The following is about strength so as you read; I will kindly ask that you keep an open mind. This is not a plea or a cry for help. Instead, this is a roadmap that starts from where I came from and leads to where I am now, today, here with you.
I am awake now and sitting in my loft. It is somewhere passed the 2:00am mark and outside, a soft blanket of white snow covers the ground. I can hear the sound of a train’s horn screaming from approximately a little more than a mile away. Otherwise the night is quiet in my mountain-like town. the sky is the color of charcoal gray and the empty tree branches mix with a sporadic evergreen outside my window to act like black figures in the contrast between foreground and background.
I am tired to say the least but I am up (like always) with thoughts on my mind. And since I’m awake, I figured now would be a good time to come and explain myself to you.
I experienced something yesterday. This was out of body, out of mind, and out of all things, this was something I never thought I would do. However, in the interest of wellness; in the interest of improving against depression and in the interest of my own education to better myself and give me permission to continue and reach new levels of awareness; in the interest of my interaction with others in the wellness field and to improve my sense of mindfulness as well as mindfulness in others I work with; I arrived at The Recovery Spot on 18th and Irving in New York City yesterday. I was here to go forward with my first infusion treatment.
I am not a doctor so I lack the medical terminology; however, I will go forward to explain the back history and detail why I do what I do.
Now, if you are ready, I would like you to remove judgement for the moment I would like you to see this from a different perspective. This is a strong step forward in a world where stigma determines everything. However, in my life and for the benefit of my life becoming better on a continual basis; I decided that stigma cannot and will not determine how I live. No, this job belongs to me.
For as long
as I can remember, I have always had a personal understanding of depression. I
was born with this. I live with this and at one point, I struggled with this
For those who cannot relate or cannot understand, I will explain my depression in simple terms. I had always believed something was wrong with me. I could never put my finger on what it was. I had symptoms but I was never quite sure why. I just knew that life was different for me than it was for anyone else.
This was difficult. This was painful, lonely, confusing, and often, infuriating. I never asked to feel, think, act, or look the way I do.
I never wanted to be the little kid or the skinny kid or the uncomfortable one, the one that always felt the need to hide behind something, or the one that always felt alone, even in crowds, and I certainly never asked to feel like I was always the one on the outside looking in.
I wanted to fit. I wanted to feel (or believe) that I belonged. I wanted to be comfortable in conversations. I wanted to feel as if I were able to contribute and be an asset (not a disadvantage) to those in my life.
I have an
understanding of suicidal ideation. I understand self-harm, self-sabotage, and
I can relate to the anxious self-fulfilling prophecies, the self-destructive and
self-induced failures that result from depressive thinking. I have an
understanding of the sad inner-monologue that stems from the deeply internal and
I can relate to rejection sensitivity and the fear of loneliness, but yet, I can also relate to the need for both the voluntary and involuntary periods of isolation throughout the years of my life.
I grew up with labels which in today’s day and age would be equivalent to Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria, Behavioral Disorder, Learning Disabled, Depression, Attention Deficit Disorder, and perhaps more. However, being that I am somewhat older and from a time before this current generation; I was simply called emotionally disturbed and given medication.
For as long as I can remember, I suffered from social anxieties. In fact, I endured six months of doctor visits, of hospitalizations, medical testing, spinal taps, and other procedures just to stay out of school. I did this because my panic to go to school was so intense
I faked being sick. I did this so much that it raised an eyebrow and when Mom took me to the doctor, I was in too deep, which meant I could not come forward and explain that I was lying.
Instead of seeking help, I endured. Instead of being honest about me, I withstood the pain. I coped with the anguish and maintained my story because so long as I held to my story, I would not have to go back to school. Besides, physical discomfort made more sense to me than emotional despair. I understood the rules of its engagement.
Physical pain makes sense to me. Emotional pain, however, does not always come with a face or description. Rather than face the crowd, I faked a terrible sickness.
This way I would not have to see others. I would not face the fears of ridicule or the discomforts of being me. I did not have to be uncomfortable while walking through the hallways with others who seemed to live much easier, simpler lives.
This way I did not have to see the pretty people with their pretty problems and their pretty little worlds.
My life was always in comparison. I always felt examined and judged like a special needs child; as if there were something wrong with me; as if the entire world was in on the joke, and me, I was either the last to get it or I was the punchline.
I felt this way from an early age. I endured alcohol and drug abuse and found sobriety (fortunately) at a young age. I endured the uncomfortable memories of unfair and inappropriate treatment in ways that I will not define here; however, in fairness to this text and to detail the severity of my anxiety, I will explain that memories of the subjects are, in fact, painful. At one point, the memories were debilitating and horrified me with a feeling or disgust and betrayal.
