my friend

you visited me in San Diego
you brought your family?
it is something I should remember
we have been friends for a long time
and I barely remember any of it
I remember the oldest of memories
Pritchard Hall, Pheasant Run Drive, Red ’66 Mustang
I don’t know if it is the medication, the ECT
all these things that are supposed to make
me better, improve my life,
sometimes I question

— GB

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The Point

I’m very sorry if some of this is a rehash of previous posts.  Everything just piled up on me this afternoon and this is what came pouring out.

What was the point?  What was the point of all that I have done for the past four years.  What was the point of seeing all those different doctors?  What was the point of seeing all those different therapists?  What was the point of seeing all those Physician’s Assistants and Nurses?  What was the point of having Intensive Cognitive Behavior Therapy?  What was the point in having ECT Treatments for two and a half years?  Why did I have to endure all the medication changes? Why did I have to move four times?  Am I any better off now than I was four years ago?

That last question is a very complicated one.  The answer is going to be equally complicated, if not more so.

The basic answer is I don’t know.

I’m a different person than I was four years ago.  I have a better understanding about what is going on in my life.  I have a better understanding about what is going on with my body and mind, including my mental health.  I am always learning something new.

With that in mind the answer is yes.

Four years ago I was an established, successful man.  I had a good career.  I was thought well of in my field.  I had just gotten a huge promotion.  I had many friends.  Now I have none of that.  I live with my parents, I live off of Social Security Disability.  I do have a few friends, but not as many as I used to.

Given that side of the coin the answer is no.

Changing doctors and therapists was necessary to find the right ones who would give me the care that I needed.  Intensive Cognitive Behavior Therapy worked a little but in the end was very helpful in that it was where I learned about ECT.  I believe that ECT is what enabled me to get to where I am now.  The moving around (which also required changing doctors) was due to the fact that my parents were taking care of me and they’re not rich, nor would I ask them to completely support me.  When my corporate disability ran out in San Diego, we moved to my aunt’s house is Elk Grove, CA.  We stayed with her until my Social Security Disability kicked in.  Then we moved to an apartment in Sacramento, CA, which is about 25 miles North of Elk Grove.  Most of the rest of my family lives in the Elk Grove-Sacramento area and it was good to spend time with all of them.  The move North from San Diego included a change in ECT Doctor and facility.  I was well taken care of.  When the ECT Treatments got to the point that they were far enough apart.  I moved to and my parents moved back to their home in North Carolina.  I have been here almost a year and a half.

The moves, the medication changes and the doctor and therapist changes all have good reasons.  And while there was some consternation and actual physical pain, I have had positive results so far.   ECT has made the biggest difference to my life.  While I hope I never have to have it again.  I would get the treatment in a instant if it would be beneficial.

So the answer as to whether I am better off now, than I was four years ago is absolutely YES.

Four to five years ago, while things looked like they were great for me, the monster that took me out was growing.  The success was a mirage that the monster was eating.  The bigger the success the bigger the monster was.  It was only a matter of time before it broke me.  When it did, it was like a toxic bomb had gone off.  No one wanted to be around me.  Thankfully, two co-workers called my psychiatrist (that’s a story for another day), called my parents and convinced me then took to me to the hospital.  One even retrieved my parents from the airport.  If it wasn’t for those two I don’t know where I might have ended up.  I would thank them if I could but I don’t know where they are.

My parents, on the other hand, dropped everything they were doing and rushed to San Diego.  If it wasn’t for them doing that and then making decisions about my care in the beginning I probably would have ended up in the San Diego mental health care system.  Their help and consult has helped me get back on my feet.  I’ve come a long way in the last four years and there is none of it that would have been possible without them.

My Reality

This is where it starts
In a light flooded room
With no windows
With no doors

I stand in the middle
There is no shadow cast

Come sing with me
That song without words
That rhymes with anything
We can think to say

Come draw on the walls
Strange shapes in neon
Dinosaurs and cats
Play happily in the fountain

Come read that book
Ten thousand lines long
With pages made
Of crinoline from your skirt

It ends abruptly
Words fade to silence
The fountain goes dry
The book disintegrates

You are gone too
I am left wanting

In the glaring light
There is no way out
Only deepening confusion
About my reality

— GB

Treebeard?

In Group yesterday someone posed the question; “If you could be a tree, what kind of tree would you be and why?”

A couple of people answered, “Oak” for various reasons. They are strong and dependable (very hearty). Other trees mentioned were Birch, Magnolia and Sycamore. When I posed the question to my father he replied, “Palm Tree, because I would more than likely be somewhere warm.”

I answered that I would like to be either a Redwood, or Sequoia because they can live for thousands of years, have thick skin and grow very tall. Plus you can cut a hole in my base for cars to drive through. Thinking back on it now, I should have said I wanted to be an Ent.