My Own Story

I Present my story to various organizations such as High Schools, The R.C.M.P., Community Living etc. The following is part of what I present. I am also open to any questions after each presentation.

Hello, My name is Eric Hunken,and I have been “Labeled” or diagnosed with having Bi-Polar Depression, which is a psychiatric diagnosis for a mood disorder in which people experience disruptive mood swings. Major Depressive Disorder,a mental disorder characterized by episodes of all-encompassing low mood accompanied by low self-esteem and loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities. Borderline Personality, which is a personality disorder – prolonged disturbance of personality ,characterized by a depth of moods. that really affect thought and interpersonal relations. This quite instability in my moods,black-and-white thinking,chaotic and unstable interpersonal relationships, issues with self-image, my own identity, and behavior; as well as a my sense of self. Self-harm and suicidal ideation. Suicide Ideation is a medical term for thoughts about or an unusual preoccupation with suicide and self-harm. Those are the labels a doctor gave me. There are many other labels people have put on me to to the nature of my how I have lived my life. The label I prefer is Person.

I’d like to give you a snapshot of what my life has been like. Its a big picture because I’m old.
Well, For most of my life I thought I was just messed up!,I was diagnosed after I was 40 years old. I’m 58 now,I was a very happy child, almost too happy. My mood, my life changed drastically after several instances. First after I was hit on the head with a 23 lb shot put when I was 9 years of age. Prior to that I was a very happy boy. That experience put me in a coma for a while. I was always quick to anger and moody growing up.

I had a very anxious and unhappy young life. Like many people I come from an alcoholic and abusive home. After being raped at 14 and again sexually assaulted at 15,I was quite a mess and had no idea how to deal with the enormous negative feelings I was dealing with. This was the time of my first suicide attempt. I had one appointment with a Psychiatrist who told me and my parents I would grow out of this. Pot and Alcohol,then seemed to be my answer at that time.

Over the years still not knowing what was wrong with me and why I behaved the way I did, I went through many relationships, friendships and over 50 jobs. Sometimes an Employer or a friend would mention to me that they didn’t know which Eric I was from week to week. I first got married and had children at the age of 30. Alcohol had quit a lot to do with that. I ended up getting divorced and raising my children myself from their ages of 4 and 5 until their late teens. Alcohol and pot still my being best friends. I believe now that I am completely clean from any drugs that the drugs inhibited my ability to make good choices for myself.

After a major car accident, I fell into a deep depression. Before my car accident, I was very involved in my children’s life. Always on P.A.C., I was a volunteer at the Aldergrove Community Police office. and other various volunteer work while working.While in the deep depression,I got involved with the hard drugs. I lost my ability to see life as valuable and was unable to cope. My Children had to be looked after by Grand Parents and later their mother. I had several run-ins with the police due to my lack of judgement due to the drugs and despair. I made another suicide attempt.

This time I was committed to the Hospital for 28 days. While in the hospital I was assigned a great Psych doctor, which is rare in my opinion. He spent a lot of time talking with me, also very rare, and eventually gave me my diagnoses. Initially I was glad their was something I could Tag what I was, that spoke to why I acted the way I did. I was medicated right away and talked with my doctor every week for a while and I seem to stabilize while having the constant attention. The doctor though, convinced me that I would always be sick and that I should never go back to work and just try to cope with life as quietly as I can.

While I was glad to hear their were reasons for what had been happening to me, dealing with what the doctor said ad with the stigma of mental illness with my family and friends really bothered me. My Family and my friends shunned me and asked me to to be so public about having a mental illness. So while on the medication and getting support, I was doing fairly well. Eventually the support fell away and I stopped using my medications and began to use meth,crack,acid,extacy,alcohol,pot,shrooms and really whatever I could get my hands on instead. I loved the drugs and still crave them sometimes. Of course I began a series of poor choices. I had totally lost my family,and my kids, and only had my “friends” that I used with. After some particularly heavy use of meth, crack and acid,I tried to kill myself again. I wasn’t successful, and I was committed to the psych ward again for another 28 days after spending a couple of weeks in intensive care.

After I came out of the Hospital,I made the right choice to get free of the hard drugs, so my girlfriend and I decided to move to Chilliwack to get away from all our drug friends. I still used the hard stuff a little bit but pot and alcohol was still a big part of my life at this point. I married again,I made another suicide attempt and ended up in intensive care again and yet another 28 day stint in the Physch Ward. My experiences in the Physch ward which are colored by my black and white thinking I’ll admit.,include trying to find help for whatever is causing my depression and how to get out of it. I’ve always wanted to feel quote “Normal”.

