Friday, March 31, 2017

Movement for the Mind

The Ups and Downs

If I haven't made it clear before, I am overweight. And that is really just a euphemism for obese... to an unhealthy degree. (Not that there is a healthy version of obese.) But I have been changing my diet and sticking to it, as well as hitting the gym. Over time I have learned to enjoy going to the gym more and more. It used to be "ugh, I should go to the gym, but I don't want to." To which my wife would reply, "you should go, because you always feel better afterwards." And it was true. For someone that has difficulty feeling a positive sense of accomplishment, watching the number of calories burned going up really helps my psyche. Of course I realize that it is good for my body, helps create endorphins and other brain chemicals, blah blah blah. Reason doesn't always motivate someone with depression. Depression, and all of it's tendrils, can keep the most reasonable of people from doing things that make nothing but sense, which is one of the big downsides of depression.


I got this diet routine from a doctor in 2014, and it helped me lose over 40 pounds. Then I stopped, and slowly gained back about 30 of it over the next couple of years.  I've been frustrated trying to stick to a routine. Motivation and inertia is what I required. Then one day I decided to do and exercise video, P90x (which isn't the most simple routine), and I could only do about 1/4 of it. It was humiliating. My kids were watching. Between being physically too big and lacking muscle mass to do certain movements, as well as being out of air and requiring loud 'whoofs' to breathe, it was a kick my self esteem. I wanted to cry. But that is what it took. After that I decided something had to be done, for so many reasons. My obesity really does affect my depression, immensely. 

Surprisingly, this gave me motivation instead of sending down a spiral of depression. And one of the ways I deal with the spiral is with food. I decided to go with the 2014 diet and hit the gym as much as I can. It's working, which helps add to the motivation. I am currently down 20 pounds, but have far to go. Knock on wood. 

Trouble with the Treadmill

The treadmill is my bread and butter, poor analogy because it's food, but none-the-less it's what I prefer to do. Hiking is my true love, and the treadmill is the closest I can get to hiking, because it has incline. It can also be exhausting. Being as heavy as I am, at max elevation, and a brisk walking pace puts me at 900-1200 calories per hour, which I love. Like I said, those numbers bolster my ego and help my depression. However, I am a late exerciser. Most of the time, I choose to burn some steam in the afternoon or evening. My wife prefers the morning, and sometimes it is just more convenient for me too. 

What's the big deal? It turns out that if I work out later it really helps my mood, but it seems that after I work out in the morning I have a drop in mood and depression creeps in for a few hours after it. Why? My current explanation is that I just don't eat enough breakfast and burning that many calories stresses my body. But why wouldn't I still get some sort of psychological euphoria for the accomplishment? Hmmmmm. The brain does use a majorly disproportionate amount of energy for it's size. Maybe it just doesn't have the energy to make those 'feel-good' chemicals. I wonder if that is correct. But perhaps later in the day it has more energy and already has some 'feel-goods' from the day. 

A Plan?

I really do not want to be limited by the time of the day. Perhaps I will have a piece of fruit beforehand and see what happens. If that doesn't help, then maybe after. Or maybe it is just a state of mind. I prefer the evening, so I just set myself up for failure, so to speak. I am not much of a morning person, but I prefer to get up very early. That sounds a bit odd, but in my mind, successful people get up and attack the day. The early bird catches the worm, after all. 

I just don't want to sabotage myself and de-motive my desires by believing that exercise will trigger my depression.

Anybody out there have similar issues?

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Who Took My Damn Cheddar

Yup, It's Real

It has been well over a decade since I read "Who Moved My Cheese," but the basic tenet remains in my noggin. Here it is: There are two mice that get cheese from location A. One day there is not cheese. They next day there is, again, no cheese. On day three the first mouse sees there is still no cheese, but the other mouse has moved on and found a new cheese at location B. The first mouse keeps going to the old place and never learns. He dies a horrible death. The second mouse becomes president. Ok, I embellished a bit, but the point is that adaptation is incredibly important.

