Love Yo’self

It’s been well over two years since I last posted anything here…and that post was written while the reality I was living in was Borderline Personality Disorder. That’s who I felt I was, and in my mind that’s how I felt people saw me. I was in extensive counselling, prescribed to over a half dozen different medications, and trying to disarm a headspace loaded with suicide attempts and self-harm…I really was living in darkness.

I find it actually pretty cool that my last post was about who I was in the eyes of my children…how they looked past all the struggle and saw me as my core being. A loving father…a hero. They have and will always be one of my main focuses as I strive to better myself. But a lot has changed since that last post. My 9 year old daughter is now 12 and more beautiful than ever, inside and out. My 5 year old son is 7 and is hilarious and the most adorable little gentleman with an absolute heart of gold. I separated 10 months after, and divorced the following year. I’m continuing counselling every couple weeks for maintenance, I’m 2 years free of self-harm, 18 months medication free, and all things considered extremely healthy and happy. Life is good. But things didn’t just “get better”. It’s been a whole lot of work, dedication and sacrifice to improve my life and my self-health. I’ve diligently worked my ass off to get to where I am today, and I’m unbelievably proud…it has not been easy, but it has definitely been worth it.

I planned on picking up with where my journey has taken me to get here, to where I am today, but every time I sit down to write I keep being drawn back to the same topic…so I guess that’s where I’ll begin. It’s been a long time. I know it’s going to be choppy and rough. Be patient with me…open your mind to hear what my heart has to say…I truly believe it is meant to be heard.

Love…I know, I know…who is this 36 year old divorced father and recovering self-hater, and what makes him think he’s got any authority to write about, of all things, “love”. Truth is I have zero authority or expertise on love. I’ve made a jumbled mess of it many times over. But I can tell you this in 100% honest sincerity. If I had the knowledge and understanding of these simple truths on love years ago…even months ago…I could have avoided a whole lot of hurt and confusion in my life. I want to reiterate that these are simply views that I’ve chosen to apply to my life, but I believe in them whole-heartedly. You may not hold the same viewpoint, but I guess I ask you to respectfully hear me out.

Truth #1 – You do not NEED anyone. Society, media, and entertainment have engrained us to believe that we are nothing on our own…that we need someone to COMPLETE us. People quite literally spend the course of their lives searching for “that someone” that will magically bring unified completion to their life, and they completely ignore and overlook the absolute most important person in the world. THEMSELVES. Self-health and self-love have become everyday concepts to live by in my life. Priority number one has to be my own self…this is a non-negotiable. Otherwise my world begins to unravel. I cannot be effective as a parent…as a partner…or even as a friend if I’m out of balance and reeling on the inside. Please, do not hear what I’m NOT saying though. I am NOT opposed to relationships…not even remotely. But if you’re searching for someone to COMPLETE you, you’re more than likely travelling a rough road full of confusion and hurt to get there…most likely ending in a painful dead end. Instead search for someone to COMPLIMENT you. If the partner you are with does not naturally make you want to strive to be a better man (or woman) then I strongly suggest you take a long look at what it is you’re giving into and taking away from the relationship, and how it’s effecting you personally at your core. Is it nurturing your self-health, or is it detrimental towards your personal growth.

Truth #2 – Love knows no bounds and will be stifled if restrained. This is the most recent and definitely most “eye-opening” I’ve been working through…love has no bounds. It is by nature a raw, authentically wild and untamed emotion that needs to free in order to express the desires of the heart. We tend to choose to put rules and regulations on love. You date for X amount of time then become exclusive…after Y amount of time you move in together…get married…and so on. But WHY? Really, what is this actually doing to us? I’ll give you my opinion on exactly what what putting love in a structured and regulated box does to us. The moment your relationship goes slightly off course with what “expectations” are, you begin to question everything. Something must surely be wrong with us because A + B doesn’t add up to = C!! This leads to fear and doubt, questioning which hinders and breaks down trust, and potentially and eventually panic, blame, and pushing away. And why? All because we buy into this social concept of how love is supposed to work, like it’s a concrete emotion that’s the same for everyone.

