…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!!”

…there is hope. (**trigger warning**)

This is by far the most difficult post I’ve ever written, and I’m sure for many of you it will be a tough one to read. I’ve started this entry many times over, but it’s always too hard to try and put into words. To give you a heads up, it is my account of a suicide attempt. It may be a trigger for some, and it may be disturbing to others as well. I like to look at it as a testimony of hope.

…I turned back to see the tail lights disappear down the street. The day was long. The day was hard. I sat down on the front step. I looked up into the vast darkness. I pulled my hood up over my head, buried my head in arms, and cried.

I struggle with self-hate. It’s the biggest hurdle that’s holding me back…by far. I’ve been told countless times now that if I don’t learn to forgive myself and start liking myself, I’m never gong to be able to “get better”. But it’s not going to happen. Not now. Not next week. Not ever. How can it? How can I forgive myself? Let me put it this way…everyone has someone that they hate. Or at least you have at some point. But for now, just think of someone that just rubs you the wrong way. They’ve lied to you. They’ve hurt you too many times to remember, and they actually seem to enjoy hurting you. They don’t even let you carry out daily tasks because they are constantly nipping at your heels. You try to be nice. You try to be polite. But they just don’t take a hint. Then you have that sense of relief…that feeling of freedom when you finally get home, close that door, and bask in the quiet calm freedom you have created. You all know that feeling of relief…when that person that annoys you doesn’t notice you and just walks by. We’ve all been there. We’ve all felt it.

I can hear the kids through the door. I can hear my wife trying to calm them down…and I can hear her getting more and more frustrated with them. I flip open the calendar on my phone…hockey night. I can’t handle a hockey night. Not right now. Not feeling like this. I’ve spent the whole day at work reminding myself just how big a piece of shit I am. It’s pretty incredible, really, just how exhausting it is to beat yourself down. I am spent. Physically spent. Mentally numb. Emotionally dead. I can’t deal with them right now. I can’t deal with myself right now. I literally just want to be gone…

But what do you do when that person won’t leave? Or worse yet, when that person is actually you? Welcome to the world of self-hate. You hate yourself. You get yourself right worked up about how stupid you are. How useless you are. How much you just want you to disappear. To leave. To die. You try to busy yourself…to distract yourself. But you can’t hide. You can’t get away. You put on your headphones and pound yourself numb with music, but eventually the music stops. It always stops. And when it does, guess who’s there? That’s right…that slimy piece of shit you just spent the whole day trying to get away from. That, friends, is what I think I can very accurately call “hell”.

I open the door. I don’t even get the door closed behind me and I’m telling Sherry I can’t do it. I can’t go to the kids hockey. Not tonight. Not like this. Of course she’s frustrated. She’s spent the last two hours trying to get the kids organized after school. Getting them fed. Getting their gear together and having them ready to leave when I got home. “You should really come…the fresh air will do you good, and the rink is one of your “happy places”. My heels were firmly planted. I was not budging. My wife was frustrated. My wife was hurt. My wife was exhausted. So what do I do? Why, I lash out and make everything a hundred times worse, of course. She gives in. She takes the kids, and I’m alone.

My logical side can see how I should be able to work through this. My counselling really does make sense, but it’s like my mind refuses to allow things to compute at anything beyond an observation level. I firmly believe that I’ll get what I deserve. Like I said in an earlier post, I’m almost certain that I will end my own life at some point. The reason for that…I just can’t stop hating myself. I don’t think I deserve to be happy. In the ‘grande scheme of things’, I think the world would be better off without me. Without my mistakes. Without the hurt I cause. Without the influences I have in others lives. You can tell me all you want that that’s not true. That I deserve a good life. That I’m a good person. But at the end of the day, I won’t believe you. Even if I convince myself that I’m not so bad, when my head hits that pillow and my mind opens up, it’s pure hate.

I sit on the piano stool, face in my hands, crying…again. I look continually at the clock, then when I know hockey’s started and Sherry won’t be home, the darkness in my mind wins. Literally everything on the outside disappears. I remember the walk like it was yesterday. Moving snow pants and backpacks to get to the door. Right now the sound in my head is absent. Just like the sound of being underwater…muffled silence that is somehow deafeningly loud. I close the garage door behind me and sit on the floor. I don’t remember thinking. I don’t remember any internal dialog. I’m not processing, but I know exactly what I’m doing. On the floor is a towrope. I’ve many times come out and worked that rope. I’ve formed it into a noose so many times I’m sure I could do it with my eyes closed. I’d tie it, then sit on the floor, rope around my neck, until the feelings of hate lessoned. Then I’d untie the noose and go back inside. But today was different. There were no feelings. There were no thoughts that I was fighting. I made the noose the same as I always have, but rather than hang it around my neck, this time I secured it to the overhead door rails.

