One day our thoughts will rest, our bodies will be food for the crawlers, it will be that day will be free from this life's sorrows and concerns.
Today, I am choosing to live again. Tomorrow I am deciding to live.
If I had to be honest, zipping down my chest and exposing my heart, I’ve been hanging out in the theme park of despair and ran to the marry go-round of suicide again.
Round and round I go seeing one way of death after another. Drowning in Long Warf, to hanging myself with a belt, and other ways to escape from this meat prison filled with the darkest vile of dread.
In a lot of ways, I have killed myself over the years. I socially committed suicide by pronouncing my current views of the world to parading on LinkedIn my sexual frustration while in a manic episode last year. Totally regret it and hopefully, they’ll restore my account because it was a Mental Health Crisis during the beginnings of the Pandemic.
Parts of me on the internet simply don’t exist anymore. Facebook is a weird place. I definitely verbally vomited my life and overshared with a lot of people who may not understand.
Let’s get to the story. Stories give more context.
January 2013, I moved to Raleigh, North Carolina with two bags of clothes and a train ticket. Life was finally looking up and all I wanted to do was prove to the world I was not crazy. After getting kicked out and banned at Liberty in 2011. I made it a mission to find the right doctor and be as responsible as I could be with my condition.
Sidenote: It hard to accept sometimes, my condition, if not properly managed can lead to a lot of harm to myself and others. It’s my suffering that only I know how to carry. The best way to carry it by being humble and taking the medication.
I was truly fortunate and blessed to get a place in Wake Forest for $275/month. Even more, my landlord, Tim Wilkins, gave me a 1996 Honda Odyssey. He went out of his way to fix it up and made sure it was drivable. I started off working at Express Clothing part-time at the mall to a full-time security officer at a bank. By August, I landed my first sales job as an Inside Sales Rep for a staffing company in Cary, North Carolina.
“Barnaby, take the medicine. You’ll live a great life if you take the medicine.”
This was the advice of a Doctor at Saint Vincent Hospital in Connecticut back in 2012 that embedded itself into my soul.
He remembered me when I was treated at Silver Hills at the age of 17 in 2008. I was diagnosed with Bipolar type I that year and it was a condition that I did not readily accept.
Not until 2012.
My only focus as a 22-year-old was to pay off my debt and never reveal myself to anyone. My main goal was to read and understand others and myself. I read amazing books like Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman and The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nicholas Taleb. I took a crash course in perception by reading The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks to The Invisible Gorilla by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons. Books like these grounded me as a sales professional and as a person.
I don’t know how well I did in North Carolina.
I was a workaholic, a foodaholic, pornaholic, an alcoholic, a nicotinolic…
I was an all-star at the start-ups I worked at in 2014, 2015, and 2016.
I paid off my student loans with the help of a good friend from Noth Wake Church.
I was really making a name for myself, and it felt great to be validated as a person.
That’s where I realize I made the mistake.
I made the mistake of having my awards and performance on the job to be my identity as a human being. I made the mistake of looking at my friends and validating myself because they were successful CEOs, CIOs, and so on.
People like me a lot. I bathe in books and made it a goal to always apply new knowledge. I wanted to be interesting and I also cared about others and what they had to say.
I always felt like an imposter the four years I lived in North Carolina. I was always on the move because I never wanted to listen to the silence of my soul. I didn’t want to think about being bound to a bed or placed in a padded room.
At 17, I stayed a month at Silver Hills Mental Hospital. I studied Bipolar in AP Psych in 11th grade. I know I didn’t take a college course on mental health, but I felt like I was misunderstood.
There was no way I was in this category.
Here I make another mistake right before your eyes.
I’m not reduced to a category.
My validation and affirmation are, I think, by acceptance of me.
Not how people accept me. Right.
If I accept myself rather than seeking after other’s acceptance.
It seems like leads down a path of balance.
I’m accepting that I’m 30 years old and riddled with addictions trying to burn off these soul-sucking leaches.
These soothing suckers have been sucking my life-force for so long because of the pain they tasted inside of me since I was young.
I feel like these leaches have become toxic friends like Peter the Porn leach, to Cindy the Cigarette leach, then you got Gary the Glutton leach.
Talk about close friends, eh?
These one-sided friendships have to go.
There’s so much to learn as an adult. I thought I figured out my life at 25. There’s a lot of forgiveness ahead of me. There’s a lot to start finally letting go. I’m in pain and that’s okay. It’s okay to not have my life together. Tonight by writing this it’s allowing me to have compassion for myself.
I said it before, and I’ll say it again: I hated myself.
I’ve hated myself since I was a kid. If the kids in school like me and validated me then I was good. If I became a good people pleaser, then I’d never really acknowledged the pain.
Tonight though, I am accepting myself and I am loving myself.
Tomorrow is a new day to say no to my addictions and show compassion for myself.
Now please validate me. :D Kidding.
My Recovery Statement:
Everything will be amended.
Our lives will make sense as we show compassion for ourselves and to others by acknowledging the emotional distress and traumas of our past.