…mind > brain.

“Tell Dave I’m proud of him. He did a full week!!😊 and probably wasn’t easy but he did it!!

It was with Sherry sharing that text with me from my mother-in-law that I realized a few things. Firstly…it’s been 10 months since the last time I worked a five day week. That’s crazy to think of…I’ve literally worked four or fewer days a week for the better part of a year now. I never even really paid much attention to that. I know I’m in counselling at least one day a week, so it makes sense. And even when it hasn’t been counselling there’s been days that I’ve gotten myself worked up. I’ve been too down to function. I’ve freaked out and cut myself and had to go home. But surely there had to have been some weeks in there I toughed it out? Not even one? Nope…not even one. 

I went into the hospital the end of August last year. The long and the short of it was I mixed a lot of meds with a lot of alcohol and carved myself up. I had cuts up both arms, across my chest, the sides of my neck and across my throat, and across my face and forehead. I was home alone, and actually texted a “selfie” of me cut up to a bunch of people…messed up, I know. Some were family, some were friends, some…I don’t really even know. As a result though I ended up in RUH ER. (And on a side note, my house getting searched through by RCMP…that’s what happenes when you mass-text self-harm pics, FYI) But little did I know that that night…taking those pills and sitting on the floor drinking as much and as fast as I could, would end up altering my life in so many ways. Life-changing, to say the least. 

Being in the Dubè (Dubè Centre for Mental Health) was…interesting. At first I really didn’t want to be there. At. All. But after talking with the Psych nurses and doctors there I decided that it could be a good thing. I now saw glaringly that my life was decaying. That I was in a downward spiral that I needed help with. But there’s one problem. And it’s a really big problem. My mind…not my rational brain, but my mind, does not see it that way. I’m a smart guy. I can see that I have issues that I need to work through. That I am a danger to myself. It’s clear. It’s obvious. But that’s my brain talking there. My mind, on the other hand, wants nothing to do with my brains logical thinking. My mind is easily threatened. My mind catastrophizes everything. My mind is completely anti-trusting. My mind will have me sabotage  anything and everything that gets in my way. My mind pretty much sucks.

But like I said earlier, I am a smart guy. I sat with Sherry in the Dubè one of the first days. We were waiting to see one of the psychiatrists, and I said to Sherry “I’m going to lie my way out of here, you know…” Did I want to be there? Of course not…who in their right mind wants to be in a mental hospital. But I knew that I needed to be there. I knew it was the best thing for me. But there was beginning to be a shift. My mind was voicing louder and louder its destructive opinions. The clutter and chaos in my mind was getting harder and harder to sift through. What made sense now seemed threatening. I was paranoid and on edge. I was now on the defensive.

I’ve gotten, and continue to get lots out of my counselling. It’s definitely not a waste of time. But as soon as I’m uncomfortable with where things are going I start lying. Either to change the direction things are going, to avoid more questions, or to make them see progress. I went into a session feeling like garbage. I was angry. I was hurting. I was lost. I filled out the stupid chart you have to do, my counsellor looked at it and said “oh, it looks like you’re doing better this week than last week…” My response… “Yes, I am.” Everything I went in there wanting to talk about went out the window. I stopped thinking with my brain and my mind took over. There was an hour of lying, basically, to fill up that session.

And it’s frustrating. After 10 months, that’s still where I’m at. I lie whenever things get uncomfortable. I lie to avoid questions and conversation. I lie to make the conversation end. I lie to get what I want. But want to hear the stupid thing? I lie to hurt myself. I lie to punish myself. When things feel like they’re starting to look up, I’ll lie to hurt someone, usually my wife, which in turn hurts me. I’ve missed countless events because of lying to myself…but I just can’t push my mind away.

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…i am, a loser

You know it’s coming!! For those of you that follow me on Facebook or Instagram, and if you aren’t, why aren’t you?!? (IG – @inkeddad_2.0 or FB – https://www.facebook.com/hadtoomuchtodreamlastnight <–click link). But I posted today about an incident that happened that I’ve never had to deal with before… and I kind of left the door wide open to expand my thoughts.

