To my girls

TO MY GIRLS
Depression has robbed me of many things. Depression has it’s grip on me now.
What hurts most about the depression is the time it robbed me from my girls.
I wasn’t there a lot to enjoy them growing older.
I didn’t spend the time with them, the time they needed
I have little memory of the 3.5 years in heavy depression.
My only memories are sleeping all the time or the seclusion on the computer as I didn’t… Couldn’t deal with people. The kids wouldn’t understand anyway.

I look to my girls now and wonder, what if?
What if I spent those years with them
They were searching for me but I would hide.
What did I miss? What have I done?
The Bipolar highs would take me to places I shouldn’t be
And suicidal depression was sure to follow
It robbed me of the times of just holding their hands, reading to them, playing catch.
They grow up so fast and I missed a good majority of it.
Depression wrote the script and still does. I’m okay for the majority of times but it always returns to take control.
I wish time would turn backwards so I could relive those years, so I could be a father to them, but it doesn’t.
For that I am sorry girls
Love Dad

Advertisements

Defeated yet Victorius

Its an internal battle.

A single rope around my mind, spirit and soul being pulled two ways. The call of Christ is embraced then suddenly it falls on deaf ears, once again. Why does that happen? It’s no secret that my walk has been a mess. Trying most of the time. The passion ignites the fire then anger and anxiety pour out of me snuffing the flame.

Once again I walk away. Distant. Wondering what if. Wondering why I didn’t fight through it. I’ve fallen back into the rut of familiarity. Its a cycle that repeats itself over and over again, not unlike my struggles with depression and mania. On fire one week,  cold the next. Full of hope,  then it all shatters leaving me guilt ridden, angry and defensive. Encouragement does nothing but ignite more anger.

I long for more spiritually but I don’t want it………It fills me yet I’m empty. The reserve gets filled but the drain has been pulled. Frustration.

I gather armor and weapons to fight but the energy escapes me.

Why?

Yes you can explain and I get it…

But do I?

It’s like a roller coaster shooting way up high,  full of adrenalin,  then it peaks, sitting there briefly, then panic stricken it all races down, only to rise again. At this point, knowing what to expect but still full of fear and anxiety.

I open the Good Book, stare at a page then my mind escapes to a dreamland not fully knowing what where or why. Then I close the Word, lost and frustrated. Thoughts are racing its all very confusing.

I want the knowledge, or at least I do until it’s time to absorb it, then reality mixes with, well I don’t know what it mixes with but reality seems lost. So I put the Bible down defeated yet somehow I’m left with a feeling of victory.

Coming time to be in the body of Christ feels good for a time then its too crowded. The walls seem to cave in. Anxiety, skin crawling, legs bouncing, thoughts racing, confusion, then I escape. I flee, not looking back, and I run right into guilt.

Defeated yet somehow feeling victorious.

In the end I’m left wondering when this tug of war will stop. I wonder which side will win and I wonder what end I was pulling for.

I wonder if I’ll bow down to defeat or if I will stand in Victory

That Nasty 7 Letter Word

Suicide.

I fuckin hate that word.

Each one of those letters drop in my head over and over again until that word forms, then it explodes into pieces and the letters begin to fall again, like an old broken record it keeps repeating itself.

That word came back last night and it came back loud.

As all the kiddies were out gathering candy I was laying in a dark room with an even darker mind and those letters kept dropping.

DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I heard from that oh to common voice again.

It robs you of everything. Your confidence, self worth, innocence, your identity. It erases anything good in your mind and feeds you junk. Feeds you lies and tries to feed you false truths that everything would be better.

DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s relentless, it’s tiring, it’s real, it’s powerful.

You’re  no good, what kind of man are you, You’re worthless, You’re no father, You’re weak, You’re useless, you don’t deserve her, you can’t build anything, you can’t fix a car, You’re a girl, if you were a man you could do these things. Useless, fat, lazy. Christian? Ya right, You’re a baby.

DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Over and over and over and over again.

You lie in it as it consumes you. No strength, it’s exhausted you. Your left with fear, terror and anger.

