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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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.

God, Help us – Amanda Todd Aftermath

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It’s been a few weeks now since the Amanda Todd tragedy dawned upon us, some of you may have read my previous blog entry that I dedicated to Amanda and discussed the issue of high school, and bullying. From the article, I received tremendous support, which was great. But, on Facebook, and twitter, I have seen a lot of things that really puzzled me, and actually, were quite bothersome and disheartening for me.

As it is usually, people began playing the blame game, and as always, we, blame the victim. Did Amanda Todd think that her story would become that globally recognized? Probably not. Can you blame her for it? I don’t think so. Are there people dying in Iraq? Sure. Are there people dying in Africa from starvation? Sure. But, does that justify the actions of those that bullied Amanda Todd? Certainly not.

I applaud her for her courage, and bravery that took place in her story, the video, which, I have to be honest, I have not watched. I have read all the articles, the tweets, and the news clippings. But, I fear the video would just be far too emotionally strangling for me. So, I have left it. One day I will watch it. Take whatever you wish from that. But, moving on. I applaud her, I truly do. Its unfortunate it got to the point that her life was lost because of some senseless cowards, but, she’s made those senseless cowards accountable, at least, I hope.
Though, some of which I am sure have been laden with guilt ever since, some of which I am sure have carried on there gutless ways. And, these are the ones shrugging there shoulders at this tragedy pointing to Africa, or anywhere else they can, trying there best to justify it. It’s not justifiable. It just isn’t.

Sure, she showed herself naked online, or sent pictures, or had underage sex. Go to a high school and you will certainly find more girls that have then haven’t. Go to a university and do the same sample. Grab a random sample of 200 females from wherever, and do the same. Do you think she is the only one who has done this? Probably not. Is she going to be the last? Probably not. Does this justify her death, and make it “Meh, whatever” “she was not a contribution to society”… No. Now, this is not a shot against women, at all. It’s 2012 and the teenage psyche. Sure, she made a mistake, but that mistake does not give countless cowards permission to attack her physically, and verbally. Fuck, looking back at my high school, I can think of a handful of girls who did nothing less than what has been said Amanda Todd did. So what. Did that give the right for myself, or anyone else to attack them. By no means. Did it make them any less of a human being, no. I am friends with lots of them today, and the ones I am not friends with anymore, we have probably just lost touch more than anything else. But, I can not remember them being physically, and verbally attacked because they gave a couple different dudes a blowjob throughout high school, or sent pictures of there tits to someone, or behaved in a way that we feel gives us the right to label girls as “sluts” They are people. Teenage kids.

Anyway, before I go off the deep end there, again, I really applaud her, and am even more devastated that she is gone, but she did leave a mark on the world, and that’s maybe all she wanted, and hoped for after a bit of some peace, happiness and some solace. Sometimes, that is all anyone really wants. A little solace to go with there day. But, with Facebook, text messaging, twitter… Good luck.

I have read a few articles of ministers, and “high ranked” people, or whatever they are called, looking into the school systems to try and further prevent bullying, and even if nothing is ever done, or a plan is constructed, but never committed too, I think the fact that they are talking about it, and it has made headway, is an instant success, maybe it will change the tune of one asshole. Which, in turn, might save one life, or at the very least, prolong another. This is a positive, Thank you Amanda – It’s shitty that its taken the life of a young girl for this to happen, and for some people to maybe get there shit together… and then there are still some others…

The thing that really bothered me was the negativity, the “who-cares” “enough already”, things could be worse attitude that came along with her passing. The facebook statuses, the tweets, like I mentioned earlier, people shrugging this off for a far more massed death experience. But, I look at the results of this tragedy and the outcome that has come from the result of mass media… And, I think it’s been mostly positive, and awesome. I don’t get why people can blame Amanda for the media blowup that happened, why they continued to attack her. A) She’s dead. B) This is mainly why she is dead. Yet, Lets attack her and say big fucking deal. One girl is dead. Who Cares. Yep. One girl is dead that shouldn’t be. One daughter is lost, that should be preparing for school in the morning. The stupid fucking little memes that read BRB – Going for a bleach martini – YOLO. This isn’t funny, as much as it is proving to us what is wrong, is us, and the world. It’s sickening. Amanda Todd was someones friend, daughter, grand daughter, sister maybe. Yet, we continued to attack her verbally after she had already committed suicide, leaving no solace and peace to the family. And isn’t that all we ever want sometimes? Talk about being spineless.

I feel terrible for her family, but I insist they be proud of the strength and courage that there daughter displayed. I know a lot of people don’t quite understand suicide, and I didn’t either until… maybe even just a few months ago. But, It’s real. It’s not just a cop-out. Its far more complex than that. I look at when I lost my sister, and there was no mass media frenzy that transpired from it. I don’t even know if Twitter really existed then, and this wasn’t long ago. But, it was kind of like the entire world stopped for my family and I for awhile. Everything just froze. I remember driving to the church for her funeral vividly, and passing by some people on the streets in Saanich, BC – One of the most beautiful places I have ever been too – And I’d just lean against the window with chin in my palm, wondering how in the hell that guy is out watering his grass, or how that family is walking there dog, or how that kid is filling up his Nissan with gas. I just couldn’t understand how people were doing anything. What is wrong with these robots. It’s like I expected it to be completely empty outside, and for the world to have stopped and allowed for us to grieve. That’s what it felt like for me. I can still remember it now, and its the weirdest feeling driving down the road, and you are seriously wondering why the fuck someone is walking there dog, and you’re almost mad about them doing it, like they’re not allowed. Thats how it was. Imagine getting up in the morning, and you look out your window, and you are absolutely appalled that your neighbour is walking his dog before he heads into work for the day. This is exactly what is was like. Like, the dog shouldn’t have to piss or shit till I say he can do so. It’s not realistic, but I thought it was. In saying this, I can’t imagine having to deal with the media – social media outrage that transpired following Amanda Todds death. Its the most difficult thing in the world to lose a family member, and as difficult as it was to lose my sister, I can not imagine losing my own child. I applaud my mother on her grace, strength, and serenity that she exerts today. Though, I may never tell her, She is truly an inspiration. For me, and for everyone, I think. The fact that she is able to stand on her own two feet sometimes even still today, amazes me.

Thus, again, I can’t imagine the pain that Amanda Todds family feels, and the horrific things that continued to be displayed on the internet, from spineless cowards who may truly never understand, anything. This is when I think people truly forgot that Amanda Todd wasn’t just a high school brat who sent pictures of herself nude, she wasn’t just a girl that did things other people may “disapprove of” … That’s just it. She was a just a young girl. A daughter. Just like the rest of you who continued to pick on her, even after she died. Imagine if this was your daughter, your sister. Would the fact the she had sex with someone at 14 change the way you reacted, would you love her any less, would the world continue for you then? Would it make everything forgettable? God, No. It wouldn’t. But, because it happened to some girl we don’t know. It makes it okay to disregard her family, and continually attack her, and blame her. Blame her, the victim, as we always do, because we are senseless, spineless little cowards.

God Bless Amanda Todd, and everyone else who has been a victim.

And…God, Please help the rest of us.

– Blair