I’ve been working up in PA for about a month now. I’m a carpenter, and we’re finishing out a condo complex up there. There’s some things about PA that might kind of help give you a feel for the setting. First off, I love PA… I really do. It’s a great little city cut into Parkland forest with a beautiful river valley. Some observations I have made, however… 8Ball leather jackets are still beIng represented by a scattered few. (Side note…I confess, I was the owner of an 8 Ball leather jacket. I got it 22 years ago, I was 12, and I’m really not sure it was cool even then), but these guys are rocking them, even when it’s 28deg. Celsius. Also, Ugg boots are the duct tape of the fashion scene. They have unlimited uses. With leggings, with skirts, with shorts, with flannel pj bottoms…limitless, and again at 28deg Celsius. Baby strollers fit unlimited kids, cars can be driven with dummy tires on diagonally opposite corners. Bikes don’t need seats, inflated tires, or both pedals (that’s right, one will do). And there was an ad, hand written in all lowercase letters. “3 left shoes, ladies size 9, brand new, still in box. never worn. $25 obo.” I kid you not…you cannot even make this stuff up. Apparently she was in a walking boot for six months after surgery and the right ones were worn… Might as well sell the lefts, I mean, they are still in boxes!!

Now I know I make fun of PA…and I do. A lot. But like I said, I love PA. I’ve worked there often now. We bring our kids, there’s great water slides…and the people, as quirky as I make them out to be, and they are quirky. But they’re nice!! They’re typical Saskatchewan Super Nice people. They wave at you when you drive by. They hold the door for you. Tell you when you forgot your son in the parking lot. (I knew he was there, but still…nice people) That’s why what happened today caught me so off guard. I was in the confectionery buying some drinks. I noticed the guy in front of me look back at me, then look forward again shaking his head. I didn’t really think much of it, but then when I walked out of the store he was in his car kind of just parked in the middle of the lot. I walked over to my truck, and just as I opened the door I heard him. “Hey!” I looked around my open door to where he was, and he said…and I quote, “Nice fucking arms, you loser!” And drove away.

Now for those of you that don’t know, I am a cutter. (Over 2 months cut free!!) But my arms are covered in scars. Hundreds of them. They’re definitely not something that I’m proud of, but they’re there. And for the rest of my life they are a part of me. A part of my story. I made a very deliberate decision a while back not to hide my scars. I live in a very small town. A awesome community of under 2000people. And when I say awesome, I mean AWESOME! But it’s small. I’ve gone through a lot if shit over the last year. We have close friends that have been there for my wife and I the whole way. But being a small town, everyone knows bits and pieces. It’s one of those things that as hard as it is to do, I’ve decided that rather than hide I would open myself up. Make myself vulnerable. People don’t know how to approach me. No one wants to set me off. No one knows how I’ll react. I honestly think people are scared of me. I guess it’s kind of my way of saying “I’m not hiding.” I really hope that it will help eliminate some of the gossip (yes, shockingly my awesome small town does this too) when people see that I’m being open. That they’ll talk to me, or my wife, or our friends rather than try and figure things out for themselves by talking. How’s that working out for me? Honestly… I have no idea. Maybe I should be covering up…I don’t know.

But those words…”you loser”. I know they’re just words. And I know they came from some irrelevant person I’ll likely never see again. But they are ruminating in my mind. Firstly, I do believe these words to be true. I’m told over and over In therapy that my self-hate is something I need to work on, but it’s there. I am my biggest critic. I’m my biggest hater. So I call myself a loser on the daily. But no one else ever has. I know that people think it, but no one ever says it. It’s another one of those overly nice Saskatchewan things, I guess. But with those words. Those two words from a total stranger. It was like all these thoughts. All these visions. All these feelings that I hold against me were no longer just mine. They say sticks and stones break bones… Well words, they don’t break bones, but they hold power. And for me, that power is confirmation of what I already know. What I already feel. Does his opinion really matter? No. Who knows what his story even is. But to someone who hates themselves. To someone who feels that everyone walks on eggshells around them. That thinks people are scared to “set me off”. Is this guy just saying what everyone else has too much tact to spit out? 

