What Makes You Happy?

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What Makes You Happy

 

I haven’t written in a long time, part of me felt like it was maybe because I’ve been doing better. I haven’t been feeling as depressed. My life had seemingly come together, even if just the slightest. I always told myself that when hockey ended, I was going to become an author, a literary wizard; I was going to write every day now that I had a bit more time. Well, hockey’s been over for about six weeks, and I am just starting to write at 10:56PM Easter Sunday.

Sure, I’ve been busy with things in the meantime, but if anyone knows me, busy, is not an excuse. If you want something bad enough, you’ll find the means to do it. Busy doesn’t exist in my world. It’s not because I don’t ever do anything, in fact, that’s probably quite the opposite. I probably have more going on than most folk. Actually, I could almost guarantee that. I just don’t feel the need to let everyone know how I preoccupied I am. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way. It makes me sick when people say they are too busy.

Why? I remember years ago, my sister tried to chat with me through Facebook, through simple Internet chat… and, I recall looking at the messages, the message read something along the lines of hey, call me when you got some time, want to know how college is going. I looked at it, thought, meh; I’ll call her later… I am busy. I never called her. And, I don’t know if I ever talked to her again. She committed suicide a couple of months after, and I’ve never been too busy since.   So when people tell me, they are too busy. It doesn’t sit well. At all.

So, to say that I haven’t been writing, because I have been doing well, or because I have been doing poorly… I don’t even know the answer. Sometimes life has a tendency to just happen, and just leave me trapped in the motions that I just can’t comprehend the appropriate emotions, and feelings.

I know that writing provides me with the single most joyous experiences of my life. So, you would think it’s easier to do so. But… for some reason, it’s been getting more difficult, and for the first time, I feel like my writing is actually good. In the past, all I did was write about how I felt. That’s it. There was no scientific method to it; there was no English specialty behind it. Simply, just how I felt. I have such a difficult time re-reading my pieces, for a variety of reasons… mainly because I feel such a huge disconnect with the person who wrote that very piece, but also because… I think it’s shit. I looked earlier, and I have posted 47 entries to GAB. This being 48. I can honestly say that 1 was of quality, Your Move Chief. So, as much gratification as writing brings me… I don’t know if it’s from the actual writing, or the feedback. As pathetic as this may be, I seek so much approval, and accreditation, from… whomever, predominantly from my mom, and from my fiancé…. It’s pathetic, if I don’t hear anything within a day or so, I am texting those two asking what they thought… It drives me crazy that I do this. But… I do. And, I can probably recap every single compliment, or piece of positive feedback I have received from my blog. There is truly nothing, and I mean NOTHING more gratifying than when I hear about people who have read my blog, and find comfort from reading. Whether, I know them or not. I spend so much time wanting to write, then I spend such little time actually writing, and I conclude with spending even more time looking for approval on my writing. From, my family… my fiancé… my best friends… my friends… strangers… When, I receive this, it’s pure happiness. Joy. Elation. You know that feeling where you just can’t wipe that smile off your face. This is the only time I’ll feel it. So you’d think I’d write more, with this being the case. But, truth is… I think I have become a bit scared. My unrelenting life standards have once again trapped me with failure. Where, I need simple accolades. However, that’s slowed down significantly. I don’t know if it’s because my writing has gotten stale, or the content has. Or maybe, I am just without the random viewers from Europe. Or, perhaps, the people who have already graciously patted my back don’t feel like they need to tell me good job every single fucking time. Though they shouldn’t. However, I feel like, unless I get that… I am failing. I want to know what every single person thinks of my writing, even if they think it’s complete crap. I just want to know… because; I think it is too, I can’t even find myself appreciative, and satisfied with my own work.

So, in getting to the point of this entry… the great folks at Mind Your Mind proposed the question, what makes you happy? I thought about it for a long, long time. There are so many things that I enjoy, so many. But, to label them as something that makes me completely happy would likely be false. I think at any point, doing makes me happy. Regardless, of what it is that I am doing. I think sometimes you can find temporary joy in that, and I do. But, I tried to really think of something that makes me truly happy. True joy. I almost couldn’t think of anything, till I thought about writing, then I thought about all of the positive feedback I have received over the two years, and the people I have been able to help, if even just to help them temporarily. This has brought me pure joy, and continues to do so. It’s the only thing that allows me to feel self-pride, and self worth. Regardless, of the success I have at work, or in coaching sports, or my daily life even. I always seem to be stuck wanting more, and eventually get a place where good just isn’t good enough. But, with writing, that’s different. Even, if I receive two notes about my latest post, to me it was a success, and it provides that feeling. That feeling where I can’t stop but smiling, even if it’s a random stranger at an arena that says, “hey, you’re the guy that writes that mental health blog” … Yes, I guess so. These are the things that keep me ticking, and continue to remind me just what it is to feel joy, and to feel good.

You just hope that somehow you can find a way to enjoy, accept and appreciate your own bravery and work. Sometimes there is just far too much pressure on writing purely for the audience, and hoping to help them find joy, and hope. I need to find my own first.

