01/07/20 #SameHere Hero: Tim James

“I have rewritten this a few times with each recollection bringing up an older event in my life. From the earliest nights I can remember laying in bed covering myself with pillows and stuffed animals pretending I was trapped in a spaceship wreck or under debris not being able to get out. I remember spending days at the roller skating rink my mom worked at hearing Red Hot Chili Peppers ‘Under the Bridge’ mind you I was 4 or 5 years old but I can remember it vividly feeling sad.


Being 14 years old burning myself with a hot glue gun in my basement feeling the pain was a rush. Wrestling with friends and remember that being in pain almost was a release. My childhood overall was normal to me. My parents slept in different bedrooms but dinner was always on the table and never any monetary struggles. My parents would fight pretty often, I recall my dad forgetting his season pass when we went to Six Flags and my mom let him have it. I remember crying my eyes out walking back to the van as my mother yelled at my father. I felt like everyone was looking at me. It was not until later on in life when a girl told me I refuse to be committed to anyone because I did not want to end up like my parents. When she said that to me I realized she was right, I was afraid to end up unhappy like my parents sleeping in different bed rooms.


What if I had a family and I could not provide from them and ended up on the streets? I also would be extremely angry and could snap at a drop of a dime. I found myself fighting at hockey almost every game. Hockey almost became my time of the week to go let out my aggression and it was not healthy. In school I was always social, I talked to everyone I did not really worry about labels. I would hang out with different groups in school I’d like to think I was almost carefree but inside my self I was the
opposite. I always felt alone, depressed but also angry. Alcohol became that feeling of keeping the demons at bay except eventually I would find myself walking home alone drunk and depressed.


I did this often especially after high school. Then my girlfriend left me out of nowhere. I was left completely alone, you see I lost all those friends because all I did was hang out with her. I had really no one and it crushed me. I remember finding out she was sleeping in some other guys bed and I drank alot. I wanted to stop feeling the intense sadness. After this experience I started to feel anxiety all the time. My job was hard and my boss would always yell at me saying I was lazy and would flip out and curse over the smallest mistakes even if I was not the person that caused them. I could not sleep, the sound of my ringtone would cause my heart to race, no appetite.


I went to my general physician for help. This is when things went from bad to worse. He gave my Xanax. The anxiety and worries became crippling. I would skip hockey games because I could not handle going. Then I realized if I drank before the game I would be ok. This was only fuel to the fire. I became so aggressive I would fight all the time eventually causing me to step away from the teams I was on. I was married for 4 years now and we were struggling. We would argue all the time and felt like it was over but then I found out she was pregnant with my amazing son.


This temporarily “fixed” our relationship. We were so excited and when he was born it was incredible but then my wife went back to work. Our marriage I felt began to struggle again and I found myself feeling like I was doing all the work by myself. I was sad and miserable this is when an ex ran into me at a gas station while getting my morning Red Bull. She greeted my with a huge smile and hug. We ended our relationship on bad terms but that was so long in the past. I told her ‘Hey listen I am not mad at you and do not be afraid to say hi.’ Well before I left the gas station I was received a message on Instagram from her. We talked that day but nothing crazy she told me she was engaged and that she kept tabs on me but was too afraid to say hi.


A few nights later my wife was out at the bar drinking and I found myself on the phone with my ex. She is telling me that she loves me and misses me and all these thing. I grew confused and with all my struggles at home and my anxiety / depression it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I was drinking a pint of whiskey a day just trying to numb all the pain and confusion. She knew I was sad and depressed and as time went on it made things worse and worse. I would have anxiety about work then come home and feel trapped at my own house and this girl who apparently ‘loved me’ was getting married to someone else. I could not figure it out. I could not sleep at all. I could not do anything right I felt.


So drinking and taking Xanax would make me forget or not care. This would end with me cutting my legs just to feel that rush of pain I loved when I was a young teenager. Then that pain would turn to anger and I would lash out at everyone. Then that anger turned into depression and I would look down at a tattoo I had gotten when I was 19 or 20. It says ‘Et tu, Brute’ The Julius Ceasar quote when his best friend Brutus stabbed him in the back. See that quote is what I lived my life by. I felt like you could never trust anyone, even the people closest to you.


I decided I did not want to be here anymore. I was loaded up on whiskey and Xanax and I started to cut my wrist. I remember taking a picture showing some blood on my wrist just below the tattoo and posting it on social media saying ‘everyone love everyone’ or something along those lines then I must have passed out. The cut was not deep enough but I remember waking up to my father, brother, wife and the ambulance. I went to the hospital and I said I was ok and convinced them I was ok but I knew I was not.


The next day feeling the same as I felt for the previous week I continued to drink and abuse Xanax. I was always afraid of death but eventually I felt this scary feeling of comfort from it. I remember being on the phone but arguing and not remembering the conversation and I was heavily intoxicated from the whiskey and pills. I felt comfortable with dying – it felt my only way to escape the worries, the sleepless nights and the sadness. Next thing I knew the police woke me up I was face down in the dirt covered in my own blood again passing out before I could do any serious damage. On the way there I must of passed out again waking up in the hospital alone and that is when my journey to recovery began.


I know my story above is all over and I know I skipped events but through all these events really just struggling with anxiety and depression


I never asked from help but instead woke up in the hospital alone. I was terrified and this became my wake up call.


From being in the psych ward I learned that there are other people like me that struggle with the same feelings and worse. I learned that talking about my feelings helped me and being open. Not keeping things inside really helped. I found reading allowed me to escape this world and go into another when I felt anxious. Also when I got out I found out that the New York Islanders had signed goalie Robin Lehner and he had just released a statement about his struggles.


I am a goalie and then seeing a professional goalie now on my favorite team became an inspiration to me was uplifting. His success that season was inspirational to me. Then his speech receiving the Masterton Trophy. ‘Im not ashamed to say I’m mentally ill, but that doesn’t mean I’m mentally weak.’ Robin’s battle showed me that even people that you think do not struggle actually do and they can overcome it and be the best goalie in the NHL. I learned that Lehner loved exotic animals and so do I, he is a goalie and so am I, etc. He may not ever know this but his success help me succeed.


I speak openly about my struggles as I really have so many stories to share. I will speak to people and tell them my #SameHere Stories to let them know they are not alone and that others may feel the same exact way. I tell them how I overcome them and hopefully it helps them find ways that work for them.”

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