Again, I’m not against living together. I’m not opposed to marriage. I think these are both wonderful stages of shared life. But what I’m learning, and where I stand, is that you simply have to have a genuine heart felt answer to one simple question. Why? Why do you want to take your relationship in this direction? If you have an answer to this question that is sincere, where you’re acting out of genuine heart felt desire and not being formality or expectation driven…then awesome!! By all means, have at’er. But if the words “I just feel it’s time…” even cross your mind, pump the brakes and start turning the focus back on yourself and listening to the voice of your own heart. Passionate love is easily the most amazing energy I’ve ever felt…but it cannot be forced and in no way can it be planned out. It’s there or it’s not. It happens or it doesn’t. But it’s all hingent on you. On your heart. On your self health. And the best way to squash it is to force it.

Personal growth is ongoing and crucial. It is something that I make conscious efforts to work on every day. And in growing I’ve come to realize that despite what my fears and insecurities try to lead me to believe, I really don’t “NEED” anybody outside of myself. No one can complete me because I am my own complete person. But when you love authentically and passionately it’s not a matter of “need” but rather “want”…and trust me, there’s nothing you WANT more. But if you want it to last, it has to start with you.

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…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 too 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 three 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 down 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.

…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?!?

…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.

…he’s my son

Spring has arrived to welcoming arms here in Saskatchewan. The snow has gone, the temperatures have risen, and the leaves are finally showing up again. We’ve had a few showers (and an extremely unwelcome 12″ April snowfall) and things are clean, and fresh, and green. Spring really is a beautiful season…full of re growth and new life. I love it!

Spring is also an extremely difficult time of year for me. A mixed bag of unforgettable timeless memories, gut-wrenching pain, and sorrows that have left scars that will never heal. This year is no different, only it’s much heavier. The last year has brought on all new challenges that have just added to the heaviness of the memories that were already there. I’m now in month eight of counselling, for one, and we have literally had to learn a new way of life in so many ways. This afternoon was fairly typical. I started getting anxious and worked up a bit. I went upstairs to my room and flopped down on the pile of my daughters bedding piled on my bed. I was on my iPad and listening to music when I heard my son walk in. Vince is 5, and I’m so proud to say is a little daddy’s boy. We have lots of “man-time”…we go for coffee, work on my truck…he even helped pick out my new truck!! I love my boy to no end. He’s my man, my lil’dude. But when I’m needing MY time and space, even he knows I need it and both the kids are very good at just leaving me be. So when Vince walked in, my first reaction was annoyed and upset. I turned to say something, but I realized that he wasn’t even there to ask me anything. Not to bother me, but just to be close to me. He didn’t even look at me, just curled up on the floor beside me with his iPad. 

I rolled over and kept reading when I heard it… And when I heard it it tore right into my chest through my ribs, grabbed my heart and ripped it out holding it in front of me… A heart full of sadness. A heart full of pain. I heart full of rejection. Of anger. Of fear. Of an answered questions. Of unanswered prayers. Of Hate. But also a heart full of pride. Of excitement . Abundant affection. Of peace. Of hope. Of love. He was watching the video Sherry and I had made for our son Dayton’s funeral six years ago. Both our kids love watching it. Tiegan was three when Dayton passed, and Vince came the following year… So that video and pictures are all they really know of their brother. And it made me think of Mother’s Day, and that Mother’s Day we spent in the RUH NICU six years ago. It was perfect. It sits extremely high on my “best days ever” list. My daughter got brought in wearing a beautiful new dress, just for Mother’s Day. She got to spend some rare personal time with her brother. And we got to spend some rare time with our, at the time, completed family. The joy on my wife’s face to this day and forever etched into my memory. Knowing that this would be the only Mothers Day she’d ever share with both her children, but full of pride and joy for the moment. Her strength is undeniable. Her poise is amazing. And her character I view with such pride.

In that moment I couldn’t help but pull my son up into bed with me. I pulled him in, like a little owl under my wing. “Do you want me to start it over?” He asked. “I sure do, buddy.” 

“I sure love Dayton…and I miss him a lot. Do you, dad?”

“Everyday… everyday.”

