This is a hard one to start, only because I am unsure where to begin. I have struggled my whole life. Whether it was trying to fit in at school, or trying to figure out what I was supposed to do with my life (still waiting on that one). But the biggest challenge for me has been my fight with depression and my roller coaster emotional state. This has come to a head a couple times in my life but it finally came to a point in January where I felt I was over the edge. To this day, I don't even really know what it was that sent me over the edge. It was a mix of everything but nothing specific. My wife came home one night and the kids were being kids and I completely went off the rails and ended up leaving the house to have some "alone time". I ended up driving to the nearest mall and just sat on one of the couches in the mall for 2 hours. It was at that point I had decided that I had had enough and I was "done" and going to checkout. I decided to make a list of everything I needed to do before killing myself. Here it is:
- Ensure my life insurance was up to date and covered suicide.
- Clean up my receipts/accounts in my room/online. I figured my wife would need access to most of accounts eventually.
- Research the most effective and painless ways to accomplish my goal.
- Document everything at work.
Apparently this is a pretty common thing to do. At some point I decided I needed to talk to a psychiatrist or psychologist. I was still deep into my depression, however, I felt the need to reach out a few days later. I was able to get in to see a psychologist I have seen before and I was able to turn it around eventually. She was able to talk me into putting a stop on my plan and to this day, I don't know where our life insurance documents are kept. I asked Chantel to move them and not tell me where they are so I am unable to finish that task. Talking with her helped but what helped me even more were the anti-depressants I received from my family physician. Up until that point, I had been fairly "against" being treated with pills. For no other reason than the stigma that is associated with it. Which I can now say is completely stupid. I REALLY wish I had done this a lot sooner. It has been a life changer. Up until this point, I have been very easy to go off the rails and was quite an angry person very quickly. The drugs have really helped with those really low lows. I still get mad and upset, however, I don't feel myself going nearly as deep as before. And I have a lot more patience on a day to day basis. I actually feel fairly stable at this point. And my wife has said she doesn't feel she has to walk around on egg shells anymore.
I remember when I first went to see my family Dr. and I expressed how much I felt like a complete failure. I have a great job, great group of friends, a wonderful supportive wife and family and really don't have any hardships to speak of. But as anyone with depression or a mental illness will tell you, it isn't always what is on the outside that causes the issues. For me, it's an imbalance of chemicals on the inside which really affects my moods. Couple that with some compounded stress and it makes for a hard combination to deal with.
I wish I could say that all was perfect, however, the drugs do have some fairly significant side effects which do cause other problems, however, none of them have been a show stopper at this point. One thing it did do though was take me completely out of running which has really put my fundraising efforts on the back burner. I finally got up the nerve to go for a run last week. A 20 minute painful run. I also went for a 30 minute bike ride the next day which was much more enjoyable.
So where does this bring me in my quest to follow Matt's footsteps into Ultra running races? I feel like I need to take things a lot more slowly and get back into running a little bit every day. But I think to remain on the healthy scale, I need to look much further into the future for completing this goal. I'll keep you posted.