They Tried to Teach the World to Sing in Perfect Harmony, but it was Way Off Key.

“All your beliefs, they’re just that. They’re nothing. They’re how you were taught and raised. That doesn’t make ’em real.”

That quote is from comedian and philosopher, Bill Hicks. I couldn’t possibly agree with him more. We’re living in a strange time when facts don’t matter as much as what people believe to be true. Evidence doesn’t seem to matter.

When we’re children, we’re told of certain fairy tales, myths, and fictional characters. We believe all of them to be true. But at one point or another, we stop believing those stories. We know they were made up. We know the characters aren’t true. We stop believing, for lack of better words, the lies.

So, why is it, that as adults, we don’t have the same truth filter anymore? There are so many false narratives and stories out there. People still believe them. Lies are proven to be lies over and over again, but it doesn’t change the way some people feel about the stories or people included in them.

Without getting into specific lies, I pose these questions to everyone:
How can we grow as a society if we can’t learn? How can we stop all of the in-fighting if we can’t even agree on what is true or not? How can people get better at deciphering misinformation if they’re not informed enough to know it’s not true?

I really believe this to be a problem. This goes beyond just politics. It’s about science. It’s about culture. It’s about life, in general.

I know that I don’t believe the same things I believed when I was a child. I don’t believe in the same things I believed in 10 years ago. I’ve grown. I’ve educated myself. I’ve stepped out beyond what was taught to me and learned things on my own. I needed to do that to become who I am today and to stand for what I stand for. And I had to filter my way through lies, propaganda, and misinformation along the way. I know that there’s a tremendous amount of news sources online that make things up. They’re proven to be lies again and again, and those stories still get regarded as truths.

If we’re going to just focus on politics, we have the Right Wing Media news sites and sources and the Left Wing Media news sites and sources. Not only do they put out almost completely opposite views of things happening right in front of our eyes, but it seems that whatever one’s pre-existing ideology is will determine whether one believes it or not. There’s no room for debate in people’s minds either. No FACTS can sway them.

The topic of political news manipulation is something I could go on and on and on and on about for days. Maybe one day I’ll get deeper into that. But, I don’t think there’s a point to doing here and now. If I said something that people didn’t agree with, even if I had concrete evidence, they wouldn’t believe it anyway.

In other posts, completely unrelated to this topic, I’ve said that we need to be better. We really do need to be better. We just need to be better at filtering the garbage and believing truth. Facts matter. Not alternative facts. Not conjecture, not theories, but FACTS. I’ve written something about that in the past, which you can read here if you want.

Are we so gullible as a society that facts don’t matter? I would like to hope not, but evidence says otherwise. And I believe in evidence. And I believe that if we don’t agree on evidence and facts, it may be impossible for our society to come together. We need to let go of much of what we were taught. Just because a parent or teacher said something to you doesn’t make it right or true. It just means they believed it.

How much prejudice that someone has is strictly because someone told them something about someone else? How many wars have raged for generations because of a simple misinterpretation of a story? How many wars have gone on for so long that people don’t even know why they dislike the other side, they just know they dislike them?

We will not come together as one. We will not grow together. We will not improve the lives of many people that need our help. We will not do any of that until we agree on the reasons they need the help.

We need to think for ourselves. We need to let evidence dictate our beliefs more than hearsay. I don’t think the concept is that difficult.

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I Will Feel Great Without My Weight Pulling Me Down.

This entry is an amalgamation of two of three that I’ve been thinking about writing and even one or two that I didn’t want to write. There’s just A LOT going on in my head right now and after writing an initial draft of a blog, I realized how connected all of the topics I’ve been thinking of are. I was going to write just about how tired I am and I have no time for anything. Then I was thinking about how my finances aren’t good. Then I was thinking about how I’m just stressed out about other factors in my life. Then I realized, it’s all connected.

I’m 41 years old. I’ve never moved out on my own. I can’t afford to do it. I can’t even afford to take that chance. I make more than $5 over my state’s minimum per hour wage, I make over $8 less per hour than the minimum needed to live in an apartment in my area. And by live, I mean LIVE. Not just survive. Not eat rice and beans every day. I am well aware of how my living and financial situation very likely hinders my social life. I know how unappealing it makes me in the dating world. I just don’t know what to do about it.