Rest easy, and rest happily Max. I hope you can still find some time to read my blog, and I hope that you’ve found true joy.   I know you and Jen are hanging out as we speak. Listening to music, watching over us, and laughing at us.

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My Beautiful Girl

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I wanted to post this yesterday but didn’t have a chance.  Also likely going to take some real flak from the boys for posting this; soft! So I was probably delaying that a little bit too!

Keeping things with Valentines Day, and in a week or so will be the 11 year anniversary since I asked Amanda to go out with me. Thankfully, she said yes.  We’d be 12 years but she said no the year before!

Anyway, I wrote this letter for her a couple weeks back when I was heading home from Hawaii without her.


It hasn’t been more than thirty minutes since I last looked back, and waved goodbye. I finished my tour of anxiety through security, looked back to you, and waved. You immediately waved back. I could see the excitement in you that I had looked back to see you one last time. I made my way up the escalator, and I hoped I’d see you once more; I didn’t want to lose sight of you.  You must have left, and then it hit me. You were gone, and I was going the other way. We were apart. In most worlds, and most relationships, I think people look forward to four days of alone time, and there isn’t likely to be a person who loves their alone time more than me. But this time… it hurt me. I don’t know why. I think every time I am not by your side, I am so afraid that it’s the last time I will see you. The last time I will see happiness. I think one of the things that people go through when they suffer from depression is, though they may have moments of happiness, and elation… It doesn’t always last, and when it’s gone, it’s heart sinking because you always feel like that may be the last time you’ll feel that joy again. That’s how I am every time

You have this weird way of allowing me to be happy, to have fun, and to feel like everything is going to be just fine. Even if in the moment, it doesn’t seem like it will be. I used to always be so hard on myself, expect so much of myself, that it was nearly impossible for me to ever find happiness. I blamed myself for every little thing that went wrong, things I couldn’t even control; I found a way to make it my fault. I lost all sense of hope, peace and completely lost all hope of happiness. I can remember that time I was really at rock bottom and you went miles above your call of duty to ensure I was ok. After talking to the psychiatrist about how I was feeling, I remember her coming back into the room. I was ready for her to tell me I needed to be locked up, or kept overnight because I was crazy, or something was wrong with me. She didn’t say the former, or the latter. She just said, I think he is just very, very sad. She could not have been more correct. There was no need for this significant diagnosis, exams, or medications. I wasn’t going to hurt myself, or hurt anyone. I didn’t want too. I was just simply, or complicated-ly…sad.   At the time, I never thought I could lean on you the way I have learned how to now. I didn’t want to hurt you, let you down, or feel vulnerable. I was afraid of that. I thought I could deal with my despair independently. This led me down a path I wish to never return. Using alcohol as a crutch. I’d drink, and drink, drink some more and continually party. I knew that this wasn’t making me any less sad, or any happier. It was temporary relief, where I would simply forget my sadness for an evening, only to awake to a stronger never-ending mountain of grief. This wasn’t working. Most people would have left me on my own after the pain I had caused you, all of it completely unfair to you. Though, through it all, you never budged, you never gave up. I am sure that it must have been extremely hard on you. Nights I was out partying and you had no idea where I was, what I was doing, when I was coming home, or if I even was. I’m sure I caused you many long, sleepless and emotionally drowning nights. I am certain of it now. For that, I cannot apologize enough, and I cannot thank you enough for never losing hope and faith in me. You somehow always found something in me I could never find in myself.

When I started to realize that the crutch I was using was only digging me deeper into darkness, and I decided enough was enough. I needed to find help, elsewhere. You had longed for me to enter the PAS program at the hospital, and try it. Finally, I did. And, throughout my weekly sessions for eight months, I learned so much about myself; I think I gained so much strength in those eight months. I learned different ways to channel my sadness, and try to turn it into something else, I learned that it’s ok to sometimes feel like nothing, to sometimes feel as if you’re mental space has completely died, yet your still moving physically. I learned that it’s ok to feel vulnerable, and for years, I was mortified of this. It was ok to feel weak, and to have those around me know that I was weak, and that I was hurting, and it was ok to lean on your for help, and for strength.

I don’t know what the real turning point was in those eight months that have led us to today, but I keep thinking back to that exercise I completed in therapy where I had to write you a letter explaining why I had a difficult time leaning on you. I’ve always been better with writing my feelings down, than I have been verbalizing them. We know that. Yet, I was so scared to give you this letter. It took three weeks. Finally, I did. I had never been so nervous in my life. I was afraid I was going to hurt you. I had no idea what to expect from you in response to this letter. I watched your every move as you read the pages I delivered to you. My mind raced, attempting to analyze your every thought. Finally, you finished, looked me deep in the eyes, and told me we’re ok, hugged me, gave me a kiss and told me that you loved me. You didn’t get upset. You didn’t shut down. You didn’t try to dig for more. Your response was everything I would have envisioned in a perfect world. And, at that very moment, I think you made me truly feel like everything was going to be ok, no matter how weak I was at the time, or at anything… or how much I was hurting. You were there for me.

