Three Years.

By Kevin BreelMay 29, 2014

Three years ago today, I almost made the mistake of taking my own life.

In that moment thirty-six months ago though, the idea of suicide seemed much less like a mistake and more like a decent solution to a horrible problem. That problem was a gripping depression, an overwhelming sense of loneliness, and a struggle to find any sort of lasting fulfillment in life that wasn’t because of drugs or alcohol.

So I sat in my room, and I wrote my suicide note.

Three years later to the day, it feels weird to put pen to paper again to reopen a door that, for a long time, I wanted to stay as shut as possible.

But in other ways, it seems fitting because this year has been the first year I’ve ever been willing to open that door and see what’s waiting on the other side of it.

Turns out the other side of it isn’t so scary. I guess I’ve found the same to be true of life since February 26, 2011.

I used to think that joy was going to come find me. Now I see you have to go find it. You have to take chances: on opportunities, on moments, on people. You have to love harder than you think you can, and it starts with surrounding yourself with people and with your faith.

You have to go looking for the thing you want to find.

I’ve spent a lot of my last three years looking.

What I ended up finding was simple.

I found out that our deepest struggles don’t also have to be our deepest secrets. I’ve found out sometimes you just need to go see your counselor. I’ve found out that there is love waiting for you as soon as you stop waiting for it and go out there and grab it with both your hands.

And I guess, more than anything, I’ve found out life can be good. Scars heal. Bruises fade. Things that were broken get fixed. And time gives us all the gift of acceptance, whether we’re happy about it or not.

It turns out it’s pretty easy to walk away from a night where you want to end it all. The hard part is finding a reason powerful enough not to walk back.

My reasons are pretty simple: I love my family. I love my friends. I love being a work in progress. And I believe in second chances. In comebacks. In redemption.

Today, I’m not the same person that wrote that suicide note just three years ago.

Things are different. Life is different.

I’ve been blessed to travel the world, to get to do work that I believe in, and to literally live the dreams that I had as a kid.

I have an incredible family, friends, and community behind me. They are talented, flawed people who wear their imperfections all over them, the same way I wear mine all over me.

Around Christmas, I was in an airport in Seattle. I met a young guy who was a university student and knew some of my story. He asked if he could buy me a coffee, and I said I only drink tea. He called me a ‘typical Canadian,’ and I laughed, despite not knowing if that really is very Canadian to only drink tea. Then he asked me if he could ask me a personal question. I said yes. He said, “Is it hard to talk about almost killing yourself?”

Tough question.

I guess the short answer would be yes.

But I believe the better answer is that I would be much more uncomfortable if I didn’t talk about it.

I can’t hide from my past. I can’t change any of it either. And quite honestly, I have no desire to anyways.

I know who I am. And I’m okay with it.

And maybe that’s the biggest change you can ever ask yourself to make, to stop hating who you are and start loving yourself. To love your story. Even the messy parts of it.

Especially the messy parts of it.

This is one of the messier parts of my story.

And I’m really glad I get to share it with you.

Because, in almost every way, that means I’m still living it. I still have a story. I still have more mistakes to make. More love to give. More moments to witness. More life to live.

And so do you.

Perhaps that is the greatest blessing of all.

Here’s to life on the other side of despair. Here’s to believing in better things, as my friend Jamie Tworkowski would say. And here’s to having them come true.



*If you haven’t already, you can watch Kevin’s TED Talk here. We’re so honored to offer the TWLOHA + Kevin Breel print in our store, which features one of our favorite lines from his viral talk.   

Leave a Reply

Comments (8)

  1. Julia Piecka

    I smiled the entire time I was reading this because I can feel the same way. Life is beautiful even the messy parts. I love myself and story. One of the best blogs I have read in awhile, thank you!

    Reply  |  
  2. Anonymous

    Thanks Kevin. This is one of few posts I’ll remember. This is so true: “It turns out it’s pretty easy to walk away from a night where you want to end it all. The hard part is finding a reason powerful enough not to walk back.”

    Reply  |  
  3. mandy

    It’s good to know we are not alone. Ur saving lives by being brave. X

    Reply  |  
  4. Erin

    Wow I love the way you write, thsi was SO inspiring!

    Reply  |  
  5. Mary moe

    My daughter killed herself this past June 2022. . I feel like I try every day. . My pain overwhelms me most days. . She was 22 . I feel like I want to be with her .

    Reply  |  
    1. TWLOHA


      We are incredibly sorry and we understand how you’re feeling and how much pain you’re in on a daily basis. That is so much to carry. Please know you can find support by going to, and you can also email us at [email protected] if you’d like a safe space to share. We’re here.

      With Hope,

      Reply  |  
  6. Michelle Petty

    CW: PTSD + Combat + Sexual Assault

    I am not only deeply sorry that you went through this ordeal, but I completely understand that everything we go through makes us stronger.💪 I have a son who is a retired Veteran that had to take an honorable discharge from trauma from the Army 🪖💔 and he still hasn’t talked much about it today, but I do understand enough that it took a toll on him with bombs going off close to him and partners he worked with for a few years; the one partner raped and then killed the other partner after transferring to another base with each other,… it became a famous Case in the United States and the News Channels wanted my son to be a key whitness, but he refused because he was so traumatized. Within that year, none of my son’s family was notified with my son going to hospitals under EMERGENCY CARE Visits, having near death situations because he had alcohol levels so high with marijuana use too; he claims that he in the the hospital for weeks and needed specialized care and treatment. Suicide attempts floowed. Hearing all this broke my heart as his Mother. 💔 But he did receive that honorable discharge. 💪💯 And something he’s never disclosed to the family is what was is his Social Security Disability paperwork that he left behind at my house. He is labled as Bi-polar, Schizophrenic and having PTSD Disorder. So without me having knowledge of the first two or knowledge of the differences between the two, I would like to educate myself the best I can to help my son the best I can since they seem to think the Army trauma caused this. 💔🙏💔

    Reply  |  
    1. TWLOHA

      Hi Michelle,

      We appreciate your vulnerability in sharing about your son and your perspective as a mother. It is incredibly difficult to bear witness to our loved ones suffering from mental health challenges, and we are grateful that you are wanting and willing to learn more in hopes of providing support. We hope you are able to have a safe and open dialogue with your son and to listen to him about his struggles and needs without judgment. Your son deserves to be met with professional resources that can guide him on a journey of healing. Please know that you can email our team at [email protected] for assistance with locating services, and you can also email our team at [email protected] if you or your son need a safe and encouraging space to share more of your experiences and emotions. We are with you both.

      With Hope,

      Reply  |  
Get Email Updates

Sign up for our newsletter to hear updates from our team and how you can help share the message of hope and help.