My Journey It’s been a long time since I’ve written about my Mental Health and since it’s Mental Health Awareness Month I can’t think of a better time. Photo by Thiago Matos on Pexels.com I’ve been stable for about three years and it was a long journey during that depressive period. After being stable for […]May Is Mental Health Awareness Month, My Mental Health Update —
D’Amore Mental Health —
Jane from D’Amore Mental Health contacted me and asked if I would include their organization on my resources page. With May being Mental Health Awareness Month, I can’t think of a better time to add a new Mental Health resource. Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com Child Abuse and Childhood trauma can impact a person […]D’Amore Mental Health —
How Childhood Sexual Abuse Causes Physical And Mental Health Problems In Adults —
Carrying trauma from your childhood is so draining and it has far-reaching effects on your physical and mental health. Many people experience flashbacks and PTSD symptoms after surviving sexual abuse as a child, but often, the impact is less direct. Even those that do not think about the abuse itself that much and assume that […]How Childhood Sexual Abuse Causes Physical And Mental Health Problems In Adults —
Every Day Health Hacks —
Despite having Chronic Lyme Disease, Fibromyalgia, Hypogammaglobulinemia, and Dementia, I’ve been relatively healthy for the past six months. I count my blessings and chalk it up to some big lifestyle changes. I believe self-care is the things we do every day to stay healthy, not just the special moments we spend taking care of ourselves. […]Every Day Health Hacks —
Revels & Revelations With The Smith Family: Will, Jada, Trey, Jaden & willow —
YOU’RE INVITED!Join us for our 8th annual Revels and Revelations, a night of celebration and inspiration.Mental health conditions during the pandemic are disproportionately affecting young adults. Research shows that the prevalence of anxiety disorders has tripled since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our students need support now more than ever. We hope you can join us! For more information on […]Revels & Revelations With The Smith Family: Will, Jada, Trey, Jaden & willow —
Welcome Bring Change To Mind Student & Communities —
Dear BC2M Community, Although school looks a bit different this year, we’d like to give a warm welcome back to our BC2M students and their communities. And to the parents and family members who are working through remote learning with your children, we honor you.We have committed ourselves across the country to be a pillar of stability, […]Welcome Bring Change To Mind Student & Communities —
It’s Been 28 years……… —
It’s been 28 years since you killed yourself. Too many Birthday, Christmas, and Thanksgivings. Wishing I could say I missed you but that would not be true. I do have some great snippets, little memories from my early childhood. Other memories, more unstable memories from my teens when I lived with you. Driving down the […]It’s Been 28 years……… —
IV Ketamine for Adults With MDD or Bipolar Disorder: Safety and Tolerability —
Interestingly I’ve taken Ketamine for Pain Management but not for my Bipolar Disorder. When I spoke with my doctor about years ago he said that the percentage of people with my level of depression experiencing high results was low. The key to remember is everyone is different. The treatment is nothing like Electro Convulsive Therapy. […]IV Ketamine for Adults With MDD or Bipolar Disorder: Safety and Tolerability —
Kid Cudi: I turn my pain into art
By Celebretainment Jul 13, 2020
Kid Cudi turns his “pain” and depression into music.
The ‘Adventures of Moon Man and Slim Shady’ rapper opened up about his mental health battles during a speech for PBS’s Washington D.C. station WETA and the National Alliance on Mental Illness Home’s virtual event at the weekend.
The Day ‘N’ Nite’ hitmaker – who checked himself into rehab in 2016 for depression and suicidal urges – admitted depression has “ruled” his life “for as long as he can remember”.
However, the 36-year-old star explained how he came to realise that he could use his struggles and channel the emotions into his art.
He said: “When we’re young, we face a lot of pressure to do things that harm us.
We pretend to be happy when there’s a raging violent storm inside of our heart.
“Once it was difficult for me to find the words. Anxiety and depression ruled my life for as long as I could remember. I was scared, I was sad, I felt like a damaged human swimming in a pool of emotions.
“It took me a while to get to this place of commitment, to say I’m gonna get through this. To know that we can take our pain and turn it into something.
I turn my pain into music. And my music is how I am different. And my difference is my power.”
Cudi had previously admitted he was “ashamed” to speak about his mental health problems.
He explained: “I was really good at keeping my troubles hidden … even from my friends.
“I really was good with that. And it’s scary because you hear people say, ‘I had no clue.'”
He’d also previously touched on how expressing himself creatively has helped him to cope his depression.
Speaking earlier in 2018, the rapper – who has collaborated with the likes of Eminem, Kanye West and Jay-Z – shared: “I’m just creating a lot, with more love in my heart for what I’m doing and for myself.
“Living a healthy life, keeping my family around and staying on a mission, which is making music that means something.
“I’m focusing on my art again and throwing myself back into it and wanting to write something with more of a positive outlook on things, because I’ve written the dark so well for so long.
“I wanted to bring the opposite of that, you know? I’m at a place where I was able to do that.”
How to Stay on Top of Life when you Feel Depressed — Guest Blogger Coaching Skills International
Fighting depression can be really hard. Here are some things you can sometime help: 1. Acknowledge how you feel, and accept that this is going to be a more challenging day. 2. Commit to doing the absolute essentials but don’t push yourself to do everything. 3. Prioritize what’s important. For example, if you have a […]How to Stay on Top of Life when you Feel Depressed — Coaching Skills International
My Mental Health First Aid Kit — Guest Post Purple Butterflies and Winter Dragonflies
We have First Aid Kits for Physical Health and Injury, which contain things like Antiseptic Wipes, Plasters, Bandages, Slings and Surgical Tape. So why can’t we have a Mental Health First Aid Kit. One we can turn too when we are struggling with our Mental Health or our Anxiety is paticularily high and causing us […]My Mental Health First Aid Kit — Purple Butterflies and Winter Dragonflies
Switch It Up
Originally posted on April 28, 2018 on Journey Into A.
A couple nights ago I was having some real nasty, dark thoughts and I just needed to refresh somehow and home decor is one of my facets that really helps me out of that trench. I love it, I’m inspired by it, I strongly believe that what’s in your environment is what’s basically in your head. So I started reworking one section of my room and the final look is about 90% different than it was prior.
Here’s a little of the “before” and I guess a bit of background. (Side note: I pulled these pictures off my Instagram so they’re not all edited the same- bear with me here.)
Now, I have enough furniture (minus a couch and bookshelves) to decorate a 700 sq. foot one bedroom apartment- which is what I lived in with my ex for 3 years. So moving into a smaller room (12’x11′), I’ve got to “store things” in it by maximizing the space I have. That wall has 4 pieces of furniture on it. One being a smaller little thin table, one is a (heavy) confessional chair from the 1800s, and the other two are larger pieces- a dresser and a rustic thin table. Two of those items I cannot move, one is just perfect for storing smaller things and housing things I like to look at- so those three are permanent. What is on top of them or added to them, however, is not (except for the TV, there’s no other outlets).
