Tag Archives: mental-health

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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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.

The wold will go on whether you move with it or stay put

The last few years have been a roller-coaster. Things have settled quite a bit in some aspects of my life, whereas in other areas things have happened that I never, ever anticipated. At this moment though, I feel like I’ve run out of gas. I’ve been tired and short-tempered lately. This last weekend it finally hit me hard. Aside from feeling tired,  I couldn’t get much sleep between nasty headaches and really painful heartburn that I’ve had for a few weeks. I’m getting an endoscopy next week, or sooner if need be. Right now I’m on a diet of water, saltine crackers and Zofran as that’s about all I can tolerate. I managed to get through my flight this morning for work without vomiting, so that’s something.

Some things I didn’t expect over the last 3 years:

  • Getting a job that pays well
  • Getting a house (first house)
  • Deciding that I want children
  • Getting my vasectomy reversed
  • Getting another dog
  • Making it to 40 in spite of depression (almost; less than a month away)
  • Liver and kidney problems getting better, then worse, then better, then worse, rinse and repeat

Those are all but one, good things. On the flip side there’s the depression part. Sadly, that would fall on the list of things I did expect. Monday of next week I see the psychiatrist and I need to decide if this will be the usual three month check-in for refills, or if I tell her that in spite of being chocked full of psychoactive medications that I’m still having days where I seriously weigh the pros and cons of pushing forward. Pushing forward.. That’s about as watered down of a euphemism as I can come up with. I still manage to get out of bed each day, am present and functioning relatively well at work, and hopefully, being a good husband.

So, do I dare say anything, or not? If I were giving advice to a friend, I’d say without hesitation to tell their psychiatrist/doctor that they are still feeling pretty awful. On one hand I don’t want to feel like this more often than not, and on the other I just don’t want to go through the trial and error process of medications. Again. That leads me back to where I weigh pros and cons. I go through these mental gymnastics, but the only option is to push forward. I can either let it crush me or live my life in spite of it.

(I honestly wonder how long I can keep this duality thing up)

A long overdue update

This will contain what may be considered NSFW as it relates to my vasectomy reversal procedure performed not two months ago.

Continue reading A long overdue update

Not coping so well today. I did well at adult stuff – I bought a leaf blower and did yard work. Since this is our first home, this is a new thing. My wife is home, but working on her college project due at midnight, which means I have to leave her be.

Since I’ve not been coping well of late, mainly because of the loneliness of work travel, I’ve managed to find a therapist who’s local that can also do sessions via Skype and insurance will pay for it. I’d of went with her anyway because she seems to be a good fit for me, but that’s a bonus. I’m going to try to meet her for the first time this Thursday as my scheduled appointment out of state cancelled. Otherwise, I see her in a couple of weeks when I’m back in town.

What I need to work with her on is how to cope with the crushing loneliness of travel. I’m someone who needs physical contact. Not so much sexual contact; I can wait until it’s possible for my wife and I to be together in that way. It’s the other aspects. Basically touch and holding/being held. I’ve gone so far as to look into professional cuddlers and checked the areas that I frequent. It’s a possibility, but if I were to guess my wife wouldn’t want my to have anything to do with that, so I’m going to trust my instincts and not hire someone, even though it’s completely non-sexual.

The other thing I need to work on is that we’ve decided to start down the path of having a child. Since I had a vasectomy 18 years ago, the chances of a reversal being successful is a whopping 2%. Since those odds seem pointless, I’ve found a fertility clinic that has other surgical options to extract sperm and do in vitro, or freeze the extracted sperm if time is needed between extraction and fertilization.

So, why therapy over this? I grew up in a horribly abusive home. I literally don’t know how to interact with children. I’m the guy that if you hand a toddler, I hold it at arms length in utter terror. I really, truly, honestly don’t know what to do other that generically “don’t hurt it.” The vasectomy at 22 was because my depressive episodes were so severe that I was certain I’d not make it to 30. I also liked sex. Well, I still do, but that’s beside the point. Either way, I didn’t want to father a child and be the dad who killed himself or was too emotionally absent dealing with their own shit. So.. Yeah. I want to do this. I need guidance.