If there’s one thing I know, it’s that life isn’t fair. I wish it was, but it’s not. When I was twenty-eight years old, I buried my son. I have never in my life prayed harder. I have never in my life been more supported. I have never in my life wanted anything as much as I wanted that boy to live. But I couldn’t save him. I couldn’t prevent what happened. I gave up on him. I agreed to have him taken off life support, then I spent a month in the hospital watching MY SON slowly die. I’ve spent countless hours at my boys grave…just laying there. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I yell and scream. Sometimes I’m terrified. But it’s comforting. It’s calming. It’s one of my most favourite places to be. And before I leave, I always apologize.

“Can you come home?”

“Ok”

“I’m in the garage”

As I put my head through the noose I never even felt any fear. There was no second guessing. No questioning what I was about to do. I was calm. Calm and focused. It’s not that I wanted Sherry to ‘find me’…but that I didn’t want her to open the garage with kids in the car to see their dad hanging there. I knew the kids were at hockey, and she’d be coming alone. I had 10-15minutes before she’d be there. I closed my eyes, everything went quiet. I tipped the stool over and dropped.

Panic!! Absolute panic. Intently all air was gone. I was able to get my fingers on one hand in the rope, but the more I moved, the tighter it got. I desperately reached for anything with my feet. I was able to reach the fallen stool with my toes and take a little bit of the weight off, but the rope was tight and there was no breathing. Everything started getting cloudy. I closed my eyes and everything went red. I opened them to see my wife running towards me. I remember the garage door opening, and then I was sitting on my knees on my garage floor in my wife’s arms, sobbing.¬†

I was flooded with emotions. Still looking back, I get bombarded with emotions. That minute or so of panic was the scariest moments of my life. Absolute helplessness. I am thankful to be alive. But there’s also anger and frustration. I failed. So often now I get down on myself and the thoughts of “if you would have just done it right” fill my mind. But I do know that I’m alive for a reason. It’s not the first time I’ve been “saved” from suicide in one way or another. You see, Sherry wasn’t at the arena like I thought. I never got the 15 minutes I planned on. Sherry was upset over how things left off when I got home. She was out driving with her dad. She was literally at the end of our street when she got the text. She was there in a matter of minutes. Now I am a man of faith…and I believe this was no coincidence. And even though my demons have me convinced that one day I WILL take my own life, it’s those times that I was saved that I cling to. They are my hope.

There is always hope.

…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

…mind > brain.

“Tell Dave I’m proud of him. He did a full week!!ūüėä 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 Dub√® (Dub√® 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 Dub√® 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?!?

…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 Dub√® 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

…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

physical in presence – absent in mind

Life with Borderline Personality Disorder is an extremely frustrating existence. Anyone living with the ‘illness’, or living with someone with the ‘illness’ will be able to support that statement completely. It’s literally a cycle where everyday you gain a little more confidence in being able to handle yourself in a safe manner, but also everyday you become more and more aware of just how extensively BPD controls you. I know, I know… BPD doesn’t ‘control’ me, right?!? Well, to that I must honestly say… yes, yes it does. I spend two days a week in therapy to try and resolve that, but as for now that’s the way it is. Only because of my increased awareness of just how my ‘illness’ effects my life, it literally feels like I can’t escape it. It’s like the blinders are off, and now my demons aren’t hiding in shadows as much any more. No, now they’re in plain sight. Pouring my coffee and holding the door as I head out for the day. It sucks. I mean it… it really, really sucks!! Why do things so often seem to get harder before they get easier. Whoever wrote that proverb, wherever you are, I dislike you. #yousuck

I did an anxiety screening a couple weeks ago… and guess what? I scored extremely high in the area of ‘social anxiety’. Well, that’s just awesome. It seems every week my resume gets longer. I mean, I’m starting Somatic Trauma Therapy in addition to the modified DBT & CBT I’m already doing. And now I get to go in tomorrow to meet with another counsellor that I’ll be doing weekly social anxiety ‘group’ therapy with. I now will be spending 10+days a month in therapy of some sort. And that, my friends, is depressing. But back to the social anxiety… I knew I had it. I know I’ve hidden it. I know it effects me likely more than anything, as far as mental exhaustion goes. But I think it’s one of those things where as long as it was hidden from everyone else, I could play naive and ignore that it’s there. But the bottom line… it’s there. And it really does have a strangle hold on me. A sneaky unsuspecting bystander strangle hold. I mean, I don’t even know where it’s coming from half the time. But it’s there. It’s always there.

