Hey guys, you’ll find me a simple man with a mental illness. I guess it was around 1963, I noticed something was wasn’t quite right. In my household you really didn’t talk about, the deeper emotions or problems (don’t upset the apple cart). Sure we were cared for, quite nicely, however, the verbal expression of LOVE was not expressed. So, wondering around seemingly aimlessly, I discovered the numbing effects of alcohol, and for a brief period. All was well in Marks’ world, it didn’t take long before alcohol to become a driving force in my life, but the feeling of being inadequate and lost would still appear. Needless to say, I made some, dare I say, bad decisions, and quite a few. Probably the best decision I ever made was to join the Coast Guard in 1968-1972, yep the height of the war, however, I did not see battle in fact, and I was on an ice breaker I saw much of both poles (many points in between).
Having quit high school to enlist (G.E.D.) and no FORMAL education, I , through ,determination, was able to somehow excel at most anything I set my mind to with the exception of the alcohol by now It’s starting to be an unrecognized problem. I do, however, Recognize my underlying problem is, not only there, but getting more persistent. Still managing to be successful, but it’s becoming more difficult, so we drink a little more. (Stupid right?)
It’s now 1980, my second wife is 8mos. Pregnant with my first child, and I’m the first employee of a small shipyard in Salisbury, MD. (Many perks) I eventually became the shipyard superintendent. Still not satisfied with my life, I continued to self medicate, even on the job. Pretty soon I became a liability, and was released. That was in, like 1999, now drinking and mental illness are a recognized problem. I’m still not seeking answers but getting closer. My first born, my little princess, died from a 10 yr. battle with leukemia. Several yrs. Later, my wife of 24 yrs. Left with my son of 17. Now the drinking could really be in earnest. That was in 2003 + or -.
Jobs no longer were available, so in 2005 I found myself homeless, and on the streets that’s where my survival training came in real handy in Baltimore, eating out of dumpsters, sleeping in doorways (passed out) after about 2 yrs. Of that shit, in desperation I was ready to seek help. I didn’t know where to go or what to ask for, as an alcoholic the medical community, took a, shall I say, dim eye to me. So I went to my only option left, the V.A. there I found some relief, they got me in a recovery shelter, I mean alcohol and drug rehab program. Now that I’m DRY ( mez- o – mez ) I have time to seek mental health issues, so I got hooked up with a psychiatrist, and low and behold I have major depression, yeah it’s got a name. So we’re on the ant depression roller coaster. During that time. I expressed a desire to see a therapist, and reluctantly assigned to a 12 yr. old intern, I realize you have to start somewhere, but come on! After 2 sessions I fired that guy. When asked by my shrink why, I told him, that that was a joke. I then told him I was still depressed, he asked ,how can that be you’re on antidepressants, my reply was, well evidently they’re not working! Here we go AGAIN change meds, change strengths, etc. Get a load of this, at a later date he asked, ever had any suicidal thoughts? Now just how should I reply to this idiotic query? I said of course, and then asked the all important, made any plans? Reply, if I get my hands on a gun I’m going to blow my head off. Try to fathom this! THAT WAS THE END OF THAT DISCUSSION… unbelievable. You get the idea, so that’s enough of the V.A. for now.
After on and off stays at the shelter, in 2011, I moved in with a “ friend”, soon I’m drunk AGAIN, I’m pretty much couch bound, laid there for weeks, roommate’s pissed. In sept.2011, I check into the hospital for, yet another detox. You don’t stay long without insurance, so being prematurely released; I struggled to get home, once there it was to the couch again. I had all I could do to physically get to the bathroom, after 3 weeks of that, my roommate is really fed up, and so am I!! So on the night of Oct. 12, 2011, I had the great idea to get the shotgun and end it.
At 6:30-7:00 am, my roommate left with his dog, I somehow scrambled to the bedroom crawled across the bed and got the shotgun. Put the barrel in my mouth and pulled the trigger (BOOM) obviously I lived. It was a rather serious attempt, requiring 7.5 mos. Of hospitalization. While in patient and in a drug induced fog. Here comes the SECRET, I came to the realization that 1. I’m trading one drug for another. 2. That I and I alone have INSIDE ME THE POWER to change. So first I stopped the pain meds, I only did them for the buzz anyway. Then I DECIDED TO CHANGE ( it’s not going to be like that again ). You know or maybe not, but I found that revelation was ridiculously simple, so simple I couldn’t believe it. EASY? Not by a long shot, this by far the hardest, challenge I’ve ever faced. Also the most rewarding. The opportunities are seemingly endless, and the FREEDOM that I now experience is, well I simply can’t describe it. (A little slice of haven ). I now have goals that used to be lofty now they’re within reach, goals such as being peer support and I’ve done NAMIs “ in our own voice” training. I had my first presentation last week, I was somewhat awkward, will be much better next time. Now for a real HOOT, I’m somewhat in demand at the Baltimore V.A. now. Thanks to a wonderful “Suicide Prevention Coordinator” she has been instrumental in telling me about NAMI, has arranged several speaking engagements, etc.
THIS IS A WONDERFUL NEW WORLD OF RECOVERY