Music is my comfort

I have a total obsession with music, it has such a calming effect on me and can mirror my sadness, happiness and anger. Sometimes a piece of music can express what I can’t say in words.

 

Other times, it sparks a memory, a feeling that was long forgotten, something that seemed insignificant at the time but somehow seems important to me now. I am taken right back there, transported in time, seeing long forgotten faces, in places I haven’t been in years, the ghosts of the past.

 

Other times I can’t connect with someone in any other way but damn, when you mention we have the same music tastes, I am your best friend ever, I’ll talk your head about the glory days of grunge and late night MTV watching till the cows come home. And when you meet that person, it’s like finding a long lost brother/sister or something, like someone who finally gets your obscure music references

 

Music has always been my escape, when things hurt too much I put on my headphones and take a trip to a musical world. When no one understood me and I was lonely, I holed myself in up my room and I turned to music because it was my only comfort, on days that hurt so bad that you’d never understood.

 

This is ode to my first and only love, music, the records that saved my life, that held me in times of despair. This was written for anyone who could never quite understand my obsession for music. Here it is. 📻 🎧🎶 🎸

 

Writing for myself

I made a post last night about giving up writing, I was was frustrated at the lack of feedback I have gotten across all platforms and the irony is that when I made this post, I got the feedback that I had one wanted. But in reading the comments on my blog and Facebook, I realized something, my writing at times has been self serving. It hasn’t been about a means of therapy for myself ( which is what it started out to be), it hasn’t been about helping people although I thought it ( other than myself), it’s been about getting validation, feedback, praise, and that’s not why we write.

I think we should write for ourselves, because we are confident in our words, thoughts and feelings and not worry so much about how our writing is perceived.  Oftentimes, my ego gets in the way, a part of me wants to get credit for being a “Great writer”, when the only critic that matters is myself.   Writing is about expressing oneself and speaking from the heart, that’s how I started. I started out sharing the rawest deepest feelings, I hadn’t shared with anyone and it was so cathartic, I felt this weight off my shoulders and when I realized my writing was affecting people in a positive way, I soared but sadly I took the praise too seriously and that’s where I am today.

I also play into the comparison game, I look at other bloggers and posters on social media and see they get more reactions or shares or comments or whatever and I compare myself negatively as if the amount of likes adds to the value of my writing.  I see other people getting published or writing for magazines and getting accolades and that makes me feel inferior, when I should be happy for fellow writers.. I mean, I have never even tried to publish to an online magazine, I am full of fear and self doubt.   I am  mess of a person with a bit or narcissism sprinkled in, it’s about me, I must have the attention and praise or else I am the worst person on the planet. Man, that sounds terrible but it’s the truth.

So right now I am working on writing, posting on social media without focusing on feedback. Whether I get 1 like and comment or a millions reactions, I am going to share my writing with confidence, with the hopes that it can resonate with just one person ( whether they give me feedback or not)

It is going to be a long road, I am person who struggles with self-worth and constantly needs validation. I don’t know where it come from but it’s always been with me. I used to actually ask people if they liked me ( which of course backfired) and old habits die hard.  If I could only learn to love myself enough where I didn’t external need validation ( because that is unpredictable).   I pray that whatever is going on with me will pass and I can be me again.  Thank you as always for the love and support and putting up with  my bullshit, it’s appreciated

Depression in men

A short and sweet blog post today

 

Depression in men is so overlooked. There are much less resources for us, most articles I come across are written from a female perspective with little input from men. I have even read articles that say men suffer from depression less. Bullshit! We are less heard and there is a much stronger stigma for us for reaching for help; somehow seeking treatment makes us less than men. When women speak out, they are brave, when men speak out, they are complaining, they need to be strong and keep it together. It makes me feel frustrated and angry at the time; as if our pain is less. We are in pain too, you know, we just aren’t allowed to express it publicly. I’m trying to change that. I want to encourage other men to speak out about depression and I hope some day to maybe create a support group for men with depression or a website or something because we need help too

I had an anxiety attack last night

I had a pretty bad anxiety attack last night and I was trying to find ways to calm down so I sat on the floor and started writing, this is what I wrote.

 

Anxiety is sky high and I don’t know why, out of breath, dizzy, sitting on the floor, mind is racing, the ceiling cooling my warm body, my hands clammy, body aches, this is too much, reaching out for help, still too sick to go out, nose stuffed up, head fuzzy, being cooped up, only leaving the house once or twice since Saturday to get food.

I feel lonely and isolated, relying on an electronic world for support, information surging through the air. Where does it comes from?