There wasn’t a whole lot I could do with this wall because of those doors and it doesn’t have any outlets. The piece that stuff is on top of is a big rectangle table- like the size of a set of drawers, but open inside with one prominent shelf (I’ve got a plastic drawer that houses my winter accessories on there, some journals, helmets, random knick knacks) and one that’s more hidden underneath it (perfect for things I don’t know where to put/cleaning products/old paperwork, etc.). This piece especially had to go here because on the other wall, there’s the only vent and if it were to sit there, it would cover it which is a huge no-no for me when this girl needs her warmth big time in the cold winters. I mainly made the top of this prettier because it would be something I’d see more often when I woke up in the morning.
I had those baskets under it to house more books. The bottom shelf had books lined up vertically. I went through more of my things under my bed (boxes) to sell some items I should’ve prior to moving from CA- books, DVDs, etc. I sold a bunch of books that I really didn’t need anymore- none that would inspire me again- and I pulled out more that I had had on my list for a while. So then this area became one where I housed the books I wanted to read and this way I could see them and have easier access to them. The remaining books under my bed are ones I’ve already read or ones that I’m not in a hurry to read. I added a bunch more books than there was before, which meant I needed to make them all fit- which is how the stacking variations came into play. Those stacking variations led to openings to fit vases or knick knacks I didn’t have a place for previously. Then on top of the table, I got a Himalayan salt lamp, and the rest were just some knick knacks I had to make it look nice.
This was mainly moving that round mirror over and removing/adding knick knacks. I also got some fake florals from Michaels that I made into fun, bright floral arrangements for pops of color. To the right, hanging on the door, I moved a picture hanging garland that used to be strung around the mirror. I felt it added extra color and love to an otherwise bland/normal area.
The main thing I wanted was to move that mirror over which meant I had to move a top table organizer (not the actual name for it, but that’s the best I can describe it as right now) and a bigger piece of artwork. Not a whole lot happened here, but it spruced it up, definitely. The left wall, however, didn’t feel right at all. I had to move the organizer (thing) on top of the dresser because it was longer than that thin tall table which then lead to the TV put on top of it.
Now there was a lot of added height to that space which I hadn’t originally expected. I didn’t think that organizer was longer than that table, but I wanted so badly for that mirror to go on the other wall and the mirror wouldn’t lean safely on that organizer’s smooth top (it could fall after the dog jumps off the bed). Having started this project 30 minutes before bedtime, I had to leave most of the (very) impromptu project for the next day.
Like I said before, I was having dark thoughts and I kind of threw my hands up (at how I was feeling inside) and thought “okay change something”. My environment is always a good one to change up because I have to live in it and if it’s not inspiring me or making me happy, I need to find a way that will. I wanted these two walls now to be more colorful and come alive again. This photo was after I had looked around in the morning sunlight at what I’d done which was the catalyst to my brain then reworking the puzzle and for the rest of the day I was coming up with ideas on how I wanted it to look and feel, how I could have even more storage space, how I could be further inspired in my day to day.
See the finished product and read the last 466 words here.
Originally posted on Journey Into A on March 20, 2018.
I believe an update is warranted since I’ve made all these life changes…
It honestly feels like I have taken felix felicis, aka liquid luck (for all you non-Potterheads out there). It feels like every single move and decision and thought I make is the right one preparing me for the future I so wish to have. It’s incredible.
I haven’t felt this type of motivation in years. Solely because I had no idea what the hell I was doing or what the hell I wanted. Now, though, each day is it’s own step toward a greater goal. I am first and foremost bettering myself as a human. I’m changing the way I think and how things make me feel. I’m changing how I react to things and the way I talk about things.
Read the last 109 words here.
Hey there everyone!
Another change has happened within the last few weeks… I post a positive message (image) to my Instagram account every day! It’s typically a message that I will take with me through my day and I hope that seeing it helps others during their day. Check it out here!
Originally posted on Journey Into A on March 16, 2018.
Here is one of my playlists (via Spotify, I hope you have it). It has songs that make my mornings a whole lot easier! Anxious? Depressed? This playlist makes me feel at ease and joyful.
It includes songs from George Harrison, Donovan, Paul Simon, Carole King, Townes Van Zandt, Sandy Denny, and more! I hope you get the same feelings from it as I do!
Happy listening 🙂
Meditate It Away
Originally posted on Journey Into A on March 13, 2018.
I was having a really rough day just over a month ago and I asked my best friend for some help. She had a bunch of positive affirmations and I needed some. She also told me about a meditation app. That meditation app has been my daily helper ever since I downloaded it!
The app is called Simple Habit. There are 5/10/15 minute meditations available with a ton of topics! I do it everyday before I leave the house. It clears out all my anxiety and any depression I may be feeling. It’s got options for if you’re having a rough day or starting something new or just going to start your day, etc.
Within the first few days, I noticed a change within my self and mind. From the teachings I’d meditated along with, I could just let my thoughts be instead of letting them get inside me and fester. I felt stronger just breathing and being at peace. I had much more appreciation for myself and my life.
Read the last 143 words here.
Originally posted on Journey Into A on March 12, 2018.
I had a day all to myself recently where I could just relax and do absolutely nothing. I thought it would be a great day, but somehow I still ended up feeling anger or sadness. Before I went to sleep, I really thought about this and asked myself “what was it that got into your day to make you feel so upset? You were at home all day! There shouldn’t have been anything to upset you.” I realized that the only times I felt anger or sadness were from when I had opened my Facebook app.
So I deleted it.
Now, I just deleted the app so I still have a Facebook, but I don’t have the easy access to it like I did before. I haven’t fully deleted it because of all the photos as well as the fact that that’s how I can reach my page (to promote my blog). I haven’t been on it in about 3 weeks and it has been so nice!
I have been trying to change my way of thinking for the better the past few months and everyday, I still kept getting dragged into the same old thought patterns. It always stemmed from going on that app and seeing so much hate and anger and sadness and complaining. It was too much. If I couldn’t control their narratives, then it was time to control my own.
I didn’t have to go on it. I didn’t have to read their posts. I didn’t have to be upset from, well, bullshit anymore. I could free myself from it. I have that ability.
Read the last 221 words here.
things that broke me – part 1
After some recent painful nights, I thought up the idea to create a series where I can release some of the things that continue to haunt me. I am trying to change myself, trying to be more positive, and change my way of thinking for the better. This is my way of cleansing myself and making way for beautiful change.
Let’s begin with one of the toughest ones.
I was in a relationship with someone for close to 4 years and he told me “I love you” out loud twice. There were times where I’d ask him to say it and he’d mumble it, but I rarely asked because it made me feel so pathetic even having to ask. The first time he said it on his own was when I tried to break up with him the first time (a month before actually ending it) and then the second time was right before I walked out the door for good.
His reasoning for not being able to say it was that his ex had “fucked with his mind for over a year”. At first, I understood that, but after we moved in together (after a year) and then more years stacked on to us being together, it felt more and more ridiculous and got more and more painful for me. I hate telling people about this whole thing because I still feel like an idiot. Who would put up with that?
I said it almost every day. Sometimes, I’d try to see how long I could go without saying it and I’d only last about 2 days. Why did I try not to say it? Because saying “I love you” to someone and NEVER getting an “I love you” back is so. fucking. painful. After a while, I felt embarrassed at myself each time I would say it.
Oh and we’re not talking about an agreed upon thing here. It’s not something that was ever okay with me and it was brought up many times. Some people have an understanding or whatever and that’s fine, but it’s not fine when it’s not agreed upon by both people.
