In a new interview — his first since the incident — the alt rocker offers an update on his health, as well as opens up about the harrowing events, his battle with depression, and his plans for the future. Read below for choice excerpts.
Pajo reflects on the moments that led to his suicide attempt:
I’m very good at disguising my depression – up until the very end I was completely lucid. People close to me were just beginning to get a clue, the police had a missing persons report on me when I attempted a month before. My ex was the only person who knew I was suicidal, for half a year she knew this, but never acknowledged what I was going through or tried to help. People need to be aware of what I can only call dangerous and untrue thoughts within themselves, i.e. “I had a good run but the time is now to call it quits,” “People will be saddened for a moment but ultimately the world is better off without me,” “I am ugly/an awful person etc,” “This is insurmountable and there’s no other way out of this situation,” “I refuse to live without (insert name here),” “I am alone” and so on. I have found all these thoughts to be completely false, but the rationale is so seductive it’s easy to get tunnel vision and close oneself off to any other exit. These thoughts should be red flags to anyone having them. The emotion needs to be removed and the thoughts examined thoroughly, you know? It took me going all the way into the thoughts and out the other side to be able to do this. I don’t recommend this. Get to them early before the thoughts propagate like cancer cells.
Prior to the attempt, Pajo posted a number of photos suggesting that he was suicidal. But he maintains they weren’t “cries for help”:
Help was the last thing I wanted. When they were putting stitches in my neck in the ER the nurse asked, “Do you have anything to say?” I replied, “I wish I had died.” She was a bit taken aback but then said, “Well I’m glad you’re here.” I started crying very quietly as no one had said anything to me like that before.
I had the Suicide Hotline number saved as a speed dial in my phone for over a year but never called because I didn’t want to be talked out of anything – my mind was made up. My blog was supposed to be a way for people to know my side of the story. That’s all. I didn’t intend to be around for the aftermath.
Pajo says it’s the mass “outpouring of love and support” that’s helped him heal and look toward the future:
Honestly, there was such a massive outpouring of love and support by making my heart public that there was no way to avoid being empowered by it all. My family drew me in tighter than we’ve ever been. Thousands of emails and messages from friends and strangers came flooding in immediately, literally from the minute I posted it and attempted suicide.
The messages still come in. People sharing their own divorce/suicide/horror stories and I try my best to answer each and every one. That’s what got me focused on the most important thing: me and my healing. My children can only benefit from having a present and stable Daddy in their lives, not a dead one.
His advice to those who may be suffering from similar suicidal thoughts? “Don’t internalize your darkness”:
Well, I mentioned that it’s important to beware the ‘dangerous and completely untrue thoughts’ above. But there are quite a few things you can do. Don’t internalize your darkness: pull them out of your head and dump them on every person you can trust with your feelings! Yes, just drop it on them. When you’re bummed, you don’t want to burden anyone with your darkness so you keep it all inside. Fuck that. If they love you, it’s not a burden. Dump it out, lay your cards on the table with people who will react with compassion and not hold it against you. Do this all the time. If it’s in your head, let it out. It’s like releasing a valve, all that pressure starts releasing. Every little bit helps. Don’t hold back.
Also, no problem is insurmountable. But you have to line them up and take them one at a time. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.
And most importantly, chuck the fuckers who have proven themselves unworthy of your love. Vile, hateful people who make you feel awful about yourself – you don’t have time for that shit anymore. Just kick them to the curb. Why waste your love on someone who doesn’t deserve it? Seriously. I know we can’t control how we feel about someone. But these people will kill you if you let them and they honestly don’t give a flying fuck if you live or die. People change, sometimes they become enemies, and that’s okay.
The worst may be behind him, but Pajo says he’s still got a rough road ahead. Even so, he’s looking forward to getting “back on track” and notes that he plans to eventually return to music:
I’m mostly trying to get my life back on track dealing with nasty things like divorce warfare, child custody, visitation and support, living arrangements, character assassination, etc. But the urge to make music is slowly returning. I want to go on tour again, with a good band.
I lost all interest in making music. I lost all interest in listening to music. This has been happening since August 2014. I rarely touch a guitar. And this is coming from someone who used to play 9 hours a day, who has played guitar nearly every day for 30 years. The urge to listen is slowly coming back, though it’s very limited. The urge to write is slowly coming back, but only in terms of ideas in my head. I know all this intense emotion will fuel my music in the future, but I’m not rushing anything. I’m letting it unfold naturally, at its own pace.