A kind face/ Sand

Thoughts swirl around my mind, I find my thinking racing at rapid speed, I need to meet a kind face in this place.

 

I scan the room and boom, I see someone, they turn and give me a smile, it takes a while for me to think of something to say, I know they don’t have all day and I’d be crushed if they walked away.

 

I open my mouth to speak, I’m trying to say the right words, a part of me wants to bolt for the door, if this keeps up, I’ll surely fall to the floor.

 

I try to talk but the words I can’t express, silence, clear is my distress.

 

What’s it all about? My inner voice begins to shout, this didn’t go as planned, I shrink to the ground, turning into sand, falling on the land.

 

And that was the end of me and the final chapter in my story, all that there was, with no glory.

 

 

 

 

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Lies my anxiety tells me

My anxiety is constantly lying to me and it is amazing that it took me thing long to realize that. But in trying to combat my anxiety I wanted to write down some of the things my anxiety lies to me

 

  1. Everyone hates me and I’ll never be able to make friends
  2. I’m stupid and that’s what everyone else thinks too
  3. I’m ugly/unattractive. I’ll never have a girlfriend or marry
  4. I am my anxiety, it defines me
  5. I’ll never be able to independent/ I’ll never find a job that will pay enough to live on
  6. Avoiding situations that make me anxious will decrease my anxiety
  7. I have no skills, I’m competent and can’t get anything right
  8. No one else is as anxious as I am, my case is the worst, I am alone in this
  9. I will always have bad anxiety is there is nothing I can do to make it better

 

 

I want to take the time to address each point because I have realized that all of these are blatant lies and I can counter all these statements

 

  1. I have met many people throughout my life that really care about me, people who I didn’t think liked me and it turned out they thought about me throughout the years, I had an impact on them, they just never told me. I have heard a lot of people say how kind I am and honest, that makes me feel good. And even recently I thought a whole group of people didn’t like me until I took the time to get to know them and realize they were my friends, and even though we don’t know each other well, they still like me. My anxiety makes me think everyone in the room doesn’t like me, when they don’t even know me. I think the worst in people like everyone is against me and that kills my confidence and of course, no one approaches me because my self-esteem is so low. I feel when I simply just walk up to people and talk to them, they are usually friendly and I realize how wrong I’ve been. That gives me comfort and it combats that anxiety.

 

  1. I think that while I struggle with learning disabilities in some areas, in other areas, I excel. I think I have a gift of expressing myself through writing, I taught myself a lot of the Spanish I know because I was determined. I never thought I would make it through college but I am a class away from a degree and was on the dean’s list, so I am far from stupid but anxiety makes me focus on what I’m not good at.

 

3        To be honest, I’ve never had a relationship with a woman and that hurts. I look at myself and I don’t like how I look but the truth is that I know there have been plenty of women I’ve come across that liked me and it was my emotional difficulties that keep the relationship from starting, not my looks.  I knew they were attracted to me at some point because they approached me but I could never get over my anxiety.

I actually remember going out about a year ago to a bar and I each time I went, I managed to have a conversation with at least 1 woman there and I went out about 4 times.  And all of these women were really attractive and each time they approached me; I was really amazed. I was so proud I was able to hold a conversation with all of these women. So clearly, my looks are less of a factor than my anxiety and that would make me think and if I worked on myself and reduced the anxiety and gained higher self-esteem, I might find someone.

 

  • I am not my anxiety, it doesn’t define me. I am so much more than that. I am a kind, loving person with a big heart.

 

  1. I think if I find the right job that suites me and the right environment, I could thrive. My gifts are helping people and I am praying and hoping I can get into the disability field, it is a passion of mine and I know that I could be good at it, find a career and manage to live on my own.

