Coronavirus blues

It has been quite a long while since I have updated my blog, my mental health advocacy has been focused on social media and that has been thriving, I have created groups, I do live videos and collaborated on Podcasts. Also since I last updated my blog, I managed to get my college degree and continue with my volunteer work and I am currently looking for a job but now everything is put on hold due to the Coronavirus health scare.

Since Corona, everything seems to be shutting down, my volunteer work has been canceled for the time being and I stopped the job search because of the anxiety regarding going out in public. I am not sick, but due to high anxiety, I haven’t left the house since Thursday and am scared to do so, I will not out in public with any crowds, I am trying to minimize my risk but all of this is creating so much anxiety and depression with me.

I also was on a strict diet and my digestive and bladder issues were improving greatly but with store shelves empty, I may have to eat and drink what I can get, this is so frustrating. And not only is the virus itself concerning but people’s reaction to the virus is making me angry and irritable. As someone with digestive issues, I rely on items such as toilet paper, soap and gluten-free/dairy-free foods and there is a shortage of those right now. And it because of people’s selfishness that the most vulnerable and sick suffer even more. It all feels out of control and I feel helpless because there is nothing I or anyone else can but wait to see how it plays out.

The bright side is that I am reaching out to my friends online, I am continuing to speak out about mental health and use my struggles to help others, I am honest and vulnerable and reaching a lot of people, which is something  I’m proud of that. I am doing self-care, lots of music, movies, hot baths, journaling, whatever I can do to keep my sanity, I am going to try and venture out tomorrow for a nature walk, it might do me some good. I can’t continue to live in this constant anxious and depressed state, it’s no good for me. I will continue to pray and I feel at this time that it will be a good idea to update my blog more as another means of emotional support. Thank you.

 

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I miss my friend

I miss my friend John. We never actually met but I feel like I knew him, he seemed like a smart man, witty; full of sarcasm wit; with his snide remarks and those not smart enough to understand sarcasm.

 

I appreciate his beautiful creativity and how he always pushed the boundaries of art unapologetically He was outspoken, a little broken but aren’t we all. I understand his anger, anger at a system that touts conformity and punishes anyone who is different the rebellious who stand out, someone who was tired of pigheaded politicians and just wanted some truth, just like I do, someone who thought peace and love wasn’t a novel concept and that war was never the answer, war is over if you want it.

 

The irony is that such a man who was about love and peace died from gun wounds created by a violent culture in a violent city from a sick deranged man who America raised, it makes me sad.

 

But what I most miss is John’s music and am angry that was taken away from all us by gun violence. All I know is that I miss my friend John.

A Fourth of July poem

Where are the leaders, the ones that can fix this broken place full of broken people, broken promises, how can we mend this, I have a feeling glue might not be strong enough. when I see what’s happening around me and my blood boils and my skin gets hot, I can feel the anger rising in me, the hypocrisy and the lies and the hatred, my voice raspy from screaming and not feeling heard, seeing all the suffering caused by indifference of those who possess no empathy whatsoever, my heart breaks, my hands tremble, my heart races, the anxiety of it all. And when I speak, I’m shouted down and told I don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m told my feelings are wrong, what I am seeing has become acceptable and I’m the intolerant one,  how dare I not tolerate families ripped apart, how dare I not tolerate unarmed children of a darker shade being murdered by those who were put in place to protect them, how dare I not be concerned when war is looming because those in our government instigates rogue leaders through late night tweets in a bathrobe, pacing around like a mad man, drink on the nightstand, one hand on the phone, the other on the remote tuned into the two minutes of hate, How dare I not tolerate the comments made by my fellow citizens that foreigners are illegals ( how can a human being illegal?) or the derogatory comments screamed by angry mobs about women, minorities, gays and anyone else who disagrees with their agenda. No, I can’t tolerate this, I won’t.  I will continue to speak my mind and I won’t be silenced because the freedom you hold so dear to your heart doesn’t just mean the freedom to express your views but it’s the freedom of all us including me to make my voice heard and no more. This ends now, it’s become intolerable. no more, I say.

Being open about suicide

I was just watching a video where Anderson Cooper is interviewing Howard Stern last night and I’ve always liked Anderson Cooper, he has a calm demeanor and he just seems like a really nice guy, really intelligent and caring and passionate about journalism.

