Yep, I said it.
I’m mentally ill.
Have been for a long time apparently.
The sad thing about my mental illness is that people like my father and Captain Terry Totzke were well aware of the struggles I was having, however it appears that it was more politically expedient to deny me of the treatments and medications that I rightfully deserved in the name of keeping secrets.
How bad were things back then in the early ’80s in Edmonton?
Well, I was supposed to have been placed in a psychiatric facility for children.
I was found to be extremely anxious.
I was found to be well beyond despair.
I was terrified of men, including my own father whom I thought was going to kill me.
I did not like being touched at all by anyone.
I was afraid of my grandmother who had been living with us and raising my brother and I during my father’s absences with the Canadian Forces.
My teacher noted that I did not fit in with the other kids at all. I preferred to be left alone to read books. My teacher did remark that the other kids would often use me as a scape goat.
I remember not having a lot of friends. The kids I hung out with were usually kids from other dysfunctional families living on base.
Flailing around in the depths of my despair, my depression, my anxiety.
Issues caused by my depression or anxiety would often be straightened out with a backhand or the belt.
I remember as a kid in the aftermath of CFB Namao and up until I was around 15 or 16 I always felt like I wasn’t inside of my brain. I always felt like I was behind myself, watching myself do things, and that I was powerless to do anything. Almost like I was watching a TV show.
Nothing felt real.
I frequently wet the bed right up until I moved out of the house when I was 16. It was only after moving out of the house that I never wet the bed again.
I had no hobbies as a kid, I had no interests.
For 42 years I suffered through severe depression and extreme anxiety.
I knew I was having problems and I knew I was floundering all these years. But you have to work hard and hide it, and pretend it doesn’t exist.
But the depression and anxiety are always there. Ready to flare up when you least expect it. Always trying to sabotage your life because deep down inside you know that your life is worthless and meaningless.
I’ve kinda skimmed along the surface of normalcy from the spring of 1980 until April of 2021.
It took the extreme stress of dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak at my work place to push me over the edge.
I’ve managed to keep employment due to my technical abilities.
Did my depression and anxiety come from the events of CFB Namao?
Not entirely. But I do think genetics played a major part. It would be a very safe bet to say that the paternal side of my family has depression encoded into its genes.
My anxiety is so bad that most of my teeth have been destroyed by grinding. I’ve already had one tooth extracted because I cracked it from grinding and I have a feeling that a few more teeth will need extraction in the short while.
Grinding my teeth was nothing new, I remember my father waking me up when we lived on CFB Downsview due to my grinding.
When COVID struck, the facility that I work at became a hotbed of activity. At first it was easy keeping up with the demands, but as weeks turned into months, the overtime went from being a treat to being a major cause of stress. The facility was designed in the late ’60s / early ’70s and construction was started in the late ’70s. The building HVAC systems meet the ’70s CSA standards. It does not meet 2021 standards. Being caught between parties that wanted todays standards flogged from 1960s technology was also very stress inducing.
So yeah, this was not fun.
Not fun at all.
But it did push me hard enough that I started to suffer constant panic attacks and anxiety attacks. My depression was hitting so hard that I was feeling physically ill and nauseated most of the time. I’d go to work and I couldn’t concentrate and I couldn’t think. My brain felt like it was on fire.
I ended up having to go on sick leave.
And this is how I ended up on Escitalopram.
Escitalopram is a SSRI. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor.
Let’s be very clear, Escitalopram is not going to cure my depression, nor is it going to cure my anxiety. Those two issues have been with me for so long that they’ve more than likely fucked with my brain’s wiring.
The Escitalopram will not stop the war that goes on inside my head.
The Escitalopram will not evict Captain Terry Totzke, Captain Father Angus McRae, P.S., Richard Gill, Earl Stevens, or the many others who reside inside my skull.
The Escitalopram had a very noticeable effect on my depression and my anxiety. It has really turned down my anxiety. The depression is still there. However the Escitalopram has numbed my emotions. I find that for the first time in my life I can actually concentrate on matters and I can hold two thought simultaneously.
The thing about Escitalopram is the more severe the depression and anxiety, the more noticeable the effect it has on the person taking the medication.
And the fact that Escitalopram had such a drastic effect on me shows just how bad the depression and anxiety were.
I’m at 10mg right now. That might have to go up to 20mg due to the stresses of work.
Negative side effects?
Only two that I’ve noticed.
Getting to sleep takes a bit of work.
And I know, TMI, but I can’t orgasm at the time being.
Both of these are well known side effects of SSRIs
Sleep is becoming easier.
Couple of interesting things that I’ve noticed about being on SSRIs.
My dreams are fucking vivid and wild in a good way. My dreams before SSRIs were sporadic and were often nightmares. Now my dreams are different. More colourful. Playful you could say.
And waking up in the morning is far easier now. I’m often up before the alarms go off.
I don’t need naps during the day.
I’ll probably be on these medications for the rest of my life.
As I said, these drugs will not fix my brain. The damage has been done, and the damage is very extensive. I hope that my body doesn’t build up a tolerance to these SSRIs. Apparently the crash back into depression and anxiety can be pretty horrific.
And even though I am emotionally numbed at the moment, I can tolerate this better than drowning in the pits of despair.
But I also don’t want to spend the next 20 to 30 years of my live living with muted emotions while the war rages on in my head.
There is possibility of a solution, but I won’t find out what the rules are until March 2023.
That’s probably enough for now.
It’s time for bed.