Updated: Feb 17
If you had told me 10 years ago that I would be meditating daily, I would have called you a fool. But time goes by, and things change, and here we are.
My life has been a struggle. Or maybe it's better to say I have struggled through my life. My childhood was fucked. The people who raised me were incapable of doing so. I grew up in a constant state of fear from whatever rage-filled abusive episode I knew was just around the corner. Over the years that took its toll, and by the time I was removed from the situation at the age of 13, the damage was already done.
My anger issue really started to show itself around the beginning of my freshman year of high school, and continued to grow through my teens and well into my 20s. My sadness manifested itself as anger, my disappointment was anger, and my anger...well you can imagine. It was the only thing I knew, and so it's what I became. Mean. Bitter. Rude. Abusive. Aggressive. All of my friends got the shit end of that, but the real victims were the girls I dated.
I can remember the first time I got angry at something I shouldn't have, and used that anger to manipulate and shame a person in my life. I was 14, and it was the summer going into my freshman year of high school. My girlfriend at the time and I were walking down my street to visit a friend. As we were walking, I turned my ankle and half fell down, and she laughed. I immediately took offense. Seeing no humor in what had happened, I only saw what I considered to be someone close to me mocking my pain. I yelled to her that I had a bad ankle from an earlier childhood injury (exaggeration at best; basically a lie) and started shaming her for laughing at my pain. "What kind of a person laughs when someone hurts themselves!?!? What's wrong with you?? I DON'T WANT A GIRL LIKE YOU IN MY LIFE!!!"....by the time we had made it to our friends house, she felt like shit about the situation, herself, and I had succeeded in the first of what now seems like 1000 instances of contrived, systematic (if unconscious) shaming in order to control and manipulate someone close to me. I didn't know then, but that was the first domino, and the last one didn't fall until nearly 2 decades later.
Depression is a motherfucker. It eats away at your soul, one shitty thought at a time. I'm sure I could have garnered some help or support from people around me, but I was so angry that who would want to help? No one understood because I never gave anyone a chance to understand...it's hard to sympathize with someone when he's calling his girlfriend a fat cunt, or his best friend a worthless piece of shit. And yes, those were the words I used. I was vicious with my tongue...it's just what came most natural to me. What I learned as a child became my defense mechanism, and grew like a malignant tumor until it came very close to literally killing me.
In addition to what was a serious anger problem, I started drinking around that time, like most teenagers. But I wasn't like most teenagers. My brain wasn't wired correctly. So it took angry and turned it into crazy. I wore it like a badge of honor; convinced myself I was some tough kid. I wasn't tough. I was an asshole. There was no perspective or insight to stop what was happening; because of that, it continued until I had to stop it. One way or another.
People don't understand suicide. Someone kills themselves and you hear things like 'That person is so selfish'...'How could he do that'...'She had so much to live for'...& similar sentiments. Well in my years, I became very intimate with the thought of suicide. I came to have an incredible understanding of what it entails, and how a person gets to that point. And the truth is, as sad as it may appear, it's quite easy to explain: Suicide happens when a person's fear of death is surpassed by their fear of tomorrow. They just can't bare another day of living with the same thoughts, the same sadness, the same regret from the same mistakes...and no matter what happens when they go, it can't be fucking worse than this. That's why they do it. Because they can't do it. Anymore.
I still struggle with depression, although the occurrences are much less frequent than in times past. Through 2 years of sobriety and therapy, I was able to understand my anger issues, where they came from, and the manner in which they manifest. But it wasn't until I began meditating regularly that the anger actually started to dissipate. It just became less and less, until eventually it was replaced; sometimes by sadness, frustration, hell sometimes even happiness. I didn't think it was possible, but it happened.
I still struggle with substance. I'm not sober anymore, but I don't get blackout drunk and beat the shit out of friends, or call female friends of mine horrible names. That being said, I still occasionally drink more than I'd like, and wake up embarrassed by my actions. But people actually enjoy being around me when I'm drinking now, and if the worst thing that happens is that I get sad & cry a bit, well I'll take that as opposed to an anger-infused disaster. I'm not where I want to be, but I am so very far from where I was.
I know, in the end, that the best version of me is a sober one. No booze, no weed, just me. But that's hard man. There's an internal struggle going on inside of my being, and sometimes it's just easier to give in. And yes, I know that at 36, the only bouts of depression I suffer now arise not from actions while boozing or blazing, but as a result of what those chemicals do to my brain. Depression is sneaky; it can come just as easily from fun as from disaster. This is my karma, and I work on it every day.
People can change, but it's fucking hard. It takes brutal honesty and extreme self- awareness. You need to be willing to break yourself down, piece by piece, and see yourself for who you really are. It's horrifying. Most people who don't have these types of issues are completely unaware of themselves...much less someone who has spent their entire lives destroying their's, and other people's, in the process. It's the farthest thing from easy, but it can be done.
I write all of that to say this: I feel as though if I can put my life to paper, someone might be able to relate to my experiences. I will share the steps taken on my journey in the hopes that it will help others on theirs. Maybe I can help someone to see that they're not alone, and there are ways out. I'm still on that path myself, but that doesn't mean I can't help some people along the way. It's an incredibly lonely, lonely way to live, and sometimes just one person can be the difference between fighting and giving up.
This blog will not be an easy read. It will fall far outside of most people's comfort zones. I will write about meditation, God, enlightenment, & hell. I will write about depression, abuse, neglect, addiction, and suicide. It will be hard to type some things, and even harder to post them. I will write things that I'm ashamed of and embarrassed by. Maybe some of you will think less of me after reading some of the things that I have done and that's fine...I have thought less of myself because of those very things for some time. I can not allow fear of what people think to dictate my actions. I may hurt some people's feelings in the process; that is not my intention, but I need to tell the stories in as honest a manner as possible.
If you know someone who suffers from depression or substance abuse, has anger issues and/or violent tendencies, or grew up in a fucked family dynamic, please share this with them. It's a lonely place to be, and sometimes it just helps to know you're not the only one. And if you've written someone off for one of the aforementioned reasons, just consider this: you may very well think they're an asshole, and they very well may be...I'm simply saying there is a REASON for it. In the end, we are all just trying to get by. A little empathy goes a long way.
One quote I've always been drawn to is the following:
"Courage is to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart."
This is me doing that.