Blurb

Tonight’s town hall had some ridiculously good moments:

-Was the only representative of NAMI there until after the event start time, and DOMINATED the organizing and preparation.

-Was called a “fine looking man” and was described as “very cool” by separate FEMALE individuals.

-Endeared myself further with my ED and accompanying staff, and will inherit the full responsibilities of my new title: Peer Connections Program Manager.

-Was thanked dozens of times by all sorts of people for my assistance, and was smiled at more times than memory can accurately retain.

-Provided solutions and tech insight for future meetings with free tech stuff given and access to a working projection system.

Basically, this was another exhibition of my invaluable self to NAMI, on a night when it was desperately needed. They would have been lost if not for me: fact.

I’m doing a good job of being introspective lately. I’m aware that depression is there, and creeping in. It invades like a tiny, little leak, reducing quantity at an undetectably slow rate. Tonight though, I felt like I gave that depression a kick in the teeth, or patched the leak with gum… or something. I was struggling, but I kept pushing forward, lifting, checking, helping, pacing… I was in motion, but, satisfyingly, thoroughly exhausted. It feels good to be deservedly tired; an ache I can reflect on and be proud of.

In the past couple years, I’ve endured doubters, neglecters, forgetters and haters. I offer no argument, for there is no debate to be had when it comes to judging the merits or flaws of my identity. This person right here is who I am: subsequently, it’s who I will continue to be for now. I would like to note that I am constantly improving to find a better way forward, but sometimes I slide down the hill into the poop-trough. My engine runs on work, commitment and respect, and makes lots of foul boy-smells come out. The fires that feed externally derived hatred from others originate from irrelevant, dry and lifeless roots of a long dead tree, reduced to little more than a pitted and rotten stump.

I’m satisfied with my integrity at this point, after years of positive reinforcement. The future is a big green arrow pointed up. Evidence being impossible to ignore while staying honest, I’m quite elated at the current direction I’m going.

Goodnight.

Symptoms

I’ve indicated in past notices that I viewed my current neurochemical state on a downward slope and recent observed evidence confirms that. I am alert in this state, but struggling to maintain good health.

Symptoms I have observed in the last several weeks:

Lack of interest in extracurricular or fun things

Slowness, soreness, delayed response time

Inconsistent sleep

Dramatic increase in effort required to motivate

Isolation

Neurochemical imbalance/deficiencies/symptoms

Dependence on substances in effort to self-medicate

___

So most of that is pretty serious shit. There was no sneaking, these things have been accumulating, or increasing. Now, as I try again amidst the fray to gain some objectivity, I see how the symptoms of increasing depression have begun to surround me. At first, I turned to some default negative coping mechanisms like escape, or regression. I was having a lot of angry thoughts, and consistently find my arrow pointed down at the start of every day.

However, as I told my boss yesterday: “this isn’t my first rodeo.” I’ve been down in the black pit before, and my reluctance to go back is all the reason I need to be introspective. I was also talking about that topic last night at my Peer-to-Peer class. I spoke about how I began to grow “tired” of being down, having my life collapse and all that. I continually sought to treat my symptoms, but for years I never really understood myself, my habits, and my flaws which can cause me trouble. That lack of comprehension provided a parade of doomed solutions for me to splay myself upon prior to detonation. That dynamic proved both painful and unsustainable.

 

Responses I have taken to the onset of depression:

Initiated process with GP to achieve referral to see local psychiatrist (top priority)

Discontinued consistent alcohol abuse as escape mechanism

Discontinued abundant cannabis use as escape mechanism

Established regular exercise requirements outside for at least 60 minutes

Current medications are taken on time and regularly. Organized for minimal dose confusion.

__

I know what steps I need to continue taking to improve my condition. More activity will help contribute where my current neurochemical cocktail is lacking, but it is not a long-term solution. I need to be doing everything I can to sustain until I can see a doctor and get my medications looked at by a professional. Medication management is one of my “three pillars” theory of sustaining good mental health. All pillars must be strong for stability to be achieved, otherwise, things get tippy.

I continue to walk forward, set on improvement, while conscious of potential pitfalls and internally-generated danger.

Yukon Ho!

I always admired Calvin for his cleverness (although usually devious) and his imagination. Right now, I wish I had the same fire he has for venturing into new worlds. Frankly, imagination is a drug of escape in its own right, and has to be desired to be fulfilling. This might explain why I have been non-existent in my creative writing ventures, or gaming, or any of the peripheral fuzzy things I used to do. Real life has been fully front and center in the months since the move, and I guess it seems there is no battery for that.

