Imagine sitting in a room. You get up to walk to your dresser (it took you about 30 minutes to get out of bed). You open a drawer get some clothes. As you look at the clock on the dresser you realized it took you 15 minutes to get them out of the drawer. You throw the clothes on the bed, then go into the bathroom, after about 45 minutes you come out. You only washed your face and brushed your teeth. Got to tied up into avoiding your image in the mirror and staring at the walls and reading news articles on your phone. You get dressed, hop in the car, and go to work and put on the biggest smile. After hours at work you come home and sit in your room. You go on social media and after a few minutes throw your phone across the bed. The pictures and posts of people just put you deeper into your mental hole. You lay there, with your clothes still on, in the dark, hoping someone will text, call or even knock on your door just to say anything. Nothing. You lastley turn on your TV skim through Youtube and Netflix just to find something to overpower the loud noise of negativity banging in your head.
This is what I dealt with since college. Up until college, I lived in a world of dreams and possibilities. I was in college, dating, learning, touring with the gospel choir, living a good life. Then like Icarus I reached far and got burned by the sun. I got my heart broken while dating and realized I was not the brightest bulb in the box while in class. I dropped out of college and focused on the church. I was happy again. I sang at church, other churches, worked with the youth, and helped were ever I could. BUT, again, In that time I didn’t finish school and was no where closer to living the life I wanted to live.
I later learned about depression and anxiety and after psychoanalyzing myself I found my root. (I’ll explain that in a bit). What you read in the last paragraph was the steps that helped my depression and anxiety flourish. But it was not the root. See things in our lives start as seeds and over time we water those seeds with our experiences. The seeds are benign, neither good nor bad just there. It’s what we feed them that makes them what they are. Like a person who got bit by a dog. They will be leary of that particular breed of dog, totally fear them, or have no fear of them. Over time, that person either had further good or bad experiences with dogs to make a conclusion later on in life on how to feel about them. Live in fear of them or accept, it happened, move on.
SO, after years of dealing with (pseudo) depression and anxiety (I say pseudo cause I have months were I’m ok, and then random weeks were I hate myself). I have a few tips that helped me get by and even try new things in my life.
Its ok that you are you
First let me make this very clear. NOTHING IS WRONG WITH YOU! Everyone on earth is not the same. Some people like crowds, some don’t, some people like chocolate some like vanilla. Variety makes our society and world great. But, some people are very homogeneous, meaning they like when things are the same, like themselves, and you know what, that’s ok too. BUT, when it becomes extreme that’s when we have a problem.
To combat this I put myself in situations where I knew I would have to learn or tolerate what was around me and eventually accept it. Fifty percent of that came from my wife, 25% came from my best friend. Both of them took me to places that made me feel super uncomfortable. Like a bar, party, lounge, a person’s house I didn’t know. Mentally I always found reasons why I couldn’t go. Fear was my best friend. While in those places I had a loose safety net when i was with them. That’s what helped the most. They both let me explore but kept an eye on me. But they never babied me. I remember my friend and I were at my cousin’s wedding. I haven’t seen my cousin in years. I walked away to get food. My wife got caught up at a church event. She was texting me and checking on me, but I lost my boy. He pooped up 2 min later with a past co worker of ours and we just chilled and talked. To some that’s normal. Others would say “dude you are a grown man, really”. I would say “yea, your right”.
I’m in a place now where I am confident in me and love, what and who I am. Flaws and all. I accept me for me. Yes, I can still learn a new thing or two. What person on earth can’t? So accept you and learn.
Have people around you who accept you
I love my alone time. A little to much. My mom used to say “I used to give you your toys, put you in your room and you just played, by yourself, for hours”. I can still do that today (just need newer toys, LOL). TIme alone is good but it’s better to at least know somebody is there who has some of your same views, challenge you, and will be there for you. It also works both ways. It makes you want to be there for them. I have cringed at a text from my wife saying “hey can you go to (random place) and get (random object)”. A wave of anxiety feel over me and my mind starts to race. Where is this place? is it in a good area? will I make it home? I hope I get the right item? do I have enough gas to make it? blah, blah, blah. Totally unnecessary thoughts. BREATH!
