My college graduation

Today is a proud day. I was finally able to have a graduation ceremony with my family watching, it wasn’t the one I expected but I am still blessed. I never thought this day would come, I struggled so much during my high school years, I dealt with learning disablities and trauma and just graduating from high school was a feat for me.

Even though I made the effort after high school, I didn’t believe a college degree was in the cards, it seemed daunting and I didn’t have the confidence to take college courses and soon dropped out. But slowly but surely, I did take classes, I passed them and gained my confidence.

I entered a program of study that I was passionate about and I flourished. And the last semester was a really struggle; being forced to take a course that I have learning disabilities in, I must have taken this math class at least 3 times and dropped out each time, I was so frustrated and I felt stupid. I thought I would never graduate and eventually had to petition the school to allow to subsitute the math class ( which is something they rarely did) Through a lot of meetings with the school and prayers, by the grace of God, I managed to get a subsitute class and I passed it, leading to me to finally get my degree.

So today, I can say what I never thought I could say, I am a college graduate, I am so proud of myself, I had a dream of a college degree and it seemed impossible but I never gave up, no matter the obstacles in front of me. I learned more fromt he courses I took, I learned about perservance and patience, I learned that there is hope in a hopeless situation. And I hope to use this part of my story to inspire others to never give and never stop reaching for their dreams.

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God loves you

When I feel I depressed and anxious, I feel like throwing in the towel, I then realize that God’s working in my life and I think of all the blessings he’s given to me, I get gratitude and I always feel better. I think of the times in my life where I felt so low and God spoke to me, either through the people I knew or something as simple as a song on the radio, he was reaching out to me and sometimes I’d ignore it and other times I recognized it right away, looking up at the sky and saying thank you because I knew it was him. So while life won’t ever be easy, I can take comfort in knowing is always God taking care of me and I’ll be alright in the end. I’m feeling blessed at the moment and hope you are as well. Have a beautiful day, friends. God loves you. 🙏 

Social anxiety hurts

Sometimes we think we are alone when are struggling but there are those right next to us dealing with the same exact issues.

 

I went to this social event; it was a dinner and I didn’t realize so many people would be in this house and immediately I got sensory overload and felt like I was going to have an anxiety attack. I felt really self-conscious and after debating in my head, I left; feeling frustrated and just mentally drained.

 

I was going to go home but instead I just parked somewhere and made a video about social anxiety ( I won’t post it) and afterwards I felt a little better, I was able to get all of that pent up emotion out.

 

I decided to go back and have dinner there. One of the guys was there, I talk him to a lot and he is such a nice dude. I was telling him how I needed to get out of there and he was like “Oh yeah, I have the same thing and I am struggling with it now too” He told he had to find a quieter corner of the house because he anxious. He also kind of gave me ideas what he does when he has social anxiety, it was great!

 

I instantly felt so relived that I wasn’t the only one and as I was talking to him, I felt much calmer. I focused on talking to him and few other people and the anxiety got better.

 

It goes to show that we are never alone and its not always the right time to talk about anxiety but sometimes it helps to know someone else is dealing with it too. I hope someday to be able to handle large groups of people until then I was strategize and do the best I can.

 

I love you guys and am so happy I have a safe place here to talk about this and get so much support. Much love

 

Dave

 

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Normal is boring

Normal is boring; be real, be extraordinary, be genuine,  be someone  that sparks that most interesting conversations, be creative, imaginative, light up the room, don’t let them dim your light, be bright, speak truths and be a truth seeker, don’t downplay your intelligence to appease them, don’t waste your energy on anyone that can’t see what a bad ass you are. Be anything or anyone you want but never be normal, there’s enough of them to go around, be you, always

The path

The future seems uncertain and the road I’m walking seems dark, full of potholes, it’s windy and I hear wild animals screaming my name.

 

I have no idea where this road leads but I can’t go back to where I am walking away from.

 

I shake from fear but I carry on, wherever this takes, I must finish this journey.

 

As I sit down to catch my breath, I find a a lit pen beside me on the grass, this pen will be my light that can help me combat the darkness as I walk this path.

 

Through the light, I can now see others beside me, they are on this road too. I never realized that they were there, the darkness hid their faces and I somehow failed to hear their footsteps alongside mine.

 

Now I take comfort in the fact that I am no longer walking alone. We may not be going to the same destination but at least we are on the same path.

 

 

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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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The rainstorm

It was so long ago, a summer rainstorm that seems to compliment the mood I’ve been in for ages
I’ve grown tired of this place, there’s nothing here for me, no one I’m close to.

The traffic drives me crazy, people are rude and cold and seeing the same old places leaves me in perpetual yearning for a past that wasn’t that great to begin with.

