“I don’t remember what the details of that day were like. I just hopped on the bus and I think I had a nervous breakdown, so I got off the bus, and I was going to walk into a busy street and just let a car hit me,” Cole recalled. “That’s how it all started, I guess. From not wanting to live actively wanting to die.”
Thankfully, Cole never walked into that street. He waited for his mother to pick him up and, as he remembers it, “told her everything.”
For a while, Cole was confused as to why he was having these suicidal thoughts.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that I just wanted the pain to stop,” he explains. “I just wanted to be happy. If I had died, then I assumed that I wouldn’t feel anything, and so if I didn’t feel anything, then I wouldn’t feel suffering, and therefore I’d be happy.”
Today, Cole is feeling much better than the day he got off the bus, after working on his recovery for more than a year. He has found an interest in archeology, photography, and anthropology, and recently took a trip to the plains to investigate an early 20th Century moonshining couple named the Claytons. He says he doesn’t have much advice for other young people struggling with suicidal thoughts. “All I know is that I got lucky,” he says.
But even if he doesn’t have concrete advice for others, he has found strategies that work for him.
“I constantly look for ways to get something out of everything. It’s a nice skill I’ve picked up.” In that way, he is an archeologist: constantly making discoveries in his everyday life.
Cole’s twin, Mackenzie Tucker, has also struggled with suicidal thoughts.
Mackenzie is deaf and uses Cued Speech rather than American Sign Language. She says some of her struggles with mental health when she was in high school stemmed from not having a compatible cued speech transliterator to help her understand what was going on around her in school.