The Bravest Thing I Ever Did Was Choosing to Live When I Wanted to Die!

Updated on November 4, 2018
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Ken is not your typical homeless veteran. He's had a successful career, raised 3 children, and lived the dream. But life happens.

Ken Jackson
Ken Jackson | Source

For those who know me, Suicide is probably the last thing that comes to mind. But, this past year I had serious thoughts about it. It's been an extremely difficult time in my life. Actually the past 3 years have been the absolute most challenging, depressing, and disappointing times for me.

I returned from North Dakota with no money, no home of my own, and no resources to mention. My situation was looking bleak to say the least but the one thing I did have was my passion for living. I lived in my fathers home for close to two years which was so extremely stressful and shameful because I knew I should have planned better, I knew I should have been better prepared but I didn't need to hear the daily ridicule and mental torture that my father is famously known for dishing out with no regard for how damaging it may be.

Yes, my life was a mess because of bad decisions on my part. I take full responsibility for my situation. We all make choices in life and those choices more than anything determines our paths. I did eventually get out of my fathers house though and opened up a new business with a friend of mine and for over a year things were looking promising. Business was slow but hopeful. Then it happened..... I had a stroke. It wasn't major but it was bad enough to force me to close my business and eventually led me to being homeless. Was I stressed? Yes to say the least. I was at a total stand still, couldn't work, ran out of money and had no where to go.

Now most people would ask..... don't you have any family or friends that could help? Well the short answer was yes but no. My family and friends are probably just like your family and friends living week to week, paycheck to paycheck or just plain don't give a damn. I mean don't get me wrong, my brother helped out as much as he could, but I couldn't expect him or anyone else to bail me out. Not to mention my pride which I eventually swallowed whole once I realized I might die if I didn't get help or worse end up in jail for robbing someone. Yeah I thought about it, then my better judgement kicked in.

But during this time depression set in and it was something I never thought I'd ever experience. But depression is real and it will KILL YOU if you let it. And no, you can't just snap out of it. You just can't pick yourself up, shake it off, and keep it moving. Now for those of you that have never hit rock bottom you'll never fully understand what it's like. I recently lost my best friend because she just didn't get it. Some people have the misconception that you can just jump back into life but I'm here to tell you it's never that simple.

I wanted to die. I thought, if I just take myself out then I won't have to worry about anything anymore. I wouldn't need a home, a car, clothes, or food. I thought yeah, I'll just kill myself. That way I wouldn't have to beg for help and I wouldn't be a burden to anyone. Fortunately for me I went right instead of left and I asked my Social Media friends for help and a few of them came thru which allowed me to get some things moving in my favor and to them I will be forever grateful. I talked to counselors, I talked to people that I knew wouldn't judge or criticize me. And for a moment I was back on the path to wholeness. I got my Commercial Drivers License re-instated and found work, I got into an apartment, got all my bills caught up and life was looking hopeful again.

Sept 5, 2018 on a return trip from New York I pulled into the Kenly 95 Truck stop in NC. My youngest daughter was with me. We were going to do laundry, eat, and take my mandatory 10 break then continue on to Florida the next morning. After laundry was done my daughter and I went outside to put our stuff in the truck to find the truck gone. I panicked thinking first it was hijacked. Only to find that it had been repossessed. Yep, the company I was driving for was folding and my daughter and I was stranded in NC. No money, no ride home, and no answers from the company owner other than "Just hang tight, I'm working on getting the truck back" is what they told me.

So for 4 days we waited. They did put us in a Motel for 3 days until the truth was revealed that they wouldn't be getting the truck back so my daughter and I were basically stranded and what was worse, Hurricane Florence was bearing down on North Carolina. Then a stroke of fortune! My brother was headed to the area and eventually he picked us up and got us back to Florida. But with no where to live I knew that I would have a hard way to go getting back on my feet. Because the company I was working for hadn't paid any bills, including my monthly Child Support which was supposed to be payroll deducted I found my license was suspended and since I couldn't get a final paycheck from them I couldn't pay to have my license re-instated either. So, here I am back to square one. It's been 2 months now and I'm still homeless, jobless, and feeling hopeless. This past couple of weeks has been particularly difficult due to medical issues as I am now an insulin dependent diabetic and my blood pressure is extremely high due to obvious stress of my current situation. But this time I'm not letting depression take hold.

I have much to live for. I have my children obviously, but I also have an awesome new grandson whom I love more than life and I know that he will need me in his life.

I can understand fully now though how so many homeless veterans and people in general end up taking their own lives out here in the streets. Life is unforgiving and as in nature only the strong survive. But mine is just one story among the 3.5 million homeless across America. It's too easy to tell someone to just be strong and hang in there when you're not the one going through a crisis. I know because I used to be that guy. Now, I'm not sharing this story to get charity for myself. I'm sharing this to bring awareness and hopefully inspire you to learn about homelessness and hunger in America because it can happen to anybody. Yes, it could be you no matter what you tell yourself. I never thought for a minute that I would be in this situation. You don't plan on things like this. Most people are living their lives day to day, struggling to survive never once thinking "What would happen if I lost it all". Contrary to popular belief it's very difficult to get hired when you have no address, no vehicle, no way to get yourself cleaned up, no way to wash your clothes, no way to eat everyday. It' doesn't take long for your body and mind to start giving in to hopelessness and despair.

I was personally going to write about this in more detail but then I found an article that was really enlightening and so perfectly written I thought I'd share it here: https://soapboxie.com/social-issues/why-homeless-people-dont-just-get-a-job

For those of you out there who are homeless, hungry, and feeling hopeless please don't give up. Even though I'm still in a bad situation, I'm so glad I didn't give in to the dark thoughts. I know that my life has value and I have so much to offer the world and so do you. Don't be ashamed or too prideful to reach out for assistance. Don't be discouraged because there is light at the end of the road. I made the decision to LIVE!

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Kenneth Jackson

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      • Sean Dragon profile image

        Ioannis Arvanitis 

        7 months ago from Greece, Almyros

        My dear brother Kenneth, I am proud of you! I don't know you, and I live to the other side of the world, but I can feel your noble Heart! I don't feel pity for you, no, you deserve much more than that, I feel proud of you and grateful for reading your Hub because you are an example. At the darkest hour, you count your blessings! That's the way of the Warrior of the Light. And brother, you can WRITE, it's a gift! Use it!

        You are in my prayers!

        Sean

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