…be a hero.

It doesn’t matter how bad your problems are,

They will always tell you someone has it worse,

Nobody is going to care,

Til you tie that rope and kick the fucking chair.

I read this quote, and I started crying. I literally welled up and began to weep. It’s all too familiar. All to close. I’ve been there…sitting. Pondering. Contemplating. I’ve looked at my phone at 9:47 and played the “if I don’t receive a sign before 10:00, then that’s it. I’m done” This usually goes again until 10:15, 10:25, 10:45… The thing is, there’s only the potential outcomes to this situation. I’m going to either A-receive a sign…a phone call, someone finding me, whatever it may be. B-over the course of however many rounds of “let’s wait until” I chicken out or calm own and change my mind. Or C-carry out the task.

There’s always going to be those that tell you that “so-and-so has it worse”. There will be people that will think you’re being over-dramatic. There will be people that will flat-out call you a liar. And those are the people that will push you to that edge… to the point you just don’t know what to do. You feel like you’ve completely run out of options. But the thing is, that’s all bullshit!! There are people who care. It may not be your family, but if you open your eyes and look…you’ll find it. I’m extremely fortunate. I grew up in an amazing home. I have siblings that love me and care for me. I married into an equally amazing family where I have felt nothing but love. We live in a small community full of genuine, caring people. I’m blessed. I have it so good!! But on those days, when the darkness sweeps over and the chaotic haze sets in…on those days, none of that matters. I might as well be a castaway, left for dead in the street surrounded by strangers. I’m scared. I’m hurt. I’m angry. I’m dying.

Here’s my problem. I don’t want to talk to anyone. I find social interaction can be stressful, awkward, and create huge anxiety. I prefer have everything bottled inside of me instead. I’ll try to act as if I’m the happiest guy in the world. And I’ll act as if I have the perfect life. I play that happy character so well, that even I begin to believe it. I’ll actually lose focus on my fears, with my fears losing grip on me. I’ll be so happy all day. But as soon as I lay my head in bed at night the thoughts come back. They always come back.

I have three children. Two living, one that passed away 6 years ago. They literally are my world. I cannot imagine life without them. It’s been extremely difficult figuring out and knowing when, where, and how much they should be let in to the truth. My daughter is 9…and smart. She gets it. She doesn’t understand, but she knows it’s there. She knows I cut myself when I’m “sad”. She knows I spent time in a Psych Hospital to get better. She knows I take “crazy pills”. My 5 year old, he doesn’t get it, he doesn’t attempt to get it. He doesn’t care. But kids are kids. They’re genuine. They’re honest. They tell you exactly what they think, tact-free. Do you know what my kids see when they look at me. They don’t see dark, empty eyes. The don’t see fear. The don’t see and anxious tremors running through my arms to my fingers. They don’t see a loser. They don’t see a failure. And they sure as hell don’t see someone who is better off dead.

No. The see me. They see Daddy. They see they’re hero. They want to be just like me. The tag along in the garage just to spend time with me. They curl up and snuggle to a movie. They literally borderline worship their dad. Maybe it’s time I start looking at the world…looking at life, specifically my life, from the eyes of a child. I am important. I am loved. I am talented. So tonight, when I tucked my kids in I couldn’t help but look at them through their doors and think to myself… “there’s my babies…and I’m there Hero!!”

…my suicide.

I have made a point of trying to keep my blog “my story” rather than a general opinion. Some of my thoughts definitely are not ‘across the board’ feelings, but they are all where I’m at. I want to keep this my focus. Keeping my blog about me. Where I’m at. My progress. My decline. Its personal. It’s authentic. It’s not comfortable. And it’s not easy for me to do…but I feel it’s important. I feel it’s helpful and beneficial to me, and I hope it can influence and help others as well.

There’s a few things I’ve discovered since starting this whole blogging thing. First…it’s much harder than I expected. I mean, when I started it was easy to pump out entries day after day. Now I’m lucky to post once a week (which I am hoping to change, by the way). Second…if you want to weed out your friends and followers on social media, talk about suicide. People don’t like that. It’s not comfortable…it’s not “appropriate”…people simply would rather just not know. My thought is those people I simply don’t need in my life anyway. Thirdly…if you want to gain a lot of followers, simply hashtag #churchstigma #churchcoverup or #churchhypocrisy. People lap that up like gravy. But I’m going to weed out a few more of you today, because my topic of choice is, you ready? …my suicide. And to some of you, this is farewell.

