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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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

Today was a better day

I am now making it a priority to write in blog everyday because I really feel this is going to help me. Thank you everyone for all your support, sometimes I can come off bitter when I am struggling.  I think sometimes when I am depressed, I want help but at the same time I don’t, I just wanted to isolate myself and be left alone, it’s a strange paradox but I think a lot of people can relate.

Anyway I woke up today and decided that I would reactivate my social media since it had been a week and while it can be frustrating, I do find the support on there to be helpful at times.  I made a post about why I left and I got so many reactions and messages, I realize that people are just caught up in their own lives ( like they should be) and I am not the center of the universe.  My depression just makes me feel I am completely alone and no one cares when I know deep down inside that it’s a lie. On the contrary, people said they missed me and were concerned.  Since I post so much, a sudden silence, makes  people worried about what happened to me.  I want to help others and if I choose to stay silent about mental health that I am not helping anyone, in fact I am hurting myself by removing the support I need.  I think what hurt me the most was that someone messaged me about doing a suicide prevention live broadcast and they never got back to me. My brother took his life and his death anniversary is in less than a month, that really hurts.  I sent this person a smart message thanking them so much “for caring” and cut ties with them. Luckily I don’t know this person personally, so it isn’t much of a loss,  I don’t just like to be fucked  with when it comes to suicide prevention or mental health, I take it VERY seriously.   But I don’t want to let negative people disrupt positive reactions with others, I won’t throw the baby out with the bath water, you know.

I also was talking with a few people and decided to start a Facebook group that will discuss mental health advocacy, encourage others, talk about resources for help and maybe do some Facebook lives, I am really excited.  I am recruiting others that want to help me, those that have supported me on my mental health journey and I have already have 2 or 3 people that are willing to help, this is really exciting.  In fact if anyone is interested in joining my group, I’ll get you updated and post the link.

And I am so grateful and fortunate because while I say I don’t get much support, it’s not true.  Its the anxiety talking and it is such bullshit.  To be honest I think I get a lot more support than some others do probably because I’m willing to be so open and honest and share my life so publicly. There are so many others who are worse off than me, who reach out and receive no support, online or otherwise. It really hurts me to think about it.  I can’t tell you how many messages I’ve gotten from those suffering from depression that feel totally alone and have been told to snap out of it, I am lucky that no one has ever treated me that.  My perception about others see me is totally warped, so it’s all internal, it has nothing to do with anything people have said or done ( Beside a few, most people are really positive).  But I guess that’s depression, isn’t it?  And sometimes I may come off as ungrateful for the support I get, I am sorry.    I am just happy I have a place to share my feelings and I get feedback, not everyone has the ability to express themselves and be understood and when they do, they get no feedback and it’s heartbreaking.  I’m sort of rambling, so I’ll end it here.  Thank you

Dave

Why are men afraid to talk about mental health?

Today I made another video. I’m taking some time to talk about the stigma of men and mental health. It’s time we as men are more open about struggles with mental health, stop shaming men who talk about mental illness openly, as males we should support one another not tell other guys to “man up”. I call this suicide prevention because the suicide is high among men, mostly due to stigma. I am hoping to connect with other men on social media who are willing to advocate for mental health and spread awareness because some days I feel like I’m the only one speaking out.

 

I’m back in school

I want to make a quick update. Today was a new semester of college for me and I only have a few classes until I can get my degree in human service disabilities and finally graduate. I have finished all of my classes including internships and now all that I have left are these math courses.  All my life I have had learning disabilities in math and every time I see a math problem; I automatically feel dumb and I feel myself get frustrated. When I got to class; we had to take knowledge check and I didn’t know anything.  Out of 20 questions, I got 1 right; again, I felt stupid.  Luckily, it didn’t affect my grade but it shows how far behind I am; I’m not bad at math; I simple can’t do it. I said a little prayer and told myself not to get frustrated because that only makes it worse. On a positive note; I am determined this time around; I am going to make this class successful. Late last year; I got in touch with a disability counselor and she said she could give me some accommodations; which hopefully will help. I’m going to email her tomorrow and see how she can help me. There is also a tutoring class available and I am going to go to that tomorrow; I really intend on making the effort. I pray that God will see me through and I am fortunate to have a lot of support and I am blessed.  Thank you, friends, for all your kind words and understanding; it really makes a difference in my life.

