I don’t really remember when the black dog came home with me. It was a peculiar and usual time. I was not sure what to make of it. It didn’t take much to look after at the time, but we would learn many years later just what impact it would have over all of us in the years to come. In no time it seemed to settle in to become part of the family. So little was said and life forged on with the black dog by my side.
In what seemed like no time every now and then the black dog would snarl and bark at the family. No one was spared but the most of the dog’s wraith was focused on our 2nd child. I don’t no why! It just did. She was a bright and with beautiful blonde hair and blue eyes living at home without a care in the world. The black dog was going to have her witness and having to deal with things that no one should have to deal with let alone a teen age girl. For the rest of my family, I wish I had never brought that dam thing home with me, as no one was spared.
Time would pass and everyone would be going on in their lives. The kids made lots of friends at school and my wife and I flourished in our careers and no one knew or guess when the black dog would change its personality and have one of its episodes. After each episode where the black dog bit there was a period of self hate and anger followed by extreme sorrow as I was the one that brought home that mongrel thing, yet I couldn’t work out how to get rid of it and I wasn’t strong enough to do it on my own.
As the out bursts became more frequent my wife suggested seeking help, but I was too embarrassed. I denied there was an issue and so again nothing was said or done. There was also long periods where the black dog was quiet and left us alone, so things proceeded with a sense of normality. I tried my best to make sure it would behave, But no matter how hard I tried it still manage to get out one way or another. It wasn’t until I sustained an injury at work and was in constant pain as a result of the accident that the black dog consumed me.
Each time it came out my anger towards myself would intensify and could not function. I was on heavy pain killers and anti depressants. I could not function; I couldn’t get out of bed. I lost the will to live. I had lost respect for myself, I had lost my identity and I had lost my job. I was consumed by hate. Hate for myself. I had started to treat my friends and family like mud and the more I did, the further I would spiral into the abyss, with that dam dog right beside me all the way. Licking my face with encouragement.
Pain killers and anti depressants made a lethal combination and the turning point for me was the day when my daughter found me on the floor not breathing. Via talking to my wife over the phone she did what she had to too keep me alive until the ambulance arrive. This was a real eye opener to me. I was making there lives a living hell. With the help of my wife we started searching for the type of help I needed. We needed the black dog put down. It wasn’t going to be easy and I know I was going to learn to deal with the black dog for the rest of my life, but we had identified the issue and how to find the right kind of help.
I was identified with chronic pain and severe depression. I somehow needed to be weaned of all the major pain killers and that was not going to be easy as the black dog would lose less of a bind against me on each step forward that I took. That dam dog fought me all the way. It tried to drag me back as hard as it could but the love of my family was stronger and kept me on the right path.
It isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination. That blooding dog would have its little victories along the way which we were told to expect. Yet it was still hard on my family. I have done some terrible things to my family and yet they still love me. I am so grateful for their love and support. What we went through would have destroyed most families apart.
I am still in chronic pain, but it is controlled by other means now. I also take anti depressants daily. I know I can’t take back all the horrible things I’ve done and I will never forgive myself for that. I know I would not forgive anyone if they had treated me that way. Not ever!
Sorry is just a word and suicide is the easy option. I now choice to live with the love and support of my family. Help is out there, you just have to ask.
I have been asked a few times over the past months why I haven’t posted any blogs of late? I just shrugged it off and never thought much of it. I wasn’t concerned whether I blogged or not and to be honest I could see any value in it as I didn’t think people take the time to read it. Besides I could have come up with a bucket load of reasons why I don’t blog and yes they were valid reasons with the main one being the inability to focus. My thought processes have been seriously compromised over the last 2 years. I struggled with completing thoughts and getting sidetrack by the littlest thing. Recently to manage to ring someone requires absolute silence and then if I managed to do that by the time the person I called answered I didn’t know why I rang. This would be followed by a temper tantrum of frustration and anger at the state of my mind. Yes I am a very frustrated and angry man.
