Stuck In The Middle With Me: The Crash, Burn, and (1st) Revival

“Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”

– Will Rogers, humorist

So, I’m not entirely sure where we left off, but I know it was somewhere around here:

From the ages of 15 – 25 I was in a total tailspin without being aware that anything was wrong (there’s a lot in that 10-year period that could act as a general testament to human stupidity, so we’ll save that for another day). However, it was right before my 25th birthday that it was more than clear that I needed help.

My girlfriend at the time, the mother of my oldest son, finally confronted me on my behavior. Prior to this meltdown I cycled pretty regularly. March to April was always a pretty manic time for me (perhaps because I love the spring) and had been for a solid 10 years; my girlfriend at the time put up with a lot over that decade and God love her, she did her best. By the time we had gotten to this bottom-of-the-barrel period of pure mania, however, the final nail had been put into the proverbial coffin of our romantic relationship.

No matter, I had totally missed the mark this go-around. March became April. April became May. And so it went until the great crash at the end of July.

Again, this was new territory for me, except I had no idea it was happening. I was on top of things. I had finished up my journalism degree at SIUC in Illinois. I worked for my college newspaper while also interning at our regional newspaper. On top of that, I worked a retail job and am a father. I stayed busy and was on top of my game.

This proved to not be the case, however.

My girlfriend and grandmother staged the closest thing as humanly possible to an intervention, which is why I will never take part in one. I was pretty much told that I wasn’t “invincible” and was going to lose everything or die if I didn’t “go somewhere”, which I might add was more than offensive at the time. Go where? A hospital? And why would I want to do something like that?

But I was going out and drinking all the time. Four to five days a week, if not more. Still somehow able to skate through my day-to-day life, managing my personal and professional obligations better than anyone else I knew. Again, I was the only one who saw things this way.

I was unravelling. I was climbing up on my roof for no logical reason, sober. I attempted to pressure wash my house at 3 a.m., sober. Etc., etc., etc. It was acts like these, along with all the other manic and delusional behavior, that began to scare people.

Ironically enough, the crash was almost precipitated by an actual crash. After agreeing to “seek help” by means of “hospitalization” I must have changed my mind because I jumped out of a vehicle going about 55 mph and took off running down a side road off of the highway. I was miles away from home and so my trek on foot lasted only as long as it could. I called my ride and got picked back up soon after.

There was no need for hospitalization at this point. I was aware that this was the crash, and the depression would soon be on its way. But first, I needed the crash. And that’s exactly what I did.

And then the burn. Nearly two weeks of picking myself back up just to be hit with the realization that yes, I needed to, at the very least, schedule a doctor’s appointment.

It took another couple of months to get in with a psych doctor, but I didn’t have time to let that be an issue. I was still operating on autopilot after this most hard comedown. Once I got in, though, I took every second of it seriously.

My relationship with my girlfriend was over and had been for some time, but she still wanted me to be okay. If only for our son. Ten years had taken its toll.

But I started seeing a psych doctor and a counsellor regularly. I got on my first of what would be countless medication regimens. And things began to stable out and make sense. I was initially worried about the medication game, but hey, if you need them, you need them.

After several months into my treatment, I accepted a job as a digital content producer at a tri-state television news agency and began to move forward.

I was picking up the pieces and moving forward and that’s all I could do.

It wasn’t too long after that I met the woman who would steal my heart and totally change my world forever…

To be continued.

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