 

  1. The more I avoid certain situations and people, the worse it becomes because I never learn how to deal with it, I may be comfortable leaving but I haven’t faced my fears, it doesn’t help me gain my confidence. In order to combat my anxiety, I have allowed myself to be uncomfortable and try to find ways to reduce my anxiety in social situations, like praying or taking a quiet moment and coming back, running away isn’t the solution

 

  1. I think it goes back to the stupidity lie, I do have skills, I have gifts ( we all do!) and there are so many things I am good at and I focus on that as opposed to the things I am not so great at.

 

  1. It is amazing that once I started writing about anxiety that so many people came up to and told me they suffered from it too, so many people are affected by it and don’t even talk it. And by talking about my anxiety, it helps others have to courage to be open about their struggles, that has helped me so much and reduced my anxiety. Lately, I have met several people in person who I thought didn’t have any kind of issues, tell me they also have mental health struggles, they seemed so confident and I felt alone and yet there were people around me who are just as anxious. And although we are not totally open about, just know there are other people who have anxiety, makes me feel a whole lot better. We are never alone.

 

  1. My anxiety will improve when I start to counter the lies when I face my fears when I talk about my struggles openly and most importantly write about them and continues to be in a community of those trying to recover from mental health struggles.

Ghosts of the past continue to haunt me, I feel the searing fire of their rejection, the loud rumbling of their laughter at my expense, their mockery lingers on in the recesses of my mind, the mere thought incenses me and fills me with shame and a punctured soul, yearning for acceptance but receiving none.

 

Those faces are long gone but the feelings remain, every new person I meet. I wonder, is that how they think of me? A punchline? The idea someone could accept me for who I am is unfathomable, so my defenses kick in. I judge before I get judged, this way they can’t hurt me, I won’t let it happen. Warped perception based on fallacies.

 

This constant worry I’ve come to realize is never based on the truth of the present but the pain of the past. Yeah, they did me wrong but that’s not today, not everyone is like that, some people actually care and I have to recognize that and accept that. The anxiety isn’t unfounded but it’s certainly not relative to everything situation today, I’m realizing this.

 

I gain peace of mind, enough to allow myself to accept friendship and love, something that’s been lacking for so long, something so vital, like vitamins for the soul. Learning, growing is what life is all about. A calmness over.

Communication for those with Autism

For those on the Autistic spectrum, they often feel misunderstood. When they try to communicate with others, they have an idea of what they want to say in their head and it makes perfect sense but they can’t express in a way that most people can fully understand, also many have anxiety which creates difficulties in communicating with others, this all leads to frustration and anger on the Autistic person. A misunderstanding on the other end is interpreted as “They hate me” which creates anger and hostility and because of that, they shy away from social interaction because it is so painful and difficult to be constantly misunderstood. They are left lonely and isolated in a world that will never understand them, I find that sad 

Openly depressed

Sometimes I don’t want to depress people, so I smile and pretend every is alright when I’m really not. Bringing up depression and anxiety in conversation is uncomfortable even for me, so I plaster a fake smile and try to talk about something pleasant when inside I’m really hurting and I know if I was to say it out loud, I’d get a puzzled and uncomfortable look from the person in front of me, so I think of something interesting to say, so I appear normal, if just for a little while.

 

But eventually I find a corner. and I find myself hyperventilating because I hate having to be someone I’m not to appease the rest of the world. Sometimes I don’t feel happy and I want to show that side but I can’t. I internalize everything and it goes right to my stomach, I feel sick and it hurts so bad, all those pent up emotions in the form of sickness.

 

Do you understand where I’m coming from?. Please, let me know, I’m not alone in this. I don’t want your advice or fix, I just want to know I’m not the only one in the room feeling this. If just one person would walk up to me and say ” I feel that way too” I could rest easy. My breathing would subside, my stomach would settle and my mind would slow down.

