Clearly I have not posted anything on here in a few months and I’m sorry for the long absence. That being said, I regret to say that I am suspending this blog for the foreseeable future due to recurring health problems. That seems pretty b.s. and looks like a cop out, so I have decided to go deeper in depth about my story. This is the first time I’ve said any of this to the public, until now only select family and friends have been informed and I am only now comfortable enough to say this to the public. I’m writing this for myself as much as I am for anyone else, so I’d advise readers to stop right now if you came here looking for a post on sports, music, etc. Seriously though, skip to the final paragraph if you don’t want to hear the back story and just want to know about the future of this blog.
There is a reason that I write and Tweet frequently about mental health issues, particularly in the sporting world. 10 years ago I suffered the first of 6 concussions, the most recent one being about 5 years ago. I still suffer from the effects of post-concussion syndrome to this day, although recently I have found out that it’s not only PTS that has been affecting my brain, but more on that later. Concussions and mental health issues go hand in hand, you only have to look at people like Wade Belak, Derek Boogaard, Junior Seau, etc, to realize that. That being said, around 6 years ago I started feeling funny. Vertigo, migraines, dizziness and nausea I was used to and assumed it was all from my string of concussions. What I wasn’t used to was the intense feelings of sadness, lack of drive, feeling of uselessness, that sort of thing. I didn’t think much of it at the time, attributing these feelings to simple teenage angst. Then a couple of years later, during my senior year of high school, these thoughts, feelings and emotions strongly intensified. I will not bore anyone with the details, but long story short I eventually got diagnosed with clinical depression, anxiety, ADHD and mild OCD. I was immediately put on copious amounts of meds, including Prozac, Lorazepam, Seroquel and Celexa. I took those meds and others for 2 years and all they did was numb me and turn me into a robot, a complete shell of my former self. It is only now that I can actually think clearly enough to even comprehend what I was going through at the time.
During that time I had discovered the “joys” of drinking and began to drink heavily. It was common for me to be flat out hammered 4 or 5 days a week, although I was never branded as an alcoholic, likely because I was in my late teens and in university. Although not right or healthy, most university aged young adults were drinking the same amount, enjoying the “college life.” It started out that way for me too, but all too quickly I started drinking to numb my brain and forget what was going on in my life. Basically, I was drinking heavily and for all the wrong reasons. Alcohol is obviously a depressant, so in retrospect it was actually making me feel worse. A couple of punched holes in walls and bad decisions later, my addled brain started to realize that I should probably stop drinking so much. Unfortunately, my mind was so clouded that I was craving something else to stop the pain of being stuck in my own head. I started committing acts of self harm, cutting, burning myself, that sort of thing. The scars still remain to this day. I also started abusing my many prescription drugs, taking handfuls of various substances at a time. I can’t really rationally explain why I did these things. All I can say is that the self harm made me actually feel something again, which my anti-depressants stopped me from doing. The prescription drug abuse? It put me in a state outside of my own mind, where I could forget about the turmoil in my life. Eventually things got bad enough in my eyes that I had attempted suicide twice. I brought in 2012 on a hospital bed after overdosing on a boatload of prescription drugs, including codeine, Prozac, and god knows what else. The staff at the hospital put me in a 12 step program sort of deal, which I stuck with for a couple of months before realizing that I was not benefitting at all from being there. In the back of my mind I knew that something was clearly wrong with me, and that I did not want to live the life I was living. Not in the sense that I wanted to die, but I found myself constantly wondering how I got to this point.
Spring and summer of 2012 was tough. I was in the process of quitting all my prescription drugs cold turkey, and that was probably the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. My mind was whirling, the withdrawal symptoms were awful, I couldn’t think straight and I found myself suffering from anxiety attacks quite often. Despite this, I didn’t care, I wanted to be able to actually feel something again. Unfortunately, I found myself relapsing and craving something that would numb my brain. My prescriptions were no longer available, so I made the worst decision possible instead. I had used street drugs during the worst moments of my depression, not to feel good and party like most people do, but in a conscious decision to hurt myself. This time however, I fell back into the trap of drugs in a desperate attempt to calm my confused, poisonous mind. I will not go into detail, but I had managed to fall into a pretty heavy drug addiction. At some point my brain managed to comprehend just how much I was hurting the people that loved me when I was thought I was just hurting myself. It was at that moment that I decided to quit everything and do my best to turn my life around, if not for me then for my family. It was insanely hard, but I can proudly say that I have managed to beat yet another addiction, although I still had my other mental issues. I had resigned myself to the fact that I was likely going to be living with depression and anxiety for the rest of my life and just decided to deal with it.
Fast forward to January of 2013, just a couple of months ago. I developed a severe case of pneumonia and my post-concussion symptoms had been acting up more than usual. After going to the family doctor to get the necessary antibiotics to beat the pneumonia, my family took me to a Chinese medicine and acupuncture practitioner in an attempt to find a natural way to boost my immune system and maybe even deal with my mental issues. I had made the conscious decision to avoid chemical drugs at all costs, only taking them if absolutely necessary, afraid that I’d slip back to my self abusive ways. The Chinese medicine did a great job in cleansing my body of the toxins that I had been putting into it for years and I found the acupuncture to be highly relaxing, but then about three weeks ago I developed a brutal migraine that still hasn’t completely subsided. Desperate for help, my aunt and mother found an Applied Kinesiologist in Newmarket that had worked with NHL players, Olympians, other top notch athletes, and celebrities and had a lifetime of experience in regards to working with post-concussion syndrome. I went in last week to get an assessment, not really knowing what to expect, but hopeful that my migraines and PTS would be taken care of. What actually transpired I never could have guessed.
After giving the AK my background story he started doing some tests on me. What he found shocked me beyond belief. He found out that I actually have parasites inside of me that have likely been there for years. One is in my large intestine (which would explain my previously unexplainable stomach issues as a preteen that I had all but forgotten about) and then he found another one. This one however, is much more severe and finally gave me some of the answers I had been looking for. At first he thought that I had a brain tumour, but it turns out that is not the case. He actually found out that I have a parasite in my brain, specifically in the pineal gland. He said this parasite is likely the cause of my unnaturally long stretches of migraines, vertigo, depression and anxiety. This parasite has actually been strongly affecting the way I think, and has essentially been dictating my life for god knows how long. He suspects that the parasite has been in my brain for years, wreaking havoc and slowly killing me over time. Although this is scary news and I’m not sure what sort of procedures and whatnot I am going to have to go through in the near future, I could not be happier. I have finally got some answers and am slowly heading to the road of recovery.
Well, now that the long, winding back story is completed, back to the future of this blog. Due to my illness and the upcoming procedures I have to go through I have finally decided to put my health above everything else. I am taking time off of school, with the full intent to return to the wonderful school that is The College of Sports Media when I get better, and am therefore suspending regular posting on this blog indefinitely. I may check in periodically if I feel up to it, but my main priority right now is getting myself better. With luck, I will be back in action working and writing soon!
Thank you to my readers and to anyone who has supported me throughout this whole ordeal.
– Michael Revell