 

But it just hit me, there’s another reason that I like him so much is that I found that his brother committed suicide just like mine. And what I like is that is that he is open about it; just like I am. I admire the fact that he moves forward with his life and usies that tragedy as a way of educating people about mental health.

 

In this interview on CNN with Howard Stern, they both recount when Anderson was Howard Stern’s show and Anderson was talking about the suicide of his brother and Howard Stern mentions how he used that the story to learn about the issue of suicide..

 

That’s what it is about; using our stories to educate the public about an issue that has so much stigma. And if a public figure like Anderson Cooper can be so open about the suicide of his brother, so can I and without shame. I just thought I’d share this with you. Thanks for listening and for caring ❤

Before the internet

I keep thinking about small window of time in my life before the internet, I was 12 the first time I used it. We went from a 286 Dos computer with a floppy disc and a mouse to a brand computer with a mouse, CD-drive and this new thing called the internet

 

I thought it was so cool that I could read a newspaper in another country, I could chat with anyone in the world, I could look at news headlines of any place I wanted, it seemed like the most incredible thing to me, like so much freedom

 

Looking back I miss the days before though. I miss not knowing what my friends were up to at all times of the day, They were not interested in my every thought and the feeling was mutual I miss not being flooded with negative new stories 24 hours a day and biased opinionated news online ( I mean we had CNN but it was nothing like it is now). I miss days where people actually talked to each other face to face. We were less connected in a sense in yet we were way more connected than we are now. We have the world at our finger tips and can talk to our friends anytime of day and yet we couldn’t be lonelier

 

We had our privacy, no one was reading our messages or using our thoughts and feelings ( data) to sell to the highest bidder. Kids could have a meltdown in public and not worry about some jack ass recording it and uploading it Youtube. They had bullies, but bullying stopped in the school yard and kids were safe in their own homes unlike now, where they are barraged with harassing text messages and mocked on social media

 

The internet was supposed to make the world a better place but in many ways it has made things worse. It’s addicting; full of porn and violent images and nothing of substance or value. People have so much knowledge on their phones in their pockets and they choose to look at bullshit and remain willfully ignorant.

 

Somedays I think we’d be better off without the internet but we can’t go back and we have a generation that doesn’t know a world without the internet. In fact I was the last generation to have gone through my whole childhood without the internet and it was great, we survived, in fact we thrived and we were happier because we didn’t have it.

History repeats itself

I am a history buff and its amazing how history repeats itself. I look at Germany in the 1920’s and how there was a depression and most people were out of work. People were struggling financially and felt defeated as a nation, they were once proud but now felt shamed after World War I. So the Nazis rose up and had a charismatic leader in Hitler, who promised to make “Germany” great again by bringing back jobs to “Germans” ( which really meant people that weren’t Jewish or Polish, Communist or disabled) and build up it’s military and show the world it’s strength. Never again was Germany going to be humiliated. Hitler also convinced the people that all the good jobs were taken by foreigners and Jews and that there was a worldwide conspiracy by Jewish and foreign powers to oppress hard working Aryan Germans, Hitler used the fears of a hurt people and manipulated all of Germany in order to gain power. He said whatever he could to gain the crowd’s favor, he gave inflammatory speeches full of racist anti-Semitic rhetoric and whipped the crowd into a frenzy, they bought ever word, hook line, and sinker. Hitler once said that if you tell a lie over and over again, it eventually becomes the truth. And the people who supported Hitler were not monsters or demons, they were everyday citizens who just wanted jobs and a better life but they were duped by an evil monster. Some of this stuff seems really familiar, doesn’t it? Try reading a history book, you might just learn something.

 

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Don’t drink the Kool Aid

If you have lived in the US for the past 10 years or so; you probably have heard the term “Don’t drink the Kool Aid” It basically means don’t just do what everyone else is telling you; don’t follow the crowd; it mostly applies to the politics and media. For example if someone said they supported Obama’s policies; they’d be drinking the Kool- Aid because they were accepting them at face value without thinking for themselves.

A lot of people use the term and don’t realize the origins of the phrase or they use the term and simply don’t care. Well let me school you for those not in the know. The term comes from the People Temple; a religious cult in the late 1970s that originated out of the Bay area. A Pastor by the name of Jim Jones indoctrinated his congregation who were made of mostly Blacks families and the elderly through mental, emotional and sexual abuse ( the abuse also involved children).