Lastly I need to talk to someone about the crushing depression that seems to be setting in. I’m not going to harm myself, but the thought of doing so is there every waking moment of every day and the urge is strong beyond words.

Anyway.. I guess that’s all I’ve got. I’ve drank a lot this weekend. Fill a large coffee mug with a couple of types of liquor and no ice, and you have one of my drinks. I’ve had two of those this weekend, and a shot of Diserono this morning with brunch.

Here is is Monday night and I already feel beat. In other news, after talking with the psychiatrist, we’ve decided to double my dose of Lexapro to try to battle the depression that’s seeped in. I’ve been mostly honest with her about how I’ve really been doing, but I should probably come clean about how strong the suicidal ideations are. It’s logically and objectively making sense to me, which isn’t a good thing.

I know there’s more than this.. Than existing, I mean. It’s not as bad as it can get, but I see that coming in the coming in the near future. Every time I think I know how bad it can get, it seems to surprise me by finding a new low. I’ve been self-medicating with alcohol some nights, which I really shouldn’t do, aside from the obvious, but even for health reasons alone. It’s not a regular thing, at least. I hadn’t had a drink in a couple of weeks, and tonight I’ve only had some. Not even enough to get a buzz.

I’m conflicted about telling my wife how I’m really doing. I owe her that much.. For the hell I’ve put her through with my mental illness, I owe her that much. On the other hand, for what I’ve put her though, I feel I owe it to her to keep it to myself. I’ve burdened her with this too much as it stands.. I don’t know what the hell to do to be honest. Part of me thinks I should leave so that she can find someone else that’s in a much better disposition than me. I know that’s the depression talking, but it’s how I feel either way. To be frank, if it weren’t for her, as cliche as it sounds, I’d not be here at this point. The lows have hit bad enough that I’d not just think about giving up, but would have, or would act on it. I couldn’t do that to her. Other people, yes, but not her. So, I have to figure out a way to push through. Since I have to push though, then I need to figure out a way to make that less miserable. Right now, chemically is about the only option that I see. It’s that, or ECT, or TMS, or Katamine, or whatever else is out there. All of which I could try, some of which would likely cost me my job, which would enter in a whole host of other fucked up problems that would likely make me even more depressed which wouldn’t be good for anyone.

I’ve spent countless hours trying to figure out if what’s going on with me is psychological or chemical. When I look at the world, I think there’s a mix of good and bad in the world. I don’t know what the balance is, but objectively, I think there’s considerably more good in the world than bad, but the bad gets most of the attention so it seems worse than it is. Overall, I am optimistic about most things. If what I experience is indeed mostly chemical, then it stands to reason that there will be breakthroughs within my lifetime that would offer relief. Approaching 40, barring anything unexpected, dare I hold on to hope that some relief can be found within a reasonable time in the next 35-50 years? Will I be so far gone into darkness that I’d even know how to handle being good, much less just ok? I don’t know.. My mind isn’t in a good place tonight. I’ll probably watch a show or something and then go to sleep. That seems to reset my mind pretty well.

Fuck me, this shit gets old..

Failing

Tonight I’ve had to o much to drink. Actually, anything is too much to drink, given that I have liver disease. It’s genetic, but drinking certainly doesn’t help matters any.

So, why drink? I want to be numb. Emotionally I want to be numb, but all I’ve managed is my nose and face being numb.

