Posts Tagged ‘Health’

48 days ago I was going to commit suicide, yet here I am. I have been in deep self-reflection questioning and wondering why I am still alive. Six years ago was the last time I had an identical plan, preparations, suicide note and the intent to end my life, yet here I am. The suicide note I wrote six years ago resulted in a published book of poems, so I again ask myself what if anything will result from this intervention. I question and wonder was it divine intervention, or chaos theory which caused the series of events thwarting my plan to end my pain and leave this world behind.

The dark part of my mental illness comes with battling suicidal ideologies. The want and need to no longer be is always lingering; internally the battle rages on between selfishness and selflessness, feelings of hopelessness and hopefulness. Do I continue living in pain to spare the pain my death would cause to those who love me, or do I finally obtain peace and nothingness? There have only been three times in my life where selfishness had truly won, and I was at peace with my decision. I was more prepared and 100% ready to get the fuck out of here. I was no longer able to function with the pain. I started working on the details of the finality of my life about a month before I planned to carry it out, but before my much anticipated release, chaos erupts and in the blink of an eye everything turns to shit… or does it?

The story on how I ended up making my final decision is long and complicated, some of it I have written about, much of it went unwritten. I feel it would be therapeutic and helpful for me to go back and fill in the gaps between the post I wrote about moving out of the house and starting the divorce process through today. I know taking ownership and facing the reality of the roles I played in all of this will be difficult, but it needs to be done. With that being said the path I was on started with moving out and separating from my wife, and ended with me moving back home, everything in-between felt like a dream I couldn’t wake up from. So how and why did I get from there to here?

Six days prior to my date with nothingness, I discovered tangible proof of some disturbing shit involving my roommate and my daughter. My roommate and my daughter became a key component for my motivation and drive to end it all. I knew if I was no longer alive than she would have no choice but to move out of that house; I knew my blindness and denial was destroying her, but it was the shattering of this denial which caused me to flip out.

I was on the phone with my uncle and after a month of planning and silence I go on a rant about what I just found out about my roommate, I reveal my original plan and introduce the new addition to my plan. My uncle calls my sister; my sister calls the cops, and the cops show up beginning a series of events that led me here. This still doesn’t answer my question as to why I am still alive. With all of this added chaos and bullshit it should have been easier to keep my date with destiny, yet here I am.

Why… the only conclusion I can come to is I have been given a second chance. A second chance at making right all the wrongs in my marriage and with my children. My final safety net keeping me from offing myself has always been the impact it would have on my family, my safety net was gone. I had lost my family, but when my daughter and I moved back home that night I was filled with so many conflicting emotions; none of which involved suicide.

I am still lost in the forest of darkness and despair, the cause and effects of that night has actually caused greater stress and worry, yet here I am. My hopelessness has been replaced with hopefulness. This may be delusional thinking, but I feel I have hit the reset button on life giving me a clean slate at becoming a better husband and father. Is this why I am still here, to be a better husband and father? Is this divine intervention or chaos theory? Will this hopefulness last, or will hopelessness return?

Advertisements

One of my greatest regrets in life is not taking school seriously. There was so much knowledge I missed out on, and I kick myself to this day. I was never really into school when I was younger. I was always in trouble getting detention, suspensions, and expulsions. My high school experience was limited to one class in which I lasted around twenty minutes before I just walked out on the class. Needless to say I was expelled within a month or two. When I was a teenager my priority was trouble and drugs. I honestly thought at that age I would become a career drug dealer, so I felt little need to learn anything.

I did not leave this life style or frame of mind until I reached my early twenties. Once my mind finally cleared from all the substances I had been feverishly consuming everyday for the last ten years, I finally realized that I needed an education to further myself in life. When I enrolled into college I was excited to begin learning for the first time in my life. When classes finally started, I was hit with a dose of reality as to how ill prepared I was for this experience. I had no idea how to properly study, and I lacked the basics of early learning. Despite these setbacks I managed to get A’s and B’s in all my classes, I was in heaven learning things for the first time. I ended up falling two semesters short of getting my B.A. in Philosophy.

