Ohana

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Hi All,

Long time no talk… A few entries ago, I posted a short story my younger brother wrote, it was amazing.  Had lots of feedback from readers how incredible it was, and amazing a 16 year old rat wrote that, lot’s of people couldn’t wait for the next thing from Brody.  Well, I’ve been begging him ever since as he get’s my website hits up.  He claims he is working on another piece with words, but he threw a curveball at me again and sent me these pictures that he drew, and painted.  Have a look (see below).  Remarkable again.  Had no idea the kid was an artist with words, and images.  Very talented.

This blog has provided me many things in my life, it’s provided me solace, happiness and a sense of worth, and some feeling.  But, almost as importantly, it has brought me a stronger relationship with my brother, and taught me of a deeper connection.  We, of course, as brother’s will always have a tight bond, and when you start to count some of the stuff we’ve had to overcome together as brothers, and as a family, that bond is always strengthened, and will always be there.  We’re both wired very similar, and we wage our own personal wars in similar fashions, though likely unhealthy, we often think we can do it ourselves, and we’ll be fine.  Sometimes we are too reluctant to seek help, sometimes dangerously too reluctant.

It’s funny, I remember as kids, though there is a ten year difference between B & I.  I always wondered what is was we’d have in common when he grew up, and what would keep us close like most other brothers you see.  I always thought; hockey, of course.  It’s what I love, and it’s what we did growing up at home.  Mini hockey all the time in the basement, street hockey, I even helped coached one of Brodys novice teams when I was in Gr. 12.  It seemed like the natural course for us.  Connect through sports.

But, now, almost ten years later… at the surface, you wouldn’t think we have much in common, or to connect over other than being brothers.  There’s a wide age gap, Brody is far more masculine than I; he loves outdoors, and hunting.  I don’t know that I’ve ever shot a gun in my life that didn’t fire out Styrofoam darts, and I think my stomach would hurl if I even killed a squirrel.

On the flip-side, I am a hockey, and baseball freak. He’ll sit down and watch the occasional game while we visit, but I know it’s not his preferred activity.  I think for years, I always thought, well what the hell.. this kid brother and I, we got nothing in common.  I loved that he was into different things, I thought it was cool, and it opened me up to things other than a puck, and seamed ball.

But through this blog, I have learned that there is actually so much more that we connect on than a hunting rifle, or a Synergy Si Core.

For better or for worse, our depression.  We’ve both been there, and fought, had days where there seemed like no tomorrow possible.  We’ve both exhausted ourselves fighting ourselves.  We’ve both somehow lived to see another day, to smile another day, and to laugh.  Certainly, if I had a choice… neither him or I would have to live with this illness, and happiness would just come easy for us.  But, that just isn’t the “Courchene” way to do things.  However, it’s has in a unique way I think brought Brody and I much closer together.

Though it’s tough to have your deepest connection with your brother built around your mental illness, it’s brought out so many other things we’ve learned about one another, and been able to share; Art.  Music, words, and now drawings.  As much of a music nerd as I am, Brody is far more knowledgeable about it, plays an instrument, something I always regret not doing, and I am so happy he has chosen to do so.

We share the same passion for music, and what it means to us.  It’s not just a string of words matched to a guitar, it’s not just the bass pounding, or some song about going fishing in your big truck. It’s something far more thorough.

We’ve passed books along to each other of Kurt Cobain, and we have some similar art hung up in our homes/rooms.  Then, you throw the middle brother into it; Kyle and it’s the same thing.  We all have a little Kurt Cobain imagery somewhere in our home spaces.  I think of course… we all love Nirvana, who doesn’t? But, for us it’s more than that…  I remember talking to my therapist about this years ago, that I was freaking myself out with my fascination for Kurt Cobain.  I read tonnes of books about him, had pictures, read online for hours, and went to Seattle basically for a Kurt Cobain tour.  Hung around in Viretta Park for a bit, went to the EMP Museum and took 3,000 pictures.  Amanda had to literally drag me out of the Nirvana exhibit.  When discussing this with my therapist, she said it’s likely Kurt Cobain means more to me than just music,  I am further entwined because it connects me to my sister, because she was a huge Nirvana fan, and that it’s something Jen & I always shared, and can still share.  This made total sense to me, and I think it’s the same thing for Brody, and maybe for Kyle too.  I remember my Dad talking to me about Brody being overly fascinated with KC for awhile too and it freaked him out as well, and I explained to my dad just this, and I think it made sense to him as well.  It’s more than just Nirvana, It’s more than just Kurt Cobain and where he’s from and how he grew up… but, it’s our sister too, and somehow in this weird way that I can’t expect anyone else to understand… but it brings all together.

Beyond the passion we share for music, is writing.  I remember about two years ago, my mom texting me this hilarious story of something Brody said or wrote, something about a house cleaner, I think it was.  I wish I still had this little story she told me, but it was incredibly funny, and clever.  I remember thinking at the time… Man, I hope that kid starts writing.  He’ll be incredible.  Then fast forward to just a few months ago, mom text me “You have to read this story Brody wrote, I emailed it” …  You’ve all read this by now, I am sure, and had that same reaction as me.  Wow.