Why am I like this? Because you’re useless. Why do I go through this? Because you’re weak. Why me? Because you deserve to die. There is a negative answer for every one of you’re questions. Every time I fight back those letters drop even faster…..S…..U…..I…..C…..I…..D…..E…..

DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Second after second, minute after minute, hour after hour.

Letters falling, racing, voices, visions, terror, memories, fright, alone, darkness, screams. STOP! STOP! STOP!

So I lay there. Paralyzed,  yet fighting,  fighting back like I always do. With what, I don’t know. There is no happy thoughts, no confidence building, no sunshine and marigolds. The sky is black and its windy and the rain is coming down like daggers, each one stabbing and ripping me apart.

BUT I fight, with all I’ve got left. I fight through the urge and finally, exhausted I fall asleep. As I wake up this morning, the first thing I notice is a splitting head ache.  I then gather my thoughts and remember last night.

A little voice says, “you won, you beat it again.” Relieved, yes, but still I get angry.

Angry that depression has once again gotten the best of me. Once again it’s robbed me time with my family, once again robbed me of memories. I may have won that battle but it wasn’t without a cost. I yelled at my wife and I don’t even know what my kids went out as last night. No smiles, no laughter, no enjoying the moment with them, no fun memories. It consumed me.

I may have won, but I think I lost. And then I hear that voice.

See…….I told you so…….What kind of father are you………

And there it is folks, a tiny but powerful seed just got planted for the next time. The next time those letters fall………

EDITORS NOTE ~ I’ve heard this countless of times and it sickens me…..Please DO NOT SAY OR ASSUME that a Suicide victim just took the easy way out. Believe me people when I tell you,  there is nothing EASY about living with ANY form of Mental Illness and resulting Suicidal Ideations. It’s an ongoing and fierce battle in your mind.  Sometimes your victorious but sometimes the battle is just too great.

I have Doctors, Family and Friends that help and support me and whether I feel it or not I also have God on my side.

PLEASE if your dealing with something yourself I URGE you to get the help you need. DO NOT fight this battle ALONE.

Image

A Fish? Really? Your Kidding Me Right?

My life over the past month and a half has seen it’s fair share of lows brought on by personal issues, health issues and career issues. I let a lot of things get to me, I took some conversations the wrong way and took some advice given to me to the extreme. I made a mountain out of a mole hill. I let it eat at me. All the stress, all the anxiety. The mood swings, the anger. It just festered.

I hopped in the drivers seat, took the wheel away from God and began to accelerate with reckless abandon, and abandon I did. I abandoned family, my friends and my Church, I left them all. I buried myself in stuff……worthless, meaningless stuff. “Fight the Good Fight”, ya, whatever. I fought the fight, I lost the fight, I gave up. A month and a half of Hell.

Last night I chose to leave the house, probably in the worse condition I had been in all month. I parked in a familiar place, one that I was missing, shut the car off and began to contemplate something that I promised myself I wouldn’t contemplate again.

“Lead me not into temptation” my tattoo says.

I considered St. Joseph Hospital for a while but I ultimately decided to pull myself together and drive home. I spent a restless night on the couch.

Waking up and gathering my thoughts I ventured back into reality. We went to Butter Balls for breakfast…Meh, feeling better.

Knowing I wanted to spend time with my camera ( as it relaxes me ) I set out to create some images of the remaining fall colours and the fast moving water in the Creek.

So there I am, still feeling a little lousy,  but trying to make the most out of my time with the camera and with nature.  I had lots of time to look around and think, while the images were exposing.

So, I’m out with my camera, I’m out with nature and guess who shows up? Ya Him…..God shows up. Funny, I say, I haven’t seen Him all month, what does He want?

Now…

Have you ever seen a Salmon swim upstream? It’s pretty amazing. You should check it out. I spent some time watching the Salmon and it was well I was watching them,  that it hit me. I realized that God showed up to teach me something. To get me back onto the right path and to give me some encouragement.