Read the last 105 words here.
I apologize for going away, but I really needed time to myself. I’ve been going through a lot the last few months, mostly depression, and it’s been difficult to find motivation. When it came to writing here, all my thoughts were depressed and I didn’t want the path of my blog to steer towards only depressed posts.
Now, I’m in a transition where I don’t want to dwell on the past, but I also want to release some of the painful things that have happened in my life. Maybe that’ll help as a sort of cleanse. I’ll release them here in writing and maybe others with similar experiences will see they’re not alone and that one day, they can move on from them, as well.
Thank you for sticking with me!
Visit my blog here!
Survivors Blog Here Celebrates the Joining of Three New Contributors
Come celebrate with Survivors Blog Here, three new Contributors have joined the Community. Here’s a snap shot: Alexandra from Journey into A, Brian from Owning It Log and Mackenzie from Living with an Illness.
Stop in to say hello and read their current post, each have personal sites, no doubt you’ll want to follow them.
Alexandra’s at http://www.JourneyToA@wordpress.com. I hope to bring other’s along with me on my journey as well as help and inspire. A large theme is dealing with major depression and general anxiety disorder. I hope you enjoy and stay along for the journey!
Brian at http://firstname.lastname@example.org is the core of strength and inspiration. He offers great wisdom and honestly from past experiences with an open heart. He is a Survivor to the core.
Mackenzie at http://www.LivingWithAnIllness@wordpress.com. Her profile shares a snap shot of her get-it-done-life-is-good-attitude. She was diagnosed with Auto-Immune Diseases Scleroderma, Celiac Disesase, Fibromyalgia, EDS and POTS.
I include this video for others to see the strength it takes everyday to survive. Surviving is not a one day task, they are life long challenges.
To Alexandra, Brian, Mackenzie WELCOME to Survivors Blog Here. xo M
Originally posted on Journey Into A on November 11, 2017.
My dad always tells me “use your tools”. Without fail, every time I tell him I’m feeling depressed or anxious, he says “use your tools”. From there, I’ve looked at my methods of helping myself as tools in a toolbox.
I’ve got a bunch of these tools and I’m always looking for more because not everything will work every time and not the same mixture of things will work. My body seems to reject everything I use in the spring and summer and needs something else in the fall and winter and that’s not just talking about natural supplements, but toothpaste, shampoos, and more. The more tools I have to combat the ebbs and flows of depression and anxiety along with the differences half of the year makes on my body, the better.
A few months ago, I was asking about a mood boosting probiotic and another customer mentioned Ashwagandha to me. She went on and on about how it’s an ancient remedy that helps elevate mood and a number of other things. I didn’t get it right then and there because, well, I had to research it. I didn’t know or trust this person and it was the first time I’d heard about it.
Ashwagandha is an herb that can help with a multitude of things, but I take it for stress and depression. I bought it about a month and a half ago and have only used it a few times, but it has helped so it’s added into my toolbox. It feels like it resets me or helps me to reset myself, if that makes any sense. It’s as if the stress and depression are smoothed out over to the side and I have an easier time moving around it rather than it weighing me down and suffocating me. On top of that, it doesn’t make me feel drowsy, which is huge! It’s now my go-to when things are too heavy.
I’m grateful for that stranger putting in her two cents. Her words stayed in my mind and led me to try another supplement to help me. So now, I’m telling you all about it!
*Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and I do not claim to be. Everyone’s body is different and what works for me may not work for you. I am merely speaking about my own experiences with natural supplements. I suggest you do your research and/or talk to your doctor. The site I’ve linked (here and above) is just one of many I have visited, but that one seems to be where you could get the most information.
Why did I go natural? Read the backstory there.
State of mind: Where are we as a Nation? Episode One
Unfortunately the newsletter I received is a month behind, however this is a digital series and maybe missed episode may be available.
What Does Surviving the Specter Look Like?
If you could see me you probably wouldn’t be able to tell what surviving means.
Unless you had it.
Continue reading “What Does Surviving the Specter Look Like?”
The Darkest Thing
Laying on the couch.
Skeletal arm around me.
Sucks my soul away.
This morning, as I was drinking a cup of coffee, a day after my 43rd birthday, I felt a convulsive scattering across the roof of my mouth.
I choked. And spit.
I looked down and saw the bug lying upside down in the light brown liquid, its legs kicking profusely.
I stared at it.
I knew what it was. And I knew where it came from.
The bugs had been with me for as long as I could remember. They are part of my life. I don’t like it, they just are.
At first I was afraid of them. Disgusted. I could feel them crawling over the surface of my hippocampus and through the channels of my amygdala.
I used to scratch my forehead incessantly because I could feel something crawling under my skin, beneath my skull. Like something had burrowed into my nasal passages at night and worked its way into my prefrontal cortex. And laid its eggs. That’s what my brother always told me. We all heard those stories as kids, right?
I didn’t know what it was, or if it was even normal. I was a pre-teen going through a lot of weird changes. A lot of things didn’t make sense at the time.
I remember my first experience with the bugs. I was in middle school at a friend’s birthday party. Introverted, standing away from the crowd. I didn’t know why, and I know it sounds selfish, but I just didn’t feel like being there. The thought of being around groups of people was daunting to me. I forced myself to go, knowing I wasn’t going to have any fun. I just wanted to be at home, locked away in the safety of my bedroom where no one could bother…no, harm me.
So while I was at this party, I felt the itching again. More intense this time. I was worried someone would see me scratching and scrunching my nose, point it out to others, and people would ridicule me. I tried to hide it. I don’t know why I didn’t go to the bathroom before it happened, I just stood there. To my complete disgust, the bug fell from my nose onto my sleeve. I gasped and swatted at it but it just dropped and scurried away into the corner.
I don’t think anyone noticed because no one said anything and people were even coming up to me to talk.
That’s when I knew I was different than a lot of other kids at school.
That was when I knew I had something.
I couldn’t sleep at night. I could feel the bugs scurrying over the macaroni-like canals of my brain as I tossed and turned. I was exhausted during the day but couldn’t sleep for beans at night.
I later learned about something called cortisol, and that it made a part of my brain larger and more active. This is what caused my disturbances – what made it impossible to sleep.
I think the bugs make cortisol in their bodies and then inject it into my brain like venom. It’s what makes me feel and act the way I do.
“It’s just a phase”, my dad said. “Probably from you starting middle school this year.”
“You’ll get better, honey”, my mom comforted.
They just didn’t know.
I didn’t know.
Eventually I came to accept that the bugs were there to stay. I somehow got used to the itching. What choice did I have?
My parents sent me to therapy with my ludicrous and unexplainable rantings of “brain bugs”. The doctor was gentle and understanding while I explained through tears and hanging my head in shame .
“They’re always there”, I sobbed.
“I know”, he whispered. “We’re going to help you.”
I didn’t really understand what the medicine he gave me did, or what it was called. It had letters though-I think an “s” or two, an “r”, and an “i”, or something like that. I was desperate. I couldn’t live like this anymore. Especially when no one believed me.