The comment I hear all the time, and I’ve said this before, is “I just don’t understand…” Which my answer to that is, “of course you don’t understand… I don’t understand.” You hear “suicide is selfish”, “suicide is cowardly”, “suicide is attention seeking”. All of those have some truth behind them…the attention seeking I would argue against more strongly. Suicidal threats, yes, are often times empty and attention seeking. However, every suicidal threat or consideration EVER uttered is a cry for help. And as a little FYI strictly from my own experience…nothing tips you more when you’re in a suicidal state than hearing someone make light of your situation. You might not agree with where someone’s at. You might not even believe they are where they’re at. Maybe they are ‘attention seeking’. But if that’s what you think, especially if you’re not close to me, shut up and keep your expert opinions to yourself. 

I’ve been suicidal my entire adult life. That doesn’t mean I’m a ticking timebomb ready to blow. I’ve had times, for sure. Many of them. But far more often than not I’m completely stable. But, I have always believed that’s how I’m going to die. I don’t know when. I don’t know how. And maybe it won’t even happen…but it’s what I believe. And I very strongly believe it. I have a daughter. She’s nine years old. One day she’s going to grow up, get married, and have her own family. It’s what I believe. It might not happen. Maybe she’ll stay single…never marry, never have kids. But I believe she will. To me, in all likelihood she will. I can do things to try and prevent it. I can do things to try to delay it. But it’s likely going to happen no matter what. Sometime. Somehow.

This is exactly how I look at suicide. I just believe it’s going to happen. Sometime. Somehow. I can do things to prevent it, which I am. I can do things to delay it, which I am. But I believe it’s going to happen. And it’s a horrible feeling.

Nobody looks forward to dying…at least not at thirty-four. It’s not something I want to happen. It’s not something I’m excited about. Death is pretty permanent. But when you believe you’re going to die. When you believe you deserve to die. And you believe the world will be happier and better off without you here, then the idea of death becomes far more attractive. And how do you prevent it? I’ve done my firearm safety course, but refuse to send it in because the idea of firearms in my house scares the shit out of me. My wife has stashed away roped from my garage, but new ones are only $20 away. I’ve got enough meds ground into powder and ready to be cubed to easily kill me…I think. There will always be knives. There will always be bridges. There will always be cars. There will always be multiple options. Suicide is unavoidable. It is physically unpreventable. Mentally it feels damn near impossible. 

There’s so much more to share than this. This barely scratches the surface. But my lunch break is over, so for now this will have to do. If I still have followers, friends, and readers I’ll continue with my thoughts in another post. As always, feel free to comment or share. I love hearing feedback.

Dave

…happines

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again… I’m not a great writer. My grammar sucks. Composition a mere shot in the dark. My spelling is atrocious, thank you spellcheck!! Actually, my spelling is so bad that I’ve omitted so many cool, words because spellcheck can’t even figure out what I’m trying to say. So no, I’m not a great writer. But I love writing!! Sometimes I write to vent. Sometimes I write to encourage. Sometimes I write to shine light on living with mental health. But I write. And you read. So many of you read. Now over 7,500 of you have read, which to me is insane…go get girlfriends, or hobbies, or ice cream. (kidding…I’m so glad you read) I’ve been published more than a half dozen times in online mental health magazines. I really am blessed!!

Now here I’m going to attempt something a little bit different. I’m going to try my hand at some poetry. I love reading poetry…I’ve tried writing it before, never with much success. The last month has been extremely tough for me. In so many ways I’m completely lost to what’s going on. Happiness has been drained for years, but lately it feels so much like just a fleeting memory. So here goes…happiness.

…happiness

people talk about you …happiness

like you’re free for all to receive;

But with a life so overgrown with anguish,

I find that incredibly hard to believe.

.

people talk about you …happiness

this warm-fuzzy, contagious thing;

while i spend most my life in sadness,

anger, torment, lonely suffering.

.

when I see you …happiness, you ignore me

if i look at you you drift away;

then there’s times you feel so close to touch,

but then my fears comes to sweep you away.

.

I see you touching others lives …happiness

with love, with warmth, with grace;

Like an artist you once knew me too,

and brushed a smile on my face.

.

i’ve mad it a life goal of mine …happiness 

to be brim-filled with you one day;

whether it be weeks, four months, three winters,

maybe after the kids graduate.

