Hi, Welcome to my personal blog. This blog is about my monsters. My war stories. Some are battles I won and others I lost. But, I’m still here. Still battling. Hope you enjoy.
While most people are familiar with the idea of a guardian angel, I have a guardian monster as well. My Guardian monster is named Bipolar Depression. My monster also goes by the name manic depression. My Guardian monster has one goal and one goal only. It is obsessed with its goal, it’s goal is to protect me when I have an unexpected big life change. This is the only time my monster awakens from its slumber. Somewhere around November of 2014. My monster woke up. The following is my story. A story of my journey of battling my monster and losing and winning.
I’ve had a few unexpected life changes happen during my first 38 years of life. These are all prime opportunities for my monster to wake up and take over. A lot of these events occurred before I knew I had a monster.
- parents divorce when I was 11 years old
- A mom who struggled with alcohol and loved me more than anything in the world.
- A loving but distant father (emotional and geographical)
- A failing marriage
- A spouse with an un-diagnosed mental illness
- A job loss
- A divorce
- Debt that became unmanageable
- the deaths of my father’s parents (Grandpa and Grandma)
- The death of my Nana (mothers mom)
All of these situations are prime scenarios for my monster to awaken. When I am overwhelmed with life, my monster awakens. It slowly begins to rise from its dark cave where it rests in my mind. Once it emerges, it evaluates my current situation. It looks around and takes inventory of my surroundings.
My monster feels my overwhelming pain, it wants to stop the pain at all costs. My monster has no consideration for potential damage that may occur when it is at work. It mission is singular and is unrelenting.
It pushes me aside and takes the wheel. I am now a passenger in my own mind. At first my monster is the best cheerleader in the world. My monster voice is confident and positive. It uses phrases like the following:
- “YOU are the best!”
- “YOU can do anything”
- “YOU have the best ideas!”
- “Nothing can hold YOU back from accomplishing anything you want to do!”
- “You are going to be fine!, look at all of this stress YOU are handling!, YOU are awesome “
Imagine the culmination of every great public speaker with the most talented sales people. All of those personalities cheering you on, giving you the most amazing boost of confidence. Unfortunately, all the cheering is based on horrible advice with no logic or basis in reality. This can be the voice of my monster. My monster makes amazing recommendations based on its knowledge of what has brought me temporary happiness in the past. It scrolls through the list of my favorite activities, all the tools that I have used in the past to find temporary happiness. Food, Shopping, Cars, Going Fast, Sex, Discovering New and potentially dangerous activities.
Once my monster has evaluated the tools available, it begins to work. It overrides all of my normal assumed limitations. It removes all barriers that could impede its mission to remove my pain. My monster will then begin to make persuasive suggestions. The following were the Cheers that my monster used. This all started around November of 2014.
- “We should go on a shopping spree!, buying stuff has made you happy in the past!”
- “Don’t worry about not having enough money!, We can get some credit cards!”
- “We need more credit cards!”
- “We need more money!, Lets borrow money from your 401k!”
- “We should by new TV’s for every room in the house”
- “We should upgrade all of the light bulbs in the house!, Lets buy the really expensive Wi-Fi enable, color changing LED bulbs that you can control from your phone! Light switches are so lame and old. We are going to be have the best technology!”
- “We should buy a new car!”
- “We should buy another car!, but this time, we should buy a classic car!”
- “We should buy yet another car!”
- “Dogs! You love dogs! Lets buy a puppy while we are at the mall!
- “Since we have a new puppy, we need to buy all new dog stuff! Toys, Leashes, Collars, Grooming, Food, Treats!”
- “Furniture! We need new tables and desks! Lets go shopping!”
- “Oh! This is so much fun!, Don’t you feel better?”, is the pain gone?”
- “We should resign your position from your current company”
- “We should create our own company!”
- “Our new company is going to be awesome”
- “Hey, Don’t worry about quitting your job before we start our new company”
- “Games! We used to like playing video games! We should buy an Xbox and a PlayStation 4 and a PS Vita and extra controllers and games!”
- “Music! We should buy a ton of albums from iTunes! Remember, music can inspire your soul!”
- “Since we have all this music!, We should buy sound systems and portable Bluetooth speakers, Loud MUSIC IS THE BEST”
- “Computers! Since we are going to start a company, we should buy laptops and new computers and new monitors and Bluetooth keyboards! This is going to be awesome!”
