John Napier's Personal Story

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Something happened on March 31st, 2017, and my good friend Rysky suggested that I talk about it, or at least put it in a post. Not really wanting to completely post in public, I created another thread. If anyone becomes worried about me, I'll just PM a link to this thread.

***Disclaimer: This thread deals with some very serious issues. Despite the date of this post, it isn't an April Fool's prank.

So, to begin with, on March 31st of 2017, Sharoth posted a link in The Monkey's Treefort to a page or two of a Superman comic. The issue was about suicide. Suicide has always been a serious issue with me. Why? I lost a brother to suicide in November of 1997. He was diagnosed with what is now Bipolar Disorder. I was okay up until I read about being sure that "There are no more good days ahead." That broke me, emotionally. Again. Sharoth didn't know beforehand that I had lost a brother, so I don't blame him for the link. It was just one of those odd coincidences.

Ambrosia Slaad mentioned once that she's seen the effect suicide has on families. I agree with everything that she would have to say about it. Suicide causes more than one victim, everyone suffers. First is the natural sadness and grief. What follows soon after is Anger, which brings "finger pointing" along for the ride. Everyone begins blaming each other. This is what destroys families. In my case, my sister began blaming Father. She was married at the time, but hasn't spoken to the rest of the family since the suicide. I haven't had a sister for nearly twenty years.

Even worse than blaming each other is blaming yourself. My two brothers and I would get together every Sunday to play D&D. When he would leave for the evening, it was always "'later" or "see you next week." But on that last Sunday, he hugged Mother and said "Goodbye." It was as if he knew he was leaving well beforehand. At the time, I thought nothing of it. It wasn't until recently that I understood what he was saying. It was so out-of-character that it should have set off alarms. But I did nothing. I could have stopped it, but didn't. My inaction haunts me to this day.

My mother's most recent short stay in the hospital has revealed the early stages of Heart Disease. I realize that I may not have my Mother around for much longer. She told my remaining brother about the diagnosis, so there will no surprises there.

I mentioned "again," didn't I. The previous time I broke was early November of 2016. A number of people began worrying about their survival. So I began digging, thinking that someone particular had something like cancer. I stopped when I read "suicide." I reached out to Rysky, whose opinions I had already come to value and respect. So I reached out to her, concerning the person in question, trusting her to make the right decisions. I broke as soon as I hit "submit post." I wept, just as I had right after my one brother's suicide. For a good ten minutes or so. The thought of seeing another life slipping away was too painful. It was like watching my brother's suicide all over again.

I admit it. I over-reacted, panicked even. It's better to do too much than nothing at all. So, if someone expresses concern about something that I post, I'll let them read this so that they know where I'm coming from. Not that I'm fishing for pity. But am I really that alone? No, not really. I've made some very good friends on the message boards.

First of all, there's Rysky. She knows just how emotionally broken I can be at times. And I know it worries her. But when my sadness begins to take me to a dark place, she's there to pull me back. For which I will be eternally grateful. Yes, Rysky. I began tearing up as I write this. Typical

Then, there's NobobysHome. He is the same age as I, and we both program. And I enjoy hearing his complaints about various things. Usually Corporate or Bureaucratic Stupidity.

Then, there's Captain Yesterday. I can relate to many of the things he posts about. And reading about his "rampages" through Skyrim has made me start the game again. And I like how his various aliases begin arguing to each other.

TacticsLion misses me when I'm not on the messageboards, even when I'm doing something that's necessary. Like renewing my weekly Transit Pass.

Freehold DM and I share a love of both anime and Rebel Starfighters. Although I'm more partial to X-Wings than Y-Wings. Sorry, Freehold.

And there's the various people on the messageboards that I enjoy talking to. Everyone here is like a second family to me, and I love you all. Each of you adds a bit of light to the beacon that guides me through my darkest days. wipes away more tears So, there it is. My innermost burdens laid bare. Thanks for listening.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

*offers hugs*

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I know that took a lot of courage and a lot of emotional energy to write down. I'm sorry for the loss of your brother, though those words do nothing to truly alleviate the pain. Also I'm sorry to hear of your mother's diagnosis.

I've never had suicide affect my family, though a good friend lost his 19 year old son to it 4 years ago. I watched him go through the different stages of grief and I felt awful at not being able to help him. All I could do was just be there for him to talk to and sometimes cry with.