.

the point is i won’t give up fighting for you …happiness,

however long this great journey may be;

through rivers, and mud, and scary dark roads

i’d risk crossing the vast, angry sea.

.

people talk about you …happiness

and there’s definite glimpses i see;

moments of you holding and warming my heart,

leaving memories that will always remind me

.

but i don’t want to have just memories anymore,

i want to have you all day and all night;

i want to hold you, to protect you, to keep you for good

but for now i’ll cherish these moments and fight.

Be happy! Be blessed!! Hug a Borderline…

Dave

…battle wounds

“I think scars are like battle wounds – beautiful in a way. They show what you’ve been through & how strong you are for coming out of it.”

– Demi Lovato

I Instagram’d this quote earlier today. It’s a quote that i read quite regularly…I’ve got it saved on my phone, it’s shared often on Mental Health sites, and you google “mental health quotes” and it’s sure to pop up. But as much as I love the quote…I love the triumphant overtone amidst the soft and subtle almost romantic undertone. It’s a beautiful quote by an equally beautiful advocate for mental health. But where I get hung up…I’m not there. I’ve got scars… I’ve got hundreds of them. And they are most definitely battle wounds. But there’s nothing beautiful about them. I haven’t been ‘through’ anything. I am stuck in the midst of a battle that has no beginning and no foreseeable end. There’s no ‘through’ on the horizon, no matter how distant I strain to see. The idea of strength and perseverance is what I have, and the hope of coming out is what I cling to. Persistence. Perseverance. Hope.

I have a love/hate relationship with my scars. I don’t hide them. I want to hide them. I want more than anything to just cover them up and pretend they’re not there. But I’ve made a point to not hide them. You see, I did an amazing job of keeping things together. I’ve really struggled with depression/anxiety for as long as I can remember. It got really bad when I went away to boarding school for grade twelve. But I was always able to keep things under wraps. I made it through all my years of high school, two years of college, and ten plus years beyond that keeping everything bottled in. I found my ways to cope. To blow off energy. But mostly I hid. Sleeping in as long as possible became routine. I stayed up late at night because thats when I could most easily be alone. I had friends, but no close friends. I never allowed anyone to get close…that might result in me having to open up. I learned early how to appear social. Extremely social even. If you look at your story as a book, I had a theory. Say your book is twelve chapters long. I very easily opened myself up to say chapter five without any prompting. This usually was more than enough to satisfy any questions people had. I opened up quicker and easier than most, to that point, then the book closed. I let very few people read beyond chapter five. Like count on your fingers few. You got it…it’s depressing, but I’ve had single digit close friends. Everyone else I kept at a safe distance. I do it to this day. It’s something I’m working on, but I have ridiculous trust issues that I’m just unwilling to get past. Hopefully in time…you know, when I “see how strong I am for coming out”.

But I consciously decided that I wasn’t going to hide my scars. As much as I was able to bottle things up and cope, the thought of suicide has always been there. It actually goes beyond that…I’ve dreamed of suicide many times. It scares the shit out of my wife every time I say this, but I am 99% confident that that is how I’m going to die. I don’t know why…it’s not that I’m wanting to go off myself tomorrow or anything. This isn’t my “note” or farewell or anything like that. It’s just that’s where my belief has always been. It’s a seed planted deep, I guess. Last spring was when the thoughts started becoming more and more prominent. My dreams were getting darker, and it was getting harder and harder to manage and block out the chaos in my mind. I made many late night drives out to the bridge. Some with intention, others just to scream. (screaming does help, by the way). I ended up spending some time in the mental health centre after I had gone a little excessive with the self harm. It was coming out of the hospital that I decided that I wasn’t going to hide my scars. My kids were aware of them, and I didn’t want them to feel they needed to hide or lie to people about their dad because I was trying to keep private. The scars aren’t going anywhere. It’s live with them, or spend my life continuing to hide.

So I bare my arms. I don’t do it proudly…quite the opposite. I am very much embarrassed and ashamed of my arms. I hate the fact that my daughter is already having to explain to her friends that her dad cuts himself when he’s “sad”. I’m terrified that she’s going to see this as an acceptable way to deal with pain. But at the same time, what do I do. I feel like people are staring at me all the time. I go crazy trying to figure out what they are thinking. Just today I got asked to look at my tattoos. I turned around to show, and her eyes locked on what are five not yet healed cuts. She didn’t know what to say…I didn’t know what to say. SCARS SUCK!! I hate them so bad.

