My secret life

Leonard Cohen in my secret life
Leonard Cohen in my secret life

I consider myself to be a decent enough man. Others may not call me decent after reading this blog post. I am married and have two adult children. I have a good job and I like to think I am kind to those I interact with. I have a lot of friends who care about me. Up until this year I had been a practising Christian for over 30 years. I had a comfortable but troubled life.

That all changed last November. My brain and body stopped operating (again) in what most people would call a normal manner. I had a bit of a breakdown. Since then I have been learning about myself; what caused the meltdown, how I am feeling, what can I do to continue on with life. There are no easy answers to any of these questions but progress has been made. For instance, I am back at work and have managed to work my way back to working 4 days a week. In two months I go back full time.

I now know that I am not a Christian. This has disappointed a number of my friends. One in particular. I told him yesterday morning. He and I, and a few others, meet for breakfast every Friday. We chat, joke, help each other with life problems, and read the Bible. I made him cry. But I could not be truthful to him or me and not tell him. We have been having breakfast together for 20 years and I hope it continues for another 20.

Since last December I have once again been seeing a psychologist, weekly to start with, then fortnightly and now I we meet once a month. These have been the best sessions for me. I have found out a lot about myself, some of my issues (I am sure there are more) and we have figured out some plans on how to deal with life issues. Some issues can be helped with medication. Some you just have to face, like my social phobia. No magic cure, just take little easy steps and practice.

One of my issues has led to what I will call my “secret” life. There are quite a few people I have met in this secret life. Some have became good friends. A lot I respect greatly. I have learnt a lot about myself and others from this life as well. I am brave enough to admit that I was a hypocrite and I was able to lie to myself very convincingly. I can’t believe some of the things I used to think and sometimes say about other people.

I have one friend in my non-secret life who knows about my secret. I am sorry to say that I don’t think that many of my other friends would understand what my secret life means to me and that it helps me get through life. In my secret life I would be called a “punter” or a “john”, terms I don’t like. Personally I like the term “client”. To be frank about it, I have paid private escorts to spend time with me, sometimes very intimate times, sometimes not. I started my previous blog post, My public life, as follows

Last night I spent a number of very enjoyable hours with absolutely gorgeous lady. We enjoyed a meal, we drank, we talked, we did other things. I can’t remember ever feeling so at ease and relaxed in my life.

This was the third time we have spent time together and we plan to spend more time together. There are also two other ladies I see regularly, as time and money permits.

I have found these ladies to be some of the most understanding people I have ever met. They may not know it but they have helped me a great deal. A lot of my increase in self esteem I owe to them.

This time it has taken me 8 months to get to where I am now able to start coping again. There have been some major changes in my life – for the better as far as I am concerned. I’m still not fully there but have come a long way.

Ladies, you know who you are. If you read this, thank you. I am glad to know you and be part of your world and that you are part of mine.

Man, when I start I just keep going.

A secret man,

Eccles

Leonard Cohen in my secret life

My public life

DepressionLast night I spent a number of very enjoyable hours with absolutely gorgeous lady. We enjoyed a meal, we drank, we talked, we did other things. I can’t remember ever feeling so at ease and relaxed in my life. This, however, is not my public life.

The last three weeks have been a turmoil of emotions for me. If you have read the “Why?” page of this site you will know that I suffer from depression, acute social phobia and anxiety. So feeling at ease, relaxed and with a calm mind is an exceptional state of mind for me. I sit here writing this blog post and still feel relaxed, calm and I might even say content.

My turmoil of emotions over the last few weeks have led to very darks thoughts passing through my mind. If not for a very special friend in Melbourne, who I communicate over twitter with, I don’t know if I would be here today to write this. These were the darkest thoughts I have had in almost 9 years. Let me explain a bit more about how my particular mental illness manifests itself for me. I say it is my illness and the manifestations are peculiar to me because I believe that mental illnesses will manifest quite differently for each person.

Let’s start with the social phobia, this is the part that has lasted the longest and has led to some of my other issues. I got to a place where I could not go out socially, not even with my family. I was still able to go to work but was not able to interact with colleagues. People who know me will find that hard to believe but it is true. Phones are my worst phobia. I find it really hard to call people. I find it even harder to answer the phone. I am sort of okay talking with people on twitter, which is a good thing I am finding. However, even with twitter it will take me a while to jump in to a conversation. We believe my social phobia, which led very quickly to anxiety, started when I was about 12. I can’t figure out why, all I know is that it is a part of me.

As I said my anxiety followed on from the social phobia, and my anxiety led to clinical depression later in life. My depression culminated in two suicide attempts in 2006 and 2007. The anniversary of my last attempt is coming up in August. Yes it is something I think about and sometimes August can be a particularly sombre time fro me. Another reason to be writing this blog post now and not waiting till later.

I decided in January this year that I would begin to make my mental illness public. One reason for doing this is that I was exhausted from hiding my illness from most people. The only people who knew were my wife, children, three very special friends and my health care team. The other reason for making it public was I was hoping to help some colleagues whom I suspected were suffering. I thought that by going public they may be encouraged to seek help/advice. I know have regular coffees with 4 of my colleagues about how they are going. Makes it all worthwhile.

I think this post is long enough. I have called this post “My public life”. I am planning a second post (hopefully also tonight) called “My secret life” where I am going to explain more about myself. It is all me, all of me. Writing is very liberating.

A public man,

Eccles