I have noticed over the years since I left school there are many things I know very little about. This lack of knowledge has been a jumping off point for many of my insecurities. It wasn’t until around four months ago I decided to start a “learning list.” I decided I was going to start a list of everything I wanted to know more about. I carried this folded up notebook paper in my back pocket, and if I came across anything I didn’t know, or something I wanted to know more about I wrote it down on my piece of paper. The plan was to make sure I was setting aside sometime everyday to pick something off my list and learn as much as I could on the topic.

Time went by, and the only thing I had managed to do with this list is add things to it. I was having trouble finding the free time to dedicate to learning all these things I wanted to learn. It wasn’t until I decided to only write in this blog three times a week, I was able to find and dedicate my time to this project. I am happy to say that I have been able to finally cross some things off this list. I am overjoyed with this new found time.

When I started this I was just reading as much information as I could find on the topic. I realized I was not retaining all of this new found knowledge. I was discouraged because I was spending free time on something aimed at improving my intelligence, but I was unable to retain everything. I pondered this conundrum for a while and came up with the idea for weekly “learning books.” I decided that along with reading the material on a subject, I would also transfer key information into a word document. At the end of every week I would print a new volume of the learning book. My goal is to not only add new stuff every week, but to also go back and read past volumes. I feel that if I record all this into a booklet, and go back and read it over and over then the information will stick.

I am thirty-one years old and I desire to know so much more than I already do. I have always wanted to further my knowledge on an array of subjects. I feel this idea and structure will be a perfect tool in furthering my independent education. I am sure I will be using this new found knowledge to write some new posts. Perhaps I could create a new ongoing series called “The Learning Corner” or something like that. Whatever happens I know right now I feel very proud of myself. I would recommend this model to anyone interested in learning new things. It seems to be working for me.

About a year ago I founded a non-profit organization “The Bucket List Foundation.” This foundation started after the responses I received from a post I did in remembrance of a dear friend who lived at the nursing home I worked at. All I did was throw out an idea I had to help make the lives better for our oftentimes forgotten elderly. This post helped unite the founding members of the foundation. The founding board members changed a bit but the core members came together and everything started to take off. At first we were going to apply for the Pepsi Refresh Grant to get us off the ground but Nicole and I were concerned of the impact that would have on us come tax time. We decided to start from the ground up, and build from there. I must admit we were a bit awkward. Despite this we started to make some real progress, until recently where we hit a major hurdle in our development.

Our last meeting was months ago. The end result of this meeting was we were going to figure out how to break up the writing of our business plan. Nicole was put in charge of researching everything that went into writing a successful business plan, once completed she was to delegate sections to each member to complete before our next meeting. I do not think we were fully prepared for the sheer scope of this project. In reality we had just set ourselves up for failure because this was far more than one person could handle by themselves, when you added in Nicole’s workload the task was almost impossible. Time went by with no progress being made. The days turned into weeks, and the weeks into months. I was afraid with all the time which had passed the dream of this foundation just sort of sizzled out. I honestly thought the foundation had died completely.

I ended up talking to our president to see if she was still interested, and she confirmed that both her and her father were still very much interested in making this dream come true. She sent out an e-mail to all the board members to make sure we were still on board, and to see about scheduling our next meeting. I responded to the e-mail letting everyone know I was still interested in proceeding and advised we should either get together or brainstorm via e-mail on how to get us back on track. I am sorry to say I have not received a response from anyone.

I am a bit discouraged by the lack of response. I am worried that our first hurdle may end up being the last hurdle we ever face. I feel without the unity of the board this foundation may be dead in the water. This is a sad day for many people because the foundation could have made a difference and changed so many of our aging population’s lives. I wonder how we can proceed if we cannot all pull together. Could I place an ad in the paper saying we are looking for board members to join our foundation to fill the spaces of the departed? I think one thing which caused this foundation to falter after hitting this bump was the lack of members on the board. We were a group of five individuals trying to accomplish a daunting task, and perhaps this task was too much for just five people to handle.

I truly hope The Bucket List Foundation is not dead. I know this foundation would make a difference in so many peoples lives, and if this doesn’t get off the ground than it is a shame this idea rested in my head instead of someone who could have made it a reality. When we were chugging along I kept thinking of all the peoples lives we were going to change for the better because of this. Now I am afraid I will be thinking how many people’s lives we didn’t change because we just kind of gave up.