Knowing that the law was after them; Pastor Jim Jones eventually convinced most of his followers to pack up everything and move from their base in San Fransisco to the jungles of Georgetown ,Guyana in a communal camp ( away from the eyes of the prying American government) There church members were forced to work for 12 or more hours a day; with little food; uncomfortable living conditions with no air in the hot sun; and the camp was surrounded by men patrolling the grounds with guns; ready to shoot anyone who escaped. There was also a loudspeaker of tapes of Jim Jone’s sermons ( who was also an amphetamine addict who would stay up for days at a time). The abuse continued throughout the camp; worsened because they could no longer be watched by the government; it was a dire situation. Eventually concerned families back home contacted congressman Leo Ryan; stating that their families were being held against their will and suspected abuses on the part of Jim Jones and demanded an investigation. Congressmen Ryan; along with all major media outlets; converged on the camp in Guyana to see the “People’s temple” for himself. He was given a big welcome with a show and lots of singing and happy campers. Leo Ryan said ‘ People really seem happy here” But shortly after that he was handed a note by one of the church members; saying that he and some others were requesting that they go back home with Congressmen Ryan; Jim Jones said everyone was free to leave . But as soon as the congressmen and those wanting to leave Jonestown tried to board the airplane in the small airfield; a truckload of some of Jone’s followers opened fire; killing the congressman and most of those journalists that had accompanied him.

In a recorded audio cassette tape found after the massacre; Jones quickly gathered all of his followers and declared “The congressman is dead and they’ll be after us” ‘The women, the children, the babies; they won’t let us survive” He said that the only option was what he termed “revolutionary suicide” because if they couldn’t live in peace; they’d die in peace and this was followed by the sound of cheering Jonestown followers and eerily the sound of crying babies in the background. Some protested this and calling Jim Jones “father, isn’t there another way” But the protests were soon shouted down by angry followers; anyone who questioned “Father” was a traitor and should be killed themselves. Just to make a note; the tape is a very disturbing listen but you ever hear it; you can also note the sound of a bleeding tape with a previously recording of a choir singing; it gives an even more chilling tone” Anyways Jim Jones says that they are all to drink cyanide; the poison will go down smoothly since it will be mixed with a fruit mixture ( or kool-aid as some call it). Towards the end of the tape; you can hear that they are already administering the poison to the babies ( in synergies; a drop or two into the babies mouth) It is one of the most haunting things I have ever heard and it is very difficult to listen to. The next day over 900 followers including women, children and elderly; lay dead in front of the camp. Now some call it suicide but I call it murder; these people didn’t want to die; they were given no choice; poison or a shot in the head; that is murder. Just an unspeakable tragedy that no one should ever make light of.

A little backstory when I was a kid; I saw this tv movie that started with a Pastor who had an integrated church in the 1950s and was fighting racism in Indiana ( The Jim Jones story) I remember finding it interesting until the middle of the movie when the Pastor started yelling at the congregation and claiming he was God; and he got crazier and crazier. Once they got to the camp; it was really upsetting to watch. At the time I thought it was fiction; I had no idea it was a true story and I just remember feeling shocked because it was so surreal; all those people abused and then killed by a Pastor. I also found it to be an fascinating story and researched it and there is so much to this story; so much about mind control and using religion to manipulate people and abuse of power; just so much. Even the fact that Jim Jones never even took the poison; he shot himself ( or had someone shoot him since he was such a coward)

The reason I wrote this today is because someone used that term with me online and I immediately blocked them and they don’t even know me or my story. But I find the term offensive for a number of reasons; people use that term flippantly; not caring that they are not only making light of suicide but murder; the murder of babies by a madman. I know what they are trying to say when they use that term but it’s uncalled for. There’s nothing funny about what happened at Jonestown; whether you consider it suicide or murder; 900 innocent people died. Have we become so cold that death is something we laugh about? How would you feel if someone you were close to took their lives and someone made a joke about or used it to make point; you’d be angry too. People just don’t think before they speak; they don’t care about the lives affected by suicide or the families of the victims of Jonestown. Maybe they’re ignorant and they don’t know their history ( I assume that is most likely the case) and you can say I’m preaching or pointing the finger but you know what; maybe calling people out is the only way they’ll every learn to be more sensitive towards others. I think we should retire the word “Drink the Kool Aid” out of vocabulary forever. With that I am done. I hope this post has made you think in a different but I doubt that it changed your mind. But if you can see it from a different perspective let me know in the comments.