Fast forward to today, as I make my way home on my own. I looked back to see you one last time as I rose up the escalator… and it hit me. You are truly everything to me. I am heart broken to be away from you even if for a few short days. It sounds pathetic, but it’s true. I have finally found peace, strength and happiness alongside you, and being able to confide in you has provided me with a life of joy that I could have never imagined.

I can’t wait to be home with you again.

I love you, my beautiful girl.

Pigeon Camera – When Dreams Happen

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If you’ve been following along my blog for some time, you know now that I love music.  I am always listening to music, reading lyrics, watching concerts…etc.  Growing up it was a big thing in our family.  The second thing you might know, is every now and then I have dreams of which my sister is in.  Sometimes so vividly, I can see that she is happy, enjoying herself.  I believe this is her way of telling me she’s better now, and that things are going to be alright.  I wish I had these dreams of her more often.

A few of these dreams I’ve had with her, I’ve really tried to keep with me, and revisit them often. Just to see her smile, and to see her laugh.  Sometimes I’ll ask her before I go to sleep how she’s doing, and to visit me soon in my dreams.  Hoping that I’ll see her again.  One dream I had with her in particular, I can recall almost every little detail, and have still images of this dream as if were some kind of photograph.

We were in a dark room, presumably some kind of pub.  Looked just like the Crocodile Pub in Seattle; my favorite place on the planet.  Jen loved Seattle, I often wonder if she got to go there.  Anyways.  Ahead was a small wooden stage lifted about a foot off the floor.  The stage, well-lit, sat in front of a small circular table that my mom, my sister and myself sat at in high black bar stools.  I can even remember the order of which we sat.  Mom was in the middle, Jen to the left, me to the right.  We sat, and laughed, all we did was laugh.  Jen looked just as I remember, she just looked… happier.  In front of us, on the stage performing was the Tragically Hip, complete with Gord Downie’s usual performing antics that make them such a phenomenal show.  It just seemed so real.  They just played, and played, while we sat at our grungy round table laughing, embracing the show in front of us…. and they just kept playing.

The Hip have always been a band that we listened to as I was kid, and growing up, I mean… who didn’t?? As I got older, I realized that my mom was more often right than wrong in her choice of tunes, and I learned to appreciate some of the bands she forced on me more and more.  Today, I love them all.  Music was something that we could all share together as a family, and continue to do so now as Brody grows up and learns to appreciate real music.  I remember always talking about music with Jen, wanting to look through her Roots CD wallet, see what new albums she had, or what she was listening too.  I’d try to trade her some of my discs for hers, or if deal was declined, I’d just try sneak away with the ones I wanted. Borrowing!  I must have gone through that CD Wallet five thousand times growing up.  That very same CD wallet is one of the most cherished items that I now have. It sits in my bookshelf, with all of her CDs still in place.  I’ll take them out, listen to them occasionally, and they go right back in the exact sleeve I found them.  I take care of this thing, more than I take care of anything else that I own.  For years, I wouldn’t put it near anything else, in fear that it would lose the scent of her.  I can remember yelling at Amanda after she moved in with the rest of the photo albums and such on the bookshelf at our old condo.  She asked why, and I didn’t want to tell her, I think I just said “Because!”  One of the other things I have of hers is the “Hipeponymous” box set, which I treat as if it were a million dollar item as well.  These two things that I have of hers, to me are as important as the pictures, and the memories I have of her, and more important than pretty well anything that I claim to own.

I’ve been to a Hip performance once before; Stampede Roundup.  However, I stuck about 300 yards back, and could hardly see a thing, or hear.  So to me, I don’t count that as really seeing them, cause, well… I didn’t.  Thus, The Hip have long been on my concert bucket list.  I’ve been fortunate enough to attend countless amounts of shows, and have seen many of my favorite bands.  However, none of which were shared with Jen.  It’s something that I think about every concert I go to.  Man…  I wish you were here.  I think this is probably what led to the aforementioned dream.


Last night… My brother got to enjoy his first real concert, and I got to knock one of the bucket list.  Mom had taken us to a show.  The Tragically Hip.  Brody. Mom. Me. Empty seat.  Just as we sat in my dream.  Beside me was probably the only empty seat in the first two levels of Rexall Place.  I thought nothing of it. Great, more space.  The show went on. Few songs in…”Pigeon Camera”  My favorite Hip song.  I didn’t expect to hear this one, not realizing he was going to play the entire FullyCompletely album.

Over there that’s my room
And that’s my sister’s
And that’s my sister
With something we could no longer contain

At that very moment, it hit me.   That dream came back to my mind, as vivid as ever.  I glanced over, and realized.. Brody, Mom, Me… Just how we sat in my dream.  Then, the empty seat beside me… Jen.  She was there.  Right beside me.  Pretty well the only empty seat in the building.  I started to laugh.  Couldn’t believe it.

