Punch my ticket….

Yesterday, I decided to sort through my backlog of written material and clean it up. My desktop was starting to look a bit trashy, so I plugged in my external hard drive and set to work. As I clicked each article and dragged it into the folder, I noticed one I have written titled, “Punch my ticket.” It was crafted at a low point in my life and written while I battled depression. There was a line in it which made me stop and stare. “I want to die the way I live, alone.”

This week has been a week of reflection, so I suppose the clean up of my desktop is linked to this as well. Looking back and introspection can be very beneficial at times. Sometimes, it is good to notice we have grown and other times it is painful to see how little we have progressed. Years after battling depression, anxiety, alcoholism and drug addiction, I find myself still struggling with depression. It seems my mind is a double-edged sword. I can’t shut off my brain, and it plays back every bad decision I have ever made when it is not formulating posts for my blog.

It’s ok though. I am still here, and my ticket is still unpunched. In the grand scheme of things, all steps lead us to where we are meant to be. Or so I have been led to believe. Life is uncertain, about the only thing certain in life is its uncertainty. A clear mind doesn’t just happen, like my efforts in cleaning up my desktop, sometimes we must remove the clutter from our minds. It is like a fuel system in a car, you must remove the gunk from it if you want it to run at peak efficiency. Clutter clogs up the system and downgrades performance.

Depression is a serial killer, and one way to combat it is to realize you are not in the struggle by yourself. Depression coupled with PTSD is sometimes too much to handle alone. I spend a lot of time to myself and hence, I am alone with my thoughts. It’s not always a bad thing to reflect or to ponder the path your life has taken, but when you brood, you open the door to dark thoughts. One decision does not reflect who we are nor should it dictate our actions in the future (neither does multiple bad decisions). Sure, you should learn from your mistakes, but if you allow one or two decisions to keep you from living, then you have allowed the consequences to win.

As I shut down this post, try to remember your decisions are not the summation of who you are. You are alive, your ticket is unpunched, and today is a new day to strive for greatness.

Freeman out.

30 August 2019

Depression, loneliness and A Walk in Darkness….

“God, I am so lonely….” As I drive through Fountain, Colorado tears fill my eyes. I can tell it is fall. The fresh cut football field is proof that fall is in the air. However, when I view it, I can’t smell the fresh cut grass, nor can I see the vibrant colors of the leaves. Everything appears to be brown. Either dead or dying, my depression cuts into the very soul of me.

My marriage has fallen on hard times. There is no common ground, I either spend all my time at work, or I stay away from my house. The Hemi-powered truck is not great on gas mileage, but it beats sitting at home and spending the day fighting with my spouse. “I give up.”  My wife has given up as well. She asks for a divorce, and I don’t want her to be any unhappier than she already is, so I have the papers drawn up. “You are a failure! What kind of man can’t keep his wife satisfied? Kill yourself already.”

The Zoloft can’t help me. Self-medication is destroying my body, not to mention the damage it is wreaking upon my mind. I often call home, and for a moment it seems that things might turn around, until I realize that my marriage changing would require both of us to compromise. “That is not going to happen. We can’t even be in the same room together.”

When the day of my divorce arrives, I walk into the courthouse in a daze. Standing there, it feels like all my failures are on full display. The judge asks if I agree to everything listed in the document. “Yes sir, I agree.”  Nodding his head, he tacks on the rest of my obligations that I owe to my estranged family. Outwardly, I show little emotion, however, inwardly I feel like I have been impaled upon a sword of my own making.

As I walk out into the brisk air, I realize that it is over. There will never be any going back. Too much hurt has been said, to much pain and suffering caused by both pairs of hands has been wrought. It was a bloody, horrible fight but now it is over. Forgiveness seems like a foreign concept. “God, I need a drink!”  I walk to the minivan that brought me to the courthouse. The ride home is silent and foreboding. I have never had to pay people to leave me alone, and now I am left with nothing but an empty apartment and my depression. Never have I felt so totally abandoned.

When people ask me what I want from a future relationship I always reply: A sugar momma, who owns a fleet of private planes, a chain of uninhabited islands and enough money that she won’t miss it when I splurge on my new toys. I will live on the island and she can live where ever she chooses. We can get together twice a year to rekindle the flames of love.” Jaded much? Eventually my answer becomes shorter. “I want icing. I don’t want the whole relationship cake.” However, none of this cures the loneliness in my heart.

Gradually, I come to realize that I can never love anyone when I hate myself. The first step in my recovery must be self-care. The heart will heal in time, but the self-inflicted wounds upon my own psyche will require an extensive amount of care to heal. There is no feeling like you are unlovable. Or that you will never be enough for someone. Coupled with depression it is a fatal combination (or near fatal in my experience). However, what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. In my case it makes me bitter.

Today, I am better. My wounds have not healed, they still hurt, but the scars do not scare me. In my own way, I am learning to live again. Writing A Walk in Darkness extracts a heavy toll.  However, it is therapeutic for me to get it out of my heart. Seeing it on the screen and being able to deal with it is a great feeling. Who knows, it may help me overcome the remaining hurt in my heart.

Depression and suicidal thoughts….A Walk in Darkness….

“You are alone, no one cares if you live or die. Kill yourself already.” This phrase buzzes through my head multiple times a day. I shake my head to clear it. My medicine must be wearing off. Reaching for the console in my truck, I open it. Percocet, Oxy, Vicodin, Valium, and muscle relaxer bottles rattle when the lid relinquishes its grip. “Time to load up.” My Double Gulp of Mountain Dew with a splash of Vodka helps me wash down my happy pills. Exiting my truck, I slowly begin making my way to the office.

My demons are temporarily silenced from the flood of narcotics. Gathering my squad together, I begin instructing them on the fine art of combat medicine. “Listen troops, you can’t perform first aid in the kill box. Pull the wounded behind cover, someone slap a band aid on the wound, and get out of the kill zone.” My soldiers nod their heads, and I quiz them on basic first aid until lunch.

“Hey Sergeant, do you want us to bring you something back for lunch?” Forcing a smile that I didn’t feel, I turn down their offer. I walk over to a desk and plop down on top of it. The black cloud of depression weighs heavily on my mind. “Everyone is gone to lunch; your pistol is in your truck, you could kill yourself and no one would find you for at least an hour.” Tears rush to my eyes, angrily I wipe them away. I have been home for three years and it seems that I replaced Iraq with a war at home and work. “I fight at home, then I come to work and I fight here….repeat cycle….what must I do to get relief?” It was a rhetorical question, and I did not expect an answer. However, my mind was bent to give me one. “KILL YOURSELF!” The vehemence of this unwanted answer forcefully brought me back to reality.

The sound of laughter echoes throughout the motorpool. My soldiers gradually make their way back to our small office. Forcing a smile, I pull out the next part of my training presentation. “My name is SGT Freeman, and this afternoon I will be instructing you on how to be a hard target and the dangers of being a soft target.” In the back of my mind I could hear depression manically laughing and it chills my blood….