That Sucks

Why? Because I am fairly horrible at conversion to changing situations. I constantly try to hang on or make something new fit an old mold. I view myself as an old, crotchety bastard that has failed at the past and must, therefore, fail at the future. But I suppose that's only partly true. I have been trying over the years to adapt. It is so incredibly important now that I am back in school and filling the role of full-time university. Talk about a learning curve. University is much more difficult than community college and is kicking my ass, hard.

A family, school, and soon a job. Who took my cheese? I did. I took that sucker, threw it out the window, and said "fuck cheese." Let's try to undo that.

What Matters and What Do I Need?

  • A willingness to change - It's all in my self desire.
  • Neural Plasticity - This is a little more difficult because of my age, but is still possible. The human brain is amazing. Plus, despite the side effects of ECT, I believe there must be some added benefit here. More about my ECT in a later entry.
  • Willpower - I can do this dammit!
  • Find role models - This is difficult for me. I see myself as inferior to most people, so even those that are probably not worthy of being a role model may gain my admiration. I need to be more selective.
  • Change...often, if needed - Dang this is hard. I will try.
  • Realize when I have found new cheese - I cannot search endlessly. I wrote a bit about this in "Daily Musings of 3/29"
  • Be proud - I am never proud in myself. Well, almost never. And by never, I mean that I beat myself up consistently over ever minute failure.
There It Is. Do Or Do Not. Trying Is For Those Who Desire.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Habeas Cardia et Cerebellum (Daily Musings)

Be The Mundane
(this is boring, skippable stuff)

I think I have come to enjoy this blase cathartic release that I get from penning my thoughts and opinions. I still do not know to what extent anyone actually reads this, but whatever.
Read more of this daily musing...

Today was another semi-good day. But it is only about 2/3 over. My day started early with family and school. Maybe 5 hours of sleep, so I was dragging. My morning caffeine barely propped me up in lecture. When I had a chance, I snuck off to my car for a siesta, which mainly entailed of me listening to Disturbed's new album while laying back and shutting my eyes. It really did help. I will say this, everyone's relaxing music is different. Back in high school I would go to sleep listening to Metallica, but that isn't for everyone. I have to remember this, because my son does something similar at times.

After my 'nap', I studied and did some schoolwork. Then I had the dreaded practical. This is my last practical for this semester of bioscience and, as far as I am concerned, I kicked that test's ass. Walking away from that test I was on a high. I know I did well. Studying had paid off.

The Bottom Drops

Shortly thereafter my depression began to creep up. "Hello," it says. "You're going to fail. You can't possibly do what you need to. Driving is difficult. Breathing is difficult. Just being is difficult." Do I even need to write again how much I don't understand those feelings? Now, I don't hear voices. I've only ever heard voices once, and that was about 20 years ago. But the pervasive feelings have their own essence, and either I can interpret them or they push my mind in a certain direction.

It's hard to combat those strong emotions. It would be unfair to give me credit for directly squelching them. First of all, they are still there/here, but keeping busy has kept them at bay. Right now I sit at the park with my youngest daughter. It's pleasant. However, later will suck, and I will likely require an IV of coffee. I have some difficult schoolwork to accomplish and roughly 30 pages of condensed notes to study for tomorrow's exam. I just have to make it through the next 24 hours and some relief will come. Or will it? My mind is always on the brink of a precarious scale.

Obviously stress brings on the feelings and hopelessness. Some of this is learned and some of this is chemical. Trying to be kind to myself has greatly helped the last few months. I am not a superman, no matter how hard I try. It is only fair that I live up to my potential, not someone else's.

The Takeaway

Isn't that true for all of us? We are brought up in a culture that reveres winners and ignores the 'average'. Anyone that knows about the bell curve understands that there are a few geniuses but MANY capables. It's understanding and accepting that we can be average and yet special. Special is a funny word. It means many things. But what I mean mostly is in an interpersonal sense. If I am happy and rich and others despise the way I treat everyone, then I'm not special. Vice versa, if I am happy and poor but everyone loves me because of the way I treat them, then I am special. That is the definition I am going off of.

It does go against my selfish and almost solipsistic view of life, but I think it is probably true.

Thoughts? Anyone?

