Is Mental Health the End?
What is the scariest place you know?
Lying on top of the cover on my bed staring blankly at the roof above me, seemingly lifeless, yet my brain is ticking over at 100 miles an hour. Distressing, violent, self-destuctive thoughts consume my consciousness. I close my eyes, the thoughts become vivid. Slowly reaching down and gently opening the drawer under the bed where I take out a glass miniature bottle. I lift the bottle up towards my face and look closely at it. The bottle contains 50ml of german Peach snapps, however the contents is very far from my thoughts. In the corner of my eye I spot a sock on the couch, i go over to the couch to pick it up then go back to sit on the side of my bed. I look at the bottle again and nod to myself. I open the bottle and pour the contents into an empty glass that sits beside my bed after that I drop the now empty bottle into the sock and slowly roll up the end. With the bottle securely inside the sock and in my tight grip I forcefully slam it into the cold hard wooden floor. The bottle smashes into many pieces inside the sock, however there is little to no noise causing nobody else in the house to be startled. I put my hand inside the sock carefully moving the glass around until I touch a big piece. On pulling the piece of broken glass out the sock I look closely at the sharp point it has, gently prodding it with my thumb. Nervously licking my lips I slowly turn my left arm around and look to the big blue vain that runs down my forearm. I place the sharp point of the broken glass against the vain, firmly but not hard enough to break the skin. I look intently with one single thought running through my head, to push harder into my skin and quickly pull the glass down my arm to rip the vein open. My heart starts beating hard, it feels like my heart is going to beat through my chest. However this too little too late to pull me out of this black hole that I find myself in. I inhale deeply and pause at the top of my breath, then closing my eyes. As I start pushing the sharp, broken glass into my arm I quickly move it to the right where the skin starts to easily part much like a knife through soft butter.
My eyes open as I drop the glass on the bed. I look down to see thick, bright red blood streaming down my arm. As I see the blood running out of my body I feel a new lease of life, a massive weight has been lifted of my shoulders. Then I realise that I probably need to go to hospital to get my arm with the gaping wound patched up.
Then I come back to the present, my eyes open only to be filled with regret and self-disappointment. I slowly look down towards my left forearm which has a thick scar to the right of my arm as I look down at it. This had only been a vivid memory of a year previously, memories started rushing back to me of this time when I was feeling so low that I went to that place multiple times. At this point, I was very aware that I didn't want to go back to that place, that place inside my head. I knew that a lot had to change, in all areas of my life. I don't know how but I knew that I had to believe I could get through it.
Too close to the edge
Moving forward from this point...
At this point, despite having spent a lot of time trying to focus my thoughts to positive things I was still finding myself beginning to spiral into a self-destructive place again. However knowing that I really didn't want to go back there I knew that I had to get out of it.
At this point I made two decisions that were just part of the chain of decisions that make up my life, but were possibly two life changing decisions. One was to go see the doctor, For the past few years leading up to this point I had been seeing doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists etc. regularly so I went to my gp who knew me and my situation very well. Following a long talk with him he decided to give me another medication, with careful thought he gave me a specific antidepressant that I had never previously tried. While having not had much luck on anti-depressants in the past I gave it a go as he told me that they should be the right thing just to lift my mood a little and mute my anxiety a bit. Within a day I felt the difference, I was brighter, happier. Feeling much more able to take on this life that I was forced to lead given my difficult past (read more here) At this point I was somewhat pleasantly surprised as I had only negative things to say about my experiences with antidepressants previous to this.
The other decision I made at this point was to try out online dating. My previous few relationships I had had bad experiences, often based on my more limited capabilities due to the brain injury.
I had been given a site by a friend, who told me she had had a long meaningful relationship with someone through this site.
Without being aware of thinking too much about it I found myself searching for women anywhere but where I was, Scotland. I with my life seemingly not going anywhere exciting the thought of the unknown gave me that little bit of excitement. Which in turn took up much of my thinking, not letting me think too much about the shitty situation I was in.
I spoke to a few different girls, all in different countries. However the conversation was somewhat forced, no spark. All until...
A girl sent me a message, we started talking. I wasn't overly taken by her photo and to be honest I had a few reservations about the distance as it said she lived 6500 miles away. none the less we chatted. We get to know each other a little and quickly spoke about talking on skype to talk face to face. within 24 hours we had our first chat on skype. I couldn't believe it! She was so beautiful, the photo on her profile did her no justice! To follow that she then told me that I was so beautiful!? What!? I didn't believe this!
So the weeks passed, we spoke on skype every day. Often for hours. So she was Brazilian, a long way from Scotland. So after these weeks had passed, having some money saved, I decided to book a trip out to visit her.
Fabíola her name, was taking up all my attention. I had no time to think about anything else, if I wasn't in fact talking to her. Plus I was now going to visit her, while there was a hint of fear about the unknown. I knew how unfulfilling my life was where I was. So any fear or doubts I had was immediately drowned out my sheer excitement.
Then after a few long months past it was time to leave for Brazil, I was booked to go for 8 weeks. However I didn't feel much holding on to me in Scotland and therefore didn't see much holding on to me there.
Fast forward 3&1/2 years
Here I am sitting in my home office in Brazil, in the house I share with my beautiful Brazilian wife, Fabíola. I am nearly fluent in Portuguese and fully accustomed to driving on the opposite side of the road.
I have my new life, with my wife. Here in Brazil. I follow my new football team, I have made friends out here. I feel at home. We have our dogs, we are thinking about having children of our own at some point in the near future.
While it all sounds brilliant, I have to be honest, I do still have my little struggles at times as I have with things such as work as well as my sometimes variable emotional state. Life is better overall. Work is still the biggest mountain to climb in front of me, with lots of ideas in various different areas the main thing I am missing is the ability to do them. Which ultimately comes down to concentration and my ability to apply myself to something for a long time without crashing. I am Currently working on this with meditation and building a routine.
While I don't know where I will end up with work, I am doing what I can to set up multiple little projects that I can work at at one time.