Put Me to Sleep While I find a Cure

Dear Anyone,

I hate myself. I hate myself for hurting. I hate myself for having pity. I hate myself for making excuses. I hate myself for allowing the cycle to continue on.

I have no control.

Tonight I have played “The Lines” by Beartooth on constant repeat as I try to drown out the thoughts. So many thoughts that continue crossing back and forth in my mind. Thoughts keeping me awake.

I cannot take the struggle so I gave myself some aid, perhaps too much, to help with ease the pain. 

Everyday is a battle that never gets any easier.

I hate myself for not being able to stop it. I hate myself for poisoning others. I hate myself for not having a cure. I hate myself for not being in control. I hate myself for thinking this way.

How many chances do I get before my head explodes?
Where’s my comfort in the undefined
Please just try to read between the lines

What is the poison inside of me
The sickness in my head
Put me to sleep while I find a cure for the sickness in my head

  • Lyrics from “The Lines” by Beartooth

If I were a praying man, that’s what I would do, but I am not that man. I tried that life and everything was exactly the same, so I left that life behind. I don’t know what the future holds, but I sure as hell hope it gets better.

  • Chad
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My Darkest Days

Dear Whoever,

Like you, I understand the many struggles that depression and overthinking bring. I myself have plenty of bad days and the only way I have found to make it through is to keep pushing forward.

When my bad days come, they come from triggers which I do not control. When the light comes on, I quickly start running in circles because I am helpless, lost, and confused. I don’t know why I am this way, and if I could change it…I would.

I lived with dark thoughts of self hate and feelings of undesirable expression, and after awhile I finally sought out some help. As it turned out, for me, I have a chemical imbalance where my brain cannot create oxytocin fast enough to fight off the “bad stuff”. This often occurs when I have a lot of free time to think, I am alone, or something has “triggered” me.

ANYTHING can set me off and I typically do not see it coming. Many of my “episodes” do not gradually come up, the simply blindside me and leave my lying on the ground. I have no way to brace for impact and simple have to take the fall and wait as I heal.

It does help to have great friends, family, and a girlfriend who care a lot about me, but sometimes that is even not enough. Even though I have all of them and take medicine now to help with my problem, I still do in fact have bad days.

The fact is we all have bad days and there is no way to stop that. The important thing to remember is that you need to just keep moving forward and enjoy the good days for all they are worth!

 

Best,

Chad

Words cannot express

Dear Whoever,

Words cannot express my current and ongoing state of emotion. There was a time in my life where I could feel however that ability is currently lost. This has been an ongoing occurrence for quite some time, and I don’t really know when it honestly ended. My belief is that a part of me died a few years ago and a part of me is gone forever, however I don’t want to believe that.

I feel like my life has been overtaken by a gang of misfits known as: anger, darkness, stress, fear, and doubt. There are times in my life where I experience happiness, but the good in life is very little now. I can recall a time only a few years ago where my levels of stress and twilight were small and my very aura was full of light.

I just don’t feel anything.

Most of the time, I just feel like an empty, hollow shell. I’m not sure if it is due to failures, a lack of belief in myself/abilities, a loss of hope or a combination of everything. My assumption is that years of distresses have built a wall in my mind where I am serving time in my own prison. By knowing that, I should be able to escape, but it’s as if I am in hiding. Now, the real question is, what is it I am hiding from?

I don’t even know what words to write at this very moment because my mind even feels blank. I’m at a loss and struggling, however I refuse to give up. I know the answers are out there, but I don’t know where to look.

When I think back to the times I was most happy, I realize what is now missing, however when I try to recreate those times, it only helps for a little while.

May I am just being delusional to myself now and I was never truly happy. Perhaps I have always been a walking complexity of poor choices and unhealthy mistakes, but I know that is not true.

I just want to stabilize.

Best,

Chad

My Findings

Dear Anyone,

Today, after facing some scrutiny, I at first became angry. For about the past year or so I have slowly been falling off the social radar. I used to be very outgoing, optimistic, and ambitious, however years of heartache, headache, and failed attempts, I had given up. I finally spent enough time wallowing in my own self darkness when an universal intervention finally came. This intervention began as a comment towards my expressed anxiety on a social media post from yesterday. At first I was angry and wanted to shout out loud, however I know I am stronger than that. I cannot help the way I feel about certain things, it is just who I am.

In order to calm myself down, I walked into another room and begin emitting my thoughts into words aloud to no one but myself. As I started expression equal concerns to the ones that were brought to my attention, I was suddenly awoken to the knowledge of why I am the way that I am today. I learned as to why I feel the way I do about certain things and act the way I do in certain situations.

