My Suicide Attempt

One year ago, the culmination of years of struggle against mental illness appeared to finally come to a head. In April 2022, I attempted to take my own life, after years of degradation to my emotional state and ability to handle myself.

It’s been very hard for me to say what I’ve wanted to say with this, so this is my best attempt to pour out my feelings. It’s kind of a long read, and goes a lot of different places. I’ve had to rewrite it three times.

A Sickness

For the longest time, there’s been a poison living inside of me. It manifests as a voice, composed of anxious, knee-jeek reaction, guttural rage, and screaming that shakes my bones.

Portrait of an American, a self-painting of my very weird mind.

Within this poison lies a deep hatred for everything that I am, and calls for nothing less than my annihilation. When I make errors, it calls me an error. When I fail, it calls me a failure. But never in those words.

No, it opts for the vocabulary of a true sadist, and the worst part is that it’s my voice, telling myself that my mother should’ve gotten an abortion, that my father should’ve strangled me in the crib. That my entire soul has been rejected by God, that I was designed simply to be damned forever. It tells me that my genes are weak, my mind diseased, and my heart unlovable. That I will wallow in mediocrity and failure all my life, and everybody will cheer when I finally die.

Gosh, you say, this guy must be a riot at parties!

These thoughts and words come and go. For some periods, I’ve been able to find an element, and thrive in it. I’ve experienced love, joy, passion, and belonging. I’ve explored the world, and parts of my own consciousness, and have taken chances and accomplished things that maybe not a lot of people have.

But, none of those things can stave off my fixation on the past, the kind of person I used to be, and the long shadow of my failures. My imagination constantly pulls me into a long chain of thinking of all the paths I failed to take. Even now, I have to admit that I still have a lot of baggage to contend with.

The Fall

I think one thing that I fixate on a lot is the collapse of my previous career. I moved across the country to a place that I only had rosy assumptions about, got my foot in the door working in exciting places, and gradually realized with horror that the ladder I seemed to be climbing was only a treadmill, painting me into a corner with no escape.

My entire dream of success and prosperity seemed to be false, and ran me into the ground so badly that when I finally got fired, all I could do was drink and party and get high for nine months straight. Oh, I looked for work. But the long cycles of interviews and rejections only made me lean harder into my vices.

When the money finally dried up and I was facing homelessness, I surrendered. I picked up the phone, called my father, and moved across the country to follow his proposed path of joining the military.

I moved to the middle of nowhere, got a job in a factory, and starved myself until I lost a third of my body weight. At the height of COVID, I waited for the ride to basic training. My job changed three times. I fell in and out of love with someone during that time. She kept our relationship a secret from her kids, despite the fact that at one point we were all living together.

The Spiral

I maybe had two braincells left, when I got to basic training. My higher brain functions basically told my lower functions:

Sayonara! I’m taking a vacation! It’s up to you to get me through this!

I was bad at everything, for a while, and it didn’t stop at basic. Well into my career on the operational side of the military, and I’m a nervous wreck with everything described in the above paragraphs tacked on. But now, I’m working on multimillion dollar military aircraft!

The day I left basic training!

After a while, everything became too much. Every mistake was a full-blown panic attack. Every person seemed to hate me, even though they really didn’t. I became obsessed with failure, and started to develop an unhinged view that I was simply the worst piece of shit airman.

My panicked thoughts began reflexively focusing on ways to kill myself: jumping into oncoming traffic. Piping exhaust into my truck’s cabin. Hanging myself.

The weird thing about wanting to end my life was that I was terrified of dying. I was afraid of the experience, afraid of making a final commitment, afraid of what may or may not happen after. I wanted to destroy myself, but only so that I didn’t have to feel like I was in Hell anymore. I can’t fully explain it, beyond the fact that I felt incredibly awful every single day.

I found a piece of rope, and began tightening it to see how it would feel as I choked. I loved it. I leaned into it. I pulled it over the hangar bar in my closet, and experimented with pulling on it in different ways.

Some part of my brain eventually realized what was going on, and snapped out of it. I had finally passed a major threshold, after all these years. I felt disgusting.

The Recovery

I could go into all the details of this part, but I’d rather keep it short. I made a cry for help, and some people in my leadership that liked me immediately noticed. My flight chiefs and a Sergeant close to me saved my life that day. I am forever grateful.

A lot of things happened very quickly. I sat down and talked to my flight chief, who took me to Behavioral Health for a screening. They asked a lot of questions, and I nervously talked about everything that I had been going through. After about an hour of conversation, a verdict: I was going to be hospitalized and placed on observation for a time.

They took most of my belongings, took my shoelaces, and I was asked the same questions over and over again by all sorts of different groups of people. Inprocessing dragged on forever and ever, as I found myself endlessly repeating words to new people.

Text message from my Dad, one day after

I got help, and was hospitalized for a while. I went to a lot of therapy sessions. Jesus Christ, the therapy sessions. There were so many. Some were profound and emotional, some were shallow and extremely hokey. I don’t recommend Dialectical Behavioral Therapy at all.

I’m on antidepressants now, and still in the military. No, it’s not a cure-all. I leaned that the hard way that Zoloft doesn’t just magically take all your bad feelings away. I also leaned that higher dosages just put me in a fog and make me feel stupid.