My dream had come true


As I drove through the night, and early morning hours of this morning heading home, I was absolutely just gleaming.  I had my iPod playing, on shuffle… I have about 700 songs or so on this iPod.  You know when you have the shuffle going, you really always quietly hope to hear a couple different songs, then they never come on, so you get frustrated and then just search for it.  Well, I was really hoping for this one particular Yelawolf song…  Sure enough, two songs later.  Write Your Name.  I kinda laughed to myself, thought, ha thanks Jen!

Then, nearing Calgary, I thought… Ah, I really hope I get to hear The Year the Summer Ended in June before I get home.   Not three minutes later.  Yep.  I was stunned, butterflies.  I couldn’t stop myself from giggling, and shaking my head.  Here it was 2:30 in the morning.  I’d been awake for 20 hours straight.  Drove to Edmonton and back… and I all I wanted was for this night to continue on forever.  I have never felt Jen’s presence so much.  I could almost see, and hear her.  It was seriously, a dream come true.

For the last six years, all I’ve wished for is a chance to go back, and spend more time with Jen, do things with her I hadn’t done when the opportunity was there.  Nights where I’ve laid in bed screaming for a chance to go back.   Moments where I’ve wished myself sick, and sore.  It was as if I were to squeeze hard enough, I could go back.  Could go back and spend time with her, and share those moments that we’ve missed out on.  Moments like last night.  With everyone.

And last night, It just happened…


February 12, 2015 will go down as one of the most memorable nights of my life.  Thank you to those who were apart of it.  Mom, for taking us.  Brody for coming, and sharing tonight.  I was thrilled when I heard you were coming.  I had no idea.  And Kyle, for sharing some of your evening with us, and planning dinner, and meeting us.

I always laugh when people say this, and consider it to be so cheesy, and ya ya whatever.. but, everything really was aligned last night, just right.

Truly, one of the greatest evenings of my life.

Thank you.

Love, B

Your Move, Chief

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Maybe this is too late.  Maybe this isn’t even relevant anymore.  But, last week we lost one of the finest individuals to grace this planet.  No, not just because he was a phenomenal actor, but because he battled for so long, to bring everyone else joy and laughter despite his own misery, and emptiness, despite his own mental obstruction. He was gifted, courageous, and beyond brave.

Upon hearing the news of Robin passing away, I was upbeat, driving home from engagement photos, and on the radio, as DJ whoever began playing his next techno beat, and the beats of this terrible song faded in, DJ whoever let us know that an icon had passed. But, that was all. Into the techno trance the song went. Instantly, I felt sick. I loved Robin Williams. First thing that came to my mind, was… Is this guy talking about the same Robin Williams that played Mrs. Doubtfire? Like… Patch Adams – Robin Williams? Surely, He’d have done more than just say “oh hey by the way folks before we get to this song…” But, after searching my mind for a few minutes for another Robin Williams, I came to the unfortunate conclusion. Yes. It was… Patch Adams. Typically though, as part of my own constant fight with mental illness, I feel nothing. That’s my usual reaction. Nothing. Emptiness. Even amongst the most tragic events. I don’t usually feel an overwhelming amount of sadness, or despair. I don’t…. usually feel anything. Empty. I try too, but I can’t for anymore than a moment.  But, I felt sad. Abnormally sad, I just had a bad feeling.  I felt connected.  Moments later, I got home… and I think I had already convinced myself I knew how Mr. Williams had passed. I turned on the TV, and it was confirmed. Suicide. My heart sunk, and my stomach twisted immediately. I don’t know how I knew. It just hit me close to home, right away. I just knew.  I felt it.

As sad as it were for me to learn about the news of Mr. Williams, I am not on a personal level with Mr. Williams, therefore, I couldn’t allow myself to be overtaken by the news. I can’t try and feel the same pain that his family and friends feel, I don’t want too. I’ve felt that. But, the hardest part for me in moving on from this one quickly, and not allowing myself to feel anything more than a few moments of sadness was… the rest of us.

I’m not one to follow along to celebrities’ personal troubles. I always believe they are humans alike the rest of us, they just happen to be good at their jobs, and the rest of us care way too much about what they’re doing, and put them under these encapsulated microscopes, and we wait for them to struggle, we wait for bad things to happen to them, and we pounce, we have opinions, comments, we have all the answers to the lives of these robots. As if that’s what they are.

As par for the course, when a celebrity struggles, fights, battles anything. It becomes a global issue for a mere 72 hours. Whether it’s racism, poverty, drugs, crime, physical health, and… Mental health. It’s unfortunate that all of the problems that plague our society are only really discussed at the “trending” level, when one of these robots we hold on a mile-high pedestal is identified with of these issues. Though, I notice this often, I am easily able to just shut off twitter, facebook, TV, radio…etc, and I don’t need to really associate myself with the opinons, and views of “us”… But, this time, I associated myself too close to the matter, and let it get to me.  It was too close to home.

Shortly after learning about the passing of Robin Williams, I posted this…

Devastated by the news of Robin Williams. Too close to home for me. An unfortunate reminder that we can all be victim to mental illnesses. No matter how rich, or how famous, we’re all just human. #RIP Robin Williams.