So while, I spent the first ten years of my younger brother’s life wondering what the hell am I gonna share with this kid, and then forcing hockey down his throat, and longing for us to connect over some stupid sport that I question if I even love anymore… It was all right there in front of me, every day.

We don’t have the relationship most brothers have. It’s hard to say we grew up together, I moved away when Brody was eight years old.  I’ve been home for a summer since, and some weekends.  So things, naturally become a little bit different in our relationship with one another.  Though, we only live four hours away from one another..  we still only manage to see each other a handful of times a year, this is sad when I actually think about it, and write it out, but it’s the truth.  I’d love to spend more time with him, but the same could be said my Kyle, and really, all of my family.  I really would.  But again… just that crazed “Courchene” way.  Together though, Brody and I have been through more shit together than one can imagine is fair for anyone’s lifetime, let alone a pair of brothers 27 & 16.  But, somehow it’s all helped form this unique relationship we have, that I truly believe is as strong as any despite the distance in age, and despite the distances we live.

Though it’s tragedy and darkness.  It’s kept the four of us together. Through the places we’ve come from.  Through where we are today, and how we got there.  Through the music we listen to, and share to connect and feel closer to those we’ve lost.  The war we face every day with ourselves.  Through the words, and images we compose just to try and heal ourselves.

It may be pretty, and it certainly isn’t glorious, or ideal… but it’s brought us here, in a unique, weird, “Courchene” way… it’s kept us all forever entwined.

 

Ohana means family.  Family means nobody gets left behind, or forgotten. 

Ohana.


Take a look at these drawings and paintings Brody put together.

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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.

Lifetraps – Unrelenting Standards & Failure – Mind Your Mind

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I have really enjoyed writing for Mind Your Mind in the few short weeks I have.  Each week they’ll send out an array of engaging topics, and I go from there.

Last week, I chose to write about the unrelenting standards, and failure lifetraps!  Take a read here, and check some of the other pieces on Mind Your Mind!  It’s a great program, and great site!

 

http://mindyourmind.ca/expression/blog/lifetraps-unrelenting-standards-failure

 

 

Remember When We Were Young…

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It’s been awhile.  A long while, but a good one.  I can’t recall last time I wrote here.  But, whenever it was last, things have gotten a lot better for me.  In the summer, I began going weekly to a therapist to just talk, this has never worked for me in the past trying this experience, but for whatever reason, this time it’s been great.  It’s been more than just me talking and the stranger across the room writing down notes about how nuts I am according to the books they’ve studied in school.  She listens.  Doesn’t judge.  Isn’t arrogant like the rest of them.  And, we work on things, we do different activities to help with what is dehabilitating to me, and it’s working.  I think that in addition to some other contributing things,  my life seem’s to be getting back on track.  My last session with my doctor, she asked me since you’ve been coming here in the summer, if there was one word you could use to describe your life now, that you would have never said then… What would it be.  It didn’t take me long to come up with the answer.  Easier.  Everything just seems easier, even when things are bad, dealing is just easier.  Easy & Yellow.  I don’t know yellow.  Just a color that comes to mind, things are brighter.  In the past… When I would think about my life, the only colors I’d ever see were dark grey, black and navy.  Now, Its vibrant colors.    And, to further prove that things have been getting better…  It’s now May 4th, and I have just now been hit by the fact that it’s May 4th.

For anyone who has followed this blog, or knows me well enough… Spring is the most difficult time of the year.  I am very short tempered, very standoff-ish, alone, very, very, very sad, disorientated sometimes and likely extremely difficult to deal with.  Usually these things will come and go for me from April till May 7th, and even a few days after.  May 7th.  The day my sister took her life, and my life, all of our lives forever changed.

This year has been different, I sauntered through April without any problems.  I knew this week was coming, but it didn’t take me long to shake it off, and look at it as a day we celebrate Jen’s life, and our memories together. It even sometimes brought a smile to my face.  There were times I almost felt guilty that I wasn’t being crushed by the approaching day.  Had I gotten over it? Had I moved on?  I hope not… What does this mean?  Often times, it was confusing… but, it wasn’t hurting, So I kept on.  …Till this weekend, I started thinking about it more, and more. What am I going to do? Go home? Spend time with family? friends? Or, stay in Calgary, spend it with Amanda? Friends? What the hell do I do…. Or, do I just begin to treat it like any other day. Wake up. Go to work. Come home. Eat. Watch Playoffs. Go to Hockey. Come Home. Go to Bed & Repeat.  Because, at some point in my life.  I will need to treat May 7th like just another day, because unfortunately, though I feel like it should, and I feel like it sometimes does.  The world does not stop on May 7th, for me or my family. It continues going. People go to work. Business is done as it is any other day.  Maybe I should just join back in, and not make a big deal out of Wednesday.  Maybe then I will get through the day, I’ll be busy, and I’ll forget.  I’ve began thinking about so many different scenarios, and possibilities about Wednesday. I’ve beyond worked myself up about it, once again… Though at least, on the bright side I suppose it’s only five days in advance I’ve done this, instead of 6-8 weeks like the previous years.  Well, as you can imagine… I came to no conclusion. I’d think long and hard about what to do, and then I’d begin to get standoff-ish, cold, irritated and difficult to be around so I’d try and shake myself.  And, again I was able to snap myself out of it and get back to reality.  Wondering if it was really going to be this easy this year.  I really hadn’t lost it, or completely fallen apart yet.  Was I going to survive this time? Or, am I getting blindsided somewhere soon.