 
Click here for link to Dayton’s video.

fix me…

I just want to be fixed…

This is the point that I’m at. It’s been far too long. The novelty has long since worn off. Counselling sessions continually reveal to me in all sorts of new ways just how messed up I really am. Every book I flip through defines me more and more. Every article I read makes me aware of something in my life I was previously unaware of… But now it’s all I can think of. 10 days. 10 days a month. That’s my scheduled “fix me” time each month. 10 appointments a month. What has my life turned into? Were things really that bad before? Or have things escalated over the last few months? Seriously, what is going on?

“Awareness” is a word that anyone who’s done any sort of counselling likely knows all too well. Aware of your thoughts. Aware of your surroundings. Aware of your emotions. Aware of things you didn’t even have any idea were happening…before they actually happen. It’s great, it really is. It’s helped so much in understanding and coping with things that are going on both in my head and my surroundings. But here’s the thing… The problems that I thought I had could be summed up and held like an apple in the palm of my hand. Now, after months of therapy, that apple makes a whole lot more sense. I understand it’s make-up. I’m somewhat confident I can protect and control THAT apple. But the problem is that I’m now also very aware of the orchard that that apple’s been plucked from. What I first saw as a pool I needed to wade through has turned into an ocean. And I’m right there in the middle, holding my apple of understanding, but completely overwhelmed and underprepared. 

Some days I see the progress, and it is rewarding. Most days I just see the never ending road that I know I have ahead of me and I’m completely overwhelmed. Fear has recently consistently found its way into my head. Fear for things that I have no control over. I have panic attacks. Worse than ever. Way worse. I used to get them, small and manageable. Today I found myself locked in the bathroom sitting on the floor crying and freaking out over something completely out of my control. I have fear because all I’ve ever known as a sure way to end the chaos and the happenings in my head is to hurt myself. I’m coming up on 2 months free of that, but I think about it everyday. I have dreams and visions that haunt at me. The take over my mind. Is this something new? Or is it just something I’m more aware of now? Sometimes I really wonder if I was better off unknowing and simply deeply troubled. I’m still deeply troubled, but now my trouble has a label, an agenda, and a timeline.

Please don’t take this as me questioning the benefits of professional help. I’m not at all. There’s a very good chance that professional mental health has saved my life. I just wish I could be writing about how easy things are. How daily rewarding it all is. How there’s been a night and day change in my life. But that’s not true. Yes, it’s rewarding…but the challenges that I face often overshadow those rewards. But the rewards are there. I still struggle with suicide daily. Self harm has been the biggest thing I’ve learned to control, but at what cost? That used to stop my thoughts from escalating to suicidal, but know I just trust my coping methods and safety plans to protect me when the cuttings not there. Training IS crucial. Therapy a very key piece to it all. I wish it was simple. I wish it was easy. I wish I could just wake up from one of my terrible dreams and have everything just realign and have me be normal. Be fixed. Be freed.

Writing is an escape for me. Not in the sense that I escape, but that it allows some of my tensions. Some of my thoughts. Some of my hurts to escape my mind through writing. I’ve blogged very little over the last month or two. I’m hoping to be back sharing my thoughts more frequently again now. In so many ways I’m lost way deeper in my mind and in my anxiety/depression than I ever have been before. But I also know there’s improvement both mentally in my mind and spiritually in my heart. I have so much I want to say… I just hope I’m able to find the words to say them. Thank you for taking the time to follow, and as always, please feel free to share.

Thanks again,

Dave

Please, please read me… I want to Thank-You!!

It’s been a long time since I’ve sat here illuminated by the obnoxious glow of Mr MacBook Pro… entirely too long. Truth is, I’ve been torn. I’ve been torn between writing a blog about what I believe, and writing a blog about what will be most ‘politically correct’ and acceptable. And because of this stupid battle being waged in my mind, I’ve written nothing. I’ve had ideas… many wonderful ideas that I will most definitely be sharing, but as far as what approach to take to these ideas…mental gridlock. A stalemate. We’re getting nowhere. So what’s the problem? I’ve got ideas. I know how to write. Just get on with it already. Figure out your approach, and get on with it. So to do this, in many ways, we have to go back and start at square one. Re-lay the foundation that I’m building this blog on. Be honest both with myself, and with you reading this. So what do I need from you? Just let me reintroduce myself to you. Myself. My Blog. My Motive.