Wanting to help her the way she helps me and the love I have for her gave me strength to hop in the car, load up the GPS and go. Now, I get stuff all the time for her. If I mess up, I Apologize and go back and make it right. Helping out a loved one or a friend helps to pull you out of yourself. Because if you can’t help those who help you, now you are fringing on just being selfish.
Do the unexpected
Being unexpected may sound hard, buts it’s easier than the last 2 tips I mentioned. First you have to start small. I went to 7/11 for my wife, son and our mutual friend (my son’s god mom). When I got back she looked in the bag and said, “who’s sparkling water is this”? I told her it was mine. She asked “when did you start drinking this”?. I said “I don’t. I wanted something different, so I closed my eyes and picked a drink”.
I have been trying this new thing were I just do, I don’t think too hard, I just do. I do have a checklist.
This won’t hurt me, right? (yes or no)
Can afford this? (yes or no)
If both are yes, proceed 🙂
As I mentioned prior, when I was in college I toured with the gospel choir (Chicago, New York, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, Arkansas, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey). After I dropped out, if it wasn’t a family trip I stayed home. I was so fearful to go anywhere mainly due to money. But I never even went the extra mile to find deals or save. I just accepted, i’m stuck.
Fortunately the last year has taught me so much. I discovered I like lattes. I went to the Mecca of Thomas the Train town in PA (me, my wife, and son). I got a new job that I really like. I played some new games (on the x box one). I went to the beach this time last year. (I’m not big on the beach, mainly water. If God wanted us in the water he would have given us gills). I tried so many new foods, I reconnected with family members and friends. Was a mascot in a school district video.I started blog and I wrote a book. (still have to publish it)
Read and have an open mind
An important thing I learned is the circle of hate (I also skimmed past how not to give a F***, have to read that when i get a chance). I was on google researching my last post “Why do you Hate me”, and I looked up “The Circle of Hate:
Hate ↣ Separation ↣ Misunderstanding ↣ Fear and back to Hate, restarting the cycle over.
It really made me think, Wow! Do we really have that much fear or hate? Yoda had a good point, “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. ” Paul Atritis (Dune) says “fear is the mind killer”. Fear and hate restrict us from moving forward. You are probably asking “what do I hate?” Well you hate yourself. I know because I hate myself almost every other day. I hate that I haven’t graduated yet. I hate how much I get paid. I hate the mistakes I’ve made in my marriage. I hate looking in the mirror and not seeing the body I want. The only person I can blame is myself. Which I internalize by making myself suffer. How do I suffer? By reminding myself of these failures, daily and denying myself the good things in life like a vacation, love, friends, family, hope.
So what do I do? I read and learn why. I read the bible to get the spiritual point of view. I read science and psychology to get the mental view, and I read about the body to get the physical point of view. Prayer helps me to clear my mind of my mess. Science gives me the understanding of how the mess got there. Physical fitness makes me feel better. If you don’t read listen to a ted talk. Go on youtube. Get some audio self help books. Talk to somebody. Anything is better than living in a self loathing mental hole.
So I mentioned earlier I found my root. I was taught fear. I had young parents and I am the oldest. They feared so much of the world (what young parents in the 80’s wouldn’t). Every move I made was treated like a high stacks move. I rarely had a chance to just be and mess up. My consequences were harsh and it caused me to fear just making normal, everyday decisions. But thank God for God. Church God, friends, and my wife helped me out of my dark hole. I sometimes fall back in but there they are with a hand out waiting to pull me right back out.
Believe in you or something higher
YOU GO THIS! Every success is preceded by failure. No one just succeeds in everything they do. We look on social media and see all these stunning pictures. Do you know how many pictures people take until they get the right one. It’s easy to gush over the finished product but who really talks about the work and failures to get there. Remember that. If you don’t believe in you than believe in a God bigger than you. I don’t care what name you him or her, give just believe in something more than your hurt and pain. Again, you got this.
I am not a Doctor and this a not a cure all. Just some tips that help me move forward in life.
*Read all the Upper Case words by themselves. Its a sentence that will help you