Trigger Warning: This post discusses thoughts of suicide.
So I’m doing all this stuff now; taking walks in nature, really slowing down to observe events and words, other things that are beyond just therapy, such as researching Buddhism, compassion, and consciousness as well as going to appointments for physiotherapy, and evaluations. I requested to take a course in learning how to meditate at the Iris Center. Dr. Bill Cook and his very kind wife, Wendy, run meditation classes out of their office on the northside of Fredericton. Medicare pays for it so there’s no worries there.
My wife had taken it many years before though I’m not sure how she would describe her benefits. It’s definitely for beginners. I, on the other hand, thought it was good. It was a solid introduction about how to stay in the moment, how to focus on that moment. We conducted ‘mindful’ exercises like putting a piece of food in my mouth and then slowly eating it, noting flavours and textures. The more I did this exercise, the more I opened up and paid attention to what was happening: the scrape of my tongue across a rough edge of the cracker, the salt flavour, the subtle taste of the baked flour of the cracker. While I focused on the cracker, I forgot, momentarily that I was in turmoil. It was a moment of peace. Then we began to just sit and relax. The whole time was very calming. Dr. Cook has a very relaxing manor. Wendy Cook also was very relaxed and polite and they displayed a great deal of empathy for everyone there.
There were people there, about 12 or 14, from all walks of life. Even a well known television personality was there. The course lasted for a few months. At the end, I felt that I wasn’t sure about meditation. I hadn’t felt the benefits immediately though they were happening. I continued to meditate and still do to this day. I will continue to meditate. We’ll come back to this again in another post.
In the meantime, I carried on with my psychologist’s appointments, physiotherapy, and all the other meetings I had with nurses and doctors. It was a struggle to say the least. I still had charges and a courts martial pending. My life at home was miserable. I just fucking hated everything and the world. I was so bitter and hurt from what I felt was a colossal betrayal.
I had some other law-issue run-ins that I won’t mention here that were also concerns for me. It felt like it was just such a mess. I wanted to just die. I made loose plans to head out to the woods for when I was ready. Then I decided it would be better to drown. I thought about crashing my vehicle into other vehicles and trees, etc. I cried quite a bit. You know, all these thoughts race through your mind…
It was like a story I heard from a guy I used to work with in construction in Winnipeg. This guy had come from Newfoundland and worked in the ‘Peg for some time. He finally brings his parents out for a visit. He told me that after about ten minutes in the car driving through Winnipeg that his father had to put his head down and not look outside because his senses were overloading. He wasn’t used to seeing so much movement. It’s hard to keep track of when you’re not used to it. It eventually overwhelmed him and he had to close his eyes. I felt that. Overwhelmed. The stress actually hurt in my chest. It was difficult to breathe and twice I went to the MIR for tightness. I had a couple of panic attacks where my heart raced and my airway constricted. I had a difficult time breathing. Maybe it doesn’t sound like much but having never been in this place in my head before was scary. I was incredibly confused about practically everything. I was not able to really think clearly all the time. But then I discovered cannabis. Marijuana made me calm enough physically to sit for a good while, evaporated my desire to choke out everyone around me, and allowed my brain to just think deeper, which allowed me to meditate better.