I recently have had to find a new doctor as my doctor came down with his own illness. I have been without a doctor since before Xmas and getting a doctor who would be willing to give you prescriptions for the medication I need is not something you find in the yellow pages. You would all have your own experiences on how hard it is to get a doctor let alone a specialist in the field of neurology. It is a 6 – 8 month waiting list and even longer for a good one.
I was spending time with a friend recently who is very patient with me and probably the most patient person in the world second only to my wife of 25 years. He has been helping me out and I have slowly crawled my way back to a functional level where I don’t need 24 hr day supervision, which is really what he is doing (Keeping an eye on me that is). My mate often invites me around to help him with whatever he needs done and usually it’s nothing at all, just an excuse to keep a watchful eye on me. But this day it dawns on me that he is just making up reasons for me to do whatever it is as a way of challenging me, not watching me. Yes he is a sneaky bastard. But one with a heart of gold.
So coming full circle I have just decided to start a blog on why I should write a blog. I haven’t written this to sell you something, I’m not trying to policify anything or judge anyone, and I’m not trying to shove my thoughts down your throat and I’m not trying to tell promote any products. I am just writing about my thoughts of who I am and what I have achieved over the last month or so.
This blog is my way of helping myself. Sitting down, forcing myself to write. That then in turn makes me read to see if it makes sense, forget about the spelling mistakes that’s what the spell check is for. The hardest part is having to read it back to myself. As I’ve mentioned before, I have a very short span of attention.
I haven’t blogged since December 2010. Physically I have been fare to middling. Sometimes OK for a few days of joy and sun shine, then other days I crash and it’s a deep deep hole and it’s so black I can’t see any light at all. These are the days that never end. They affect me emotionally and mentally. Just to make things a little more complicated (Bare with me I am going somewhere with this) the timing and quantity of certain medications and my bodies tolerance rises. I have different pain killers that help in different ways depending on the type of pain I have.
Unfortunately taking these tablets have their own set of side effects. To list just a few they cause sleepiness, insomnia, depression, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, mood swings, hallucinations and constipation to name a few and yes I realise there is contradictions in the list and I’m not off the planet. (Well, not today!!! Yet!) I have had several operations and hospitalisations from complications and in some cases medical dependency. So without using this issues as an excuse, I have been a bit side tracked along the way and the odd speed hump just to slow me down.
It’s tough pouring out your heart and soul on a monthly basis. It’s not easy coming up with something meaningful and raw from one month to the next. I have been in a very bad place for about 11 months now and due to that I chose not to shear at that time. But now I feel
1) I’m able to purge this out with some degree of bias..... or is that third person perspective. Anyway you’ll get the idea shortly.
2) I’m able to make sense of it all for myself.
Just recently I attended a 30 year school reunion. I was a little hesitant as I suffer with poor memory and I am just the shell of the person I was at school, I didn’t think anyone would recognise me and or talk to me as from my memory I didn’t have any friends at school (Man how I was wrong). Surprisingly I had a good time. Quite a few people spoke with me as if it was like yesterday, most of them at the time I had no idea who they were until my wife gave me the debrief later the next day. There was one person I particularly remembered. I remembered some of the high school antics we got up too, but to my surprise we had been close mates since kindergarten. How can you spend your life on a daily basis (In this case 18 years) and not speak again for the next 30 years. It's seemed as though life just got in the way of our friendship.
The result of the school reunion prompted me to try and track down other people from my past that I had memories of but had no idea what had happened to them and where they were. I did try a few times to track down a person I sat next to in English a few times before, but I got nothing but dead ends and road blocks, and I probably didn’t try as hard as I could have, But now I am armed with an ace up my sleeve. I was able to get a few leads from the guy that organised the reunion. So armed with a new sense of determination I put on my detective hat on and started a journey into the past.
Using the social websites such as www.wotsdoin.com (FB and to a lesser extent myspace) I started searching with the leads I was given. To my surprise just about everyone responded positively and excepted my friendship and we fired up dialogue. Just like the Cold Chisel song "Flame Treës" (we started playing do you remember so and so). I court up with their lives between the years. Who they married and our divorced. Those that were still waiting for that special someone. How many if any children and where they live. It was great to hear from them all. I found it very therapeutic, bringing back some wonderful memories that I had long forgotten. How did the years come between us? Why did we both let them go? And the lives we’ve lead in between us, just waiting for that fork in the road, to bring me back to you!