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Ahora y Hoy

What Sorcery Is This?

Today is a good day, and I cannot really pin down why. I am actually extremely stressed. I have a mountain of schoolwork over my head, a daughter that is at home with strep throat, and I am fairly tired. However, times are ok. This is truly awesome.

I'm not complaining one bit, but it just goes to show me (once again) how powerful the chemistry between your ears is. Part of this may be the general anti-anxiety medication my doctor put me on not so long ago. I am not going to say it directly effects the depression, that is not where I am going with this. But my level of stress and anxiety related to school have a direct correlation. When I am stressed/anxious enough, I shut down. I am almost paralyzed with anxiety that I will not get my tasks done and fail. Makes no sense, right? If one doesn't do it, then obviously it won't get done. Self-fulfilling prophecy. The failure or sense thereof does directly kick my depression into high gear.

So the treatment of my anxiety allows for me to be more productive and less frightened of actually doing my work. Sometimes. There always seems to be that crappy, outlying event, but not right now.

Superstition Ain't The Way

I'm not much of a superstitious person, except for one thing. If you say something positive out loud to another person... you have just screwed yourself. This came from my land surveying days. It seemed that every single time my boss would say, "this is going to be and easy job/day," the day would end up being long and hell. This dinner is going to turn out great. Your screwed. I'm doing really well in school. Screwed. Today's work is going to be easy. I'll sock you in the face. Actually, I usually say knock on wood. I don't care if it's fake wood. Hit that sucker!

This is all just to say that I hope by writing and putting this out there that my day doesn't make a turn for the worst and turn into hell. Only time shall tell..

Monday, March 27, 2017

Fulminate Confusion

The Fulcrum

I'm tired. There is just too much to do in the day. I came home early from school today so that Lex could get some sleep. She had been up since 2 with my sick daughter, and she works the graveyard shift tonight. It wasn't horrible. I got schoolwork done. But it seems that for every thing I do, 2 or 3 things take its place. The stress of school most definitely plays into my state of mind. God I wish I had done this when I was younger and had more energy (and of course less responsibilities).

I don't function well at night. It doesn't matter how much coffee I pump into myself. It's probably about time to call it. Overall, I must say that today has been better than the last couple. Hope. Hope is what I've got.

Is There Anybody Out There?

This is a true question of mine. Does anyone read this? My hit tracker shows numbers from places around the world, but I have never gotten so much as a message or comment. I wonder if all the traffic is merely search engine robots and spiders. If anybody is actually out there and reading this, I would ask that you make a comment or send me a message. I don't really care if it is positive, negative, or in-between. I just feel alone. Maybe that is selfish, but I put myself out there in these blogs and I don't even know if anyone gives a flip.

(As a side note, I bought the domain for 99 cents. Can't beat that. Unfortunately I was inundated with messages offering various services. One email I got, that seemed to be handwritten, pronounced that he could offer me a design and logo for my site. I literally responded with, "this is a personal blog about my struggle with depression and suicide, what makes you think I would want a logo?" To his credit, I did receive an apology email.)

But seriously, back to the readership point, if there is anything that anyone would like to hear me write about, I would love to know. Besides my daily throes, I have a long list of things I would eventually like to discuss on here. My personal experiences include:

  • crippling anxiety and self mutilation
  • meds, meds, and more meds
  • electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
  • hospitalizations
  • and it goes on
I am a fairly open book and if I can help anyone navigate their own, personal experience, then I will gladly do what I can.

I truly do hope to hear from someone, whether it be a simple "Hi", or as far as "tell me about your experience with this..."

Can anyone tell that I am lonely. I suppose that is so obvious it's laughable. Hello and thank you to those of you that do read this.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Descension Continues


I still feel just at the beginning. The beginning of a relapse. I guess that is the best term to describe them. The past nearly 5 months have been somewhat smooth sailing. Now is the payment for the times of joy. As any person that has dealt with major depression will tell you, we all sure as hell wish there was a pill we could take that would quickly end a depressive onslaught. What I wouldn't give for such a thing.