Mental Health Awareness, I guess you could say, is the purpose of this blog. Specifically Borderline Personality Disorder. My official diagnosis is Adult Male Narcissistic Borderline Personality Disorder, with severe Social Anxiety and Depression. There’s blog after blog out there about ‘Stigma’, and ‘labels’, and how ‘nobody understands’. I know this. I’ve seen them. And at different times my blog was becoming one of them. I’m not saying that those blogs are bad, or wrong. They’re informative. They’re eye-opening. They’re raw. They’re authentic. They make my heart ache for the ones sitting in front of the keyboards. But over the last 9 months or so there’s one thing that has become more and more apparent to me. Yes, it’s very true, people don’t understand. They don’t get it. And it’s really frustrating that they don’t. But there’s another side to that coin. Of the people that matter… they want to get it. They want to understand. They don’t want to be ignorant. It kills them that they hurt unintentionally. I 100% without a question of doubt in my mind guarantee you that out of those people that matter…the family, the friends, the supporters…every single one of them wants to understand and support you the best way possible, more than you just want them to understand. I live with BPD. I’ve lived with it for years. I have years of experience. But my wife, my kids, my family and friends. This is new to them. It blind-sided many of them. Yes, I can sit here and complain that they don’t get it when I can’t go to something because my anxieties making my brain feel like a kaleidoscope. I can get mad when they don’t get it that I just want to be alone for a while because it’s taking every ounce of strength I have to hold in tears, and no…I really don’t know what over. It’s frustrating. It hurts. And we convince ourselves that we’re all alone and nobody cares. Poor eff’n Me…

These things are frustrating, for sure, and I’m not at all trying to say that I’m past that…because I’m not. But I do have a wife that reads book after book on BPD, DBT, CBT…you name it. Sits in my Psych sessions. Drives with me to therapy to keep me calm. Goes to couples counselling with me. Keeps the kids downstairs when I’m shutting down in my room. Holds me when my minds convinced me that there’s not a soul on earth that cares about me. She’s wiped tears off of both our faces countless times. She’s been on the receiving end of an embarrassing amount of tantrums over some of the most nothing things ever. She’s always put our kids first, which is why she’s the most amazing mother ever. She’s never belittled me. She’s never said a single negative thing about our life and what we’re dealing with. She’s always treated me like a King and protected me like a true Queen. If there is anything in this world that she could have…it would be to “understand”. But yet we ‘mentally ill’ throw around the terms like #stopthestigma like the world is covered by an all-encumbacing blanket of ignorance. That not only does nobody understand me, but nobody even gives a shit to try and understand me. Yes…there are people out there like that. Many of them. Millions of them. That is why there’s such a HUGE need for #stopthestigma, #timetotalk, #suicideawareness. Mental Illness is very misunderstood and unknown. I’m not trying to cover up or make less of that. But I guess what I’m saying is that I want to acknowledge those people that don’t fit in that group. That aren’t ignorant, and that do want to ‘understand’. You are heroes, for real. You are the ones that make us feel loved. That give us self-value. That keep us alive. Thank-you.

I guess where I want to shift the attention of my blog is to help give more insight to those that aren’t in the dark, but are looking to continually better understand mental illness. Not a finger-pointing, the world hates me rhetoric that is not at all helpful to any of us. By no means am I claiming to be all-knowing or superior to anyone. My blog is 100% from my experiences in my life. I’m not going to turn this into a ‘religious blog’, but I’m also not going to shy away from the role that my faith plays in my life, and in how I view my life unfolding. Mostly, I want to help. Help support and encourage those that are battling in the trenches of mental illness. Help encourage and praise those that are trying to help rebuild the lives of us complex human beings. And to shed some light of understanding on those that are still wet behind the ears as far as mental health/mental illness goes.

So Please…follow my blog. If it’s helpful and encouraging, let me know. Share it with everyone you know, especially those that are loving on and trying desperately to understand you. If it can’t get out there, it can’t be effective. I’m also on Instagram @inkeddadBPD, on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/toomuchtodreamlastnight, and on Twitter @InkedDadBPD. Please follow any and all of these social media outlets.

Thanks again for taking the time and interest,

Dave