Robot 6

Matt Hawkins celebrates life by sharing his own struggle with suicide

Matt Hawkins

While many of us are preoccupied with Tuesday’s election, Guy Fawkes Day or what titles we’ll pick up at the comic store, Matt Hawkins’ mind is on something far more important, and far more personal: that day, exactly two years ago, when he nearly took his own life.

On his Facebook page, the president and chief operating officer of Top Cow Productions writes frankly about what brought him to the brink of suicide — divorce, a messy personal life and a belief that his children would be better off without him — and just how close he came to going through with it.

“Once I made the decision to do it I recall feeling an odd sense of relief and calm, which is kind of frightening in retrospect,” Hawkins writes. “I spent a few hours putting my affairs in order and wrote a series of emails that I saved as drafts to send all at once so I wouldn’t see the responses. I hand wrote a letter to my boys essentially saying this wasn’t their fault and that I loved them. I left the letter on my table with a copy of my will, etc. I then drove down to Santa Monica beach with my gun in my computer bag and went down and sat on one of the cliffs there overlooking the water. I couldn’t think of a better place to die. I sat there thinking about things still oddly calm and ultimately the thought of missing out on my boys future and the possible stigmatizing of them from my own cowardly death shook me out of the calm fog. I started shaking violently and changed my mind.”

Although he notes “this is the one and only time in all my life I’ve thought or acted upon some sort of suicidal impulse,” Hawkins obviously isn’t alone (more than 38,000 people die by suicide each year in the United States; for every death there are an estimated eight to 25 attempts). And he’s not the only comics-industry figure to speak openly about suicide: It was only two months ago that artist Jason Pearson wrote about trying to kill himself the year before.

Disclosures like Hawkins’ and Pearson’s are important — for them, and for everyone else. They help to dismantle the stigma surrounding depression, and rattle our comfortable beliefs that we would never in a million years entertain thoughts of suicide (I imagine Hawkins, Pearson and thousands of others felt the same way at one time). It’s tough to say where a divorce, a layoff notice, a foreclosure or the death of a loved one will leave us.

But more important still is that they provide proof that it’s possible to move beyond that dark place.

“I’m publicizing this now partially because of the auspicious anniversary but mainly because I want anyone out there to know that no matter how dark things are at the moment they always get better,” Hawkins writes. “I have a terrific life, great family, phenomenal career and the best woman on the planet. It scares me to even consider that I would have missed out on all this.”



I really hope Mr Hawkins reads this article and looks through the comments section, because I wanna tell him something. I wanna say something that he probably already knows and truly understands: Matt, you are not alone. I understand just how tough it is to deal with the stigma associated with depression and suicide, I’ve read enough comments online to know that for a fact: hell, it’s the reason why I’ve only told two friends of mine about my past history of suicide attempts.

So Mr Hawkins, I just want to say that you’re really brave for sharing this with the world and that you’re most definitely not alone.

Thank you, Matt. That was amazing. I don’t know you, but nevertheless you’ve made me happier today knowing you took the right path.

I respect all the people that can pull themselves back from that brink but there is something no one ever has the balls to say: it doesn’t get better for everyone. Shoveling out cliches doesn’t help people who suffer every single day.

Proud of you, Matt!

@ Amber.
Dealing with a suicide attempt really is an a constant and ongoing recovery process. You are right in that the problems that caused the attempt in the first place don’t just go away after you pull yourself back from the brink. The positive development from walking away from suicide though is that you hopefully realize there is a better solution, and that you are now prepared to start looking for that better solution. That’s how I look at it from my own personal experience with this.

Matt…thanks for sharing your story.

My circumstances were somewhat similar to yours. I have suffered from depression most of my life. At the same time when I was fired from Black Lightning, blacklisted at DC, and dealing with DC staffers spreading horrible lies about me, sometimes at conventions, my in-laws were actively trying to screw up my marriage. I was out of work with no prospects and feeling like I wasn’t of any use to my wife or kids.

Ultimately, what pulled me through was realizing my kids wouldn’t be better off without me, that I was the constant voice against the racism constantly expressed by my in-laws and my birth family…and that my wife needed me to be there for her and them.

I got professional help. I took control of my medical situation. No medication is right for everyone, no course of treatment is right for everyone. I put my head down and butter through it, taking some truly ridiculous jobs along the way.

And things turned out pretty damn good.

Many years ago, when I started to write about this, the response was immediate and positive. I know that, painful as writing about it was for me, I helped people.

Just as you have done with this article.

Kudos to you, Matt. Stay strong and know you are making a difference.

Obviously, I butted through it. Because buttering through it would just be silly.

@Tony: Good for you, and Matt and Jason.

(And, by “butter through” I thought it was some kind of weird, head stuck in a railing, turn of phrase.)

Yes, thanks for sharing this … as someone who’s been close to suicide many times, and who’s been chastised for it by friends and family alike, it’s nice to hear from someone who understands. Glad you made it through.

Moving story, and I’m glad you had the courage to survive and the courage to share this.

Every so often I tell my kids that there’s no need to rush the way out. That they can get on a Greyhound Bus and start all over again, wherever they want. I hope that take that to heart and at least try a fresh start before ending it.

Super glad that things have been worthwhile for you since that time!

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