This is what I hate above all things, that I am never free. It's a cycle. Times of happiness are fantastic, but looming on the horizon is the keeper, waiting to collect payment for your period of release. 2014 saw my final straw with it. I'm not there currently, but I am exhausted.

Time Plays Games

It has been about 2 hours since I started this. The first paragraphs were at one sitting. Now my mind is different. I'm less depressed and hopeless and more agitated, more anxious; and yet calm at the same time. Tell me how any of that makes sense and you will win the gold star. I don't like my mood vacillating, but that is the destabilized mood portion of my bipolar depression. 

I'm going to leave on this note (pun intended). A great cover from one of my favorite albums and the tone alone speak to me inner minutia right now.

Perhaps Later... more

Saturday, March 25, 2017

And the verdict is...


I just don't know which way the wind is blowing the past few days. It's this way, then that way. At a moments notice I am thrown into horrible thoughts of self harm and the next I am ready to take on the day. Damn, it's exhausting.

More often than not, I try to put a header image that represents my frame of mind when writing the post. But I do try to keep them pleasant. Since I feel tossed in the wind, I feel that I am a ship on the ocean in a storm. I am in enough control to keep from capsizing or sinking, but not much more than that. My wife is truly my lighthouse, safe harbor, and anchor. But that doesn't always abate the storm in my mind. So I got to thinking, what creates the storm and wind and provides the powers for it's amazing destruction. The sun! Imagine how incredible and awesome that power is. It is so beyond us to even fathom the power it contains. It doesn't control, but it is the source of many things.


That is how I feel in my mind. It is the awesome power behind so many things that I struggle to control. I struggle to try to even decide if control is possible and if I should try to fight on. Or am I trying to attack the sun by fruitlessly punching at the wind?

I feel two ways. Depression tends to make one feel isolated and forgotten. So there is that. But I also feel like I need some friends. I can't say I don't have any. Cliche or not, my wife is my best friend and we talk about many things, but I also hold some things back (at times) because I know she has a lot on her mind too. (Sometimes I think I am helping by not talking, but really making things worse. I realize this and try to avoid it, if possible.)

My other best friend has patiently listened to my troubles and struggles for years, but now finds herself on my side of the wall. Isolated, being a mother at home, postpartum, and the death of her mother has left her gasping for air and struggling to see any light at the end of the tunnel. I am glad that I can actually be here for her now, because I can empathize with her. But it goes to show you how depression can bring even strong people down. She was always such a strong person that was in charge of her everything. Depression is truly not a choice. Though I still have her to speak with, I feel guilty for bemoaning to her when I feel that she is worse off than me.

....go on

I have other friends, but most of them are in California, and we don't talk much about mental health anyways. I don't know if anyone truly reads this blog, but at some point I hope I get a comment or two and could have at least a superficial dialogue.

I am supposed to be doing schoolwork right now. I have so much to do, it's ridiculous. But I cannot concentrate. I was hoping that spewing out my thoughts and feelings might help calm my brain. Fingers crossed. 

For now, peace. Later, hell.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Mastication, Humiliation

Cogito Ergo Sum Comedere
(I Think, Therefore I Eat)

Now that is one famous quote... or perhaps I am way off. Either way, for me it should really read, "I stress and depress, therefore I eat."

Once I quit my career, back in 2009, things changed. You already know about my self realization that working myself to death was my ultimate self medication, but over time that had to be replaced with something. Stronger people might pick up hobbies, and I did to some degree. Or maybe hit the gym, which I did until I injured my back. Etc, etc. But what is always at home, just beckoning me? The fridge. The pantry. 

I never had the best eating habits as it was. When I was working, some of those hours were in the hot sun, moving, sweating, and burning lots of energy. So it really didn't matter that I ate crappy. 

Now that I am back in school this has become easier in some ways and more difficult in others. I am busier again...fantastic! That provides less time for me to eat or crave. But it does add to my stress. However, I have ample opportunity to get food at school, home, and during my commute. I try to bring snacks to help avoid temptations. But the pull is still there.

The other day I woke up incredibly depressed and stressed and just started eating. Within about a half an hour I had consumed a thousand calories, but my mood had elevated. Not a good coping mechanism.