Oh and by the way I found the person I set next to every day in english! Its funny how life swings around eventually. I recommend you try it. You will never no what my be in store.
Have you ever stopped and thought about how many times you’re hit up for money in support of one charity or another. They usually call just as you’re just sitting down for your evening meal. (Strike 1) They present themselves as professionally and polite as one can be when reading from a scripted dialogue. (Strike 2)
Donating $5 here and $10 there, it starts to take its toll on your own cash flow. Having said that, these charities rely on these donations to continue the community services they provide.
For those of you that are learning about DRAXSEN for the 1st time (Ok the short version it is) We are a band of Chronic Pain Sufferers doing what we do trying to raise the awareness of Chronic Pain and the other nasty things it manifest .Things such as Bipolar, Sociopathic , Depression and suicide just to name a few. .
Now while trying to find out new ways to help us market the band, on face book etc, When I received and email from the Mixmaster. Mixmaster is one brave S.O.B. After an accident that claimed the use of his legs , He puts as all to shame. Hi is so motivated! So when he came to me with the idea of collaborating, jumped at in with both feet.
Now coming full circle we’ve become the weird people bugging total strangers to part with hard earnt cash to donate to our course. We aim to bring some hope and happiness into the lives of those who are disabled. Mixman and Draxsen have decided to work on a collaborated project, it’s a digital magazine. The main character is Fearsome Flyer .By day confined to his wheel chair, but by night a transformation occurs, and he becomes the super hero The Fearsome Flyer with amazing super powers. The main character has his own song as does the villains. It’s just like a comic with its own sound track.
The Fearsome Flyer
So now we are getting to the point where it hits your back pocket. As the magazine is in its infant stage at the moment have released a single to help fund the setting up of the web site and getting the artwork completed.
What we would like you as general music fans is collectively purchase the song Fearsome Flyer. It’s only $0.99 available through ITunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/chronic-pain/id372758713. All money that comes in through the sale of The Fearsome Flyer will go directly to the cause. You help is going to bring an outlet into the lives of many.
I cannot remember a time in my life without her. I do remember the first time we met though, anything before was just a life in neutral I guess! Coasting along my merry way oblivious to reality. My only goals in life were either going play football for Liverpool FC (EPL) or play waterpolo. This by the way (Waterpolo) is an amateur sport! Pretty switched on don’t you think.
She was well tanned from her summer holiday at The Entrance. I was to find out later it was a family tradition that I was going to enjoy as time rolled by. We were both 16 and looking at the last two years of school. Our futures lay ahead, pending HSC results and work opportunities. For me it didn’t matter, one way or another, all I knew was I was never ever going to live another day without her in my life.
Life was bliss, Both of us still having the safety net of living at home with our parents and I being naive enough to think that this was how live was going to be for the rest of my life. I think it was until the day of our graduation that it hit. I no longer was a school kid. Captain of the swim and water polo team. Striker for the open soccer and centre for the first XIII league team. CHS Sports man of the year two years in a row. It was time to get a job. No more sponging of my parents. Grow up and be a man. I had always pictured my life the way it had been for the last 2 years. I was in panic mode where was the love of my life (the Rock) going to be? What career would she take, I’m sure we had discussed it several times, but I was so besotted with I was only listening with my heart not my ears and brain or maybe something else. They were shelved from that do fourth. I was going to do anything to ensure I was always going to have her in my life. It was then that I gave up my dreams of being professional sports men. Don’t be mistaken, while naive to the world I was one shit hot swimmer and Captain of the Australian U18’s water polo team. I was also good enough to make as a soccer and league player but my life laid a separate path.
