Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Not So Long Ago, In This Galaxy Right Here

Bare with me, this one is two parts, but you need some backstory first, I'll give you bare bones.

Episode IV - They Gave Me Hope

My father had Guillain-Barre Syndrome.  You don't know what that is, don't worry the doctors barely did.  It was 1982, and I was 7.  I was in 3rd grade.  I had seen Star Wars, once.  One night in February my father collapsed unable to walk, within a few hours he was in the hospital and had lost all ability to move.  For all intensive purposes, me and my two sisters moved in with my aunt.  During that time, HBO ran Episode IV - A New Hope, well, alot, and given my state, my aunt let me watch it each time it was on.  During that time, I became friends, if not family, with some pretty cool people.  There was the rouge, Han Solo, the Wookie, Chewbacca, the whiner, Luke, and the beautiful, smart-aleck, witty, princess Leia.  They saved the galaxy and my sanity during that time.

That's a nice story, right?  That would be a great story, but it wasn't the end...I just didn't know it.  2016.  My world was in shambles.  It was December, and I had canceled Christmas in my head.  I love Christmas.  I love the meaning, the songs (I play them all year long).  The decorations, the feelings I get, and most of all, the love.  2016, there was no love.  I did not want to come out of bed.  I knew everyone hated me, thought I was a loser, thought I was a fraud, and mostly, thought I was worthless...and I knew they were right.

This is all nothing I haven't shared before, but what I'm about to tell you is true, and I've been ashamed, or something to tell it, because part of me feels it's my fault.  That's my anxiety talking I know that, but it still feels like it was my fault.  The first weekend in December, I found myself researching, and that's when I started to really wonder, did I have Aspergers?  Was it that simple?  The answer in my head was no.  I got the courage to make the phone call, and the doctor couldn't see me until after the New Year.  I told him I'd get back with him.  For the next week I went back and forth on what to do.

Some friends rented a private screening of Rogue One.  I had my tickets months before, and the day was here, and I didn't want to go.  That's when I knew something was terribly wrong.  I stood in line for over 19 hours for Episode One tickets.  I went and saw Episode One 7 times at the theater.  Do you get it?  I love Star Wars, and I didn't want to go.  Because there were people...that were judging me...at least so I thought.  I sat there, nearly trembling because I was so upset to be in public, but this story began to unfold, and by the end, I was so drawn in.  At the end (Spoiler Alert) there is my princess again, Leia...and my mind started to think about Carrie Fisher, and all of her mental illness battles she has had over the years.  I still was on the fence.  A week later, I was on twitter, and why I don't know, but within minutes of her collapsing, I knew.  Over the next week I read, and read, and read.  I read about her struggles of her mental illness.  I read how this amazing, beautiful, tortured soul struggled her entire life.  Not only did she say she was ill, she wasn't ashamed.  "I am mentally ill.  I can say that.  I am not ashamed of it. I survived that, I'm still surviving it, but bring it on.  Better me than you."  That quote...that quote still brings me to tear, because she saved my life with that quote.  She passed on December 27th.  I know because that was the day I called and scheduled the appointments with my doctor.  Today part of me still feels guilty, and I know deep down that it's not my fault, but part of me, the part that won't shut up because of my mental illness, that I'm no longer ashamed of, keeps telling me if I had made that appointment she would still be alive.  This week in therapy, my therapist told me that when I feel anxiety to just accept it.  Admit it's there, acknowledge it and carry on through it.  She said we are just going to recognize it is a part of who you are.  So I did, but being the nerd I am, I found myself thinking, "I am one with the force, the force is one with me.  I am one with anxiety, anxiety is one with me."  It kinda worked.

So, Carrie Fisher saved my life, not directly, but it was her bravery, that gave me the moment of bravery I needed.  This struggle isn't easy, and I know I have it better than so many.  So let me do this.

Hello, my name is David Carner, and I have 2 mental illnesses, Asperger's (autism) and General Anxiety Disorder.  I am not ashamed, they are part of who I am, and if I can help one person, than that means the world to me.  If you've made it this far, and wonder is there something easy you can try, the following link is ABC Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.  It has done wonders with me.  You may see me in a situation shut my eye and mutter something to myself, that's me working my process.  http://www.basic-counseling-skills.com/cognitive-behavioral-therapy.html  Also if you ever need someone to listen, then hit me up on twitter @davidcarner If you don't want to talk publicly, you can message me.  Thanks for reading, and thank you Carrie for saving my life.  You been a Princess, a General, and a Godsend.  RIP.

Till next time, whenever that is