Saturday, January 23, 2021

You're The Expert

Recently, I asked myself a question that I have asked myself several times over the years - Am I really depressed? 

Throughout my life I have read articles, watched videos and even talked to someone about my Dysthymia. There is a part of me that questions what is happening to me and at the same time seeks to understand the situation for which I'm in. There is a massive amount of conflicting information out there. It's easy to understand the confusion about what it means to have Dysthymia.

I think most people never want to look at themselves, understand the way they are. I do. I want to understand why my brain makes me think random things, I want to understand what is happening to me and as painful as it is, admit and face my own feelings, my life. A lot of people just don't want to know. I don't blame them as it's a scary place.  Admitting something is wrong is not a great feeling but it can be liberating.

During my recent adventure of asking a question that I have asked many times, I came to the conclusion that a lot of people online who "claim" to be specialists/doctors don't know a thing. Too many others think they are experts and it's clear that none of them know what it's like to live with something like Dysthymia. They just regurgitate stuff over and over, not once thinking maybe some damn list they're reciting from the 1980's may no longer apply.

I had a discussion with someone, a professional, who talks to plenty of people like me. Even he said himself that there are too many people who claim they know but actually known nothing. This person has known me for sometime. They commended me for continuing to understand Dysthymia. Some people don't want to know about the darkness they are forced to co-habitat with but I want to know. I want to understand myself and how I manage to continue to go to work, do craft projects, read books, etc. all the while living with a cloud over my head.  I am resilient as I find ways to keep going. If a previous coping mechanism that used to work no longer does, I am able to find a new one and put it in my survival tool kit.

I read that calling someone like me "high functioning' was incorrect. I have depression and go to work. I'm functioning. I'm able to walk out into the world and do things. My mind is creative and imaginative. I knit and bake, do other creative endeavors and my mind does chew on solving problems especially at work when I'm doing a round of software testing. How is that not high functioning? 

On the spectrum of depression you could say I'm on the low end but I have experienced the other end as well. It's well in my past but I know what depression is like when you are dealing with suicidal thoughts. Been there, done that, don't want to go through it again.  Seven attempts in four years is nothing to be proud of but it goes to show that even though I wanted to give up, on a deeper level I was fighting to stay. That was four year battle that I'm thankful to be 29 years away from and yet my last attempt remains forever fresh in my mind. 

I know that I'm rambling with this post and that's due to my mind rambling.  I'm scattered today and I'm okay with that. I'm not working so my brain is enjoying the weekend in it's own weird way. It's on vacation. 

There are experts who know their fields no doubt, but when it comes to you, you are an expert. Remember that!

Rock on!

Sunday, January 3, 2021


I love to journal write but admittedly, my journal writing has been nearly non-existent in recent months. Dealing with dysthymia sucks but in order to combat the struggle I thought I’d share the things from 2020 that I’m thankful to have experienced or rediscovered. It’s not a comprehensive list by any means but I thought doing a review would put me in a better mindset and maybe it will inspire you to do the same. 

1)      Rediscovering skateboarding and my appreciation for Bob Burnquist, Bucky Lasek, Tony Hawk, Andy Macdonald and so many other skaters I wasn’t familiar with like Elliot Sloan, Kelly Hart, Chris Roberts and many others.

2)      Designing a sacred cabinet, having a friend help me design it with the purpose to have a quiet place to decompress and connect with myself. Some people would call it a home altar, meditation cabinet or a blessing cabinet.

3)      Having spent time with my friend Cathy when possible and being an outlet for her. Listening to her talk about her achievements and struggles with her new business, knowing she is happy and doing something she loves.

4)      That I had the ability to write a 50,000-word novel for NaNoWriMo even when I didn’t have a story outline, no character names and only a potential idea three days before the event started.

5)      That I am resourceful in finding a new way to change my mood and mental state when things went incredibly dark and I was hurting bad.

6)      For The Nine Club, Bucky Lasek’s YouTube channel, and Tony Hawk’s Twitter account to provide me a chuckle when I need it and educational too!

7)      For being a music junkie and rediscovering my music collection and having the ability to listen to all of my 1000+ CDs.