I don’t know….

What I do know is I have a 9 year old daughter that has to explain her dads scars, and the fact that he cuts himself when he’s sad. I have a 5 year old son that has helped his dad cut stitches out of his arm, and gets hauled around with me all over the place for MY safety, because one of the only things I’m 100% sure of is that I’ll never, ever hurt myself around my kids. I have a wife who has to come up with the $2000 a month my therapy costs us, as well as finding time to come to therapy herself. And, on top of that, lives in constant fear of what she’s going to walk into. I have next to nothing to do with family anymore because I don’t know how to explain myself. It’s hard to say “yeah, I’ve been dealing with this for 25years” to your unknowing family. (And it’s not they’re fault at all. I’m sure looking back now they see signs, but I hid this very very well. I lied to countless people to cover up what I was going through) But I have nothing to do with anyone from my past at all anymore. I live completely in the present, because that’s all that I allow myself to do. I’ve hurt countless people. There’s some things in my past I want to forget. And then there’s that that I would do anything to go back and hold on to. My life has not been easy. I haven’t allowed it to be. But I’ve made my bed. What comes, comes. I get what I deserve. I am, a loser.

…hurt

I’m being tormented at work this morning…so here I am, Wednesday June 17, sitting on my lunch break… Broken…
I believe the loss of a child is THE most unnatural emotional event to have to deal with. We literally are not wired to process and digest the overwhelming hurt and emotional anguish that comes with it. 
I know I’ve made a point of not making this a “religious blog”, but bear with me for a minute. You look in the bible…God tests Abraham’s commitment and loyalty by commanding him to sacrifice his son, Isaac. Why? Because it is the hardest thing Abraham could ever possibly have to do. And When God saw his commitment He provided a ram to sacrifice in place of his son. Why? To spare him what was sure devastation and unbearable grievance. Or how God chose to display His love for us? By sacrificing his son. Why? I believe it’s because it’s something we can all relate to…at least all of us with children. That sacrifice has meaning because we all know we would do very thing we could to save and protect our children. There’s no way we would “choose” to allow a child to die, never mind by sacrifice.
I feel like I had to make that sacrifice, only minus the choice. On day three, when we found out our son wasn’t going to make it, there was unbearable hurt and anger. It was literally physically paralyzing. There was confusion. There was doubt. There was denial. And then there was numbness. Dayton loved twenty six days, most of that a fog. Yes, there was emotion…but all of that emotion was bottled up. None of it was shown. My wife and I were stoic. We handled the situation in stride, and we did it amazingly well. Only thing is, we didn’t. Now I can only speak for myself, not for Sherry…but I never grieved. I refused to grieve. I refused to show weakness. To show hurt. I just swallowed the pain and showed strength. But that’s a it was… Show. Five years of show.
What kind of father doesn’t grieve the loss of his son? Seriously?!?! You have to be a pretty shitty dad to refuse to honour your son and recognize him through grievance. But I didn’t. In many ways I ignored the fact that it happened. Now here I am six years later sill reeling from all this bottled up pain. I’ve been haunted by nightmares of watching my son die before my eyes. Im terrified of something happening to one of my other kids, but I don’t want to be “that dad”, so instead I stand back. I’ve made myself distant. I’ve deprecated myself from the world. I get lost in my mind, and find contentment there. I hate who I am, or who I’ve become, but I don’t know how to be anything else. I’m scared to be anything else. I don’t know what to do…I only know how to bottle up, so that’s what I’ll continue to do.
So there you have it… That’s my shitty day. Sorry to vent, but that’s what blogs are for, right?!?