I have spoken in posts recently about failure and I feel this is yet another example of failure on my part. I think back and if I would have been more organized and vocal as a leader perhaps this foundation would still be moving forward instead of being stuck in the mud. If you want my opinion; we need more members on the board to make this thing work. I have honestly thought then as I do now that we require members with specialties in the hurdles we are trying to overcome. How can you ask a group of people to come together and figure out how to write a solid business plan? The answer is you can’t. I place full blame on myself for allowing this thing to die down. Like I said earlier I hate that this idea was wasted on me. All I am able to do now is do what I can in hopes the individuals still interested come back together. If we are able to ignite a spark and move towards finding the right people to join the board; I feel confident this thing of ours can come back to life.

If you are interested in knowing more about the foundation you can check it out under “The Bucket List Foundation” in the categories drop down menu. I think some posts may be missing. If so let me know and I can point you in the right direction or give you more information.

“Hi my name is Tim and I am an addict.”

I am happy to say it has been around ten years since I have uttered those words in an NA meeting. This does not mean I have been totally sober the entire ten years, it just means I haven’t been co-dependent on meetings to stay sober. I have discovered a much more successful approach at staying sober, and that is controlling the addiction instead of the addiction controlling me. Learning this key lesson is in my opinion the most efficient way to maintain sobriety. As addicts if we are talked into, forced or just decide enough is enough our options to beat this thing is through treatment and NA/AA. Unfortunately this system does not work for everyone and those who it does not work for are in danger of allowing the drugs to continue to control them. I am sure there are programs out there that do not follow the traditional NA/AA model; I have just never heard of any before. I have often times thought about sharing my experiences to others in hopes my approach and philosophy may help them beat their addictions.

In my life I have had my fair share of issues with addiction. I started using at the age of thirteen and from that very moment I was in love with getting high. I would spend the next ten plus years getting high everyday all day. I have almost thrown my life away several times in the name of getting my next high, and in the midst of it all I really didn’t care. My life had zero value to me, and I felt it had zero value to anyone close to me. Since my life had zero value and nothing really mattered I might as well enjoy life and party. Because of my chronic using I have been through treatment several times. Except for the last time I was in treatment I always used while I was going through treatment. For some reason I was never able to buy into the NA/AA model, and because of this I took very little lessons away from my time in the program. The last time I was in treatment I was there for a week and I had to go AMA (against medical advice.) I didn’t want to leave to get high, I just hated being locked up. There was no way I would survive getting clean in this place, so I checked out and went to wage battle against my addiction.

I am not saying the NA/AA model is completely useless because it does help many people get clean, it just didn’t do it for me. The sad part is I do not believe I am alone in this thinking, and to my knowledge there are not many treatment centers out there that take a different approach on getting people clean. I think NA/AA takes vulnerable individuals and creates co-dependency upon the meeting and the collective in order to stay sober.  I was never able to get past the concept of handing my life over to a higher power. For those of you who read this blog a lot you know I am stubborn and have strong feelings and opinions on religion. It was this step that almost always caused me to shun this organization. The only higher power I recognized was myself, and I was broken so this is scenario simply wouldn’t work. Little did I know at the time that this concept would become a huge component of my personal plan to beat addiction.

In my journey from being a drug addict to a non-addict was a long and hard road. I had many relapses some worse than the others. I do not look at a relapse of using just once. I look at a relapse as thrusting yourself back into the using and abusing routine. My last relapse was probably my worst ever. I am not going to get into great depth of what I was using or how it was systematically destroying my life. I will just tell you that by the time I hit the absolute bottom I spent two weeks curled up in my bed detoxing, insanely sick from withdrawals. My doctor recommended I go to a detox center to be monitored because the drugs I was using were dangerous to come off of. I being the stubborn man I am wanted to do this without the aide of professional assistance. I wanted to prove to myself that I had the strength to beat this thing. It was an extremely rough road, and I can tell you with certainty this last binge/detox episode changed my life. I have not nor do I ever plan to relapse again. I can say this with complete certainty because of the personal program I built myself.

