don't want to be an ugly corpse.

00;10;37;12 - 00;10;48;07

I want to be a pretty corpse. I don't want my family and friends to have to have a closed casket. I would like them to be able to see me one last time so that they can say their goodbyes.

00;10;48;29 - 00;11;06;14

So that's out hanging myself. Same kind of thing. But then I was thinking, Well, what I could do is I could actually hang myself in my garage late at night with the garage door open so that I'd be dead and people would see me in the morning and then I wouldn't be six days in the bathtub.

00;11;07;07 - 00;11;19;18

I mean, how well is that right? I'm talking about this, and this is the first time I think I've said some of this stuff out loud. But like this is where my head was at. It was as straightforward as it is for me talking to you right now.

00;11;20;11 - 00;11;32;25

It was a list of pros and cons for what is the best way to end my life. Let's actually choose the harsher language, right? What is the best way for me to kill myself? What is the way that I'm going to kill myself?

00;11;33;05 - 00;11;45;19

That has the most positives and the least negatives, the most positives being trying to have as little impact on friends and family as possible. And also, I don't want to be hurt, which is a weird thing to say, right?

00;11;45;19 - 00;11;57;01

So I'm about to end my life. But one of the things that I heard about hanging is like, it can be painful and it's ugly and whatever. And I was thinking, I guess, a few other things. Did I have a gun at that point?

00;11;58;04 - 00;12;10;22

I don't think I had a gun. No, I did not have a gun at that point, so I own some guns, but I do not have them in the house. When I had the manic episode, one of the things that they asked me in the hospital when I first went in was, you know, do you have any

00;12;10;22 - 00;12;20;06

guns in the house? And I was like, Yes, I do. Nothing went with that, but I was telling his friend the story of going into hospital and how they ask that. And he was like, Well, do you? And I was like, Yeah.

00;12;20;08 - 00;12;30;13

He goes, OK, cool, we're going to take those like, you don't get to have those anymore. Like, make sure whatever, it's fine because that was like I was still like in the manic aspect of that. So they took the guns.

00;12;30;27 - 00;12;44;04

So like a gun wasn't an option, and I'm still not sure if I would have actually used a gun to kill myself. The trick with that is like the immediacy of it. It does not take long to kill yourself with a gun.

00;12;44;25 - 00;12;57;17

You just got to get it, you got a point and you got to pull the trigger and you're done. The other thing is that I was thinking about took a little bit of time. What I ended up doing or what I ended up almost doing was I was to get really drunk and I was going to get

00;12;57;17 - 00;13;10;29

my car in the garage and then turn the car on without opening a garage door and kill myself with carbon monoxide. And that was going to be the way I was going to do it. I kind of figured at some point somebody would hear the car going or something.

00;13;10;29 - 00;13;25;01

I don't know at that point, the whole kind of idea of it taking a while to find me had kind of left. The easing into the car drunk and just going to sleep and just not waking up, I was like, OK, everything about that sounds great.

00;13;25;05 - 00;13;41;21

I mean, do it. Let's do it. I was kind of cycling back and forth on this. I kept getting to a point of thinking, I don't want to do that because of this reason or that reason or this reason or that reason or this reason or that I probably had half a dozen reasons, but like this is

00;13;41;21 - 00;14;09;25

going to be really awful for various friends, very family. But over time, I would justify that they were going to be OK. The ones. The last few only prevented me from making the attempt. Were my nieces? Because they.

00;14;11;25 - 00;14;29;00

They would be. Over time, they would be fine. And by the way, that was the thing that actually let me. Let me let them go as part of the thing that was keeping me from doing it. Like them hearing about what happened to me.

00;14;30;14 - 00;14;46;01

Even though I'm sure they would just hear that I died, they wouldn't have heard the full thing, at least at this point, them hearing that. Was one of the things that stopped me, but then over time, I was like later in their lives, that will just be a memory like I will just be a memory.

