Struggle – Recovery – Journey

Let me start off by saying, if you’re reading this I love you. It is so easy for me to find the good in you and love you, especially when you may be having trouble loving yourself. When you’re having a hard time standing up on your own, I’ll find a way to help and lift you up. When my phone rings at any point of the day or through the night, I will answer it and listen to you. I may not have the words to make things better but I will continue to do the best I can to help you get you through whatever you’re dealing with. God gave me a gift of empathy, and I use it the best I can to help others. Thats how I cope, thats the only way that I know that I will be alright.

But, I can’t save you. I remember my last words and conversations to countless amounts of friends that have passed on. Great memories of times that we’ve shared. I can’t look back and say “what if…” The truth is life goes on. Tonight, somebody else may die. I can’t control that, no one can. I will continue to open my arms and stand on the firing line of recovery, with my friends that choose to walk this path with me. I will continue to get to know you, learn about the struggles you’ve overcome and the person you want to be. I will continue to suit up and show up for God, and for myself….because the truth is, we are fighting the same battle. I need you just as much as you need me. Give yourself a chance. Ask for help. WE don’t need to do this alone. 🙏🏽❤️

Dear Charles,

Dear Charles,

I know you’ve been through a lot in the amount of time you’ve been on this earth. I know you’re keeping secrets and I know you’re scared and confused. It’s okay for you to feel that way. It’s okay to have a bad day or even many bad days. You’re allowed. And please know that I’m not trying to scare you when I say that you’re going to have a lot of bad days.

Unfortunately, what they’ve diagnosed you with isn’t going to go away and it’s not just some phase. You have a disease…kind of like how diabetes is a disease. It’s just that yours is a disease of the mind, and it’s often highly unpredictable.

You have Bipolar Disorder II. I guess that explains a lot. Hmmmm.

You’ll have to deal with this for the rest of your life, and I need you not to panic. You have a lot of work to do. You’re about to attempt to win a battle inside your brain every single day for the rest of your life. Sometimes, all you’ll be able to do is sleep and sometimes you won’t sleep for days. You’ll see doctor after doctor and try what will seem like 1,000 medications, but in between all of that, there will be good times. Your life is not over…it’s just beginning.

There are millions of people diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. It seems like nearly every day a celebrity comes forward to admit that they have struggled with it, just to let us know we can still achieve greatness. You can and will get through this with grace and dignity, even if you stumble a bit at first trying to find your path.

The worst part about being diagnosed with a mental health condition is the ignorance and stigma you’ll face daily. There will be people who will walk out of your life or treat you like trash because you have a disease of the mind. A disease you didn’t ask for or contract doing something unsafe or illegal. It’s just how your brain is wired. But some people may never understand that or even believe it, no matter how hard you try to explain it.

Don’t let their ignorance tear you down. You have enough work to do just fighting the negative voices in your head. You will struggle, there is no question about that. Unfortunately, at times the pain will seem unbearable, and it will get to you no matter how steady you think you are. That is when it is the easiest to give up, but you can’t do that. Not now. Not ever.

Please, whatever you do, don’t hurt yourself in any way. You may feel alone at times, but you are never truly alone in this fight. There is always a light around the corner. There is always tomorrow.

Despite your struggles, there will be moments where you shine. And in time, when you’re more self-aware, your bad days will only amplify the good. You’ll learn to appreciate those moments even more because you fought to get there. I promise you: You can do this.

You won’t have all the answers all the time, but in time, you will learn what works for you and what doesn’t. It will be a struggle, but if you weren’t a fighter, you wouldn’t be here now. I’ll be here waiting.

Sincerely,

Charles 🙏🏽❤️🙏🏽

#BipolarDisorder #Mentalillness

One Love

I struggle with Mental Health issues every day….every….single…day.

I will never understand how people are so uncomfortable addressing mental health issues but are comfortable sending get well wishes to someone with a broken bone or going through surgery. 🤦‍♂️

No, it’s not a phase.

No, it’s not an on/off switch I can flip in my head.

No, it’s not a passing feeling.

No I’m not doing it for attention.

No, it’s not laziness.

No, It’s not sadness.

No it’s not “something you get over”.

It’s a lifelong condition, and I’m at peace with that.

Yes, I’ve had therapy. Group and individual.

Yes, I’ve done exercise and ate healthy.

Yes, I do joke around and make others laugh and smile.

Yes, I’ve worn a mask, due to the stigma of mental health, and honestly…its a shame that I had to hide it.

Always be kind to the people around you. Not all traumas are visible. Just because you cant see their wounds doesnt give you a right to judge or belittle anyone. Love is a universal language, spread it as much as you can. So if you see someone’s having a rough day, share a smile, lend them your ear and encourage them to keep going.