Among many other things I realized this lifestyle I had been living my entire life has been nothing but destructive, and has hurt those I loved. There is no high worth fucking up the lives of those who care about you. There is no high worth my kids seeing me as a junkie. This last situation will be my last. Since this last episode I have had many chances to take my drugs of choice and every time I have turned it down. I realized that if I put myself in safe situations then I am limiting the possibility of being confronted with the option to use. The times where the drugs were still able to find me I said no every time. I may have wanted to say yes so I could experience the sweet embrace of my drug of choice, but I realize that these particular narcotics had a profound control over me, and if I gave in even one time it could be my last. Unlike the AA/NA model I do not believe that once an addict always an addict, and to stay sober you can never touch another chemical of any kind. I think this concept is the downfall of many people who follow this model. It is possible to enjoy chemicals without completely throwing your life away. Personally I just needed to know which chemicals I had control over like drinking for example and which ones had control over me. With these things along with the other lessons and practices I put together I went from my addiction controlling me to me controlling my addiction. This my friends is part of the magic key to finally beating addiction.

I do not recognize addiction as an illness. I view it as a self-induced affliction. We all had the choice to say no at one point in our lives, and many more after we said yes for the first time. We all had the choice to make better decisions but we did not. These choices in the beginning were not made because we had an illness it happened because we made poor choices, because of this we were lead down the path of addiction. I believe the withdrawals and suffering which comes from getting clean is tough, but far from an illness. We did this to ourselves and taking ownership is a huge step in looking at your life of using, and as a result beating it. I believe many people use the cop out of addiction as an illness to justify their behaviors while they were using. I know when it came down to making amends I whole heartily blamed my horrendous actions on my using, as if I had no control over my decisions. These types of justifications keep us from seeing who we really are, and what we are capable of becoming because of our using. Saying “the illness made me do it” almost makes you blind to the person you have become.

I recognize when the drugs control you the addiction seems like an illness. But more so I consider addiction as a choice. I understand this to be true because in looking back at my using days my drug binges always started with a choice to relapse and use again. Even in the beginning I made the initial choice to use drugs I knew were highly addictive and destructive. I knew this yet I still made the choice to try them, even after trying them the first time I had to make the choice to try them again and again. At any point I had the choice to make a better decision. Relapsing was my choice which threw me back into a self-induced affliction. We addicts are very much in control of this decision; we just need to possess the strength and common sense to make good choices. We may sit back and blame it on our “illness,” but in reality it is our choice to use once again which is the issue. Finding the “why” in this scenario and facing it will assist in solving the problem. This along with learning to control the addiction instead of the addiction controlling you is a good start in getting sober.

We are traveling to northern Minnesota this weekend to see my family. While we are up there we are going to just hang out and enjoy some merriment while drinking and playing games. This sounds like a blast, but what I didn’t mention is we will be spending Saturday at the water park. It was a blast the last time we went, but I am having a lot of anxiety and shame over having to take my shirt off at the park. I wrote about this a month ago so I apologize for repeating myself, but I am tremendously insecure about my body. I have been intending to do something to lose this weight for sometime now, but it is just that intending not doing. I have been trying for years to either come to grips with my belly, or take accountability and do something about it. I am sad to say that I have not accomplished either. I feel confident that someday I will get around to it; I am just not sure when. There are a few body tattoos I want to get, but there is no way I am going to get them due to my girth.

I am desperately trying to find peace with who I am; both inside and out. I am 5’ 7” and currently weigh 188lbs, but when I look in the mirror what I see looking back is someone weighing 350lbs. I am in-between a 36/38 in pants size, which I do not think is a very good thing. I know I can lose the weight if I really work at it. About three years ago I dropped a bunch of weight. I was eating healthy and working out. It felt great because I was in-between a 34/36 pants size and weighed 160lbs. I still had a belly but it was nothing compared to what it was or what it is now. I had a bunch of energy, my moods were more stable and best of all I felt happy with my body. I was staying home with the kids at this time so when my wife got home I would head off the gym five days a week. Once I started working again I stopped going to the gym and hence gained all this weight back. It is very difficult for me to work all day, and once the home stuff is done it is eight o’clock and the last thing I want to do is lift weights and do some cardio. I think a bigger problem is I have my nightly routine and it is very hard to stray from that routine. I know all it will take is a week of following a workout schedule before it would be fully intergraded into my nightly routine. So why do I not do this? Why do I still eat extra cheddar goldfish at 8pm at night instead of going to the gym?    