Our time here is very limited. I want to make the best of my time, but I don’t know if I have enough time to do that. I barely have the time to write this entry.  My free time on a day to day basis seems to be even more limited now. I feel lots of pressure to get stuff done in that limited time. But, I have so much that I NEED to get done that I sometimes have trouble deciding where my focus should be. It doesn’t help that I probably suffer from some kind of un-diagnosed Attention Deficit Disorder. I don’t know where to begin, as this entry may really indicate.

I believe that I’m surviving in an economic system that isn’t designed for me to succeed in. The pressure that adds to me (and so many others) is very intense. I work a full-time office job. It’s 40 hours per week, but due to the distance I have to travel, it takes up 50 hours of my time each week. That’s a lot of time. No, getting a new job closer to my house that pays better isn’t necessarily an option. There’s a reason I have that job. It’s what was available to me. And it’s still a better situation for me than I was in at this time last year when I was working multiple jobs for about the same money with only only one guaranteed day off per week.

I worked in the retail world for 20 years. There isn’t a lot of money there. For the most part, I enjoyed what I did. But, I never made a lot of money doing it. Nobody makes a lot of money in that world without a lot of sacrifice. In order to make a good living there, you need to be a salaried manager. That also means you’ll probably be working 50-60 hours per week and get paid for 40. It means you’ll work holidays. It means you’ll have no time for friends or family. I don’t know if I could do that, even if I was given the chance.

As it stands now, I don’t have much time for socializing and I don’t have much money for it either. But, I still do what I can. I go to concerts. I go to some wrestling shows. I try to entertain myself as much as I can. I need the relief. But, every single thing I do stresses me out. I’m stressed when I lounge. I stress over making leisure time for myself. And when I’m in that leisure time, I’m stressed about how much it’s costing me or how I could be doing something else or how little time I have for any of it.

Part of why I have so little money available to me now is that everything I do is paid for out of my pocket. I have not used a credit card in well over seven years. I got into a lot of trouble with those before and even though I paid off ALL of my credit card debt, in some ways I’m still paying for it. And I fear I always will. I see irony here. I can’t afford to take a chance on debts because credit card debt cost me so much more than just money. It cost me time and I can’t ever get that back.

Would I be less burdened if I had more money? That’s very possible. Maybe I could move out. Maybe I wouldn’t move out and I would just fix up my house. And trust me, it’s in dire need of a lot of work. I’m the only one willing to do anything about it, but I don’t have the money and I certainly don’t have much time to do it. Being in this house is another serious source of my stress. I don’t like what this place has turned into. I don’t like what it represents in my life. I don’t like that I can’t fix it. And the word “can’t” is one I’ve tried not to use in my life. But, this house is a world of “can’t.”

If I had my own place, I would be free of the stress that my house brings me. But, my financial burden would be so much greater. It’s a trade off that I don’t have the option of making. There’s literally nothing I can do about it at the moment and that alone sometimes and unbearable burden on me.

I work so I can afford to get to work. That’s what it seems like to me. I got my car in 2000. It now has over 200,000 miles on it. If it stops working I won’t be able to get to work. If I can’t get to work, I won’t make any money. If I don’t make money, I won’t be able to fix the car or get a new one. But, if I could afford to get a new one now, I probably would. This problem is a source of so much stress for me and so many other people in my generation. I read a book that went into a lot of details about that a while back and have referenced it before, but read “Hand to Mouth” by Linda Tirado and you’ll see how serious it is and how there’s so many people in my situation. And so many of those people feel completely helpless and hopeless.

If I had more money and time, maybe I would go back to school. Maybe I would go for something beyond my associates degree. But, unfortunately, I have neither the money nor the time to even consider it. And I certainly don’t currently have the mental space available to think about adding that burden.

I stated that I’m in an economic system that isn’t designed for me to succeed in, and I believe that with all of my being. I’ve read so much about the subject and I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that the situation I’m in, and the situation that so many others of my generation is in, is due to the policies enacted in the 1980s that have never truly been reversed and have failed EVERY SINGLE TIME they’ve been in place. I don’t think it’s possible for anyone in the Middle Class in America to thrive until there’s a massive change there. I really don’t want to get very political in this entry, but this needs to be said. We need a NEW New Deal. We need to go back to the system that we had in place after the Great Depression. It allowed the Middle Class not just to survive, but thrive. It allowed business to thrive.