Thanks

Dave

 

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The movie I saw as a kid

 

 

 

Yoga can kill you

I have been told how wonderful Yoga is for reducing stressed; getting centered; helping with some of my physical issues and just finding an escape from the chaotic world outside.  So about a year I decided to try yoga for the first; it was relaxing but I struggling keeping my balance and following directions but nonetheless it was an enjoyable experience and I told myself if I had more time I’d take a few more classes; now I’m not so sure.  It seems not even the peaceful atmosphere of Yoga is safe from gun violence.

I woke up this morning to read the  news and saw the headline ” 2 shot dead at Florida yoga studio”  I didn’t even bother to read the article because I already know the story; it’s been told time and time again in this country.  People going about their day; at a religious service; going to school; having drinks at nightclub; shopping at the mall and now yoga are shot by a mentally deranged ( usually white male) person with no known motive and usually ends up turning the gun of themselves; leaving the rest of us with no answers.  Its depressing beyond belief; it’s depressing that nothing is done about this. This is a broken ugly hate filled world and we live in a country that has accepted that this kind of violence is a normal part of living; even at a yoga studio; one of the most peaceful places you can be in. I can picture it; people are on the floor on their yoga mats; eyes closed; soft voices; with new age music playing in the background; mediating and trying to gain some peace in their life; all of a sudden being awoken from the state of relaxation to the sound of gunfire; it sounds like something from a movie or something; it’s too horrifying to be real.

I am not political or social expert; I have no answers except to speak from my heart.  Why do we hurt each other so?  Why can’t we do something about the amount guns in our country? Why makes this society so violent to begin with?  Why are white males so angry? Why do we value aggression and dominance over passiveness and compassion in our society?  I don’t have the answers to those questions but all I know is that my heart hurts for those who died. My heart hurts that this man was in such pain that he not only took his life; but the lives of two innocent people.

I don’t have words except to express my  heartfelt sadness and anger whenever I read things like this; I can’t accept it; I won’t let it be normal and I won’t stop talking about it.  I will speak my mind even if others disagree.  I am an idealist and a part me thinks love is the answer and I know some people would laugh at me but I certainly don’t think hate or anger is the answer; maybe understanding.  Why does this affect me so much; why can’t I be numb to it like everyone else?.  All I can do is write and I hope we can heal as a nation and make this a safer place

Dave

 

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Speak out

You gotta stand up for what’s right; you gotta fight with all your might and never let them out of your sight.

Never give up; never give in; when you quit; you don’t win and they persevere; they thrive on your fear.

If we don’t have our say they’re here to stay and with our votes we can make them go away and make this a better day.

But we have to make ourselves heard even when we’re bored with all the rhetoric and the lack of respect; we expect better from our leaders. We gotta be avid readers of the news and use it make a difference in this world and do something instead of staying at home curled in bed. So do you get the jest of what I’ve just said?

Dave

 

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Why I believe women

This has really been a rough week for so many; with the Kavanaugh hearing; a lot of people are triggered and emotions are running high.  I actually have to admit I don’t have cable news ( or even a TV for that matter) so I miss out on a lot of the details; I read headlines on Facebook and hear people talking about it but I don’t get the full picture.  The news is just so negative and full of drama that I have a tendency to just shut out the news because it’s too much; too many players; too much arguing back and forth; it’s not good for my mental health. That being said I have jest of what these hearing is about; Judge Kavanaugh is being accused of attempted rape at a party in the 80s in high school  ( a pretty serious accusation). A lot of people these days are being accused of sexual assault; it’s seems like a celebrity or politician is being accused of sexual misconduct each day; and a lot of them have surprised me (Charlie Rose, really?)  And while I am shocked and have empathy for these women that are accusing these men; I don’t know them personally so it’s easy to not get emotional because I am looking at as outsider who has never been sexual assaulted and can’t fully understand that pain; but a lot people have   ( as I have been finding out recently)

