My father killed himself, my grandfather killed himself, my grandfather’s brother took a zillion pills to kill himself, he survived, but wrecked his kidneys, which killed him later, an overdue suicide. The grandson of this guy killed himself through an overdose. My aunt tried to kill herself three times. She walks with a limp, has more metal in her legs than a small bike, and who knows what it did to her kidneys. I will not add the number of neighbours and friends who killed themselves or who gave it their best shot.

It’s safe to say suicide is kind of a dinner table topic in our family.

Unsurprisingly this self-destructive gene didn’t skip me.

When I was twenty I thought about suicide every day. The one thing that kept me going was that I really wanted to get a university degree, because this was my parents’ life long dream, to see their child go to university and be the first one in the family to get a master degree. This and the belief of our rather arrogant and envious neighbours that a kid with my poor working class background shouldn’t be at university. Man, those prejudices put fire in my belly!

But I was severely depressed. I thought I would never have a girlfriend, and would die as a virgin, I thought I had failed at everything, except perhaps as a student, but I wasn’t all that interested in what I was studying. We had to read the Bible in old Church Slavonic and stuff like that…

I was also extremely shy, and although I had this naggging drive inside of me to interact with lots of people, I really isolated myself.

I was down most of the time. I had an incredible work ethic and surrounded myself with grim quotes like: ‘I’m determined to fight it out on this line, if it takes all summer’ by General Grant. He was about to lose 55,000 men in one month when he said that, so you can imagine the mood I was in.

In Belgium you often get a room in a regular house, but adapted to the needs of students. My best friend and I had rooms in a house full of girls. I wrote some of them romantic poems, but nothing happened. I hadn’t figured out yet how awful this approach is.

It must have had some effect though, because one night the girl i liked the most snuck into my room, naked, dove in my bed and lay there waiting for me to touch her.

I thought of myself as so utterly worthless that even then i didn’t think she really wanted me to touch her. After a while she left and wanted nothing to do with me anymore, she was mad.

It was deep in the night and i was going crazy. Such an opportunity and I had done nothing.

Although I never drank, I got a bottle of liquor, downed it in about ten minutes and swore to myself: NEVER AGAIN! THIS CANNOT BE MY LIFE. THIS IS NOT THE GUY I WANT TO BE.

I was 21 by that time.

That moment changed my life.

I started reading seduction manuals and trying that stuff out in real life. I started acting in plays and got a function in the student organisation as the chief editor of their magazine.

Within six months I had slept with several amazing girls – I’m still friends with to this day – and had my first girlfriend.

I never knew the level of happiness i could experience. For two years i was just EUPHORIC. I went from imagining my own violent death every day and painfully desiring what I thought I could never have to pure heaven!

Please keep going. If you’re going through hell keep going.

And if you long for something, just decide to get it and be systematic and determined about it like the most badass Spartan that ever lived.

Ow, am 35 now and the picture above is nor of Sandra Bullock, bur of my wife.

I don’t actively contemplate suicide every day anymore. Ir’s gone down to about three days a week. Progress!

Just like when I was 20 I often think that nothing good will ever happen again, that I’m played out, and that nothing can be done to life the ashy black clouds that spray their putrid spit on my brain. But then I remind myself of those days when all of a sudden the sky broke open, everything seemed to fall in place, and I felt alive, and didn’t experience life as a prison sentence from which there is no escape, except a very violent one.