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

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 ( ūüėČ ) 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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A year in review 2018

This has been such a wonderful year for me; a life changing year; really. I can’t even begin to describe or list all of the wonderful blessings I have had in 2018 but I am going to try. I started out the year still working at Sears and starting an internship related to my degree in developmental disabilities; it was actually kind of rough and I had doubts about my ability to work in the disability field; I had a lot of stress and anxiety and felt overworked with both my regular job and internship; I turned to only comfort I knew; prayer and my writing; I just had to go on faith that I’d get through this period in my life. I found myself turning to God more and more and growing in my faith; even if I couldn’t make it to church. And I was blessed to have so many caring and supportive friends on social media; it made such a huge difference; I really appreciated all the comments and messages from people. I felt I became a better writer as well ( and began calling myself one); I wrote blog post after blog post and it really helped me to cope with some of the anxiety I felt. My blog grew like crazy; it went from 300 or so followers to over 1200 followers in less than year; you don’t realize how grateful I am to ALL of my followers; just to know that people can relate to what I am saying; just vindicates all of these feelings I have had for years and I no longer feel as alone; this blog has been my saving grace. This is such a great community and not only did I connect with writers on my blog but my instagram has also grown and I connect with so many writers, mental health advocates, educators; its amazing. My social media feed is full of positive messages and I love interacting with people; it makes my day.

In 2018 I also was able to take a trip back to where I grew up; after not being there for 10 years. I left in 2008; feeling like I never wanted to go back home; too many painful memories. But I decided that I wanted to face the past and see my old friends; it was very emotional leading up to the trip; I was sort of reliving all of those memories and it hurt; and people around me didn’t understand it; so I kept it myself; I only expressed it through writing. I went back to DC in July of this year and stayed with a friend and I think a lot of the memories of the past came flooding back; I was gone for so long that I had forgotten what the area looked like and it was like being a tourist in my own city. But I did have a lot of fun; I saw many of my friends and family. They even had a welcome home party for me; which was crazy because all these people showed up and I just felt loved; to see those faces again was indescribable. I was happy but anxious at the same time; these are people I really care about and they all showed up to welcome me home; I think I was just overwhelmed; and I am already overwhelmed at social events to begin but it turned on out nice. I went back to my old church where I had spent a lot of time and I just broke down crying; thinking of all those memories; the good and the bad. It was painful but healing; I finally let go of all that pain and anger and sadness in a matter of minutes; it’s what I needed. And I feel God was watching over me the whole trip; comforting me. I will never forget that trip and I hope in 2019; I can come back again and hopefully it will be less emotional.

About 3 months; I finally had a Sunday off and I was able to attend church. They were talking about something called the Rainbow Ministry; which serves the needs of the developmental disabled in the community. I was impressed and I asked the pastor about it and he told me that he wanted me to be a part of this ministry. Before I knew it; I met with the leader and her daughter and we talked about volunteer opportunities. I helped with this lunch called “Feast with friends” which is where the young adults; make and serve lunch at the church; the crowd can be up to over 100 people on some days. I helped a young man dry dishes ( we make a great team by the way). I got to know all of the young adults and the volunteers and grew to care about them and I think they feel the same way about me. I started spending a lot of time with Rainbow; I went on a trip to the mountains with them and it was such a wonderful experience; I bonded with a lot of people. Again it helped grow in my faith in God and gave me a purpose; I no long felt as depressed or anxious. We have done activities at church and at the cabin in downtown Matthews; just a lot of fun. It was one of the biggest blessings of this year and it has changed me; I am different person because of this group and I only have God to thank for it. It also has given me more confidence that I can do well in the disability field; with the right guidance.

And lastly I recently just started a new job; my old job was closing it’s store and I had to scramble for a new job quick and by the grace of God; I found one and it has been so much better for me. I have about a 6 dollar raise, I am treated better; have better hours; am more productive and have so much pride in what I do. Yes, there are challenges but it wasn’t like at Sears where I got paid nothing, was treated terribly and it just made my anxiety and depression 10 times worse; I felt antagonized most of the time and I felt stagnant; I prayed for God to get me out of there and he delivered on that promise. I am so much happier in this new job and my confidence has increased; both as a worker and socially. It’s seasonal and I have anxiety about whether they will keep me or not but I leave it leave it God; it’s in his hands at this point. I work hard every day and can only do my best.