8)      Ability to bake and try new recipes in my slow cooker and discover new favorites. Pork Loin in the slow cooker – YUM!

9)      Having the time to knit 18 scarves and donating them in time for Christmas for kids.

10)   Having great conversations with the sales clerk at the grocery store, exchanging meal ideas and talking about how to deal with seasonal allergies.

11)   Although I’m not a gamer, the ability to play Skyrim when I need to in order to get my frustrations out and kick some ass.

There are many other things but it would take me a while to list them all. It’s a start and like I said I’m thankful for a lot of things. The items above bring a smile to my face and maybe that’s the key to it all in making it through the rough days.  While compiling this list my brain did it’s usual thing and pulled something deeply buried to the forefront.

Enjoy the music selection today folks – the theme song from The Partridge Family TV show. I loved this show growing up and let’s be honest, the song is pretty darn catchy.



Rock On!


Friday, January 1, 2021

New Year, New Day

 I'm glad 2020 is over and 2021 has arrived. One can only hope this year is better than the last. I hope all of you enjoyed your holidays as best as possible. Mine holidays were quiet. Extremely quiet as I was by myself.  Not one single person in my extended family - aunts, uncles, etc. called me on Christmas. I'm typically the one who calls people but this year I wanted to see if anyone would call me.

I have spent time my week and half off from work trying some new recipes, making food in my slow cooker and then freezing so I have meals ready to go. I'm still working on perfecting making homemade croutons but haven't quite found the right bread to do it with. I thought a baguette would do the trick but not quite.  I did make a nice pork loin in the slow cooker with potatoes. 

For 2021, I'm hoping to find more happy moments. That has always been a struggle for me. Find joy in simple things. I'm not making it a New Year's resolution because those always fail. It is something to do for myself and most definitely find ways to laugh more.

Although this was posted yesterday, I think it's a good way to start the year with a chuckle from Professional Skateboarder, Tony Hawk:

Rock on!

Monday, November 30, 2020

Drifting the Wrong Way on a Pop Tart: The connection between Banana Bread & Bob Burnquist

How our brains work is quite a puzzle at times.  I find it interesting to be standing in my kitchen making banana bread and my brain fires off a memory of a Bob Burnquist skate vert run from 2001. If you're curious about the run Bob laid down which is part of skateboard lore you can see it here.

What banana bread and Bob Burnquist have to do with each other, at first nothing but the brain is an interesting thing. What I do know is that this little memory pop triggered off a chain of events a month or so ago and it's still going.

Let me give you a little history here. At no point in my life have I ever hopped on a skateboard but I find it fun to watch especially Vert and Big Air. I used to watch X-Games and the Dew Tour stuff for years and then simply stopped watching. I have no idea why but I suspect I found other interest and off I went. Bob Burnquist was my favorite skater along with Bucky Lasek. I would cheer for both of them which made for interesting situations as they were often at the top in any given competition. 

Well, the Bob run triggered off a memory about Tony Hawk and the famous 900. I did the logical thing and down the YouTube rabbit hole I went. Tony Hawk Lands FIRST-EVER 900 | World of X Games - YouTube

What I realized with the Tony Hawk video, that the emotions I felt the first time I watched it hadn't left me. I knew how it was going to end and yet, it felt like 1999 all over again. I was happy and so excited. Even cried a little. When I went back to the Bob run, the excitement of the contest, the tricks Bob was laying down, all these emotions came bubbling up and after a while it came to me. The connection between Banana Bread and Bob Burnquist. 

On the surface, there is no relation between the bread and Bob. Prior to the Bob memory kicking up, I guess you could call what happened to me as an episode. COVID has been kicking my ass mentally like it has for a lot people. I'm quite isolated from the outside world and as someone who battles depression daily, it's been extra hard to keep going. About three months ago, things simply got to be too much and I broke. It was 2am when I got up to go to the bathroom and as I climbed back into bed I lost it. I cried for a long time, wanting to talk to someone, wanting to hug a friend and because of COVID and being that it was 2am I couldn't do that. I honestly wondered what was the point of me being here. 