I always felt like I was losing. I believed life was always a win/lose kind of thing. And I lost. I always lost. I lost the way water loses to a drain. I lost even if I won because winning was only temporary; therefore, I lost because I could not maintain the feeling of victory.
Throughout the years, I find that I have grown in different stages. My awareness improved. My levels of consciousness improved. My understanding improved. I tried several methods to attain a better sense of mindfulness. I tried the medicinal route; however, the side effects were uncomfortable and the results of the medication were underwhelming.
First, I do not like to take medication. I do not like taking anti-depressants; least of all, for the reasons based upon stigma but moreover is because I did not find them successful with my chemical makeup.
I gained weight, I had sexual side effects. I felt a strange, in-between feeling that was neither good nor bad, neither appealing nor appalling, but more, I was just in the middle. Like . . . bleh . . .
I learned that my depression is medically resistant, which means medication does not really help. In fact, in my case, the medication I was given took away my personality.
Tired and frustrated of feeling this way and tired of believing there was something wrong with me; I came to a crossroad. I came to a point where I had to make a decision. I was tired of feeling like all I could do (at best) was surviving and endure. I was tired of struggling and tired of feeling uncomfortable. I was tired of my insecurity. I was tired of my interactions with others. I was tired of my paranoia, which is one of the most problematic symptoms of depression.
I have attempted
suicide. I have placed myself in dangerous places with dangerous people doing
dangerous things. I have risked life, family, relationships. I have lost friends.
I have lost periods of my childhood.
As a result of my depression and due to the untimely death of my Father when I was only 17, I lost the father/son relationship I always wished I could have had.
Over the years, I have known people that chose to take their own lives in one form or another. I have lost loved ones to unfortunate diseases that stem from mental health. I made choices on behalf of my fear. I lived in regards to my anxiety and depression. Yes. This was me. And yes, this is why I choose to do what I do
Throughout the years, I have had to learn methods of empowerment. I teach this now. I stand strong as who I am and openly (and often) expose who I am so that people know there is help and people do recover.
Yesterday morning, I met with a client of mine and discussed our strategy on how to live a better life. I am life coach. I am a sober coach. I am a certified hypnotist. I am a wellness advocate. I am also a motivational speaker, a sponsor to a few in a 12-step program, a friend to real friends, a family man, a man with love in his heart, and a man that has learned to live instead of someone that simply survives.
began with my client and then proceeded to a nearby recovery center where I
spoke with a roomful of those in early sobriety and struggling with addiction,
depression, and of course, struggling with the transitional change that comes
with life altering decision of life without mood altering substances.
I filled approximately two hours of my presentation, which I based on the subconscious programming and the internal biases that keep people sick and kept me from being the person I always wanted to be.
Afterwards, I drove home because there was a car waiting for me to bring me to the city. As a member of the sober community and as a person seeking to be impactful on a daily basis, I took the ride in the city to arrive at The Recovery Spot.
For a long
time, I watched doctors throw medication at people and treat them with a
one-size fits all model.
Just throw pills at them. Throw medication at them. Keep them sedated. Keep them from killing themselves but for God’s sake, be sure to keep them coming back.
I am part of something now. I am part of something in which I am proud of. I involved myself with a strong team and new science; one that is groundbreaking and has done wonderful things for those struggling with depression.
Ketamine is not a new drug. In fact, from my previous education; I know ketamine as a club drug. But at a low dose and in addition with other medications and vitamins, I was comfortably sedated for this procedure.
I remember the beginning. I recall wondering what it would be like to feel, “Placed under,” which was fine. And about an hour and a half to two hours later, I woke up to find myself in the company of the doctors and my friends.
I felt something . . .
I felt a different source of hope.
I felt as if someone reached in and pushed a reset button.
It was really beautiful
I was not unaware of me in any way. What I mean is the recovery was like waking up in slow stages. I was not high or euphoric. It took a while to feel completely myself. I was groggy, tired, and my breathing seemed different.
I know what I was thinking before the infusion. I know what I have on my plate because quite honestly, it’s still there. However, the over-amping of my brain is slowed; therefore, I can think clearly. I can allow for what is called a stage of neuro-genesis. This means my thinking will heal and create new neuro-pathways. In addition to my daily practices of personal wellness, my mind can relax; therefore I can relax and be more productive.
I chose to
do this because I believe there is a path to better wellness. I believe there
are ways to help people instead of simply throwing a daily dose of pills at
the. I underwent a series of Botox injections that were beneficial to me. I had
my infusion treatment. I have done these things to better my life and to help
me improve in what I do.
I want to be the best me on a daily basis, which I am.
As well, I want to improve upon this, every day, one day at a time, so long as I live, and for the rest of my life.
There will be more to come on this endeavor of mine. In fact, this is all part of a documentary, which will be my first of hopefully many.
I don’t want to just improve and defy the old subconscious programming; I want to help others do the same thing because this is who I am and this what I want to do.