This post’s title sounds like the name of an epic progressive metal song
*cues up some Dream Theater*
I’m sorry for not having posted any updates in a while. I could sit here and type up excuses, but the bottom line is that I’m just still sort of uncomfortable opening myself up to everyone. More accurately, I’m not comfortable sharing some things to a few specific people. It’s funny: I have no problem telling a perfect stranger all my darkest thoughts/memories, but I have a hard time with a select few people.
Back in October of 2018, something happened. I can’t explain exactly what happened, but I snapped. It had been a loooooooong time coming.
Timeline of relevant events in my personal history
- The first time I was ever beat up was in 4th grade by a girl in the same grade.
- Routinely verbally bullied by two classmates and physically bullied (not beat up, but pushed/shoved/bruised) by two other classmates starting in 6th grade.
- Mocked and bullied throughout high school by multiple people from multiple cliques.
- My father passed away suddenly in 1998.
- I lost the relationship with my sister sometime in the early 2000s. She’s still alive, but we simply cannot get along. It is a toxic situation that cannot be resolved, so I have chose to remove her from my life.
There are a few other things that happened to me that affected me greatly, but I am not in a place where I am comfortable with discussing them here. Maybe someday, maybe not.
So what happened?
Honestly? I don’t know.
I get home 2-3 hours before Nancy gets home, and over the last few months, I found myself just staring out one of our windows for 10-20 minutes. I never used to do this.
I was sad for literally no reason. I didn’t find joy in any of my hobbies. I stopped playing guitar/bass/drums. I stopped playing video games, both on my XBOne and Mac. I stopped woodworking.
I’ve always been an emotional person. My mom used to say I wore my heart on my sleeve. I can cry at the drop of a hat. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I learned the word “empathy”. I am empathetic to a fault.
But being empathetic didn’t explain why I would cry for no reason.
I was “tired” all the time. That’s what I’d tell Nancy when she would ask me what was wrong. We’ve been together long enough for her to know when I’m off. I would lie to her and to friends when I should have acknowledged that I was feeling bad.
I would get super pissed off at the slightest things. I would go from 0 to 10 on an anger scale in a matter of seconds, then about 10 minutes later, I was fine. It wasn’t normal at all. I would cuss, scream, slam things. I would do this at home and at work.
I didn’t like the person I’d become.
I actually hated that person, once I realized that he was a total and complete toxic pile of shit.
I used to sneer at suicide victims. I always thought that was the coward’s way out. I simply never understood how someone could be that selfish and weak.
Then I started suicidal ideation. I told myself “I’m being unfair to Nancy. I can’t change, and I’m an asshole, so if I removed myself from her life, she’d be better off.”
Looking back on all of this, I think that’s where I realized I needed help. I came to this blood chilling realization:
One can go from thinking about suicide to actually committing suicide in a fucking instant.
Nancy came home one day and I was sobbing in the corner of my kitchen, gasping for breath because I thought I was over. I honestly believed that I was doomed. There was no hope for me, and I no matter what I did, I didn’t deserve a second chance.
I still vividly remember the words I said to Nancy.
“I need help”
Just uttering those words helped. Just opening myself to my best friend and partner in all things helped.
Holy shit, dropping Facebook helped so much.
I’m not making a jab at anyone using FB. Nancy’s still on it, and shows me the important stuff, but I was investing way too much emotion into it.
I also contacted mental health professionals. I’m currently getting counseling from Jodie at Greater Baltimore Counseling Center. I’m also seeing Christy, a psychiatric nurse practitioner, also at GBCC, for medication management.
Between counseling and medication, I have turned my life around. Am I cured? Hell no. It is going to get worse before it gets better. I have demons to fight and defeat.
Having said that, I AM getting better. I learned that my cognitive behaviors needed a LOT of help. I was literally thinking badly.
Anywho, this has run on more than I thought it would, so I’ll sum it up with this:
It’s OK to not be OK, and we’re all fighting demons, so you are not alone.
Love you. Thanks for sharing.
I’ve been finding myself doing a lot of this, blaming it on medication that I have to take. Maybe it’s more. Thanks, Dan, this gave me a lot to think about. I love you guys, thanks for being in my life and please always stay in it. I’m a better person for knowing you both.
Thank you for sharing. I’ve been keeping you in my thoughts and will continue to do so.
Your middle and high school experience sounds similar to mine. And I am a sucker for movies or stories that can make you cry… boy could we use a lot more empathetic people in this world. I think that is one of the reasons I like you, Dan.
Keep taking care of yourself and Nancy (and the fur babies). Gonna miss you at the Benz Christmas party… Love to you and Nancy!
Can’t even spell my own name… back to elementary school for me…
Love you Dan! And am so inspired by your courage. Thank you for sharing this. I was 1-2 days from my planned suicide when I sought help, that was almost 4 years ago.
It does get better, slowly, one step at a time. One day, I saw the sign I had put up next to my bedroom door “you are happy”, and realized I was. My demons were still there, but they didn’t stop me finding joy. My heart is with you my friend. My life would not be the same without you here.
Talking about it does help – you have a wonderful partner / best friend with you. If you ever want to talk, give me a call, I’ll listen.
I love you so much and I am SO deep-down happy to hear that you got/are getting help. I have been where you are, recently. I hit “the wall” and finally allowed myself to receive intensive help. Two years later and I am in an absolutely different place. Still not perfect but I’m okay with that and I’m stable. I love hearing that you are moving in that direction too!!
Thank you for sharing this. You have put into words exactly what I was feeling and going through and could not express to my family and friends 4 years ago.
I am so much better today after several months of medication adjustments and having someone I can talk to.
If I hadn’t got help when I did, I probably wouldn’t be here right now thanking you for the courage and bravery of putting all it out there. It does get better. Be patient with yourself. You’ve been through a lot and it takes time. Keep talking and sharing when you can.
I’m really glad to see that you’re getting help, Dan!
I’m curious, though… why Facebook specifically; or more to the point, why just Facebook? Facebook seems to be a place for toxicity, hatred, and keeping in touch with friends and family. Twitter seems to be a place for toxicity, hatred, and… more toxicity and hatred. I still see you engaging on Twitter pretty regularly (and in a similar manner), and I’d expect that of the two sites, Twitter would be even worse for one’s mental health.
The only reason I’m still on Twitter is because that’s where the majority of WordPress developers hang out. At least with Twitter, I can unfollow/block most of the toxicity, and I have: I try to drop at least one person/account a day.
Thank you for sharing your battle. It takes a lot to put yourself out there – and you will never know how many lives you have impacted.
Thanks for updating us on your journey. Much love to you and your family.
Respect. I met you a few years ago through work. I admired you throughout the time we were on the same contract. I wish you and your family all the happiness and the least amount of stress.
Thank you all for your words of encouragement and love. It means more than you know.
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