Then today…I don’t know why today.  I woke up, I felt good, I even had a great sleep, and slept in. I was even going to leave to leave the house and go get groceries, which, was a feat considering the last week or so, only time I leave the house is for work, or hockey.  Anyway.  The morning continued on as any other…  I had brunch, sat down watched some VICE, talked to mom and then a buddy about planning a little boys weekend this summer in Sylvan Lake…   Ironically, the exact same thing I was doing the afternoon I found out Jen had passed away, with the same person.  Though, at the time I, of course thought nothing of it. I was excited. Great Sunday ahead. Finished off my episode of VICE, set the PVR for the Hawks/Minny game and set out to Save on Foods! What a day.

For whatever reason.. As I parked, and was leaving my truck, I thought hey, let’s take my iPod and headphones while I cruise the aisles.  Great idea.  I actually enjoy the monthly trip to the grocery store, I am a fantastic grocery shopper. I buy all the fantastic shit Amanda won’t buy.  The kebobs, the shrimp, the lobster tails, the salmon, the beef jerky, the cool labelled  BBQ sauce, funky pizzas… Cool stuff.  So, early on I was having a blast… Take out my earphones to grab a couple spolumbos and kebobs from the deli fella… And, boom.  Now I know exactly why I brought my headphones in.  One of my worst fears was on the speaker. There are a few songs I absolutely can not and will not listen to unless on my own terms.  I will do anything I can to remove myself from wherever these selects beats are going.  Wild Horses. Adia. Angel & the one playing…  I Hope You Can Dance – LeeAnn Womack.   Ah, fuck. First though that came to mind…  Why in the hell would they play this song at a grocery store… I would bet my life, there is not a single person who enjoys listening to that song, or is happy listening to that song. No. It’s fucking devastating.  Thank God, I had my headphones. I threw them back on, grabbed my kebobs and got the hell out of there as if the deli man was the one trying to break me with that song.  No way.  You won’t do this deli man! And, I literally sprinted away from the deli counter and down a different aisle.  Fortunately no one was really around to see this.  So I parked the cart.  Took a few deep breaths, turned up my music and tried to carry on.  I could feel my stomach start to twist, my throat swell up, and my hands start to tremble. I stopped again and had a little chat with myself…

“No… You’re fine kid. Not here.  You can’t here! We only have 3 things on this grocery list, and have only gone down 1 aisle, and you’ve ran down one so we’ll need to cruise again to grab bacon bits… Settle down… Deep breaths… 1….2…..3…. We’re alright. We’ve made it this far. Don’t break.  1….2….3….  Ok, I’m good”  I think.  Pfew.

