Before you read this, be advised I could be your son or daughter; I could be your best friend; I could even be you. For this is a caution.
I have been in depression for the last three months. I have been in a jail cell. I have worried those I love and care about to tears. I have been changed forever, for better and for worse.
In the months leading up to this, I had never seen anything coming, I had never expected my world to shut down. I never expected to lose friends, loved ones, and the respect of my family. Nothing I could do seemed to help me look at myself in the mirror. Nothing I could say could outweigh my option of ending it all. Imagine stealing from work could nearly end your life. Thinking that one day you could be something, then having a criminal record before you’re even moved out.
Worrying everyday that the bad news will come to your door. Worrying that everywhere you go, everybody is watching you, judging you, thinking that you could steal something again.
You lose everything, before you lose your life: your car, your spouse, your fun, joy, laughter, your friends — you lose all you can but you still know that taking your life isn’t a solution to taking all the things you did at work.
Taking anything that doesn’t belong to you is never a good idea. Taking things from people who trusted you, that is what kills you in the end.
I’ve learned to live a life of “never forget; never regret.” Never forget the mistakes you made, but never regret what you have done. You can always be in a worse place than you already are.
We’d never expect thinking of suicide, but we can be surprising to ourselves. If we want a good life for ourselves and for the others in our life, we must learn and teach this lesson. We cannot get through life stealing. We cannot go on when we are dead inside. We cannot stand out while we try to hide. We must never forget; never regret.
Editor’s note: This letter was written by a participant of the Restorative Justice program who agreed to write the letter as part of his/her sanctions.
The writer’s name has been withheld because it is a condition of publishing this letter.
The Tribune doesn’t typically run unsigned letters to the editor but makes a special exception for the program.