Perhaps sharing the next bit of information is something I should keep either to myself or a close group, however how is that going to change the world? How will that help anyone else?

Relationships

My relationship life over the past two or three years (I lost count) has been obsolete. It’s not that I do not desire a significant other in my life, it’s just I don’t feel I can handle one. My relationship life in the past has been full of many ups and downs. I have shared some of the greatest times in my life and the worst of ones as well. One of my greatest relationships took place over eleven years ago. This relationship was significant to me because it was my first major relationship where I can honestly say I was in love and my longest lasting. That relationship did something to me…

During that relationship, a seed was planted into my mind that everything was perfect. I saw the world in vivid colors while being able to enjoy nearly ever breath I took. I was going through many rough times in my life due to death, divorce, school, jobs, friends, and so much more, but that relationship seemed to be the bow holding everything together.

Everything was going perfectly, or so I thought. I had no idea that one day all great things would come to an end and the entire world would come crashing down on me. When it did, I did not see it coming, and I was nowhere near being prepared. The day the whole world did go away, nothing was left except me and a broken shell of what once was. Now all of those terrible events in my life that the relationship was protecting me from started kicking me as soon as I hit the ground.

I never recovered.

Although I did eventually make somewhat of closure with that relationship, I never recovered. To this day I am a broken mess when it comes to relationships. I don’t know if it is the fear that I might have to relive that tragic time in my life again or if I feel I am not worthy for a second cause. Either way, it’s something I need to work on and eventually overcome.

After my share of poor relationships that made me lose trust, I finally came across the perfect one. Little did I know, that would be the worst relationship of all. If you are confused at this point, let me explain…

The relationship I am speaking of was in fact PERFECT in every sense of the word. I was dating a very pretty girl who was fun to be around and also supported me as much as my own family. She was more than just my girlfriend, she was my dear friend, my sidekick, my rock, and my bow holding it altogether. Sadly for me, this felt all to familiar and I had to sever my own ties before I go in too deep. So many thoughts kept running through my head and I couldn’t keep up with the pace. I panicked and hit the ground running.

Events

To protect those around me who have left me feeling the way I do today about things, I will have to leave out some details and change a few things, but today I learned a lot about WHY I am who I am.

Today I learned that many of the things I dislike, however have never really known why are because of other people and events I associate them with. From sporting events, to teams, to places, to names, and so on, I know why I dislike so many things. I used to think it was just because I was/am an asshole, but I learned there is more to it than that. It’s a psychological hold that runs deeper than my heart and mind, it runs straight to my subconscious. The reason I could never pin point the problem is because I was searching in the wrong place. Perhaps I buried these thoughts so far down many years ago hoping it would help me in the future, I had forgotten where I put them. Being grown up now and have experienced so much I knew I needed to face these issues rather than run from them. The only problem was, I couldn’t face what I couldn’t see. Now, I see clearly.

Findings

Personally, here is what I learned today. It is not so much as to facing these demons, as it is acknowledging them. Until today, I didn’t know where to look, what I was looking for, or what to face; now knowing what it was all along has surely helped.

I can’t say that I am 100% back to the “real” me, however I can say that I am on the right path. I havn’t know who I am for a long time now, but I can say that it will be a great reuniting.

Best,

Chad

Today came an answer

Dear Chad,

For many years you have pondered the question “Who Am I”? A question that I am quite sure many others think about as well. Although the answer to that question can often be difficult and mysterious, it is not impossible. Personally, I believe that the answer to the question is not one that you hold true in your mind, but in you heart and within me, your subconscious.

As you have been writing these blog posts for nearly a year, I have been giving you the words. After so many years of seeing you struggle, I decided that today I would give you some insight. Although it took an act of the universe, together, we made some of those answers come to light.

I know you were perhaps not happy with some of the truth, however I do know that you now suddenly feel as if a burden has been lifted.

Perhaps now, knowing some of the truth, you will finally be able to set free the past that holds you back and begin moving forward. I never intended for your life to remain stagnant as you continually circled the drain. I was trying to make you stronger, however I was wrong in the way I did so. You have always been a strong individual, however with my practices, you were made weak.

Today is a new day for you because you have been set free as I have unlocked the content which you always needed to move forward. What you felt today was emotion. The emotion you thought was lost in an endless sea. In reality, it was inside you all along, waiting for the right time to come out again.

Best,

Your Subconscious

These Three Little Words

Dear Whoever,

I don’t think there has ever been anything in my life to haunt me as much as these three little words…Who are you? That was a question I was asked during an unexacting moment where a microphone was pushed to my face for a senior video in high school. Almost sure of the answer, I replied “I’m Chad”. “No! Who are you?” my friend asked again.