Love. A strong bond as well as an aspiration for living. Over time, I have seen why it is better to invest in positive feelings, thoughts and ideas rather than negative ones. I have done better as a human being by accepting my failures and flaws, but still insisting on going forward/up. What choice is there? There is no joy to be had in suffering, darkness, and relived pain. Agony builds no bridges or houses. I was this once. I lived it. I saw where it eventually leads. I did not want that.

Life is like .0000000001 seconds long in terms of everything going on around us. Living with that knowledge doesn’t inspire any reckless or self-indulgent behavior, but instead does two things: first, it adds a level of delicate preciousness to life in its fragile, brief and fleeting existence, and second, it inspires (in me) a desire to make the most of the short time that I am given. My personal solution has been to live for others, and follow a career that satisfies the heart, and ensures stability for the future. There is a higher state of being, and it is called acceptance.

So, Blog, with that in mind, you can see why my path forward is looking so well lit as well as prosperous for the soul. I scrutinize myself from time to time with a god-like perspective, trying to liberate my thoughts from my head, it would seem. However confusing, this is working, and could be implemented as I have stated many times over.

 

Necessary Avoidance

I am endeavoring not to persist in polar judgement of things, and I do believe this is true in most recent cases. However…

I have learned that one of those areas that is still firmly polarized is my past loves. I can’t have them in my life at all, regardless of capacity. I have learned that there is no benefit in looking back, and the dead still do not rise up and walk amongst us last time I checked. The past is buried and gone, while the trigger on many memories can still be invoked and is active. This is the worrying aspect of my necessary avoidance.

The remembering is pain unrequited; a loss of unrealized potential. The devastation of a incinerated investment of love and trust, fouled by my own mistakes of circumstance. They are a disemboweled remnant of something beautiful that will never be anything more than the pile of organs and blood left splattered on the floor, regardless of my desire. I have tried too many times to resuscitate, staring the obvious impossibility down the barrel, and surprised when I’m shot in the face. I tire of this dynamic.

My own feelings are still not under control, at all. Even on a daily basis, it is a battle to go and do. The inciting agony of interference or invited contact from the past is too much to accept while straining to maintain balance. I can’t have anyone else now, and I won’t invite new people to participate in any relational capacity again. I am unfit physically and mentally for the task, and that is not debatable.

I don’t want to see, feel or think about it anymore. There is nothing there. There will not be anything in the future. I have no interest in this at all, and will avoid inviting any risk in the upcoming waning remainder.

It hurts, but “goodbye” is all that there is. I tried, but I was wrong to try. I was in poor judgement to think that the old soul would retain enough nutrients to allow something to grow. It is the past: unchanging and fading into oblivion. The future is all I have left, and I refuse to spend it pining for others.

I’ve wasted too much time as it is. The arrow points away from these contemplations, and so, I follow. Evidence says, move on… so, I try.

Felt

Dear Blog,

It is the pre-morning of a promising day, and I carry with me a suitcase full of arrived negativity. While I won’t discount hate just on it being itself, but I do expect an adequate discussion if there is something to revisit. I’m not shrinking from potential responsibility, but the mutuality of real dialogue seems unlikely.

So truthfully, a campaign of hate is not going to move any conversations forward.

In spite of that, I’m working at the NAMI office today to finish up some data entry from the Walk. With each incremental step, I’m enmeshing myself further in an organization driving real change in my community.

I have a lot of things I regret, and adversely, am very proud of. It’s not a polar world where all is good or all is evil. It’s a lot easier to slap on that label and disregard than it is to engage, challenge and reconcile. I realize rage of certain magnitudes has no cure, but needs to be recognized as unproductive given the multitude of other communication choices.

My life is going forward regardless. Is yours?

Walk Of Attonement

There is something fundamentally rewarding about survival through adaptation I have found. It’s a sense of worth, because many obstacles and trials were not enough to destroy the foundation and raze all that was built prior. Ruin should not be the mechanism of redemption because we do not reside in a world of unquestioned absolutes and flaming rubble. Instead, progress is quantitative; a multitude of accomplishments (theoretically) having been laid down instead, sloping upward towards a measured goal among many. This is not always easy to see, but truly can’t be destroyed without full and unquestioning self-participatory assistance.

There should be a caveat, because it’s not as simple as one small but purposeful paragraph (needless to say) to enact life-altering change. Pain is the key to recognition. Sounds unpleasant, largely, because it is (and should be). This may not be true of everyone, but hurt, regret, sorrow and suffering are an essential part of our human understanding of reality. Though we typically don’t live life at the extremes of emotional polarity, they exist as reference for when things start to stray from center. The drift of the perceived norm is the real piece to highlight, because there comes the setup for a moment when a threshold for tolerance is reached and crossed. At some interval which is different for everyone, a realization of position of the emotional pendulum is recognized. It is in this quandary of action that things become critical.

