OK so this is a Tech Blog…for the most part. I take the time each Monday to express and share some of the challenges, struggles and hard fought battles that I have gone through with my own inner struggle with Anxiety, Depression and Loss. The past 6 months have been a real challenge for me but despite hitting rock bottom (or at least I hope that it was rock bottom) about 7 weeks ago, I am coming out of it stronger, better and amazingly enough…medication free.
Here in London, Canada (and for the most part all across this great country) there is a shortage of Psychiatrists. I have been on a waiting list to get in to see one for 18 months now and when my family doctor prescribed several different Anxiety medications to me last year, I couldn’t help but feel like I was just being pushed out the revolving door for the next patient. The underlying issues were still there and the triggers that caused the Stress, Anxiety and Depression were still an ever present threat to my mental stability. Medicating without an effective coping strategy was sure to be a challenge but he is the doctor and I am the patient so I “popped the pills” and waited for happiness and stability to arrive.
It Didn’t Happen!
I wasn’t surprised, nor was I shocked at the fact that the same old triggers would set off anxious feelings and my lashing out would continue. I would either get very angry, burst out in tears or internalize everything and my anxiety would turn into depression. I was in the same job that was causing the stress, battling it out in a marriage that was on life support at best and I couldn’t help but feel like there was really no way out. I was going to be stuck here, without help until I either hurt someone (and found a new home in the Prison System) or I hurt myself (and found a new home in a Pine Box).
I am a very pragmatic person and I didn’t like these two choices but the reality was I was stuck between a rock and a hard place and then the bomb really dropped.
While I was not given a reason, I know deep down that my inner battle with Mental Illness was a contributing factor to losing my job with a great company. I harbour no ill will…hell I would have fired me a long time before they did…but with the key source for stress gone…I should be able to find inner peace right?
It Didn’t Happen!
I was in Sales, had been for nearly 5 years so I went on a quest to replace the income that I lost with the same kind of job, and the same kind of stress (stupid me). I got lucky and again found a great company, who took a chance on me but at the same time as all this started, more personal losses poured on top of me. The death of my Grandfather and my Mothers Long Time companion within 3 weeks of each other really didn’t faze me. I took it in stride…for a short time. Then it started to weigh on me. I tend to hold onto things far too long (hell I still have designs that I did 20 years ago in a file folder in a box tucked away in the basement).
The weight of loss and then the ever present financial burdens of success started to compound upon me.
I started to over think everything.
I analyzed the past, present and future, daily. I started to spin out of control.
Anger and sadness rolled into one. I couldn’t escape it. Sleep would not come (at one point I had gone 4 days without sleep) and when it did it was short and restless.
The anger started to widen the already existing rift with my wife, and started to really affect my daughter too.
After 5,763 days together…I was presented with the option to end my marriage. I moved out of the bedroom and began sleeping on the floor in what had become my office (working from home sucks by the way). All these compounded challenges made it impossible for me to function. My life was on autopilot and I needed to really put some effort into building my own identity. One that I could be proud of and one that others could look at envy me. It was time to start over.
I still fight through the feelings of anxiety and stress but my new job makes me happy. Exercise is a great outlet for the demons that I am trying to exorcise but more than anything…I make a conscious decision each and every minute to make the most out of my life. It is a constant affirmation that my destiny is my own to be written. I may play a role in other destinies but at the end of the day…I need to be happy with me. Inside of my own skin.
So where will things be 6 months from now? I really don’t know. I do know that I really need to see a Doctor soon but now there are some new challenges that I face…none that are to overwhelming but challenges none the less.
I look forward to starting this new chapter. Or maybe this is a whole new book.
Only time will tell.
I do know this.
I Can Make it Happen!