00;14;46;14 - 00;15;05;24

They will have memories of me and they will know that I died. Eventually, they'll learn. They committed suicide. They would move on with their lives. The same degree, my mom, the same thing just absolutely would require. She actually probably would not recover, but she would continue to move on and continue to do things, but like that would

00;15;05;24 - 00;15;19;14

be so shocking. But I kind of made myself OK with that. And it was a process, I mean, like I went through a process walking through these people and being like, No, but they'll be OK. Eventually, they'll be OK.

00;15;19;14 - 00;15;41;18

Eventually, that was the kind of mantra that got into my head. They'll be OK eventually. I even got myself in that space with my mom. The only reason that I did not make a more aggressive attempt, because here's the thing that happened, I actually I kept thinking this, I kept saying, is the captain in this at one

00;15;41;18 - 00;15;59;11

point this is like two in the morning. I had just been on the couch just under the covers, just thinking about this and I got up and I walked and I got my keys. And I don't. I don't remember actually actively making the decision to do that.

00;16;00;25 - 00;16;10;02

I just felt myself get up and then all of a sudden make it not all of a sudden, but like because I felt like it wasn't like one of those like movie blanks where it's like all sudden, like poof, all these keys are magically my hand.

00;16;10;19 - 00;16;19;09

I felt myself walk up and get it, and it was just like, that was just what I was doing. It's like you walk into a room and you flip on a light switch and you don't kind of know that you're doing it.

00;16;19;18 - 00;16;31;16

It's not like a conscious thing. It's just kind of what you do when you walk into a room. I was just kind of doing that to go kill myself. Well, I stopped. I kind of had a little bit of a moment of like wait a minute.

00;16;32;29 - 00;16;42;11

I don't particularly know what happened at that moment. Like, you kind of threw me a little bit in terms of like, how did I get here? Not the long term, but like how did I get here from the couch?

00;16;42;21 - 00;16;52;26

That was two meters away. Kind of like came to a little bit because I was half unconscious when I was doing this, like two in the morning, right, I was like, You're already depressed and not fully conscious half the time anyways.

00;16;53;12 - 00;17;05;02

So this was like that weird, sleepy state where you're kind of awake like 10% with the rest of you, like asleep. So I put the keys down. I went back on the couch and I walked into that same loop again and I kept looping and I kept looping and I kept looping.

00;17;05;02 - 00;17;15;22

It can't think I to lose the job and would lose the house over and over and over again, and just the loop and the loop in the loop. Every time I would go through there, I'd get to the point of like not being there in my head.

00;17;16;09 - 00;17;38;21

If that happens, these people would be upset, but I'd rationalize those away. I went through that over and over again, and the only reason that I am still here today is because I couldn't rationalize one thing away. And that is I don't have a will, which means my estate, whatever you know, my house wouldn't go to my

00;17;38;21 - 00;17;56;13

mom. I've since learned that maybe that probably would have happened, but I don't have a will. So like in my end, by the way, this is one of the things like, weirdly, it is unsafe for me to have a will because that means that the one part of my brain that made the actual decision not to commit

00;17;56;13 - 00;18;09;05

suicide would have relief from the thing like I would be removing the one backstop. The only thing that prevented me from actually going all the way through with it because I was at that point that getting up and moving was like the start of an attempt.

00;18;09;05 - 00;18;26;13

But it like balked because I kind of got a little more awake in that last little bit of not having a will. Like, I keep seeing this like kind of wheel going through, it's like an engine trying to start, but there's some little thing there that keeps it from starting to like one little pegs seating up.

00;18;26;22 - 00;18;42;20

It tries to roll over, but it hits this peg and it can't get past that, so it never actually starts. For me, that's starting engine would have been the starting of committing suicide. It kept hitting that one little lock and not letting me go to the thing.

00;18;42;29 - 00;18;50;19

So like, I'm not going to get a will because that is a danger for me. I'm also not going to have guns in the house because that's a danger for me. But like as long as I don't have the will.

00;18;51;09 - 00;19;07;26

That's OK. I tell you what. Let me actually split this into two parts. That's the story of how I got to the place where music became the thing. I want to take a break here for myself for a second, and then I want to tell you the story of how music became the thing and how music saved

00;19;07;26 - 00;19;13;21

my life. As always, be kind to me, cool, and we will. We'll talk to you shortly. See you there.