Welcome to the first posting of my mental health blog. The goal of this blog will be to offer insight not only into my own struggles with mental illness but also information that I now know that would have been so valuable when I began this journey. Before I dig into the meat of this blog I want to use this opportunity to tell you a little about me and my mental illness diagnosis’s. I’m a 42 year old male living outside Pittsburgh, PA with my sister and brother in law. I have a 9 year old son who I’ve not seen in 26 months. I have been divorced for 3 years. I have been deemed to have a mental disability by the US government. I work a part time job at a big box store. That is me now. Just 4 years ago at this time I was working for a large company in the building industry as a Coordinating Manager for the Eastern half of the US. I managed a 300 million dollar a year sales goal. I had Regional Sales Managers and Sales reps that reported to me. I traveled to different parts of the country 3 weeks out of every month. I had a great home, a wife who I thought was amazing, a son and a step daughter, 2 cars, and family vacations to Disney every year. Everything in my life at that time seemed to be heading in the direction of setting our family up to be financially secure and comfortable. Then things all changed. And they changed fast and they changed hard. As this blog progresses I will go into details about the changes, how they happened, and what I wish I had known as a new person to the world of mental illness.
I’ll give you a few numbers to digest about how things changed in my life:
• 5 suicide attempts in a 6 month span
• 6 total attempts in a 18 month period
• 4 different hospitals I was treated by
• 1 life flight helicopter ride
• 1 time I was found dead
• 100’s of prescription pills swallowed in attempts.
• 1 noose around my neck
• 8 different psychiatrists
• 24 hours in a county jail
These numbers are all significant in my progression into the mental illness world. But even with these figures I didn’t understand what the causes were.
• Through the 8 different psychiatrist I’ve been diagnosed at one point or another with the following:
• Major Depressive Disorder
• Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
• Bipolar Disorder
Even once I learned of these diagnosis I didn’t fully understand how they effected my desire to continue to attempt suicide. I didn’t understand why I thought about suicide over and over again each day. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t snap out of it. I didn’t understand why I lost 40 pounds in ONE month. I sat in those hospitals and listened to the staff and the doctors but I never once asked any questions. All I cared about was how soon was I going to get out of the hospital so I could go try to kill myself again. It was as if I left thinking I learned everything I needed to know about my diagnosis, my medications and how they were going to play a role in my life. I expected all that without asking the questions. Looking back at my days leaving the hospital and I compare it to being at a church camp or any other kind of a summer camp where you leave rejuvenated and you tell yourself things are going to be different and then when you walk in your door at home its back to reality. There are so many things I wish I could go back and tell myself and that’s what I hope to do with this blog. I hope to be able to help even one person that has just started their mental health journey. Hope to help educate others on things that go unsaid and things you may not know to ask. The good, the bad, the stigma and so much more. Thank you for taking the time to read this first edition of my blog. I hope that you will continue to read as I take you through my mental health journey. Remember… you matter!