At this point I was completely confused and I think it was quite noticeable on my face. It seemed that no matter what answer I thought was right, my friend continued to inform me that I was incorrect. Finally my reply was “I am me?”

BINGO!

To this day, I still think about that moment and the conversation between my friend and I. Also to this day, I don’t know how to answer that question. Of course I am me, however who is me? Let’s break this down a little bit and see where we can go…or at least see how far I have gotten.

Instead of saying “I am me”, let’s use some other descriptions that we typically use:

I am Chad. Yes, true I am Chad, however that isn’t “who I am”, that is simply my name. NOT who I am.

I am a Photographer. Hit the nail on the head again. I do in fact do photography, but that is also not who I am. It is what I do.

I am a Creative Thinker. Again this is something I do, not who I am. Let’s dig deeper.

I am a son. Now we are starting to get somewhere. This is something more than what I do, this is a part of what I am.

Let me list some things I am.

A Son, A Human Being, A Unique Individual, A Cousin, A Grandson, A Nephew.

Here’s the problem with that list. True, those are all a part of who I am, however it isn’t who I am. So that leads me back to those three little haunting words. Who are you?

My response all these years are three even scarier words…I Don’t Know.

Best.

Self Titled – Book Prologue

Dear Friends and Followers,

As many of you know I announced a few weeks ago that I would be starting on a book. I started that book and then started over and then started over again. I couldn’t write anything that I felt was meaningful, useful, or enjoyable. Today I want to share with you what I did finally decided on. I have a long way to go and plenty of time to get there, but today I want to share with you my first draft of my Prologue.

I want to share this for two reasons.

1. I want this to be the starting point of a great journey that I can one day look back on

2. I want to share the insight of the book in hopes that it will spark interest to encourage you as I always try to do.

Without further ado, my Prologue to “Self Titled”

PROLOGUE

Well, just like any other story, mine starts the same. My parents met, did the bedroom dance, and nine months later I came into this mad, crazy world. There isn’t much else to say about that, in fact it’s not something I really want to think about. What I will tell you is I was born in a small town in Southwest Virginia called Abingdon. Today Abingdon, Virginia is home to about 8,206 people; I know that number was significantly lower in 1988. Abingdon, Virginia is home to doctors, lawyers, small business owners, retirees, southern culture fanatics, and strong right winged conservatives; I am none of those things. I can’t explain why I don’t enjoy hardly anything about where I live, but I guess something different exists inside me. I just feel like I see the world differently than everyone around me. Even from a young age I had a vivid imagination and a wayward outlook on life. I was always fantasizing and dreaming of limitless possibilities. When I was young, there wasn’t much in terms the Internet, cell phones or tablets, and not a lot of options on cable television. One of my favorite pastime activities was to walk around my lawn with a Sony Walkman cassette player and pretend all kinds of things. Sometimes I would be a Wild West cowboy, sometimes I would be a well-known rock star, and other times I was a superhero. My imagination was vivid and enjoyable. I didn’t have any siblings or hardly ever anyone to play with other than at school, so I learned how to keep my mind busy when I was alone. I suppose being used to being alone at such an early age is what makes me find so much peace in seclusion today.

When growing up, my family never had what most would think is a lot, but we had enough. No one in my immediate family ever went to college or if they did, they didn’t utilize their scholarly ambitions. I was the first in my family to go to college and I never really wanted to go. I wanted to be one of those people who explored the world after high school, but instead I spent nine years in college. I currently hold an Associate of Applied Science in Graphic Design (WooHoo) and again, it took me nine years to get that much accomplished. A mixture of not knowing what I wanted to do, stressful situations, and wanting to prolong my student loan payments is what kept me in school for so long. I kept transferring from one school to another trying to find the right one. When it finally occurred to me which school was the right one, I was two semesters away from my B.F.A. Photography and Digital Imaging Degree, however I couldn’t afford the second semester and the school closed the doors just after it. Being left with nothing, I signed up for another school with high hopes and a lot of promises to only leave with an Associate Degree in Graphic Design. So here I am nine years after high school graduation with a two-year degree, $80,000 in debt, and a clear mind that college isn’t everything.

If I were to say what is most beneficial about college, I would say it’s the people you meet. I met some of the greatest people along the way rather they were professors, students, staff, or visitors. I did get to enjoy a lot of great experiences relative to photography in college as well. I was offered many great assignments where a lot were paid and during that process I began establishing a strong portfolio. I don’t know what I would have done if photography never became a part of my life. I have experienced many rough happenings and photography has become my means of therapy. I tend to be open with a lot of my problems some of the time, however there is a lot I keep in. By taking photos, I can release some of those stressful emotions and also some of the burden. Ironically I recently took a break from photography last year due to depression and my crazy chaotic mind, my love for the art is still strong, but I just can’t do it right now. I used to use my depressive state as a means for creation. Some of my best photos and series were spawned from these depressive states. This year I aim to get back in the saddle and start creating again. I am going to try again to explore my roots in hope to find that burning love once more.