Realistically, (except for the other day) I have been doing well controlling my caloric intake and keeping my desires at bay. I hate even writing that. I have a personal superstition that once something is said (usually out loud), that everything starts to go wrong. Honestly, I hope that discussing this doesn't ruin everything. I haven't even talked to my wife about how well I have been sticking to my routine and that I have been losing weight... because I am afraid the trend will end.

What's the rub?

What am I going to do about this on the long term? Do I actually have a plan of how to permanently change this habit? Not really, but somewhat. My hope is that if I can stick to a new routine for long enough that the old one will slowly ebb away by the movements of the tides. This will take a long time. Years, I expect. I have been eating poorly and battling obesity for about 8 years now, so yeah, it will be a battle to convince my body to change.

One thing that I have to keep in mind is that just because I fail one day, it doesn't mean my whole plan is destroyed. I have often fallen into this trap. Succeed, succeed, succeed, fail, stop trying. It is a mindset that I have to cultivate and maintain.

What else is left?
(Yes, I am jumping into cliche-ville with these ideas.)

  • Hope - Oh, whatever. I suck at this but I'll try to hope.

  • Try - Duh. No try, no nothing.

  • Don't give up - This is where my try comes in. I reeeeally have to try to not stop going for it, even when it looks bleak and gets tough.

  • Plan a plan - Mine is stick to a caloric intake, use my awesome phone to track my habits, and do what I can to avoid stumbling blocks. This is my best tool.

  • Stick to it, because this shit's hard - Just ask anyone making new habits.

  • Replacement - There has to be something (POSITIVE!) to replace this crutch with. For me, I am doing what I can to become 'addicted' to the gym and get my positive endorphins and brain chems via that route.


Obviously I struggle with depressive dips and twirls at roller coaster speeds. If I can accomplish overcoming this trouble, I believe that it will bolster my mental health and provide one more wall to battle my depression and random onslaught of suicidal thoughts that attack at the most horrible of times.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Comfortably Connected with Nothing

I started writing another entry this morning but got busy with work. It really wasn't the pivotal matter today anyways. 

Today I feel empty. I woke up feeling horribly depressed and just started eating. I hate, hate, hate it when I eat through my depression, but sometimes it helps. (I subsequently hit the gym and burned off the calories, so that helps too.)

Part of it is that I feel like curling up into a ball and waiting out the feelings. Who actually cares what I do? What truly matters? I can answer those questions plainly, but it doesn't help to feel the hole in my chest. I lack energy. If I fell over and just laid on the ground, that would be about right. Sleep would be nice, but I have too many things to do. There is also the feeling of tears welling up behind my eyes, but I have trouble expressing via that method. (Although it really does help for me to cry it out from time to time.) Lex goes back to work tonight, which leaves me alone to deal with these feelings. That isn't the worst thing, but it isn't great either.

I will conclude this post with some lyrics from my favorite song, "Comfortably Numb" by Pink Floyd. I often find meaning in the words. (Oh, and just go watch the whole movie. The Wall is beautiful. Just thinking about it lifts my spirits.)

Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me
Is there anyone at home?
Come on now
I hear you're feeling down
Well I can ease your pain
Get you on your feet again
I'll need some information first
Just the basic facts
Can you show me where it hurts?


There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship, smoke on the horizon
You are only coming through in waves
Your lips move but I can't hear what you're saying
When I was a child
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown
The dream is gone
I have become comfortably numb

Monday, March 20, 2017

Can Suicide be the Right Option? - Part 2

This isn't going to be anymore upbeat than Part 1, and I guarantee this will still leave more thoughts to address. If you are coming here hoping to find peace or solid reasoning, then you may or may not. Good luck. At least I am not undergoing an acute depressive and suicidal relapse right now.


