Sunday, July 18, 2021

Chucking the Yuck

 This week the X-Games returned after a year off due to the pandemic which we are still in. 

I watched nearly all of the events and while it wasn't a typical X-Games it was decent and a welcome break of things going on. I was happy to watch Skateboard Vert and Vert Best Trick. There were two announcers which is the norm. The one announcer was a familiar voice and I was fine with him but then there was another announcer who I didn't really know. I had to go look him up. 

While he was enthusiastic, it was a bit much for me. I wanted more explanation of the tricks and what I was seeing.  Saying "That was gnarly!" is good but I want to know what the actual trick the person did.  I can see what the person did obviously but I'm not a skateboarder. I want information. I can appreciate the trick, I can tell when its a hard trick but then again I get lost in skateboarding, I get swept up when watching vert.

Things were okay for the Vert competition but then things went wild for the Vert Best Trick when Tony Hawk jumped into the mix last minute.  It was so cool for him to be there. I was happy to see him skating. I was happy to see Bucky Lasek and Elliot Sloan too. A part of me wished that Andy Macdonald and Bob Burnquist had been around. 

The event gets under way and the one announce rubs me the wrong way. Excitement is great but not when it's borderline annoying. I felt the jokes about how old Tony Hawk and Bucky Lasek were out of place. I know that they were talking about the age difference between Tony and the youngest competitor, which is fine but it seemed like they fixated on that too much.  Couldn't they have just appreciated the fact that Tony was there?  It all left a sour taste in my mouth and felt that it needed to be replaced with something good. I decided to chuck the yuck. 

I will be honest here, I have a hard time meditating so the best I can do it light a candle and sit for awhile. Sometimes I can quiet my mind but its hard for me and whatever is on my mind becomes focus.  I lit a candle, sat for a bit and focused on sending thoughts of appreciation to Tony and Bucky. Bucky seemed to have a rough day as his board just did not want to stay under his feet. I felt bad and sent him good thoughts. It seemed only right to do that. Tony and Bucky have provided with me endless hours of kickass skateboarding over the years so why not?

I have to admit after sitting with the candle and sending my thoughts of appreciation that I felt better afterwards. I've noticed when I take time to sit with a candle and focus that I tend to feel better and if I do it before bed, I sleep better.  This may be something new that I put into my toolbox to help me manage my dysthymia.

If you have time, whether it's 5 minutes or a hour, find a quiet place, place some soft music, sit with a candle or just sit in nature. Think of all the things you are grateful for and give thanks and send good energy out into the world. It's a small thing to do but it'll put a smile on your face.

I leave you with the song "Remedy" from Adele which I discovered the other day. Enjoy!

Rock on!


Thursday, July 1, 2021

When Something Moves You

 Last night, I was visiting my usual group of websites catching up on news, watching funny videos and then checking Tony Hawk's Twitter account. I don't have an account but both he and Bucky Lasek post things of interest to me so I look now and then.

Tony Hawk had posted a video about the Olympics and skateboarding. I've watched the video 20 times by now, maybe more and the song, which I am not familiar with struck something deep down in me. Today, I had to know the name of the song. I learned the song is by an artist named Darondo.  I love finding new music.

I don't know who at the IOC decided this song had the right vibe for a skateboarding video. I'm digging and then throw on top of it Tony Hawk's voice and it's one of the best things!!

Yesterday was a tough day but the video turned things around for me.  "It all starts with a push. A push that starts from nothing but leads to everything."  That opening line hit me.

Here is a link to the full video:

I can't really explain why this video is speaking to me so deeply. I am not a skateboarder but yet there is a relatability to it. It's resonating deeply and if I were to guess it may have to do with the fact that skateboarding brings me joy.  Everything does start with a push in some form or fashion and it leads to bigger things.  When I have ideas for a story, it might be a sentence or two and then it grows, it becomes something bigger, it comes to life. 

All I know, listening and watching this video made me feel good.  The stress from my workday melted away.  For a moment, my dysthymia disappeared for a bit. It disappeared long enough for me to enjoy something good.  To feel an inner peace, to enjoy something so small and yet so meaningful. Kind of like when the power goes out and you are forced to go outside and look up at the sky and take in the stars. It's something small and yet wonderful. 

I hope all of you have that moment. That small moment that is larger than life and moves you deeply.

Be well and enjoy the little stuff.

Rock on!


Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Take Care of Yourself

This week I am on a much needed break from work. I can tell that it's not enough. Work has been extra stressful and the mental tiredness, the burnout was too much. I have been burned out for months and taking extra days here or there to get me through until I could take a week off.  I'd really like to take a month off but I suspect they might not allow me to do that even though I have enough vacation days to cover it.  

This of course is the cycle of which I want to break but never seem to pull the trigger.  I work full-time but I've been wondering how much of an impact it would be if I went part-time or remained full time but lessened my hours. I don't know if working 35 hours would have a significant impact over the 40 I currently work.

For sometime I have been feeling tired, exhausted and that goes all the way back to around 2014. My mom had been diagnosed with ALS and now I was responsible for making meals for my dad and doing his laundry and other chores around the house. 

My mom died in 2016 from her disease, my dad a year later in 2017 from cardiac arrest and a perforated intestine. I was taking care of both of them, living in the same house. After my dad died, I then had to deal with taking care of the house, eventually selling the house I had lived in for 43 years at the time and moving a block away.  I sold some items that belonged to both of my parents, watching items belonging to my dad go was the hardest.  Saying goodbye to the house was the worst. It was the only home I knew. 

I have to say I did not feel like me for a while. Mind you my parents never knew that I had made seven suicide attempts in my life or that I was dealing with dysthymia.  They never knew.  Here I was mourning for my dad pretty hard.  My mom was easier only because I knew it was coming and plus, we didn't get along that well so saying goodbye to her was more of a relief. My dad was unexpected.

I lived in a haze for awhile and all the things I used to do I didn't feel like doing. As someone who journal writes everyday, I suddenly found myself unable to pick up a pen and write.  I made attempts to but nothing came out. Journal writing comes pretty easily for me and to then find myself in a position where I couldn't was new territory. I had closed down. I was this way for a long time.  It wasn't until my dad's estate was officially closed that I felt I could then focus on me again. I still couldn't write for another few months and then it started to come back.  Just as I was starting to put my life back together the pandemic hit just as I was making some strides.

The pandemic caused a locked down and it's fairly safe to say that a good part of the population hated it.  I hated it because I had just starting getting my life together and the pandemic pushed me back down. I was by myself, disconnected from the world in a lot of ways. The pandemic as we have seen in the news took a toll on all of us mentally.

Little by little, day by day I felt I was drowning, sinking down into a very bad place.  A place I did not want to visit. I have managed to not drown too much. I did have a couple of mental breaks but managed to find a way to cope, to be resilient.

Everyone's journey is different. The symptoms of depression, dysthymia are something we all share but the journey of living with it is different for all of us.  The best we can do is to be kind to ourselves. I know it's hard to keep the inner saboteur quiet and not doubt yourself but it can be done.  We all struggle but we do make the effort to stick around for one more day.  

In taking care of yourself, do something for you. Take a walk, sit in the sun, watch people, pick up something from the grocery store you've always wanted to try and try it. Write a letter to a friend and mail it, send cards to your friends to let them know you are thinking of them. Buy yourself a bouquet of flowers. Do anything, no matter how small that speaks to you internally. Give yourself permission to acknowledge your darkness, know that it's there and know it doesn't have to consume you completely. Give yourself a moment, whether it's 10 seconds, 5 minutes, 1 hour, 1 day, no matter the amount of time to be in the light. You deserve it. We all do.

I'm not sure why my brain triggered this song in my head but please enjoy this hit from Neil Sedaka.

Rock on!


Saturday, June 12, 2021

Potluck Saturday - Queijadinha

Today, I was a little adventurous and went with a friend and co-worker to a co-workers house for an outdoor party.  I was able to see people I work with that I hadn't seen in ages. It was nice to see them. It was a potluck party with a Latin American theme.

I brought a Brazilian dessert treat called 'Queijadinha' which are essentially little custard type tarts/little cakes.  The traditional version has butter and cheese but I found another recipe without those elements. I had never made them before and they turned our pretty well.

I had thought of making Brigadeiros or Pé de Moleque (Peanut Brittle) as the recipes weren't too complex.  I did make an attempt last weekend to make something called Paçoca but that did not come out well at all.  It was a simple recipe but I had issues from the get go.  Someone asked me why I made a Brazilian dessert and my response was that my favorite skateboarder - Bob Burnquist - happens to be from Brazil. 

It was interesting to watch the facial expression because it was clear they did not know who Bob was. Given the crowd I was pretty sure no one had any interest in skateboarding or cared and I was fine was that. I never go to parties as I don't have a good time typically and I hate crowds.  This wasn't bad at all. I managed to last 3 hours before pulling the plug.

