“In October 2020, I was prescribed an anticonvulsant for depression and had a negative reaction to my medication. I blacked out and tried to commit suicide by electrocution. I was a lineman who built powerlines, and I cross-phased 14,400 volts and made 28,000 volts with my body.
I was life-flighted to Blake Hospital in Bradenton, Florida, where I spent almost 3 months in a coma and woke up not knowing what happened. I burned 62% of the top half of my body including my face and my left hand has since been amputated.”
I always say the hardest part was the trauma after I got out of the hospital. Because it was a suicide attempt and because it was during the peak of COVID, I really didn’t get the support I needed. At times I wasn’t even capable of asking or knowing what type of help I needed. I struggled with self-esteem and self-blame. I felt like I’d never be able to provide a life for my family or accomplish the goals I had in life.
I wasn’t suicidal before the accident, but After the accident I struggled trying to find reasons to live. I didn’t have a great relationship with my children’s mother and she took away my visitation with my kids from me. My wife left me in the middle of my healing process. I was homeless for a little while and had to start my life over. The inability to make enough money on disability to cover my day-to-day expenses are a stressor as well. Suicide is one of the top 10 leading causes of death in the U.S. and the second leading cause of death for people between the ages of 10-34.
When I burned myself, it was a suicide attempt that was a reaction to a medication prescribed by a psychiatrist. I wasn’t suicidal before that day. When I woke up from my coma no one was there except my wife. My company turned their back. Psychiatrists didn’t know what to do because they couldn’t take the risk of prescribing medication and I wouldn’t take any anyway. No one was interested in finding out what happened: even the psychiatrist that prescribed me the medicine wouldn’t speak with me due to liability reasons. Programs and grants available to others weren’t available for me due to the circumstances.
All in all, I want people to know that suicide is as common as heart disease. Most of us know someone who has attempted or committed suicide, yet we treat it as a taboo topic. As far as my biggest accomplishment since healing? My injury happened on October 25, 2020. When I got out of the hospital I couldn’t even touch my own face or move my left arm. I voluntarily amputated my left hand four months ago. In the time period of 2 years and 3 months I drove from Florida to California and went on whatever crazy adventure I saw on the road. I camped in February in Colorado in 2 1/2 foot snow.
I tried building a social media platform. I drove back to Florida and up to Ohio and lived with my parents to reunite and get to know each other again. I flew to Alaska and reunited with long lost friends where I lived off grid and helped cut down trees that we ran through sawmills to build off-grid timber frame houses. I shot a deer the day after my hand was amputated. Most of my personal therapy comes from hiking in the woods and being a part of nature.
Now I’m in Pensacola, Florida working on a love story. My prosthetic hook will be done soon. I’m also enrolled in a vocational rehab program to help me get back into the workforce. With all that being said I truly believe the greatest accomplishment I’ve made since my injury has been acquiring the will to want to live.
I found some hope through people with similar burn injuries that show me I can do more than I think. I pushed myself and my body into doing things I didn’t think I could and was amazed that not only did I live, but everything’s going to be alright.