I’m not an economic expert, but I understand the simple rules of “supply and demand.” Many people in power today believe if you create a supply there will be a demand. But it’s not that simple. Many retail chains are failing because we can’t afford their supply. Therefore, there isn’t a demand. If there were less financial burdens on Middle Class people, such as myself, we would have money to freely spend without worrying about we could afford to buy more than just Ramen noodles for lunch. Give us access to more money and we’ll create the demand for the supply that the demand makes necessary. Then the demand for supply would create a demand for jobs. And all of that should allow businesses to have enough money to pay more than they have been. It seems simple enough to me.

Lessen the burdens on people like me and you won’t see me so stressed about my time. You’ll see so many people less stressed about how their compensation doesn’t live up their productivity. You’ll see so many people less worried about whether or not they can provide for their family and kids. You’ll see people not needing to work multiple jobs just to stay financially afloat. You’ll see a much healthier world.

I’ve sometimes given thought to jumping into the world of politics. I have good ideas. They could be useful. I’ve been asked about running for local office. The answer I usually give as to why I won’t do it is that I don’t have the time to do it. That’s true, unfortunately. I don’t have the time to commit to things that could improve my life and possibly others. That last sentence is actually pretty sad.

I’m scared. I’m afraid that nothing will change. I’m afraid that this is how my life is going to be. I’m afraid that all of the effort I put in will make no difference. I’m afraid that I’ll be forced to do NOTHING socially just to have a few more dollars in the bank account. I’m afraid of the stress that would cause me. I’m stressed out about possible future stresses. I’m scared and stressed about how I’ve been programmed to not have confidence in myself and the stress of the situation I’m dealing with amplifies that. I barely have enough time to get a good night’s sleep and all of this stress is preventing me from sleeping well. I scared that this cycle won’t break. My depression is keeping my energy levels down and it makes it more difficult to do any of the things I want to do, and since I know how limited my available time is, it adds to all of the stress.

I want to be able to enjoy myself. I want to be able to travel. I want to go to local historic sites and take pictures. I want to be able to be in a healthy relationship without having to worry about travel and expense. I want to be more available to my friends, which I feel I haven’t been lately. I want to be able to do all of these things without worrying about how much it’s costing me financially or how much time it’s taking away from other things. I just want to stop worrying. I want the choices I make to not weigh so heavily on me. I want less burdens. I want to stop surviving day to day. I want to truly live. But, I don’t know what I can do to make that happen. I don’t know what options are available. I just know that a lot needs to change. But, I don’t even know who or what can make that happen.

I guess the point of this post is that I’m really feeling the pressure right now. There aren’t any new reasons for it. Nothing has changed for me since my last entry, but for some reason, the burdens feel heavier. The weight of them is getting to me and I’m starting to feel the way I described in a recent entry, but it’s more prominent.

I will definitely revisit this entry and its topics later. Because, while my struggles continue, so do I. I have no interest in quitting, regardless of how much stress, anxiety, or other issues it causes me. Of course, that adds to the stress and anxiety, but well…anyway…

I Don’t Catch My Breath Until the End of the Day.

From reading my entries, you may have come to the conclusion that I do a lot of reflecting on my past. Well, you’re right, I do. And I usually do that even more so towards the end of the year and right before my birthday, which happens to be just about in the middle of the year. My year is broken up pretty evenly by that. This entry is another of those reflections and somewhat of a response to something I wrote a few ago when I was discussing what I felt to be the lack of progress in my life. I said I would write a follow up to it and with my birthday just days from now, it’s as good of a time as any to do it.

I feel very overwhelmed by life at times and very underwhelmed by results. Many things that I have enjoyed doing have become more a burden than a joy. I struggle with getting the motivation to do things that I know I should do. I think it’s a bigger issue than just being depressed. And I don’t know what the issue is.

I’ve written a few times about running races and how good those experiences were for me. Often I would be doing a practice run on a treadmill and think I couldn’t go any more, but I would will myself to do it. Nowadays, there’s so much doubt in my head about running that stopping a lot earlier than I originally planned is a relief for me. I don’t like that, but there’s a mental block that I haven’t been able to break through.

