Tuesday, November 7, 2017

D E M I S E | P A R T 2

“It's my experience that people are a lot more sympathetic if they can see you hurting, and for the millionth time in my life I wish for measles or smallpox or some other easily understood disease just to make it easier on me and also on them.”

Jennifer Niven



I still hadn’t been taking my medications as prescribed. I hadn’t been working for months. Truthfully, I had quit my job to help take care of my still fragile daughter, but I was also haunted by her near death experiences. I remember, on many occasions, grimacing while shaking my head in disbelief, thinking of my daughters lifeless body laying in front of me. The memories still bother me (My daughter was born at 27 weeks and had many complications. She spent 5-1/2 months in the NICU at Children’s Hospital where roughly half of her small intestine was resected. She was hospitalized many times thereafter, none of which were very pleasant stays). I had also been attending school to become a minister, but the anxiety and depression became so great that I needed to quit. I began experiencing paranoia for the first time in my life. Insecurities filled my mind to the point where it became difficult to think. I felt as if I was wandering aimlessly through life without a purpose.

My wife couldn’t understand why I was behaving the way I was. We discussed divorce on numerous occasions. I hadn’t let anyone else know I was falling apart and had become great at disguising the severity of it. Even the stigma that mental illness carries was burned into my brain.

The urge to cut had returned. I held a razor blade to my arm, pushing it down, wanting to slide it across. In my experience, physical pain always helped mask any emotional pain I was feeling. I had no one in my life that I felt understood the absolute hell I was going through. So, I walked.

One day, in late July of 2016, my wife and I were in the middle of an argument when I walked out of our house. It was extremely hot out. My shirt began sticking to my skin. I hadn’t thought of where I was going. I walked a mile through our neighborhood and another five on the side of the highway. The entire time I kept thinking, “No one needs me. My wife will be fine without me. My kids won’t care. I don’t need to be here.”

I came to an intersection, exhausted, sweat dripping off of me. As I peered through the glare of the sun, I saw my wife sitting in a parking lot. She motioned me over to the car and I reluctantly walked over, annoyed that she’d been able to find me. I got in, sat down and pulled the sweaty clothes away from my skin as she drove home.

When we arrived at our house, I told her I needed to leave and get away from everything. I knew I wasn’t living up to what I should as a husband and father, and I felt that everyone deserved better than what I was providing - especially in the mental state I was in . My mind was not processing things clearly. Reality was mixed with obsessive thoughts that I couldn’t escape no matter how hard I tried.

I told her I wanted to start over. She kept telling me that I needed help and running away wasn’t going to fix anything. After another argument, I got in my car and left. I never told her where I was going. Around midnight that night, I called her from the mental health floor of a hospital across the city. I ended up driving to the emergency room and asked that I be admitted because I had the urge to harm myself.

Abby told me later that she was relieved. She knew I needed help, but didn’t know how to provide any. She had become increasingly worried that I was going to hurt myself. Neither of us realized just how sick my mind had become. Not even after I was released from the three day admission.

4 comments:

  1. Admire your vulnerability... praying for you and your family. Respect for getting your story out and open. I can't relate but I'm sure others can. I hope this not only helps them but that it also helps you. Prayers man! Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Thanks, Jonathan. Definitely hoping it can help others and get people talking. Hope you’re doing well πŸ‘

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  3. I am just in awe of how brave you are to share your story. Many people suffer in silence, I am glad you are becoming a voice for people who are going through this as well. I admire your courage! My best friend’s husband goes through this and through your writing I am beginning to understand better.

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  4. Thanks, Kira. I hope it helps shed a bit of light on mental illness and allows others to feel they can share their story. Thanks for reading.

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