 

But it’s yet to happen, I feel small and unwelcome here, I just want to go home, with my music and a bed to lay in, to just slow down these rambling thoughts and get so quiet from living in a world that doesn’t “Get it”

Getting my college degree

Things are so good right now; I can’t believe it.  Well earlier, I had made a post about how I was struggling with my math class at college, it was the only class keeping me from graduating.  I have a learning disability in math, which doesn’t mean I am stupid or that I don’t try hard enough ( For those who judge me), it means that my brain is not wired to understand math concepts. It’s similar to someone who has dyslexia and struggles with reading the most basic things. In fact, I am not ashamed of my disabilities, they make me who I am and I use my experience to help others.

 

Anyways earlier I had to drop out of my developmental math class, I just didn’t get it despite my best efforts. I had actually taken the course multiple times and it caused so much emotional distress that I couldn’t sleep at night, I was having angry outbursts and anxiety attacks, I was in bad shape. I assume a lot of people with learning disabilities deal with frustration. People without learning disabilities fail to understand that we try really hard and the issue is not that we are lazy or dumb, it’s just that we learn differently and the traditional way of the classroom doesn’t work for us. We need to find our own system of learning; we all have our own learning styles and learn at our own pace.

 

So, we require accommodations, which can include longer tests times, testing in a quieter space, extra tutoring, frequent breaks. I had talked to a disability counselor prior and I had all my documentation, which had al long history of learning disabilities and emotional issues that impeded my learning, including the trauma of losing my brother to suicide when I was 14.  So, I was given the accommodations and even with that in place and putting all my energy into studying, I failed my midterm even though it was an open book quiz, I was so frustrated.

 

I was also fortunate  to volunteer with a disabled ministry at church and the lady who created the group offered to find me a tutor and some other people looked at my math with me. I am so blessed to have so many people who support and care about me, people who take a vested interest in my life. I don’t know where I would be without this support

 

My mom and I decided to have a meeting with the disability counselor, we brought all the documentation and discussed the issues I had with math particularly the fact that I went to 5 or 6 alternative schools while dealing with the death of my brother.  The meeting went well I asked for them to either waive the class or give me a substitution but she is insinuated that a substitution was very rare, so I wasn’t very optimistic when I left the meeting.

 

I was told that I would be contacted about the school’s decision. I waited and waited and heard nothing. So, a week later I emailed the counselor and she told me she had sent everything to her boss and I would receive a call or email. Again, I waited 2 weeks and heard nothing so I was losing hope. I mean, all of that hard work and it was a brick wall.  I felt like my dreams were crumbling. It just seems like there are so many obstacles and its hard not to want to give up sometimes.

My mom who is my best advocate wrote a letter on my behalf, asking what the hold up was.  And before anyone makes a judgement, I am so grateful that my mom advocates for me. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to confront people or seem pushy and she is really good at fighting for me and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.  She was able to get their attention when I couldn’t.

 

Almost immediately, we got a response saying that the substitution had been approved, I couldn’t believe it, I was  so excited because I thought it would never happen. I wasn’t expecting for them to approve it. I am going to take astronomy and that is much easier for me than math. It will require studying but I know I can pass this. It also means I will finally have a college degree, a life long dream of mine. I couldn’t have imagined this 10 years ago when I was struggling so much.

 

The lesson I learned from all of this was preservice, never giving up, and to have faith.  I thought about God an how he is always working in my life and always answers my prayers.  It’s funny because I am assisting a special needs Sunday school and the theme this week was perservance and not giving up, I mean how much clearer could God’s message  to me be?

 

I also find it interesting that at this time, I would get a troll, saying that I was stupid and lazy and couldn’t even pass a math course and this miracle happened immediately after. Like the devil trying to trip you up or something.  Things happen for a reason and this troll attempt only gave me confidence and got me more connected with others and propelled me to write even further. So, I am grateful for the troll comments, gives me motivation.

