The Awakening

Alphabet of Despair

Abandoned by friends,
Abandoned by wife,
Abandoned by children,
Abandoned by life.

Betrayed by his feelings,
Betrayed by his drive,
Betrayed by his body,
Betrayed can’t survive.

Captured by torture,
Captured by loss,
Captured by drugs,
Captured by sauce.

Destroyed by his blindness,
Destroyed by his lust,
Destroyed by his ignorance,
Destroyed he is dust.

Ended by sorrow,
Ended by grief,
Ended by loneliness,
Ended life brief.

Terry Wiens – March 2005

CONFESSION – When you have two cups of water in the pot and it’s boiling while you are Googling how to get the buffering agent out of prescription analgesics you start to realize what depression is.   That’s the moment of awareness that successful suicides miss.  I’m not sure if I was lucky, insightful or too stubborn to succumb.  That’s how deeply I was mired in my depression while maintaining the facade that everything was fine.  I was teetering on that balance beam of other people perspectives while trying to live my life based on their expectations of what I should be.

The short-term pain of accepting a truth is much better than the long term pain of believing an illusion
The truth will change your path…or kill you, your choice

I had become so adept at fooling people about my own feelings I was now convincing myself that what I was doing was “normal”.  I couldn’t see the truth let alone accept it.  It took a combination of events and the recognition of a good friend to really shake me out of the illusion I was living.  I was one cocktail of prescriptions away from accepting the illusion.

I have a lifetime of compartmentalizing myself to make things work for whatever situation I was in.  I had never really put the sum of all my parts together into one package.  I have had that idea floating in the distance mist of my beliefs for many years but it was always one of those periphery types of things.  When you tried to look directly at it, it wasn’t there.  A prime example of this was Allan and Terry.

All the years I worked in psychiatry I used my middle name, Allan.  The only place Allan really existed was in my career as a mental health therapist and came into existence in 1976.  At the end of each work day Terry reemerged.  People that knew me in those days could attest to the difference between Allan and Terry.  I had nicely split those two entities and it worked well for me for many years.  This may sound a little esoteric however Allan had always walked on crutches and was never encumbered with access issues.  He was accepted for a whole world of different reasons.  He ceased to exist in 1990 but there were ghosts of his insights buried in the clippings of my belief system.

"Pretending you're okay is easier than having to explain to everyone why you're not"
How can you fight for dignity when it is being denied by those around you?

Terry evolved into a wheelchair dependent adult and began to see the world through a completely different lens.  Ten years after the evaporation of Allan a very emotionally stymied Terry was left with the confusion I’m sure any creature emerging from a cocoon would experience.  I just didn’t recognize it however in retrospect I believe denial was a bigger contributor to that confusion.  After all I was a survivor and always have been so I wasn’t about to weaken myself with doubt that late in life.

I did what I thought I was best at; challenging issues of social justice, fighting for an accessible community and trying to appease those closest to me.  I failed.  I wound up in Nanaimo for, what I thought, were all the right reason.  I was retired and had roots nowhere really so Nanaimo looked like a good option to find some solace in life.  I had been carrying around a low grade depression for so long it just all seemed normal.

Four years in Nanaimo, four years of social isolation, four years surrounded by toxicity and I found myself developing a cocktail of death.  I had blinded myself to the insight needed to know this was not life.  Fortunately I had a couple of friends with the insight to remind me of who I was.  As I sat there contemplating the boiling pot of water (I didn’t have a kettle) and examining myself I realized I had to move the focus back to me.  I had to make my life the centre of my well-being and stop trying to be whatever it was others wanted me to be.  I woke up.

I defragged my belief system and amalgamated my operating system.  I became a complete individual and started eliminating the trollers in my life.  I did what I had spend the first half of my career doing, suggesting my patients to assume responsibility for their own actions and take control of their life’s.  I assumed the responsibility for my own feelings, an action I had been denying for a number of years, and returned to my roots.

It has been two months now since I moved back to Calgary and I am only responsible for my feelings now.  I have some dignity back in my life and most importantly, I have my self respect back.  After all, how can you expect other people to respect you if you can’t respect yourself.  Terry and Allan have merged bringing a much more balanced perspective to the meaning of life.  Have a good one…



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