Well as fate would find it my rock was training as a nurse in our local base hospital, which meant I could see her every day. I found nothing jobs like scrapping out chicken poop on battery farms, swimming coach and working in fast food outlets. I was trading my life for a life with her. The hope was still there, the dream as well, but I was never ever let anything get between me and my rock. I had made my bed and I had no intension to sleep anywhere else. Please don’t get me wrong I knew the costs I was to pay. If had a $1 for every time I was introduce as (He had it all! He could have been the best) well that’s my choice. I picked my poison, I knew the sacrifice at hand, but it was never in the equation, I’m not saying it didn’t hurt, but I would give my life for her in a heartbeat and I proved that time and time again. Actions speak Loader than words. From that day fourth we carved out our own lives together. The beginning of a love affair that would last the test of time!
We got engaged on her 21st birthday. I was excited and nervous all at the same time. I manage to get enough courage to ask her mother and father for their blessing. They didn’t go easy on me I can tell you that and it would be a story recounted over and over throughout the years at family gatherings. An easy laugh at my expense. I’ve broad shoulders though, but those shoulders and back would take a beating over the years. Too many hard labouring jobs and too many injuries that were not taken care of properly. I thought I was bullet proof. I was tough (stupid as well you might say). But I was one tough S.O.B and should also add we needed the money. You start to get the picture now. A good education would have come in handy right about now. The injuries I sustained throughout my sporting era were now coming back to point out there disapproval of my actions.
My Rock was to work her way up through the hospital system to become the head of the maternity floor in an area which average 5 deliveries a day. In between having giving birth to the three children we have, studying for a Bachelor of Health Care Management plus holding down a full time job, You can see the foundation upon which I reference to her being a Rock. I love her so much! When she comes home from work my heart skips a beat. It’s just like the first time we met.
Ok, you remember the reference to my back. I have been suffering from back pain (Sciatica Pain) on and off over the last 20 years. Especially over the last year. After a fall trying doing do a job for a younger guy, I burst a disk in my lower back. I become addicted to morphine; I’ve tried suicide on two occasions, attacked a doctor and have been scheduled into a hospital for mental health issues predominately because of the levels of medication it took to stop the pain. The whole time this happened she managed to get the kids organised, Hold down a full time job and cared for me.
My wife is my life along with my 3 children. Yes I paid a very high price to get to where we are now. Yes it’s been a rough ride. I couldn’t imagine life without her.
Back again. Thanks for all you support. We have made great in roads on both the medical and musical as we. First of all, on the morphine we have made it through and it looks like I should get my license, of cause all this depends on a physical test. I should be able to do this easily! One of the issues that will have to work on is get myself used to the perceived speed we are travelling. At the moment when some needs to take me to a Dr / medical centre I’m freaking out by the time the car is going 50klms an hour.
On the musical from, Sad but true Vicious Felony won’t be release until January next year. At the moment we have had to use session muso’s to help us out. Basically Tier and I have been in poor condition and unable to work on the Album off which we have tried inserting a different style into this album to give us a bigger and fatter sound. All in all we feel the songs are strong and once again reference to our lives and fight we have trying to calve our or own niece as not only musicians but also or attempt to make it into the music world.
From the health point of view, there are a few things that upsets me. The first and foremost is the severe depression. When I have been totally engulfed by this beast, I become a vicious and callous animal. I am also irrational and angry / violent. When I have come out (3 – 10 days later) of detox I become am overwhelmed with remorse because of what I have done! I am however blessed to have a great support network. They have put up with a lot id $#&@! From me but they never give up on me and hats off to then as it would be so easy to walk away. One of the most important people outside my immediate is my great mate Stewart! What this guy has put up with from me is unbelievable. I remember hurling abuse and threatening and instead of walking a way He talked me out of it and offered his hand in friendship. If that isn’t a monumental show of love, then I don’t know what love is. Another time was when I was having a seizure and home, my dialled Stewart and he dropped everything to come around and bring me around.
Some of you might not be a wear that DRAXSEN is gaining a load airplay on Jango Radio and Ilike. We have up loaded Demo versions of new songs earmarked for the album “Vicious Felony”. You can also find Draxsen at the following: http://www.twitter.com/legionDraxsen
Until next time, Stay safe and Rock on!