There are many people who are overweight, but they carry their weight very well. I admire these people because of regardless of what they weigh they have this certain confidence in themselves. The only time I have confidence in myself is if I am dressed well. There have been a few times I look in the mirror and say to myself “damn I am sexy.” This is usually accomplished the first fifteen times or so times I wear new clothes. I just wish that confidence and sexy feeling lasted every time I wore those same clothes, but it wears off after time. I would love nothing more than to just embrace my appearance, and just live my life. What I try to say to myself is if it is good enough for the Buddha than it should be good enough for me. I would much rather be like the Buddha instead of some shallow perfect everything type of person.

“A drink a day keeps the shrink away.”
Edward Abbey

I am not a big drinker by any means. The very few times I do drink I feel a deep sense of relaxation, and often times I am less shy. I would envision if I had one or two drinks a night, I am sure it would help many of my issues. I would be less stressed, feel good, and have a laugh. The problem with this is you risk the possibility of addiction. I have an addictive personality, and if I were to drink daily it would lead me down a dangerous path. Since I only drink a handful of times a year I get buzzed and relaxed after only two drinks. If I were to continue this pattern, soon I would require three drinks, then four and so it goes. This pattern induces unhealthy self medication, leading to addiction. 

A more appropriate quote would be “a joint a day keeps the shrink away.” I am all for the legalization of marijuana, and I am devastated proposition 19 did not pass.  It is by far safer than alcohol, and would create a stable money source for our government. Life is stressful as it is; people need an escape from reality from time-to-time. Smoking weed can be self medicating, which is not as horrible as alcohol, and the medication drug companies’ produce. This medication eases our maladies, but come with side effects. These side effects can sometimes be worse than the problems they are supposed to cure. In some cases we become physically and mentally addicted to our prescription medication. I look at some of the prescription drugs out there and think to myself marijuana would cure that problem, and is far less destructive to our bodies and mind.

We as a society have become dependent on some sort of unnatural drug to cure this or that. The drug companies would lose billions of dollars a year if people medicated themselves, or if marijuana was used to treat certain issues. This is a huge road block to the cause of legalization. If we all smoked a joint or two a day our society would improve; people would be chill, less tense, and happier. We would have less people in prison; eliminate crime caused by the selling and distribution of weed, and decreasing the money source for illegal operations. The government would make billions of dollars which could then go back into the community. This is a win-win type of situation, the only people who would lose are drug companies, and I believe it was the drug companies that killed proposition 19.

I am not able to see into the future which is why this is an opinion piece. I believe that anything in excess is a bad thing, whether it be alcohol or marijuana.  I have a friend who does nothing but smoke dope from the moment he wakes up to the moment he falls asleep. Although he is a high functioning user I am still able to see the negative outcome his use has had on his life. It is my opinion that the good outweighs the bad in the legalization debate.  I feel the legalization of marijuana would cure some of our society’s maladies.

In the end it is important for people to sit back relax, and enjoy the moment, but don’t forget to pass it along.

Edward Paul Abbey: (January 29, 1927 – March 14, 1989) was an author and essayist noted for his love and protection of our environment. He spoke out against big government and some accused him of being an anarchist. His novel The Monkey Wrench Gang, which has been cited as an inspiration by radical environmental groups, and was a how-to-guide for non-violent ecotage. He was born in Pennsylvania, but felt compelled to head west. In his travels he felt a connection with the land and fought hard to preserve its beauty. I find many of his quotes inspirational.

Like most people in America I am very self-conscious about my body and the way I look. I feel very uneasy in my own skin, which I think adds to my shy nature and lack of confidence. I have never really thought I was part of the “beautiful people” which over the years has really bothered me. I find this kind of strange since I am very anti-conformity. A sure sign of conformity is letting society dictate to you what is beautiful over what is ugly, and what is popular over unpopular. I am not sure why I have allowed mainstream media to say to me whether I am beautiful or not, but I have and still do. I trace the root of this complexity to my early experiences with television.  

We are bombarded everyday with television, magazines, movies, and commercials’ telling us what is sexy and what isn’t. When I was younger I was introduced by the media to something called “popularity” and the opposite side of the spectrum the term “geek.” I was not yet judgmental of anyone until I learned of the social divide within the subculture known as public schools. I knew from movies such as “Lucas,” “Pretty in Pink,” “Weird Science,” and “Can’t Buy Me Love” the last thing I ever wanted to be was a geek. The popular and beautiful people in these and other movies of that time showed me that my highest objective in my youth is to be on the proper side of the cool meter. (Apparently during the eighties if you had any sort of eye conditions you were doomed to being a dork, and most likely a part of the AV club.) I did not need glasses but for most of my childhood I was on the wrong side of the cool meter. The more I found myself in this crowed the more resentment grew towards myself. I think the years of being teased only furthered my desire to be “beautiful.”  I was never able to achieve this elusive label.

