I’m standing right next to you. I know you see me. You can hear me. We’ve spoken hundreds of times. But never about anything real or meaningful. …

I want to tell my story. I need to tell my story. I feel the words being forced out of me like the retching of hangover after a night of heavy drinking. With months of silence under my belt and the inability shape thought into word, I’m telling my story.

What hurts the most is that I didn’t know Alex. I never got the pleasure of knowing the good in his life. I didn’t know the hurt he carried either. I didn’t know anything about him, really. The only memories I have of him are those of that fateful day.

One year later and I don’t even recognize myself. That person, that version of me feels so far away.

I’m just a shell of the man that I was back then. And yet, I am so so so much more than that too. In fact, some days, I feel like…

No matter how much education, training, or preparation you receive, you can never fully be ready to handle responding to a suicide. You can never fully prepare to administer first aid. You can never be ready to see a lifeless body, on the ground, with a bullet hole in it’s…

If I could take your place,

I would.

Anyway I know how.

Anyway I could.

I’d carry the burden

Of your pain and demons.

Because I know the pain of carrying the weight

Of your loss.

We can’t possibly call this even.

If I could take your place,

I would.

It’s not so easy to hold onto hope these days, as I no longer know what hope looks or feels like. Similar to faith, I’m not sure that I have much hope anymore. I’m not sure I know how to.

They say that healing gets easier with time. They say…

I have to be honest about something. I know that y’all are trying to be protective and sensitive, and I love that, thank you, but not talking about my mental health is actually killing me.

We all know about last Monday and I don’t need a lecture about how stupid…

I’ve been thinking about my relationship with religion and faith a lot lately, and tonight, as I stare out at the sunset and feel the energies of the new moon in Aries, I feel a strong sensation of spirituality reaching out to grab my hand.

Rather than pull away as…

It happened again. Another night like the one night stand. Only this time, I got drunk, drove into a pasture, puked all over myself, and woke up god knows how much later.

I didn’t get a job that I really wanted. I was so excited about the role, the opportunity…

Joel Kaskinen

Communicator. Educator. Empath. Survivor. Writer.

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