I took the pills every day like he told me. After a few weeks, the itching began to subside. It was still there, just not as intense. Muted. I learned how to keep the bugs more-or-less contained, though they were always there . At least the medicine helped prevent them from falling out of my ears or nose. I could still feel them moving back and forth inside my skull but I was numb at the same time. I think the medicine made me feel that way – zombie-ish.
I remember that several months after I began therapy, I noticed a girl standing by herself in the cafeteria. She was pretty so I didn’t understand why she was by herself. Probably just waiting on some friends I guessed.
Her eyes darted around the room, almost like she was nervous or didn’t want to be there.
And then I saw her scratch her forehead and wrinkle her nose a few times.
When I walked over to her, she sheepishly looked at me with the one eye that wasn’t hidden behind her beautiful brown hair.
“I’ve got ’em, too”, I told her, casting my gaze down to the ground.
A tear glistened down her cheek.
“Come on”, I nodded.
She smiled. Her eyebrow lifted.
And we turned and got into line to buy our food
Today I Created a Facebook page…
So I took the plunge and published a Facebook page, “Surviving the Specter”. I want to reach more people so they know they are not alone in their struggles…that there are others out there going through the same things.
My WP blogs will be pushed out through this page as well as at my Twitter handle – #sts91414. I figured my handle would be easy to remember since it’s the first letter of each of the words in my blog’s title, as well as the date I attempted suicide.
I plan on publishing the story of the night I took my life next month, September, which is Suicide Awareness Month in the U.S. If you haven’t read it may you could stop by and give it a read and leave some thoughts.
Thank you friends, for your support through words, comments, calls, and email subscriptions, and Follows. I appreciate it more than you know.
My Depression Controls Me
Unfortunately, I can empathize with you, my friend.
For my depression controls me, too.
It is not a passing state of mind, nor a feeling.
It is something we survive through every day.
Sometimes, on certain days, it’s not as intense.
But it is always there.
A lot of people may never guess because I try to hide it.
I hide it by staying to myself.
And by pretending like I am concentrating and hard at work.
I am introverted…
…because I don’t want to pull other people down with me.
If my friends didn’t invite me to do things with them…
…I would constantly isolate.
A lot of the times I say “no” anyways because I am “busy”.
I know I am not alone, but a lot of the time it feels that way.
It ruins my intimate relationships.
It makes me run away from those who love me.
This depression sucks the happy out of me.
Even on sunny, beautiful days, all I can see is gray.
I sleep – a lot. Because depression numbs me.
I get frustrated with myself all the time because of how things are.
I don’t want it to be this way, but it just is.
This Depression Thing
The whole issue with this depression thing – it has sucked all life out of me like some soul harvester.
This past year has been one of the most relentless struggles I’ve had to endure. It gets worse each day I aimlessly trudge through my daily dosage of hours like a walker. And I don’t see an end in sight.
I feel like I stare at an hourglass in front of me. Glossy-eyed and lost faced, watching each grain of sand tumble through the bottleneck , building up the mountain in the chamber below that represents time passed.
The sand falls in slow motion.
Maybe you can relate?
I don’t see the sunshine. I’ve had this gray film over my life. It is a sunny, bright, 82º outside my Norfolk, VA apartment. I can’t see it. I don’t feel the warmth in my soul. I keep all the blinds shut. It’s not the kind of depression where you can simply open the blinds and the gray is gone. That doesn’t work. Our friends will suggest it…to open the shades and let the sunshine in. But those who don’t live with it can’t ever understand that just doesn’t work. It’s a fog of war. It stays.It permeates the skin and sinks down to the core. It’s a wave that has to be ridden.
I’ve been riding the crashing part of the barrel for months.
I have no drive. It’s really hard to continue when you feel so hopelessly apathetic. I get so sick of looking at the hourglass and longing for sleep. If I feel inspired to do something I change to something else before I finish what I started. So many things left unfinished. I wander back and forth in my apartment sometimes feeling that I’m going crazy. Most people that don’t live with this affliction would quickly suggest to exercise. All the other articles and advice out there scream that, but how can you bring yourself to that if you can’t even walk across the street to the beach on such an ideal day?
I’m numb and I don’t feel happiness. I don’t feel the happiness that other people feel when it’s sunny out. I should. I want to feel it. I want to feel “normal”. I want the chemicals in my body to react like that. I don’t want to be numb anymore. Catatonic. Zombie-ish. I’m trying to blog it out because journaling is supposed to be the best form of therapy for depression. It hardly is for me. It’s not cathartic. I’ve had an impossible time dragging myself to type this post and hardly feel any form of relief or healing from doing so. Getting a buzz from drinking (exactly the opposite of what I need to be doing, I know) used to give me a tinge of happiness. Now, that doesn’t even work. I’ve lost all interest in all things: writing, drinking, walking on the beach, reading, drawing, sex, photography, being a dad, friendships. I’ve thought a lot about dying. Not being suicidal, but just as a quiet way to end the mind numbing hourglass watching.
I fail at relationship. I isolate. I drive people away. I drive myself away from people. I isolate myself from those who love and care about me. It makes me drive those away who love me.
I’ve lost a foothold in my faith. I used to find peace when I read the Word and prayed early in the morning. That has been sucked away too. I don’t have the same happiness that I see on other believers’ faces, like when I used to go to church. I want that simple happiness of just waking up and being happy. I know they have their own problems, and sometimes that smile is just plastered on, but I just want to feel the Spirit move me to happiness.
* * *
How does your depression make you feel?
Maybe all this strikes a cord. If it does, please remember: you certainly are not alone.
Here’s my fantasy world map so far…
Some time ago I posted about beginning to write short fantasy stories dealing with depression and made a fantasy map of the world I was envisioning. If you’ve been following along, you’ve read about the hero, Catharsis and my regular followers probably know that this is me and his early dealings are based on my suicide attempt.
Here is what the world map of Jiyan (“Life”) has evolved to so far. It’s still a work in progress!
Here is the original map I started with…
And I redrew it here…
This region is located in the southwest corner of the world map at the top (with all the pencil notations), just so you can see how it will all fit in.
I’ve had a hard time coming up with more ideas for the stories, or turning those stories into chapters, and it would REALLY help me to hear comments and suggestions on what I can do to improve them if you go back to read the Short Stories category.
Thank you friends, I’m excited to hear your suggestions!
23 Photos that nail what it’s like to have depression
Watch “Meghan Trainor – Like I’m Gonna Lose You ft. John Legend” on YouTube
An Update About My TMS Consultation
Last Friday, the 13th, I wrote about exploring the area of TMS – Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation – as a therapy (wish I could type “solution” there) for my depression…my mind that won’t light up.
This past Tuesday I had my consultation and while I am a candidate for the treatment (sirrrrrPRISE, SIIIIIIIRprise) my first important piece of information is that the therapy isn’t covered by my insurance. In fact, the regional manager told me, my insurance was the only one that didn’t cover it. He went on to explain that my insurance currently has a lawsuit against them for not covering the program.
Out of pocket the program will cost $7800.00. Ain’t nobody got pockets that deep, yo! But even then, I would totally go on a payment plan, it’s just these other payment plans I’m on are going to prevent that.
The good news is that there is still a chance my insurance may change its mind when the policy is reviewed at the end of this month.
I’ll keep praying.
If you’re brain won’t light up and you are interested in more information. I’ve included some links here. You can also peruse “TMS” on YouTube.
