I had just woken up at 4:00 AM, and while I was waiting for my dog to finish his business, I checked my Instagram and saw a few guys posting photos of Henry Gartland. Later that morning all of his sponsors, friends, and magazine outlets followed suit. While lurking slap I found out that Henry had committed suicide. I was shocked that another young, talented skater took his own life.
The next day Instagram stories with the suicide prevention hotline’s number started making the rounds. However, certain pros began to call out their friends and teammates for not being there to help them and for not properly checking on them. That’s the thing though… Does anyone know how to properly help a friend that has depression or anxiety? Do they even know how to tell if they feel that way at all?
WHO AM I?
My name is Eric Brown. I’m twenty-seven years old and was born in New Mexico but grew up in West Texas in a small college party city known as Lubbock. I attempted suicide two times when I was eighteen years old and survived.
I grew up in a somewhat healthy household where I was the youngest of three. I was a typical middle-class kid. I didn’t have too many real-world issues to contend with until my sister got pregnant at a young age, my parents lost their jobs during the recession, and they began fighting.
While that was going on at home, I was picked on and bullied a lot at school. Even though I was a good athlete, I was a weirdo. Not like eating bugs type of weird, just weird, I guess…
One day a group of kids I befriended got into skating so I picked it up too and it took over my life. We had this indoor skatepark with a skate team that I looked up to. But as time went by, the team I looked up to started to treat me like garbage.
I heard them making fun of me and calling me names. When I found out about that I was destroyed. I became depressed and started cutting my wrists. My parents eventually found out and they had me go to a counselor until they couldn’t afford it.
I started high school, where things kinda picked up. I got better at skating and even got sponsored by my local skate shop. Everyone had told me I could possibly go pro if I worked hard and filmed a lot. It kept me positive and happy.
While I was getting better at skating, my parents lost their jobs and struggled financially and my siblings weren’t any help. The shop I rode for sponsored some of the kids that had bullied me and a girl broke my heart. I was doing well in school and skating, yet life wasn’t that good.
On my first suicide attempt, I took over fifty pills from my parents’ medicine cabinet with about ten different kinds of pills. I didn’t know what they were and I didn’t care, I swallowed all of them and went to bed. I didn’t leave a note or anything… No goodbyes… Nothing…
I woke up in the middle of the night. My body was in complete and tremendous pain. I could barely move. I managed to crawl to the bathroom and throw up in the toilet. I struggled to make it back to my bed. The next day I woke up at three in the afternoon. My body was still in pain and I couldn’t eat. My parents didn’t notice anything suspicious because at the time I often stayed up until the early morning and woke up late. They didn’t even hear me throwing up.
“I COULDN’T BELIEVE THAT I SURVIVED AND NO ONE NOTICED.”
I couldn’t believe that I survived and no one noticed. It was unreal. At first, I thought it was a sign for me to continue to live and I became a bit cheerful, until the next week…
Even as I sit here, I can’t remember what led up to the second attempt. I did the same thing only this time I took sixty pills and the pain was so much worse. Yet I still survived.
My parents eventually found out and were devastated. I told some friends about it and they couldn’t believe it either. I tried to do some spiritual research on life, and even tried to chase the dream of being a pro skater. It didn’t work out so a skate homie helped me get a job at his girlfriend’s landscaping company. Everything was going great until the landscaping company shut down and I was left unemployed and fell behind on my car payments.
So I was back to debating on whether to take my own life. I had to do something so I went to my physician and talked to him about what was going on. I was afraid if I didn’t get something figured out my next attempt would be my last.
Then the process of healing began. Five months have passed and I’ve been on medication. I started my own landscaping company to help afford therapy and health insurance and it’s starting to grow slowly.