Let's just address the questions I put out before:
(bear with me... I love lists)
  • Who does suicide affect and how? 
    • Me: 
      • The immediate effect is the release of pain and cessation of agony.
      • BUT if an attempt is unsuccessful, then it only increases the personal grief, embarrassment, and isolation.
      • The long term consequences, depending on your beliefs, could produce ramifications in the next or afterlife. This is difficult to predict but could be scary to say the least.
    • Friends: 
      • They will undoubtedly feel pain from loss and a feeling of personal failure. This may cause depression in them. One would hope that it would be short term. Only a sick individual would wish the depths of depression on another person.
    • Family: 
      • The same as friends, with the additional of a closer sense of loss. You might also leave family struggling to fill the role of father, brother, provider, mother, sister, et al.
    • Those who have helped/professionals:
      • Although they are in an industry where they "see it all," that doesn't mean they are rocks that are unaffected and might question if they could have done more.
    • People I don't know: Wait, what? 
      • God only knows what people we would have met, what things we would have done, and how we would have affected the world if we had not departed early. 
  • Does any of this actually matter and for how long?
  • How will this affect me after death?
    • Personally, to me this would matter up until the moment I cease to exist.
    • But being that I am not a solipsist, I know that I would cause a void and trouble for my family for the rest of their lives. Which is a motivating factor to avoid suicide.
    • I don't hold a strong belief in an afterlife or reincarnation; however, I do personally feel that if there is a hell, that killing myself makes me bound for such a place. Actually, my masochistic deep hatred is so fundamentally rooted that if I killed myself and did not end up in hell for eternal torment, I would think the universe is not fair.
    • So, duh, suicide has long ramifications.
  • What can I do to stop/cure/etc this?
    • I can seek treatment and utilize my resources.
    • I can think, think, think about options and consequences.
    • I can fight, and dammit sometimes nothing works except pure endurance.

Open Call

What have I missed? Are there other questions, explanations, or reasons that can add to this complicated topic? I am open to anyone's input.

All In All

My personal thoughts and beliefs do not add up to an overwhelming urge to survive and thrive. It often perplexes me that seemingly everyone around me never questions their will to live. I'm going to cage this rabbit for the moment and chase it in a late entry.

Wait, Wait, Wait... Answer the Damn Question

True. I would say suicide is mostly the wrong option. There are many, many reasons why one might want to end their life, and I believe that many can be helped. It is wrong to do, but I cannot say it is always wrong for an individual (yes, this makes them selfish). I really do hate writing that because someone might find this and use it as personal justification. If you are that person, please contact someone. If you email me, I will talk with you. I can be incredibly harsh to some people, but when it comes to this I have nothing by empathy and understanding. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

This is My Curse

This entry comes with a music video and everything. Ooooooooo. Aaaaaaaaaaah. Impressive, huh? Ok, maybe not, but there is a purpose behind it. Beyond it being right up my alley and a beautiful song, the lyrics and the visual story touch my heart. 

Watch it. Love it. Read on.

There is Love

We are all made up of our experiences, for better or worse. While my journey through depression began in high school, I would say that my current 'era' of depression began in 2006 and it has yet to truly remiss. I married young. At the age of 20. That was in 2003. That marriage came with hope and all my dreams of a great life. 2006 was when it all fell apart. My mind was elsewhere and I ended up in the hospital. (Which was one of the most pathetic experiences I've had...but that's for another time.) I threw myself into my career. I rather enjoyed working myself to death, because I didn't have much else going on. 60-70 hour weeks were normal. Up before the sun and home after it set. But I had money, friends, and weekends. It was years later when I realized how much that work was my self medication.

After a long heart-to-heart with a dear friend (that also happened to be a therapist), I decided to try medication again. My previous experiences were spotty at best and mostly horrible. I was lucky enough to find a good psychiatrist that worked well with me. We worked together for years trying to keep on top of my body's habit of becoming immune to medications. There were good times where we tried to ween me off, just to be reminded that my condition is likely permanent. It was the light at the end of the tunnel that simply turned out to be a train bearing down on me.

Skip forward a couple of years to when I began dating Lexi, my then future and now current wife. I was wearing down from the work. I had been advancing and was finding myself in a role that I did not enjoy. Lexi and I got married and I quit my job, with the chance to take a vacation....being a stay at home dad. Now, I really thought that being home was going to be a walk in the park. Of course as any stay-at-home parent will tell you, it is just as difficult, if not more, than a full-time job. This was a rookie mistake, and the laugher I emote concerning my thought of it as a vacation could be heard around the world. What a lie.

