Yeah, I cried, yep sure did. Do you know how hard it is to cry while smiling? Seriously, try it. You get the strangest feeling and sobs. Then if you’re lucky you’ll get a good belly laugh going while tears stream down your face.
Smiling while crying is a coping tool I started using in the last few weeks to stop these sudden emotional showers that have been overcoming me out of the blue. Emotions are new to me, to be honest. Joy, desire, excitement are foreign to me now. But I’m glad they are there, it a strange niceness to feel again.
I guess I can thank medical cannabis for that. I’ve gone through so many meds in the last 2 decades for depression and anxiety. None of them have helped as much as marijuana to my surprise. My only experience before this was my ex-brother in law convincing me to give it a try around the time of my 40th birthday. I guess he thought it was funny to let me smoke 3 big puffs my first time. It was not a pleasant experience, crushing rainbow waterfalls, and extreme paranoia. Not for me. However, over time, my views on cannabis changed the more I read about it. My first few uses of cannabis in a more responsible manner was quite the mind opener.
Depression slowly strips a lot from a person. It whispers to you to take your self-esteem, self-worth. It sands down your pride to dust. Depression slowly encases your emotions in a tomb. It silently strangles your religious beliefs. Depression abruptly takes your employment from you. It embarrasses and angers friends and family to abandon you. It takes and takes and all you can do is barely keep your head above the tide of despair. I will not use this site to dwell on my past. But I want to give readers the perspective of how low I was in life.
2008 was a year of endless darkness. I cried and hid from the world day after day. Unable to work, unable to think from nonstop music in my head, I started a period of irrational psychotic behavior that terrified my wife. Punching holes indoors, staying in closets during the day while she was at work. Hiding in a blanket in the corner of the garage. Sitting outside for hours during winter without a jacket in hopes of freezing to death. I walked 8 miles down a train track in the middle of the night in hope that a train would come along. I put a gun in my mouth daily hoping, praying, begging for the strength to just pull the trigger once. That was only a small blip of over twenty years of innumerous psychotic breaks, 3 suicide attempts, 8 lost jobs, 3 years of college wasted, bankruptcy, and the loss of a house.
Finally, a couple of wonderful women at my local VA got through my mind fog and convinced me to go for inpatient treatment at a VA facility. Around the same time, my wife went to NAMI meetings at the urging of my counselors to learn how to deal with a loved one who has a mental illness. Those 2 things saved my life. My wife stayed at my side through a seemingly endless nightmare, I put her through hell. I’m so fortunate to have married one of the most amazing human beings on this earth. I want to live again with her at my side.
So we currently reside in my generous and kind in-laws’ basement. My world is only a small corner of it, an 8×10 room, a bathroom, and a kitchenette. I have existed in this small bubble for the last 8 years, rarely going outside and deathly afraid of people. But I want that to change, I want to live again.
I want to use my website as inspiration and hope that people with mental illness can recover. Getting out of bed and making toast is recovery. Taking a shower, that’s recovery. Learning how to stop cutting yourself down is recovery. Every step you make is a form of recovery, just keep walking step by step. It’s all a journey you can make with counseling, medication, forgiveness, and a lot of painful work. You can get better, you can.
I won’t bombard people post after post with my depressing past. I don’t want to live there anymore, I want to live in the present again. Only I don’t know how anymore. I want to create, to work, to stress about things other than depression. I want to throw off my shackles. But I need to relearn how to function as a responsible person again. This is the next step in my journey, for good or bad I need to take this step.
I want to learn how to cook. I want to take piano lessons. I want to explore photography. I want to learn a work ethic again. I want to build back my self-esteem, my pride, my motivation. I want to dream of a future with my wife. I want to be heard. I want to be seen. I’m tired of hiding.
I want to live again.