So let me extend my hand and if you need someone to talk to I will be here.


Calvin Roach

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Thanks, Rysky. You are quite right. Posting did make me feel a bit better. Time after time, you've given me good advice. A better friend, I've never had. :)

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Thanks, Cal. The pain is down to a dull ache, most of the time. But sometimes, something brings it all back. Like a deep wound that doesn't heal, the most tiny of scratches will re-open everything. Knowing that you're here also helps. :)

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Sounds like healthy grieving to me. I know adults (especially men) are not supposed to show any emotion and drink themselves silently to death like some John Wayne character from the 40's, but that has always seemed like crap to me.

Nothing wrong with loving someone and expressing sadness and loss.

Love and hugs all around!

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Thank you for being so open about this. It must have been extremely hard to not only press the 'post' button, but to not press the "delete" button immediately afterward.

Grieving. There's no wrong way to do it. Probably not a right way, either.

The only thing I would ask you to do is really question your assumption that you could have stopped your brother. Survivor guilt shifts people's thinking, and even if it isn't suicide, many of us beat ourselves up with the "if I had only" guilt stick.

Sometime, when you are ready, talk to a counselor about stopping suicides. You'll find that there isn't really a good way, even if you had correctly interpreted his statements.

Lots of hugs and lots of love. You have friends who care about what happens.

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Thanks, Fergie. You're absolutely right. I could have become an alcoholic, but I've also seen how that destroys families also. I had to stay strong for my Mother's sake. She doesn't like seeing me upset. And as the oldest child, I had a responsibility to take care of things ever since my Father's death in 1999 from a degenerative neuro-muscular condition.

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Thanks, CrystalSeas. Yes, it was hard to put down everything and still keep things together long enough to finish. But, not posting, or posting and deleting really solves nothing. Perhaps, by posting, I can begin to heal. And I have to learn to stop blaming myself. I went through this for a reason, it seems. As soon as I find out what the lesson is supposed to be, perhaps I'll come through the other side a much better person. I don't know. But until then, I'll take all the love and caring that anyone wants to send my way. Thank you.

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I have two friends that committed suicide.

One of them was recovering drug addict who started to hang out with my group of friends to get away from drugs. Unknowingly one of those persons was heavily into drugs and got him back onto drugs. He kicked the habit by drinking alot and eventually drank himself to death.

For years (and honestly I still do) I get angry at myself. I should have been more perceptive about what was going on...I should have been closer to him and not kept him at arms length...etc.

My other friend was a kid (got to have been like half my age) that I met via a LARP. At the time we lived close together so whenever a group of us got together he was invited. He was a good kid. Than I moved away and we kinda lost touched with each other. I got a call from one of my friends that he had shot himself.

And again for years I blamed myself...I should have made the effort to stay in touch if I did I could have maybe give him the support..etc.

It is tough. I get through it by being more perceptive and supportive with my friends. Also I will drive alot further than most people to stay in contact with people.

Also though I realize there are things beyond my control. No matter how hard you try things will happen.

Also I am sorry to hear about your Mother's diagnosis.


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I can understand your reaction, and you have my support.

When I was 17 years old I was preparing to go to University and study Medicine. My mother couldn't pay for it.

She had undiagnosed schizophrenia and all the tensions from that time made her fully develope her disease.

She started to think there were people trying to mindcontrol me and a lot more delirant ideas. She went to the doctors and they gave her a treatment, but she conviced me not to tell anybody about her issues, so I became her only support. He tricked me to avoid taking her medicines.

One day while I was in high school she left the house where she worked, dressed only in underwear, and went swimming to the river near the town. It was January and the water was cold, so her heart stopped beating. She went missing for more than a month before she was found. Everybody thought she had commited suicide but I think she just was confused. She was a great swimmer.

I was raised only by her so I felt suddenly alone. I went to live with my grandparents.

I knew Dalindra a few months later and he became my best support. In my family everybody was broken so I needed to ve the strong one. I was broken but I didn't want anybody to worry so I acted like everything was OK.

I was happy living with my grandparents for a time. I didn't mind taking care of them when their health became worse because I really wanted to do it. I lost a lot of job opportunities because I wanted to take care of them. I lived with an abusive aunt who became worse with the time, both with me and my grandparents.

