James "Life Is Worth Living"

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Randy Bacon with 7 Billion Ones in partnership with National Alliance on Mental Illness Southwest Missouri (NAMI) are proud to announce a major, multifaceted portrait art exhibition, story and short film series:

It Knows No Face

Portraits of Suicide Survivors.

Learn more HERE


James’s Story:

  Photography by    Randy Bacon

Photography by Randy Bacon

I had always thought since childhood that there was no such thing as true love. But then I met Peggy. I hope everybody finds one person like that in their life. That woman was everything. She was genuine, and I knew that she loved me, because she’d be sure to tell me every day. Peggy started smoking when she was fourteen, and died at the young age of forty-two of lung and kidney cancer because of smoking. I already drank quite a bit to start with, but then after Peggy passed away, I drank even more. I would drink at least three half gallons of Jack Daniels and about three to four cases of beer a week. I did that for almost fifteen years until I decided that it just wasn’t worth it no more, and I tried to commit suicide.

One night I drank a dang near half gallon of whiskey and I woke up to see my 357 revolver laying beside me with the trigger cocked back already, and I realized I was going to kill myself. I needed to do something, and I quit drinking that day. I tried to get help before that point, but I had a psychologist that told me I wasn’t suicidal if I was talking about it like I was. Later down the road I ended up in the hospital from taking too much medication, and my dad told me that when he got there they told him that I wasn’t going to live. I think people like that psychologist need to listen a little bit, cause a person can seem calm and still be a mental wreck inside. You just don’t know what they’re going through.

I was doing better for a while, but then I ended up in the hospital again to get help after I had taken over three hundred pills; but it didn’t seem like nobody wanted to help me, so I just went back home and took my medication. I ended up in the hospital again shortly after that and was in a coma for three days. They kept me in intensive care for three weeks after that so I spent about five weeks in the hospital.

The next time, I took myself to the doctor’s office and was told I could sit down and wait for an appointment, so I sat and waited for about twenty minutes before I just got up and walked out. Thankfully they called my psychiatrist told her that I was just at the hospital, and she called the paramedics. When they got to my house they said I wasn’t breathing. They had to incubate me, and if it wasn’t for my psychiatrist, I would of died... but sometimes I think I’d be better off. Even now that I know life is worth it, I still have struggles. I would love to get over them struggles, just don’t know how yet. I would like to find life worth living again, and for me and my boy to be closer than what we are. Right now I don’t have a whole lot that’s keeping me going. I know if I’m gone then my dog won’t have nobody to take care of her. She needs me, and I love her, and she loves me.

I feel mostly that people don’t understand how serious I am. I've tried to kill myself five times. And four of the five times, people have told me that they didn’t think I was going to live. The hospitals got good people that know what they’re doing, I just feel that people don’t understand how serious the situation is at the time.

In real life I do not want to kill myself. But when your mind turns, for some reason you get to a point where it’s is telling you that’s the only way...that if you want peace in life, you’re gonna have to kill yourself, there ain’t no peace until you do. Sometimes I think I was lucky that I lived, and sometimes I think I’m not. But then some days I think that I bring goodness to other people... I like to make people happy. If they got a problem I can cheer them up. And then there’s some days I just value of my life as zero...them’s the days’ you have to work hard to get over.

I would like to find life worth living again. For me and my boy to be closer than what we are...he thinks he lives in a different world than I do, and sometimes I wonder if we don’t, cause I am basically old fashion. I got a regular flip phone right now and If I get one call a month then I been getting some calls. I don’t have nobody ever call me.  And I don’t call nobody...so that’s probably the reason they don’t call me.

I’d like for people that get depression or think they’re depressed to find help. Get you a psychiatrist. Talk your problems over with them and don’t ignore it, because it is real. It’s the thing that’s going to knock your butt out. I suggest to everybody that’s got suicidal thoughts to find somewhere that’s got groups where you can talk and there’s people that got the same problem you’ve got. You don’t want to wait too long. Just look for somebody you can talk to, and if you can do that then I think you can be in pretty good shape.

  Photography by    Randy Bacon

Photography by Randy Bacon


Brought to you in partnership with:

7Billion Ones, Annie Busch, NAMI Southwest Missouri, and Touchstone Counseling