I wish I felt more comfortable in my body, but I don’t. In my lifetime I hope to see a world that puts very little emphasis on the outward appearance of people. I want to live in a world where your beauty is judged by who you are inside not what you look like on the outside. I know ultimately I am responsible for my own body and if I wish to change it then I need to quit whining and do something about it. I know this but it is so much easier to say then to actually do. The problem I have is I lack any self discipline when it comes to my eating habits. I do not eat breakfast or lunch during the week, so my only meal is dinner. This is never enough to fill me up and I end up snacking until late at night then lay my fat ass down and go to sleep. I work a desk job, so I am sitting down all day long and get very little exercise when I am at work. The last thing I want to do when I get home or on the weekends is spend hours at the gym, when it is so much easier sitting on the couch watching football. I know because of all this I have only myself to blame for my appearance and I am in a cycle of self-loathing, then acceptance then self-loathing again. My body is by no means as out of control as some others, but I definitely have a belly and love handles this is where I end up carrying all my excess weight. I have never thought I carried it well hence why I am so self-conscious about myself. I just once want to be noticed as an attractive man, instead of what I am.

Why do we place such a large emphases on beauty? The Tao teaches us to never judge, and says the only way we know beauty is because we have defined ugliness. Children are far crueler than adults. I know now I will not be teased for my appearance as I had in my youth. I feel confident in not being judged by others, but I still feel a sense of sadness knowing I will not be judged for my beauty. I know I won’t be judged for my non-beauty so I guess I will take what I can get. I have hit the point where my self-loathing of my appearance supersedes any positive feelings I have. I have reached the point where my worries over others judging me have turned inward where I am always judging myself. This inner judgment has been destructive on my overall self-esteem. I just want the day to come where I can purchase extra large clothing and not feel like a complete slob. Although I am between sizes I want to hang my head high when I purchase size 38 jeans. I want to see some commercials where my peeps are doing underwear commercials.

I think an aspect of the American Dream is to have a membership in the beautiful peoples club. I do not know many people who would willingly shun this exclusive membership. I am sure you wouldn’t find one single man or woman who would say “I really just wish I would get fatter to further distance my chances of ever getting laid.” I don’t need to worry about this though because my wife thinks I brought sexy back years ago and hasn’t left since.

I started writing and never finished a post last week about how thankful I was for not being consumed by a deep depression for some time. I feel like it has been a lifetime since I ventured into the darkest regions of my shen. I should have knocked on wood, because since yesterday I have steadily crept into a downward spiral of darkness. I am trying my hardest to lighten the blow, and recover before it gets to bad. During this depression free time I have by no means been stable. My moods have been all over the place for a few months, but I have been void of any out of control manias or crippling depressions. The times I had hit a small mania or minor depression I was able to quickly rebound from it. I was considering myself lucky, until today. I do not know exactly what is wrong with me, but all I want to do is crawl into bed and cry.

I have been sitting here in my office trying my hardest to fight back the tears. I think this episode started when I was looking at a new picture of my youngest son on my desk. They did this new style at his school this year which I am really digging. I must say this is the best school picture I have ever gotten. I just got lost looking at his picture, when all of a sudden tears started welling up in my eyes. I was a bit overwhelmed by this since I am not one to cry. If I were to guess; I would say I only cry two to three times a year. I at first thought these were tears of joy, but then I was slapped with this gut wrenching sense of guilt. I started to look into myself to figure out why I am feeling so much remorse. I started to do some deep searching and came to the conclusion my guilt lies in my failures as a father.

I am by no means the worst father, but I can guarantee you I will never win father of the year. I have made many mistakes as a father, many of which I would sell my soul to take back. It is not like any of my mistakes have been ones of violence. I have been angry as hell at my kids, but would never harm them. The things I wish I could take back are the many small things that equal up to the big things. As I sit here reflecting, the only conclusion I come to is I have not been a good enough father. If anyone out there is a parent you can understand the tormenting feeling this reflection will cause. There is one thing in life you should not fail at, and that is being a good parent. I wonder if my kids were asked “do you have a good dad” would they answer yes without hesitation or would they need to think about it? I believe they would need to give that one a second thought.