With the time, I didn't even care for myself. I just wanted to care for other people as I didn't think I was worth anything. I stopped sleeping or eating. I just worked for about 12 hours in my job just to arrive at home and do the housejob and care for my grandparents.

The only time I could disconnect was the few time I could spend with Dalindra. He was my only suppport at that time. Him and his wonderful grandparents.

I never considered suicide because of him, and because I felt like I couldn't leave my beloved ones unnatended.

I can understand what can make a person feel like that because I've felt that way. I didn't sleep. I didn't eat.

Now my grandparents are gone. I've left an abusive house with the help of Dalindra, his parents and my father (who I knew after my mother assed away). I have a good job (even if I don't work all the time) and I have never been so happy in my whole life.

Life can be hard, and there's nothing wrong about feeling down. We all break down sometimes, but we can go on and become stronger.

I just wanted to share. I had the need to do it.

I really enjoy your posts in this forum John, and you seem like a great person. You have all my support even if it doesn't mean much.

And even if I'm not a very veteran member of this community I have felt very supported by many of its members. You are great people!

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Condolences for your brother. That's a horrible experience to have gone through. Please don't blame yourself. Hind sight is always 20/20.

Kudos for having the courage to be able to talk about things like this. It helps. Since I started posting on these boards I have watched one daughter struggle with mental illness, another daughter pass away, my marriage end , and my life become completely reorganized. Through it all the people here have been a pillar of support.

Please feel free to talk about anything you need to at the Treefort. I enjoy your posts, and it's always good to have a fellow veteran hanging around.

Positive waves and peace to you


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Thanks, Selene. Your understanding of what I'm going through right now helps a lot. *accepts hugs*

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Thanks, Kileana. Your support means more to me than you realize.

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Thanks, Patrick. Yes, I know that I shouldn't blame myself. But sometimes, I just can't shake those "what if this" or "what if that" thoughts. I'll rely more on others here for my emotional support. It's just that that one post on Friday sucker punched me. I do feel a bit better, today. :)

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I spent a lot of time blaming myself for everything and I still do it from time to time. It's easy to say that you shouldn't blame yourself but it's not easy to do it.
Sometimes people talks without knowing and even if they don't mean any harm, they do it.

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I know. Even a day later I still struggle with it.

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I respect your bravery in telling your story, and you have my condolences for your brother.

I have my own story of dysfunctional family life, psychological illness, alcoholism and degenerative heart disease, but i don't really want to share it here, since I feel it would take focus away from your story and your grieving process.
Sufficient to say that I drink too much, have be diagnosed with several psychological problems and will (if the rest of the males on my father side of the family is any indication) need new heart valves by the age of 45, but enough about me.

In the future if you need a pat on the back, an ear to listen to your problems or just someone to talk to, just put a post or pm, I might be a bit crude and rough, but I can promise you that I will listen and try to give sound advise whenever I can.

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Thank you, Kjeldorn. Hearing that helps a great deal. And I'll be here, if you need it.

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What a tragic story. I'm so sorry for such a terrible loss. It's a good thing you now have Dalindra in your life and that you had your grandparents to turn to.

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I will be saying some prayers for you and your mom. (Hug)

Scarab Sages

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My condolences John, and all the best to you and your family.
Grieving for people you loved and lost, especially under such circumstances is a bit like suffering from a trauma - it can be triggered again a long time after the loss (I watched my father die in a car accident when he was to pick me up from work, ten years ago, I have suffered a few triggered moments of grief in the last years).

To cope with those moments is hard, you sort of try to develope mechanisms to prevent them from breaking you, rituals to pick you up again, recallable memories of good times to take the pain out of the sadness, but yeah, it can make things pretty damn hard.
*hugs more*

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Thanks, Michael. Prayers are always appreciated.

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Thanks, Feytharn. *accepts hugs* For about ten years after my brother's death, I even stopped playing D&D. My heart just wasn't in it. The Holidays are still a challenge, but I still have my Mother.

Liberty's Edge

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John, first I wish to send you both love and light to alleviate your burden.

What you described in the freshness of the wound that never really closed made me think very strongly of things that haunted me, sometimes without even me realizing it, or even denying my dark emotions

I was lucky to get very good professional help from caring people. One of the tools they used was EMDR. In my case it was very effective at unraveling the solid knot of dark emotions that were bound to my memories of bad events

And it was only after this unraveling that I could start actually healing from these wounds

I hope this helps

And it is a good thing for us to have you on these boards

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Thanks, Raven. I'm glad to be here. I'm even more glad for the support given to me by my Paizo family. Knowing that more than a few people care about me is a great comfort.