I never realized to what degree I got my self-worth from my job. And as I related earlier, I still did not recognize that I had just cold-turkeyed my most beneficial medication, work.

Burning to Find You

Like I said, being at home is WORK! But it wasn't the kind that I wanted or that fulfilled me. I was stuck in my own prison. I had designed it, built it, locked myself in it, and throw the key far away. Realistically, the next few years can be described as the ups and downs of daily life. Kids, family, house, and personal anguish. I attempted suicide in 2014 and ended up in the hospital again. While not entirely germane to this post, it shows where I was at. I was searching for something. I don't even think I knew it at the time.

Will You Wait for Me

This beautiful music video is set in the magnificent, golden rolling-hills of Southern California. The place I lived most of my life. They are beautiful and they touch my heart. The blonde woman is not dissimilar to my first wife. But let me make this clear, she represents what I am searching for. I am not searching for her, but the personification of the past and what I hoped to do with my life... if things had gone 'according to plan.' I am more profoundly in love and happy with Alexis than I ever was before. 

So she represents 'my ideal' past and the way to a perfect future. I am, of course, the searching man, and the books and library is a strong representation of my wife. She is a voracious reader and a magnificent resource to help me with my struggles and search for truth and help.

Will You be There

After all this time, I still feel like I have to go back. To save the past. To save a broken marriage, even though it is obviously inferior to my current one. To live the life that would make me a worthy person.  To be something better. And in the end, I feel that journey will kill me. Perhaps in death or delusion I will feel that I am in the arms of a pleasant fiction and all will be well. But I think not. 

....This is My Curse

This post has taken a while to compose because of the emotional nature of the subject. It's still difficult to think about some of this and try to wade through it without becoming depressed or chasing the rabbit too far. I truly love this song, but after listening to it a couple of times I cannot hold back the tears. It touches.


It would be unfair to end on a bittered note. I have gained so much over the years. It has cost me. Yes. But I have become cognizant of so many things. The blessings that I have of supportive friends and family. I truly could not be more blessed by that. Not that I freely share my feelings to them on a regular basis, but I do not hear the typical cliches that people pass off to those dealing with mental illness. 

I took things for granted, and somehow was blessed with more. However, this comes with a fight. I have to see it for what it is. Somehow I must understand that the past can lend us tools and even knowledge to use, but it is gone. Where can I go from here? Being able to cast off the need to go back and change is something that I will struggle with for a long time, if not the rest of my life. 

I cannot imagine that I am alone. But that doesn't make it any easier.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

A Matter of Fact... Perhaps

I thought that perhaps I should introduce some better structure to this, instead of it being a haphazard smattering of thoughts. In browsing and reading other personal blogs, I feel like mine is somewhat unpolished. This brings two thoughts to mind. First of all, is that what I really want and should I do it? And secondly, are those types of blogs as welcoming and realistic as I hope to be? And damn, some of those blogs are a mile long. I don't always want to read (or write) a novel. We shall see how it goes. 

The Beginning is the End is the Beginning

When does your trouble start? Without fail, evening if I am feeling very stable, if I start to address personal problems and think about the future, then things begin to roll downhill. These personal issues include what the future holds, what can I do to change or improve myself, will I ever be free of this depressive cycle, and many other tough thoughts. This usually dissuades me from attempting to work through problems, even though I know they have to be done. Everyone is different, but I plan on doing some of this in the upcoming week, when I have Spring break. My tools to make it as successful as possible are:

  • Free time, and lots of it, but only some of it alone. I need free time to talk with my wife and other free time to distract myself with minor tasks that help my brain "defragment" so to speak.
  • Space. By space, I mean more time. Time to heal and work myself out of any depression or oppressive thoughts that make their way in.
  • Gentleness towards myself. I often beat myself up for my dips, which only goes to make them worse. Trying to be kind to myself really helps.
  • Stick to the topics. The rabbit hole of issues and wild thoughts is no friend to anyone with mental illness. Don't follow that white rabbit.
  • Utilize support. I must make sure that my wife is around for support and as an important buffer between me and myself.
  • If I could I would try to reduce my responsibilities, but with kids, home, and school this really isn't that possible. It's my pipe-dream tool. 
Take Some Ground