 

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Gratitude

I wanted to take this Sunday to talk a little bit about gratitude. Sometimes I complain       a lot and I focus on my struggles and forget about the many blessings I have in my life and even small things can blessings.  I was able to attend church today and also help assist with a special needs Sunday school where a young guy about 14 was there. He’s really cool; he loves arts and crafts and is very talkative; all around nice kid.  It is a blessing to be asked to be a part of that class; it gives me a reason to wake up on a Sunday morning; a sense of purpose. I work a long side a nice woman who one of the  leaders of the disabled ministry; I have known her for a few months and I am starting care about everyone involved in that group; they are wonderful people who have God in their hearts. The main theme for class this month is serving others; putting the needs of others above our own; which is something we all could learn.  I think God calls for all of us to help one another and today we also talked about the fact that God gives us all gifts that we can use to serve others.  Not only is this class helping this young man but it’s helping me.  We watched a short video about a guy who had a job stocking and everyone came to him with their problems because he listened and cared; he realized that was his gift that God had given him.   It was like God was speaking me and that moment and making me realize that MY gift as well.  I listen to what the young adults at the disabled ministry say; I speak them on their level; they can tell I care.  I empathize and care when I interact with my people on social media. I am not bragging but I can’t tell you how many people message me and want to talk about what’s going om and I listen and I don’t judge and I encourage them; I do it because it feels good to be there for other people.  I look at caring about others and being there for them as a gift and I can’t take the credit; God gave this to me. And I am grateful for the opportunity to be there for others in so many ways.  To be there is nothing that makes me happier than to that I can make difference in someone’s like by simply listening  or writing something that resonates with them.  Like I said earlier; I am not patting myself on the back but God gave me this unique ability to show empathy and I want to use it. For the longest time; I chose to hide my gifts; my sensitivity, my caring nature, being compassionate and now I am not afraid to show it. I don’t care if it make me seem to weak some people; I am going to be who I am.

After Sunday school I walked with everyone to service and sat with the disabled ministry; again so much to gratitude to be included. As the sermon was going and all of sudden I had another burst of gratitude; just the fact that I was able to attend church was a blessing in and of itself. I can’t tell you how many Sundays I worked; so depressed that I was missing church. I wanted to be a part of a church community and hear the word of God among all the church members and I couldn’t. I feel robbed of having that time with God. Sure, I could have watched the sermon online but it isn’t the same as being part of a church community.  So I looked up and thanked God for the ability to just sit in a pew and listen to a sermon; it’s the only upside to being unemployed. Most people take it for granted; going to church; but not me.  God is good and he is working in my life; I don’t have anything else but gratitude today.

Thanks for listening

Dave

 

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I have no photographs of myself

So I’ve been noticing on social media that everyone is posting their first photos they posted with their current photos; most go back 10 years or more.  I hate thinking about those days; I am much happier now but I was really a miserable person in 2008.  My mental health had deteriorated to the point where I couldn’t function mentally, emotionally, physically, spirituality.  I was working but my anxiety and stomach problems were so bad; I was just going through the motions.   I leaving in the same house I was growing up; with the memory of my brother’s death and the trauma of living in a chaotic household.  I couldn’t take care of myself; I never bought new clothes or got a haircut; I just looked bad.  I wasn’t communicating with anyone and I spent more of my time just watching movies and going online.  I wasn’t writing or doing anything constructive with my feelings; I was just wallowing in mental illness.  As I write this I feel a knot in my stomach and a lump in my throat and anxiety; remembering those days.  And this was a continued pattern since I graduated high school ( 7 years)  It was 7  years of isolating myself from people; staying locked up in my house; not leaving for days at time. I am sure some of my readers are going through those struggles right now and I want to stop for a second and tell you that you are not alone; a lot of us have been through that and I feel that pain; I myself never want to back to it but I  don’t to forget where I came from and the work I did to be the man I am today.  So yeah anyways I also had no concept of God; I had no faith or prayer; maybe I believed in God but I blamed him for all of my misery and refused to go to church or be associated with anyone I knew from there.   It was the darkest period in my life ( aside from my brothers death)  2001-2008.   In the summer of 2008 I moved from the DC area ( the place I had grown up in all my life) to NC and slowly over the years my life has changed for the better.