I felt that my social life was better over the last year than it had been in a very long time. I was in a relationship that really enjoyed being in. I felt it was easy for me. Many of the negative issues I had with previous relationships weren’t there. This one was just good. It was fun. I felt that it was good for me too. However, it wasn’t sustainable and it recently ended. Unlike other splits, I’ve had, there are no hard feelings here. For reasons on both of our ends, it just wasn’t able to be keep going as it was. Even without the animosity, there was definitely an emotional setback for me. I think my job was good for me there. It distracted me from the split, but I also think that distraction from emotions isn’t good sometimes. I think you need to feel the emotions you’re supposed to feel when you’re supposed to feel them and I don’t know if I did.

Much to the surprise of many of my co-workers, I genuinely like my job. It’s a desk job, but after working various forms of retail jobs for over 20 years, a desk job is beyond a pleasant change of  pace. In many ways, it’s actually ideal for me. I’m paid more per hour than I have been in many years. I work 40 hours per week. I’m still not able to make progress. The bills and expenses keep adding up. They keep coming. If I make more, the expenses increase. It’s a vicious cycle. This topic will most definitely be revisited at some point, but maybe not in this entry.

Getting back to what I said about being overwhelmed and underwhelmed at the same time. I’m still searching for that elusive balance. I want to just be whelmed. And honestly, I don’t even know if that’s an actual word, and if it is, if it fits this context. But, if overwhelmed and underwhelmed are things, why isn’t whelmed. Anyway, I digress…

I want the results of my life to match the effort I put in. But wait a minute, I just said that I’m having trouble finding motivation to do things. There’s likely a correlation there that I haven’t really put together yet. Unfortunately, the effort and the malaise aren’t in the same areas of my life. I work hard and get nowhere. I lose motivation to do things, but I still work hard. I do what I need to do, but I often wonder if it’s enough.

Where exactly am I supposed to be? Where exactly should I be? Are they the same? Am I there now? Who gets to decide these things?
Those questions are somewhat rhetorical and not rhetorical at the same time.
As I typed that last part, I was reminded of the first entry I did on this site. I guess not much as changed after all.

I’m sure anyone that reads this will think that I just need to change things in my life. Well, what are they? I said I was going to plan things out more to make sure I get things done, but I don’t even know how much time I have to do things. HOWEVER…
I’m going to plan things. Over the next few weeks and months, I’m going to do all I can to get myself into better physical shape. I will do my best to break through whatever mental barriers I have in front of me. Maybe this alone will be a big catalyst for me. Who knows?

I said earlier that I think it’s important to feel what you’re supposed to feel when you’re supposed to feel it. Sometimes that’s actually difficult and that leads to more stress. Last month, I touched on what it’s like for me to know a depression is coming on. Not being able to properly express myself at times can lead to that stress. It’s not good, and I have to work on that as well.

I write one entry per month right now. Maybe I won’t limit myself to just one. I have ideas for entries, so maybe I’ll just go with it when an idea comes to me. Although, I don’t want these entries to be less meaningful and thought out. I do my best to be constructive and to vent my frustrations in a somewhat positive manner. I have baggage to unpack and the more I unpack, the better off I should be.

I want to attempt to keep this particular entry as short as possible and not have it go into too many topics, so I’ll wrap it up now. I started my 40s very content. A few things have changed since one year ago and I’m not as sure about my direction. Malaise or not, depression or not, stress or not, I’m not done yet. I have absolutely no idea what 41 and on will bring me. I don’t know where it will bring me. I just know I need to get there.

To Weigh One’s Heart Against the Oncoming Dark.

Do I know when something bad is about to happen to me or do I just expect it? Have I been happy for too long? Was my happiness real? Was my happiness a delusion? These are questions I often deal with. And this isn’t necessarily about any one thing in particular.

I wanted to write this entry, which is almost a follow up to one I wrote just a few months back, because this is the last day of Mental Health Awareness Month, and also because the thoughts and worries described in that opening paragraph often show up, with no warning. But, instead of rehashing the exact same entry, I want to dig a little bit deeper into what it does to me when I feel a depression coming on. Especially if I fear it could be a big one.

The first and most prominent feeling is anxiety. I get so anxious and my focus drifts. I’ll feel completely empty inside, and I’m not talking about being hungry, that comes later. I’ll start to just feel afraid of everything around me. My heart will start racing, and that will make me more afraid.