So yes, 2018 was a life changing year and sometimes I just sit back and I can’t believe all of the good things that have happened; it feels like a dream to me; like it’s not real. All the wonderful friends and people who have actually come to Charlotte to visit me. I get overwhelmed by the good things sometimes and I tell myself I have to take it a day at a time and learn to accept praise and love and to be easy on myself. I pray that in 2019; my life will continue to be good and I can grow as a person and hopefully help and inspire others; through my words and videos. Thank so much for all the support friends; you guys mean the world to me. Please take care of yourself in the year to come and I hope we continue to connect and support one another

Your friend,

Dave

 

 

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I’m feeling less anxious these days

I was driving home today and I thinking to myself; how tired I was from working non stop in the bakery;¬† I am on the go; all day; wrapping bread, making cookies trays, placing pies in holders, placing baked items on the tables and rotating baked goods; aside from my breaks; I literally do not stop; I take a second to catch my breath and continue onto the next task.¬† I am not complaining; I am just busy; it’s not like my old job where I checked my phone every few minutes;¬† In fact I keep my phone on airplane mode and only check my social media on breaks.¬†¬†My old job I¬† was anxious all the time¬† and I was so emotionally drained from all the negativity; at work; now it’s more mentally draining and it’s something I have never experienced. In fact I keep my phone on airplane mode and only check my social media on breaks.¬†¬†Even other workers who don’t have disabilities tell me that they heard the bakery was brutal; and they have no idea that I have learning disabilities or ADHD ( Although I’m sure some suspect it); so I am really working hard.

So as I was driving I realized that since working this new job ( and working 40 + hour weeks); I have felt less anxious and depressed. Hold let me take that back; I feel anxious but about different things; I have less social anxiety or thoughts about the past; the anxiety is more about trying to keep up with a face paced environment and whether they will keep me after the Christmas season; all normal anxiety.

But it’s anxiety that I can handle and it doesn’t make me feel bad about myself; in fact I have more confidence than I ever had in my life.¬† I have never gotten along with my co-workers and supervisors so well in a job; no one has really criticized me too much; they seem to enjoy seeing me and I make sure I say hi to everyone and they seem genuinely nice.¬† Even a lot of the women seem very friendly with me; which is a first for me in a job situation.¬† Obviously I am going to stay focused on my job but it does feel nice; and for whatever reason it doesn’t make me anxious; which is the past would have created so much anxiety; I am really not sure what’s happening but I seem to be comfortable around people in general and more sure of myself.¬† ¬†I am just happier right now than I ever been at a job and I think that all the praying; the support from my friends; my writing and my growing social media accounts ( the blog included) has made me more confident in life and people around me are picking up on and responding more positively to me than in the past.¬† I also think perseverance is really starting to pay off; I hope to inspire others never to give up.¬† ¬†Anyways this is all I have the energy to write tonight; I have the day off and I am going to get some much needed rest and recharge my batteries.¬† Thanks for all the support; it really makes a difference in my life.

Thanks for listening

 

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Unrelated but music helps me to calm down; this is what I am listening to as I write this; first track is great!

 

How to handle compliments

I just want to first say are going really well for me right now;¬† my new job seems to be working out; I am active in volunteering with the disabled ministry; I am reaching out to people online and the past two weeks I have been able to attend church; I couldn’t be happier right now.¬† And on top of all these good things I have been getting a lot of praise from people at church, work and a lot of online support ( I love the comments and messages; they make my day) Also I just started making videos and the response has been positive. I admit I am self conscious about how I come across; how I speak and my appearance but people have been unbelievably supportive. Making videos creates so much anxiety for me, but I am finding that people have been beyond kind; I didn’t expect it; to be honest.¬† And offline¬† I am getting compliments left and right; especially about my work with the disabled ministry; a lot of parents of the young adults have been praising me and I hear good things; it makes me smile. I had no idea I was so appreciated but I try to be kind and gentle and I think they can see that.