“The worst part of having a mental illness is people expect you to behave as if you don’t”. — Joker

Lost to Addiction

I had lost a whole decade to Addiction. Late nights into the early mornings, I was snorting Cocaine or Adderall alone or with others. Crushing pills or cutting cocaine was a pretty, mouth watering sight. I was looking down at a line of powder on the table. It was my second or third 8-ball of the night, at a time when I was snorting 20 or so lines in a day. With the dollar bill in my hand, I considered a couple of truths: I’d stolen the drugs from dealers; I’d eventually be caught; part of me wanted to be caught; part of me hoped I’d die before that happened.

“We really have a problem,” I said to myself. When things got really bad…when I couldn’t believe the things I was doing…I’d start referring to myself as a group.

I snorted each line. The burn felt like pain and ecstasy and shame. But no matter how high I’d get myself those days with the dripping sweat, heart jumping in my chest, and ringing in my ears, I couldn’t shake the feeling of loneliness. And later in the evenings after b work, I’d start drinking whiskey to slow down my body. Rinse, lather, repeat.

It wasn’t always that bad. Like many addicts, things were great for a while. I’d spent a good five years clubbing and doing drugs casually; I was a weekend warrior, I was in my mid twenties, and I was thrilled. I thought I’d connected with people and there was something more real about being high than there was about not being high. But my drinking/drug life was incompatible with my work life. I couldn’t go out partying on Sunday night, coasting home at 2:00AM on Monday morning, and hope to be productive at work, though I tried. I remember one of these Mondays, falling asleep while a coworker was talking to me.

I had lost a whole decade to Addiction. Every aching year it progressed more and more until my brain was on overdrive. Addiction was Charles. Charles was Addiction. I couldn’t fathom a life without a substance in my system. I combined alcohol, drugs, gambling and sex mixed them all in a pot and the outcome was harmful.

#Destruction #Addiction

Breaking Point

(August 22, 2016) My Breaking Point to Surrender was in full effect. I was waking up feeling like death, shaking and craving Drugs/Alcohol just to function. Was lucky I didn’t have to be at work til 1:00pm. Sleep off the hangovers, continue to struggle at work and start destroying my body all over again immediately after work. Repeat.

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My wife was working her second job just to escape me. I looked at it as more time to party and less nagging to hear. Then the 2-3am calls/text came in asking me where I was, keeping her awake up all night angry, tired and worrying. I was distancing myself more and more away from her. She was coming between me and my addictions. Not realizing that I was dragging her through my own hell. I became a Monster.

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I was torn between wanting to continue this lifestyle which was spiraling downward fast with money loss, my health and my marriage. The other side of the brain (my addictions) was saying it’s ok I’m only harming myself and nobody else. I lacked emotions and feelings but a glimpse of HOPE for CHANGE was still there…almost…

#StartToSeeTheLight #SickAndTiredOfBeingSickAndTired #Recovery

L I F E

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SEPTEMBER 19, 2017 was my set date I planned to leave this earth. I was sick of crying, tired of trying, yes I was smiling but inside I was dying.

Sometimes, the most difficult and painful subjects need to be addressed head on. Failure to do so can result in loss of life occurring in such a way that the lives of others are altered forever. Yet, we still hesitate to bring up the subject, perhaps out of some understandable but misguided fear that the words alone might result in our greatest nightmare becoming a reality. Nonetheless, difficult as it is and truly frightening as it may be, there comes a time when a light needs to shine in those darkest corners where the fear often resides.

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Framing suicide as a method to get attention paints those who are sick as manipulative, when in fact, they are simply really ill. In addition, even if a suicide attempt is a cry for help, it means they need help–so let’s help! My depression and bi-polar overtook my mind to think lower of myself.

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The despairing emotions that lays the groundwork for suicidal thoughts: Hopelessness, Helplessness, and Worthlessness. Hopelessness says, “Things will never get better. This will go on forever. Don’t even bother trying.” Helplessness is paralyzing: you see no control over your own life—things just keep happening to you that make you feel worse and worse. Worthlessness says, “And you’re a total failure of a human being. anyway. Your life is a waste.”

This unhappy trio shouts so loudly that any whispers of hope, efficacy, or worth get drowned out. Many individuals who commit suicide truly believe they are doing everyone around them a favor.

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When I became clean and sober I wasn’t numbing these thoughts away. I wasn’t the “life” of the party anymore. I felt friends and family turned their backs on me.

SEPTEMBER 26, 2017 I found out I was going to be a father. It’s funny how a week before I would’ve been a mourned Husband, Father, Son, Brother and Friend. I receive the help I need to continue to move forward. God wasn’t ready for me standing at the gates of heaven. Depression and Suicide can affect anyone. You Are Not Alone.

Thank You for those that Read this Post. It’s not about Me. It’s about being Aware.

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