Happy 4th Re-Birthday To Me

heart attackThis weekend is the 4th anniversary of my almost dying. That’s an anniversary not many people get to claim, but for me it is one of great significance. I’ve already written about my near-fatal bout with pneumonia on several occasions (read about HERE and HERE), and as I take a moment or two to reflect on what I now think of as my re-birthday, there is a lot for me to process.

So much has happened since that fateful day in 2010, when I had an incredible pain in left arm, and decided to go to the emergency room, with what turned out to be a serious case of pneumonia, which had led to an infection around my heart. I’ve talked about coming out of experience, and entering into a new reality of anxiety and depression.

Just before, and in the time since my hospitalization, I lost several friends. No two deaths impact us the same way, but to face the death of more than a dozen friends in a span of four or five years will fuck you up in a way that cannot be described. Trust me on this. Add to that a weird kind of survivor’s guilt that surpasses what often comes when we lose someone close to us, and you have a recipe for disaster. Among the friends and family that have died in these last few years, there were two losses that destroyed me. It was like stepping on a landmine, and surviving just enough to crawl away, and pull your broken and bloody body over a second landmine.

Four years later, I’m still dealing with my encounter with the Grim Reaper. Part of this includes the knowledge that for whatever reason, death passed me over, in favor of some of the people I loved the most. Like I said, it fucked me up in ways that I can’t describe. The depression and anxiety took their toll, to the point I had little by way of desire to be alive. Not that I was suicidal—it was more like I was one or two streets away from being suicidal, but I could see the intersection just up ahead.

Despite all that has happened these last four years, life has taken a happy-ish turn. I finally decided to get serious about dealing with my depression (which is a story for another time), and in doing so, my life has started to turn around. I still have the crippling anxiety attacks, but the depression is not nearly as bad as it used to be. For one thing, I no longer wake up disappointed that I didn’t die in my sleep. But the best part of this story is the way my career has moved forward. New projects and new opportunities have helped to make my 4th re-birthday the best so far. The year ahead is filled with promise and potential—both in terms of healing and professional growth. I look forward to the year ahead, and have nothing but love and respect for those that have stuck by me, those that are new to the party, and those that are no longer here, but remain with me every single day. Be well, and keep on keeping on.

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