Content Warning!

This blog on occasion addresses depression, death, suicide and other sensitive themes. Continue at your own discretion in reading the content.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Tell Me Something I Don't Know

Have you ever taken an online quiz? If so, then you know how they can be funny and sometimes right on the money depending on what kind of quiz.  I recently took a quiz to find out if I have dysthymia and of course, the result was I have it and then it suggested I contact a mental health professional. At the bottom of the results page, was another quiz I could take – “Are you suicidal?” 

The quiz was 10 questions and at the end it told me I needed to contact a mental health professional right away and call the suicide hotline.  I will admit that I chuckled a bit. Even though I had answered “no” to “Are you thinking of suicide?” and another question, I was amazed that it still recommended what it did.

I have taken plenty of online quizzes and some of them are quite laughable. The thing is you shouldn’t rely on any quiz for a diagnosis. There are too many shades of gray to contend with when dealing with any condition you may have.  For example, the suicide quiz I took.  Yes, I exhibit all the signs of someone who is suicidal but I’m not. I’ve been to that place and know what it feels like. It is plausible that being suicidal has changed for me through the years.  It may no longer resemble the state I knew it to be 30 years ago.

I can assure you I am not suicidal. I don’t have those thoughts.  A quiz cannot fully tell me who I am or my mental, physical, emotional or spiritual state. A quiz from a psychologist, psychiatrist or anyone who has the appropriate certification would have more merit.  Still, they would have to know me in order to give an accurate assessment.  As people, we have to learn to trust ourselves too.

I may exhibit all the signs of someone who is suicidal, but it doesn’t mean that I am. I know what signs to look for if I was. I’ve made 7 suicide attempts in my life and I’m still here. I think I’d know if I was suicidal. It would be odd to be suicidal and not know it. Is that even possible? Hmm…something to ponder a bit on and something to ask my mental health professional when I speak with him tomorrow.

I apologize for the rambling post. We all need moments where we ramble because somewhere in the rambling a gem of wisdom will come forth...or not.

For your musical treat, enjoy this gem from 1988 or somewhere thereabout from The Traveling Wilburys - End of the Line. The members were Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, George Harrison, and Bob Dylan. 

Rock on!


Monday, April 25, 2022

Walking Did Not Change A Thing

 Another day is coming to a close.  For the past three days I've been getting more exercise now that the weather is nicer. I've been walking more than I have in months, trying to get into a routine of at the very least walking 10 minutes. It's not much but it's something and I'm outside, listening to music while I do.

One of the things they say to combat dysthymia is to get exercise as it will make you feel better. After three days, I don't feel better. If anything, I feel worse. For most of the day I had a headache due to a change in weather as it looked like we were going to get rain but never did.

I've even been drinking more water and eating more salads with the goal of getting to a better place mentally and physically, but I feel worse. It's a vicious cycle of wanting to do better things for myself but feeling like crap afterwards and eventually it will lead me to stop trying...again. Ugh.

Other than this battle, I accomplished after a month, organizing my DVD and CD collection into nice leather binders to sit on my bookcase in my office.  It's looks so much nicer now. I have a lot of books that I should probably say good-bye to and give to goodwill or something but haven't figured out if that's what I would like to do.

One of my other accomplishments was arranging to have someone take measurements and then install screen doors for my balcony doors. At the store they told me it would take 8 weeks for everything to happen. I'm waiting for the company to call me to schedule a time for them to come take door measurements. If I knew enough about installing a door, I'd do it myself as I know how to wield a screwdriver and a drill but if I left this project to myself, it would never get done.

I should feel good at how productive I've been over the past couple of days even though my motivation to do things is really low. Even typing this post is hard to do but I'm making myself do it. At least I can say I did something.  If you believe all the self-help books out there and countless videos, acknowledging even the smallest of accomplishments allegedly will help get you on the right track to feeling better.  Can I debunk that? I have tried such things and it hasn't changed a darn thing. Call me Miss Sour Puss.  

I could go on a long rant about the atrocity that was skateboarding at the recent X-Games, but it was so hideous I don't think it warrants me writing about it. I find their "live scoring" infuriating as there were no actual scores given. It's more like "live ranking".  Don't get me started on the announcers either. When you're an announcer and you remark "That was an amazing trick!", indeed, it was an amazing trick but what the hell was it????   TELL ME!!

Time to close this post out on an upbeat note. I stumbled across this little gem, that I haven't heard in ages. Get your groove on folks and enjoy Chic - Good Times.

Rock on!