I took out my phone to make it look like I was waiting on someone, or looking for something so I was less of a spectacle for those passing by.  And, All I got out of looking at my phone.  May 4th.  3 more days. Fuck.  My hands started to tremble a lit more.  My stomach knotted a little tighter.  Breathing was a little more difficult.  I was losing it.  I could feel myself starting to tip over the edge. It had hit me.  It’s 3 days away.  Thoughts of Jen started racing through my head.  Memories of her, and then What was Jen feeling like May 4th, 2008.   Was she grocery shopping?  Was life normal?  What was she doing?  How was she feeling? Were there any signs of what was coming? Did she know what was coming? Can I go back and stop this? Can I stop her? No. It’s too late. I am 6 years too late.  Why did this happen. Why is THIS happening. Why am I here. In the middle of Save on Fucking Foods and I am losing it.  I am losing it. Yep. We’re losing it.  I’m  a mess.  What the hell do I do now.  Do I leave? Do I quit? No. We have no groceries, and I’ll have to just come back anyways.  Soldier on Kid. Come on.   So I tried.  Each aisle was harder than the last.  I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t read what the hell was on the list and then remember what it was by the time I stopped looking at it. I even caught myself going down the same aisles multiple times.  Just circling them.  Taking laps aimlessly.  A complete zombie with a grocery cart.  I looked down and avoided eye contact with anyone.  I thought maybe they’ll see my weakness, see that I am losing it right now, laugh at me, think I am a nut.  It was humiliating.   I couldn’t believe this was happening.  Here. Right now.  Really? I just needed to get home.  I did the best I could getting all I needed, and getting the hell out of there.  Usually, I’ll peruse slowly all the aisles and like I said, grab the coolest things.  Not today.  Just get me out there.  Going through the cashier, my hands continued to tremble, my lip quivering, I felt cold, weak, shaky, I was quiet, impatient and avoidant.  I was falling apart at the seams.  The poor cashier.  She was doing a great job, but had I not felt so weak and powerless, I would have just scanned the damn things myself, ripped them out of her hands threw it all in my cart, yelled thank you and darted out of the store as fast I could.  But, I felt far too weak.  So I stood there. Staring into lost space.  Three times she had to ask me Save on Foods points, or gift card?  What? Huh? Me? Oh… Points please.  I could tell the family behind me was getting frustrated with me.  Or, maybe they were just creeped out that when I was staring into space they were in line of my dead gaze.  Finally, I was on my way out.  I was trying my best to run to my truck but I could hardly get myself to move.  My legs felt horribly weak.  I honestly thought I was going to fall over.  I had to lean on my cart as I pushed it to my truck.  And, of course.  I parked at the very back of the parking lot.  Remember… An hour ago, I was feeling great! …  I unloaded everything into truck as fast I could.  I raced to the cart stable, and threw my cart back.  Good Riddance to you, I’m safe! .. Get into my truck, annnnndddd….Nope.  All throughout the last hour I thought I was really falling apart.  The second my head hit the back of my seat.  I had fallen apart.  That was it.  I lost it.  Uncontrollably.  As bad as I can remember.  I didn’t even notice if there were people beside me.  I thought the world had stopped, and it was just me.  It had to have been just me.  Everything kind of went blank, and dark.  Few moments later… Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a family parked two spots down from me, who probably saw this entire debacle of mine.  And thought, what the hell… why are they parked there!  I began to get frustrated, why are you judging me you don’t know what’s going on, Human!   Then I thought same with that family at the till that was clearly getting frustrated with my dead gaze, and my inability to pay attention.  You don’t know what’s going on.  Why are you even here! Isn’t the world stopping.  Leave me alone, judging humans!

On a separate note, I often wish that you could just stick a sign on your back with small details of your story so others could understand why you are maybe struggling, or a little off today.  I think this would be great only if people couldn’t speak, were unable to judge, and WE ALL had these signs.   On normal days, I find the same thing with myself.  I get frustrated with people, all the time…. but, I often forget to think, maybe there is a reason there are out in space today.  Everyone has their problems, and their own story.  It may not be very different than mine.  I don’t know.  That’s why we should all have these signs! …Had I been another person in the grocery store today and came upon myself the way I was… I would have ran my cart head on into myself.  Wake the fuck up, or go home.  If you can’t handle reality today.  Don’t be in it. But, today I was really that person.  I needed the sign.  Don’t kick me. Please.  I am already down.

I could not get home fast enough.  Thankfully I only live a short way away from the grocery store, because surely I was not in any condition to be driving at the moment.  I was driving just as I were walking, and cruising the grocery store.  Just lost.  Empty. Blank.  I can remember driving out of the parking lot, but I don’t remember the rest of the drive.  Even thinking back now and it was only a couple hours ago. I remember leaving the Save on Foods parking lot… I remember parking my truck at home.  The in-between.  No idea.  Poof.  I had landed at home.

Never ever have I been so relieved to get home, have a drink of water and just breathe.  I felt like I had just gone through a marathon.  Maybe I had…  A mental one albeit.


Now that i’ve somewhat pieced together all that had fallen apart awhile ago, I still continue to be held together by a thread, and I imagine I will for the next week.  Standoff-ish.  Avoidant. Cold. Irratible. Impatient. Empty. Blank. Zombie.   It’s the most difficult week of the year for me, and for my entire family, for obvious reasons.  I really thought this year was going to be different, and it was going to be easier.  but, I suppose it’s not going to be.  I am more confident in my ability to get through the days alive, I wasn’t so much in past years.  I know I will get through this year.  But, beginning this morning, apparently… this is and will be the longest week, these will be the longest, hardest and darkest days.  Even as I sit here and write this on a Sunday afternoon… My hands are shaky, My attentiveness is limited, My body feels weak, I feel sick, my stomach feels knotted, and empty.  I feel like something has been lost, like something is missing. Something is missing.


