You Never Know - Photo by Peter Gordan via Flickr

I’ll never forget the feeling in my gut on Sept. 3. 

The same feeling of existential dread that’s fluctuated on-and-off since July when I had to drag it behind me at a draining summer job for nearly 55 hours a week. A job I eventually quit after not being able to take it anymore. The same feeling that permeates both in-and-out of my head as my mind deals with both OCD and ADHD diagnoses’ and my scalp struggles to fall asleep suffering with scalp folliculitis. The same feeling that outright kills any motivation I might have to work on my music or do some form of workout — both proven forms of medicine for me that I love with a passion. 

The same feeling I feel in the wake of July 10 — the day where I finally kicked a six-year addiction to pornography. With a mind now desensitized and hyper-sexualized, nihilism forms easier as attempts to rid my world of its darkness often fall flat. The same feeling that’s lingered ever since Feb. 3, when I lost my now ex-girlfriend for good after a drawn-out breakup. While I wouldn’t say I was treated “well” during the relationship, I don’t at all consider that an indictment of her. I tried my best to give her the world, but in the end, it was just a weight she wasn’t ready to carry and I struggled to understand why. I know I can be a lot to love, but it’s never an easy pill to swallow thinking you’re not good enough as the idea of love slowly disintegrates around you. 

The same feeling that — despite having a wonderful evening with friends just prior — drove me to go for a nighttime walk on Sept.12 after still feeling incredibly lonely. Although seemingly having the respect of all of my peers, all I ever feel is alone. That very feeling led me to cross the street and hope that a car would just hit me and put me out of my misery. And that very same feeling has also led me to telling some of my dearest companions that I felt like by the time I was 25, I would either be dead or locked up in some form of mental institution. 

On Sept. 3, after enduring the abusive relationship I often have with myself, I called the Suicide Prevention Hotline for the first time in my life. And yet, despite everything I just mentioned, when I told a friend I did so on Sept. 7, she was shocked because I always act like everyday is the best day ever. 

That’s who I am to everyone: RC. “The Bandana Guy”. I treat everyone the way I wish I was treated, and I believe there’s so much more to life than meets the eye. But behind the “Bandana,” I’m just Ryan Cummings. I’m a broken man from a broken home. I don’t know how much longer I have on this Earth, but I very rarely show that in person because when I’m gone I want people to remember the former as opposed to the latter. But not everyone wears their heart on a sleeve like I do and is as willing to talk about the battles they fight on a daily basis. 

This National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, treat everyone the same way you would treat someone like me after reading what you just read about me. You never know who might not show up the next day.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or has had thoughts of harming themselves or taking their own life, reach out to the Wood County Crisis Line (419-502-4673) or The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255).

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