On: Losing your mind, finding yourself and the long climb out of a deep hole

A year ago. I started on a drug called Cipralex. In my last attempt to breathe some life back into this blog (around this time last year), I talked about how I had spent a good chunk of my PhD life severely depressed, and I think writing those words on the screen caused me to actually try and do something about it.

I went to my Doctor and said to him “I’m depressed and I have severe anxiety about just about everything” and he gave me some “magical pills” that was supposed to cure everything.

I filled my prescription and hopped on a plane (literally) to Los Vegas to see Morrissey with Jane. That trip was, unbenounced to her, a complete nightmare for me. My brain was in the process of rewiring itself and I was in the process of trying not to lose it.

A few months went by, and the pills weren’t really helping in the way that I had anticipated. I didn’t feel anything anymore, and life was really sort of “happening” to me. I still had ambition to do lots of “stuff” (undefined), but I was lying to myself on a daily basis on what I could accomplish in such a state.

Some things happened with my band KETAMINES, we sold a song to Target to be used in a dumb commercial about Mom Jeans, went to SXSW, and planned a huge tour with the help of our awesome new booking agent Annie at Panache (“she books Ty Segall and Thee Oh Sees you know” would become my selling point, as if we would somehow get some of that magic dust sprinkled on ourselves somehow by saying this to anyone who would listen).

All of that momentum was all being set up for failure because I was, at the time, really sick. By the time that I left for tour, I was taking my pills (sometimes), I was smoking marijuana multiple times per day (something that was very, very new to me) and drinking heavily.

The first part of that tour was a complete blur. There was one point, in Chicago that I actually “blacked out” (ironically, at the HoZac blackout fest) after lecturing Ryan from Teledrome about getting his shit together.

By the half-way point in Wawa, Ontario, my bandmates started to clue in that something was off. I think they were starting to get really annoyed with me, but I pretended not to notice. I was having a “good time” up to that point, but I was out of my head.

We got to Wawa with a huge bag of psychadelic mushrooms that we got at a punk squat we played at in Montreal. They “weren’t working” so we ate all of them in one go. I don’t remember much of what happened after that, other than I ended our nightmarish party by locking myself in a bathroom, turning off the lights and crying for what felt like a long time.

I would like to say that it was “rock bottom” for me, but I think that I stayed at rock bottom for a long time after that. Hasty plans were made during this period in which I was going to move to Toronto and start life over, doing precisely what I was denying I was doing to everyone around me, that is “running from my problems.”

I would say that it took me until mid-July to start rallying and coming to terms with my life and what I had done to the people who loved and cared about me the most. By that time, I was already in Toronto – broke, jobless and terrified at what was coming next.

Yet, that long climb out of this deep hole was exactly what needed to happen to me. Running from my problems was a mistake, but climbing out of the deep hole that I dug for myself – with my friends, with my label that I care so much about, with my bandmates, with my son – life affirming and probably, in the long run, for the best for me.

I am weaning myself off the cipralex, I avoid drugs and excessive drinking. I have re-started doing music with brilliant people. I have a new career that I am finding challenging and rewarding. I am productive again. I have found new love and new friends.

Most imporantly, I feel happy. I feel happy for the first time in many, many years. I am ok now.

Yet, that hole is so close that I am conscious of getting sucked back into it. I often feel deep pangs of regret at how I treated certain people during this struggle to find a way out of my self-constructed “swamp of sadness”  – Jane, Evan, Martine, Ryan, Jeff, Tony and especially Hayden.

I want to do what I can, in time, to ease the hurt and distrust I caused in them. And maybe this is another attempt at a public apology for treating the people who loved me the most so poorly for so long.

How could it happen? Why did it happen? Will it happen again? I don’t have answers. But I do have a renewed sense of purpose, and a deep sense of not wanting to make the same mistakes again.

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