I find myself to be a very sensitive man and have met so many caring women who have been there for me in my life; I admire their strength and courage. I admire how they express their feelings ( some not all); how they show empathy; how they are usually to ones who speak against the injustices of the world..  So when I hear about men who abuse women; my heart breaks because I can sense the pain and anguish the actions of these men cause; the trauma inflicted on these women is life long. I understand trauma in my own way and I have empathy for them because i am a human being who cares about others; but there are so many others in this world that are insensitive; they can listen to a woman describe unbelievable trauma while recounting being sexually assaulted; hear her voice quiver; hands shake and tears rolling down her eyes and not blink an eye.  To them it’s all in act to smear the name of good family man; it’s scam; a political ploy; instead of a woman speaking her truth. And then I hear some say “Well why didn’t they come forward earlier?’   Well who wants to relive that trauma in front of a courtroom ( mostly made of men ); have your sexual history on display; be called a liar and told that it didn’t happen and  say that you just want money or attention? Why go through all that; especially when you are a teenager.  Being bullied as a kid I can remember being ganged up on and when I told the teachers; they told me to just ignore it and it made things worse. I learned not to speak up because it didn’t stop the bullying and no one was going to help me anyways; so I just learned to put up with the bullying because i had no choice.  I use that as an example of trying my best to understand why women take so long to come forward ( if they ever come forward at all). Just typing this now makes me feel angry; I feel angry so many men doubt women; so many men say so many disrespectful things towards someone who has been through sexual assault; why are they so quick to judge?. And do so few men stand up for women? That’s my question.

For a long time I didn’t speak up because it wasn’t personal but last year after the allegations of Harvey Weinstein were brought to light; I started seeing all of these statuses from women that said “me too”.  I had no idea what that was about; I later found out it was women sharing that they had been victims of sexual assault and harassment; and all of sudden most of my female friends were making “me too” posts; it became personal. These women who were my friends and who I loved were sexually assaulted or harassed at one point by men in their lives; that hurt deeply; I really felt for them. Soon some of them started sharing their stories in more detail and I started to realize how many women were affected by this and how so few of them ever came forward and their seemed to be a recurring theme: fear, fear fear.  Either they were threatened  or didn’t want to get his male in trouble so they held it in for years and years. Now by sharing this they have nothing to gain; they aren’t taking these guys to court; they are speaking their truth so other women don’t feel so alone; and they’d have no reason to lie.  I thought about that; a lot of these accusers are coming forward 15-20 years later; way past the statute of limitations; so they can’t charge this guy. Why would a woman put herself through that trauma all over again; be called a liar in front of everyone; have her sexual history questioned and gain nothing legally from it; if she wasn’t telling the truth, right?.  I don’t know; I don’t have statistics and figures; I can only speak from the heart and I believe a lot of women coming forward and I commend them for being so brave; because it takes guts to stand up against powerful men who think they are entitled to sex and see women as solely sex objects with no feelings or worth.

I want to finish this post and talk about a family member who I have not seen since she was a little girl; we actually share the same birthday; she is exactly 6 or 7 years younger than me.  I don’t talk to that side of the family so I don’t know about any of them.  But I was told that this member in the family was sexually abused at a very young ( 7 or 8) and it was shocking; especially since I had met the boys who had abused her for years.  I just felt so furious and had so much hurt in my heart; knowing that cute little innocent girl who was funny and who i went to the pool with and talked with her  had been through unimaginable abuse. I can’t describe how it makes me feel except sick. Even though I have no contact with my family; I do love her and she crosses my mind from time to time. I caught up with her on Facebook about a year ago. I messaged her a few times and I could tell she was struggling; she didn’t work; had ptsd ( related to the abuse); and it wasn’t like talking to an adult; it was like talking to a little girl. I realized that the abuse was so bad that emotionally she remained 7 or 8 years of age.  I didn’t think it was appropriate to be talking to her; even online so I cut off contact with her and any other family I had on Facebook. But when all this talk of sexual abuse comes up; she does cross my mind. And she’s isn’t lying about the abuse and didn’t tell anyone for years; long after it had ended.  I tend to believe most women who come forward because in a  rape culture such as ours; I believe that there are many more men out there capable of sexual abuse than I had previously imagined.   I hope to continue to be the kind of man who speaks up for women; comforts women; is friends with women; and never stops believing women

Thank you

Dave

 

 

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