Wednesday, April 13, 2022

The Hardship of Reconciliation

I'm not sure where to begin with this post. I was doing okay and then out of nowhere my mood took a large swing into the realm of sadness. I was watching videos online and laughing and then in a matter of moments when I walked to my kitchen, I went from feeling upbeat to wanting to fall to the floor and cry. These swings happen all the time to me without much notice on my part. It's part of my life but today, for some reason I noticed the swing. 

I have been preoccupied with a thought, a memory, and trying to understand a stranger. A person who I do not know was being interviewed on a podcast. They spoke of a friend, a friend who meant the world to them who committed a horrific crime. The friend turned themselves in to authorities and admitted they had murdered a young woman. 

The thing is you may never truly reconcile it. I went through this with a friend of mine, but they didn't murder anyone. This friend had his flaws, but he was a good friend. He was there for me at a time when no one else gave a damn. He was there for me in my most desperate moment of darkness. I was vulnerable and deeply broken but he protected me. 

Years after helping me out, he was accused of allegedly raping his then girlfriend's younger sister. This shook me hard. I was confused. How could the man who saved me, who gave me a reason to carry on and live do something like this? This didn't match the friend I knew.  This friend was never questioned, no arrest, no nothing. For years, I wondered - did he or didn't he do this? Was he capable of doing this?

It was a constant back and forth and I would never learn the truth as he died several years later. His girlfriend at the time was also my friend, but she wouldn't talk to me about what allegedly happened. I had questions but no answers. No one had answers for me. 

I've tried to reconcile this for myself through the years, but I came to the conclusion that I will never be able to do so completely. I acknowledge that this friend wasn't the most perfect person on the planet.  The best I can do is acknowledge that he wasn't perfect, but what he may or may not have done does not completely wipe out what he did for me.

What he did for me matters. After all these years I honor our friendship, I have fond memories of him. How can I hate the man who helped me in my darkest of times? I can't. I remember and honor the friend I knew. My memories of him are a lot different from everyone else's who paint him as a sick, vile person that should have been burned at the stake for his alleged crime.

Getting back to the guy in the interview, I don't know him, but throughout the three-hour interview he spoke of several of his friends, many of whom have tragically died through the years. This man has experienced a lot of horrific events in losing so many friends to car accidents, suicide, cancer, the list went on. These people meant the world to him, helped him out when they could. There was a fondness and appreciation for all of them. 

It makes me wonder if this guy, much like myself, has had a hard time reconciling the friend he knows vs. the friend who murdered a person. I'm sure he struggles with this and maybe in order for him to cope, he chooses to remember the good person he knew.  He clearly acknowledged that his friend did a horrible thing but the way he spoke indicated to me there was a lot of pain there. It hurt to talk about his friend in this way. 

The criticism of this guy has been harsh online and while my situation with my friend is no way close in comparison, I simply think the online community needs to show some understanding. A young woman was murdered, which is horrible, but I think the level of hate is a bit overboard. The part about his friend was a 5-minute part out of a three-hour interview which had so many inspiring moments. Mind you the interview was about this guy and his life, not his friend which is what everyone is focusing on.

He had so many challenges and yet somehow, worked through it all to have a very creative career and work with some amazing people. I doubt the online community will have any compassion for this guy or try and understand what he has gone through all these years. For me, I can't help but try and understand where he may be coming from based on my own life experiences.  I could be completely wrong in my thinking of the situation too. It's just another instance where I won't get answers to my questions.

Writing this all out and sharing with you has been helpful. My mood is a little better now and I don't feel the urge to cry so much anymore. I still feel down but I'm in a better place than I was over an hour ago.

Today I leave you with the Skylar Grey song, 'Falling Apart' which is how I felt at the start of this post.

Rock on!


Monday, April 11, 2022

When Darkness Walks with You

I have been on a rollercoaster of thoughts this past week which is no real surprise as my brain never really quiets down. I was subjected to another video at work about stress and trauma. I'm waiting for the video on depression and suicide to show up next. The video was 20 minutes long and the story told was one I've heard plenty of times.

The only part that resonated with me was about legacy giving. They mentioned in the video to do good work for another continues their legacy. I have heard of this as thoughtful giving too. This part in the video made me automatically think of my friend Sean who I honor every year since his passing.  In recent years, I have made an effort to acknowledge him when his death date rolls around. I donate or create something and pass it on.  I never knew what I was doing had an actual name, it was just me honoring him in my own way.

Another part of the video talked about making a gratitude list each day. I have read about it and tried it but was horrible at actually doing it. It was a struggle for me to think of things, even though I only needed three. In the work video, getting up out of bed was something they put on the gratitude list. I don't know about any of you but that felt like a cheat. It would rank right next to making brownies. Is brushing your teeth something to put on a gratitude list? I feel if you are going to do a gratitude list the items should be a little more substantial. They should move you, impact you on some level but that's just me. Perhaps, I am being too critical. 

