A couple of things

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Sorry if the pic bothers anyone. It’s just a relief to see so many more in such a short time. If you’d rather not see it, just comment and I can remove it.

For a long time I’ve called this 30-something guy’s journal – mostly about bipolar II. In less than a month I’ll no longer be in my 30’s and I don’t write mainly about Bipolar II anymore, so I need to come up with a new name for this little space on the net’.

On another note, my wife and I have been trying to conceive based on her fertility tests and we’ve been doing pretty regular checks to see if I have any sperm with the microscope. Tonight was the first night I didn’t need to hunt to see sperm, but they were all dead. I’ve read up on it, and this apparently isn’t unusual. If I were to guess, in the 11 minutes I looked at the slide, I saw well over 200 sperm, which is a huge improvement from a week ago when 20-40 minutes of searching showed only a few. For proper lab testing we need a centrifuge and an incubator. Neither of those items are cost prohibitive. I’ll talk with my wife and see if she’s willing to wait long enough to just decide to go the IVF route to make the extra lab equipment worth the investment. It’d get used after this.

If someone did a tag search and found this blog about having a vasectomy reversal, please feel free to contact me to talk about the process. I did have one of the top surgeons in the country perform mine, even after 18 years of the original vasectomy. I can tall you about recovery times, pain, other things to expect and at least what the cost was for us (it was not covered under insurance and required general anesthesia). I know when I was researching online most of everything I found was very clinical in nature, but didn’t get into the actual reality of the procedure and recovery.

So, this is real. This is going to happen. Even if I can’t produce naturally, the surgeon that performed the reversal said as far as production and quality of sperm I may as well be in my 20’s. Extracting it would be less than pleasant, but nothing I’m not willing to endure to move the process forward. This is really happening, and likely within the next year, barring any complications. I’m equally excited about it and terrified at the same time. The terrified part is mostly the reasonable things people that are going to have a first child have. To summarize; I just don’t want to fuck up too much and to be a good father. The other part that scares me though is the crippling depression that I go so very often. I’m high-functioning when I’m depressed and to help with focus I have Adderall which has been a godsend. Out of the group of 20 of my position in the country, only two other perform consistently at my level with errors being extremely rare and missing deadlines being unheard of.

I’ve been researching online again to see if I can find a therapist that we kind of hit it off as far as being a good fit for working together that can allow me Skype sessions when I’m traveling. Our health insurance will cover it, but there’s a specific code that needs to be used and I need to see the therapist in person every so often as well. It’s the suicidal ideation and urge that I need help with. It’s a constant. I’m used to it. I’m in no danger, but it’s a constant thing running through my mind. I feel guilty about it. How shitty would it be to everyone around me if I were to check out early? How shitty would it be for me now that I’m living a life that I never thought possible? Why won’t this constant nagging desire..no..need, go away?

I go through the mental gymnastics centering around that and starting a family. I can live with the depression. It’s tolerable with medications. I’ve no doubt I could endure well into old age. But would having a depressive parent be selfish, even if I’m good at compartmentalizing it? I don;t know.. It’s late and I put in 70 hours this week. There are things I should work on this weekend, but I think I’m going to go do some photography with an old friend. If time allows for work I’ll do it, but I need downtime. I’ve earned it.

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On a lighter note

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This is the first sperm seen since my vasectomy reversal. When I had gone to the fertility clinic a couple of weeks ago the count was 0. Disappointing, but not uncommon. Sometimes it can take up to a year. My wife is a biology nerd and I’m a bit of a nerd myself. Since science stuff interests us both, we decided to get a microscope with a camera to be able to test at home between the visits that are frankly expensive, and months apart from each other. We can’t do all of the tests that can be done in a lab, but we can check to see if they are indeed there, if they are alive and healthy. This little guy wasn’t, but the fact that a few made it through is a very good sign. We’ll continue to check every week or two. Once a decent amount of live ones are seen we’ll schedule a formal test that accounts for motility and a number of other things. Either way, this was good news today. We’re giving things another few months, then going to do IVF if need be.