My (un)Beautiful Mind

**I wrote this entry 3 months ago in mid-March. Many areas I’ve made progress since, which I’m very happy about…but I reading this this morning I realize how real the struggles are, and that they don’t just “go away”.**
This is likely going to be a little bit more depressing a post than what I’d like, and for that I’m going to apologize right off the start. The main reason is because this last 4-6 weeks has been really tough, and it’s been progressively getting tougher. In the middle there you throw in a stretch of 5 days where I was without meds… Which most of you know is a recipe for disaster. It’s literally been close to the toughest stretch I’ve had yet. The good news is I’ve toughed it out so far, even though it took a lengthy battle of the mind while locked in the bathroom… Just me, a knife, and the longing to end things then and there. But here I am… So Yay (I guess).

I met my psychiatrist, who first gave me shit for going of my meds…(um, yeah. Believe me, it wasn’t planned). So what was my reward? Increased meds… 40mg Prozac, 300mg Lamotrigine, 750mg Lithium, 250mg Quetiapine. That is my new daily life partner. But the positive… Without my meds I was freaking-out!! So… I know they’re doing something. Right?!?!
But it got me to thinking… What the heck is wrong with me? I mean, in my head… Why do I need so much assistance just to feel normal? And I don’t even feel normal. It’s hard. Therapy is great. I’m actually learning so much. I’m learning pretty crazy and cool things about myself. About my eff’d up mind, and how it works. It’s amazingly insightful! But the problem is it’s equally discouraging as it is encouraging. I’m a pretty smart guy. I’d even go as far as to say I’m very smart… But I am biased… You know, being me and all. I honestly can remember “hiding” for as long as I can remember. I didn’t know or understand why I felt the way I did. I knew it wasn’t normal (normal being the way everyone else felt/thought) but there’s no way I could tell you why that was. All I knew from a very young age… “I have to bottle this up… This isn’t right.” So that’s what I did.
I’m now 34 years old, and my guess is that close to 25 years of that have been “played out”, “acted”. And you know something? I was really, really good at it. I never realized just how much I did…it all just became so natural. But now looking back there’s so many things over the course of my life that now make sense. I think anyone who knows me likely sees the same thing. It’s not something I’m proud of, but I’d be lying if I said there weren’t times where I’ve thought “this sucks… I want to just go back to my charade. I can do that.” And I could. But, I know that I was becoming less and less in control. My mind was taking over. As smart as I am, I wasn’t able to maintain control. My mind outsmarted me, and it did it very very well. And it did it very very regularly. My mind was no longer me… It was controlling me, and it was trying to kill me.

A beautiful mind? Not a chance… My mind is not beautiful.

My mind is not beautiful.
it is a growing heap of discarded
thoughts, and half written sentences.
it is branches, fallen far from the tree,
or wet leaves which collect on the
corner of the flowerbeds. It is the color
of the sky as the dawn is coming; and
the smell of gasoline rising from a fire.
it is a rose petal, long lost forgotten, pressed
between a book. It is the last second
of consciousness before drifting to sleep,
and the first breath of air you take after parting
the lips of your love. My mind is a growing
frenzy, a wasteland of abandoned roads.
but my mind is not beautiful.

(Julie Martinez)

…sorry, but I’m not sorry

“Why do you blog?”

I’ve been asked this question quite a few times. Or “Why do you blog about the things you do?” Different times my wife has told me that the content of my blogs, or my Instagram posts scares people. It makes them uncomfortable. They don’t know how to respond. They’re scared to comment or say anything. They don’t want to make things worse. To these concerns… To those of you who share these sentiments, I’m sorry…but not sorry.

I’m sorry if I offend you. I try and keep my content clean and for the most part only limited in description, but I know at times emotions show more than other. Fear. Anger. Hate. So if I say things that offend you, I am sorry. But I am not sorry for making you uncomfortable. Discomfort and naivety go hand in hand. By no means do I consider myself an expert on mental health. I wouldn’t even consider myself an advocate, although that is something I am working at. All I know is that a year ago I knew next to nothing about mental health. I had no interest. I turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the subject altogether. It made me uncomfortable, so I avoided it. And it is for that that I am truely sorry. The fact that I was so caught up in the matters of my own life that I failed to recognize the volume of people that struggle and fight through mental illness of some sort every day. It’s embarrassing. And this past year has been eye-opening to say the least.