The response was tremendous, reassuring, almost like people understood this time.  I’ve been talking about mental illness through my social media feeds for a few years now, and I do it without any hesitation now, but I still often am thinking about what other people might be thinking when I do write the stuff.  But, Maybe, just hopefully we’ve had this discussion enough times that we have finally figured it out. We have finally learned that mental illness is real. It is real, it is happening, and it is happening to any kind of person, regardless of pedestal, fame, fortune and power. It does not discriminate, in any way, shape or form. And, Robin Williams is a sad, and unfortunate reminder of this. After posting this, and seeing the responses, I felt better, I felt like maybe we are actually making progress towards accepting mental illnesses, and accepting those who fight this as… normal.

A few days had come and gone, and for whatever reason, I just stayed off of social media. It’s almost as if I knew I was being naïve, and it was too good to be true, so I was avoiding what I was afraid I’d see, and what I knew I’d see.  We have not made any progress. Then, all in the same day, I was no longer able to avoid reality, and avoid society.

Around the same time, my mom had sent me a note that had passed along to her from one of my blogs readers, and she then mentioned to me one of these internet trolls had wrote something absurd about depression, mental illness and suicide being a choice. I just couldn’t fathom it.  Really? Someone could say that?  Really?  I didn’t even really respond, because I didn’t allow myself to believe it. My mom mentioned that she had tried to make this ignoramus aware of their own idiocy.   I remember then, debating with myself. Do I want to read what that troll wrote, and join my mom in letting her know my opinions too, or just leave it because it’ll drive me crazy, and ruin my day.  I went with the latter, but then I opened up my facebook page, and couldn’t believe the comments I saw. Albeit, from an individual that I, and many others hold in quite low esteem, but there behold comments like

“I am sick of the media responses about Robin Williams, he made a choice”

And then equally sized morons commenting

“He had all the fame, fortune, money he could imagine, how could he be sad”

“This isn’t the real Robin Williams we know “

“He made a choice, lets quit talking about him, and talk about the real Robin Williams we know!”

… Are you fucking kidding me? Are you seriously that stupid, and that ignorant? I immediately, had completely lost my faith, once again in our people. Again, the host of these comments, and this discussion is not someone I would trust to tell me the difference between grass and snow, but still, all the more reason he shouldn’t be commenting on these types of issues. I skimmed through the comments at the time, and those four I just typed stick out in my mind like a sore thumb, an engrained image. Nauseating,

  • What choice did he make? To live with an illness that he tried to tolerate, manage and fight for so long that it ultimately became intolerable?
  • Right, So famous people aren’t susceptible to mental illness, just all the other illnesses, they can’t be depressed, or have bi-polar disorder. Not Robin. Not Kurt. Not Wade Belak? Rick Rypien? Derek Boogard?
  • This is the one that really gets me. Who is the Robin Williams that we all know? Is it Patch Adams? Mrs. Doubtfire? Is it Sean Maguire? Those are the Robin Williams we’ve seen, that’s the Robin Williams we’ve come to know. Him in his professional life. Not his personal life. We don’t know the real Robin Williams, this is part of the problem.
  • Again, the problem. Let’s never quit talking about him, his legacy, or his demise. Maybe that will stop the next one.

You haven’t the faintest idea what you’re talking about

It amazes me that people can be so ignorant, and so oblivious to these things. These people that are writing these comments, are the exact reason that people like myself, or people like my sister, or Robin, or Kurt Cobain couldn’t feel like they had the power, or strength to talk about their mental illness. These are the people that make the rest of us feel trapped, feel powerless. These are the people contributing to the stigma that perceives mental illness as negative and shameful, something that isn’t real, something made up. The reason these illnesses get so intolerable that, suicide becomes the only thing left, are these people.  It doesn’t take many of them to eliminate any chance of a platform allowing us to comfortably talk about mental health issues.  If only Robin Williams, or Jen could talk about their fight without any fear or repercussion like these internet trolls, maybe they wouldn’t have felt so entrapped, felt so isolated, so scared, they wouldn’t have felt their illness was so intolerable, and then they’d still be hear making both of us laugh today.   But, instead we attack Robin Williams daughter Zelda on twitter, because we can. Because, we can hide behind our keyboards under our fictional internet name,  and our poor grammar, because it allows us a platform to say the cruelest of things without any worry of repercussion. it’s easy, and nothing will come of it. This is where we put our energy, instead of constructively talking about how we can make mental illness an acceptable illness, like anything else… and understand it is not a choice.

No one chooses to struggle with depression. I don’t remember a morning in my life where I decided I wanted to be depressed, I don’t remember a morning in my life where I thought about my afternoon, and thought, ya, around 2:00 after I have lunch, I’ll try kill myself, because I feel sad today.  This isn’t how it works. It’s not a choice, and it’s not just a shitty day where things aren’t going right, so you decide to mop around at home. It’s not just a crappy week at work.