- “We should try drugs!, We’ve never had drugs before!, maybe they are super fun and we have been missing out”
- “Lets try magic mushrooms and peyote and weed!”, I think those drugs are kind of safe and non addictive”
- “Lets drive 30 miles per hour over the speed limit everywhere!”
- “Lets go to bars and meet new people!”
- “Lets have sex with women that you barely know!”
- “Maybe we should move! A new house would be good!”
- “Hey! We should write a book!, We have soooooo much knowledge! Writing a book would be a great”
- “We should start juicing! Juicing would be an awesome way to lose this pesky fat we’ve been carrying around”
- “We should go to the spa! We should get massages and manicures and pedicure”, We need our appearance to reflect how awesome we are!”
- “We should go buy tons of new clothes! We are new man after all, we should look the part!”
- “Hey, We feel kind of cold, we should go swimming, we should hop in the new car we bought and drive to Las Vegas to go swimming!”
- Hey, Since we are going to write a book, we should drop everything we are doing and fly to Florida. Florida is where Ernest Hemingway lived. We should go there and get some of the same inspiration the Ernest had in Florida. We can go visit his house in Key West!”
- “Chicago! We have not been to Chicago in a while! Remember how much we love Chicago! Lets drop everything we are going and drive to Chicago!”
The previous comments ended around March of 2015. This is when my monster switched its voice. Once my monster has exhausted all of its resources it takes pause. It crawls out of the drivers seat. It places me back in the drivers seat. The mania is over.
This is a pivotal moment.
I now see all of the damage, the pain is not gone. The pain is still there. The pain is worse. I now have more problems than I can possibly imagine. I am in shock, I begin to take inventory of the damage. The damage is immense. I realize my entire life has been burned to the ground. I’m standing on a pile of smoldering ashes and, I am holding the box of matches. The matches my monster used to light everything on fire.
My monster rests, it returns to it slumber. Its work is done, it has tried everything it could think of to protect me from the initial pain I was dealing with in my life. I begin to take inventory of the damage. I say inventory because there are all new problems. Problems I never thought I would encounter in life. But, all of these problems are mine. This feeling is overwhelming.
- I have ended my sales and marketing career that I spent 20 years creating. (I’ll tell the story another time) but, here are the highlights. I decided to go to Las Vegas, to go swimming. I was cold and I wanted to go swimming. I know, it makes no sense. I drive to Las Vegas overnight. When I arrive. I don’t have any money. I somehow forgot that. So, I used my corporate credit card. I spent $1,900 of money that was not mine. I was so stressed when I realized what I did. I tried to hide it. I resigned my job. I negotiated a 6 week severance. Then, 4 weeks later. My old company found the charges. I got a call from the head of security and the head of HR. They were really concerned. I had stolen $1900. I was able to repay the $1900 but, my severance was stopped. I no longer resigned my job. I was fired from my job. I am still embarrassed about this one.
- I have destroyed my professional reputation.
- I have betrayed the Company and co workers I worked so hard for. I have betrayed their trust.
- I have gone from having $0 credit card debt to now having $30,000 in credit card debt and now have a $30,000 loan against my 401k.
- I don’t have a job
- I have zero income
- I have zero savings
- I am risk of losing my home
- I’m $8000 behind on my bills. I have stopped paying bill for a few months.
- I now have a puppy that is chewing up everything in my house. His name is Pete, he is adorable and he is really busy. Busy pooping and peeing and chewing. I am not in a place where I should be owning a happy little puppy. He is loved but, he is not trained in anyway.
- I now have a $35,00 loan on a car that has been repossessed (’13 Mini Cooper Paceman). (the other two cars I tried to buy did not work out, (thank goodness))
- My house is cluttered with tons of electronics
- My kitchen is in ruins, I’ve removed all of my cabinet doors, I’ve painted 30% of my cabinets.
- My house has tons of unfinished home improvement projects.
- I have removed the legs from couch and replaced the legs with casters (wheels). (I cannot explain this logic)
- I’ve removed all of the closet doors in my home. (they just get in the way)
- My Drivers license has been revoked. (took 2 months to get my license back)
- I have outstanding speeding tickets in Nevada, Colorado and Nebraska. (They are now paid)
- I have warrants issued for my arrest for these unpaid speeding tickets in Colorado.