Like I said, a year ago mental health was not even on my radar. I had always struggled with anxiety and depression, but I never connected them to “mental illness”. I thought it was just something that everyone dealt with, and I just didn’t deal with it as well as others. I never thought something was “wrong” with me. I self-harmed, but I kept it very hidden. I’m quite sure that nobody was aware of my situation growing up, but mental health was pretty much a nonissue then as well. As I grew older I learned to cope in different ways. I developed insecurities, so I was very unwilling to open up. I learned how to say just enough, to open up just enough that no one would question anything, but never enough for anyone to get to know me. I got to be extremely untrusting, which is where I still am today. I was able to present myself as being social, without having to divulge anything personal, or make myself vulnerable. I picked areas I was willing to reveal and open up about myself, and I’d lay them out completely. This gave the impression I was an open book. I wasn’t hiding anything…so you can trust me, and I’ll trust you. I mastered this skill, and today I still am stuck in that game. Before last summer I would bet very few of you would have expected there to be anything “wrong” with me. And if it wasn’t for me being so public and in your face about things, you likely still wouldn’t know. And that, right there, is the incentive for this blog. My motive and my mission. So I guess that sort of makes me an advocate…sort of.

I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie A Perfect Storm, but that’s what last summer was in my head. It was like a whole handful of stresses peaked at the same time and it was like tnt in my mind. There was work stuff, there was personal stuff, there was financial stuff, and there was stuff that I didn’t even realize at the time was even stuff. Because I kept my life so private (I can literally count on one hand the people I’ve been willing to open up to) but because I kept so private, I had no one but my wife to talk to. There’s so much that I just bottled in. So much. I didn’t process. And as summer went on things were building up pressure, and I was struggling to just try and ride it out. I got put on antidepressants part way through the summer and this was the first I really acknowledged there was a problem that needed addressed. Then there was the Robin Williams death that really hit me hard…that is when I started realizing that this isn’t something that’s just going to go away. This is something that I’m still going to be dealing with in thirty years. And it was not too long after this when the top blew off of things. And when it blew, it blew.

I had been cutting myself a bit through the summer…whenever things got too chaotic in my mind I learned long ago that pain cleared the cobwebs. But the night it blew I ended up in ER at RUH with cuts to my arms, chest, face, and throat. I was admitted to the Dubè Centre and it was there that I was diagnosed BPD, and later officially diagnosed with Narcissistic Borderline Personality Disorder with severe anxiety and depression. I’m now in counselling up to ten days a month. I’m fairly heavily medicated, which I hate. Life now is so completely different in so many ways. I’ve had multiple hospital visits, and learning how to safely cope is an ongoing challenge. There’s very few areas of my life that are not heavily effected.

Living with an “invisible illness” is something I don’t know if I’ll ever completely come to terms with. It’s hard, because from the outside no one sees anything wrong. I’m smart, and I’m proud, so I hide everything as much as I possibly can. That’s where this blog is therapeutic for me. It forces me out of my comfort zone, and keeps me accountable to doing so. I know there’s people that think I’m “faking it” or ” milking it”. To those people, in my mind I say “eff-you”. Between meds and therapy and days off work my “faking it” costs my family over $2000/month. I can think of many, many things I’d rather do with that money than sit in therapy and live medicated. But that’s life, at least for now. 

So this is where I’m at. If I offend you with my posts… If you block me or unfriend me I’ll completely understand. But I’m not sorry for making you uncomfortable. Mental health, like any other health problems, is an uncomfortable topic. Stats are staggering. I guarantee you know many people directly effected by fairly severe mental health issues, either themselves or people close to them. I encourage you to educate yourself rather than ignore the issue. Here, I challenge you to learn about mine. Borderline Personality Disorder. Google it. You’ll see you have nothing to be afraid of. No reason to be concerned. But the illness, unfortunately, is real. 

Thanks for reading. I love and appreciate the support that I’ve received over the last months. Please, send me a message or comment if you’d like to know more. As always, please Feel free to share.

