I grew up in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas. My mom was an Attorney and my dad was an Architect. Life was pretty good for the most part. I took care of my younger sister and got good grades in school, life was pretty good. Everything appeared normal on the outside but my dad was doing his best to keep a secret, he was Bipolar.
Chaos became normal.
Never knowing when he would come home calm or come home screaming, I grew up expecting the unexpected.
The chaos of my home took a toll on my emotions and created a lot of anxiety. I tried to keep things in our home peaceful, I tried to make sure my dad was always happy so he wouldn’t start yelling at my mom and sister, but nothing I did was ever good enough. It wasn’t long before I started drinking to numb the emotional pain I was feeling inside. Shortly after high school I joined the military and moved away from my family. I finished my Bachelor’s degree, met a girl and ended up getting married. Life was going really well until the demon of mental illness crept into my own life.
Up and down and up and down, I could never seem to find a happy medium. I tried my best to keep things under wraps. I was a soldier, soldiers have to keep it together.
I did a pretty good job hiding my emotions until my wife got pregnant. I was excited. I dreamt of they day I would be a father. I wanted to shower my child with the affection and love I had always hoped for, but I never got the chance. My spirit was crushed when my wife told me she didn’t want to keep the baby. I didn’t want her to have an abortion but I loved her and I knew she wasn’t ready, so I agreed to support her.
After she had the abortion, I began to carry a lot of guilt and shame. I felt we made the wrong decision. I couldn’t live with the choice we made and I carried regret with me daily.
The guilt and shame made it harder and harder to control my emotions and the mental illness began to show. I didn’t want people to think I was weak. I didn’t want them to know the real me. I tried to hide it, to suppress my unstable mood swings, but it didn’t work.
Life was slowly starting to spiral out of control and I didn’t know how to manage the chaos.
That’s when I found her…
Oh the euphoric feeling she brought me.
The escape and release I felt when we met face to face. It was just what I needed, a temporary escape from my dreaded reality. My world as I knew it was crumbling to pieces and heroin was the only thing that made me happy.
My marriage was soon over. My family began to disown me. I lost my job and had no idea how to support myself. Life became too much to bear. I felt like a burden to everyone in my world and couldn’t find meaning or purpose in life anymore.
So, I did the only thing I knew to regain control of my life, I tried to end it. But it didn’t work!
“Stupid idiot! How could you not do it right the first time?”
So, I tried again. “I don’t want to be alive, life is meaningless, just let me die! I’ll get it right next time, you watch!”
But the third time didn’t work either.
It was at that point, that I realized I wanted something more. I couldn’t go on living the way I was living anymore. I desired a better life. I desired stability again. Independence. Sobriety. I wanted to be a productive member of society. I longed to feel worthy, needed, loved.
I longed to be married again. To be the father I always wished I had. To share the love I was so eager to give, with a wife and children of my own.
So I tried. I really did. I tried to stay sober. I went to meetings. I was vulnerable and shared the demons in my closet and I learned about myself.
But the progress didn’t last.
The dark cloud continued to hover and the emotions I had suppressed all my life all began to resurface. The chaos returned and everything I had worked so hard for was slipping through my fingers. I was in a state of panic and I didn’t know what to do.
Amidst the chaos, I could hear her calling my name.
“Chris… Chris… Come back to me, you know you miss me…” — Heroin