- I have a parking tickets with fines that need to be paid.
- I no longer have health insurance, my son no longer has health insurance, my exwife and step son does not have insurance.
- I now have a state issued medical marijuana card from the state of Colorado (weed costs about 30% with this card opposed to buying weed from the newly opened recreational marijuana stores in Colorado.)
- I am addicted to weed. I know folks that is not a thing but, for me. It is a very real thing. I am a faithful addict. I’ve smoke cigarettes since I was 11. I know that I use nicotine to self medicate my ADD. It helps stimulate my prefrontal cortex (front of brain).
- I’ve been served divorce papers from my wife who I am separated from.
- My iTunes music library is filled with awful music. Music that I never liked and still don’t. (Okay, I’ll tell you. You ready? Circus Music! French Circus Music :/. Tons of Songs from Cirque Du Soleil. And, Show tunes. Show tunes from Broadway shows. Shows I have never seen or even heard. And, soundtracks from looney tunes and Disney. Some of these songs I like today. But, only a few. The rest are not my cuppa tea.
- I own 3 microwaves, 3 toasters, 5 bathroom scales, car accessories, 2 lap tops, tons of clothes, gaming systems, computers TV’s etc.
I now own tons of material possessions that bring only pain. The overwhelming pain of crushing debt. I am at a loss to explain what has happened. My mania is over, the good times have ended. I call to my guarding monster “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!”. My monster refuses to take credit for all of its work. I am ashamed, I am embarrassed, I am lost, I have no where to turn. I scream at my monster! My monster screams back. Its voice has changed. It is no longer the ultimate cheerleader. My monster is now the ultimate critic. My monster now makes new powerful statements.
- “I cannot believe what you did!”
- “How irresponsible of you!”
- “You are a failure!”
- “You are never going to be able to fix all of these issues”
- “You are worthless”
- “Your family is going to be so upset with you. They are going to hate you. You are already an outsider. They are going to be so pissed off. You cant tell them!”
- “You need to kill yourself”
- “You need to research the best ways to kill yourself”
- “You need to get your grandfathers revolver from the safe’
- “You need to place the revolver against your temple and pull the trigger”
- “You need to place the gun in your mouth and pull the trigger”
- “You need to figure out how to hang yourself! “
- “Other people have killed themselves and they were stronger, successful and loved, if they could not escape the pain. What makes you think you can? Kill yourself!”
- “No one is going to help you!”
- “No one should help you, you are worthless”
- “Don’t bother praying to God, There is no God. Even if there was a God, why would he bother to help you?” Kill Yourself!” Suicide is your only way out!
- “No one will ever hire you again!”
- “You are nothing! You have NOTHING! You had a great life and YOU DESTROYED IT”
This is my guardian monster. The above are its voices, its thoughts. It only wants to protect me from my pain. It does not care how it stops the pain. It will make more pain, it will try and end the pain. It crushes my voice, my soul, my confidence. It works alone, it does not care about me. It only cares about ending pain. It will use any tactic it can, shopping, drugs, sex, suicide. There are all tools my monster will use. It only wants to end the pain. Stop the pain, remove the pain. My monster will not be stopped once it is awakened.
It was not until June of 2015 that I learned I had a monster. I did not call it a monster at that time. I called it “I have bipolar depression, a mental disorder”. This began an year and half my search, My search for God, my mind, my soul and my future. Come Hell or High water, I was going to rebuild. I was hellbent on getting my life back on track. This included a long visit to my own personal hell. My depression is hell for me. I lose all my confidence, I question every thought that enters my mind. I have no emotions, I have lost my mind, I have no hope, no future, no energy (mentally, emotionally or physical).
I just wanted to sleep. Sleep lets me escape the depression. But, the nightmares make sure I don’t forget I am sitting at the bottom of a very dark hold with no way to climb up and out. There is no light, no joy, no hope. Only the darkness, the darkness cast from the shadow from my monster.
Caring for your monster.
I spent the first 18 months after my diagnosis of bipolar working to kill my monster. I was going to shove it in deep dark hole in the back of my mind and never let it see sunlight again. After 18 months of consistent failures, i had a realization. The realization is that when you attempt to try and kill something, it will fight back. I have seen this occur time and time again in my life. I have studied this phenomenon for years. I needed to change tactics. War was no longer going to be my mission with Bipolar. My new tactic was going to be to care for my monster. Think of the following phrases we hear all the time:
- “Keep you friends close and your enemies closer.”