I have made my choices over the years. I took the risks and with those risks came the sacrifices. I have always backed myself to win. The confidence and shear attitude created wins far beyond my ability, as most of these wins are what I describe as locker room wins. Needless to say, I didn’t make many friends or respect from my peers. My ability to get inside my opponents heads coupled with aggression was beyond belief as I set out on what at that time was unparalleled, the youngest ever to mount my personal Everest and like a toddler I ran with no idea as to the dangers that could take me out at any moment.
The glory that I bathed in, I shared with my friends and how the number swelled. My friends grew so quickly, seemingly overnight, Many I hadn’t known that long, They grovelled at my feet and feed me lies I loved to hear, I lapped it up and for a while I lived on the carcases that I had slain along the way. Little did I know that my sycophants would jump ship like rats as soon as there was a sign that the success was subsiding.
Yes I did what was necessary and it wasn’t always pretty, but a win was a win and I burnt those bridges along the way. I burnt them all with extreme prejudice. No one told me that one day I would be old and I was so self involved it never popped up on my radar system. I thought I was bullet proof. Then one day I found myself to be half a step slower that everyone else. It seemed to have happen overnight. I had lost my edge! The one thing that made me different. The number of friends was slowly dwindling. The reality check rocked up and its arrival was very inconvenient. I had chosen to ignore it! But it continued to tap me on the shoulder. Hey dude! I’ve come to take my share of the glory!” Now it hit me like a freight train. I was in a free fall as I tail spun out of control. The bridges I’d burnt were obvious. They were all there with their backs facing me in the aftermath. I knew they had the sweet taste of revenge. My attitude was the cancer that had slowly eaten me away on the inside.
It was only now did I understand the real consequences of the sacrifices I had made. Before I knew it 1 bad day grew to two and before long the discipline and belief had petered out along with the dream. The loneliness was claustrophobic. The silence was deafening. It all started by missing the odd raining session here and there. The lack of training eventually court up with me. I wasn’t putting in like before that passion was traded in for comfort. The team slowly moved on. My pride had been infiltrated. The gigs got further and further apart and I had drop further and further down the billing. A broken down prize fighter who was barely recognisable from the glory days.
I had now travelled full circle! The sacrifice, oh how they haunted me. I had trained on the pain theory, no pain – no Gain / Pain is only temporary – winners live forever /etc........... I had no idea of the pain I was to face when all the remnants of whom I was where gone. This pain is not like anything I had ever felt before. I had experience my share of losses and they hurt. They hurt a lot and it took time to get over it, but the pain of losing my identity, nothing can prepare you for that. My identity was gone and after a life of sacrifices to achieve what I wanted I had nothing to show for it. I know you can put an old head on young shoulder, but you must now understand. These sacrifices don’t have to define your life, as you can have it all. This is what I need to impart on you. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO MAKE SACRIFICES. You can have it all. Yeah priorities must be in pace, But not at the risk of the things that go into who you are. Education, friends, family and time to yourself. You wouldn’t sacrifice these things for a 9 – 5 job, so why must you for your dreams.
The mistakes of one person’s life can help others to avoid the same mistakes again. Unfortunately we all continue to make the same mistakes as our forefathers, Why? ??????
