Chris J Powell

Life Hands You a Lemon…What do You Do???

Life can be a cruel and fickle task master some times and the past 32 days has proven that life is not all rosy, in fact this past month has been by far the most challenging that I have experienced.  The amount of loss that I am experiencing right now, at this moment is almost too much to bear…and that is what has landed me firmly in the hands of a Mental Health In Patient Facility!

For anyone who may feel that there is no where to turn, and that life has you to the darkest depths of you own existence, reach out…to whom ever will listen.  Ask and Ask and Ask again until someone listens.

For many years, I pushed down the deep and powerful feeling that I had no business being here anymore and the world would be better off without me.  I choked that feeling down, chewing and stewing as I went.  That pit and ball of anxiety and depression bubbling up from time to time that left me a little more broken.

In July of 2015 though, I found something uniquely new…I found true happiness.  Bliss even.

I had a reason to take that first breath in the morning and share a kiss each night.

Then August 11, 2016 came along.  This is the day that my one true love lost her father to the same demon that has secretly plagued my most inner thoughts for decades.  When I received the call while coming home from work…I immediately put my own mind into autopilot and focused all of my energy and resources towards helping the best woman I have ever met get through this traumatic and devastating moment that would change how the woman who had shared so much with me would see the world and her place in it.

On the day before the funeral, I had been suffering from one of my ongoing struggles with my health and was forced to take some pain medication that left me a little off balance but better than the near coma state that I had been in, lying on the floor in our living room.  I true Krispy form though, as soon as I was not in pain…I went into assist mode and decided it was time to do some of the projects that had been requested of me…unfortunately that meant opening up the closet door that for what ever reason decided to get stuck on the carpet runner…and when I pulled on the door I was struck in the head, losing consciousness and leaving a 3 inch crease in my forehead.

I should have known that this was not going to be good because this is not my first kick at the can of dealing with head injuries…a decade before I had suffered a double concussion 2 days apart that left me in shambles for months and amplified some of the mental challenges that I have always faced.

This time though, I thought that because of the stability, hope and love that I had found, that a good night’s rest and I would be fine…that was not the case.

After the Funeral, and having dealt with extreme sensitivity to light, sound and dizziness for the entire day…I laid down for a short nap…but who woke up…was not me.  I only remember splinters of that night and most of what I remember is from second hand accounts.  Pieces of the night did come back to me…like when my love and I viewed what was supposed to be our new home together…little things would come back during conversations…but what really sent my life for a sideways tail spin was a reaction that I had after we got home.  I got angry…not because of anything that anyone really did…I shouted, yelled and hurt people that I loved (with words).  I found every bitter, spiteful and hurtful combination of words that I could string together…and pushed everyone away from me…just over 2.5 hours after I had laid down for the nap that I didn’t actually wake up from…I came to and was told what I had done…that became my first full on seizure…and the beginning of a life change that I did not want, ask for or request but none the less, my actions how ever warped were now out for the world to see.

I went to the hospital that night, and the emergency physician was amazing.  I had my second seizure while in the CT Machine and this has now become my norm.

To top things off, later that week, I received the news that my own mother was now facing Terminal Cancer with a very short time left for her.  I love her as she is the only mother that I have, but at the same time, feelings of unresolved issues from my childhood and adulthood also resurfaced.  I wanted to explode but knew that my own grief could not overshadow what my one and only was going through.

My personality began to radically change as I tried to apologise and reconcile with those that I had so deeply hurt.  My attempts to fix what I had broken was not met with complete understanding or acceptance…in fact a rift had developed that unknown to me at the time was quickly growing into a chasm.

The seizures have continued and with it the headaches, dizziness, nausea, loss of focus and lack of attention to detail.  I was slowly losing myself to an illness that I could not see, that few can or do understand and worst of it all…that I was unable to control myself.

Last week, a new form of the seizure developed that leaves the left side of my body in almost total paralysis.  This first expression, lasted for a couple of hours but over time, this has eased to about 20 minutes or less each time I lose focus or when stress overwhelms me.

But that brings me to the dark passenger that has decided to jump on the band wagon of wrecking the lives of all that are close to me.  That nagging thought of not being worthy of life started to visit more and more.  The sound and call to just give up growing ever stronger.

On Sunday, during another incident of uncontrolled emotion…the love of my life had finally hit her breaking point of seeing the wild ups and downs that my life had become…with increasing inconsistency.  While I believe that there is a chance that things will work out in the long run (I have to, that is the one thing that I can hold on to)…the feeling of being abandoned to figure out what is wrong with me became a stronger and stronger push towards the edge of the cliff that I have spent so long walking along the edge of.

I have always found my self against the word, action or thought of Suicide even though I have lived with the feeling that death would be easier than life.  I know that while the action only hurts those we love the most…the thought of taking the easy way out was really starting to make more and more sense.

After my first ER visit, a Mental Health Intake session had been booked to help me work through the blow up that I had the day of the funeral…but by the time I got here this morning I was getting more and more worried about how I would answer the question of “Do you have thoughts or feelings of doing harm to yourself or others”…I have  been asked that question more than once during my ongoing battle to find the answers, solutions and treatments…but for the first time, I was actually honest and clearly stated that I really didn’t know if when I left today, I would be alive for the next session.

I met with the In Patient Psychiatrist and after some very targeted and focused questions…assessed that the risk was not only real, but changed the diagnosis of what was going on in my head from General Anxiety Disorder (which is basically a catch all for Anxiety) to one of Borderline Personality Disorder.

This came as not only a shock, but at the same time opened my eyes to every failed relationship, job conflict and all the ups and downs and changing of life directions that I have experienced in the last 25-30 years.

I actually now know that there is hope.  This battle is not going to be an easy one…but it is one that is the most important that I have in my entire life…and that is the battle for my life.

My life is Worthy.  My life is Valuable.  My life is Precious!

If you are struggling, with an inner or outer demon.  If you don’t know where to turn, know that there is resources.  You see, as I had been trying to find the help that the love of my life would need to get through the grief…I found that the act of finding the resources that are actually available are quite incredible.

As I sit here at 8 pm in a really uncomfortable bed, looking at 4 bare walls, and dealing with the challenges that others in this department are facing…I realise now that the act of admitting that you feel like dying is not a cry for attention…but a cry for help!  And there was someone here to hear that call…and get my on a path to recovery.

I don’t know where this new direction is going to take me, I don’t know if what I had with my lover, my friend and my partner will be able to be repaired and once again allowed to bloom…but I know 2 things…If I did not say help me today…I may not ever been able to find that out…and that is actually now scarier than the challenges and really hard work that I am going to have to put in to fix both the physical illness of the head injury but now also the mental training that I will have to do.

I do know this…I will get through this!

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