Friday, April 1, 2016

My Story

Day 39: 4/1/2016

This post is different. The topic isn't really about weight loss. It's not about dieting, or exercise. It's about hope and love.

I have only shared this part of my life with individuals who have wanted to know. I don't share it to boast, brag, or bring attention to myself. I believe that part of growing is being able to acknowledge, and accept the things in your life that have made you into who you are. Some of those things are positive, and some of them are trials and hardships.

Let's take a minute and imagine that you are person that is in constant pain. Let's say that pain spreads to your whole body. Nothing you do for that pain, helps. You have no rest, or relief from that pain. Then, something comes along, and allows you to not feel that pain, even for a few minutes. You are now in control of whether you feel pain or not. That gives you a power, that you could have never imagined before. The problem is, the solution, has side effects. Along with not feeling pain, you no longer feel anything else, including happiness or hope. The other side effect is that you now have to find a way to keep yourself supplied with that solution, because the fear of the pain returning is now insurmountable. You are willing to do anything to keep your power. You have to keep it a secret because others won't understand or will try and take that power away from you. You then obsess so much over it that you are now consumed by your fear, your power, your pain, your shame, and your secrets. Welcome to being an addict and welcome to depression.

This issue for me, started many years ago. I would say at age 11. I began trying to replace dealing with hardships and depression by introducing substances into my body. It started off with cigarettes, then to things like marijuana and alcohol. It eventually led to addictive drugs like cocaine, methamphetamines, heroin, and opiates in the form of prescription pain killers. Of course I was taught that these substances were bad for me. I was well aware of the dangers that they could cause. The only thing that mattered was keeping it all a secret, and making sure that I could keep myself in arms length of my pain solutions.

This lasted off and on through junior high, and high school. After high school, it started to bleed into every aspect of my life. This included hurting friends and losing friends. This included stealing from my friends and family. It led to me losing the trust, and respect of my friends and family.

Things changed when I had friends starting to die from the same problems. I knew things would need to change or I would be another bad statistic. I decided, on August 24th, 2003 to be honest about these problems with my friends and family. I sought out help at the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, through the Dayspring rehabilitation program. While I was there, I learned about depression. I learned about how this is an illness. It's an ugly one that is becoming more and more prevalent in all communities throughout our country.

The C.D.C. lists suicide as "the third leading cause of death among persons aged 10-14, the second among persons aged 15-34 years, the fourth among persons aged 35-44 years, the fifth among persons aged 45-54 years, the eighth among person 55-64 years, and the seventeenth among persons 65 years and older." in the "suicide data sheet" of 2015.
The permanent solution to temporary problems is the second leading cause of death for people aged 15-34..... That's sobering.

I'm writing about this because I am a person who suffers from depression. I've seen many therapists, and continue to see one now for this issue. Last fall, I was at a point that I was willing and able to go that route as a solution to my depression. Instead, I chose to cry for help in a stupid way and scared my wife, and family (and my neighbors I'm sure) while being wheeled off in an ambulance.

Since then, with the love, and support from my wife, my family, and my friends, and some great therapy, I can happily say that I am living a life with hope, love, and gratitude. I look forward to my future.

Today, I was able to put a period on that chapter of my life by participating in "project semicolon". If you're unfamiliar, Project Semicolon is a global non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and love for those who are struggling with mental illness, suicide, addiction and self-injury. Project Semicolon exists to encourage, love and inspire. The semicolon in the english language is used in writing when a sentence could have ended, but did not. In context, bearing that symbol is one that says "my story is not over".

I chose to have this symbol tattooed on my arm today. It is a reminder to me that I am not finished yet. I choose to continue. I had the semicolon placed as a note that originally would have ended the first bar of Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings". I did this because music has been and will always be my place of solitude and peace. It is the thing that has been the constant in my life. This song is my favorite classical piece as well. Here is my freshly tattooed arm.
I must give my sincerest gratitude and thanks to the artist who took my idea and came up with this piece. Seth Jordan at The Raw Canvas in Grand Junction CO.

Ultimately, I want the message of this post to be one of hope and love. To those who struggle with self image, depression, mental disorders, eating disorders, abuse, addiction, and self mutilation; there is hope. There is help. There is no shame in admitting that you need help. Contact a mental health professional, visit a hospital, or you can call 1-800-784-2433.

If you're interested in learning more about Project Semicolon. You can visit

If you would like to hear Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings" click on this link

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