At night, I won’t be able to sleep because I can’t shut my brain off. I’ll lay in bed in deafening silence. During the day, I’ll doze off because I hadn’t slept at night. But, that happens at times when I’m not supposed to be sleeping, like when I’m work or maybe when I’m driving. I’ll yawn a lot, and each time it feels like a breath taken during hyperventilation.

As I said earlier, my focus will drift. My attention span will vanish. If I’m listening to a podcast, I may have to rewind a certain portion two or three times because I won’t remember what they said just seconds later…
Ironically, it’s been about 15 minutes since I wrote that last sentence.
Anyway…

I’ll feel a need to talk to someone about my problems, but I’ll have the desire and instinct to shut down and and overwhelming urge to leave everything. I’ll want to go back to my bedroom, turn off the lights, and just sit there. I may have the TV on, but it may only be YouTube clips because there isn’t any way I would be able to watch anything longer than five minutes. If it’s the summer time, I’ll make sure the air conditioning is off. I’ll sit there in the uncomfortable heat and humidity because I’ll feel a need to suffer, because my brain tells me that I deserve it. I may have my phone off during this time to avoid anyone contacting me, even though I started off by saying I may have a need to talk to someone.

My instincts will be to quit things I’m involved in. I guess that if I have less to do or if I’m in involved with less things, it’ll somehow lessen my burdens and lessen the figurative weight holding me down. And once my mind is set to actually quit something, it does feel like a relief, unless I need to talk to someone about it, then I get very anxious about it.

I’ll want to do absolutely nothing. Every day tasks become a complete and sometimes overwhelming challenge. So much mental strength will be used us just to get out of bed, shower, and leave my house. Getting through a day at work, even if I’m enjoying what I do there, is still a challenge because I know whatever the problem is will still be there when work is done.

But while doing nothing I’ll wonder if doing nothing is actually hiding from my problems? Why am I not confronting them? Or is it just doing what I need to do at that time to deal with them? But, what exactly is it that I need to do about the problems? I don’t know the answers to these questions, and that makes it all worse.

Recent memories will start to feel distant while distant memories starting being prominent.

The emptiness I spoke of earlier will grow and grow until it’s a loneliness that can’t be subdued by talking to just anyone. It just lingers there until it goes away, but that could be hours, minutes, days, weeks…
It’s never consistent.

I could be in a situation where none of the blame lies with me, but my instinct is to feel guilty. I will accept blame for things that aren’t my doing. That weighs me down too.

I want you keep all of this mind right now when I say that all of the symptoms I’ve discussed so far are how I feel before the depression really kicks in.

If I’m truly going through a depressive episode, you can take everything I’ve talked about, multiply it a few times, add a total loss of appetite, the non-stop taste of bile in my mouth, and a constant fatigue. You’ll also notice that I may have no ability to communicate with you since I’ll lose focus during a conversation and forget what you’ve said, if I heard it at all. I’ll have the desire to find a corner, and sit in it, curled up in a ball. It’s a feeling similar to what people with claustrophobia feel, because it’s like everything is caving in on me, even if I’m in a wide open space. And the fact that I’m using so much mental and emotional strength to push away feelings, situations, and people during that time is exhausting.

I’ve done so much to avoid getting to that point. It’s been A LONG time since I’ve been there. I fight it off as much as I can, and it takes a lot out of me. I do what I can to distract myself from getting there. And sometimes, fighting it off can be such an arduous task. Sometimes, it just seems easier to let it happen and embrace the suffering than trying to fight it, but I don’t want to do that. I’ve been there and I don’t want to do back.

If I do get to that point, socializing is more difficult for me than it normally is. I will withdraw a bit, but if I have to be in a social setting, I’ll do my best, but what will that look like? I wrote something a while back that you can look at if you want to. That entry went into some of my social anxieties. If I remember correctly, the gathering I was about to attend around the time that I wrote that one had my so anxious and nervous that I actually lost track of where I was while I was driving there and made a few wrong turns, and it wasn’t intentional.

This entry is a bit more manic than others I’ve written. The thoughts aren’t nearly as fluid as I would normally like them to be, but I want it that way. I want anyone reading this to be able to see what my mind goes through during these times. I want to somehow convey the chaos that goes on in my mind.