After all the previous times at various Physch wards, I was released and told to make my way in the world. without any plans of support. This last time in Chilliwack at the Physch ward I met a woman who was an activity worker. not just a nurse or doctor. She treated me like a human being and told me that I was valuable as such. For some reason because of the way she treated me. I began to believe her. This is where my journey of recovery started. After leaving the physch ward , i came back to what was called the ‘Day program where i began my journey of recovery .The social worker then referred me to two places that have had enormous impact on my recovery. Various programs at Mental Health. The programs such as Anger management,Relaxation, where great tools that propelled me to recovery.

I was also referred to The Cheamview Mental Health Club House on Mary Street in Chilliwack,wonderfully run by the Creative Center Society. The Creative Center Society’s Clubhouse has been the most significant catalyst for me to my mental health recovery. Getting involved with the Cheamview clubhouse I began to take responsibility for my own recovery and getting support from the wonderful and caring staff there. Getting involved in their programs. Programs such as their Employment program. The Camera Club, walking programs, I ran several programs like Kareoke night and a Talking tobacco support group. Outdoor adventure etc. One of the best programs I got involved in there was the Mental Health Stand Up Comedy Program. Where I got out of my shy self. and learned to speak in public through laughter. The Partnership program which is what is happening now. I feel like a real person and take charge of my wellness.

Taking medication seems to be important for me. It’s been a lot of trial and error to get the right meds, I still don’t know If I’m on the right combination. Psychiatrist are really only interested in managing my medication to make me manageable and are not available for any other kind of therapy. I don’t have a Psychiatrist right now, there are only three available in Chilliwack for about 85,000 people.

I’d also like to point out I really believe in taking as much help as available. Each and every program helps propel me to wellness. Other Programs along the way that have really contributed to my wellness include The W.R.A.P. program, The Wellness and Recovery program run by Communitas.

I also need to mention The Salvation Army. While attending a meeting to apply for the food bank to get food because of course what little Dissabilty money I got each month had to go to Pot, cigarettes, alcohol, meth, crack etc. before there was room for food. I had priorities back then, misguided though,they were.

luckily. I talked to a counselor and in a couple of days I was taken to Miracle Valley Rehab Center in Mission for a 90 day program of Life Skills. I am so thankful for that opportunity. I came out of that experience 90 days clean from any hard drugs. My wife and I are no longer together as she didn’t want to leave that lifestyle.

Later, Here in Chilliwack, I fell into despair several times and made several suicide attempts. Eventually I saw that I needed to be clean from pot, alcohol and cigarettes as well, and I am clean from everything for 2 years now. It’s still a daily struggle to keep away from all these drugs! I haven’t been to the food bank for 2 years now as I can now afford to feed myself.

Things really started to get positive in my life as I quit the drugs and went to a lot of support activities. Being able to talk things out with other people that are dealing with the same things I deal with helps immensely. I really wish I had really reached out for help much earlier in my life, If only I knew it existed. Perhaps if a friend or family member would have had the knowledge of what was happening to me when I was young and directed me to help earlier, who knows what I could have accomplished by now.

It’s taken me a long time for my life to get as good as it is right now. I’m still working on it. Now I live in socialized housing Called “The Village” which offers reduced rent in a clean supportive environment which en-devours to be crime and drug free which really helps me to stay healthy. I’m not working at present but I am looking for work and thinking about going back to school. I try to keep active. I spend a lot of time on the computer and have several Websites that I run I live on a $900 a moth Dollar disability income from the Govt. Thank you to all the Taxpayers!

I believe that’s its been me, my attitude of wanting to be healthy in all ways that has propelled me to seek help, accept help and follow the methods that have helped me get better.

I still have some periodic difficulties. I’m am always on the edge of a depressive episode in which I still have suicidal thoughts. Because of where I live and the support around me , I’m push myself to get involved in life. Speaking publicly, doing stand up comedy , ( I recently appeared at Yuk Yuks in Vancouver which was Awesome!) I’m managing to stay clean and working on staying healthy.

I am Eric, I am a person, I am not my illness, my illness affects my life. I don’t have Cancer, I have a mental illness and I have to deal with it.

Thank you, I hope I’ve given you some insight into the mind of this depressed person .

More Information about some of these programs I attended can be found at one of my other websites: @ Chilliwackspace.com
Borderline Personality & Bi-Polar | Disorder Info

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