It’s feeling absolutely nothing, feeling empty, it’s not feeling sad, it’s not feeling happy, it’s not feeling real. It’s failure, it’s feeling complete failure regardless of accomplishments, it’s anxiety, it’s denial, it’s worrying, it’s fear, it’s feeling minute, it’s irrelevance. It’s not a choice. It’s “you’re always afraid to take the first step, because all you see is every negative thing ten miles down the road” It’s real.

 

It’s not a choice

&

 

It’s not your fault

Rest in Peace Robin Williams.  Say hi to Jen for me.

Bell Lets Talk – Don’t Do It Alone.

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It’s unfortunate that mental illnesses come with such a negative stigma, and those who are suffering are ashamed and afraid to talk about their struggles to others, and to seek help. So, in turn, we go through this on our own, in silence and in the dark. The end result is tragic.

The most difficult part is doing it alone, and feeling like you have no other choice but to do it alone so Thank you Bell Let’s Talk for creating this initiative and for creating the conversation online. A simple hashtag may seem trivial, but it’s the beginning of talking, and creating a sense of openness, and comfort in regards to dealing with mental illnesses.

I really hope that we can continue this Lets Talk movement for the next 360+ days. January 28th should not be the only day we are comfortable with the idea of mental illness. It should be every day. It’s a disease. Not a moment. Not a bad day. Not a weakness.

Not a day goes by that I don’t go through my own battles with depression, and I have been going through them since I was a young kid. I can almost remember vividly when it all began. For years, I was ashamed, and I never said much. My parents knew but that was it. A year and a half ago, I started writing a blog about my experiences, throwing all of my personal struggles out there for anyone, and everyone to read. One of the most difficult things I’ve done in my life, and it still is. But, I’ve also never had a friend shun me since I started writing, I’ve never had an employer fire me, and my family did not love me any less. I’ve been treated just the same as I were before I started writing, nothing really changed. I almost expected people to shut me out, feel embarrassed, or awkward around me. This is what the silence, and the stigma of mental illness has done. Looking back, It seem’s so stupid that I thought that. I’ve tried several different exercises, or therapists, or medication to help remedy my fight with depression. Sure, maybe some it held some sort of temporary relief for me, but nothing ever really made me feel comfortable in my own skin, nothing made me feel normal. I continued to feel like I had this strange problem that I need to keep hush hush. Until I started writing, and seeing responses from people, even the non responses and seeing people treat me just the same. This has provided me with relief, this has made me feel as close to normal as I maybe ever will. It’s allowed me to accept that I suffer from depression, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of about that. Nothing. I encourage everyone to share your story, just like I did. I can guarantee you, it will provide you with some sort of relief, a sense of pride, and happiness too. Even if for a simple moment, you’ll feel real, you’ll feel normal, you’ll feel like it’s okay to have anxiety disorder, or bi-polar disorder, or severe depression… Because it is OK.

I’ve seen the silence, the darkness, and the stigma take away from so many people, and it’s taken my sister away from me. There is not a day that goes by where I don’t think about Jen. There is not a day that goes by where I find myself wondering… Maybe if I just talked to Jen about depression, about fighting. Maybe we could still be talking about it today.

Don’t go through this on your own, don’t suffer through silence. Talk about it. Write about it. Share your experience with friends, family. There is nothing to be ashamed of, there is nothing to be afraid of. You are normal. You are O.K. Don’t allow yourself to feel any different. Someone right next to you is probably going through the same fight, alone.

Talk now, before it’s too late, and you find yourself wishing you would have sooner.

#BellLetsTalk

 

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#BellLetsTalk The Worst Crime is Faking It.

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The Worst Crime is… Faking it. Image

Welcome… Too a few things, first off, back to goneawayboys! I know it’s been sometime since I contributed something more than a half ass article that I wrote amdist my boredom in foreign islands, or in an airplane over the pacific.  But, here I am.  Sounds like it was a really tough break, doesn’t it?

Truth is… I contemplated giving up this blog entirely, and just riding out what it was, this blog and the sunset.  Her & I together.  See ya. Why? I’m not entirely sure.  I felt like there was almost nothing too write about anymore.  I thought,  I’ve wrote so much about my own story, my own fight with mental illness, that what else can I do, except write the same thing over and over again, because, basically, that’s almost how I feel every day… Over and over again.  Or often enough anyways.  And, being a half-ass smart kid, or so I would like to think, I know that the audience doesn’t care much for repetition as much as they appreciate new quality content.  So, I thought… What else can I do?  Welp, the NHL came back.  I thought then, after each week, I would put together my thoughts on the NHL – My viscous opinion after the week that was.   But, then I thought, wait…  nearly >400,000 writers have had that same idea.  What is going to make the opinions of yours truly any more readable then the rest?

Other than… well, what I would write would, likely be 100% correct!  But, essentially, that would grow old really fast, because people would be either a) tired of agreeing with me every single time, or b) simply wouldn’t give a shit anymore.  I’ll tend with the latter.