I am trying to take inventory and convince myself I am a good father, this is becoming increasingly difficult. There may be a thing here or a thing there I do well as a parent, but I seem to fail everywhere in-between. I feel like I am not there enough for my children. It is so hard for me to just be in the moment and enjoy what I have. I am always lost somewhere inside my mind. I am either focusing on my writing, sucked into a down causing me to be emotionally unavailable, or I am consumed with distracting mania (my children’s favorite mood.) I feel like I do not give them the attention they deserve. I have cut the amount of time I spend writing by 75%, but still feel like I am a stranger to them. I feel like I have been in this cycle forever where I am only partially available. My mind is so scatter brained all the time it is hard for me to focus on things. I tend to get distracted off into so many different directions. I never feel like I am just right where my kids need me to be.

I am feeling such intense guilt over all the times I have yelled at them. There are so many better ways to speak to your children, and I take the cowards copout by reacting with the only emotion I feel comfortable expressing. Inside I am by no means an angry person. I am normally very Zen, but the minute I feel any negative emotion it comes out in anger. I cannot cope with these deep scars I have, and instead of feeling through it I lash out. I think this is a defense mechanism I developed long ago. I hate myself for not having the commonsense to just walk away and collect my thoughts. I know what it feels like to grow up with a yeller, and let me tell you it is horrible. The thought of me speaking to my children the way my step-father spoke to me makes me want to vomit. I try to make myself feel better by saying “all parents yell at their kids from time-to-time,” but this is not working. I feel like I have become the one man I despise more than anything, the man who traumatized me as a child. If I am doing the same things to my kids that he did to me, then reason would conclude I am him. I cannot deal with this reason. I cannot cope with this reality.

I just want my kids to be healthy and happy, and I worry they can’t be healthy with me around. I have failed them in every single way I possibly can. I am having a really hard time with this. I can almost feel the pain I have caused them, and it is ripping my insides apart. If they even remotely feel the way I think they feel then what the fuck am I? What have I become? I should have learned from the mistakes of my parents, and not followed in their footsteps, but somehow here I am. I try so hard to change these things, and I may be straight for a few days, or a few weeks, but then slip back into my old self. I hate my old self. I find it very hard to think of anything positive to say about my true self. I find it inconceivable my children love my true self. This actuality makes me cry in my office.

My cycles are random and unpredictable, but the one thing I can count on is the cycles I have when the season changes. With every changing of the season I have drastic cycle changes. When it turns to spring I have mania. When spring turns to summer I have more intense mania. I do not mind these because I will always choose mania over depression. I dread the season change from summer to fall and fall into winter. I tend to slip into the deepest depressions of any of my cycles throughout the year. I cannot fight these season cycles anymore than I can change the changing of the seasons.

I was not always aware of these guaranteed changes until my wife pointed them out over and over again. I think it took me eight years to finally accept this fact. This acceptance of fact has helped me in embracing these changes and doing my best to prepare for them. I know this is not an isolated case because my uncle who has bi-polar suffers from the same seasonal change cycles. I just wonder if this is the case for all those who suffer from this illness. I know there are those who suffer from depression depending on how much sunlight they receive.

I have been consciously trying to find ways to get out of my cycles. I already know the best way to curb a mania is by loading myself up on Seroquel. I usually try to not take myself out of manias because I thoroughly enjoy the feeling it brings. I have two types of mania a positive and a negative. When I enter into the positive mania I experience euphoria. I am a better father and husband, because I interact with my wife and children more. I give off a positive vibe, and I am always hypersexual. I am more creative in my positive writing projects, and I am able to edit my work so much easier. Overall I just feel really great. When I hit my negative mania, I am still more creative except this time I focus on my negative projects. I am typically still jacked up except this time I am very irritable and crabby.

