Here is the manuscript to a speech I gave in class in April 2013 about my life experience and the growing rate of suicide.
When I hear the word “bullet-proof,” the words that come to mind are strength and survival. With unwavering determination, life’s obstacles will be unable to stand in your way of success. I know that is easier said than done.
Today, many are overwhelmed by life’s pressures. According to the New York Times in 2012, researchers found that the rate of suicide between 2008 and 2010 quadrupled compared to the previous ten years. A study by the United States Center of Disease Control says that an average of one person dies every 16.2 minutes. Hence, by the time our class is dismissed today, six people will have taken their life. I was almost one of those statistics three years ago. A number of conditions, including a six year divorce ordeal, the onslaught of manic depression, and the crash of the automotive industry that my business depended on were a lethal concoction that caused me to give up on life on the 28th of January, 2009. Waking up three days later in the ICU, I was unaware of what had happened, why I couldn’t see. My arms were restrained so that I could not remove the breathing tube or other vital equipment. This was the scariest time of my life. I could not see, move, or speak. At first, I felt like an Etch-A-Sketch, shaken after a life of achievement, and that I had to start all over again from scratch. Yet, after surviving a fifteen percent mortality rate and only losing my eyesight to a gun shot wound, I was most fortunate to still be alive! After of two days of coming to grips with what transpired, I had a renewed determination. I had two choices. I could have either been cared for, or I could take care of myself. I learned that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I had learned to live, and now lived to learn.
Life’s hardships cannot hinder the success of a determined individual. I realized that just because my situation had changed, my life though had just begun. Since then, I have received the education and training so that I can do everything I did before I lost my sight, just differently. I started a new business recently and returned to school so I may be equipped to empower others. I have met so many influential and inspirational that I would not have had the opportunity to meet. I want people to see that disability fosters the ability to reach out and empower others.
Blindness has actually been a blessing, being a fertilizer for my soul, developing my growth into a once again strong, independent person. Around my neck, a brass dog tag is inscribed in braille with the word “bullet-proof.” It reminds me daily that not even a bullet will hinder me from pursuing great things.Works Cited
Carey, Benedict. “Increase Seen in U.S. Suicide Rate Since Recession.” New York Times 4 Nov. 2012.
“National Suicide Statistics at a Glance.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. N.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2013.