I have also been long thinking, that since its February, and apparent Mental Health month, depending on you who you ask… It could also be heart month, or limb month.  Either which way, I choose its mental health month, though, for me, every day is.  I do appreciate such  initiatives that are looking to get the word out.  Especially, the words that are mental illness, and, for that, I sincerely applaud Bell.

I continually go back and forth right now between, Twitbook & the fridge.  Twitbook is my reference to facebook & twitter, which have now become one and same annoying usage of social media, though, I disgruntle at times. I am the worst for it.  Fridge, well, beers don’t stay cold on the deck.  Soooo…..  Don’t judge me.

I’ve made a few posts regarding this #BellLetsTalk day, and I have changed most of my pictures on the 17 different social media sites to that of my sister; Jen. Simply, too remember her, and too show everyone her smile, and how beautiful she was.  As most of you know, from hopefully reading this blog, Jen committed suicide back in May of 08. May 7th. 2008.  No matter how many Sunday mornings I claim are the worst day of my entire life, nothing even comes close. Nothing. I still remember the day like it was yesterday. I even know what I was wearing… Black Mount Royal sweatpants… That I have never worn since, along with a plain white zip-up hoodie… That I have never wore since.  You might wonder why I was dressed like such a slob. Well, I was at one of my best friends place, and we were cruising the net, entertaining the option of house-boating in the coming weeks.  Then, my phone rang.  My interest in house-boating has simply never been the same.  And, of course, I can’t blame my sweater, sweats, and houseboating on what had happened that day… But, if you know, I am annoyingly superstitious… And, these things stick with me, they do.  Maybe it sounds stupid, but I really hope you just don’t get it. I wouldn’t wish this upon my worst enemy.  I remember my Uncle Jeff was the one that called me, and told me I needed to go home ASAP. Didn’t give two fucks what I was in the midst of.  That’s when I knew something was wrong.  My uncle and I have a typical boys relationship.  We chat every now and then, and when we are able to meet with each other, we do and it’s great. Thus, when he called me telling me to get home ASAP, I knew something was fucked up. I don’t think he had ever called me before. Ever… Skip the part where I break down, and throw 9 atavans in me…I had found out my sister had committed suicide.  You want too talk about a shitty fucking day.  Fuck me. I am terrible for being that guy, that when something bad happens, I immediately resort to the prototypical “OMG WORST DAY EVER” No… And, then I instantly feel my teeth, or my body hurt and I know its Jen kicking me. Her way of telling me, like fuck kid, get over it. Don’t be that guy.  You whiny, selfish weiner… And she’s right.  I hate myself for acting like that.  That was the worst day. That was the shittiest day. I can’t fathom another day worse.  And, it’s not like a pretty white dove came and sent the message peacefully, and all was good.  No, It was my mom, who too this day, I will knock out each and every tooth you own if you argue me that you know a stronger person…. Anyway, it was my mom, she came in through the garage, walked… Hmm, I suppose it was 12 feet. I was sitting on the couch, on the right hand side, in the same slug clothing I had on previously, and I remember her, she was wearing black, she kind of just crawled… crawled into the middle of the living room, and she just fell too her hands… and I knew… something wasn’t right.  But, still had zero idea of what the fuck was going on.  I still couldn’t imagine what I was about to be told….  Your sister killed herself…. And, crash. My mom fell to the ground, my Dad (the tough fuckn’ bullrider) who knew tried to comfort me, but I just immediately lost it.  I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t take it. Couldn’t believe it. I had all these other pre existing ideas in my head of what was actually happening too our family at the time, and never once did I think it was Jen… I thought she was doing OK? but, maybe, how the hell was I too know? Did I ever care too check in?

If any parents are reading this blog… I want you too imagine this, while you think you’re the shit cause your child has the latest… Well,  You are told on a friday night, that your daughter, your fucking daughter has just committed suicide. Hey, happy friday. Guess what.  Now, you must go turn around, drive along the lovely paved highway till you get home, and you must tell your 18 year old, and 8 year old that there sister passed away.  Now? How? What? … No? Fuck off.

… Yes. I still to this day, do not know how my mom did that. I don’t know. I know this though, she is the single strongest human being I have ever met in my entire life, for being able to do so. And, she didn’t try and hide it, she didn’t try make it cute.  She told us. How the hell….  Think about this one for a second.  And, if anyone knows my mom.  If for a second you don’t think she is one of the best… Do me a favor…  Grab your two front teeth, knock them out, and go give her a hug.  No one deserves one more.  Even if this was 4 years ago.  No parent in my mind should have too worry about passing along the news of a passing child, let alone, after that have too be the one too break the news to the little brothers.

Sweet fucking crocodile rock.  I can’t imagine. I can’t.