I can't say I was happy to see people but it was nice to chat with people and catch up a little. I'm just not one to socialize this way.  Being around people is kind of draining for me and I'm very much the type of person to go somewhere by myself.  I can be around people for a while and then I need to go away to recharge myself. 

The past few weeks have been a bit hard because I hit a patch of a few days where I questioned why I was even here.  I have no reason to stay here.  I'm just wasting space and don't feel I have anything more to contribute.  I did get a bit of a knock on the head when my brain decided it would be funny throwing suicide into one of my dreams.

Here is the thing...during my years when things were very dark for me, I'd have frequent dreams of killing myself by jumping of a building. I'd always wake up the next day feeling better.  A psychologist I once saw suggested that I was killing off parts of myself that I did not need in my dreams as a way to find myself. I haven't had these type of dreams in for a looonnnnnnggggg time.  When I had this most recent dream I did not freak out about it as I didn't jump off a building.  I was talking to another person but I knew in dream land it was just a representation of a part of myself.  I was explaining that I didn't want to kill myself but that I had no reason to really be here and for them to understand that.  It was a moment to internally vent to another part of myself how hard it is to deal with this dysthymia crap all the time. 

Oddly enough, this internal dialogue must have needed to happen because the next few days I felt good. I don't want to say happy but I was in decent spirits. It was like something was resolved and I could enjoy things around me no matter how small. 

When I explained this all to a friend, they said I never fail to amaze them in my abilities to look at the situation and understand what is going on.  He said I could have easily freaked about the dream but the fact I was able to recognize it was not like my previous dreams was very telling.  I was definitely proud of myself for looking at the situation.  When it comes to my dysthymia and my past of multiple suicide attempts, I have continually over the years tried to understand it and not be ashamed of it. I have tried to look at the ugly side of it all which a lot of people don't want to do. Let's be honest, does anyone? 

Okay. That's it for today folks.  A little adventure and a little learning about myself.

Today's musical treat is an acoustic version of "Here Comes The Rain Again" by the Eurythmics. Enjoy!

Rock on!


Sunday, May 16, 2021

Can't Remember What It Feels Like Not to Be Depressed

 I cannot tell you when I last remember being happy. I cannot tell you what it feels like not to be depressed. This is one of the lovely parts of having dysthymia (aka persistent depressive disorder (PDD).  While dysthymia is not as severe as major depression, it is a chronic condition. With major depression you can remember a time when you were happy, there is a baseline, you can be diagnosed with major depression if you have symptoms for a least two weeks.  With dysthymia it's two years. 

What sucks is to have dysthymia and then throw depression on top of it and have what is called double depression. Been there done that. Being in that mental state is horrible. I know all too well to what it's like to swim in the muck. When I was a teenager there was a time period where I was in such a dark place that I tried to take my own life. 

I didn't try once or twice. I tried seven times in a four year time period. I was never institutionalized because no one ever knew. It was a journey I walked all alone. It was dark, isolating and painful. I did not understand what was happening to me or that I even had a mental illness. Back then, you didn't talk about mental health like you do now.  To even mention that you tried suicide was taboo.  I have to say even now, there is a still a kind of distance.

I get it. What do you even say to someone who has made an attempt? I don't have the answers for that. I wish I did but I know it's hard for both parties. I often felt misunderstood and the worst part I didn't know how to explain how I felt.  I didn't have anyone to confide in either. It was a very solitary journey and then for a moment in time it wasn't.

It's hard to ask for help when you don't know what kind of help you need.  I remember in college when the school counselor told me that no one could help me until I helped myself.  It never made sense to me and kind of irritating since I was in her office every week. The whole point of me being there was for her to help. Insert the eye roll here folks.

I have mentioned my friend Sean on here from time to time. He left a lasting impression on my life and being friends with him was not easy. Sean helped me get my life back, or at least helped me reach a better place in the world. Sean was the first person that I opened up to about my suicide attempts and how I felt.  He did not run away but stood with me. The reason why my darkness did not scare him as it did to so many others was because he had been there too.

Sean was my brother in darkness. He understood the world, the path, the journey. It felt nice to know I wasn't so alone in that world. I can't remember a time in my life when I was not depressed but I can remember a time in my life where I had someone who understood the darkness, understood the pain, the negative thoughts, the inner saboteur, the struggle of trying to make it to the next day. Sean gave me hope that I could have a life that while dark, didn't have to be as dark as it once was.  

I hope all of you out there who may be struggling find your own Sean.  May you find someone that helps lessen the darkness for you. 

Rock On!