This was the predicament I was in. Our brains chew on stuff whether we realize it or not and my brain, reached back to yank out a Bob Burnquist memory for me. Why?  Because I was looking for comfort, I needed something to give me hope to keep fighting, to not give up. When I was relaxed enough my brain brought the whammy out.  My brain in all of it's wacky goodness gave me Bob Burnquist.  My brain, said here, "Bob makes you happy. You like Bob. Go watch Bob."  That is exactly what I did. I watched Bob Burnquist videos and you know what? I started to feel better. I watched Bob videos, interviews and moved on to Tony Hawk. Discovered a Bones Brigade documentary which I liked, watched the "Search for Animal Chin" which is a classic skateboard movie.  It's a cheesy movie but a young Tony Hawk with his A Flock of Seagulls haircut is worth it.  I moved on to Bucky and found old competition videos and so my life for three months has been skateboarding and other things.

From skateboarding my brain loosened up a memory about BMX and Jamie Bestwick's name came up to the surface right away.  Hello instant smile on my face.  I loved watching Jamie ride, Scotty Cranmer and Daniel Dhers too. My brain was on a roll as freestyle motocross came up and I thought of Nate Adams, Travis Pastrana, Mike Mason and Brian Deegan. 

My brain knew I was hurting and it unloaded memories to counteract the way I was feeling. I was smiling and rediscovering all my favorite athletes all over again. I started consuming skateboarding, BMX and FMX videos. I started watching newer stuff and so there are a whole bunch of guys I'm learning about now.  I'm not diving too deep but just enough to enjoy and appreciate much like I did before. I've caught up with my favorites as some have moved on to other projects. 

If you're wondering about the "drifting the wrong way on a pop tart" it's from a skateboard competition. I'm fairly certain Tony Hawk said it as I remember laughing out loud and rewinding the video to make sure I heard it right. 

If you're struggling mentally, go do something that quiets your brain enough for it to bring a good memory forward.  Turns out your brain is doing it's part to help you cope. 

For me, I'm doing much better. I can't help but smile a little as my mother used to tell me when I was younger that watching skateboarding, BMX or FMX wouldn't help me in life. Boy was she ever wrong!!!!  If you need something to motivate you, something inspirational then enjoy this Danny Way video.

Rock on!

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

My GPS is Broken

Hi All,

It has been a few months since my last post.  The months have been a rollercoaster of feeling lost, lonely and finding a stable place. My life GPS is broken.

While it has been months since my dad's estate was closed which allowed me to focus back on me, I still find myself trying to find my way.  Adjusting to a new life, in a new home and new routine. Every week I think of some item I forgot to grab from the old house.  The list is quite lengthy at this point. I forgot to grab so many things!

My mind at times will replay the awful moment I found my dad dead on the floor in the archway of the kitchen and living room. Replaying the fire fighters talking to me, the police officers, the doctors and the funeral director. I never know when these moments will hit or why but they do.

I manage to keep going and given the current situation in the world with the COVIID-19 virus, that's all I can do.  Like many, I am working from home which I'm not fond of.  My brain already tortures me with stuff and being stuck indoors makes it so much worse.

There is so much uncertainly for the future. My mind spins out of control at times and I wonder if I'll make it through this event or my brain will just have a huge mental break.  I'm just thankful that my dad is not alive to live through this virus crap although I do miss the old house.

I'd be able to go outside and walk around the yard or sit on the deck. Things that I can't do in my current home. I do wonder how many people like myself who deal with depression or other mental issues are dealing with staying home.

I was an only child growing up so being alone is something I'm used to and keeping occupied and while I am a homebody, I do miss walking to the bus stop to go to work and seeing my co-workers and talking to people in general.

The world feels even smaller than it normally does for me and I suspect it feels that way or others too.

I hope all of you are being "good parents" to yourself and do what you need to do be kind to yourself.

Today's music choice I'm sure is going to seem weird. Given that I've had to stay home, I've been listening to my music collection.  It's been ages since I heard a Dionne Warwick song and forgot I even owned a CD of her music.  So, in a nod to my younger self and one of Dionne's best - enjoy!

Rock on!