All humans are fundamentally different in countless ways, one of them being the cognitive tolerance for despair. Commonly thought of as an undesirable state, the supplicant of sorrow has a point in which the intensity and relentlessness of the state is unbearable, and in such stark contrast to the opposite end of the spectrum of feeling that dramatic action seems more tangible and needed. At this pivotal juncture, a choice can be made to continue in the current condition, or change somehow.

Again, not just as simple as a choice you make in your head and then boom, done. This revelation often comes at cost, and not always a productive result. For many (myself included) the first avenue consist largely of escape by one means or another (drugs, games, delusions, cognitive distortions), then suicide when there is no where else to go. In my own circumstance, I found that mental and physical isolation led to the trouble, a fundamental lack of constructive dialogue, as well as issues with being misunderstood and under-engaged. Plus, there are almost certainly lots of other contributors which vary per individual circumstance.

Given that death isn’t a solution to anything, and having failed at it personally, the lesson learned helps to dictate what information can be learned to push the load further uphill. Now, this moment of having been defeated in the attempt of self destruction or mutilation should serve as a marked transition point in which a new direction needs to be calculated. Or, should be. But why?

This is the most difficult part of the argument, because it relies on a person’s ability to compare alternating states of awareness in a crisis. I have never been very good at this, but the last time I hit rock bottom, it clicked. I could either stay this way, miserable, coasting just above the desire to exit existence entirely, or, to remember that feeling proud, or even positive, would be like fresh water to parched desert lips. The metaphor helps the imagination, which was a doorway, for me, towards realization and then action.

I, ultimately, wanted to feel good. I’d rather have many more days of trying for and achieving happiness than to check out of the world. The thread that kept me stitched together was hope. In and of itself, hope is too ambiguous to be useful. However, when tied to the looming mystery of the future, the window of possibility opens.

We don’t know, with any true certainty, what tomorrow will bring (unless you happen to be Madam Cleo). The fascination and promise is just as balanced between negative and positive as one would expect for normalcy in most cases. I personally hang on to that thread because I know that if I tug on it, I can take advance in a new direction. It is a hope that I am not eternally defined by the shortcomings and atrocities of my past, but rather, incentivized by fortune to make something better of the legacy thus far wrought. The ammunition to fend off advancing doubt is pride, and the individual actions that increase the evidence for having that radiant, internal confidence.

That may not appeal to someone grounded in surrender, but even the most well-established doubter can see the potential benefit of comparative reality assessments. See a future not yet realized, and head down the road towards it, I would say. It seems like a pretty fundamental adjustment to make if success is sought. I don’t pretend to be any more of an expert than my lived experience allows as I write this. I have seen, and will see, the very struggle I detail here if not within myself regularly, but in the world around me. I hope you can also see that this evidentiary argument has a real grounding in logic and constructive incrementalism. One step forward, two back, two forward, one back… and so on.

Join us. We are going into the future with the pendulum back where it belongs.

The Truth

Well Blog, the truth is I’m probably not perfect. Far from it in fact. I don’t attest to be flawless, more like acutely flawed but pushing forward regardless with good intent.

I am willing to have a dialogue with anyone about anything. I’m not set in some version of reality that has to be mine. On the contrary, I have much still to learn, and remain humble in my core (despite occasional excitability).

I feel fully responsible. I have been. I have regret that pushes me forward so I can do good in the world. I want to make myself into something better than who I have been.

The only thing left is to march onward, despite pain and trauma. I hold nothing worth carrying a great distance. It is what it is, and frankly, I’m only doing a pretty good job taking steps forward.

Humble to fate, I await whatever fortune deals me. Projecting no outcome, I endeavor to do positive things for those less fortunate.

Shame can be a source for change, and I am an example of that.

 

___

 

Don’t get me wrong about the gravity of my past. It is huge, strong and a constant reminder of why I live the life I have now. I’m no model of perfection, as I view such a thing unattainable. The only structure to progress is to learn, adapt, and try again. I have taken my life a direction I am proud of, and that is something undeniably real.

I know the past is full of pain, and I’m very real about that. It is not a shame I deny, but once I have gained a great deal from. If not for my past, I could not have become who I am, which makes me thankful for that pain and the lessons it taught me. The choice to move beyond is just that, a choice, and it is one I make over and over again as the days advance. There is no arguing that the decision to fight is difficult every morning when I get up, but I do, and I still try, because I want to be proud of myself. I am not now a quitter, and I do not want to be remembered as one. If I am to be remembered beyond the time that I die, I would like people to remember how I helped my community, and shown a light onto minorities suffering with mental illness.

I need to earn the right to be here in the world, every day, and to never forget who I was.