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John, I love you, my brother. You and your family are in my prayers.

Similarly, Cal, Kileanna, Kjeldorn, Kretzer, Patrick, Raven - as I can remember, I'll pray for you, too!

And Kjeldorn, my dude, take care of yourself! I've lost too many people to alcohol.

Be well, all of you, and I'm grateful to each of you who've shared - I know how hard such things are.

And remember, all those suffering from depression, feeling alone, feeling disconnected, or considering suicide (as well as everyone here): you've got friends and people who care.

As little as it may mean in text by someone you've never met face-to-face: peace to you, and joy - even in times of sorrow, sadness, or heartbreak, I pray you find peace, joy, and comfort. This is not mere happiness or lack of fear or anxiety - rather, a way to recall that things may never be perfect, but will be good in time; a way to find a reason to continue living and to care for yourself; a way to remember that there are people who care about you, and want you still around; and a way to find reasons to (eventually) delight in life again.

Peace and joy are slippery, difficult things to grasp, but run much deeper than current emotions. I want your current emotions to be happy and fear-free, too, but more, realize that no matter how things are now, they can get better later.

It's important for you to stay around for as many "now"s as you can to hit those "later"s with us.

And I, at least, am glad you're here - all of you. :D

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Thanks, TL. You're like a brother to me too. :)

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Thank you, John, for being willing to share your hurts. I admire the courage and honesty it requires to speak of these things. I also appreciate the opportunity you've given to others through your example.

Good on ya, chief.

I must echo your sentiments regarding the quality of community we share here: with very few exceptions, the people I've met here are some of the best I've ever known. We've almost got a "church of the game" in terms of how much support is offered on these pages. And that's a pretty good thing.

For my part: I'm always willing to listen/read if anyone needs to share/vent. If I can ever be of help, don't hesitate to let me know. Love to all.

"Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." -- Galatians 6:2

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Thanks, Syrus. It's a blessing to have friends that are like a second family.

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You're all great people!

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This is an amazing and painful story. But in sharing it the pain is hopefully lessened. There isn't much more I can say that hasn't already been said, so I will simply add my own best wishes. Live for those who can't, and make sure your own life is full of many adventures and delights so that when you do meet again, you have much to discuss.

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Thanks, Freehold. I'm very glad to be a member of the Paizo family. First started being on the boards as a way to kill time. I didn't expect to find another family that can share my burdens and sorrows. Thanks, everyone.

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Same here. I just felt it was a friendly place and I checked the boards for some time. I didn't want to register because I was afraid of posting in English. I had been to more English speaking boards before, but that was a lot of time ago.
I decided to post to ask some questions and I liked too much the place to leave, so I stayed. It's difficult to find such a friendly community.

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After finding this forum a few years ago and comparing it others I've seen, I dropped the others and I post and read here exclusively. By and large the community is friendly (though there are a few trolls here and there, but I ignore them). Folks are helpful with advice, hints and tips about all aspects of Pathfinder, and I feel like I've made a few actual friends here.

As far as English goes, Kileanna, don't worry about that. Your English is very good, better than that of some native speakers in many cases. And you certainly speak English better than I speak Spanish or Galician.. lol. I know enough Spanish to order off the menu at a Taco Bell fast food restaurant (which is a flippant statement if you're not familiar with the chain).

Another thing I like is how the moderators police the board for the aforementioned trolls, profanity, divisive statements or out and out flamers who try to incite trouble. To some this may seem to intrusive and narrow minded, but I have no problem with it. It makes the boards much better as far as I'm concerned.

So enjoy the boards, ask for advice, tell your stories, share you troubles. You'll find someone who can offer positive comments on everything you post.

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I enjoy the trolls, they are funny. I mostly decided not to engage them, but sometimes I feel like I want to get into the storm and decide to do it.
I don't take anything as personal, so trolls don't bother me.
There are users that I like better than others, but that's a normal thing.
I have my bunch of favorite posters that I enjoy talking to and a single less favorite poster that specially bothers me and I cannot help it. No, it's probably not any of the ones who are reading me now.