I’ve read about mental illness and I know that not everyone experiences the same things. I know that how I handle, process, and deal with my depression may not work for others. I’m not even sure how well it works for me. But, for now, I have a sense of control of it. I’ve been through it enough times to know how to not let it get too far gone.

I don’t know how much control I have over certain aspects of my life and I certainly don’t know if I have that much control over my mind, but I can do my best to control how the two interact. There’s no choice in that matter. If things get bad for me, I will fight. I will get through it, and I will be wiser.

Maybe I’m not much wiser than I was a few minutes ago, but maybe you have a better understanding of what it’s like in my head at times. It can be a roller coaster with a lot more declines than inclines and getting out of there can be difficult.

Winston Churchill famously said “If you’re going through Hell, keep going.” I’m not quite in a Hell now, but where ever I am, I’m still going.

Dim My Lights, One by One.

I remember who did it. I remember what they did. I remember where they did it. I remember when they did it. I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember it because it’s impacted my life. It’s impacted what I’ve become. It’s impacted and influenced how I feel about myself. It’s impacted why it’s not easy for me to trust. It’s impacted so much.

What is it that I’m talking about? I’m talking time I wore a nicer shirt and a sweater when I was in 4th grade and someone pointed at me and laughed. I’m talking about the time in 6th grade that I was scratching an itch on my nose and the girl in the seat next to me said I was picking my nose and from that day on she ALWAYS referred to me as “snot.” I remember when I went to school with braces and headgear and was mocked. I remember going back to my house almost in tears about it and being told there was no choice, I had to wear it and how scared that made me. I remember in my Jr. year of high school someone taped a sign on my back that said “rat boy” in reference to the overbite I had at the time. I remember the looks on the faces of everyone that pointed and laughed at me. I do remember ALL of it. I remember how scared and helpless I felt early in my freshman year of high school while walking back to my house and I was in the parking lot of FoodTown when a few kids took all of my money ($1.50) while one of them had his arm wrapped around my throat. I remember each and every person that played a part in that and how happy they seemed at the time.

There’s more events that I remember. And honestly, most of what I’ve just mentioned has NEVER been talked about. Not in writing and not verbally to anyone at all. I was bullied and picked on so much and so often in school that I felt that I deserved it. It was what was supposed to happen to me. Why else would it happen so often if it wasn’t something that was supposed to be? I remember being shoved into a door as I was tying to exit my eight grade social studies class. I apologized to the kid that shoved me, because I felt I was obviously in his way. That’s how bad it was. That’s how awful my I felt about myself.

Yes, I know that I’m talking about events that happened well over 20 years ago. Why am I talking about them now? Because they helped create me. These incidents, and how they made me feel then have played a drastic part in how I’ve felt every single day since then.

I stated that I didn’t talk about these things then. Why not? Because it would get worse if I did. A group of classmates harassed me in sixth grade. I told my mother. She told a teacher. He told the students. They got worse. I didn’t want it to be any worse than that.

Unfortunately, I usually couldn’t talk to my parents about it. My mom’s response was always to report it. I knew things would get worse for me if that happened, so I stopped telling her. My dad just doesn’t know how to handle situations like this and isn’t someone I could turn to. Also, my parents had their own ways of making me feel small. Honest, thoughtful, positive communication wasn’t something I was surrounded by. I know it’s a term used by some to mock others, and that annoys me to no end, but the truth of the matter is that I didn’t have a “safe space.” And in many ways, I still don’t. One day, I may explain this a little bit more, but now isn’t the time.

Think about what that does to someone. Think about what it does to someone in his (or her) formative years. Think about being afraid to go to school and not then not getting the help you need at home. Think about being afraid to report being hurt, physically or emotionally, because talking about it could make it worse. Think about how horrifying of an experience every day life was.

I spent much of my after school time in my room. My room was my sanctuary. I read comic books. I watched a lot of TV. I listened to the radio a lot. I did this all in my room, which was the same room that I was sent to as a punishment when I was younger. My sanctuary was also my prison. This was also a conflict for me.