That fish kept pushing through the current with all it had. Sometimes it would win and it got to rest in a calm pool to the left but it would eventually fall back into the current only to have to fight again. Over and over it would fight the current, then end up back where it started. This went on for quite a few tries. Push push push……….then the current would take him back

Image

And he would swim with all that he had, get himself into that calm pool for a bit then he’d enter the currents again. You guessed it….right back down.

It dawned on me that God was showing me the “Good Fight”, the fight that I gave up on.

The fish didn’t give up though. They are designed that way aren’t they. They know they have to give it their all to get up that stream, that’s what they do,  its a part of their life cycle.

Sure there are obstacles but they work around them or over them or under them, point is, they do what they have to do to fulfill what they are called to do.

So here I am, under this bridge talking to God and I kept thinking, whats the point of fighting the”Good Fight” when you just end up back in the same spot every time….believe me, I know. I had been watching this fish now for about an hour. So I’m asking myself this, well okay I’m asking God.

His answer came after a few more up stream attempts. It was almost like the fish drank a RedBull. BAM!! He splashed out of the water ( which I didn’t capture) and with a splash he took off like a rocket.

Image

He made some head way, he made it further up the stream, he didn’t return to the old spot. That’s when God said, “You keep fighting that Good Fight and keep your eyes on Me and you WILL succeed, the fight won’t end but if you continue to fight you’ll get that much closer to Me.

Once again He reminded me that this is all about Him and I and the relationship WE have together, not what other people think, say or do…..It’s about Him and I. Us. So often I forget that. He showed up to remind me again that he is there and has given me the Strength and Encouragement to continue the fight.

I watched that fish for two solid hours. I was rooting for that fish. I hope he continues that fight until he reaches his goal at the end.

So now I pull over and hand the steering wheel back to Christ. Let Him drive. Once again.

Here is the image that was a result of all this.

 

DSC_5808

Addiction. How it consumes

ad·dic·tion

the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.
Wow what a state to be in. Do you have a problem with addiction? Are you ready? Are you willing to admit it?  Are you feeling convicted by God to get you life straight? Get your marriage straight? Become the parent you should be?
These are the questions I have been facing lately.

ad·dic·tion

I never really knew how bad it was. Mine weren’t a problem,  they are more of a means to bring me pleasure. To pull me out of depression. To satisfy a need. To make me feel important, worthwhile, happy. They filled an emptiness, a pit,  a Hell

ad·dic·tion

They rule me, they tell me what to do, when to do it and how. They fester like an open wound they consume me.

ad·dic·tion

I have two and they are ruining my life.
BUT……Its time in that journey,  time… in my life change to overcome them. To call them out. Expose them for what they are. Defeat them. Bury them.
Oh the shame. The embarrassment. The fear.
Addictions are powerful thing, THEN add a little Bipolar in there for fun and you have a deadly mix.
I have latched onto two vices over the years. Pornography and Obsessive Shopping.
They each started out simple enough and they have each turned into life consuming nightmares.
Pornography was fueled early in my marriage through my photography business. Getting connected with an Adult Entertainment Agency and providing photography for their Exotic Dancers, spending more and more time in Strip Clubs, driving dancers to various locations and just being absorbed by that whole lifestyle. From there came the purchase of a computer and THAT just opened up a whole new world to me. The addiction began. Years of pornography. Daily doses of it. Then when the mania would kick in it was taken one step further. Lets just say it was inappropriate conduct for any married man.
I’m very ashamed about that part of my life. I have repented and asked both my wife and my God for forgiveness. I no longer photograph models of any sort as it all comes down to the promotion of Sex in most cases ( in my eyes) …I prefer to just leave it alone.
I’ve done my best to control it over the years but it’s always there…..always lingering…..a peek here a peek there.

ad·dic·tion – It Controls.