Just thinking about the past makes me awashed in sadness and it can set my depression off for me days. I felt that way when I saw some of those old photographs of my friends. It hurts seeing some of these photos because it reminds me of all the things I missed from my friends; college days, relationships, weddings, careers, starting a family; I wish I had kept in touch with them; but I haven’t seen some of them since I graduated high school; I am filled with regret but grateful that I  am in touch with them now; it still hurts though.  It also makes me think of all the things that I haven’t achieved; I have never had a long term relationship; I never went to a university; had a career and I don’t have a family of my own. I look at my life and it seems lackluster compared to theirs and it kills me inside.   And in thinking about all that makes me realize that I only have about 1 photograph from about 2001 to about 2016; that is amazing.  It’s a family photo where we are together and I look pretty happy next to my cousin but that’s the only photo I know of myself from that 15 year period that is awfully depressing.  I think I just hated myself so much that I couldn’t bear to be photographed; I  thought I was ugly and I hated the idea of anyone taking my picture. I was in such a depressive state; I couldn’t even smile; my eyes dark and sunken from lack of sleep; my hair too curly; whatever the reason; very few photographs exist of me. And it shows the progress I made since my social media is full of selfies, photos of me with family and friends; I’m smiling and I think I look better than I ever have; I have much more confidence.  I am making up for all that lost time, I guess. So while I can’t produce a photo from 10 years ago; I can share one today;a much happier, healthier Dave; full of life.  One that begs for his photo to be taken so he can share it with the world.  Here’s to progress.

 

Thanks for listening

Dave

 

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Things are getting better

Anyone who has been reading my posts knows that I’ve been struggling since the loss of my job and feeling depressed with nothing to do.  I managed to get this woman’s number at work and we texted a few times but soon after; she just stopped responding and I felt rejected. It has happened so many times that it was just a sad deja vu; it just reminded of all my dating failures; I just can’t connect and it hurts really bad.  A few days ago during a windy storm; the power went out in the middle of the night and the house was pitch black. I stumbled through the dark; trying to find the light ( a metaphor perhaps) and I had nothing to do but to sit in the dark. I thought about being unemployed, trying to go back to school, what to do with all this free time, why this girl I hardly knew wasn’t interested in talking to me.  I felt the need to just pray at that moment and ask God for guidance ; when I am at my lowest point I always turn to him. I know a lot of people aren’t religious and I respect other people’s beliefs but God is a big part of my life.  I don’t use religion to judge others or moralize; I use my faith in God to have compassion and love for everyone; especially those with disabilities and the downtrodden.

Anyways I decided that I couldn’t sit in the dark all night so I went to Walmart to buy some candles in the middle of the night; it was scary, the traffic lights by my streets were off; so it was really dangerous.  What’s even crazier is that the next traffic lights worked and all the business’s were lit so it seemed like our neighborhood was the only place in the area out of power.  After Walmart; I just drove around; trying to charge my phone and just thinking; it was eerie; no cars on the road and I was trying to think about the direction I was going in my life; alone; just total loneliness.   I drove almost to where my college was ( about 30 mins); sat in a parking lot and sat for a few minutes and drove back home.  I got back to my neighborhood and to my relief the power was back on; I could finally get to sleep.  I had planned to go to bed earlier but all the stress kept me up plus I cannot sleep in complete darkness or without my air cleaner.

When I got home, I wrote a poem about rejection and went to bed.  The next day I got a message from a fellow writer on Instagram; she tweeted my poem and suggested I joined Twitter. I was weary because of all the political bullshit and bullying but I found she was part of a really positive writing community and through the pain of writing ; I found a lot of support; which is what I needed. So things happen for a reason.  I can use twitter to find support, support others and promote my writing; what a blessing.  In fact all of my social media has been growing; I am getting constant supportive messages and comments and connecting with so many writers and disability advocates; it’s been amazing. So while I felt low; all that support made the difference; I realize that that girl not liking me is pretty insignificant compared to all the people I’m reaching with my writing; I don’t have to feel alone  anymore; I have thousands of people i can reach out to; that sounds amazing when I think about; surreal; it’s hard for me to wrap my head around it. I even found out about this writers group in the area through Instagram and I will try to attend this weekend; I hope to meet fellow writers and creative people.

I also got an email this week from my college; stating that since I only had a few classes to graduate that they were offering me a full scholarship; they’d pay for my class,books and any other fees. It couldn’t be real so I met up with someone today and he confirmed it; all I have to do is sign up. I am beyond excited and blessed right now; school is so important to me. God is handing me all these opportunities and I don’t know how to express my gratitude.   I just can’t wait to be able to call myself a college graduate and get a job in the disability field; it’s my passion.  So even though my job didn’t work out; it opened to the door to this great opportunity and I am going to take it.  I think God has a calling for me and this is it. Oh and speaking of that; I am going back to volunteering with the disabled ministry this week; I missed them so much and I am sure they’ll be happy to see me. I went to church on Christmas eve and one of the young adults was there; she was excited to tell me about everything I missed.  All those young adults make my day; they are all so kind and sweet and just wonderful people who I refuse to define based on their disabilities.  So yes, things are getting much better. All I had to do was ask God for help and have faith he would take care of me and he is., I thank all of you for your wonderful support. This blog is my life at this point; I cherish it and I will continue to blog and update everyone on how I am doing.

Thanks for listening,

Dave

 

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