I just want to say that I am not bragging; I try to stay humble. I know a lot of us can feel unappreciated and unloved sometimes and I have felt that way all my life; so this is all new to me.¬† And that’s the thing; like anyone else; I love compliments and it kinda sets me on an emotional high which isn’t always good; maybe it occupies my thoughts too much and I have to tell myself to slow down and take a breather and not get big headed about it.¬† But even though I love praise at times; it also makes me very anxious because I am not used to especially when it’s almost everyday and from so many people ( some I know and some I don’t know). It makes me nervous because a part of me feels like I’m not worthy of the praise.¬† I have felt so bad about myself for so long ( and been treated so poorly by others) that I question the authenticity of their praise.¬† Do they really mean it?¬† Is it pity? Is it going to blow up in my face when they find out I am not as great as they say I am? I have a past; like anyone else and I have behaved in ways that I’m not proud of; although I feel like I am a much different person these days.¬† All this praise feels like I am in the spotlight; when some days I prefer to be in the background and yet I crave it; it’s a terrible paradox.¬† I am hoping over time I can learn to enjoy praise without questioning it and not be as anxious when someone says ” You’re so wonderful”

So when someone praises you how do you handle it?¬† I know most of us would accept the compliments but how do you handle it internally?¬† Do you obsess about it? Do you question it?¬† I used to think to myself; I would ecstatic to have all these praise; and sure it’s great but damn does it create anxiety.¬†¬† I am really reaching out here and looking for help because I should be happy but some days I just feel overwhelmed with it all.¬† It’s like I woke up one day and became a different person overnight and it’s like a dream. But I will say that no matter what happens ( and if an some alternate reality I become a famous author) I never want to forget where I came from and all the people that were there for me on those days where I wasn’t getting praised and I felt like life was a battle; days that were long and exhausting.¬†¬† That’s all I have for today. Thank you again; I am eternally grateful for all your kind and beautiful comments and praises; you make all the difference in my life.¬† Take care of yourselves.

With much love,

Dave

 

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Feeling like a million bucks after a much needed haircut

Using social media for good

Come on, David, another post about social media, really?¬† I know, I know, this time will be different; I promise.¬† I want to take the time to talk about making social media a more positive experience. ¬† I use social media a little too much; I have lost count of how many times I hit that Facebook button on my phone; and the agony¬† of not seeing notifications; especially after posting my latest blog and the disbelief that someone wouldn’t want to read a long blog post about my innermost thoughts; how dare they?¬† I am kidding of course but I use to think that way and I try to take a different approach these days.¬† I have come to realize how incredibly self centered that thinking is; I feel like social media gives us the impression ( and by us, I mean me) that we are the center of the universe and all of our followers are waiting on pins and needles for our next post; because it’s so brilliant, right? While we all love feedback; it is equally important to make your social media about encouraging others and uplifting them; because social media can be such a negative place; full of political arguments, hate speech, meme after irrelevant meme ( I know I am guilty of this) and just general nonsense.¬† I want my posts to be positive and encouraging; maybe lift someone’s spirits and¬† use my writing to help someone who is struggling like me. I know that when I am down and people encourage me on social media; it really makes a difference¬† And when it comes to my writing; I try not to worry about how many likes or comments I get; I just hope someone out there is reading it and it is affecting them in a positive way; I hope they can relate and it helps them somehow.¬† I smile when I think that sharing my story might give someone hope.

So I spend most of my time on social media; making positive comments; listening when someone is sad and cheering when someone is doing well.¬† I try not to argue with people or get into negativity anymore ( the keyword is try because I’m have made mistakes and I’m not perfect). I just make a point in trying to brighten people’s day; I realize that sounds kind of cheesy but it really helps with my own issues of depression; when I get out of myself for a second and say a kind word to friend on social media.¬† I was thinking about how there isn’t a day where I am not trying to encourage someone or try an make their day better and in a sense I have always been that way; I try to¬† be sensitive and it really is a gift ( although some days it feels like a curse).¬† All my life¬† I have tried to be kind and social media is no different.¬† And maybe for some being nice all the time can seem annoying or I overdo it but I can’t bring myself to use social media to bully or hurt others.¬† I have been bullied all my life and I want to be the antithesis to all of that; a positive force in a cold world.¬† I think I am rambling but you understand my point.¬† And I use the blog in the same way; I try to uplift others and it’s beautiful.¬† We all need encouragement; if everyone took the time to be kind and gentle every day; we’d be at peace. We don’t have to embrace each other but we have respect for one another and our differences.¬† So I will continue my mission to make this a kinder world and I hope you’ll join me

Love your friend.

Dave