Throughout my sporting career one thing was drilled into me from my earliest memories. “Pain is only temporary, the memories of winning or losing is what you have to live with for the rest of your life.” You trained until it hurt, really hurt and then come the second most important thing that I was to remember. Training only starts when the pain starts. It is the mark of a champion and the mindset that is needed. After all, if it was easy, than everyone would be the best in the world. Having said that, the word champion is used to freely these days. In my day it meant there was no one else better. Getting back on track with what I was saying .Let me set the scene. It’s pouring rain with a strong wind blowing down the steep slope. What do you do? Option (1) Take the day of and tell yourself you could do with a day off and besides you might catch a cold! Snuggle up on the lounge with a cup of hot chocolate and some of your favourite biscuits. Option (2) Do the run down the slope with the wind assisting you, all the while justifying your decision by telling yourself that most people would stay at home like in the first option? A commendable effort, You would probably impress most people. Well done, but not what it takes to be a champion sportsperson. Option (3) is an example of what you would find in the background of some of the world’s greatest athletes. Not only do you do the run up the hill into the wind, but you do it repeatedly until you can’t stand up and have to wait 30 mins in the wind and rain for your legs to recover so you can jog home. This is the code I lived by for the 1st 20 years of my life. That is until I found myself with an injury so horrific that I now live with Chronic Pain and those words haunt me every day because I now live a life where pain is not temporary but a constant reminder that you are alive. Gone are the days where I lived for the aches and pains from a bone crushing work out. The high I could get from that no pain killer could ever match and I can say that with authority. There is not a drug I haven’t tried in a desperate attempt to escape a pain that is in escapable. The irony of an ideal life, to be the best I could be, aiming for the highest of heights, now living with the constant reminder of knowing just how bad pain can be. Fast forward 25 years and I have call upon the wisdom of some of the first words I can recollect from my childhood. I cannot change the fact that I’m in pain and will be for the rest of my life. I can however use the same mind set and techniques I used as an athlete to help me focus and function to a degree that if my limp wasn’t so pronounce and I didn’t have to use an aid to walk, then you probably wouldn’t give me a second look if we crossed paths. Please do not think I telling you it’s easy. It is most definitely not. Please refer to the opening paragraph. If it was easy that there would be sick people. Far from it, but just like my youth and sporting days, it’s hard work. You need a great team (Support) around you and great friends that accept you for being you. The one thing that has help though the darkest of times, when I’ve been in places I thought I could never come back from and still brings tears to my eyes when I think of them. I refer to the words from the world’s greatest coach I never had the pleasure to perform for! You can never lose if you never give up! And that my friends is something you can take to the bank!
It has been a mad house in the DRAXSEN camp since the release of Chronic Pain. Launching the album is usually a fun thing to do after all you are pushing a product that you are proud of as well as passionate about. But DRAXSEN is not just another band sweating it out up and down the highways setting up in gin socked bars and small rooms that you can get the obligatory 50 fans it that makes the venue a sell-out and more often than not you barely cover the cost. It’s not that we snob our noses at the music scene or we think we are too good or better than that, it’s just that we had to adapt to the changing face of music a lot quicker than most bands as we can't play live gigs! We cannot book Thursdays to Sunday nights for three months straight and sleep on venue floors or the back of an old VW wagon or a friend of a friends work van. We can drink and get smashed before going on stage and thinking you’re as tight as all hell only to hear a taped copy of the show from the front of house mixing table and you sound like shit. Don’t get me wrong before our injuries we loved that life and lived every second of it.
DRAXSEN had to change a long time ago, before the internet really kicked in. It was forced upon us and we either swan or sunk. Yes it has been ten years, But DRAXSEN didn’t sink. We sort of floated until the current drifted us close enough to shore that we got a hold and pulled ourselves up. It was hard at times. It was during this period that we each suffered our injuries. Now I’m not going to expand on then, it’s not my place, but we each now have our personal issues as a result of the injuries and neither of us are the same. I will say though we all are having a tuff time when we have to go through a withdrawal faze which is a monthly process. Zan was the one that came up with the idea of syncing our withdrawal faze enabling us to have about 2 1/2 weeks out of every month that we get to work together, still it’s harder than it seems. The valium that relaxes the muscles affects your short term memory, so remembering lyrics or a riff that you’re working is very frustrating. During the week after the withdrawal faze we also need anti depression which make you drowsy , so we can only work in short brakes at a time before one of us falls asleep. The pain killers have many side effects, one of which is anxiety which causes you to shake or tremor, which makes it hard to keep time and hold anything. In short we are a bunch of old farts that cannot remember their parts and lyrics while shaking with tremors and fall asleep during recording sessions and cannot be too far from a toilet because another side effect from pain killers is incontinent.
So we have made the best out of a bad situation and we hope that you might understand where we are coming from. I’m just glad that we finally get to live our dream, even though it is somewhat restricted, we really do meet all of the requirements it takes to be a band. Sex drugs and Rock N roll and in case you’re wondering yes we do get sex you snug bastards lol.