- “Give in to your current situation, don’t give up”
- “It is what it is.”
- “Rise of the ashes”
These were the little sayings that kept popping into my mind. These little phrases reminded me that you don’t have to fight. That “The pen can be mightier than the sword”. That phrase was import to me. Ive never been a “fighter”, my personality is geared toward be “peace maker”. I want folks to get along, I’ve always believed that you can do great things if you work together. I was going to have to care for my monster.
For the past twenty years I have been trying to figure out what was wrong with me. I’ve studied psychology and religion as a hobbies for years (yes, I am a nerd). My hobby was working to better understand how people think. Use this knowledge to help me communicate, to help me get groups of people to work together.
It was now time to turn all of the random psychology and religious teaching on my monster. If I could not kill my monster, I was going to kill it kindness. I needed to figure out how to care for my monster. It was a new pet that lived in my brain, its an ugly baby but its my ugly baby. This was my new philosophy. I needed to understand how to do the following:
- What should my monster eat? (How does food and drink affect your monster?)
- You are what you eat
- an apple a day keeps the doctor away
- How much sleep does my monster need? (How sleep cycles impact our brain chemistry”
- Circadian Rythm
- Your your beauty rest
- How do I exercise my monster? (How physical health affects your mental health)
- Change your body, change your brain
- Runners High
- after work out buzz
- How much space does my monster need? (How physical environment can affect your mindset)
- “A persons environment and physical appearance is a direct reflection of a persons mind.”
- “What you focus on is what you get”
- Who can help me train my monster? (Use of health care professionals)
- Spiritual leader
- Support group (local and web resources)
- How much sun should my monster get? (How sunlight and vitamin D improves your monsters mood)
- Playtime. (how hobbies, music, art, cooking etc. are critical to taming your monster)
- What feeds your soul?
- Take of yourself before you try and care for others
- What medicine does my monster need? (taking medications, avoiding self medicating; food, drugs, work etc)
(Writing notes, ideas to be worked on later)
You will require assistance with caring for your monster. This can be a challenge, it requires that you tell people about your monster. This can be scary, down right terrifying if you ask me.
Will need people who are trained in working with monsters. We will call these folks Monster wranglers. These people will have titles like the following:
You may not have all of these people as options but you will have some. While you may already have some of these monster Wranglers in your life, you will need to find some as well. Remember, the larger your team of monster Wranglers the better.
How to tell people about your monster
How to be proud of your monster ( it’s like discovering you have a super power) ( you get to own a monster! That’s awesome) Identifying your monster (diagnosis) Shelter for your monster (environment) Feeding your monster (dietary) Medication your monster (pills and medicine) Discussing tour monster ( talking to others) How to talk back to your monster (CBT, self talk, journals etc) How to deal with the aftermath when your monster gets loose (recovery: spiritual, financial, health) Accepting the fact you own a monster (acceptance) How to properly restraint your monster (things to avoid) (self medicating) How to say no to your monsters requests (self meditating) (drugs, booze etc) getting a your monster a friend (owning a pet or having a hobby)
How to cover these topics:
Interviews with health care professionals, Interviews with people who successfully control their own monster, (think AA but for for crazy people) References to books and medical research Interviews with pastors, rabbis, priests etc
Platforms for this message:
The official guide for monster maintenance Monster management Monster Care Monster school Monster University (Pixar issue) Crazy Academy Mental Monster Care A practical guide to the care and feeding of your monster
I really love these ideas, these are ideas that I want to share with the world. I want to be able to make people realize that their “mental illness” is a gift. A rare gift that is given to is by God. This gift is dangerous and precious at the same time. I want people to think of their mental illness as a “super power”. A super power that must be utilized for good. If it is left to its own devices, it can destroy. But, if your superpower (monster) is properly cared for, it can do amazing things. These mental illnesses (monsters) allow their owners to feel more pain than we think than be handled by one soul. We need to accept our monster and figure out to use them for good.
Share your monster, discuss how scary your monster is, talk about the horrible things your monster has done. But, more importantly. Talk about all the amazing thing you can do regardless of owning a monster.