It’s frustrating. When I’m with people I disappear. I zone out. Mentally, I’m gone. It often takes all my mental strength to stay engaged in simple conversation. My mind is trying desperately to leave. To hi-tail it to that oh-too-familiar rendezvous which is the eerie confines of my mind. It’s almost like that person temporarily ceases¬†to exist. But then, when I’m on my own and trying to stay task-oriented, that person is in my mind. In my head. I can’t stop thinking about them. What they’re doing. What they’re feeling. What they’re thinking of me. This is now haunting me. I’m either physically present and absent minded, or physically alone but reeling in emotion in that persons absence. It hurts. It’s exhausting. It’s tormenting. The seeming inability I have over controlling my presence of mind is terrifying. It really¬†is. I long to be able to think about what I want, when I want. Not what they want, when they want. I want to be in control of my mind and not them. I’m working at it, and some days it feels like I’ve got it figured out. But then the days come when I’m very accurately in the passenger seat, holding on for the ride. R.M.Drake words it better than I ever could…

when i was with people i would doze off and look at the sky, and when i was alone looking at the sky i would think about people. i was never in both places at one time. maybe i was crazy or maybe i was like everybody else. i wasn’t happy in my own reality, i wanted more.

r.m.drake

I AM… a tangled mess;

“It’s not the load that breaks you down. It’s the way you carry it.”

-C.S.Lewis

Living with Borderline Personality Disorder is the human equivalent to a box full of Christmas lights. There’s so much beauty and brightness and colour in that box, if you’re willing to untangle the strings. How many times has Christmas come around… you go¬†to the closet on a mission. This year you are going to have the best decorated house on the block. You pull the big bin of lights off the shelf, and remove the lid. And every time the same thing happens. You find an end to a string of lights, you begin pulling it out of the box, and suddenly you have the mess of who-knows-how-many strings of lights tangled and hanging from that single strand¬†in your hand. Annoyance. Frustration. And usually anger to a boiling point where the lid is put back on and the bin is heaved back up on the shelf.

That annoyance. That anger. That frustration. That is life with BPD. We try countless times to remove the lights from the box in a tidy and untangled manor, but the reality is our lives…our minds are a tangled mess. We can’t make sense of it all. We try. We make progress. and then there’s another tangle. Always more tangles. And no matter how many lights we remove and untangle, when we look in the bin it’s always full. Always tangled. Always overwhelming. This is what I like to call the journey of therapy. It’s hugely beneficial. HUGELY!! But it’s one of those things that just when you start feeling like you’re getting it…like you’re understanding a bit of whats going on, a relapse happens. No matter how far you’ve come you look in the box and see a mess of lights and wires. It’s overwhelming. The weight of the world gets dropped squarely on your shoulders. You retreat. You recluse. You shut down.

It’s not the load that breaks you down. It’s the way you carry it.” I hate this quote and love it at the same time. I hate it, because it’s a difficult concept to accept. I like to think that my problems are “out of my control”. I like to feel that I’m the victim to the wrath of mental illness. I like to believe I’m helpless and hopeless. But why? Because it’s easy. It’s not an easy life… not by any means. But it’s easier to just live with it. Live in misery. Live tormented. Or maybe not even live at all… maybe taking the route of ending everything is appealing. The fact of the matter is that any of these is easier than the gruelling challenge of actually dealing with your illness. Of taking the steps of getting help. Of changing that course and shifting that weight around. But as much as I hate that quote, I love and take comfort in it as well. “It’s not the load that breaks us down.” It’s not the illness. It’s not the anxiety. It’s not the depression. It’s not the anger. It’s not the self-hate. “It’s the way you carry it.” That you can change. That you can adjust. That you can alter.

BPD is maladaptive, or learned behaviours. We have the power and the ability to relearn, to alter the way we carry the stresses and the effects of our illness. We can keep carrying it the way we have been, letting it beat and bury us into the ground. Or we can chose a different course of action. Adjust the load. Sometimes it helps, other times it’ll make it worse. But the key is that “I” have the ability. The power. The authority to change the course of my life. I can either throw those strings of lights back into the bin on the shelf, or I can slowly, painstakingly, ad seemingly impossibly sort through the chaos and the mess in hopes that the end result will be a continuous strand. That is the question. That is the challenge. That is Borderline Personality Disorder.