Today I saw the news that Stevie Ryan, 33 committed suicide two days after her grandfather died. Apparently in a podcast following her grandfather’s death she made mention that she hoped that his passing wouldn’t pull her into a deeper depression.

I admit that I have no idea who Stevie Ryan is. From what I can tell she was someone who was initially popular on YouTube, then ended up hosting a show on VH1. The only reason we’re hearing about it is because she’s someone of relative fame.

Here’s the part that bothers me aside from the obvious. Prior to committing suicide she made casual reference to her depression and implied that the passing of her grandfather could potentially make her depression worse. I’ve been on the edge of taking my own life and on a couple of rare occasions made casual passing reference to it to someone I was close with. Luckily, the second time, when I was actually planning on going through with things and preparations had been made, loose ends tied up, etc., the friend took notice and called me out on it. We talked and I went inpatient the next day at McLean Hospital just outside of Boston. She had a public forum, though. She made mention of this on a podcast prior to going through with it.

Even if the podcast hadn’t been released prior to her taking her own life, did anyone else involved in the podcast reach out to her and press the issue? Look, I get it.. When you’re down the last thing you want is someone pestering you about being down. Frankly, it takes balls to say that you’re depressed in today’s world, especially in a public forum. There’s so much stigma and ignorance surrounding mental health that it’s frankly disgusting. Either way… What I’m getting at is that she dropped a hint; a warning almost that she was already in a low place and would likely go lower.

I don’t know if she had planned this or if it were a rash decision. I’ve seen studies talking about people committing suicide somewhat spontaneously/without prior planning, and the other group that plans meticulously. Not to knock those who work on such studies, but they don’t exactly have the chance to ask the ones that succeed.

My point is this… If someone is willing to talk about it, talk to them about it. Or don’t; just talk to them about anything. Sometimes just some human contact and interest in what they think or have to say may be helpful. It’s something.. If their mind is made up and they aren’t hesitating, there’s pretty much nothing you can do, but if you have a chance to show them some humanity and dignity, please, please do.

If you want to skip a rant, now is a good time to stop reading this post…

Did Stevie Ryan mean anything to me personally? No. I didn’t know her and won’t be so presumptuous as to read up on her and pretend I know anything about her or who she was. What I do know is suffering, and what suffering alone in a room full of people is like. Clearly being someone in the spotlight and having people around doesn’t make you any less susceptible to the isolation so frequently accompanies depression. I bet she smiled and laughed just as well as the rest of us that suffer from this affliction. It just sucks that the only time that depression and suicide are brought to light is when someone famous commits suicide. The world lost their shit when Robin Williams committed suicide. After a few weeks, that passed and we were on to whatever the next media craze was. If memory serves me, it had to do with a Kardashian; because..priorities? I’ll never understand that one.. Regardless, there are millions upon millions who struggle every day with this. At some point, those that don’t suffer from it need to wake up and realize it’s not weakness, it’s not a character flaw and it doesn’t make someone suffering any less worthy. Maybe they could even try to have some fucking empathy. For anyone saying it’s taking the “easy way out” or they dare to call them a coward, I defy them to put themselves in a situation that could very well end their life and see if they have the stones to actually go through with it. I’d bet damn good money that they’d piss themselves. I only say this because it’s the type of ignorant shit I’ve heard from my own family in reference to others, from countless strangers and co-workers of all socioeconomic and educational backgrounds. The last thing anyone needs is commentary from a knuckle-dragging mouth-breather when they are really down to begin with.

I honestly don’t know what the solution is.. In the most connected world we have, we’re also the most isolated we’ve ever been. All I can say is this; look out for each other. If you have a hunch someone is in a state of real suffering, listen to them, and respect where they are coming from. Sometimes it’s not about solving the problem or offering solutions, but it’s more about bearing witness. It’s about joining someone, even if for a little while, in their own personal hell.