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John, *hugs* I am so sorry for your pain. Thank you for being brave enough to share your story. I can't say I understand how you feel. I've never lost someone to suicide. I do know about depression since I've had clinical depression since my early teens. The worst part is how it makes you feel like you're not worth helping. I hope that eventually you can find peace and know that it wasn't your fault. It was the illness, not you.

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Well, I'm glad you enjoy my corporate griping.

I lost my best friend to bipolar disorder in 1991. He was only 27.

And while it wasn't family, I know exactly what you're talking about with the blame, recriminations, and so forth. It turned out one of his new "friends" had made a suicide pact with him and encouraged him, because it seemed "cool".

There's nothing "cool" about encouraging suicide. Ever.

And that event broke up that entire group of friends forevermore. Of the 6 "core" members, my friend is dead, another one I will never speak to again, and the other two I speak to once per 3-4 years, tops. After hanging out with them every night for several years solid. Of the 5-6 "outliers", including the encourager, I haven't spoken to any of them since. I consider the encourager lucky that I did not cause him grievous bodily harm.

It must be even harder with family, because you cannot break off from them, yet every meeting is a reminder.

Yet as you say, life moves on. I have a new group of friends I game with every week. I've introduced my kids to gaming, and I'm now a very popular GM to a new generation of gamers. This week I'm chaperoning 130 high school kids to Disneyland. One of them is on suicide watch, but he cites MY game as the reason he didn't follow through and is getting the help he so desperately needs.

Always try to look at what's positive. I've lost a best friend to suicide, and too many dear ones to count to cancer. But I'm keeping a teenager alive by keeping my game running. In my relatively short 50 years, I've directly saved 4 lives, including 2 who were planning suicide when they called out to me. It's a heavy burden, but one I will gladly bear.

Lisamarlene jokingly refers to me as "Having the attitude of an inebriated Santa Claus", but it's true: The more you give, the more you help, the more you receive.

There is nothing more important than understanding that.

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I'm glad through my deaths, others may live.

Wait a minute... is that in poor taste...

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No buddy, you did great there.

I can't think of any way you could've done better.

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Thanks, Lynora. *accepts hugs* I'm working on the peace of mind you spoke of. It's just that the comic strip came out of nowhere and hit me when I wasn't looking. I'm actually not feeling so sad right now, but that may change later this year. November will be rough, no two ways about it. And, yes, I know that it was my brother's depression that was doing all of his decision-making. Also, on an intellectual level, I know that it wasn't my fault that I missed the signs that were there. The only good thing about those days is that we managed to save his kitten. We provided her a good, loving home with my Mother and I. She was happy, and bonded most completely with me than anyone else. She died several years ago. Busy raising another kitten, so that part's okay.

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Thank you, NH. It encourages me to see that one of my friends has gone through the same situation as I and come out the stronger for it. If I need to, do you mind if I ask advice, from time to time?

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Thanks, Cap. Combining two arguing avatars and Skyrim made me smile. :) It helped.

3 people marked this as a favorite. should go without saying but if you need my advice or just a Internet shoulder to cry not hesitate to PM me.

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Okay, Selene. Once again, you have my deepest thanks.

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I am soory for your losses, John.
Thankfully there are great people in here who can be very helpful, but what little advise I can give: don't be afraid to use professional help, friends can give support but help sometimes needs to be from someone outside, with special knowledge.
I know it helped me a lot with some depression issues 10-15 years ago.
You can always open your mind and heart to us at The Treeford (or in pm)

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

My thoughts are with you John. You are very brave for posting this and I am glad you did.

I hope to never have to go through what you have but with an older sister as well as a forty year long friend both having clinical depression, it's something that I have been silently preparing for in case the terrible event occurs. Your post gives me confidence that if it does come to that I will have a place I can go to share and vent. Thank you.

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John Napier 698 wrote:
Thank you, NH. It encourages me to see that one of my friends has gone through the same situation as I and come out the stronger for it. If I need to, do you mind if I ask advice, from time to time?

Not at all. As long as you don't require that it be good advice...

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Thanks, Aeglos. If I need to, and have the time, I'll go visit a professional Grief Counselor. But not right now. Pittsburgh's anime convention starts this Thursday, and I have to be fit for running my games in the RPG department.

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Thanks, Feros. If something happens, never hesitate to PM me. I'll be the crutch you can lean on until you're able to stand on your own again.

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