Looking At The Path- Not The Obstacles.

I don’t talk much about my battles with depression. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt awful- I really hope it’s a thing of the past. Let’s start in the past for those of you who didn’t know me very well. (Warning: Today’s blog is longer than normal)

I was a gangly, gawky, awkward teenager. Because I stood out, and like most other teens, I was bullied but kept it to myself. At age 15 I remember crying myself to sleep wondering why I was even alive. Replaying shitty interactions in my head to figure out what I could’ve done differently. I will say though, my mother was trying her best to figure out what was wrong since all I wanted to do was sleep and was constantly “sick”. She thought it was something physically wrong with me so I had a bunch of tests done on my blood and lungs. I went along with it because it meant not going to school for the day.

By grade twelve a lot had happened in my life. I fell into a group of friends who, by all accounts, helped me “self medicate.” Every Friday we skipped school for the day and drank. Not once did we get caught or questioned by teachers or parents. This little thrill ride was all I had to look forward to each week. And then that summer hit. Drinking wasn’t the only thing happening.

Getting up before noon was not a regular occurrence- hanging out doing dumb shit all night was. Of course I had friends and girlfriends and we had fun. I just didn’t care if I would make it through my early 20’s. I was driving down a lonely path as my family life was crumbling. Anything from my youth was long since a distant memory. My parents fought more, my dad was diagnosed with cancer, my sister was working through her own stuff; being broke and couch surfing was my new normal.

Suddenly I was an adult. Somehow I lost five years of my life. My doctor prescribed antidepressants to me. I took those for about six months and lost all feeling of feeling anything. That sucked worse. So I went off them on my own accord. Shortly after I met the woman who would become my wife.

She is an incredible woman and we have accomplished a lot together. Being with her- I only wanted to do; and be; the best in my life. We were suddenly buying a house and raising a family. I had something to strive for. A better existence for my kids than what I felt I had growing up. Head down + hard work= happiness? Sort of.

I still have days where all I want to do is sleep. I sometimes don’t want to face the world as I worry that it will crash down around me. How do I cope? This is what has worked for me:

I write daily in my blog. I do my best to focus on the positives in my life. This can be difficult and sometimes I feel like I am bragging, but those of you who know me or knew me have seen me struggle to get here.

I also try and share more positive images on my Instagram with the hashtag #livingmybestlife That is a mantra that sounds hokey, but really works for me. I recently watched a video that sums up the best way to do this. To paraphrase: A skier doesn’t look at the trees that they could crash into, but rather the path between them. Focus on the journey, not the obstacles- or you will only hit the obstacles.

I still have bad days. I know many of you out there also have them. We’re in this together. I’m just Making It Up As I Go like my blog states. Perhaps I’ll figure out the recipe to battle depression. But until then, it’s just a part of me and I really want it to be a part of my past and leave it there.

Da Ba Dee

Last year I wrote about Blue Monday. Well, here we are again- it’s that time of year once more. Blue Monday.

This year I don’t feel so negatively as I have in the past. So I figured why not be a bit more upbeat? Eiffel 65 was the artist behind the video I’m Blue from the 90’s. Most everyone I know will hate me for getting that song stuck in their head.

Besides getting my family and friends to hate me for that song, there’s going to be a tasty treat for later. My family picked up a can of soda from an Asian market today. It’s in a blue can and it’s called “Candy Flavor”. How fun! And I’m guessing sugar coma inducing.

What better way to beat the blues than with music and sugar! Like a party created for six year olds! Let’s beat those blues away.

If Life Seems Jolly Rotten…

There’s something you’ve forgotten.

And that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing.

I’ve always enjoyed Monty Python since I was a teenager. And ever since then I can remember quoting their songs, tv show bits and movies. What I find beautiful about that style of comedy is that they can make fun of the reality we live in and endure, but bring a smile and laugh to the audience.

Of course some of the songs seem pointless and ridiculous. While others try and cheer you up. Some of the humor pokes fun at the government and that in itself is timeless- “Help! I’m being repressed!

And yeah, lately life has been a bit tough. Lots of stresses being placed on me and the members of my family. From work to school to speed skating and beyond- it’s not always easy to get through each day. But I try. We try. Finding bits of joy and humor helps a lot. Monty Python wit is appreciated.

So remember, when you’re feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth;
And pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere out in space,
‘Cause there’s bugger all down here on Earth!

Blue Monday 2020

Today is the third Monday of the year. It is also dubbed “Blue Monday”. Last year I was having a string of bad luck (read about it Here: Blue Monday). This year has not been nearly as bad- knock on wood as they say.

However I am feeling more gloomy than usual. I’m not to sure as to why. I think it’s because I haven’t been distracting myself lately from the daily routines. Perhaps it’s the weather? Maybe it’s those bills that I don’t like. Chances are it’s an accumulation of everything.

I think tonight after dinner it will be time for a nice cup of tea and a book. Try and change up the routine of passing out to some show on Netflix. Shake up the monotony of life a bit.

Do you experience Blue Monday? How do you combat Blue Monday?

Keep Your Chin Up

It’s only been one week into the New Year and already I’ve seen numerous people feeling down on themselves. It sucks to feel that way but I can totally understand it.

