Hello again. I've noticed that I've had quite a few hits on both posts so far, so I'm feeling quietly confident that people are interested in what I have to say.
Firstly, I woke up feeling a little anxious today, but I think that was because my wife had gone back to work so I was alone in the house. But, I resisted the urge to take some diazepam and took the dog out for a good stick throw! I then came home and wrote a list of objectives for the day.
I now feel ready to continue and have no anxiety. I'm also looking forward to doing a little training on the rollers this afternoon (basically, cycling in a stationary position inside the house on a purpose built device - I am a keen road cyclist). I will talk more about this and how it helps another time, I think I've already given you enough to read!
Right, I've put some old Green Day on to listen to ('Dookie') as it's quite up beat. Here we go...
Things settled down for a while in late 2007 and I started to enjoy the single life for a bit; loads of cycling and running and going out drinking with rock climbing buddies.
But like a fool, I'd met somebody else, on the internet, on Facebook (as you do) and being the sucker I am, I got involved. To cut a long story short, she lived in north Wales and I went to see her every weekend, at £73 a time on the train. She'd never come up to me. Anyway, she became pregnant. Not good. But, instead of shirking responsibility, I decided to up sticks and move to Wales to support her. I had a massive culture shock; I never realised how Welsh the area was and almost everybody I encountered spoke the language, leaving me feeling somewhat awkward and out of place (again). I felt really uncomfortable.
My daughter was born at 03:15am at Ysbyty Gwynedd Hospital, weighing 7 pounds and 2 ounces. Naturally, I was feeling faint but relieved; it was incredibly emotional. I wasn't sure what to feel, happy or scared but probably both. She's growing fast and is now 5, as you know. [Picture of daughter removed].
It was a few weeks prior to this that I had my first major back spasm, causing me lots of pain and exacerbating my depression, that unfortunately, my partner at the time failed to really understand. It also cost me my job as I was physically unable to do anything, as I was out of action for around 6 weeks. I'll discuss how my back effects me another time.
The relationship gradually broke down, as I felt bitter about having to move to Wales and be tied down with a child when at the time, I was no way ready for one and wasn't even sure I was with the right person. I should point out here that I love my daughter to bits!
All the fights and bickering constantly drained me and I was constantly miserable, looking for something new. This was not healthy for my daughter to see, having grown up with this and experiencing first hand what it does to you. It was better for my daughter to grow up in a stable environment, and see her Dad a couple of times a month. It was one of the hardest decisions I have had to make, as I was doing what my own father did to me. But I eventually convinced myself I wasn't leaving her, as I'd still see her, after the dust had settled. However, I still live with the guilt of this.
I was talking to a woman at work who had taken an interest in me and by this point I'd already decided to leave. I met her a few times but never did anything, just talked; she knew the situation I was in. She offered that I could move straight in to hers, temporarily, until I was sorted enough to get my own place. This is a dangerous exercise I know, but again my mind just took the easy option and I moved in with her.
I saw my daughter only now and again as was just not mentally able to, so I always felt shit and this took its toll on the new 'relationship', until it came to the fore one time where I needed some space (despite this woman confessing her undying love for me and even buying pillows in the shape of our initials; confusing signals, er, yes). So I went to York for a couple of days, but I couldn't stand being away, so came back after a lot of abusive texts between us about things.
I got back to find all my things had been packed and ready to be shipped out. I was told to move out. Naturally, I flipped as it was unexpected. I had nowhere to go and panicked and became very angry. Eventually, I left the house and in a fit of anger, I attacked the thing she loved the most, her car. I flung the corner of my bag at it and left a minute scratch, less than an inch in length and easily polished out. The Police were called and I fled to Llanrug, where I'd previously lived.
I made a bee-line for my ex's house where further arguments ensued and eventually the Police came and took me away.
I had hit a new low. I had hit the ground. HARD.
Handing over my things to the duty sergeant at the police station was another seriously low point in my life. I was sobbing uncontrollably and they had to hold me up. I think they genuinely felt for me to be honest, as they were very good to me.
They put me in a cell, with nothing but a little loo in the corner, and a cold, plastic covered, uncomfortable mattress. All this for a tiny scratch on a car. I just lay there, for hours on end, sobbing and the pain in my stomach and head was so intense that I felt physically incapable of anything.