Links for further reading:
TMS Neurohealth Centers
The Mayo Clinic
Neurostar TMS Therapy
Why Won’t My Brain Light Up?
(or, My Decision to Explore TMS)
It’s simple really.
Why my brain doesn’t light up.
From the information I’ve read and the images I’ve seen, the depressed brain doesn’t do much “lighting”. And I’ve suffered with it since middle school.
I realized something wasn’t right and was making me extremely “sad” when I had a razor blade on my desk, alongside a note to my parents. A note saying that I was sorry for being such a failure.
My dad came in.
He probably saved my life.
I don’t know if he ever told my mom, but mom, he’s a hero.
Years later at 42 years old, 40 lbs overweight, and all the life sucked out of me, I’m giving treatment another chance.
Not in the form of body-bloating prescriptions though. I seem to be immune to them anyways. Or maybe that’s because they’re working?
You know. We sometimes quit when they’re working. We feel we’re alright. We feel like we’re cured. But it’s the meds kids. Don’t you dare stop them cold turkey like I once did.
No, this is different.
I’ve made the decision to go to a neurology center to have a consultation on Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy. If you haven’t read about it, it seems like a bright light at the end of my dark tunnel.
And I’m excited. Are you kidding?!?! A chance to get my life back?? Sounds good by me.
The only slight concern I have is about short term memory loss but that’s about it.
This is all probably just a laughing carrot being dangled in front of my face.
But a carrot nonetheless.
I’ll keep you informed of how this new path goes.
Do you have experiences with TMS? I’d sure love to get your thoughts on this.
wh atma y me an s2 m3
Being mentally ill with depression means that people may not always get me. I’ve come to accept that.
I’ve also come to accept that it’s okay.
A lot of the times I don’t even get myself.
I guess “understand” would be a more accurate word.
It’s like trying to explain to somebody what May means to me, except it comes out sounding like this post’s title looks.
They may never understand what it feels like. And I’m happy that they never will. I would wish this on no one.
There’s so many things I’ve never understood about myself for years, and have only begun to within the past 5-10 years of my life.
A list of un-understandables in my life has been:
I don’t understand why I feel sluggish all the time.
I don’t understand why laughing feels so forced.
I don’t understand why I want to be alone all the time.
I don’t understand why I don’t want to do things.
I don’t understand why I am always so tired.
I don’t understand why I see grey when it’s brightly sunny outside.
I don’t understand why at 42, I can still sleep until 1:30 on a Saturday afternoon.
I don’t understand why I set my alarm for 5:00 am and hit it until 6:00.
I don’t understand why I think of suicide.
I don’t understand why I pray to God to take me home in my sleep.
Over the years I have come to understand why though.
A severe, deep-seated depression.
NOTE: This image is the original idea of Cass and her site at the above link. Check it out and give it a Like!
So for me, the new significance of May is about raising awareness of mental health. And in my case, severe depression and suicide. It’s about taking a chance, stepping out on a scary ledge, and talking about my mental condition to others.
Lessons Learned: Some Things I’ve Learned from My Depression
I would hope that you would take these things and hold them in your heart. Don’t forget them. Remind yourself of them. And learn from your mental condition.
A list of understandables in my life is:
- I have a condition, not an illness. I am not sub-human. I am not sick. I am an extraordinarily strong person because I survive through things other people can’t imagine having to deal with. I live my life a little differently than others because I live with affliction.
- I am perfectly imperfect, and that’s perfectly okay. I’ve learned to forgive myself and accept myself. I have a hard time believing the phrase, “I don’t let my mental condition define who I am.” I know what people mean, but I think in the end, depression has set some life parameters that I have to (or choose to) live by. If I don’t abide by those…rules, I start to hear Specter’s rusty cage hinges creak and I feel him scratching on the walls of my soul.
- What I feel is valid. I am not crazy. I may be a little broken. You may be a little bruised. But don’t you dare let anyone tell you you’re crazy. Don’t you dare let them make you feel that way. You. Are. Not. Crazy. Real talk.
- Only I will take care of myself. I must take my meds. Daily. I must eat healthy. I must exercise. Meh. I’m working on the last two. Have
- Strive to be empathetic and kind. You know why. You have struggles other people don’t know about. So do others. I remember a time my Lexapro had run out and I couldn’t afford a refill. I had been off it for about four days and I could feel the dizziness set in from withdrawals. Then the bottom fell out. Specter’s claws were dug so deep into my shoulders I could feel them carving at the bones. Someone put their hand on my shoulder and sat with me. I was in tears. I was choking my words out in a dark chair in a dim corner. He made a call to get me my medicine. That’s why.
- Be a servant when you can. Help others when they’re down. People have helped me when I’ve not deserved it. Free of charge. Pay it forward.
- Exude grace. Strive to give others the benefit of the doubt.
- Have grace on yourself. Learn to accept grace yourself. Be gentle on yourself. We beat ourselves up so much each day. Allow yourself forgiveness. See #2.
- People do understand – surround yourself with those people. There may not be too many. But you know what? That’s just about the right number anyways. Find your devout warrior supporters and cling to them. Share yourself with them. Open yourself up to them. It is empowering. It is healing.
- My God loves me. Me and God. Ahh, yes. For such a lifetime I’ve bashed myself for not measuring up. Engorging bucket fulls of self criticism, guilt, and shame for never feeling like I measured up. Never earning my dad’s approval, or my Father’s. All. Those. Years. And I got it wrong. His scars are enough to cover my soul. His Grace is the way to my healing. His forgiveness is the magnetic north to my moral compass. SOso many times I fail. Flat on my face. He’s always there to pick me up and hug me with a gentle, warm smile.
Now…Let’s take back our lives and make this our new fight song! This one’s for you Niki.
Time after time as we march side by side
Through the valleys of evil and the torturing souls,
Night after night, for the glory we fight,
In the kingdom of madness and the tales from the old
Death by our hands, for the higher command,
As the darkness surrounds us hear the cries as they fall
Fire burning steel and the tyrants will kneel
Hearts burning stronger with the power of the sword
Set sail for the glory,
Pray for the master of war (pray for the master of war)
Sunlight will fall by the wastelands,
Endless rise for the heroes before
Sword in his hand,
Titans of justice, fearless we stand
Strong in command
Blessed by the union, freedom of man
Reckoning day, for the demons we slay,
With the force of a dragon we will conquer them all!
Chaos still reigns devastation and flames
For the ultimate glory when the legacy calls
Through the hellfire
Blazing for the darkness beyond (blazing for the darkness beyond)
Nightmare return of the thousands
Giving rise to the heroes once more
Sword in his hand,
Titans of justice, fearless we stand
Strong in command
Blessed by the union, freedom of man
In the eyes of broken dreams,
Outside of the wasted and torn,
A land of tears still remains
Soldiers of destiny calling,
And the fallen will rise up again,
Conquer the forces of evil and fight to the end
Sword in his hand,
Titans of justice, fearless we stand
Strong in command,
Saviour of nations, freedom of man
Sword in his hand,
One final stand
Strong in command,
Blessed by the union, freedom of man
Blessed by the union of man
I Want to See What You See | Poetry
Camera lens of happiness, to take away the grey
Cuz sunshine’s there, I see it, it’s just a million miles away.