I know I’m leaving home and I’m excited, a brand new place, I don’t have to be reminded of that hurt again, I can leave the past behind

I’m at work right now, Fairfax square, looking out the window, at the rain pouring down, tears from the sky. I keep thinking that although it hurts to still be here, I am scared. I have never lived anywhere else, this is all I know but I want to leave, I feel conflicted.

No one at work understands. The girl working with me is next door talking to her boyfriend, the store is empty, because who wants to go out in a rainstorm to get videos? I’m listening to same songs on a loop, I hate those tvs, I’m so bored with no one to talk, just waiting for a sign of life

In the present day, I moved, another state ( another state of mind) and my life has changed in so many ways since those old days. I look out my window and the rain is soaking the ground and I think of that day, that memory, when I was so hurt and couldn’t have never imagined the life I live today and the progress I made.

I guess the rain washed away the remnants of the past, a rainbow appeared and I got to the other side, but it was the most perfect rainstorm because after every rainstorm, there’s always a rainbow.

 

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Learning to love yourself

It isn’t easy but before you can love others, you first must learn how to love yourself

The first thing you must do is learn to love and accept everything about you, including the traits you have grown to hate and the ones you choose to hide. Love how you look ( We are all beautiful in our own way) Love how we talk ( our voices are our own and are powerful, we use it to speak out and to comfort and to connect, don’t lower your voice, raise it), love how you walk ( even if you can’t raise your head or you’re clumsy and walk into the wall, if your arms flail and you don’t always walk with the utmost confidence, it’s your own walk, own the path you’re on, cause no one can walk it for you.

The second thing you must do is to stop listening to that negative voice in your head. You know the one I mean. The one who says you’re stupid and ugly, no one cares what you have to say, you’ll never be successful.

The one who says you’re not good enough and you’ll never be as good them. The voice that drums up all those negative events from the past, to remind you that you’re nothing and you’ll always be nothing.

We all have different negative voices that permeate through our brains and even though they may say different things, they are nonetheless hurtful. In fact they are more hurtful than any external voice could ever be. It’s ugly, constant and never seems to go away.

Stop listening now, find a new a voice, one that loves you, that is rooting for you, your own cheerleader, one that wants to succeed and tells you as good as anyone, no, you are enough, you are more than enough, you are fantastic and you can do this.

The third you must do is be completely honest,open and vulnerable to the world. You have the be authentic, be you. Whether they accept you or not, fuck it, be you. Being yourself is such a vital way of loving yourself.

It’s when you stop caring what they think, it’s such freedom when you can finally starting do everything for yourself instead of trying to gain the approval for others.

When you try to walk, talk, write, sing, create for the sake of others is when you’ve lost the game. People like you for you and appreciate authenticity, despite what some circles may say, it’s the truth.

Loving yourself is taking care of your mind. While you must live your life for yourself, don’t forget that sometimes we need help. We don’t always have to struggle alone and there is no shame is speaking out and saying “ I’m in pain”

There is no shame is seeing a mental health counseler and or taking medication if necessary, that is sometimes the most loving thing you can do for yourself. And it isn’t easy, I know, there so much stigma even within ourselves and of course the people around us but love is doing what’s best for us even if no one around us understands.

I will end this by saying that you matter, people care ( even when it feels like they don’t) you are loved, there is hope, don’t give up life or yourself. Don’t let the darkness win, love yourself and by doing that, you can learn to love others and let your light shine.

It is hard as hell but sometimes you just have look in the mirror and love the person looking backs even if the reflection scares you. If you look hard enough, you might just fall in love and realize that you are staring back at your best friend.

Thank you, I love you and you should love yourself

 

 

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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 just want to be normal

I hate being different; I don’t want to stand out from the crowd, I want to fit in like everyone else, you know, normal. I want to be able to navigate through social mazes with ease, plastering on the smile, keeping the conversation going with mindless small talk about the weather or the game ( must learn about sports, everyone seems like like it)

 

In order to appear normal, I have to refrain from talking about my own interests, which others respond with disdain and boredom, that never feels good, in fact I feel small and I want to go home. But if I must meet people, I have to be normal or at least appear normal.

 

No one likes people that are too different, they get pushed aside and ignored. The question is : must I be normal to shake off this “otherness”. I am lonely and if I have to be someone I’m not to make friends, than so be it.

 

I have to be like them or else they’ll never fully accept me. I know, you may say this is bullshit or negative but these thoughts are a constant source of anxiety, they feel real and I write this because someone out there has the same script in their head.

 

I learning to accept my uniqueness because only through honesty, being myself, can I make friends worth having. There is no such thing as normal, it’s subjective and frankly boring.

 

Normal isn’t fun, it doesn’t laugh unless it’s at the expense of someone else. Normal is ordinary, when you want to be extraordinary. I am far from normal and I’ve accepted that. I can finally be happy and so will you when you accept yourself and toss the notion of normalcy into the garbage disposal ❤

 

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