 

So, I wanted to share the wonderful news with you and to thank you for all of your support. I will keep everyone updated

 

 

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Mental health advocacy

I wanted to make a blog post today on the mental health advocacy I have been doing online. I have mentioned it before but it really has grown greatly even in the last week. So much so, that I haven’t been writing in my blog as frequently. But I want to give everyone an update on all the incredible things that have been happening.  I stated earlier that I added thousands of people of to my Facebook, mostly advocates and counselors and people who suffer from mental illness.  I found immediately that a lot of these people I added were highly responsive to my posts in a positive way, I got a lot of comments about how people could relate to my posts and how it was having this positive effect on them.  I found all of a sudden I went from getting maybe 1 message a day to about 10 messages a day from different people, sometimes. a lot of the messages were from life coaches wanting to a online one and one chat with me, I talked to one woman for about 1.5 hour on a Skype call and she was wonderful and quite helpful. Other people have sent me messages want to go live with them to discuss mental health or to make a podcast or collab on an article.  I can’t describe how that feels, I mean, it’s incredible and overwhelming because I’m not used to it.   I don’t know, it’s healing feeling but causes anxiety because whether I like it or not, I am in the spotlight, there are thousands of people ( Facebook, Instagram and my blog combined) seeing what I post, reacting, sharing what I’ve written and I am out there in a huge crowd all looking at me, it’s unnerving.   I am used to feeling put down and unheard and now it’s the barrage of praise ( mixed in with some negativity) and I having trouble coping with it sometimes but I’m not complaining.  It takes up a lot of time and it makes me realize about the assumptions we make when someone doesn’t respond.  I would like to respond to every message and comment and say yes to every offer with another advocate but I don’t have the time or energy.   And I am finally beginning to realize what it’s like to be on the other side, where you get so many messages, you can’t possibly respond to every one.  And I thought how I felt ignored in the past and failed to realize that people are busy and they can’t always answer messages, especially if they aren’t urgent.  It just made me think.

I also want to talk about going live on Facebook and Instagram.    About 3 weeks ago, I did my first Facebook l ive about mental health with another person and I was so anxious, I didn’t know this person or how she would respond or how the viewers would respond, she actually invited me out of the blue and I decided to say yes.  But it went really well, we just talked for an hour about mental health and learning disabilities and she was really nice and understanding and as we kept talking, I felt calmer and I could sense the viewers were also enjoying it. Afterwards, I got all these  positive messages and comments, I was just blown awat, I mean, it was indescribable, an elated high.  I got a message from someone about doing suicide prevention Facebook live with her. It didn’t really work out but the fact that she asked was such an honor.

I also got a message from the friend of the person I went live with and she mentioned a podcast and I had never even thought of one, even though I was doing video ( which is far less  nerve wracking)  And we talked for a bit and I decided that creating a podcast would be a good idea, I am less nervous during audios and I can write what I want to say so I don’t stumble over my words and keep focused.  I created a Podcast and have 3 or 4 Podcasts so far. I don’t get a lot of feedback because there’s no comment section or anything but I enjoy it and I’m doing it because I hope it will help someone.  I plan on continuing podcasts and maybe eventually doing one with another advocate but I am trying to figure how it works, it’s confusing.

Oh and another really important thing that happened this was that I along with several others, created  a mental health awareness group page on Facebook.  And so far, it’s been great. I have about 90 members and we all post and encourage and uplift one another and it’s just positive. And I pray that it can a source of help to people and that it can grow and reach a large audience.  And people have been so helpful with helping me set up the group, I go to them for advice,  I encourage members to post whatever they want, I try to make it a safe place where people can express themselves.  Like I said, it’s surreal that so I am connected with all of these people.