Camera lens of hopefulness, to take away despair
The never ending fog of war, the loss of will to care.
Camera lens of energy, to take away the apathy
The never ending lethargy, the sits inside of me.
Camera lens of healing, to take away the pain
Cuz sunshine’s there, I know it, even through the rain
Keeping My Brother
TRIGGER WARNING: This post mentions various forms of self harm. Please, my friend, do not read this if they are triggers for you.
My brother cuts…
…he also burns…
He has been living with me for a couple months now. He has no where else to go. He, his wife, and his family are going through the darkest valley they will probably ever go through.
There were things that were done that cannot be undone. Continue reading “Keeping My Brother”
About This Map
Many of you know I survive through clinical depression. And though I am 42 (as of this writing) I’ve struggled with this Specter since middle school. Many of you know all too well, the impact it has had on my life and those around me.
I feel pushed by the Lord everyday, to be as open as I can about it – feeling alone is the worst feeling in the world.
I don’t want anyone to feel like that. No one should.
I feel pushed to face the darkness, and encourage those who deal with the same demons. To talk about my experiences with those who have lost loved ones to this affliction, and may be themselves, pressing on through the awful quagmire of hopelessness.
So about this map…Having blogged for almost two years, I am thinking of creating a series of short stories about several heroes and their struggles with mental illness.
I wanted to share the beginning of their world with you.
I wrote a short story on stonewalling in relationships, which inspired me to begin to branch out with my writing.
Hello there. Welcome to this little gathering place. I’m glad you found your way here and I hope that you are able to take something away when you leave.
This post is not a typical one of mine. It’s not common to the past few that I’ve recently added. In fact it’s about as atypical as the ones I’ve recently written.
I’ve been in a bad way for about the past year. I’ll call these months the Dark Age. I don’t know if I’m coming out of them just yet, but I am blogging again. And that in itself is a huge step.
I’ve been apathetic.
I’ve been suicidal.
I’ve been drinking.
I’ve been living it up Netflix style every night with a party for one. Shades drawn. Door locked. A catatonic lump amassed on the tan leather couch that has become my safe spot. I don’t know if I’ve been particularly withdrawn because I’m a heavy introvert, but I have felt awkward and inept in social settings – yeah I don’t really dig those. I’m a big red X, Delete button kinda guy on those MS Outlook happy hour invitations I get once a month. Yeah buddy, cut my knees off and call me shorty – that’s me.
My posts have been increasingly dark and graphic. I’m like that anyways because that’s how my depression manifests itself. Actually, it’s not that they’ve become dark and graphic. It’s just that that’s ALL they are nowadays.
I used to do Saturday night funnies because they used to make me laugh.
I used to laugh.
I used to create these little phrases of hope in PowerPoint and post them. I used to write poetry regularly because I had it in my soul. I haven’t had those intuitions in a hot minute.
40+ pounds lighter and several years ago, I used to get up at 4:30/5:00 to exercise. Now I don’t even care to walk across the street to the beach for a stroll. It’s all I can do to come home, get changed, and plop myself on the couch where I mutate for the rest of the night.
Eating popcorn and Fringe binging.
I don’t have energy for a relationship, but have been in one for the past two years.
[I tried so hard to reach for the stars]
I feel like a failure and that I let people down every day just by being alive. That’s how depression does.
[But I failed you all]
I haven’t even played Rockband until just recently. Forced myself to.
Yeah lately, I haven’t had hope.
I’ve not been hopeful for my life.
I’ve not had “hope through Depression” like the subtitle to my site says.
It hasn’t all been suckwad
Ironically though, I have been productive in small areas of my life. Don’t know how THAT’S worked out, but it has. I earned a merit raise at my job during December’s rounds of performance reviews. I’ve been taking graduate courses for almost the past year…trying to complete a certificate in my job field. I have a beautiful daughter who I spend as much time with as her mother allows me to. But I swear, most days it’s the most I can do to drag myself out of bed after hitting Snooze for 90 minutes, wiping the sleepy dirt from my eyes, and getting in the shower then heading to work.
Soooo anywho, that’s been my life for the past, longest time.
Sass’ – the catalyst
A fellow blogger, a friend, commented recently that:
I think even we, with our own Specters, forget how overpowering they can be and that we don’t want to glorify when it happens. We just want to be honest about it. And in that honesty comes bravery, even if you don’t feel it.
I sent her a quick thank you for the impact that her statement had on me over the past 24 hours, particularly when she said, “we don’t want to glorify when it happens”.
That got me thinking about the title of my blog-
surviving the specter
Hope through Depression from a survivor of suicide. “Specter” is the personification of my depression.
It got me thinking about rethinking that phrase, particularly that little word, “hope”.
What’s in a name?
I haven’t had hope.
I haven’t portrayed hope.
I haven’t sought hope.
So I think it best that I modify the name of this little gathering place.
surviving the specter
HopeSurviving through Depression from a survivor of suicide. “Specter” is the personification of my depression.
Lyrics courtesy of DragonForce, The Day.
Depression | [POETRY]
Driven to the hinterlands
driven to the gray
by the chemical reaction
of the chemicals I take
to balance the effects
of the chemicals I make
Sometimes | [POETRY]
Just a quick poem that came to mind tonight.
To my friends who will call because they’re worried, I am fine. I promise. Mom, Chelise, Mistaken…I really am.
…Just a little bout with Specter.
But he ain’t gonna win.
I know other people needed to hear this so they know they are not alone.
Thank you for sharing.
Sometimes I miss my daughter
Sometimes I miss her bad
Sometimes I hate the loneliness
I wish I never had
Sometimes I like to be alone
Sometimes I wish I weren’t
Sometimes I wish someone would hold me
And take away the hurt
Sometimes I’m fine and focused
Sometimes I rarely am
Sometimes I shut the windows
And cry as loud I can
Sometimes I’m grey, the Specter
Sometimes I can’t bear the ill
Sometimes I think I’ll make it
Sometimes I doubt I will
Specter | [POETRY]
This is a repost of a four part poem I wrote on Specter, the personification of my depression. With it I hope that others suffering from the torment of depression and thoughts of suicide know they are not alone. Remember this is Suicide Prevention/Awareness month. Let’s help breathe hope to those who may be in a valley.
Thank you to my readers and followers for all your support. You are special to me.
Specter, Pt. 1
Michael please save me,
deliver my soul.
Specter is slashing,
and tearing a hole.
It bites and It gnashes,
and tears open my wounds.
I don’t have the will,
it’ll be over soon…
Specter, Pt. 2
…And as I looked up,
my defender looked down.
Descended and thrust,
crushed Specter to the ground
His lance tip pointed,
at the devil’s crown.
Specter’s incisors and daggers
extended and grown…
Specter, Pt. 3
…Specter shrieked like a pig bled, hanging on slaughter.
Its lips ripped back over its chipped fangs,
the skin grew taughter.
He ripped and he tore,
at my back and my flesh.
He knew that his time
was limited at best.
Because the archangel had come,
and bore down on his evil.
As I rode the waves up and down,
in this life, so surreal.
Specter, Pt. 4
The Final Chapter
…And Michael roared,
at Specter under his heel,
“Thou shall not harm, leave,
you are cast out.