I will never forget the day I knew that photography was going to become a part of my life. To get the full story, we must travel back in time to the year 2007. That year was a rough time for me. I was just nineteen at the time and basically out on my own. I still lived at home with my mother and less than enjoyable “kind-of-sort-of” stepfather, however most of the time I was either at the local community college, working, or spending time with my friends. I didn’t like being at home because I had poor cell phone service, no Internet, and was miles away from everything. A typical day for me was spent at my friend’s house browsing his computer for guitar tabs and people to chat with on MySpace. That is when I would meet yet another girl who would change my life forever, for both good and bad. This girl would not only destroy my confidence and trust in relationships, but also give me the greatest gift I have ever been given, a passion.

When Ally and I were dating, I wanted nothing more than photos of us to have and to share. With a newly acquired credit card (there’s another problem) I went out and bought a decent camera for the time. We went from having little to no pictures too more than what we knew what to do with. As our relationship charged on, things started to get bad. The first three or four months were golden, but between her extremely strict parents, our age gap, and our constant separation, things got nasty. The two of us were exactly three years apart as we shared the same birthday. Me being nineteen and off in college, my outlook on life was slightly different than her sweet sixteen attitude. Now, before anyone starts thinking I was some kind of crazy pedo, I discussed out hanging out and potentially dating with her mother and stepfather prior to actually doing so. If it wasn’t cool with them, I would have respected that choice and moved on, but they gave us the go-ahead. We were both thrilled that they said it was okay, however we probably would have just given up had we known how they would end up treating us. I still don’t know if they treated us so strictly because of her or because of me. I was always a good kid and it kind of hurt to know that someone thought of me as a lesser human being and didn’t trust me (especially after respecting their wishes for months).

Ally wasn’t and still isn’t a terrible girl, she was just young and our viewpoints based upon life experiences were different. Nonetheless, the bad times heavily outweighed the good and thus I needed a way to blow off steam. When we were going through hard times, I would often take drives. I wouldn’t have a destination in mind; I was just getting in my car and driving. I often drove for hours one way up the interstate just to turn around and then go back home. I would turn up some music and scream at God for putting me in such a tough spot (I should mention I was still fairly religious back then). Eventually, the drives were just not enough and I began looking for something else. One day as I was taking one of my drives, I ended up at a small park in Abingdon. I just sat there staring out at the empty park and thought about how empty I also was. I heard my phone ringing and as I reached down to see that Ally was calling, I chose to ignore the call and grab my camera instead. That is how my start in photography came about. I started walking around the park and taking photographs of the old, rusty, and isolated playground equipment. There was something intimate and soothing about capturing images of this park, which seemed to be once loved and now abused. I felt like I connected with the park spiritually because I then felt the same way. I felt used, abandoned, and left for nothing. It was around all of this time period that I experienced my parent’s divorce, my two grandmothers pass away, the love of my life leave me, my current girlfriend stirring toxicity, and my ability to think clearly diminishing. Just like when I was a child I was again alone to wander the world, but now something wonderful was growing inside of me, a new love.

I am a found believer that sometimes the most beautiful and meaningful things life comes from utter chaos. In my life, all the great things that have came to me did so after hard times. When I was an active musician, some of the best music and lyrics I wrote came from times of deep sadness. With photography, some of my best images also come from times of sadness, loneliness, and depression. Over the years I talked to other artists from different mediums and many of them agree that the sadness of an artist is what fuels great projects. I personally feel that sad creations are full of meaningfulness and emotion. Happy art tends to be more care free and dull while sad art tends to be more nurtured like a child. I often feel like my camera is my soul mate and together we create a beautiful family of images.

2013 was a crazy year for me. It was in that year that I up and quit my job, opened up a business, started failing at life, through away a great girlfriend opportunity, and went back to college. That entire year was the biggest emotional roller coaster I had ever ridden. Although 2013 started off rocky and plunged rather low, towards the end of the year I pulled everything together and ended up with two great photo series; Peculiar and Self-Titled. The latter series is the one this very book is about. It was a series I created for a school project that turned into much more. I wanted to create a project that not only showed my love for music, but one I could show why. I wanted to create something that would depict my own life situations, thoughts, and stories into visual representations relative to the music that inspires and uplifts me. Since music has always been a huge part of my life, I figured this was the best way to do it. I spent four months perfecting ten images to best represent ten songs that were a part of my life, and today those songs and images are known as SELF TITLED.