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Light at the end of the valley

Guest Author: Steven

This content contains explicit and sensitive information that may not be suitable for all ages.

This article…it’s a big step for me.

I mean, yes I’ve come a long way; but I never thought that I would ever be at a place where I could be this open about everything, but here I am. From therapy, to a blog, to this: my story. The short version. 35 years: abridged.

For quite a few of those years I thought I was normal. Sure a little odd, but relatively normal. I didn’t realize that what I felt was not the way most people felt. That most people are not anxious and nervous all the time, or that they were not afraid of crowds. It wasn’t until I was around 15 that things clicked in my head, and it took my breath away.

The years of damage had been done.

There were times others were bullied, but for me it was daily, all school year long; every year. The ridicule and insults and physical torture, along with the growing anxiety made it that much worse. It made me feel like shit. Yes, by high school the bullying eased up, but the years of damage had been done. I was depressed, angry, bitter and suicidal. I had also become good at hiding it. Well, most of it. By high school people just thought I was a jerk. I know this because I was told it. I was also told I was a waste of time and should kill myself. Something I had often thought about.

None of this made me too popular with the ladies either. I was a virgin until after high school. I came close with a girl I was dating once, but it didn’t happen. I was okay with that. She was not, however. So she decided to take what she wanted. I was scared and didn’t know what to do, so I froze and it happened. That one act damaged my trust in other people even more, and further down I went. I thank God to this day that I had a couple of good friends that helped keep me from going over the edge. Unfortunately it took losing one for me to see how close to the edge I really was. After his funeral I was torn in half, between the mask and the real me. So I drank more.

A few years later my best friend stepped in and intervened in the battle between me and alcohol. And he won; for a while. I scaled back, drank less, I had a string of bad relationships that usually ended in me being cheated on, and even a boss that tried to force herself on me.

I’m not sitting at the bottom of the valley of death.

I was “stable” for a while (behind my mask) — I was even married with children. When that ended in divorce, I found myself at rock bottom. I began drinking every night; going to the bar multiple nights a week, attempted to have a normal relationship while having anxiety attacks I could no longer hide — until I had one at work — and came too close to attempting suicide…too close to leaving my kids without a father. Something I swore I would never do. So I asked my ex-wife to bring me to the hospital for help. So she did. I was checked in and began treatment.

I’m not healthy. The thing is though; I’m not where I was either. I’m not sitting at the bottom of the valley of death. I am climbing out of it, slowly but surely. I slip sometimes, and I know that’s okay.

I have bad days, good days, and in-between days. I’m even starting over with my ex-wife (we both have some healing to do). I have a support system, some good doctors, and yes, some very helpful medication. I also have light at the end of my valley, and I think I have also found a reason for going through it all. To help others who are going through it; to be part of a stronger support system. That’s the thing, isn’t it? To be able to see where I am and decide not to stay there? To rise up, every time life knocks me down? That’s the plan, anyway. Because every time I get knocked down, I meet someone down there that needs help too, and I refuse to leave people behind.

Yes I may be sick, but I sure as hell am not weak.

My past has way more than what I’ve written about here…but I also have way more ahead of me. A fact I remind myself of daily. It’s true by the way, the whole concept of SNW. Yes I may be sick, but I sure as hell am not weak.

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