We lost Jen on May 7th, 2008.  That’s a long time ago.  But, for me it seems like it was only last week.  It seems like only this winter I had visited them in Victoria we hung out, walking along the pier in Sidney, arguing about Hockey Vs. Basketball, playing playmobil, trading CDs.  Talking about our lives when we grew up, and what they would be like.  Never did we say they would be like this.  Never did we say that I’d be sitting here one sunday afternoon writing, and weeping about the very moment we are sharing.  I never ever thought about that.  Never.  She talked about having a family, and what she was going to name her kids, and I thought they were the worst names ever.  I talked about hockey.  Everything about it.  We talked about going to Hornby Island.  When we played playmobil when we were young, we had a huge island piece that we often pretended was Hornby Island.  We talked about all kinds of things.  Hell, we even fought, and we argued about all kinds of things too.  But, we never stayed mad at each other for so long.  I looked up to her like I’ve never looked up to anyone in my life.  She was my hero.  I wanted to be just like her.  I didn’t know at the time she was fighting her own monsters the way she was.  But, looking back now, I applaud her for the strength she had going on, and she did a darn good job of soldiering on.  She did such an amazing job of never letting the way she felt inside, effect the way she treated others.  At least around me, and my brother.  I never knew she was that hurt. I was young, and naive but I always thought she was happy, she had fun, she was popular, had lots of friends.  I can remember her having parties in Victoria, and I so badly wanted to be apart of them. I so badly wanted to be friends with her friends.  Looking back now… I was that really annoying little brother that wouldn’t go away, and wouldn’t leave his big sister alone.  But, she was always so patient, kind, and nurturing.  She’d introduce me to her friends, all these girlfriends of hers that I fell in love with instantly.  I can remember everything.  I can remember thinking I can’t wait to be Jen’s age and have friends like her, and have fun like she has.  I just didn’t know she was hurting so bad inside.  I wish I had, maybe I could have helped. Maybe I could have done something.  Maybe I did help. I don’t know. But, maybe there was more I could do so that we could still share those same memories, and instead of me writing about them, telling them to all the strangers on the internet who will read this… I could call her, hey! remember that time Jen… Haha, yea. I’m sorry I was such a turd.

But… Now we are where we are, and these are only just memories, memories that I have, and the only ones that I have.  We can’t create anymore.  There are only these.  That’s the hardest part sometimes.  These images in my mind, are all that I have left.  I wish I could just hear her voice. I forget what she sounded like.  I forget her laugh.  Sometimes I have dreams with her in them, and I can remember.  Dreams where she is happy. She is laughing, smiling, and at peace.  I think this is her telling me she is okay now, she isn’t fighting anymore, and that we’re ok to let go and be happy ourselves.  We have too.


If you were lucky enough to know my sister, this week is likely equally shitty for you too… and, I know I say this every year, and it’s easy to say this and a lot harder to do… But, try and let go of the sadness this week.  Think about her.  Talk to her.  But do so with a smile,  and a laugh. Not a bunch of tears.  Grab yourself a Stella, or a case of them.  For each one you have… Tell a story you remember about Jen, or something about her you remember.   Even if you are by yourself, or with a group of friends, even a group of friends who didn’t know Jen.  Tell them a story about her.  Hell, even send me a story about her, or a memory you have.

Send me an email b.lystang@hotmail.com, or text me  any memories you have of her.  403 808 3321.

It will help me get through the week.  And, it will be something we can all keep and put together for Abbey.

Even if you didn’t know Jen, wherever you are, whatever you do on Wednesday.  Have a drink, and please, toast to my sister.   Thank you.

 


 

 

I miss you so much Jen.  I love you.

 

 

I never understood our weather, or how together life & death must dance.

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It’s been way too long since I wrote last.  Almost 2 months? And through, what is the most challenging time of my life.  The always-dreadful spring.  I did a good job of keeping really busy, and getting myself through it.  Through the anniversary of Jen’s passing.  Through my birthday a few long days later.  And, the days, weeks that followed.

I guess if I haven’t had much to say in my blog the last couple of months, can only mean that things have been good?  Typically I only end up writing when I am feeling… hmm, ho-hum, or feeling like I need let a few things walk from the jar of feelings and emotions that I thrive on hiding.

I’d really like to start writing more, way more.  It’s a lot better for me than playing in the Skully Ferda League online with the fellas.  Haha. I keep telling myself that I’d like to write something every day, even if just a small piece, or a few creative sentences.  I just feel so much better when I am writing.  It’s like working out.  When I do it, I feel terrific after. Always. But, getting me to do it is a whole different story!  … Same thing.  But, if you want to challenge me at NHL 13. Name the place. time. teams. I’m there.

… I could probably use my free time a little better.

It’s almost the end of June? Wow.  I think that’s when I started this blog, was towards end of June, beginning of July of last year.  Or, maybe end of July beginning of August.  Either way, we are nearing a full year of this blog.  It’s been great for me.  Seriously.  The support I have received from my writings have been overwhelming, and absolutely tremendous.  My favorite part of writing, aside from the self therapy it provides, is the next day seeing people that have checked out my posts from all over the place, and the comments that you have all left with me.  I can assure you, I have them all saved, and/or have them all as a screenshot in my iPhotos, and I go back to them when I need motivation, or a pick me up.  Thanks. Maybe it’s only a few sentences, but it means so much.  You have no idea.  I read the comments, and see the views and I spend the entire day giddying like a 5 year old who just scored his first goal. Typically I’m not one to sport a smile, But to have those days where you just can’t stop smiling, and your face in turn eventually becomes sore… Those are the days after I write in this blog, and read all of the support.  Makes me want to do this forever.

