supportive parents

My dad witnessed me almost commit suicide once. I think that’s how they found out something was wrong.

My mother put a heavy emphasis on finding God. I was raised a Catholic, and am currently agnostic. But there was all that talk of “you just need to find strength in faith” etc or “maybe if we throw him in a bunch of social situations, he’ll snap out of it when he sees how much people care about him!!

My parents were supportive the whole way through, even if they didn’t understand.

They wanted me to get help. They didn’t take away my knife, they didn’t stop me from talking about suicide to other people – they knew I needed to talk to SOMEONE – but they definitely kept a very close eye on me.

They were frustrated, more than anything. They were trying so hard but nothing was working. I can’t remember how, but somehow they found me a doctor that actually knew what they were doing. They took me to my appointments regardless of what was on their plate. They made sure I saw my friends, even when I had fresh cuts on my arms. Somehow they knew that I needed distractions and as much help as I could get.



when people found out

My sister was worried about me – I was an asshole of a brother and for some reason tried to traumatize her by showing her the cuts on my arms. She didn’t really know what to do or how to help, but she told my parents. My parents were confused, lost, upset, and kept asking “Why do you think this way? Why can’t you just think happy? You have everything going for you!!!”

They had the hardest time, I think. They didn’t know the extent of what I was going through, but they did their best to find out. Their approach wasn’t the best – my parents have always been kind of overbearing – but they did it out of love and I appreciate that. Sure, they violated my privacy – looking at my IM chat logs, for example – but they really wanted to help. They called MH crisis lines for advice, tried to get me to see a counselor (miserable failure), lost their shit when they finally saw my cuts…

My friends were… dismissive. It hurt. There was such a taboo around MH issues that people just downplayed it. Kind of a “everyone has bad days, you think you’re the only one?” or “you really need to get out more” or “stop being so emo.”

It crushed me. I needed them, so despite their ignorance, I clung to them. At some point in time, I realized some friends were going to brush it off, and so I stopped talking to them about it.



going to therapy

So last year, maybe the year before, I went through three therapists before I found a really really good one.   It’s kinda weird talking to someone about your most private thoughts. But hell, what am I paying $130 an hour for if I’m not totally honest?  

It’s been awkward for me.  Meaning, that I feel like it should be easy for me, but it’s not.  My therapist will say something that is SO obvious in hindsight, but I lack the emotional experience to see that for myself.    I broke down in her office last week and cried like a child, because my son gave me a gift for father’s day.   I haven’t cried in 27 years.

I describe it as feeling raw.  Emotionally raw.  It lasts for a couple hours after I walk out the door.  


surviving abuse


For a lot of my life I have squashed and suppressed all emotion – there was a lot anger and self hatred though, for various reasons.   I learned very quickly in life to get control of myself, to force my emotions into non-existence.  That was a survival mechanism. And it worked, until it didn’t.   

There’s lots of self help books on “defining yourself” – whatever that means.  I’m seeking less definition.   On having less boundaries, and being okay with that, on having less soul-crushing emotional control, but also not having an emotional breakdown.  It’s hard to find a balance, so for me, it’s baby-steps into unknown emotional territory.  

I try very hard to avoid labels.  Not to label myself, and not to label other people also. Labels come with expectations and excuses.  


anger management in the military

This post may be triggering for its mention of assault, anger management issues, PTSD, and mental illness.

I spent 12 years in the military (having no emotions except anger is very helpful in the military), and one day I lost control and physically assaulted one of my subordinates.  He was wrong, and I was wrong, so it didn’t go any further, but I lost control, which I didn’t like – it scared me.  The next day I went to the mental health clinic on base.  This was back in 2006 and I went about once a week for a year.  

It was there that I first started this journey from being an angry robot into becoming a human being.   Jokes became funnier, food tasted better, Disney movies made me cry.   I thought everything was fine – until about a year ago when I realized was thinking about killing myself.

I’m pretty certain I had mild PTSD when I first got out in 2011 – but it didn’t affect me daily.  I used to wake up in the middle of night scrambling to grab a rifle that I hadn’t carried for years.  I still really don’t like loud noises. Hitting a pothole or hearing a car backfiring will leave me on edge all day.


growing up with abuse


This post may be triggering for its description of addiction, abuse and mental illness.

When you grow up in a fucked up household you grow up thinking that’s normal. And it isn’t until you go off and start living your own life that you realize – wait a minute something’s wrong.Both of my parents were and are recovering addicts , although they’ve been clean and sober since before I was born.  They haven’t spoken to me in almost ten years and maybe that’s a blessing.


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OCD checks

My diagnosis is clinical depression with GAD and OCD. I’m on 60mg of prozac a day and I have a list of checks I HAVE to do before I can leave before going to work in the morning.

Its horrible. I could be running late and I still need to do them. Because if I don’t, who knows what will happen?

My main check is making sure I’ve locked the front door. I’ve had panic attacks over thinking I’ve not done this and that someone is going to break in and steal everything. So, what I do is film myself locking the door each time I leave the house. That way, when I doubt that I’ve actually locked it, I have solid irrefutable proof.