“From this place you torment,
I will cut you down.”
Sword raised in death thrust
The Protector bore down.
And severed the devil’s head
Throwing it to the ground.
Who is Specter?
In lieu of September being Suicide Prevention/Awareness Month, I am reposting some of my older posts that deal with my depression, my suicide attempt, and verses/quotations of hope and strength. Please feel free to pass these on to others who feel alone – it is one of the worst feelings in the world to go through this by yourself. Thank you for visiting and sharing your thoughts, my friend.
When I first began thinking of writing about clinical depression, I stopped thinking. I put it to rest. Why would I consider doing what I was considering? What would I do in the face of my family and friends when they found out? I felt so shameful. So inadequate. So inferior. And I felt so alone. Especially as a male. Men aren’t supposed to talk about our feelings. We’re not supposed to cry. Not show weakness. Not show emotion.
This…thing I had, made me do all those things. And it wouldn’t leave. It just lingered there for years. It reared its ugly head more than I could handle. I saw its sinister teeth glistening in the shadows. Its chipped, stiletto nails sliding around the corner and scratching on the walls of my soul.
Later, through years of counseling and medicine, doctors help me put a name to this thing and they called it depression. I’ve come to call it, Specter.
A big step to my living with depression and being haunted by Specter was the realization of what I was going through was real. It was not imagined. I was not a freak or different because I was going through it. I was normal. The Lord just dealt me a hand that was different from other folks in my life. That’s a-whole-‘nother talk which I imagine I’ll address in the future. The biggest help to me was decoding the codex. Once I discovered the following four items, I could live with my depression. Yours may be different my friend. You may have less. You may have more. There’s no standard here. And that’s perfectly fine.
Here are four truths I’ve learned from my years of living with depression:
Robin Williams on Depression | [QUOTES]
I’ve noticed this post gets hits everyday so I thought it’d be worthwhile to repost it.
“I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless and they don’t want anyone else to feel like that.”
I Thought of You | [POETRY]
With this month being Suicide Prevention/Awareness Month, I am reblogging my posts and poetry that deal specifically with suicide, as well as those things that often result in suicide such as (but NOT limited to) depression, bullying, etc.
This is a poem I wrote after I read a blogger’s post about wanting to die. Please share it with someone you are thinking of that is dealing with this RIGHT NOW.
I saw you THOUGHT of suicide,
I saw you wish you died.
Your loneliness and brokenness,
Were all you had inside.
The noose, the pills, the razors,
Sing songs OF sweet respite.
I know my friend, I’ve been there,
I tried too, to end my life.
So hope I send my warrior,
My majestic, fighting friend.
You will not give up that easily,
You’ll fight it to the end.
When life, and friends, and family,
Jeer and taunt YOU to the last.
Hang onto life you solid rock,
Someone needs you now, not in their past.
Suicide – Real. Talk.
Jar of Emptiness | [POETRY]
Someone was preparing to end their life.
You prevented them from doing that without even knowing it…
Please pass this on to someone who is struggling with thoughts of suicide this September – Suicide Prevention/Awareness month.
I held a jar of emptiness
Lonely, full of gray
It sucked out all the sunshine
It took the joy away
You came and said hello to me
You put some brightness in
I will not forget your kindness
My thoughtful, loving friend
September is Suicide Prevention/Awareness Month
TRIGGER WARNING: This post discusses my suicide attempt. Please, my friend, do not read it if this is a trigger.
This month is Suicide Prevention/Awareness month.
And next week marks the one year anniversary of my hanging.
So I want to take this month to reblog some of my posts talking about this tumor that can strike anyone at any time.
It strikes those of us who are depressed most often.
For those left in the aftermath the largest question they have is “Why?” My family and friends wondered the same thing while I lay in the hospital.
I wrote this post in an attempt to explain what I was thinking when I put the noose around my neck-
When Do We Decide to Commit Suicide?
In closing, and for those who are where I was a year ago, right now…You. Are. Not. Alone. The feelings will eventually subside. They may revisit like Specter does, but you will know how to deal with them next time.
Right now as I’m writing this I have these feelings pulsing through my veins. I won’t act on these BECAUSE I know they will subside and I have the Lord’s strength on my side. It’s just been a rough week…
- My account is overdrawn (I get paid once a month)
- I started a graduate certificate and my tuition reimbursement hasn’t cleared – I am facing late fines and possible expulsion from the program
- I am worried about having enough gas in my car for the rest of the month and it’s only the 8th
- I was unable to buy groceries this month
- My girlfriend and I ended our relationship
- I was rear-ended last week in a triple car accident on the interstate
I just felt like sitting down and crying today. I feel worthless and at age 42, like I don’t have anything to show except for a daughter that just started 5th grade today.
Maintain hope in the presence of hopelessness.
Maintain strength in the presence of despair.
Rethink your decision in 24 hours.
You will overcome.
We believe in you.
How To Prevent Suicide: 3 Risk Factors For Suicide Attempts | [REBLOG]
This article was originally published at Psyblog, here.
A “depressive mixed states” often precedes a suicide attempt.
A major study of 2,811 people suffering from depression has identified three behaviours that predict a suicide attempt.
The study compared depressed people who had attempted suicide with depressed people who had not.
The researchers found there were certain patterns of behaviour which increased the risk of a suicide attempt by 50%.
- Risky behaviour: this could be reckless sexual behaviour, dangerous driving or some other form of risky behaviour.
- Agitation: walking around the room, adjusting clothing, wringing one’s hands etc..
- Impulsivity: suddenly doing things without thinking about the consequences or planning.
Dr. Dina Popovic, one of the study’s authors, said:
“We found that “depressive mixed states” often preceded suicide attempts.
A depressive mixed state is where a patient is depressed, but also has symptoms of “excitation,” or mania.
We found this significantly more in patients who had previously attempted suicide, than those who had not.
In fact 40% of all the depressed patients who attempted suicide had a “mixed episode” rather than just depression.
All the patients who suffer from mixed depression are at much higher risk of suicide.
We also found that the standard DSM criteria identified 12% of patients at showing mixed states, whereas our methods showed 40% of at-risk patients.
This means that the standard methods are missing a lot of patients at risk of suicide.”
Dr. Popovic continued:
“In our opinion, assessing these symptoms in every depressed patient we see is extremely important, and has immense therapeutical implications.
Most of these symptoms will not be spontaneously referred by the patient, the clinician needs to inquire directly, and many clinicians may not be aware of the importance of looking at these symptoms before deciding to treat depressed patients.
This is an important message for all clinicians, from the GPs who see depressed patients and may not pay enough attention to these symptoms, which are not always reported spontaneously by the patients, through to secondary and tertiary level clinicians.
In highly specialized tertiary centres, clinicians working with bipolar patients are usually more aware of this, but that practice needs to extent to all levels.
The strength of this study is that it’s not a clinical trial, with ideal patients — it’s a big study, from the real world.”
The research was presented at the 28th ECNP Congress in Amsterdam (Popovic et al., 2015).
Five Life Principles I’ve Revisited Thanks To Rockband
Hi folks. I’m Chris.
And for about 12 years, playing drums has been a significant part of my life.