Much of this blog, if not all has been related to myself, my ongoing battle with depression, and remembering the life of my sister.  It’s all tough to write, and thus the very-very periodic updates, and I imagine it’s tough to read too.  I never re-read my posts. I go through them once after writing them initially before I post just to clear up some grammatical errors.  But… It’s pretty useless.   Usually I am so emotionally high or low after writing them, that I can hardly focus anyways.  And, secondly… I ain’t to sure of my grammar being worth a shit; so it dont matter anyway.  (… Breathe Mom, I did that on purpose).   But, nonetheless.  I have never re-read any of my posts outside of the initial editing read 5 minutes prior to posting. So, I am very glad you read! 🙂 … One day, I think I will read them.  I think what I would like to do, is clean up each entry grammatically, print them all and put them together in the form of a book.  For myself, for my family, and hell, whoever else!

I think that will be my self-reward for doing this blog for a full year, and pulling myself from my own little hell.  I’m excited to do that, actually.  Maybe I’ll start this week.

One day I’ll read them all.  For now, I am scared to relive what I have already lived & wrote. I think that’s why I don’t go back.  We’ll find out.

NOW HIRING: Someone to fix the grammar in 23(ish) lengthy blog posts!

Maybe in the future too, I will begin writing about other things.  There are so many things I’d like to write about, good things, positive things.  Well, in comparison I guess.  Things that my readers can read without bawling their eyes out… Which, I hope isn’t the sake for everyone.  Really. I hope I have shared a few laughs with you throughout the last little while.

But, there are so many more things I’d like to write about. Again, if you know my weak grammatical abilities, you know that I also am extremely & at times painfully opinionated and am getting more and more strong headed.  Haven’t decided if this is good or not. But, I am pretty sure it will limit many new potential friendships, and relationships.  Which is fine.  I am quite content with those I have. But, I’d love to start writing about other things…

  1. There is hockey, minor hockey, and the massive changes coming there.
  2. There are starbucks baristas.
  3. There is kids. There is parents. There is bubble-wrap.
  4. Boy, is there bubble-wrap.

But, this is all for another day.  Another day soon.

Thank you again so much for all of your support, and reading.

Thank you to those who have messaged me, called me, text me and or kicked me in the ass asking for when the next entry is coming.

Thank you to those who have subscribed and or followed goneawayboys!

Thank you to those who have shared, retweeted goneawayboys!

And, thank you to those who have in any way contacted me about my blog and passed along messages whether it’s to me directly, or through mutual friends.

Some of the nicest things I have ever read are from people I have never met.

Most of all, thank you to everyone who has ever been apart of this, even in the smallest of ways…

You have helped put me back on my two feet.  

Blair

#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 –

I’ll Have a Caramel Machiatto – A Personal Compromise

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Going to try something a little different tonight.  Usually when I write, There is something really pushes me to sit down and put something together, usually, I know its going to be one of those creative-therapeutic word-nights by the afternoon, and I generally put something together later in the evening.  Meanwhile, amidst this process, I light some candles, and turn on whatever Matt Good CD is of choice for the night, and I sit there, sometimes I pop a light beer, and I see what I can come up with.  There really is no science too it; if you’re wondering.  However, tonight, there was really nothing poking me to get up and write something, and I decided to put in something different than a MG CD.  My mom was kind enough to give me my sister’s CD book, which is one of my greatest treasures.  I know its something that meant a lot to her. Music has always been a really big thing with our family, especially the 3 of us.  But, I thought, hell, lets just grab a random blank CD out of here and listen to one of her burnt CDs.  It was really cool when I put it in, and the first song played.  Not really expecting much, it really just resonated with me. I could feel Jen; this was her music, a CD that SHE put together… It was almost like it was her on the burnt CD.  It was… one of those weird, yet good moments that I have with her.  There are times where I just know she is with me.  Whether, I am in trouble somewhere, or can’t figure something out, and all of the sudden, things just click… And, it’s so weird, but you just know.  You can feel it.

A few times in the past, In just going through my day, I will hear someone say something nearby, and I swear its her voice.  There are times where it’s actually quite eerie. These things, I never ever forget… It’s probably happened 4 or 5 times in the 4 years where I know I have heard her voice, and I remember every single time like it was yesterday, cause I know it was her just saying, What’s up kid.

When these eerie moments happen, like when I put on this burnt CD… It’s weird; It’s a bittersweet thing.  Its immediately devastating… but, then I always find my mind and my body just kind of stop, and I soak it in…  and it leaves you with on those can’t-stop-grins.  Though, these oddities are rare, I do certainly relish every one of them.  Same thing when I dream about her… I don’t often, but I can remember every single dream. Every one.  And, in every one of them, I can see Jen. Perfectly. She looks the same as I remember – beautiful. And, she is always smiling – always. I know this is her telling me she’s okay now. She’s good. And we don’t have to be sad anymore.  Though, we try. It’s hard. And I think that this is why she doesn’t do this to me often, cause she knows how difficult it is sometimes.

