This is the beginning of a three part post about my revelations of my mental health. Each part will revel the situations that lead to my realization and acceptance of my mental health struggles and pain. Here is the first.
Sometime in 2018 is when I started to realize a fog, this fog existed all the time when interacting with people. I would sit and hear people talk, but I was not always able to follow and concentrate on what was being said. This happened with my family, friends, colleagues, and even my boyfriend. I assumed it was tied to jaw pain I was experiencing, which I believed to be tied to my wisdom teeth still being present. I got those removed along with my bottles of pills, including one bottle of Oxycodone for pain, which I only took one pill of. The jaw pain and the mental fog/disconnection were still present. Again, I believed this to be just a jaw inflammation, leading to sinus issues. I would later, in 2020, learn that this was due to depression.
I started to question my choices on schooling, seeing all of my friends finishing up their first years of graduate school in other states. I had chosen to stay in Minnesota because of my relationship. We were almost four years deep when I was applying to schools in late 2017, and I knew long distance would not work for 3 years while he finished his degree. A resentment seeped into my mind, I was not happy with the graduate program I was in. I loved the research I was doing; however, the field of study did not give me a sense of fulfillment. I already had anger trapped inside and this unhappiness intensified that. I blamed myself for choosing to stay here for school because of a relationship. I began to take it out on my boyfriend and got more snippy and argumentative. I was always aggressive in how I would bluntly say things but not to this extent. At the same time, I was retreating further into myself.
I was living with my boyfriend, but we had started to become roommates that shared a bed, instead of two people deep in love. Before living together we had a weekly recurring date schedule where we would see one another twice a week for quality time. My love language is quality time, with words of affirmation not too much behind. My love for him began to die, sometime in 2019, and I think it was the same for him. We had stopped making time for one another, only having surface level conversations, and spending time in separate rooms. I stopped showing affection, aside from quick hugs and a little kiss. I was thankful to have someone around, I felt lonely in life, but I knew he was there if I needed him. One day I was particularly lucky to still have him still present in my life.
It was October, winter could happen at any moment, it is Minnesota after all. This time of year, fall, has always been my favorite; however, it does bring up bad memories of abandonment, loss, and betrayal. Not realizing I had been struggling with depression since I was a teen, the new intense feelings of isolation, loneliness caused me to grab two bottles… the Oxycodone and some tequila. I was at the apartment alone, closed and locked the bathroom door, and turned on the shower. My boyfriend was not supposed to be home until later, I poured the 13 pills that remained into my hand and opened the bottle of tequila. I took a swig of the tequila, a second later I heard the front door open and then close. I heard a knock on the bathroom door and it was my boyfriend, home early, asking me how my day was and what we wanted to do for dinner that night. Now shaking, I quickly put the pills back in the bottle closed the tequila and hopped in the shower, so I could hide what I had be seconds away from attempting, suicide. Timing is everything; he saved me and I will always be grateful for that.
This was not the first time he saved me nor the first time I had contemplated suicide. Though, it was the only time I have gotten close to attempting it. After my father fell out of love with our family, I had a missing piece of my soul. That missing piece had been filled by hatred, hatred for a man I admired and strove to be, my father. I began at a young age, hating myself for being in pain, I was supposed to be resilient and never show weakness, I was supposed to be the protector, I am a boy. I built walls in my mind to control what I felt; anytime that dark, sad emotions would find a crack in those walls I would contemplate if it would be easier to end my life. What kept me from doing that was my mom and older sister, I would never be able to forgive myself for making them go through another loss. I used that power as mortar in my mind; I filled in those cracks. I got really good at this cycle but eventually someone and something had come into my life; together they alleviated the need for this cycle.
It was the beginning of winter in 2013. A guy who I saw for the first time that past spring and then, by chance, every morning all that fall was about to take a step in his life. Well actually he was about to make a stop, a stop at the door of our schools LGBTQIA+ support group. He stopped, walked in the door and my heart skipped a beat. This was the first time I had felt love and unfortunately has been the only time I have allowed myself to be open to it. We would have 6 years full of memories and adventures that I will always cherish but our chapter was never meant to go further than that. We had different plans for when to begin families and settle down. I was sad when our time together came to a close but we had grown up to be two different people.
The end of our chapter happened at the beginning of 2020. I had stopped fortifying the walls in my mind that were hiding away my pain and inner turmoil. Cracks had formed over the years and gotten to a point where all the walls came crumbling down. I went to therapy, for the first time. That is where I realized that I had been struggling with chronic depression, dysthymia. While my coping mechanism, the walls in my mind and other distractions, are not healthy or recommended, they got from 2007 to 2020. The collapse of those walls was only just the beginning of my revelation of my mental health in 2020.
(Above) Grand Canyon Falls in Yellowstone National Park, June 2018.
Taken by myself.
PLEASE READ FIRST:
These first couple posts are just about life and my realization of my mental health (three parts)
FUTURE POSTS, I will begin to write posts of my journeys around Minnesota and eventually elsewhere. Specifically of my hiking and camping around MN and WI in 2020.
-The bluffs and river towns of Southeastern Minnesota
-Sustainable camping in Wisconsin
-Waterfalls of the Northwoods
Hello! This is Josh and this is my blog. The plan is to discuss the realness of life but also the fantastic adventures that I go on.