My brain is fried and I have no energy, got my music, Stevie “As”, music is the only thing that calms me, I couldn’t mediate if I tried, I can’t shut off my brain

I don’t want a book or a seminar or a pill or an oil ( snake oil). I just want to be calm and for this anxiety to go away. You dig? Phew

 

 

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Depression is a liar

Depression is a liar, it tells me I’m no good, when I know it’s a lie. It tells me no one likes when in reality the one that hates me the most is myself, others loves me when I can’t love myself. Depression tells me I’m stupid because I don’t learn as fast as the others, when the reality is that I’m quite bright when I’m given the write ( 😉 ) tools, that is when I am the most successful. Depression tells me not to even try because I’ll fail anyways. Well, despite the obstacles, I have achieved a lot and with some motivation a ton of determination, I can achieve even more, if I put forth the effort, I’m sure of it. Depression keeps me focused on the past and the mistakes I made, what I could have done differently, beating me over the head with cruel taunts when I need to be in the present and preparing for the future. Depression tells me, it will never get better and it will always be this way, not it won’t. I will rise above it, far into a better space where I can be at peace. Depression makes me fearful of asking for help. “If you talk about depression openly or appear vulnerable, they’ll laugh and call you weak; most haven’t, asking for help has gotten me the support I need, so another lie right there. Lastly depression isolates me, tells me I’m all alone, no one else feels this way, well, that couldn’t be farther from the truth, I’m not alone and I know for a fact there are so many out there just like me, millions. And together we can tell depression ” We aren’t going to listen to you any more, you’re a damn liar”

 

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Bipolar

I am really tired but I wanted to share something I posted on my Facebook.  It’s short, simple and to the point

 

Part of being bipolar means that my moods fluctuate. I can be happy and upbeat one minute and feeling anxious another and oftentimes, I feel angry for and annoyed at everyone and I always regret that. I have trouble sleeping and I was woken by some noise this morning and I’m in a shit mood. Despite all that I going to try and be positive, communicate with others and continue my advocacy. Not every day is going to be a good day but I do want to say that this is an illness like any other and just like I want others to have love and compassion towards me, I have to do the same with myself today. So, I am going to be gentle with myself and do the best I can.

Honesty

I don’t think people want you to be honest because honesty is scary and they can’t always handle the truth, it makes people uncomfortable. Fuck it, I am who I am, whether people like it or not. I can’t be anything but honest, I can’t be fake, or plaster on a smile to appease the masses, can’t do it,. I’m transparent, my feelings on full display for the public and while some sneer, I smile silently because I know I have the courage to be honest, for the first time in my life, no longer living a lie, but an embodiment of truth in all of its ugly glory 👊

Facebook mental health group

I was thinking about advocacy and social media and I realized that I really wanted my followers on wordpress to k now about Facebook mental health group, it is called Beautiful minds and it is my first facebook group. Some people encouraged me to create and I created it a few days ago. So far it has been great and I have connected with some passionate people who also want to advocate for mental health.  I am hoping some of you who Facebook can join my group. I encourage people to post about mental health and I hope they can get something out of it. Here is the link

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/270465390575783/

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

Writing for NAMI

I just happened to be on the NAMI ( National Alliance of Mental health) website and I saw a section where people could share their stories in 800 words or less ( Only 800 words, come on!)  This is what I am going to submit. I think it is short sweet and to the point. What do you think?

I refuse to stay silent about mental health and how it affects me.  I was paralyzed by the stigma all of my life I started speaking out and talking my depression/anxiety openly online. Through my writing I have been able to reach so many people. I remember when I first started sharing, I heard “You are not alone” and it was such a powerful statement because I had felt so alone all my life, I felt ostracized and made to feel that my mental illness made me inferior to others. “You are not alone” soon became my motto.  When I share my struggles and my story, not only do I get the support and love I need but someone else is helped as well by reading my words, it’s a powerful feeling to go from feeling stigmatized, mocked, alone and helpless to finally being a voice for others and getting support back as a result, it’s a responsibility that I don’t take lightly.  I have a mission through my writing to break the stigma of mental health and I have to face my own fears and  anxieties about sharing my struggles. How much should I share? Am I sharing too much? What are my friends and loved ones going to think about me being so open? Will they judge me? Well so far, the amount of  positive support poured in has been more than I ever could imagined. So, for anyone afraid of speaking out about mental health, there are so many people who need to hear your voice, you have no idea the people you’ll be able to reach by sharing your story. Even if you don’t get a response or feedback, people are listening and taking what you say to heart. Don’t be silenced, be a voice for the voiceless.  And never be afraid to ask for help.  My name is Dave and I am mental health/disability advocate, a writer and one determined person, I won’t give up and neither should you.  I am honored to be an advocate and hope to reach as many people as I can.  I would like to get involved with NAMI somehow and I guess this is a good start!