Dave

…just another Thursday 

I am livid. By the time I actually get through the front door, I don’t even remember what it is I’m mad about. And I don’t care. There’s only one thing I know for sure… I’m done. I’m gone. I. Am. Outta’here. I’m up the stairs. I don’t even know if I’m breathing anymore. I can’t tell. My heart is pounding right out of my chest, my eyes are leaking, and my jaw is grinding the shit out of my teeth as I rifle through clothes jamming them into my bag. Where am I going? I don’t know, and I don’t care. What am I doing? Again, don’t know…don’t care. I just want out. I just need out. My mind is killing me. Some days slowly and inconspicuous-like. But then there’s days like today where my mind is gouging my thoughts like a blade through butter. It’s blaring like an alarm the extent of my self-hatred. It’s literally eating me on the inside. It’s killing me.

I grab my bag and head down stairs. I head to the kitchen to grab my meds…silence. Suddenly my thoughts are a fog. Like slow motion in a movie I reach for my pill-pac. I can hear my heart beat. I’m not thinking, but I’m understanding. My mind is functioning. It’s controlling my thoughts, but I’m not even aware of my thoughts. I’ve emptied into a zippy-bag all the meds I have. Lithium. Prozac. Lemotragine. Seroquel. Pain killers. Sleep aids. They’re all there. A colourful little congregation in a zip-lok bag. I’m gone. I’m out. I’ve got my bag of pills, a couple knives and a sleeve of blades. They’re tucked in the console, and I’m ready.

The drive is a blur. I stop at a service station and stock up with energy drinks. I don’t even remember how many…two, four maybe. All I know is that by the time I get to the city, they’re gone. Just a trail of empty cans scattered across my passenger seat floor. I’ve left my phone. I didn’t want it. I don’t want anyone knowing where I am. Where I’m going. I don’t want to be interrupted, and I certainly don’t want to be found. But as I get to the city I feel something. Fear. Uncertainty. What if I’m making a mistake? What if this goes bad. What if I fail. Then what? I reel inside of my head. I fight to find some order. To make some sense of the blur. The chaos. I have to reach out… Don’t I? I grab my iPad and pull into a McDonald’s lot. Free wifi…and the only option for contacting help I have. I make myself a deal…if there’s response to this message, I take it as a sign. I pack it in. Abort the plan, and take it as a sign that today’s not the day.

“So…am I still banished?”

A simple text. An asshole text. A text that’s going to sting it’s recipient. But a text sent. And delivered. I wait, and I wait, and I wait. I wait for what seems like an eternity. No response. I close my iPad and leave the restaurant. I wipe away tears as I start my truck and continue on my way. I head downtown to the movie theatre. I find parking right outside the theatre doors. I check my iPad one more time to see if maybe I had just missed seeing a reply. Nothing. I take a few pills to settle me down. Quite a few. I head into the bar connected to the theatre and take a seat in a corner booth. I’m obviously in a rough state emotionally, as the waitress inquires if everything’s ok. I assure her that it is, and order myself a double. Then a second. And finally a third.. Between my meds and the drinks I’m settled in a comforting fog. I pay for my drinks and head out the door. I am ready. I’m ready to finally step out of my shadows. To step out of my shell and be a man. To finally take control in my life…something I can’t even remember the last time I had. I go to my truck, I grab my pills and a knife, and I head into the theatre.

Sitting in the back row my head starts spinning. It’s actually painful, and I literally have to hold my head in my hands to slow the spinning down. I lay back in my seat as the previews begin to start. Alone in the back row, I reach into my pocket and pull out the knife. I roll up my shirt sleeve, place the place on my skin, and press it firmly into my skin. As the burn sets in and the blood starts surfacing I pull the blade though my flesh, eyes clenched shut as the blade pulls away from my skin. Opening my eyes I see the blood running down my arm and dripping to the floor. Control of my thoughts is slowly returning. I cut myself three more times, and I’m laying back in my seat almost delirious. I reach again into my pocket pulling out my meds. My Baggie of pills. A congregation about two hundred strong ready to serve their leader. I start out a couple pills at a time. Then a few. Half dozen. A handful. Before I know it, the bag is gone. 