I’ve been struggling for awhile now, but can’t seem to shake it. I’m having trouble getting out of bed in the morning lately, which is new for me. I’ve always been high functioning when the lows hit. Today I did laundry (work clothes only) and mowed the lawn. The lawn was because I neglected it for a couple of weeks, so the mower was choking every so often from the long grass. These are major accomplishments in my world right now…

Tomorrow and the rest of the week I’ll be going to a client site. I’ll need to interact closely with the production and IT staff to make sure the solution I’m programming will fit their needs. I’ll be doing this as every fiber of my being wants to just end it all. It’s not just a desire, but more of a pressing need. I know this isn’t healthy. I know it’s not logical. I have a good life, at least now I do. Things were bad growing up, at least until 17 when I left home, then things went bad again at 21 when my best friend killed herself. I used to feel so much surrounding that.. Grief, loss, anger, hatred, disbelief, sometimes individually, sometimes all at once. At around ~29 I started to move on with my life. I didn’t start dysfunctional relationships after that. I married again at 32 and have been happily married since then. I have a good marriage, a good job/career, a nice home and even a couple of good friends. How dare I feel depressed enough to want to die? With all that I have, how dare I? I feel as though I’m crawling out of my skin. I can’t shake the sadness and deep sense of hopelessness and despair.

I’m well-medicated. I have the best mental health care that money and insurance can buy. It’s not as bad when I’m medicated. It’s tolerable. It’s just good enough that I can exist from day to day. I can get up and do all the adult things I need to do. I’m mostly empty, though. I see no hope in feeling better. I know that realistically within my life, advances will be made in medication and overall treatment of severe depression. Am I willing to wait for that inevitability? Not really. Will I? Yes. I owe that much to my wife. I’m at peace with her, or mostly so. Enough to keep me here. I know what it’s like when someone you love takes their own life. I’ll not put her through that. So, I have to hold onto hope.. Hope that in the next few years, or at worst, decades, that advances will be made and effective help will come. Until then, I’ll continue existing, being a ghost in my own life. Existing day to day in the shell of whomever I used to be. I remember a better me.. A me capable of happiness and joy on a sustained basis, but that me is such a distant memory that I don’t recognize him. He died a long time ago, his body just kept pushing on and going through the motions. Once in awhile something real happened, like when I met my wife. That was real. It’s still real. I feel so selfish and like a piece of shit for wanting to leave this life before its natural end. I feel like a fraud. A failure. I’m unrecognizable to myself. I’m unrecognizable to those who know and loved me. My friends have all put distance between themselves and me. My family as well. My wife can tell something’s wrong, but how do you tell someone you love that you’re feeling this way; again?

In 2012 I had a breakdown. After one of the only arguments we’ve ever had, I ended up checking in for the first, and hopefully last time into a mental hospital. After a week I was freed. The depression had mostly passed and I could trust myself once again. Am I to that point now? No, not now, at least. I’m doing the best I can, but I feel myself slipping, day by day, minute by minute.

I don’t know what to do.. I see my psychiatrist in a couple of weeks and I’ll come clean with her as to where I’m at with things. She’ll likely prescribe some time off from work and some R&R. It won’t make a difference, though. I’ll just spend the time in bed. That’s what I do when I travel for work – go to the client during the day and then go to sleep at 6:00, followed by forcing myself out of bed at 6:00am. Repeat.When I’m home I do the minimal – dishes, occasionally laundry, let the dogs out, and take care of the lawn. Other than that, I’m lazy and sleep a lot. I watch a lot of Netflix. I’m just at a loss. I feel hollow. I’m tired.. So very tired. I don’t know how long I can keep existing like this. I’m not in any danger now, but if things continue like this, at some point, I’ll need to check into a hospital again. On some level I’d hope that would work, but on another level I know that would just prolong things. When is it ok to say that you’ve fought the good fight and lost? I don’t care if people call me weak, or that I simply took the easy way out, but should things be this fucked up to begin with? I have a good life. I simply can’t enjoy most of it. Depression knows no social or economic bounds. We’re very well off and I don’t have anxiety about most of the things people worry about in life. What the hell is wrong with me?