I played throughout middle and high school and went on to play drums in the Marine Band for several years. My parents paid so that I could attend private lessons (thank you momma and dad) while in high school.
In lieu of living in apartment, I’ve had to come to settle with playing drums in a video game to whet my percussive appetite.
When I sat down to play “Critical Acclaim” by Avenged Sevenfold the other day, I just sucked. Trying to look for a teachable moment, I came up with these five things that I can relate to my life on a daily basis.
Sometimes my drums are “off” when I play.
Really. They are.
They don’t play when I hit them, or more accurately, they have a lag.
Sometimes my SMART TV or some quirky electronic bug seems to decide on an incorrect default for my drums. This can result in a delay between when I hit the pad and when the sound is heard.
This results in “missed” notes.
This results in my score going down.
Which results in me failing out of a song.
Through a process of troubleshooting, I usually find that I need to recalibrate my drums to my TV. This little factor has a HUGE impact on how well I perform for the stadium of overzealous fans crammed into my beach bungalow’s living room.
In life, I sometimes get off track. My actions don’t align with my beliefs. Sometimes my words can come out all jacked up, potentially ruining someone’s day. My temper flares. My mood swings. My irritability soars. I get overstimulated and need to take a step back.
It’s at times like this that I need to take time to get my recalibration on, baby.
I need to realign my thoughts, actions, and words with my core beliefs.
I need to reorient my moral compass and get my rudder straight.
Sometimes we all get off track.
Better get yo’self back on track.
Better get yo’self some recalibration.
I wish I could play all the songs on Expert and get five stars. The fans deserve it.
Unfortunately, I have a long ways to go.
Fortunately, Rockband has a practice mode.
After I humbled myself the other day to Critical Acclaim, I switched over to Practice Mode and played the song a few times at different speeds. I had to break sections down that were killing me. I had to divide and conquer.
Now I can play the song on Expert.
After playing it about 20 times in the past two days, I finally achieved five stars on “Hard”.
Just to be sure it wasn’t a fluke, I played it again to be positive I could get five stars on the same difficulty level.
Practice paid off.
When I took private lessons, I didn’t like to practice. In fact, a lot of the time I would practice the 30 minutes prior to my lesson, or even in the car on the way to my lesson!
Outside of Rockband, I can at times, suck at communicating with my girlfriend. – I fail “our song”. If you ask her, she knows the hours where I have a metabolic dip that happens to be exacerbated by my sleep apea – times where I’m about as worthless at communicating as a hibernating grizzly.
Being an introvert also puts me at a level where I feel socially inept when it comes to talking to others.
I’m also a “stonewaller” – I reach a point in our arguments where I just withdraw and don’t respond or even talk at all. My exasperation and patience has jumped out the window.
I’ve been holding myself accountable to make these practice areas in our relationship. Meaning, when I’m in a good mood, I’ll try to initiate conversations more. Or when I’m irritable, trying to push myself to say, “listen babe, I want to talk about this, but am just too tired. Can we hit this again in a couple hours or at another time?”
A lot of the time I’m not able to do it and so I have to start all over from the beginning of our song.
We all have things in our life that we have to practice at whether we are already good at what we do, or pushing to be better at something.
There’s things at which we all fail.
Better get yo’self better atcho song.
Better get yo’self some practice time.
3. Overdoing It
When you’re playing Rockband, you have to play what is on screen, NOT what you think the song sounds like.
You need to play what you see, not what you think.
You may have the drum chart to Your Betrayal, or Diary of Jane memorized, but that ain’t what’s on screen if you’re playing on Easy.
A lot of times I’ll throw in a bass drum kick with a cymbal smash because that’s how I learned to play drums and that’s the way the song sounds. But that’s not was the screen is showing.
Sometimes in my relationships, I assume things. I think about something too hard. I incorrectly interpret the tone of a text or read into something that was never intended to mean how I took it.
I need to step back and take things slower. I need to relax a little and take things a little more lightly. I need to be slower in my responses and give them time to cook so I don’t hasten out a response of anger and resentment.
We all have an area in which we overdo it.
Better get yo’self to chill out.
Better get yo’self to slow down and simplify.
4. Baby Steps
Compared to a teenager, it took me an insane amount of time to get to the level in that song that I did. I had to start on Medium then work myself up to Hard. Then I had to work myself up from three starts to five stars.
I didn’t just sit down and play and BAM! I’m at my goal. I had to take things level by level. I had to use baby steps.
We all want things too quickly don’t we?
We all have a sense of video game satisfaction and entitlement where we may want to get to the end sooner rather than later. Where we try to find an easy way around. Where we want to punch in a cheat code instead of unlocking the puzzles in the game.
We all want to skip the trials and journeys.
Better give yo’self some time to git to that goal.
Better get yo’self to take it one step at a time.
5. Time Signature
Probably THE MOST challenging thing for me when playing Rockband is that there is no time signature.
Time signatures to the musician are what signs and lines on the road are for the driver. They tell you how much each thing is worth on the sheet of music. Without it, it’s…well, it’s Rockband.
Rockband has a minimal amount of guidance and sometimes I have to guess at where the notes are to be played. I understand why this is, it just makes things harder for the musician in me.
My life is like that. I have several guides that I need in my life to keep me between the lines on the road of life –
♦ The Bible – this is kind of my oil in the engine and user guide. When I do devotions in the morning and take time to read my Bible, Jesus Calling, and In Touch, I’m filled with peace and hope for the day. Life still happens, but when I have a driver cut in front of me, or given a situation in which I have the opportunity to exercise patience and kindness rather than the opposite, I’m able to come back to what I’ve read earlier that day at my kitchen table. The Bible is my anchor point, magnetic north, and grounding point. It’s also the lines, the speed limit and other signs that keep me grounded and directed in life, helping me stay on the road while I travel.
♦ My friends and family – These are my sounding boards as well as how I receive feedback to my “performance”. If I have ideas that aren’t so great or am about to make a bad decision, these people help me see that. They may give me alternatives or sound advice. They may advise against what I am about to do or support me with reasons why they think I should make a certain decision. They let me know if I’ve earned a 1-star performance or a 5-star performance and what I need to do to move up to the top 5% on the leaderboard.
♦ My conscience/the Holy Spirit – Sometimes I want to respond to my ex-wife’s email and texts with anger and vengeance. Sometimes I get irritable with my girlfriend. I always have a choice on how I respond. When I respond negatively, I get a little pinging in my brain telling me that’s not how I should be doing things – that’s the Holy Spirit. You may call it your conscience but whatever it is, we each get that little morale alarm advising against what we’re about to do, or a little victory bell of confirmation letting us know that we did the right thing.
I screw it up a lot, but I can’t blame it on not having a “time signature”.
We all have a time signature that gives us structure to our lives.
Better find out what drives yo’ life.
Better get yo’self familiar with yo’ time signature.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post, friend. What are your thoughts? I’d love to talk with you in the Comments section.
Selfless | [POETRY]
Reblog this to someone who may need to hear it today.
Let’s reach out to our friends who are hurting.
He took a little piece of him,
and placed it in my hand
I was hurting, sad, and broken,
and I couldn’t understand
Why he gave so selflessly,
and cared to share a part
Of him so free and graciously,
a portion of his heart
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