I say it again….. they consume me. They harm the loving relationship I have with my family AND my shopping addiction keeps us financially strapped. They run my life, and they get stronger with every hypomania phase I go through.
The time has come to stop the addictions. To stop the habits. To break the mold.
Since Palm Sunday 2013 when I reached out and declared that I needed to get God back in my life these addictions went from being a way to pleasure to a thorn in my side. A thorn that frankly I’m getting sick of dealing with.
So I am now fighting to overcome them.
There is a great resource out there by XXX Church called X3 Watch and its monitoring software. It emails chosen accountability partners when you venture into questionable websites. There’s no more hiding it. Your exposed. Its now installed on my computer AND my smart phone.
I will overcome.
If you or someone close to you is battling pornography addiction I would encourage you to check out XXX Church. They can be found here…
As for the Obsessive Shopping…..MAN this is the tough one for me. It’s been around since my marriage began. Shopping shopping shopping……then debt debt debt. It was camera gear back then and LOTS of it. Whats that? I would say to the wife…..No more money? But I NEED that particular lens or camera,  so off to the loan company I would go…. You know the ones, the sharks that would give you the thousands of dollars knowing you would be paying it back slowly because you were broke to begin with. Those crooks loved that about me because they knew they were going to get more interest.
BUT……..New things make me feel good ( a definite plus when you live with depression) so I did it.  BUT new things ALSO bring me down, BIG TIME when I see the financial statements.
Then ….. if I’m on a mania….the shopping sprees are big…. hide the credit cards…..oh wait, they are maxed anyway from the last mania, so I sell the new stuff to get cash to buy more new stuff……Pretty messed up eh….ya it sucks.
And its embarrassing. I once posted a photo on Facebook of a new item I bought. It was a watch and it was a huge impulse buy. Couldn’t afford it BUT IT MAKES ME FEEL GOOD…….so I bought it….on credit…So I get it and post a pic online to show it off ( part of making me feel worth something…(research depression)…. ) well someone said “Man you shop a lot” I was so embarrassed and ashamed, I deleted the picture immediately  because I didn’t want to see that truth written about me.
So what have I done? I have deleted the Kijiji app off my phone. It may sound funny or frivolous but that 1 App alone fuels most of the addiction. Most people watch TV or read a book when they retire for the night….I surf Kijiji for more things to buy…..TO MAKE ME HAPPY.
I also subscribed to SEVERAL online companies that would send me daily emails with sales and deals on their products. Several of them.
I have unsubscribed to them all.
I “LIKED” businesses on Facebook to get their deals…….They are now on the UN LIKE list.
I’m Taking CONTROL and I have wonderful supportive friends in place.
A friend also told me about a 12 step addictions program that I’ll be checking out. It is called Celebrate Recovery. They meet in Saint Catharines at Bethany Community Church. If you need the help I encourage you to look into it….hey we can carpool.
Check them out here
Just to leave you with something that my cousin said to me…..
She said
“You just need something GOOD to get addicted to”
My Reply
“I am……..The Church.”
Till next time folks
GodSpeed
-30-

My Letter to God

I finally decided it was time to watch The Passion of the Christ. I watched with much sadness for Jesus and the pain he had to live through during those final days. These are the words that flowed out of my heart early this morning as I sat outside drinking my coffee. This is my Letter to God…

Sitting by peaceful waters, Streams of life flowing freely

The smell of Lilac flowers fill the air, The sound of God’s creatures all around me.

I sit silently , early this morning,

I think of the torture and pain that Jesus had to endure

His final days filled with agony,

I think of the reason He suffered through it

He did it, for all of us, for our wrong doings, for all our sin

So we may have life, so we may have peace so we may experience true love.Image

Through Him there is paradise, everlasting life and joy

Oh Lord I’m sorry for my sin, I’m sorry it’s the reason for the lashing you took

I repent of my sin and ask for your forgiveness

I want to sit with you in the afterlife. I want to walk with you and dance with you

I want to hear those words from the Father – Well done my faithful Son

No more pain, no more suffering,  when I take my place in Heaven

Lord I welcome you now, with open arms

Fill me, teach me, mold me

Create a new person in me, one that pleases you

Lord give me the strength to resist, all that Satan with throw my way

It is now that he will try to convince me

To walk down his wicked path.

