Since October 11th is National Coming Out Day - I thought I would share my story. It is a little bit of insight into a very complicated life...
What Turns Honest People Into Criminals -
A New Insight
I was thinking tonight (after 3AM) as I could not sleep. That is a dangerous thing for me. I have a very vivid imagination and seem to have a knack for not thinking clearly. But tonight, I am a little manic so I am thinking quite clear. Let's start at the beginning, since that is where it all began.
September 12, 1962: I was born into this world by 2 wonderful parents and had a decent childhood and they raised me with good morals. I was taught a work ethic, something infused to me through my parents. They both have always worked, and worked hard for as long as I can remember to give their kids a good life. They must have had some tough times with money, but it never showed... at least, not that I remember. We had a nice house, I was able to participate in sports, etc. (Even though I did not like them =).
The following has no specific dates as I can not remember them all.
I worked hard. Hard from 17 or so to the end of 2001. That's when the trouble began. As far as work went, I was very successful. Most of the time. Looking back on my job history, I noticed a pattern. I would work very hard to achieve the most success that I could at the company I worked for. I was always 'A Company Man'. I would work 60-80 hours per week and seemed to thrive on it. Whatever task I did I did very well, (I was not without occasional bumps and bruises, I am NOT pertfec, after all...), but eventually, I would ultimately end up either getting fired or quitting. Looking back I can see better why.
You see, in 2002 I was diagnosed as being bi-polar. I figure , again looking back, that I have actually been bi-polar since 1974, or so. I always had these episodes of extreme rage, and I remember quite vividly, almost hitting my mother as me and my mom and dad were trying to stop me from 'running away' at , I think, 17 year's old. Many other examples, of rage, frustration have been observed by others. Some by my wife. (A little boo-boo at the 7-eleven). Times, where I absolutely buried myself in a hobby, working on it all my free time, then dropping it completely later. I could just be lazy. But When I was successful, I totally immersed myself into what was at hand, (probable mania), then to become bored and fail (probable depression).
I remember throwing a textbook at someone in school. I really remember (and can still envision it), a note that I wrote to a girl (I can't remember who she was), that had pictures of a knife, dripping with blood. It was a threatening letter. I remember it because that was the only time I got the strap.
The first time I tried to hurt myself was one day in the playground, at school. I grabbed a rock and deliberately pounded it so hard into my head that It bled. And did it ever bleed. My principal had 10 fits, and I lied to him, saying that it (the rock), just came from no-where. A while later, I deliberately 'fell' from the monkey bars. I have always hated myself. That I am still trying to find out and understand why. I am NOT going to blame it on an 'overbearing mother' (she wasn't). It just comes natural to me. I was about 13 when I swallowed 15 or 20 aspirins, thinking that would 'do me in.'
I threw a rock at my friend, just narrowly missing his eye. He has a scar now. No-one has ever liked me, or at least, I never believed it. (Until now.) I was always called 'wrangy' by my classmates and they feared me. They started calling me a fag around when I was 12. I remember the age, as that was the age I received my first beating. I was speaking to a friend of mine about how I thought that a certain boy was cute. He passed that off, and we never discussed it again. The next day, 6 grade XII boys, dragged me into the playground, beat and kicked me senseless, calling me "Faggot! You F**king Fag!" as they continued to kick me. I was 'lucky' that they did not cause facial bruising or I would have had to explain to my parents what happened. It hurt for days. It is a day I will NEVER forget. Ever since that day... I was marked as a fag. After that, it was open season on me. I think, that was when I went (or rather shoved) into the closet. From then on I never even suspected that I was gay. I tried dating girls, but it never worked out. I didn't know why. The more anyone said that I was, the more I denied it. Soon, I believed it. After each failed attempt at dating, I tried to kill myself. Usually, with my car. Damaged alot of cars, as I chickened out at the last minute, before wrapping it around a pole and driving over the curb instead.
My religion never helped by having me go to confession for 'impure thoughts' only to be told time and time again that if I could not stop the thoughts, (suicide and homosexuality), I was certain to burn in Hell. I fixed them! I am now Wiccan and I practice my own religion!
I finally met a REALLY nice girl. We hit it off and we seemed to be perfect for each other. We dated, moved in together and then married. We moved to the country and bought a house on an acreage. We had a wonderful son! On the outside, it looked to the world that we were the 'perfect' married couple. I can't remember when it was, but at some point we stopped communicating. She accused me of not caring about her friends, I, never having any real friends never understood why. But we did not talk enough about it.
I was out of work....AGAIN... and after almost a year on EI, I landed the 'perfect job' in Saskatoon. I don't know where I got the idea from, but in February of 2002, on the phone, my wife mentioned that she never said that her and my son were going to move. She had a good job and he was in kindergarten. She did not want to move him until the end of the school year. That would be in June, and then she would 'think' about it. She mentioned that the separation might do us some good. (I believe she said, "That's just another example of your selective hearing. Really, I hardly notice you are gone.") Don't quote me on that. I believe that was the week of the 17th of February, 2002.
The above refers to me, not my wife.
