I haven’t slept well the past couple of days. I woke up this morning at the crack of dawn, something I’m not normally in the habit of doing. I tried to turn back over and catch a few more minutes of sleep, to no avail. My mind was racing. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed this week. And a bit anxious. When I feel like this, I don’t sleep well. As a result of not sleeping, I feel tired. And more overwhelmed. And more anxious. It’s a viscous cycle.
I hadn’t slept but a wink on Monday night because some depressed and drug-addled young man decided that he would shoot up the local mall. No one knew where he was or what he was up to. I live three blocks away and my house backs up to what little woods are left in this part of the world. I couldn’t help but think they would make a great place to hide out. So, yeah, there was that.
As it turns out, this kid had decided that “suicide by cop” would be the best way to end his life. That didn’t work out for him, so he found a storage area somewhere inside the mall and did it himself. Poor thing.
Yes, I said “poor thing”. Yes, I sympathize with him. I also give him a great deal of credit. Scary as the whole scene was, it could have been far, far worse. That he had the presence of mind and the restraint to NOT shoot anyone else? That’s amazing and, I think on some level, must say something about the kind of person he was before the drugs took hold of him.
I haven’t read much about him. I know he was twenty years old, though. Twenty years old. To think that your life will never get better at twenty? That makes me profoundly sad.
I wish that I could have spoken to him. I would have liked to have told him that the other side of addiction, while certainly not a bed of roses, holds the promise of a better life. I would have told him that there are many success stories in recovery. I would have looked him straight in the eye and assured him that he could be one of them. I wouldn’t have told him how difficult it would be, only how possible it was. I would have encouraged him to try, to be hopeful.
I wish I could have told him that.
photo credit: drugs