Writing  all of this is making me very anxious. I wasn’t kidding when I said that I haven’t ever spoken about some of these things. But, recently I’ve read a few stories about bullying. I read stories from people that were talking about incidents from their own school days, by students and by teachers. I’ve read stories of adults possibly being bullied and how that may have triggered a full depression incident in someone. Those things that I read opened up some old memories and feelings in me. Some of the things I brought up here and things I hadn’t thought of in a very long time. But, here I am. I’m now in my 40s and I’m still feeling anxiety over things that happened when I was 14.

I’m sure that more will come to me after I publish this. I’m sure more memories will bubble up to the surface. This is not a matter of letting it go, or getting over it. I also don’t feel it’s as simple as forgive and forget. It’s not even as simple as just moving on. It’s trying to move forward, but with an anchor tied to my feet. Letting go of this baggage is not easy. I do my best to unpack it, little by little, but it’s a mighty arduous process. And honestly, I don’t know when more memories might get triggered. This one was simply started by me reading a few posts on Facebook.

I assure you that I wish none of this happened to me. I wish it didn’t happen to others. But, it did. And it still does. It shouldn’t. We, as a society, and as a culture need to do what we can to stop bullying, harassing, insulting, and abusing others. We need to be more understanding and caring to those that it happens to. I’m here to talk about it. I’m scarred, but I survived. Others like me didn’t survive. It was just too much for them.

We need to better. We need to be better for today’s youth. We need to be better for today’s children. We need to be better for each other. We just need to be better.

Running Twice as Fast to Stay in the Same Place.

Sometimes it seems that I have very little to show for all of the progress that I make in life. I could probably end this entry right there. I’ve made my point without having to elaborate. But, I don’t think that accomplishes anything. But then again, considering the theme of this entry, does it even matter?

Last year at this time, I was working multiple low paying jobs and barely getting by. Now, I’m working one higher paying job and doing better, but I haven’t been able to really get ahead. I won’t go back to the situation I was in last year. It helps that I literally can’t. One of the jobs I worked last year no longer exists. And I bring it up as a reminder to myself that I am actually in a better situation. Yet, it’s hard for me to believe it.

Excuse me for being vague in this next part, but there’s still some things I don’t publicly like talking about at least not in this forum. But trust me, there’s a lot of material here that will likely be talked about at another time.
I feel that I’ve made significant progress in fixing and cleaning things in my house, but they are usually undone, sometimes instantly. I like progress. To see the progress I make be undone is frustrating.
But, just like my house, it seems like there’s no fixing certain people in it. Of course, in order to be fixed/get help, you have to first admit there’s a problem. And I guess it doesn’t matter how many times the exact same issues are pointed out.

Maybe I fall into that category too. I KNOW I would be better off I wasn’t in this house, but it is 100% not financially possible for me to do anything about that. So, while I’m here I want it to be as pleasant, nice, neat, organized, and peaceful as possible. There’s very little support for me in that effort. It’s so devastatingly defeating to have to return to this every day.

Over the last few years I’ve started exercising a lot more than I used to. But, considering how little I used to exercise, anything would be more. But, in all seriousness, I was doing very well there. I was doing DDP Yoga every day, going to the gym a few times per week, and running outside regularly. The results were evident. I had lost weight. I was running my best 5K race times. Things were going well there. They WERE.
Now, I still do the workouts, but I’m not getting the results. The name of this entry is “Running Twice as Fast to Stay in the Same Place.” It’s figurative for most of this, but literal for this portion. I’ve gained weight and slowed down. I don’t see results. Unfortunately, it’s defeated me more than it’s motivated me.

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is considered to be the definition of insanity. Maybe I’m insane. I know that things need to change. I don’t know how to change them. That’s another problem. What can I do in my life to produce different results? How can I make actual progress? What will it take?

Maybe I need to use my disorder and make order out of it. One of the symptoms of the type of depression I have is the need for routines. Some people are critical of that and think it’s bad to plan out things as much as I’ve been known to. Well, maybe I need to do just that. Maybe I need to make a plan and stick to it as much as I possibly can. Maybe I can get some more positive results that way. Maybe, just maybe I can take this alleged weakness and make it a strength. If it’s a negative trait of mine, I’m going to make it a positive.

