I've only ever been in the emergency room one time prior to April 16th, 2017; I was six,
and due to the nature of my parents jobs and the long commute time caused by the good ol' California traffic, I spent a lot of time babysitting myself.
This was incredible for me, because while my friends complained of early bedtimes and restrictions on T.V., I had free reign of the house.
I spent most of my time watching reruns of old Superman episodes, gorging myself on endless peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and as I watched Superman zoom around the city, free as a bird,
I began to develop the idea that maybe flight wasn't so hard. This was the start of a very, very bad idea.
Using my fathers ladder, I climbed to the top of our one story house.
You're probably thinking I was an incredibly dumb kid, and maybe you're right, but I was smart enough to take extra precautions; I tied the corners of a blanket to both of my ankles,
and held the other corners in my hands. This way, I figure, if I wasn't able to fly, I would wind up gliding to the floor like a flying squirrel. A fool proof plan.
A fool proof plan that ended with my 50 pounds of dead weight slamming to the ground and a broken arm.
Needless to say, my parents weren't happy, and I was disappointed that I would never be a hero, because I apparently wasn't gifted with the ability of flight.
Needless to say, it wasn't the best day I've had.
The wake up call that hero's aren't real was the first of many disappointments in my life.
I won't get too much into detail because you don't really care, but long story short, I began to understand the old saying of the straws and the camels back.
Too many little things built up on top of each other, and eventually, it was too heavy for even Superman to carry day in and day out.
As I stood on the Golden Gate Bridge, I stared down at the water bouncing up and down, up and down. It became a rhythm, beating out the chant "Jump. Jump. Jump.
" I started thinking about what led me here, and the thought of jumping away from my problems seemed more and more inviting.
Before anyone could stop me, I scrambled over the railing and threw myself into a 200 foot free fall.
Permanence doesn't really hit you in hypotheticals, but as soon as I began to fall, well, let's just stay instant regret is an understatement.
This was no fall from the top of the roof, this was an uncontrollable drop to certain death, and I just realized I didn't want to die.
This was my last thought before I collided with the solidness of the water and pain exploded throughout my body.
To those who ask, that is how I describe the feeling after jumping; regret, pain, and then darkness.
I have vague memories of being pulled out of the water, put onto a boat, and driven to the hospital. My grasp on the real world ebbed the same way the water that almost killed me did.
Up and down, in and out. Flashes of a panicked face, darkness, the blinding red lights, darkness, shouts and beeps of an emergency room, and inevitably, darkness.
The first solid thought I had was of the scratchiness of the hospital bed sheets, and confusion that I was alive. I wan't even sure I was alive, this could have been heaven for all I knew.
But why then, I asked myself, would I feel this level of pain in heaven? Shouldn't the afterlife be nice and painless? I was indeed alive, I concluded, and then I fell back asleep.
Many people ask me why I didn't assume I was in hell. I honestly don't know, but I think there was a part of me that knew if I thought that, I would not only believe, but accept it.
Because the thought of hell never crossed my mind, I was able to hold on to the hope that at the end of all this dark, there was a light. Or maybe it was the morphine.
Either way, I'm eternally grateful.
Eventually, I began to recover. It was slow, and it was ugly, but I would rather be recovering than be dead.
I am so incredibly lucky, and even more thankful, that for whatever reason, I was spared from the fate I subjected myself to. However, not everyone has this same outcome.
I know for a fact they all feel the same regret I did, but not everyone was able to act on that regret.
I have made it my responsibility and ultimate goal to make sure no one ever feels the same way I did.
As long as I am able to, I will stop as many people from ending up in that same spot; so low that the only apparent solution is to dive lower.
Through my recovery, I have been asked to make speeches, and started an organization to get anyone in need in contact with someone who can help.
I was given a second life, and I intend the rest of it be used to help people
Superman wasn't a hero because he could fly, he was a hero because he always did the right thing, despite the wrong things that inevitably happened.
Even when the going got tough, he picked himself up and got going.
Life doesn't always go the way it should; sometimes, you have to go face to face with your krypotonite, and you won't always win.
But I feel it necessary to remind you that failure is not fatal, but giving up is often final. I don't care how long it takes, put your cape back on- you have some people to save.