I all of the sudden became quite depressed. I lay on the couch. I went to work and was in a total fog. I mean, I was questioning everything. Why did I think that they were coming? Why did she think a separation would be good? "Oh my God! She is going to divorce me!" is what went through my mind. By Saturday, I was a mess. I vaguely remember, walking to the mall, about 6 blocks away. The sun was bright. I entered the mall and went to Zeller's. I was on autopilot. I remember seeing people in the mall. They were avoiding me. I barely took notice of them. (It was only later that I realized that it is unusual for someone to walk in the winter wearing only a t-shirt, sleep-pants and slippers).
The next part is funny. I walked to the drug section and started looking at the sleeping pills. I remember asking the pharmacist which ones were the strongest. I was told Extra strength Nytol. I grabbed a box and went to the checkout. I decided though to go back and get another one. I went to the checkout and the bill should have been around $16.00. But it totaled around $8.00. I told the cashier that I had 2 boxes, she said she knew that and she charged for both. joke was on her, I got the 2nd one free!
At home, I lay on the couch, listening to heavy metal on Much Music. (I NEVER watch that!). I tried to sleep, but the words in my brain kept me awake. "Take the pills, Brian. Take the pills, Brian. TAKE THE PILLS ,BRIAN! TAKE THE PILLS! TAKE THE PILLS! I went upstairs, and downed both boxes. I sat on the kitchen floor for a long while. I called the suicide prevention line and told them what I did. They asked me if I needed an ambulance. I said, no. They sent a cab. I waited on the driveway. I was sitting on the ground. I don't remember much after that. I woke up in the hospital, after having hallucinations for what seemed like an eternity. I talked to the shrinks and they let me go home on Sunday.
I went to work as normal on Monday. The day was ok. I went home, and as I was going down the stairs, I was wondering why I did that. Then it dawned on me. "I'M GAY!" I shouted at the top of my lungs. That is when I exploded out of the closet. Accepting that and coming to terms with my orientation is one of my proudest personal accomplishments, albeit one of the hardest things I have ever done.
I have been struggling with guilt at having "lied" to my wife. Believe me. It was no lie. I was NOT gay!. No way. Not me. But I WAS! How do I tell her! How do I tell my son! How do I tell my Mom and Dad!!!
I have since been struggling greatly with my bi-polar. Too many things happened at the same time. I was overwhelmed. I was assigned a psychiatrist. I was medicated. Heavily. It snuck up on me. After about 5 months, I was on 7 different medications. I was a zombie. Or so my bosses and HR told me. I was in another world. They put me on disability as they were afraid of me going 'postal'. Hindsight being 20/20, they were probably right.
This has already gone on far longer than I intended, so I will try to wrap it up. I have been trying to control my medications, control cutting, control my suicidal thoughts, (Yep! Still my friend in my head for over 25 years...)., and attempting to get my life in order. But I can't seem to. I am tired. So tired of fighting. I almost succeeded killing myself awhile ago, I can't remember the date as I have lost about 2 years worth of memory. My friends interfered. They did it because they love me. How is that possible? How can people who love you want you to suffer? Because they love me and don't understand. The thing is, I love them too, dearly. And I don't understand why I want to kill myself. Its just been my constant companion for so long. Some think that all I have to do is think positive. Some think I just need a job. Some think that the future is bright. Some dismiss it, by saying to stop feeling sorry for myself and get over it. They don't know. They don't know me. Only I know me. I don't like what I know.
Everyone says I have to get better for the sake of my son. I am trying. But I am so tired of that inner voice. Don't get me wrong. I love my son more than anything. But his dad is one f**ked up dude! My wife says that if I did this she would "hate me forever" and would not take the insurance money. It's NOT her fault. She was and still is a wonderful person and I still love her.
What people don't know is that every time they "try to help me" with saying "Think about your son. Think about your parents. Think about your friends." is that this adds even more guilt to me. Its not their fault. They love me too.
Disability ran out. EI ran out. I am now on welfare. I 'make' $625/month. After expenses, and whatever child support I can afford, I have about $40-50/month for food, and personal items. So here is where I get to the title of this page.
Being in the situation I am in, I can actually see why people on welfare are apt to commit crimes such as robbery. I won't lie. I have thought about it. Lots. Heck, if I get caught, I go to jail, and get killed because I'm gay. Or I would do it myself. Whatever.
So there you go. Now you know. The next time you see someone on welfare... don't just dismiss them as being dirty trash. I now see them differently. And when you see or know someone who is struggling with depression, please don't dismiss them. It is a real feeling, and sometimes impossible to control. There are a multitude of reasons that they got there and a multitude of reasons that they find it hard to overcome. Some of us just find it hard to have a moments quiet in our head. My friends wonder how I can listen to music so loud. To drown out the voice. Why do I talk so loud. Because the 'inner voice' is so loud. I long for a moment when that 'inner voice' is silent. But it never is.
People wonder why I don't move back to Winnipeg. Do I not miss my son? Terribly. Do I not LOVE my son? Without question. I stay in Saskatoon to protect him from me. (The bi-polar - not being gay!) Now you know. Will I come back? Not until I am better. Heartless? No, because my heart breaks every time I talk to him... every time I miss an achievement... every time I think of him. Time that I can NEVER get back. Everybody has been very patient with me. I am not.
Do I see a future? I didn't yesterday. I don't today. Tomorrow? Is it there? Could be. Do I want to find out? Yes. Can I do it?
I honestly just don't know.
You don't know what I am up against, what I have been struggling with my whole life. Call me weak if that makes you feel better. Maybe I am. Maybe I am not.