Of course, this does present a problem for me. The more I plan things out, the more stressed out I will become if I don’t hit goals. The more I plans things out, the more anxiety I feel when I’m limited on time. But, I don’t know if there’s any other options for me right now. I think I have to go for it. 2017 is 25% over. I’m going to map out specific goals for the next 25% of the year. And I mean day by day plans. What workouts I’m going to do, what days I’ll go to the gym and what days I’ll just workout at my house. I’ll plan what days I’m going to run outside, weather permitting, of course. I’ll plan when I’m going to relax. I know that sounds weird, but it (sometimes) works for me. I need to start planning (healthier) meals too.

The bottom line is that I need a plan. If I don’t know where specifically where I want to go, how can I get there? There’s no turning back. I need to move forward. Progress must happen. If I have to get a little stressed to get the results I want, then maybe I have to get a little bit stressed. I’m going to revisit this entry in 3 months and I’m going to write a follow up to it. I truly hope that I have good things to say about it.

 

Like When Your Mind Has a Mind of it’s Own.

Getting anxious before a first date, or a job interview, or maybe a school exam. Those things make sense to me. But getting feelings of anxiety for absolutely no reason does not make sense to me. It’s not logical. It’s not rational. But, it happens. And it happened to me today. With no warning.

I was sitting at my desk at my job. I was doing the tasks I needed to do. For no reason that I can think of, my mind went into a dark place. I started having thoughts of decisions I’ve made in recent years. I thought about financial struggles. I thought about arguments I’ve had with people. I thought about driving in blizzards. I thought about my education. I thought about friends and family that are no longer here. I thought about friends and family that are here. I thought about my immediate future. I thought about the distant future. I thought about my recent past. I thought about my distant past.

I have no idea whatsoever as to what caused this. But, as my thought train went further and further down the track, I got more and more nervous. I felt the anxiety build up. I felt bile build up in my mouth. I got worked up into almost feeling ill. And I don’t know why. As I said, sometimes it’s not logical.

For a little bit more perspective as to how this makes almost no sense to me, keep in mind that I’m actually “in a good place” mentally and emotionally now. A lot of the things I had been through and a lot of my struggles over the past few years are either behind me or are turning around for the better. My social life is good. I have a new job that I like. I have steady income. So, what happened?

There’s always been a feeling with me that whenever things are going well, they’re going to collapse. Is that due to being conditioned and programmed to feel that I don’t deserve to be happy? Is that due to a precedent of bad things happening to me? I don’t know. That’s part of why I’m writing this. Although, I am aware that I’m looking for answers that I may not get. Of course, that too makes me anxious.

Absolutely nothing bad happened to me today. NOTHING. I woke up and went to work. There were no traffic issues. There were no obstacles. The job went as it was supposed to go. In fact, I got good news while I was there. And even with all of that going as it went, I still got worked up almost into a panic. As I said, it’s not rational nor is it logical.

It took me a little bit to snap out of it. Because, as I said, the more I thought about things, the more anxious I got. And I was very much aware that it was happening too. I was aware that I was getting more and more anxious and that I didn’t know why. Which, of course, exacerbated the anxiety.

I know this makes absolutely no sense to some of you. In some ways I envy that, because maybe that means you don’t know what it’s like to have irrational anxiety issues. But, for those that this kind of story does make sense to, I’m sorry that it does. I wish it didn’t. I wish you didn’t go through this too.

I had a completely different concept for a blog entry. In fact, I have an unfinished draft that I was going to work on and publish today. The topic was nothing like this. In some ways, it was a follow up to something I had written a while back about our current political climate and my theories as to what helped get us to where we are now. I’ll get back to that one at some point. There’s more research to be done on it before it’ll be up to my liking.

But for now, I’m putting this one out there. I’m publishing this one because I need to. I feel this one is an important one. Despite what some people that have read multiple entries from me may think, I’m still not used to positively and properly expressing myself. I was taught, programmed, and conditioned to suppress emotions. I was often told that what I felt was wrong. I was meant to feel that I couldn’t express myself. Of course, that led to anxiety. So, that’s what I’m doing here. I’m letting it out. Although, I do want to make it clear that I’m in a MUCH BETTER state of mind than I was this morning. I’ve found a few good things to redirect my thought train to. Those things always put a smile on my face. And that’s what I need to remind myself of. There are good things in my life. And no matter what gets me down, as long as those good things are still there, I’ll be okay…
and I’m not alone.