To say that life for me has been a challenge for the last 6 yrs would be a major understatement. In that time I went through some intense physical and mental pain. The catalyst for wanting to try to write this down is the wish that maybe, just maybe, it might help someone find a little peace. I have no grand illusions that by reading what I have scribbled down will “heal” anybody. The other reason is more personal; I want something good to come from what my wife and I have suffered. I had my first surgery on my birthday November 4, 2001, which was a wonderful birthday present because it ended 13 months of incredible back pain. The problem is that over the next 3 years I had 3 major and 1 minor surgeries (all for different reasons) and spent about 45 days in the hospital. That is basically the existent of the physical problems and sadly the lesser of the two evils.
My depression was officially diagnosed in the mid 90’s and very successfully treated. Unfortunately the effectiveness of the medications became less and less effective, until in April 2000 when I was unable to work anymore. As I write this, a thought hit me; that it is probably very good that we don’t know the future well bring. Sorry for getting side tracked. What followed medically was trying many different anti-depressants and with each the cycle was the same. The first 1-2 months would be good, only to be followed with a slow (and sometimes not so slow) slide down into deeper levels of depression. The dose would be increased only to fall into the same cycle over and over. The emotional toll from the constant cycling is hard to express, In fact I can’t, so I won’t even try. By the fall of 2003 I had fallen into a very dark place where the light of hope had long fade. In fact, a poem that I wrote at the time will most clearly show where I “lived”.
adrift in a storm
From the dark I hear, the sweet serenade, of a Sirens call
Peace she whispers, gentle and sweet
peace can be yours, just ease your way to me
My soul, heavy and cold
hungers to feel the warmth of her gentle embrace
Ah, her price?
Her price is high
to high for me
So on I drift
In my Stormy sea
I knew that I was in … a bad place mentally speaking and that if I didn’t get help I would not long be of this world.
I went to a hospital and tried to check my self-in, I was told that if I didn’t want to kill myself at that moment, well to darn bad. Well in fairness, they didn’t put it quite that way. I told them that I was in great pain and standing at the edge of the abyss. They repeated the above line and told me that I could get an appointment in 3 weeks or so. So I said “ what you are telling me is that my pain doesn’t rate high enough”. He said yes… I don’t need to go into how I felt at that moment. I had a 4-hour drive in front of me to get home. about 30 minutes into the drive I realized that I was “dead man driving” and had just been sent home to die. It was a very long drive home.
Then a few weeks later came a very bad day, that from the start, just didn’t work. Everything and I do mean everything just simply went wrong. So I decided to go goose hunting and yes I know. I really just played at goose hunting 4 or 5 times a week, but really it was an excuse to walk several miles. The luck of that day held true and the angry keep growing hotter & hotter. Then while hunting I tripped and fell into the water. It is hard to explain what happened inside my mind after that fall. Now I don’t want to sound like a drama queen here, but I knew it wasn’t a good thing. I believe that we have an emotional side & logical side of thought. Its kind of silly, but I have always thought of my logical side as Albert Einstein. By this point, poor Albert was running around like a little schoolgirl screaming “danger, danger”(hell of a visual ain’t it) I feel that I need to reassure all, that I do realize that “Al” does not really live in my head. It is just the way my mind process different thoughts in order to figure it all out, well hopefully anyway. The “other guy” is badly calm, you know when anger turns to something really scary. It was simple what “he” was saying, “why in the hell are we still here”? Do you want to keep hurting? Are you really stupid enough to think it will get better? I can’t say I had a good answer for “him”. The truth was that I didn’t think it would get better and I was SO very tried. Then “he” said what are you some kind of titbaby or what. Besides you know that you are just dragging down all of those that you love. Still I had no good response for “him” but my anger had found that scary place. Finally “he” cut to the chase, “well either crap or get off the pot”. I could feel the shotgun in my right hand and thought … yeah. As I was walking I looked down to the shotgun I had turned sideways in my hand and said NO. Looked up and just keep walking to my van. It was over because when I looked down I saw my dearest love; my wife crying and my heart broke
The reason I went though all of the above is to get to the point where I found something very precise. Not a cure, an end to the pain or an end to the never ending darkness but something more precise than diamonds or gold. What was this magical thing… the smallest bit of Peace. One day several weeks after the hunting trip, on yet another bad day. I started to say “I wish I wasn’t bipolar” but all I got out was “I wish…”. I just couldn’t say it. Now of course you know that I’m thinking I’ve really lost it now. I mean I couldn’t even wish that awful day hunting would not have happen. After going around and around trying to figure out if I had finally lost it or not, it hit me. That if what I believe to be true, that I’m an understanding, patient, compassionate, and loving man then I could never say it. I mean from where do we learn to be those things, the good and easy times of our life? I do not believe that to be the case. This is why I had to share the above information so that you could see why this realization was such a shock. I don’t want to go into a big spiel about what it meant to me because that really isn’t the point. It’s just that if you are going through some tough times or have been through some, that maybe there really was a purpose. I really don’t like that last sentence; look I don’t having any answers to give. All I can do is hope that, as I said in the beginning, that this will help someone else find “the smallest bit of peace”. God bless you and good luck.