Spiritual Awakenings

JP talks with me in detail about my overdose, the reason for why I stopped using, and my parents divorce.  We walk through my history with depression, over medication, and what I consider to be my rock bottom.  As always, please share this with anyone who might be able to find strength, or benefit from it.  Some of the subject matter in this post may be unsettling to some viewers…

What prompted you to stop?

That’s a really good question. There wasn’t one thing that prompted me to stop there was a combination of a lot of things that essentially made me realize, “look I hate myself, I hate this life, I hate the life that I’m living.The big catalyst, I would say, was my overdose in 2014.

The one at your dads house?

Yes, I OD’d on December 6, 2014. They gave me a shot of Narcan, that didn’t do the trick, they gave me another one which didn’t do the trick, and then they ended up putting me on a Narcan drip. My step-mother found me face down in a pile of my own vomit. I had aspirated. The doctor said if I was left five minutes longer I would have passed or I would have been severely mentally disabled. That was the biggest single thing. At the time, I was also going through a divorce, I was stuck in a very unhappy marriage, and I was living in my parents’ basement. I ended up going to rehab shortly after my overdose. Part of the agreement to discharge me from the hospital was I had to immediately go into treatment because I was considered a suicide risk. So within 48 hours of leaving the hospital, I had been in the hospital for two weeks, they sent me to Florida. I was in rehab in Florida from December to March.

For clarification, when the hospital discharged you to have treatment, was that rehab?

They didn’t care what the treatment was, they would not discharge me without seeking additional psychiatric help.

Would you consider that your rock bottom?

Yeah, at that point I wasn’t doing anything, I was literally just waiting to die, getting messed up as much and as often as I could. Super depressed cried a lot, I was doing a lot of drugs, just agitated man.

I remember coming to Saginaw and going out with you. You were just so miserable to be around. There was a palpable aura around the table.

I was miserable, it didn’t matter what I was doing, I was miserable. That was probably beginning in 2012 till about 2014. Not happy at all.

When did you get married?

2014, the misery probably even dates back farther than that. I honestly, looking back I couldn’t tell you the last time that I was happy. And it wasn’t so much that I wasn’t happy, I was just never comfortable with myself. I was never comfortable and I was very insecure, which made it very difficult to be happy.

Any amount of insecurity is gonna breed some sort of unhappiness. You‘re just constantly questioning yourself, you’re questioning everything you’re doing your actions, all that stuff. You’re saying there was a two-year stretch that eventually led up to what would be the rock bottom?

I think there’s different levels of rock bottom. There’s different degrees of agony. Eighth grade I was pretty happy and then I got to high school and I remember being miserable. Which is coincidentally when the drugs started. That level of misery subsided a little bit when I started college.

Do you think you were the normal amount of uncomfortable and insecure depressed as any other college kid?

No, I was far more. I should have been on medication for depression from the get-go, man. I’m clinically depressed.

Do you think, in your situation, more medication is better or do you think counseling is a better option? I think depression medicine is far over-prescribed nowadays.

Let me paint the picture for you. I remember back in high school, freshman and sophomore year, being in my room alone and just crying and not knowing why. That sort of depression. So it wasn’t just everyone gets depressed from time to time and depression usually subsides. It was like months.

Do you think that medication and the proper therapy could have helped you in the long run? Maybe the medication was temporary to begin the therapy?

You’re absolutely right. And I’ve had this conversation with a very close friend of mine who’s dealt with similar things. Medication isn’t a cure-all. It’s not the fix, medication can help get the wheels turning to a healthy life.

It’s a cast. You break your arm, you’re not gonna wear the cast forever, but you definitely need it.

For sure, therapies every bit as important and I would argue more important than medication. But when you’re as depressed as I was medication is an absolute necessity as well.

I’ve always just been curious because I feel like, anti-depression and anxiety medicine is over-prescribed. There was a period in my life when I wasn’t sleeping, not full blown insomnia, but the point where you’re staying up till 5:30 or 6:00 every morning then getting up at 7:30 for school. I thought for the longest time that I just need some Xanax or something to sleep.

And I think that’s a cultural issue, I think that we have this conception that there’s always a pill to fix everything and that’s not the case. The more important solution is dialogue, it’s talking, it’s therapy.

I think that if you were getting prescribed medicine to sleep, yeah fine, your symptom is not sleeping and you can find a pill to make you sleep, but that’s only a symptom of a larger problem.

Absolutely right, yeah. I was on Ambien for a while, and I didn’t like it because I could take an Ambien I could get my eight hours, but I would be more tired after the next day after taking an Ambien than I would had I not slept at all, or gotten the two to four hours that I was used to.

So you were depressed for the better part of high school and the latter part of college?
I would say I was clinically depressed from the time that I was about 14-15 till about 25-26.

When did your parents got divorced?

When I was five, near five, I was in a kindergarten when my parents divorced.

I thought your parents got divorced when you were closer to ten. I didn’t realize it was so early, do you think your parents divorce played a role in your depression?

Yeah, but I want make this point. It wasn’t so much my parents divorced that affected me, that did play some role, but it was more my parents clear hatred of each other that really kind of messed me up. They didn’t like each other and they made it known they didn’t like each other. That was the what really messed with me.