I want to go back to the Instagram and Facebook lives because I have done a lot them.  So another person saw a video I made on instagram about social media and wanted to get on live with me and discuss it with me.  So yesterday we both went on live and sadly her connection was really bad so we had to cut it short and so I decided that I was going to back to Facebook and go live by myself and discuss suicide prevention. I told the whole story of my how my brother took his life and everything that preceded it and it was really difficult, I was blunt and honest and didn’t omit anything. It was very raw but healing.  And again the support was amazing but there was a very hurtful comment made and it is something I need to talk about.  Well, this person knew my family and my brother during the time that he took his life.  She basically said that was trying to phrase her comment lovingly but she was concerned that I hadn’t moved on from my brother’s death and that it wasn’t healthy to talk him so much or so openly, Maybe I would benefit more from counseling and then also said that I wasn’t “qualified” to help those who are suicidal because I don’t have a degree or certificate. Wouldn’t I feel guilty if  I gave someone advice and they took their lives. And at some point the comment she said that my brother would want me to move on.  I was sort of stunned and didn’t know to react and I said nothing, deleted her comment and put her on restricted in Facebook ( she is still my FB friend but cannot see my posts).   It was a hurtful thing to say in opinion to someone who has lost a loved one to suicide, she doesn’t realize that when I talk about mental health, it is helping other people and what I interpreted was that she was uncomfortable and wanted to silence me. I am not going to stop speaking out about mental health or suicide prevention and if someone doesn’t like it, than that is too bad.  So I made the decision to not respond at all, I am afraid I might say something hurtful that I will regret so it’s best to ignore people like that, it just makes me sad, is all.

So yesterday, the day after the suicide prevention Facebook live, I had probably the most incredible day in terms of advocacy.  I got a very long message from a friend who I grew up with and she seeking advice about helping her disabled clients. This is someone I really care about and I was so honored that she came to me, seeking advice and that I could be of help to her. I mean, usually I might message her with an issue and that may be the first she came to me with one.  It makes me feel like what I am saying and posting is truly making a difference and sometimes I am so caught up in it that I can’t see it. And then after that ( in the same day mind you) , I got this message from a therapist that I follow on Instagram and she had seen a video I made about being on the autistic spectrum and wanted to know how I came to be diagnosed and what were my symptoms. She was asking because she had a client with similar issues who was wondering if she had autism.  The therapist was coming to me and using my story as a means of diagnosing a patient. I mean, again, it’s it’s just you know, like unbelievable, it’s like a dream, where finally  I  feel I am understood and needed and all of that pain and anguish has lead to helping people, just wow, you know.  And then I did an Instagram live with this woman who is an author that follows me.  And we just talked about writing and using our experience to build our characters and it was so great.  Right afterwards, I got on with another person who I have connected with and had like the greatest chat and it was wonderful to talk to someone who “gets me” and wants to help others like I do.  And I never thought in a million years, I’d be going live with people.  It was quite a day but it did leave me drained because it was a lot to process.

I want to end this post by saying that I at the disabled ministry and I was talking to this guy and here’s the thing, I have trouble connecting with males and sometimes I’m intimidated by them. So this guy is a big guy and boisterous and at first intimidating.  But as I got to know him, I realize how much he cared about the young disabled adults, this person is gentle and kind and accepts everyone and very involved with church. I actually told him about my issues with math and told me to call him for help.  So I saw him today and I was telling about the advocacy and everything that happened. And he was so excited for me, he was “dude I’ve got chills, this is amazing” and I could tell he was really interested in what I was saying. I guess my parents told him about my brother and he thought it was great I went live to talk about it. It was just nice to talk to someone in person who was also excited about advocacy, it’s amazing feeling.  I feel this is God’s calling for me and I am just so optimistic about advocacy and will try to continue  blogging and updating everyone. Thank you for all your continued support

Dave

A valentine’s day poem

All these years, It still haunts me and it crosses my mind more than it should.  Being the butt of jokes; wishing I could keep my mouth shut; wanted to fix it but digging myself deeper and deeper into a hole of despair as I sat there; my feelings in full view; a sitting duck; with snipers all around me; all waiting to take their shot at me. And every time I get those feelings again; I think of that moment and I recoil; trembling in fear; a dog with a tail between it’s legs. I only blame myself. Why did I feel so deeply? Why did it hurt so bad. And why don’t I have an answer. An unresolved maze of a mystery; after all these years.