All of this is fairly general. What am I actually going to address?.... Where am I going and what am I going to do with the rest of my life? You know, just your run-of-the-mill, everyday kind of question. There is nothing big an ominous about that. I spent years languishing in depression and trying to decide what to do, until I finally got back into the game. My goal right now is medical school, so that I can help people. There is one big problem with this. I have a tug-o-war of love and hate with people and humanity in my heart. On one hand I feel that people are compassionate and beautiful beings worthy of love and help, while another part of me views humanity as a course instrument of destruction to themselves and the planet. It really doesn't help that I do not like myself. I'd really go so far as to say that I hate myself, so part of this will need to be a personal healing. Finding love and acceptance for myself could reeeeeally help. But anytime the path to the future comes up, my mind has a hard time keeping from that rabbit hole.

To be continued . . .

Friday, March 3, 2017

Where'd the World Go?

The past three months have not been bad, but it's also had a fair share of dips. Said dips were rather ridiculously strong when they came one, to the degree that I am uncomfortable sharing them. But hey, I made it through. I just haven't had the drive to write. And if I lack a proper cathartic release from penning these entries, then perhaps it just shouldn't be done. But here I am again, feeling the need.

Realistically, I have been doing well because I have been so busy and distracted with school. It is my full-time job. And it continues to kick my ass. Academic success came so much easier 15 years ago when I was younger and fresher. Sometimes my brain feels like sludge, as I struggle to understand and put to memory, while the youth around me comments on how easy things have been. Frustrating! But it's the bed I have made. When I was younger, I could breeze through classes with little or no studying. Now I am finding myself committing more and more time to it and and still struggling. The struggle part sucks, but the beneficial work/study ethic I am bringing back (from my professional days) is something that is going to be useful, so it is a net gain.

I'm still working toward getting a job for summertime. I cannot imagine being home all summer. That would shatter my streak and call up a major relapse. I have no doubt. So, hopefully I get the job and/or take a summer class.

I had a recent adjustment in medications. Both the doctor and I are hesitant to make large changes, especially because I am fairly stable right now, but my Lamictal is a very high dose and he suspects that it is causing my hands to shake. The shaky hands are ridiculous, embarrassing, and a hindrance at times. It is a long-term goal of mine to get rid of the shakes. He also upped one of my other medications that helps my concentration. Honestly, I think that med also adds to my shaking hands, but he does not.

I got a lithium level for the first time in a year or two, and even though I am on a very high dosing my level is at 0.5 (0.6-1.2 is the therapeutic range). Oddly enough if I take more than that, which I have at times, I get up into the therapeutic range and become toxic enough that I vomit. So much fun. But I know how much the lithium truly helps. Of course I know for sure it's related to my shaking hands, but I have also proven to myself that taking a daily teaspoon of safflower oil helps with that. I cannot explain why that works, but it truly does.

Well, the day is calling. And off I go.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

I Can't Enjoy the Silence

The simple act of being alone with myself in the silence, without any music or other noise is maddening to me. I don't know why. This slowly came on over the years. I love my wireless headphones. They provide constant entertainment, but when I have to be alone in the quiet, my mind starts to melt down. It sounds incredibly ridiculous that such a simple thing would cause issues, but it's true.

I don't know if it is an addiction, or the fact that I have a unquiet and wandering mind. When there is a show or music playing, my mind is distracted, but when it isn't it starts to question my life and motives, almost out of nowhere. Unfortunately, listening to anything while I am working on particular school tasks just isn't functional. You would think that busying my mind with detailed tasks would quiet it, but that isn't always the case.

A few weeks ago I tried to do biofeedback, and about 5 minutes into it I just couldn't take it anymore. Trying to focus on peace is like driving spikes under my nails. It makes me incredibly anxious. I will continue to search out a solution to this with my therapist. I wonder what it will take.