I always seem to fall apart when I have my crash and enter into depression. All I want is to be alone and sleep. I have found only one positive from this shitty state; I am more creative with my really dark stuff. My greatest talent tends to be my dark stuff, because I am really good at describing my pain in a poetic way. I have already slipped into two separate depressions. Stopping these depressive states are much more difficult than curbing my mania. There is no magic pill which takes it all away. I have found three things which will bring me out of a depression; Madden, writing, and energy drinks. These things seem to always pull me out. These three things always lift me into a happy place.

I have always thought I suffer from rapid cycling, because I can jump to one extreme to the other at the drop of the hat. Every doctor I have ever seen has told me this is impossible. If this is impossible then why do I have them? Is there a mood disorder which causes rapid changes from mania to depression? All I know with each passing day and the closer we get to winter I can feel myself needing to fight these depressive states. Last year when I hit my most extreme low I can ever remember was due to the season change. I started to write “My Descent into Madness” in September and wrote my final words to my family in November. I did not deal with the season change very well last year. I do have the new Madden so I could try to play that more. I have two new poetry books I am almost done with, and I also am finished with the next installment of Dylan Thomas; so I have a ton of positive work going on. I can always go to the store and buy energy drinks. I hope with these three newly discovered coping mechanisms I will be better prepared for winter.  

 Winter is here

Mother Nature has laid waste

To her children

Shrouding men in death

By: Tim Lundmark

My wife had to have surgery on her mouth to fix two impacted wisdom teeth. Her teeth were not going straight up they were growing sideways pushing at her molars. The dentist told her she had to get this surgery done otherwise she would have severe problems down the line. We have duel dental insurance and at that time health insurance. Between these three the procedure was extremely cheap. The place she had the procedure royally botched the operation and caused a whole new set of problems. She was sent to another dentist, when he saw how badly his colleague screwed up he offered to have all visits with him for free. It was because of this shitty dentistry my wife had to go have a serious surgery because the infection was eating away at her jawbone. After the surgery she had to take hardcore antibiotics through an in-home IV. The whole thing was a complete nightmare, but we did not realize there were other issues to come about. This time it was not her mouth it was the insurance companies screwing up.

When my wife received the first bill she noticed the insurance company did not cover everything they were supposed to. When she called the insurance company she had to jump through all these hoops, talk to many different representatives, and really press the issue until she found out the insurance company miscoded many of the services to the tune of over one thousand dollars. The representative she spoke to said she would make notes in her account and said she would fix it. We also received bills from the dentist’s office after he said all services would be covered. My wife continued to fight this as well. We had to go to some out of network providers specifically for the in home IV antibiotics. We received a referral and before my wife accepted she contacted the insurance company to ensure it would be covered and they gave the okay. Sure enough it was coded as no approval out of network.

She has been dealing with this for months. Every time she calls she has to jump through the same hoops as the time before; only to hear “oh yea we miscoded. We will fix right away.” My wife has been in pain for over two years and she still has nerve damage in her mouth. On top of this she still has to deal with the insurance company which has now sent us to a heavy duty collection company. This has gotten so frustrating for her it will bring her to tears. I wish I had better knowledge of how this all works so I can call and help.

I wonder how many people have to deal with “miscoding?” I wonder how many people just pay their bill unaware they are getting screwed. In the film “Sicko” by Michael Moore it addresses how insurance company employees are trained to miscode varies procedures which would normally be covered. It is no secret insurance companies are crooked. They try to find anyway to get out of covering our healthcare needs. This is no secret yet nothing really gets done to hold these bastards accountable for their crimes against the people. We all pay high premiums month in and month out. For many of us we also have such high deductibles to pay before coverage even sets in.

During the healthcare debate there were a lot of lies, rhetoric and fear mongering going on to try and turn the people against Obama. Some of these same people were the ones who voted for him because of his healthcare reform. I remember seeing rallies were people were freaking out and shouting at people for this reform. I remember people spitting on a sick man holding a sign saying he was dying and has no coverage. I am sure these protesters were either well to do and had cheap coverage, or they were ignorant and had no idea what Obama was actually trying to do. Either way the healthcare bill as it stands sounds like it will do very little to stop insurance companies from bending us over and giving us the high hard one. I am amazed with how crooked people know they are and how much these insurance companies are screwing us; we have yet to rally together and demand change. This is further proof how we are indoctrinated into a frame of mind allowing us to be taken advantage of and just accept it and go about our days. I think we not only owe it to ourselves, but also our children the chance to live in a just and fair society. Don’t you?