But, every night I do dream about her.  I have the best day. I wake up with the biggest smile, cause I know that in the only way possible, I just hung out with my big sister again. Which, is something I miss more than you can imagine.  Seriously.  Like I said, it’s really one of those weird things, I can’t explain it.  I am a million times happy, and sad at the same time.  There will be nights too, where I can’t sleep so I just talk to her, and ask her to come into my dreams, so I can see her again… Sometimes it happens, sometimes not.  But, I will lay there and think about her as much as I can and hope that she comes.  I miss her.  A lot.

I know that this was supposed to get easier with time, and sometimes I think that it has, but there will be nights where something reminds me of Jen, a song, a picture… whatever, and I just miss her more than I would maybe, any other night. Or sometimes, maybe even nothing ever happened but there are just  nights where you can hear her, see her, feel her…  And, you just really miss her.  Tough nights.  Sometimes when I am going through one of those evenings… I wonder, when I am 35 years old, is this still going to happen, or is it going to occur less… How does this work?

Sometimes I wish there was a real owners guide to overcoming a loss like this.  I guess there a million books, but they all the same, and I can read as many of them as I want, and while I will agree with most, or some of the excerpts… It never truly heals anything. I don’t even know if it is supposed too.  I just know, I really miss her…a lot.  And, that empty feeling in my gut that I have from missing her so much, maybe that will never go away and I will always feel that.  I don’t know.  I just hope the dreams, and the moments I can feel her, never go away, because at least now… I feel like I still have something. Sometimes.

 ———

I do wish that my writings would be more frequent, as opposed to writing once every couple of weeks.  I would like to make this a much more consistent effort.  I am finally getting back in touch with, what is probably the most effective means of therapy for myself.  I used to write a tonne when I was younger, but I kind of lost it over the years.  I don’t know, I guess it wasn’t cool to “write”… Is it now?

I just am really happy that I have gotten back in touch with writing; I think it has probably saved me many a night.  When you struggle with mental illness, you need to find a few things that you can resort too when you are having a shit day.  A day where you just feel like, you’re really just losing the fucking battle, and nothing is going right.  You have to try your best to just have what I call – defense weapons.  (I like to use fighting metaphors…Sooooooo) to get you through the days where you really, literally only want to get through the day, sometimes when you fight a mental illness, going to sleep and waking up to a new day is sometimes a victory.  It really is.  Because, there are times where it is that damn bad.  And, you can’t leave your house, that is, if you can even get out of bed.  For me, I have a couple of things that I resort too…  Obviously this blog has really become that for me, along with pretty well anything hockey.  Those are my escapes.  But, even then, sometimes your days are so shitty, that you can’t even make it to these escapes… These are the days where you just hope to hell to see another sun rise, and make it. You’ll have these days too, I do. I think once you accept that you suffer from a mental illness – that being the initial, biggest success  – but from then on in, its about limiting those days where a victory is just making it through.  Maybe you’ll never truly eliminate those days, cause who knows. Sometimes I feel like it’s an endless fight, but, when you can limit those days as much as possible… you’re hanging in there.  Trust me. And, at times… hanging in there… that’s ok.

goneawayboys has served me well in a variety of ways.   First and foremost, it has been completely therapeutic for me, and is something that truly makes me feel quite good.  Every time I click submit and I watch people view my posts, and comment, follow, like or whatever other term social media has coined as “approval”.  It is an awesome, awesome feeling. And dammit, do I thank everyone of you that do that.  You seriously have no idea how much that means too me, It gives me one of those can’t-stop-grins.

As much as I like to write this blog to hopefully help others, and I hope that I am.  It is ultimately too, like I said; get me through those days where I am losing the fucking battle.  Big time.  I think this blog has too become somewhat of a personal compromise.

Any one that is fortunate, and blessed enough to know me on a personal level 😉 knows that I am a pretty quiet fellow, I don’t say much, especially in regards to my feelings, my personal life and past.  I don’t even like the word feelings. I don’t talk about much of anything – ever. But, I think that this has ultimately led to me absolutely falling apart, or at least it was a significant contribution.  For 10 years, I have been fighting depression, and I haven’t said boo about it.  I’d take my pills that the doctor prescribed me.  And, that’s it. I’d take them, I didn’t know why I would be taking them, and I don’t even think they worked.  It was a robotic process.  Meanwhile, I would take these pills and carry on my day like nothing, like an absolute robot again. I’d never talk about anything.  Even if I was feeling completely fucked up. I wouldn’t say a word to anyone.  We weren’t supposed too, I thought.  Isn’t that the thing about mental illness? Hush Hush – pussy.  So, I never did. I continued to throw everything back into a mental clusterfuck… and deep down, I think I knew that this was a bad idea, and eventually would probably boil over and explode, and in turn something bad was likely going to happen.  I didn’t know what. But, it hadn’t happened then, so as far I was concerned… It wasn’t going too.  Or, at the least, I would cross that bridge when I arrived.  As if I was expecting that I’d have time, and I’d see a collapse coming.  Well, maybe I did see it coming… But, I know what I told myself…. I’ll be fine. Fuck off.  We’re ok.