With every New Year comes resolutions- those new high expectations we put on ourselves can be overwhelming. When we don’t see results immediately or feel that we can’t overcome a hurdle easily, it sucks the life out of you. I’ve been there. In fact, sometimes I still end up there.

It may sound hokey and cliche, but to those reading this blog right now who may feel like a poopsock- know that I’m still here for you. We can get through this together.

Because you are awesome and you make this world awesome.

Internal Battles

Everyone has a battle they are fighting. It doesn’t mean one is harder than the other. People put weight and merit on different aspects of their lives. But we all fight something.

I have had family and friends fight cancer. Some have lost. Such as my father who deteriorated over 3 years after diagnosis. Some have fought and made it through and found a renewed sense of adventure in life.

There are also people battling depression or mental illness. I see it all the time now. I’ve also lost friends and coworkers to this and it’s still shocking each time. I don’t know the right way to help those people. I go through bouts myself and have a tough time finding the happiness carrot. But I know it’s there. Somewhere for each of us to find it.

All I can say is reach out and help one another- no matter what the battle is. Sometimes a friendly phone call or text can brighten someone’s day.

That Wasn’t Good.

So last Friday I wasn’t feeling great and took a day in bed.  Reflecting back on it, I had a day of depression.  Me.  A man who is always chill.  The guy who is ready to be nice to everyone.  The dude who abides.  

I had a bad day.

My bad day began the day before.  It really shouldn’t have, but it did.  I started my days off by taking a nap post night shift.  I was supposed to meet some friends and a coworker for a beer later on Thursday evening.  However, my coworker was called into work and my friends had forgotten/ or had difficulty making it out due to weather.  I struggled on and went out for a beer by myself.  Talk about taking one for the team.

Having a beer by myself wasn’t a big deal.  I made a plan and I stuck to it.  However, as I was out, I got really irritated by a few women that were at the brew house.  It wasn’t their fault.  They just spoke really mean about the people they knew and did it in a loud voice.  *Lucky* for me I was sitting at the table next to them minding my own business- but eavesdropping on them without much choice.  It made me sad that all they wanted to do was complain and share hatred about their lives.

After only having a couple beers while I was out I decided it was time to go home.  At home, I ended up drinking another beer and calling it a night.  But the thoughts of how mean these ladies were talking about their “friends” stuck with me as I fell asleep.  That third beer made me bitter.

I woke up the following day feeling like crap emotionally.  So I stayed in bed and proceeded to sleep off and on throughout the day.  But the bitter pit stayed in me.  It took me the entire day to shake it off.

People can have a profound effect on one another.  Knowingly or unknowingly. I don’t know why I felt so bad after hearing these strangers talk.  But I did.

Drowning out the negative is difficult to do.  Moving forward I will continue to try and remain positive- both in how I live and act.  Perhaps my little bit of positivity can make the world a better place.  

Philosophy of Me

If you’ve been following my daily blogs, you’ll notice that I try my best to portray something positive about my life.  A part of me feels that there is too much negativity in this world.   If I can share just a small ray of sunshine or a glimmer of joy on any given day- then I feel I have accomplished my daily goal.

Taking the red pill.

Let me be honest with you for a moment.

Every day isn’t always sunshine and moonbeams.  Sometimes there’s a darkness.  A really crappy, pull you down from your happy place, bury you so deep that you have to dig out of the muck, darkness.  Those days I just want to curl up in the fetal position and sleep until forever passes me by.  Lucky for me, I sidestep the darkness and peer around the corner and try to tell a story or two of something uplifting.  

Tilting at windmills like Don Quixote.

I mention this because at one point in my life I was on antidepressants.  Which is really better than the self medicating/ intoxication I was doing to myself.  But I wasn’t thrilled to be taking a different set of drugs to alter my mental state.  It changed me and I could sense the change.    I became emotionless and I hated that more than being depressed.  It made me realize that I didn’t need the pills- I just needed to be more positive.

Oh cat, it soon shall pass.

That may sound like hooey, but it’s true.  After six months of being on the drug and not drinking, I stopped taking it.  Once I started making goals for myself by becoming more kind and supportive to those around me.  Then my life got better.  By sharing the good, I received the good back.

As well, not gossiping or falling prey to rumors: either told to me or about me, meant my life has less conflict.  I was able to start a long and happy life.  I want the same for my friends and the few followers I have.

If my writing brings a smile to your face, please share it.  If it makes you think a bit differently about how you interact with others, please let me know.  

Quitting Is Easy

I put myself in a bit of a slump this weekend with my Father’s Day post.  The effects of writing about not-so-pleasant memories drained my ambition.  I started to feel down on myself.  Anything people said, wrote, or messaged me- felt like a personal attack.  

The difficulty I faced was wanting to quit. Quit writing.  Quit working.  Quit cleaning.  Just quit everything and stay curled up in bed.  That was Monday.  Today is getting better.  I had a really good nightshift with some great coworkers who had no idea I felt like crap.  All it took was hearing great stories, listening to the laughter, and seeing the smiles on the guys who just love life.  Getting up and going to work lifted my spirits.  I can see why some guys never want to retire.

On an unrelated note- there are a few people that tolerate me or I tolerate them for the sake of the job.  I’m cool with that.  Just check your baggage at the door and we can make it through the day safely.  No need for you or I to be a-holes to one another.  We are adults and need to adult all adult-like.

In conclusion: work makes me happier-ish.