Why haven’t I killed myself?
I am a member of Generation X. We are like the Silent Generation, in that we kind of slipped between the cracks. The Boomers grew up during America’s economic golden age. After WWII, America’s competition was flattened. The industrial capacity of the U.S. was built up to produce arms for the war. Times were good. Consider the songs of the age—they were mostly about self-discovery and finding meaning. The Millennials don’t have time for self-discovery. They are too busy scrapping out a meager existence in the wake of America’s brutal neoliberal capitalist hellscape. They never grew up with the promise of the American Dream. It has been a nightmare for them.
My generation grew up in between these two worlds. We were the latchkey kids with divorced parents. We grew up living the American Dream, all the while knowing it would not be possible for us. We watched as America’s manufacturing industries were shipped off to Mexico and China so the value of people’s portfolios would skyrocket. But we were too young to own stocks. We sat at truck stops and coffee shops, smoking cigarettes and discussing how the shitshow would unfold. We didn’t have the Internet or cell phones, so we could actually be present with others during meals and conversations. That is long gone now.
I foresaw the bleak wasteland that America would become, as the middle class would be wiped out. I foresaw America as moving from a developed country to a Third World nation in which several jobs and side hustles would punctuate the crushing poverty of future generations. Of course we were depressed. Hope was a balloon that the elites punctured and we were forced to watch as it deflated into oblivion.
Personally, my life has been shit. In fact, I have had several Quorans ask me why I haven’t killed myself. A few suggested I should. One person said I was “cursed” for being “evil.” I wonder that, too, considering the level of personal tragedy that has been my life:
- When I was in elementary school, I suffered a case of misdiagnosed acute glomerulonephritis and nearly died. While in the hospital, a sadistic nurse slammed needles into my legs when I cried out in pain.
- My parents divorced when I was older.
- My father had MS, and this made him depressed. He got mean because he refused to take antidepressants because “those were for crazy people.” So he emotionally abused us until my parents divorced.
- My first wife cheated on me and ran off with a co-worker. She told me she did it to “get back at me” for not “paying enough attention to her” while I was in law school.
- My mother, age 47, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She was my best friend. I had to watch her suffer and die a horrible death.
- My father had a debilitating relapse of MS at this time, so I had to help care for him.
- After my mother died at age 49, I developed inflammatory arthritis, which has reduced my qualify of life radically. It has been relatively treatment resistant. One of my rheumatologists said I had “the hardest to treat” case he had ever seen, and he practiced for 30 years.
- The medications I take make me very sick. The methotrexate I take upsets my stomach and I get tired and nauseous.
- I helped care for my father with MS from 2002 to 2013. In 2013, he had to go into skilled nursing care because he could no longer walk. Prior to this, I helped take care of him, which meant helping bathe him, cleaning up the poop and pee he spilled all over the bathroom, walls, and carpets, and picking him up off the floor when he fell. This was made a bit harder because he was so mean when I was a kid. He was nicer as he got older, however. In fact, we developed a close relationship.
- In 2020 my emotionally abusive family, run by my narcissistic grandmother, literally banned me from the family. This was after decades of scapegoating. I don’t miss them.
- My father died in 2020 after developing pressure ulcers which he got due to nursing home negligence. He got MRSA, osteomyelitis, and ultimately died from pneumonia.
So why haven’t I done like a dozen people from my graduating high school class and blown my brains out? I came close one time after my mother died and my wife left. I wrote about this, here:
Is Alexander Finnegan a Catholic? If so, doesn’t it contradict the materialist philosophy of Marxism-Leninism?
A little sliver of hope remained in me. I dared to hold on. A few years later, I would meet my wife, Cynthia. She is the opposite of my first wife. She is loyal, honest, and good. We married after dating a few years. We tried to have children, but we faced infertility due to my wife having benign tumors in her abdomen. We tried to have kids for four years. Every month I cried when we saw that we wouldn’t be having children. It was so hard. And it often felt hopeless. But we kept trying.
The reproductive gynecologist told us that our only viable chance to have children was to do IVF. But this also meant my wife having surgery which would make having children naturally impossible, as the fallopian tube would be capped off. My wife only had one ovary and one fallopian tube because benign tumors had damaged them and were surgically removed. My wife had five surgeries in total, between the cancer surgeries and one fertility procedure to repair the damaged fallopian tube (which failed). She was a real hero on this. She also has Type 1 diabetes so we had to figure out how to control her blood sugars or she could have a miscarriage or there might be birth defects.
We did one round of IVF. We ended up with three viable embryos. That is a low number compared to most.
In 2014, we had twin boys. It was the happiest day of my life. In 2017, our daughter was born.
Life has been shit. But there have been some good things, too. I haven’t killed myself because I dare to hope. It is good I do (and did), instead of pulling the trigger back in 2002. My kids are running around the house and playing now. They are happy. They wouldn’t exist if I didn’t have hope. My wife wouldn’t have someone to love her, and I love her unconditionally.
I suffer a lot with pain. My physical existence is not so good. I am taking Remicade now, which is an infusion biological medication which calms down the immune system. It is helping. I still feel sick from my medications, but I do have good days.
I am glad that I have given a future to three little people, who will one day have their own families (or maybe not, that is their choice). I have done some good with my law work, and crushed some bastards who deserved it, which is gratifying. I have made friends here on Quora, and I enjoy writing, which is something I can still do, despite my physical limitations. If Quora goes down, I will go to Medium or wherever. I also have a large following on Facebook, but I am not a big Facebook user, at least not now.
Life is like going to movies. You have high expectations that the film is going to be amazing, but then you get there and it turns out to kind of suck. You could leave, but you might as well stick it out, considering you already paid for the ticket and you are there. Maybe it will even get better. Often it does. You might even learn something from it, even if it is “what not to do.”
A lot of people from my class aren’t around anymore. Nor is Chris Cornell, who was a real poet and artist. Same thing with Kurt Cobain.
Not everyone made it.
I’m still here.