My chest is heavy. My head foggy. What have I done? I feel fear creep in. I reach for my drink, and I falls to the floor. I reach up to try and force myself to puke, but my motor skills have seized. The previews end, the lights go dim. I close my eyes. I open them, the lights go dim, I close my eyes. Again I open them. The lights go dim…

But but there was a response to that text. A simple “I’m coming home” My conditions were met. I was able to avoid the grasps of suicide one more time. But I’m haunted. My plan, my plan to end it all. The conclusion that I described in this blog is a nightmare. It plays over and over in my sleep. In my awake hours. It’s so real. I feel the blades in my arm, a feeling that although I’m over two months cut-free, oh how I miss that feeling. I see the blood. I feel the pills going down. It’s all so real. I see it. I know the outcome. I’m in love with the outcome. And there lies my greatest obstacle, and one of my most real fears.

…brains are stupid

…and they really are. 

I can feel the pressure. It’s pressing on my lungs. Holding them. Pressing them. And the beat of my heart in my ears, as if I’m being held underwater. The sensations are getting stronger and stronger as I make my way down the field to my truck. The last twenty feet I actually run as I feel the dizziness and nausea hitting me. I get to the back of my truck just in time to unload a little projectile tension. (As a side note, I do not handle puking well at all) As I stand up the dizziness hits full force. My ears are ringing. The light is all of a sudden blinding, just as though I’ve just emerged from a dark room into midday sunlight. I’m sweating. My palms are clammy. I open the door to my truck and I do the only thing I know how to do at times like this. I medicate. And I cry. Standing beside my truck, keeled over the drivers seat I cry. My head spins. My thoughts splatter my coherence like bugs on a windshield. I wait. I know it’s coming, it always does. That calmness. It starts in my chest…my breathing requires less effort. My heart stops pounding, and I actually break free from its throbbing echo in my ears. My mind becomes quiet. I know where I am. I recalibrate my senses. I hear the kids laughing. I feel the warmth of the sun and the cool breeze on my back. I made it. I always do, but every time I wonder if it’s the last. It sucks.

This was Saturday… My daughters soccer tournament. I love watching my kids play sports. I love seeing them active and enjoying the social competition. Seeing her running and laughing is pure joy. I wouldn’t trade those moments for anything. They make my heart happy. That’s why I find “the brain” so incredibly frustrating. I’m sitting here on a beautiful day out in an open field watching my kid play soccer along with some of my closest friends and fellow parents. The kids are having a blast and there’s no bugs at all (a rarity here in Saskatchewan) . This is a happy place. This is almost literally a happy place that I escape to in my mind at times when things get too difficult. But it happens. That little though creeps it’s way through the cracks and and starts multiplying.

  
First it’s just a random thought. Nothing serious at all. A little criticism over something that happened earlier in the week. Easy to brush off and enjoy the game. But then it comes back, but this time it’s brought some reinforcements to help back the story. It’s not quite so easy to brush off. I get back to giving my attention to the game, but that thought is now seeded and taken root in the back of my mind.it sits there and laughs knowing that it’s in the drivers seat. And one by one it allows more and more thoughts of doubt in until that’s all I see. It’s all I can think of. It’s literally established itself and has stolen 90% of my attention. I can’t handle this. I begin to panic, and as I panic things get worse and worse. I know I have to leave. I love my daughter, but all of a sudden she’s not even in my train of thought. I leave Vince with another parent and quickly make my exit to the comfort of my truck.

This is a sad reality that has become common and anticipated in my life. It’s hard because it is almost constantly on your mind. I’m always wondering when things are going to rear up. Where I’ll be. How I’ll go about handling the situation. Exit or escape routs. I find that it’s unavoidable, but it is manageable, at times, especially with meds. I hate the groggy medicated feeling, but I’ll take that over the smothiering feeling of anxiety and panic.