“Hello, my name is…”

Have you ever been at a function where you have to wear the “Hello, my name is…”tags? Or maybe tried a dating service? What if real life was like a dating service? I mean, what if we had a description… A profile that was presented to everyone before the actually met us. Would it work in your favour? Truthfully? I’ve thought of this lots lately… And I really don’t like it.

My profile: I’m a 34 year old husband and father of 3, a 9 year old daughter, a 4 year old son, and a son we lost 6 years ago. I have as long as I can remember struggled with anxiety and depression, and in the last year gotten the following resume of diagnosis: Clinical Depression, Advanced Social Anxiety, Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I am a carpenter, however with weekly talk-therapy, bi-weekly couples counselling, weekly group-counselling, and psychiatrist appointments I’m only able to work about 60-75%. I love sports, especially hockey… however because of trouble controlling my anxiety I had to quit playing this year…it was just too hard. I love watching my kids play hockey. I even help coach my sons hockey team. Well, I did. But it got to be too hard. I would go home and crash, it was so mentally exhausting. I have pretty much only been able to be a half-time dad it feels like, I have to miss so much. I am considered extreme high risk of suicide. Basically what this means is that if I go to the doctor for a runny nose I get asked if there’s firearms in the house. I have attempted suicide…my file says seven times since last March, and what the file says matters more than what I say. I have been hospitalized at the Dubè Centre. This is where I got my initial diagnosis. I cut myself. Lots. I have cuts more often than I don’t. I used to hide my scars. Even though I’m extremely embarrassed about them, they’re what I am. I can’t just hide all the time. The last 20-25 years I have hidden my depression/anxiety. I’ve made a life out of bottling feelings and emotions. I have EXTREME trust issues. I trust very reluctantly, and I have most definitely been burnt in the past. I dissociate, regularly. Sometimes for seconds, sometimes for hours. I am haunted by thoughts and dreams. Every. Single. Day. I dream vividly, both good dreams and nightmares. I get tremors. I have anxious twitches. I battle my thoughts all day, every day. Oh yeah, and I’m pretty heavily medicated.

So… What do you think. Those of you that know me are quite likely surprised to read all that. You’re likely saying ” yeah, but there’s way more to you than that…” And I do know there’s way more to me than that. But the thing is, my mind has a whole lot of control. I’m working at fixing that, but when I look at myself, that is what I see. The description I wrote is all that I see. That is why it’s so hard for people to understand. It’s not that I don’t know the “truth”. It’s kind of like the kid who is tormented by bullies. Emotionally he gets beaten down and beaten down until he mentally gives in. He starts seeing himself the way the bullies see him. As worthless. It’s the same with me. Only the “bully” is my mind, and I can never get away from it. I’m learning methods to cope, but it’s still very natural to resort to self-harm. I believe that I’m worthless. I tell myself everyone would be better off if I was dead. And I often convince myself it’s true.

I think that’s where most people get hung up. “How can you hate yourself so much?” I don’t want to. It sucks! But when that’s what I am being told, you break down. You give in. You fight like hell not to give up.

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4 thoughts on ““Hello, my name is…”

  1. Hello my name is…Ericka. But my nickname is ‘e’. There was a time I’d try to help by trying to fix everything you shared but now I know better. So I extend non judgment and humbly admit I don’t what to say except…”It’s very nice to meet you..glad you’re here”.

    All the best,

    e

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  2. Dee here from not too far away. 🙂 Hello there. I read your words. I nodded. And nodded. And nodded some more. After reading all your words I have had some time to think about our similarities and differences. And I think that, through everything I’ve been through in my life, and working through my issues, I can absolutely relate, and yet I feel like I have a measure of control over myself. Not any kind of judgement in any way at all… I have been to all your extremes too, but I was in a bad relationship that I left and was a single mom for a long time. I made more bad decisions fueled by my issues and put myself in bad situations… I had to be responsible. It’s entirely different when you’re in a relationship with a kind, loving, supportive partner. It’s like throwing yourself out to sea to measure the depth knowing you have someone to tow you back in. I knew if I chose to drown myself with two amazing, astonishing, annoying children in tow I would lose the only anchors I had to this world. I came close once. I lost my own birth mother that way and it mind fucks me to this day. My birth parents are both dead, my history is absolutely messed up, and I swore up and down I would not do the same to my kids. I hear the voices in my head more than I would like and I don’t get to say to anyone, hey, my other self is saying the best answer is to off yourself. Like, it’s reasonable. You’re nothing but a problem. I’m not medicated right now- I simply just fight it. I argue with my own head, I know tomorrow is a new day. I can’t continually be sick and a wreck and compromising my family’s life because that in and of itself is what brought me back here. I think the one reason why I feel, for lack of a better term, “one step ahead” of you… is that I look in the mirror, I think way too much, I’m always surprised by myself when I look at myself. Either I’m a complete fucking wreck or I look way too put together for how I feel. I avoid mirrors. I always shock myself. But I was never as much a part of the community as you, nor am I a male. (You could sit down with my other half some day and have a real good discussion on just how normal you really are). I started realizing this last year, as I slowly destroyed myself, all the things I was saying that became a self-perpetuating problem, much like you have said; I hate myself. I am a horrible mother. I obviously cannot take care of the day to day. (insert my heart in my throat here) I am worthwhile by getting things DONE. By making the kids laugh and have fun (fuzzy feelings here- love my kiddos) And then night falls and the voices tell me to take those fucking pills, take them you are a waste of space and time. And cut and cut and cut til I bleed it all out and I’m done. But I don’t. Some times I white knuckle it, sometimes I drink the demons away or back to life. I’ve just gotten really good at arguing with myself. It all happens inside my head so it is “containable” but it’s there, and I am taking my steps to deal with it. I’ve finally set up a good professional support, which I have never had, two provinces and ten years plus wide. Long story short: You are Dave. You are a good dad, a loving husband, a sports enthusiast. Sorry for all my crass words, but seriously, I’m at the point in my life where I say fuck anybody who wants to stick me with ANY label. You are NOT your mental/physical/emotional illnesses. And yet I know what it’s like to sit there and go, ok what next? Or, what or who the hell am i? I know… I am right there too. All I can say is stop trying to explain yourself to people and remember you are fucking worth it. Your wife and kids are amazing proof of that. I have had to reduce myself to a small little box of “Jake and the kids” make all of life worth it, I don’t worry about extended family and friends. Ps, you blog beautifully, keep it up. ❤ much love to you and your fam.

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    1. Thanks so much for the kind words. I don’t think I have things put together as much as you think. I have a lot of pride, and I’ve been so embarrassed my whole life to have anyone see who I really am. I’m making a point of being straight forward with all this, because I know that if I don’t, I’ll just go back to hiding and bottling things up again. It’s not easy, it’s not comfortable. This year has been crazy. I’m so paranoid about what’s being said about me in certain circles. Because I come across confidently and put together, I know people have a hard time really believing what I have to say. But the bottom line is… I fight suicide each and every day. People don’t see that side of me.

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  3. I’m so sorry that you feel so bad about yourself. You should be very proud of yourself for blogging. You are doing some amazing things – raising awareness of mental illness and beating stigma. You are a support for myself and others, just by telling your story. I look forward to reading more.

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