It honest to fuck, took me 4 years to believe it. FOUR YEARS! There are times even today, and yesterday, where I still didn’t really believe it. Maybe that’s why people think I have done such a good job dealing with this, that combined with, I just do my best not too talk about it ever.  Which, I know is wrong.  But, I feel like, the rest of the world will stop and care for your tragedy for a maximum of 2 days… While, you may struggle the rest of your life, I feel like people only understand, care, and pity you for 2 days max.  Not that I want anyone too pity me. EVER. Please don’t.  But, you know what… That day, and my sister is someone and something that cross my mind daily.  Maybe one day, when we are out for a beer, or a coffee, maybe just ask, How I am…  Ya’ know,  I know, as the other fella.  That may be the most difficult question ever, how do you ask that…. But there are times, and nights, where nothing else is on my mind.. I’d be enthralled to give you an answer… I know it happened 4 years ago for you, and everyone else.  But, for me and my family… It’s every day.

….. It’s hard.   Anyway, I said I was going to skip the details because I didn’t want too exhaust too many atavans, but I managed to write, and get through those few lines without taking any! Can you believe that.  It may have took me almost over an hour to write that… But, I did it…. Right, and that’s a step in the right direction.

For a lot of my life, particularly since Jen passed away suddenly.  I have denied almost…. Well, everything basically, and thought I have tried my best to come too terms with what had happened, obviously I couldn’t, and I don’t think I ever will.  And, I tried my best too get myself back on track, and though, I think I certainly leveled that challenge out, depends how you do define back on track…. But, do I go a week without falling back in my own depression, do I go a week without thinking about my sister, do I go a week without any anxiety.  You bet your sweet pineapple; No. I do not. That said,  Nor do I think I am at rock bottom anymore,  I was, and I am fortunate enough to be alive today.  But, though, I believe I may have my depression under control, its still something that I suffer from.  And, though, I may have handled the death of my sister all on my own, without any professional help, with the exception of two complete wieners, I think I have done OK, just OK.  But, there are days, like today, where OK just isn’t good enough.  I still have nighs where I will lay in bed for 45 minutes and I will just talk out loud.  I am talking too my sister, and I believe that she listens to every word, but the rest of the world must think I am fucking nuts.  Seriously. I would!

I have gone to 2 therapists in my life since Jen passed away.  But, too understand what that means, you must understand me. I am, or I try too be a very independent, proud individual, I don’t like too get help. I am a guy. And, I remember going to see a psychiatrist, I don’t think it was long after Jen passed.  But, he was a nice fellow… but, I either just wasn’t ready, or just wasn’t drinking his Kool-Aid, but it was the last time I ever went to a “big dog” and it left a completely sour taste in mouth for the entire experience.  I saw a therapist a few years later at my university, and that was equally as worse, if not more. Actually, it was painful.  It’s was a struggle, it really was. And, you know what, I understand both sides… But, they want me too book an appointmen, say, Thursday at 1:15pm! OK perfect! Can’t wait! Oh gee, me neither! Woo hoo! So, Thursday comes along. Enter the small, dark, plain, gloomy room of Ms. Therapy.

BE READY TO REVEAL ALL OF YOUR PROBLEMS AT THE BLINK OF AN EYE SIR!! YOUR APPOINTMENT HAS BEEN BOOKED!!!

“So Blair, what brings you here”

“My mom”

“Oh, really, what do you mean by that?”

“Meh, Nothin”

“Did you mom suggest for you too come and see me, am I the therapist you’ve seen?”

“Kind of, not really, and No”

“Well, what else can you tell me, Blair?”

…. Silence, maximum efforts too collect my breathing….

“My sister”

“Oh! Your sister!” (As if she was expecting the typical my mom won’t pay for my textbooks this semester – story) Tell me about your sister”

… And well, you can imagine how the remaining 7 minutes of this meeting went.  It didn’t last long, my answers remained a word or 3 in length. I just didn’t want too be there.  I didn’t understand why I should tell this lady anything? After all, did she even understand? Or, did she just read a damn fucking textbook and learn what too say?  Because, that’s what pisses me off.  There is a huge difference between truly “getting it” and just “knowing what too say”

Again, I either, just wasn’t ready, or wasn’t drinking her bullshit (denial)

And, since I have talked too no one, except for Microsoft Word, as I continue to write in my blog and spill the juicy details, and that has made me feel significantly better, although unlikely it’s long-term.  It hasn’t quite replaced the complete feeling of nothingness.  But, you know what… There are times, where… I don’t mind that numb feeling that I live with, and I live with it by the day.  Sometimes I wonder, is it better too feel numb, or too feel nothing at all. Or, what the fuck is the difference.

It’s been a tough stretch since we spoke last, but, I do miss you so much Jen, I think about you every day, and there are days where I truly believe that if I just squeeze a little harder, just a tiny bit, maybe you will come back, even if just for a brief chat, I feel like you will be there.  And, you know what… Maybe you are there, I just can’t see you. But, I want too. I want to see that smile.  I want to talk to you, and I want too hear your voice.  I want too remember your voice, Jen.  Please. Come back.

In the meantime, I’ll talk, I’ll talk for both you & I, and I will count the days till I see you again, someday.

God Damnit, I love you & I miss you. So much, it hurts.

– Kid Brother –