As the week has gone on, thoughts have come and gone about my life with dysthymia. It's a dark place but there is light. I am a slice of Swiss cheese. There are holes where the light shines through. The beams of light that shine into the darkness give me brief moments of joy when they hit me just right. They are rare and depending on the size of the hole determines how long the joy might last.

There are so many ways I could describe my dysthymia. I can tell you what it's like but no description I give ever seems to be enough because there are so many ways to describe it. None of the descriptions I give are wrong, each and every one of them is accurate. 

My dysthymia is the passenger in the car I drive, it's the ship I sail into port, it's a boat that looks for the safety of a lighthouse, it's the train I ride, it's an entity all on its own, it's a darkened forest, a pit, a void, it's soggy, heavy coat I take off...I could go on. There are plenty of metaphors to describe it.

I started rewatching the TV show 'Dexter'. He mentions the dark passenger. It got me thinking that the passenger is always there. My dysthymia is always there. Sometimes it's prominent, it purposely lets me know it's there and other times I'm able to shoo it away for a bit of time.

When I was standing in my kitchen today, I felt like I wasn't alone, that someone was standing with me. There was no one else around and I realized what I was sensing was my dark companion. If anyone were to see me, they'd see only me and yet I was not by myself.  I have no idea if there is a term for this experience. It's certainly not the first time this has happened to me I am aware of the part of me that hides behind the mask of daily life. I know how to put on a smile and be chipper and fake it for the world when my internal world is heavy and dark. You don't know what's going on because I don't let you see it.

We all hide in some way and after listening to two of my favorite podcasts today (Hawk vs. Wolf and The Nine Club with Chris Roberts), watching some amazing new Jonny Giger clips and catching up on Battle at the Berrics 12 games of skate, the dark passenger left me alone.  Taking in everything I listened to and watched, I realized that I simply need to continue with my writing, keep sending out cards to my friends, to no longer hide the things I enjoy because the rest of the world thinks it's lame. I need to give myself permission to be - me. I realized too that just because Sean passed away in November, it doesn't mean I can't honor him during other times of the year. I can honor his legacy any time I want.

Be well everyone and enjoy the special treat today of two songs today. I hadn't heard either song until today so enjoy Daughtry's "Heavy Is The Crown" and Linkin Park "Breaking The Habit."

Rock on!


Saturday, April 2, 2022

Taking Time

Day three of my long weekend will come to a close soon. I took time off of work to take care of me. My brain needed the rest, I needed the rest. I was lazy to an extent. I did do some cleaning, cooked a pork roast in my slow cocker, did normal housekeeping duties which I have to admit - suck. I have no motivation to do much of anything so the fact I spent an hour doing any kind of cleaning was remarkable.

I did get outdoors and go for a nice walk which I hadn't done in months, I did spend time in front of my spirit cabinet, put on some Celtic music, lit a few candles and sat for a bit. I can't meditate to save my life because my brain does not shut off. The best I can do is lessen the chatter. 

I try to focus on the flame of the candle but after a while, my brain starts to rev up again. I figure less chatter is a reasonable ask of my brain. Not sure how I'd feel if it was silent. To be honest, I hate silence. I require music or the TV on in the background in order to function. Absolute silence makes me edgy. Give me tunes and I'm fine. 

I connected with a piece of music sung by Sheila Chandra - Lament of McCrimmon/Song of the Banshee from one of my Celtic compilation CDs. I hadn't listened to the CD for a number of years and forgot about the song. When the song came on, it resonated so deeply with me. Certain notes vibrated and it was good. I don't know if there is such a thing as musical cleanse, but it felt like I had one and rid myself of some yuck and felt a little more centered.

While my dysthymia does wreak havoc with me daily, there are moments where it takes a time out for me, even if only for 10 minutes or so. I can't say that during these moments I am suddenly filled with happiness. It doesn't work like that.  In these moments, I just am. I catch my breath before I hop back on the negativity train again. 

While I managed to go for a walk, clean up some clutter and do a bit of pseudo meditation, I did find music and videos that made me feel appreciative of things. I even felt a bit inspired to try something out with my video camera, an idea I've been tinkering with. If I can keep the motivation going or percolate with the idea more, it may see the light of day.

Taking time away from work to spend it on myself is always a good thing. My brain needs to switch gears from time to time, it just needs to turn off work mode and all the crap that comes with being in work mode. My brain enjoys lazy mode even. 

As part of being in lazy mode, I found a song from Greg Holden that got my foot tapping. I'm not overly familiar with his music but he did contribute music to the TV show - Sons of Anarchy which I had watched years ago. 

Take care, all and as usual...

Rock on!