After about 36 hours, I was moved to the local court to be charged for criminal damage; always in hand-cuffs. Is this how it feels? To be branded a criminal for something so pathetic? Just because of my anger, causing me to lash out. I cursed my stupidity, over and over and over. I was giving myself a severe mental beating for what I did. I was a failure at life and still feel a little like that now.
I was in the dock for all of 3 minutes, charged £40 and then told 'off the cuff' as it were, that I'd also had a restraining order against me. Ridiculous, I wouldn't go near that woman or her house if she was the last woman on Earth. I hated her, passionately, after pulling me in with her bullshit, only to spit me back out after she'd had her way. Nothing but a succubus, preying on the weak. I'd later discovered she was known for it.
I immediately paid my fine and left, relieved. I couldn't get out of the court building quick enough, hoping I saw nobody I knew.
I contacted my ex, as even though she was still very angry with me, she did not want to see the father of her child on the street. She was good enough to pay for accommodation at a local hotel for me, where the rates were cheap for a while. I was there for 3 weeks I think, in abject luxury.
Luckily for me, my money came through from the Open University as I was studying an I.T degree, so I could afford to find a place to live. The relief was palpable. I cried so much as I wouldn't have to go and stay in a horrible hostel. My ex effectively saved me, and for that I will always be grateful, despite our turbulent history.
I found a nice room in a big house overlooking the mountains and down to the coast, that afforded beautiful views of the sunsets. I really liked it there. I slowly, slowly started to rebuild my pathetic life and got to a point where I was kind of OK with things, but I needed work. I was an emotional wreck still. So I started running again and cycling to help me control my emotions and the constant conflict with myself. I couldn't work, as there was no way I could hold down a job in my mental state, so I claimed sickness benefit for a while, which took the pressure off trying to find a job, and I still had a few months of money left to pay my rent and buy my food.
Things were going fine, or as well as they could be. I joined Match.com an on-line dating site. I looked around the area, and favourited a few people. I did have to ask myself if I was ready for this, which I guess is the reason why I struggled to get back in contact with my now wife, after I had made the first move, by winking at her! I really wasn't sure. I had nothing to offer her, only that I had love to give, to the right person.
She e-mailed me and we got talking and eventually she invited me for coffee at the local pub, half way between my house and hers. And pretty much there and then, I knew, I just knew I'd found somebody special. I was so nervous I told her so and after she asked me what I wanted to drink, all I could do was just splutter out how nervous I was! And she loved me, from then on. We got on like the proverbial burning house. I felt great. We ended the night with a kiss (despite me chivalrously aiming for her cheek) and again I spluttered "I guess that means it was a successful date, then?"
We saw each other every day after that and to me it was just like a fairy tale and I couldn't believe it was happening. Somebody loved me for ME. Who I was, what I was about. It didn't matter that I had no money, no job. Her love was and still is, unconditional. I am the luckiest man alive to be married to my beautiful wife...
That brings me to the present; I've skipped some stuff. Things are still incredibly difficult for me at times and I still have manic episodes (I had one last week which I have only just recovered from). But I had no coping strategies in place, despite years of counselling and help.
Things are changing. I'm changing, I have to. My depression has always been there and has ALWAYS controlled, crippled and angered me. It is insidious and does not discriminate who it chooses; you could have everything you've ever wanted and still be struck down by it. It is like a runaway train and is almost impossible to slow down. That so-called 'light at the end of the tunnel'? When you are depressed, just before you reach it, the tunnel maintenance engineers turn it off. And you are alone. Lost in the darkness that is your mind. Again. A vicious, repeating cycle of pain.
But it's possible, on the outside at least, to look as though you are 'normal'. And people I have told often say they'd never have guessed it. But that mask I have to wear? It comes off, when you can't see me. During my speech at our wedding, I told everybody, which took great courage on my part. But I over came the fear of it. Because it doesn't own you, you own IT. Your mind is your own and the demon that possesses it can be pushed out. But you HAVE TO WANT IT!
And I want it. Badly. I am going to turn that evil, manipulative bastard on its head and send it back to the depths of its own making. Back to the dark caverns that it dwells in and tries to constantly ensnare you into.
If you are reading this and suffering, I am telling you now that the demon that has a hold on you can be beaten. I know it's hard. Fucking hell it's hard. But I know you can do it if you fight. FIGHT. Because your life depends on it and before long, you will reach for that light switch, to prevent it being turned off, only for you to find it is not there.
The light was always there. You just never found it.
I'm searching now, but harder than ever before and I WILL find it.
NEVER GIVE UP...
Thanks for reading,