Friday, May 17, 2013

Reality Television, Jane, & Panic Attacks

I changed my anxiety/depression medicine from Prozac to Lexapro back in December while I was home for Christmas break. I've been on Prozac since I was 19 and it had been working up till about 6 months ago (May/June of last year). I noticed I was struggling to concentrate and my anxiety seemed to be coming back. My doctor cited the reason from my body adapting to the Prozac and so it was time to switch up medications. He put me on Lexapro and for the first little while it seemed to work. Though for the past couple of weeks, it seems to have made my symptoms worse and upon looking up the label, that is an adverse reaction to the medicine and signals a reason to stop using it.

I took this semester off to give my body and mind a break from the grind but I've been having daily anxiety issues. I've had an anxiety attack each time I've gone to the Plasma Center for the past two weeks. I had one a couple days ago when I was laying on my bed that left me unable to breathe or stand up. At work I'll be sitting at my desk and just start having an attack, and that's happened on a daily basis. Tuesday as I was waiting in the hall before a meeting, I had another anxiety attack. I had to sit down on the floor, put my head between my knees and focus on my breathing.

I haven't had anxiety attacks this severe or frequent since I was a freshmen fresh out of High School. I'm going to be headed back to the doctor to try and figure out a new medicine since the one right now is messing with my chemical balances in my brain.

Yesterday was awesome because I finally heard back from Jane. I received an email from her yesterday morning. Then my roommate came into my room and said "I got a letter from your girl!" You can bet that I ripped that sucker right open! She's doing good. Likes her companions for the most part. She took my advice about the food and not taking Tylenol PM on her first night there. It was so good to hear from her and guess what... she signed it with "Love" :).

So random awesome news... I was contacted by a producer from New York who's been reading my blog. He would like for me to take part in a reality television show he is putting together. He knows very well the the trial of reconciling faith and feelings as he comes from a Christian family and he is gay himself. This project is very dear to his heart. He wants to put together a cast composed of guys that are Mormon and gay. We set up a Skype conference call. He told me he was intrigued by me and my story. He said he wanted a guy like me and then changed it to "not a guy like you, I want you." He wants a cast that is dealing with being gay in different ways so some may choose to stay in the Church while others aren't remaining faithful. So the producer is super awesome and been really upfront with me. He told me to pray about whether or not I should do it.

Which is where I am now. Being on this show means that I would unmask myself as gay on National Television. I would of course tell my close friends and the rest of my family first. I would have to be ready for the criticism I well no doubt receive. I will have to be able to deal with myself becoming a type of "celebrity" and the invasion of privacy that entails. At the same time though, it would be a good chance to bring this conversation to the national stage with some sort of normalcy to it. People will be able to see a normal Mormon dude working through it. I would also be able to help pay for Med School with the salary that I would receive.

I haven't made a definite decision yet. There's still more conference calls to be had and prayers to be said. I plan on getting a blessing to help me make my decision.


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Help Meet; not "Help Me"

Last night I went to Iron Man 3 with a new friend (Hans) I made at work and a group of his friends. The movie was awesome, but I'm not going to really talk about that in this post.

We were waiting in line at Texas Roadhouse and got on the topic of dating as most Mormons often do. He's single and 25. I told him I was going on a date Saturday morning and he should find a date so we could double. He seemed somewhat apprehensive about it, like he didn't think he could find a date.

Now Hans is an attractive guy, there's no reason he shouldn't get a date with a girl. I commented that it seemed he was scared of dating and there had to be a reason for it. He acknowledged that there was a reason for it (y'all know my mind immediately thought SSA). Turns out Hans was married for three years and got divorced last year. I was speechless.

Hans confided in me that his wife committed adultery while being married to him several times with several different men while they were married. When they first got married things were fine. She would read her scriptures, said her prayers, went to church, and attended the temple.

As their marriage progressed, Hans' wife stopped reading her scriptures and saying her prayers, she didn't want to go to church and plead with Hans every week to not go. She would entice him with such activities such as hiking and rock climbing (things that he loved) to try to convince him not to go. She stopped going to the temple unless it was someones marriage or something and then she put on a false facade and went so to not raise questions from her family.

Hans noticed his wife's change in demeanor. They were constantly fighting and there was no spirit in their home. He blamed it on himself. He thought it must have something to do with him. He must not be a good patriarch over his home or a worthy priesthood holder.

Hans found out about his wife's extramarital affairs from friends of his that worked with his wife. He confronted his wife and she admitted to what she did. Hans being the man that he is wanted to work on it together. He didn't want to get divorced, he wanted to try to salvage things.

The fights increased in number and their marriage just got worse and worse. Hans told his wife they needed to go to the Bishop for help. Right then and there, his wife left him.

Within a matter of weeks Hans lost everything. Prior to his divorce he had been financially comfortable with his wife. He gave his wife everything in the divorce. He was left with his car and clothes once the dust settled. In his words: "2012 was a really hard year for me. I watched my life, my marriage fall apart around me and I could do nothing about it; and because I was the man in the divorce, people automatically assumed that it was my fault."

The counsel that Hans gave me was to marry someone with a strong testimony. He thought he had, but he was wrong. We are to marry someone to be our help meet; our equal, our partner with God, like Adam and Eve were to each other. If a couple is together strong in the gospel, they will lift each other up, work together, become closer, and raise a family righteously in the covenant without much contention. When one marries someone not strong in the Gospel, one spouse becomes the "help me" to the other. One spouse is stuck trying to be the spiritual strength for the entire family. Many tears are shed, many fights are had, and many hearts are broken.

Coming from a family with "Help Me" circumstances, I can testify that this is true. My mother brought all the kids in my family to church alone most of my life. It was her holding family nights with us and waking up at 6 in the morning to have scripture study. She had to ask home teachers and Bishops to give blessings to her family. I myself was never ordained to anything by my dad, it was always another leader or my Bishop. Raising a family like a single parent was hard for my mom and I don't think anyone should ever have to go through that.

Something that my mother has learned dealing with my dad and Hans with his wife, the actions and choices of one's spouse is not your fault. You keep your covenants and do all you can, you will be blessed. If your spouse choses to leave the Church and divorce you, that's their choice. If a spouse decides to be unfaithful and lie, it is their agency that they are exercising, though it may be unrighteously. It is not your fault, you didn't do anything wrong. If anything one that goes through a divorce because of the actions of a spouse, you're extraordinary, because for one reason or another God knew that you could handle this difficult trial that no one else could.

Things are still hard for Hans. He is struggling to put himself back out into the dating scene, he feels out of place being single and living in married housing. He struggles with depression. But is also trusting in his Savior and knows that he has a plan for him.

This talk with Hans was a blessing for me because it reminded me how careful I need to be in the selection of my eternal companion. It also gave me peace in regards to the situations of others that I'm close to in my life. Things will work out the way they are supposed to. The Lord's hand is in everything.