BUT…ready for this? I love my scars!! Confusion…but you just went on for 915 words (according to my word counter in the corner of my screen) about how much you hated your scars… Yes. Yes I did. But many of those cuts came when I wanted nothing more than to end my life. I fought and wrestled with my demons to not take that drive. To put away that rope. To lower the blade from my throat, and to turn over that wrist. Cutting has literally saved my life on multiple occasions. That’s not to say I don’t need to find better ways to cope… I most definitely do. But when I look at my arms I can remember the moments that drove me to cut. I remember the battles being waged in my mind. And I remember how that cut made all those thoughts go away.

I hope that one day I can look at my scars romantically beautifully. A testimony of what I’ve been through and come out of. But for now they are just battle wounds. Affirmation of the mental hell I’m trapped in. A reminder of my minds desires which my heart and my will have to this point prevailed. Yes, my scars are battle wounds…but they are a far cry from beautiful.

…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.

…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?!?

…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.

…who am I?

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking the last couple weeks about “who am I?” I know for anyone who’s done counselling (yes, I realize I start a lot of points by saying that…but it’s true) “who am I?” Is kind of the meat and potatoes of it all. If you can figure out who you are, and how you work, all the worlds problems will be solved, the Stars will align, and you along with everything that is crashing violently through that mind of yours will make sense. You’ll be fixed… Or something like that. But it all starts with “who am I?”

I love passionately. I believe this is the greatest gift that I have to give. The problem is, I hate just as passionately. And the funny thing with “love” and “hate” is that they are opposite intense emotions that I have never quite figured out how to express properly and separately. Far too often I mix up emotions of love with emotions of hate, and leave a trail of hurt behind me. You hear the expression of “Borderlines”, “I hate you…please don’t leave me.” The first time I read that I kind of laughed. “That sounds stupid…” I thought. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it’s me. I love and I love and I love, then I get scared. Whether something happens, something gets missed, something gets forgotten, I have a dream… Whatever the case may be, I get scared. “Fear of Abandonment”, is what I’ve been told. I feel there’s going to be a Frey in the relationship, and in my mind it’s going to be major. Severing, even. I’m going to get hurt… And I’m going to get hurt bad. So what do I do? Obviously, I beat you to the punch. I throw a jab, a low blow. A cheap shot. And I make sure it hurts. I avoid getting hurt myself by hurting you first. You. The person I legitimately love with all of me. I. Hurt. You. 

I am a father of three. Tiegan, my daughter is nine… She’s a princess and the most beautiful soul I’ve ever held in my heart. Vincent is five. He’s my man. The lil’dude. Full of questions. And he loves his daddy. I am his hero… A title that I have not learned, have not lived up to, but most importantly… I haven’t given up on. And Dayton. Dayton was our second child, our first son born six years ago this past April. He was born with an intestinal condition called gastroschisesis, and he was unable to win the battle. We got to spend an amazing twenty six days with him. He was loved by many in that short time. I love my kids. Obviously, every dad does. But I have to fight with myself every day to reassure myself that I’m a competent dad. What do my kids have as a role model? I’m unstable. I’ve spent time in a mental hospital. I spend days in therapy… I have five hours of therapy tomorrow alone. I’ve made late night hospital visits to get sewn back up. I’ve had episodes. I’ve had tantrums. I’ve been saved from suicide cut down from the roof of my garage on the verge of blacking out. My kids don’t know details, of course… But nothing makes you feel like a piece of shit faster than hearing that your daughter is having to explain to kids at school not only why her daddy has scars on his arms, but why he cuts HIMSELF on top of it. My heart breaks. I cry. I hurt. I feel completely unworthy and inadequate.

I’m a husband. I’ve put my wife through hell. She’s had to make the adjustments. Always her. She makes the calls. Makes the arrangements, juggles the schedules all while doing everything that she can to keep me happy. She’s my queen, and she’s far more private than I am, so I’ll respect that by simply saying that she’s truly amazing. I could never give her the credit she deserves…so maybe it’s best that I don’t even try.