A lot of amazing things happened since then. I married someone wonderful that’s extremely supportive, and we’ve moved in together with two beautiful dogs. I still struggle with bad thought patterns sometimes, and I kind of just have to accept that I’ll have good days and bad days. But, there’s much more bliss.

I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do with my life, and sometimes wonder whether anything I accomplished really meant anything. But, as long as I’m still around, and have the willpower to keep trying new things, there’s hope.

I Survived the Server Dumpster Fire of 2022

It was bound to happen eventually. Three years of near-seamless chugging along, running dodgy bleeding-edge updates from Pleroma’s develop branch, and the thing finally fell over. Maybe the influx of new users did it in. Maybe the 70GB database that ballooned up from haphazard data retention was the real culprit. I’ll never know.

I’ve decided to take a break from self-hosting a social instance for a while. It’s a wonderful, awesome, amazing experience, and I totally recommend it to anybody who has the time and energy to spare. I just don’t have it right now, and I’m tired of throwing my money at so many servers. For now, I think I’ll just stay put and find a way to donate to my admin.

Anyway, my Ghost site was a casualty, so I’ll need to rebuild everything from what I saved on These things happen.

For now, you can find me on

On feeling underappreciated

Sometimes, I can’t help but feel bad about not being recognized. Maybe it’s narcissistic to say that; after all, I haven’t really developed anything, released anything, given an inspiring speech, or even danced all that well in a public setting.

What have I actually contributed to the world? Thinking on it, I find myself at a bit of a loss.

Aside from a minor role in a few different things, I’ve done approximately jack shit. Yet I google my own name incessantly, in the self-centered hope of being noticed. Because in truth, I feel painfully alone.

Yeah, I was the Community Manager for a fledgling open source decentralized social network for a while. It was cool. But let’s be honest, I didn’t really do anything that noteworthy or substantial. The platform itself has been relegated to a footnote in the dustbin of Silicon Valley history, and all I really did was act as a spokesperson and try to put out community dumpster fires. I probably fucked up plenty of good things simply by being there.

Yeah, I run a publication dedicated to the fediverse, but it’s small peanuts, and my burnout became so severe that I can barely write anything in it for months at a time. It has a following of some sort, but it’s no OMG! Ubuntu. I’m a terrible editor, and not that good of a writer. I’d like to think that I cover interesting subjects, but many things slip through my fingers. My negligence has probably contributed to other developers in the space feeling unnoticed, and maybe caused them to give up on their projects.

I’ve done crowdfunding. 1500 campaigns, in fact. No one cares. I’ve solved complex problems and even given self-developed training workshops to audiences of hundreds of engineers at top tech companies. No one cares. The end result is that, performatively speaking, it does not matter one iota.

A lot of times, it feels like all I do is talk about ideas I have, without ever following through on anything. A while back, my therapist explained to me that it seems that I rely on a type of “negative comfort”, where I rely on inaction because doing some creative project that actually leads to something ultimately forces me to face the discomfort of anticipating what other people will think of what I made.

It seems that I settle for being small and invisible, rather than trying to follow through on things that will inevitably get shit on by other people. The voice in my own head is harsh enough.

What I’d like, more than anything else, is to make something beautiful and affecting and true. Something that reflects what’s in my head and in my heart, something that positively affects other people. I’d love to be recognized for that, whatever it is. I just feel like I’m wasting my time otherwise, and it’s eating away at me.

All I can do is just try to pour my heart and soul into my endless stream of stupid ideas, and hope that someday, somebody appreciates it as much as I do.

Turning the page: Goodbye, Peoria!

In about a week, I will be stepping onto a plane to begin a new chapter in my life. It’s pretty surreal to think about – to be frank, I never thought that I would get to this point.

I’m finally in the process of moving to San Francisco. This is five years after I started working for a little startup company in the SF Bay Area, a Mission Street company of people trying to hack together a social network on their own terms. That I even became employed there is an utter fluke, and is the fulfillment of a juvenile dream of mine.

Things have changed. Their focus has shifted, and over the last three years, we have worked together to help nearly 2,000 crowdfunding campaigns from Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. I was their first hire at this new venture, and have grown into a role where I get to solve hard problems every day. I have acted as a remote worker in all that time, from my dining table in Peoria.

Part of me is beyond excited. Part of me is terrified. Part of me is very, very sad. I wish that I could take the people involved in my life and take them all with me. Life doesn’t work like that, though.

In taking this next big step, I am leaving behind everything I’ve ever known and loved. I am saying goodbye to my closest friends, who have had a massive impact on how I live my life. I am saying goodbye to my family, who I already only see every once in a while. I am saying goodbye to a town that I am comfortable in, and I am saying goodbye to someone who I am madly, passionately in love with (and always will be).

I’ve cried a lot about this, because it’s painful. In fact, I’m still crying right now. But this move is something that I have to do for myself. You can’t finish a good book if you never proceed beyond a comfortable chapter. Otherwise, there’s not much of a story.

To everyone who has been present and close in my life – thank you for being here for me. Thank you for opening up and sharing so many beautiful things about who you are and what you care about. You have given me so much drive to keep living, even at the points where I felt like I didn’t want to anymore.