Give me the power to crush his temptations, from now on, from this day forward

Oh Lord thank you for Blessing me, thank you for taking my hand

Now watch me grow. Watch as I blossom into a Godly man

Thank you Father for sending your Son, so I may one day live in eternity with You

Amen

 

 

 

 

Sought and Saved

This is a continuation of my last two blog entries.

Part One

https://ihigallery.wordpress.com/2013/05/13/god-are-you-with-me/

Part Two

https://ihigallery.wordpress.com/2013/05/14/treatment-begins/

Part Three – Sought and Saved

The mood of the last two entries has been pretty heavy. A bit of a downer. Well it’s time to lift some spirits.

I’ve been talking about God throughout the past two entries,  well it’s time to focus on Him.

My walk with the Lord hasn’t been the best and I wonder now,  if deep down inside I’ve been blaming Him for my problems. Lets just say its been a bad relationship…..

Fast forward to March 25 2013, Palm Sunday.

Jo-Anne wasn’t going to Church as she had to teach that day so what do I do? Well NORMALLY when she doesn’t go, neither do I,  because the ONLY reason I went was to epees her…..keep the wife happy.  This particular Sunday though I woke up and had this powerful desire to go? Instead of fighting it I went and boy am I glad I did.

Pastor Matt spoke a message that changed my life. He spoke of Sozo ( Healing, Salvation, Deliverance)  and he spoke of the fact that God CRAVES you. He spoke of Zacchaeus and the full Sozo encounter Jesus wanted to have with him.

My life, at that service,  took a drastic turn in direction. A transformation had started. At the end Pastor Matt asked for those that wanted to get their life right with Jesus to raise your hand. I knew I wanted to, I knew I had to.

I was one of the 5 that crossed from death to life that morning and I have been floating on air ever since.

I am feeling a change in my heart. It’s grown soft. I’m crying over everything……Okay, okay….Stop laughing at me….lol. Jo-Anne finds it a little humorous.

My values are changing. Some things I saw as right are now viewed with a different set of eyes. I’m being convicted of things that I never really thought of before. I’ve grown more caring. I view life differently BUT… I still have my sarcastic sense of humor though, (I think He likes that about me…HA!!)

BUT WAIT, The best,  has been the incredible Sozo Experience at Lakemount Worship Center

I went into it being very afraid of God. After all,  about the only passage of the Bible that this young believer knows is where it talks of God sitting on top of a white horse. “With justice he judges and wages war” Revelation 19 verse 11

To me, God was someone to be feared. BOY was I WRONG. The leaders on the Sozo team helped me to see God for what He really is and that’s a caring, loving father. They helped me to forgive people I didn’t even know I had to forgive and the introduced me to the Holy Spirit. The visions I had during the Sozo were crystal clear and powerful. I went in feeling very afraid of God to sitting on His lap and dancing with Jesus while God smiled and laughed.

I also finally dealt with some sin that I had buried in me. Sin that has been pestering me for years. It is now dealt with and locked behind a closed door, sealed by the blood of Jesus. WOW how great that feels.

I found out why I’m a perfectionist and I learned that I no longer need to seek the approval from people, That I’m fine as I am. That from now on I live out my life to an audience of one!

I learned SO much through that Sozo session. So much.

I know some of my friends may look at me like I’m crazy and hey, I may even lose a few do to my life changing transformation, but you know what? I don’t care. Remember, the doctors have already told me I’m a little crazy, so that’s nothing new to me.

I also know that some of my friends will tell me there is no God but let me tell you something. I’d rather live my life as an honest caring person, living for God and find out in the end that He doesn’t exist,  than to live my life full of sin, anger and bitterness only to find out that there is a God……just sayin.

So I’m continuing to grow and see changes. Key people are being placed on my path and I’m excited to see where this is going to lead to.

My desire is to return to school to take an Addictions and Community Worker course and to become a full time counselor. We shall see if it’s also in Gods plans for me. Finances are a big issue at the moment for this course. Please pray that if this is what God wants for me He will make it all work out.

Are you seeking?

I encourage you to listen to the podcast of  Pastor Matt’s powerful message titled SEEK AND SAVE.

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/seek-and-save/id263493550?i=139469662&mt=2