I’ve got Borderline Personality Disorder. I try not to let mental illness define me, but in so many ways it does. For years I was totally unaware of there being anything. I knew I had depression and anxiety, but so did everyone else. I always thought it was normal. I just couldn’t figure out how everyone was able to live as though nothing was wrong. But now, having a label, there’s so much that makes sense. I can see behavioural patterns. I can see stages in my life that were effected by how I reacted or responded. How I desperately want the people I love to be happy, while having a complete absence of care for those I hate. My emotions are still erratic. I’m medicated to help with the control of this. Right now I am unable to control myself without the use of meds, so I think I’m where I need to be. I’ve got a psychiatrist, a psych nurse, a talk therapist, a couples counsellor, and an anxiety counsellor that make up a team I work with regularly. I’m early on…first year of expected five to ten years…but it’s going well. I feel I’m in the right place. It’s hard. In so many ways it sucks. But it’ll be worth it.

  
I have dreams. This is likely the hardest part of my life. And by probably, I mean most definitely. I have nightmares. I dream vivently. I dream violently. It’s bad enough that I beat myself all day about being inadequate or unwanted, but then I’m scared to go to sleep at night because I know they’re coming. And there’s nothing I can do. And I’ll dream the same dream over and over and over. Mast of them involve my family being taken from me, or me from them. But a lot are more just personal torture. Most nights I’m awake four or five times a night, meaning I have the same dream likely the same amount of times.

I got told that when blogging, anything over 800 words people lose interest and stop reading. I know I’m way past that, so if you’re still reading, thank you, and I’m sorry. I’m hoping that I can help some of you understand a little bit more what it is that we go through on a daily basis. I’m not looking for sympathy, but would appreciate your thoughts and prayers. Please share this post…I’d love to share my words with as many as possible.

Thanks agan,

Dave

…roadblocks

This last month or so has been really tough sledding for me. It’s been so incredibly frustrating and morally deflating. Therapy is in full swing… Right now I’m doing between 4 and 6 hours a week, which is mentally overwhelming on it’s own. I think things are going good… I’m in an anxiety group right now that is really making me see that hey, I’m not the only nut-job out there. There’s been some milestones as well, which although rewarding are also very difficult. I’m two months free of cutting, and now six months since my last suicide attempt. It’s reassuring to know that I’ve been able to hold off on my urges/desires. I’ve learned methods to cope. To redirect the negative thinking. But it’s frustrating because those thoughts are still there. And not only are they there, they weigh heavier on me now than they ever have. I have nightmares. Vivid and violent nightmares. Every. Single. Night. I blame myself for everything. Literally everything. My self worth is at an all time low. But what do you do to fix that? I mean, how do you learn to love and accept the person that you hate and dispise the most. I pray for that person to die. To just vanish. But I know that’s not going to happen. But the reality of learning to accept and live with that person is so far in the distance it’s really not even a reality at all. 

Stigma. Stigma is a bitch, really. I wish that more of it was true, really. Like attention seeking. I know full well there’s people that think I just want attention. That I’m just trying to avoid having to take responsibilities and shift the focus to poor me. To those that think that, you don’t know how much I wish that was true. 6 hours of therapy a week is not fun. Only being able to work 75% time is not comforting. Knowing that your nine year old daughter is having to explain cuts on her daddy’s arms does not make me feel good about myself. The fact that I literally got cut down from the ceiling of my garage in an attempt to end it all is not something I celebrate. I wish I just wanted attention, because then at least it would be an option to just make this all end. I could just accept enough is enough… I’ve hurt far to many people, it’s time to grow up and accept responsibility. Just be a man, say your sorry, and move on. I wish that was case. But it’s not.

The amount of people I’ve hurt in my wake over the years is excruciating for me to think about. Directly or indirectly I’ve hurt every single person of importance in my life. I’ve burned bridges, some very intentionally, but others not at all. I’ve lost friendships, and I’ve damaged the hearts of those that mean the most to me. I try to find reason. I try to justify actions. But the reality is I hold myself 100% responsible for everything. And the reality is that I can’t forgive myself for my actions. I just swallow it. Grit my teeth and bear it. Why? Because it’s the only option? Of course it’s not the only option. I could just accept that mistakes were made. Learn from them and move on. But I just can’t do it. I can’t find it in me to forgive myself. All I know is directing anger and hate inward, I can bear it, I can handle it. I don’t expect anyone to understand me. I don’t understand myself. Hate me all you want, and know I feel the same. If you think I’m attention seeking, so be it. Just know that I’m trying, and failing, but still trying. And the only thing I have to say for myself is… I’m sorry.