Well, it was damn close, and I wasn’t okay. That was one of the hardest things, having to admit… I was not OK anymore. At all.

I am not sure if I should be impressed that my way of dealing with things lasted 10 years, or if I should consider myself damn lucky that I had someone kick me in the teeth and allow me to get my shit together when I hit rock bottom after 10 years, before it was too late… ultimately, allowing me to even tell you about this.  Thanks Jen. Everyone was right.  The more shit you keep in, and refuse to talk about… You’re going to fall apart.  And, I did just that.  And, no.  You’re wrong.  You don’t see it coming, and trust me… You won’t.

Although, I will admit I still am a little hesitant to openly discuss my fight with depression, for now, even though I am an advocate for speaking out about it… It’s hard. It’s not something that happens over night, but I do think I am certainly getting better at talking about it personally.  But, this blog, is a place where I can write these things down, then show everyone, and tell everyone.  Although its not the setting of a coffee-shop conversation.  To me, it’s a personal compromise and a stepping-stone to achieving my ultimate goal of being able to freely have a coffee shop conversation about my depression, and your’s too.

One day we’ll get there, and when we do… I’ll have a Caramel Macchiato.

I can’t write love songs when I’m on these things
I’m affable, responsible, but hard to be around
It’s correctible and they’re right you know
It’s as easy as it sounds
It’s all as easy as it sounds

– A Single Explosion –

Matthew Good

– Blair

This One is for Amanda Todd & The Rest of Us

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I recently came across a tweet on my timeline that led me to the story of Amanda Todd.  And, what a horrible story it was.  One that completely frustrated me, and, more than anything left me astounded and disappointed in all of us.  It’s clear that we just don’t get it. We don’t.  And, I use the word “we” because, I really do believe we all have a part in this one way or another, as both victims of bullying, and being the bully.  I am sure we have been told some place or another “We’re all in this one together” Cause, we are.  If we want anything to change for the better. We need to buy in. We need to buy into “good”. Buy into being good people.  And, having read this Amanda Todd story about this high school teen who was continually harassed by her peers both verbally and physically, and pushed her to ultimately taking her own life.  I am left to believe that we haven’t bought in, and we are not prepared to go into this battle together.  At all.

High school is one of the weirdest, most difficult stage of our lives, I think.  There are so many different cliques around, the jocks, the skids, the preps, the farmers, the scensters…  I could go on and on.  Throughout high school, most peoples biggest concern is fitting in. Not there grades, not there family, not there extra-curricular activity. It’s fitting in. Being noticed by that person, that clique.  This is the problem, we are so consumed by the opinions and impressions of our peers that we end up backing ourselves into a corner, and, the result is unfortunately people like Amanda Todd.  Its high school, people are going to like you, they aren’t.  Hell, you’ll probably have a new best friend each and every grade you start and pass.  When you’re 16 and so consumed about what your classmates think of you, and fitting in.  Its impossible to find that necessary time for focusing on yourself.  You can’t see next month, you can’t see next year.  You can’t even imagine life after high school.  So how the hell do you expect to survive the damn thing! This isn’t it.

The beauty about high school, though, is its temporary.  A very small fraction of your life, hopefully only 3 years of hopefully decades more. These 3 years should not have the power shape us as individuals, they should not detain us from dreaming, and certainly should not detain us from trying to achieve our dreams.  But, since we are so young, vulnerable and naive in high school.  These 3 years does shape our lives, they do retain us from our dreams, and becoming who we want and dream to become.  And we do this to each other.  Bullying.

I don’t get it.  I never have really quite understood it. Don’t get me wrong, I will not sit here and say I have never picked on someone in my life.  Because, that would be a blatant lie. I think we could all say that we have probably been there, and I think this is a real problem, and something I am certainly not proud of.  But, I will say that it was fairly limited, and I certainly knew where the yellow light was.  Fortunately, because who knew what kind of damage I was causing. At the time, not me. And, if any of those kids are reading this, I am extremely apologetic and wish all the best.  Continuing though,  on the flip side, I have been a victim all the same, and have taken some wicked sucker punches in the gym locker room as a result, and countless other phone calls and threats at 4 am.  Unfortunately, we have all been there.

Now having gone through high school, and enjoying some of the best and worst times of my life.  I would not wish it upon my worst enemy to pull a Billy Madison and go back. Unless Veronica Vaughan joins me!  Haha. No, still no thanks.

It’s a vicious place. People are nasty. And high school is a feeding pit for these people.  But, I don’t understand why people go to these depths to bully someone, someone who is just like them.  A young, impressionable high school student. Who probably, goes home and has the same issues to deal with.  So why do we pick on these people to the point where they are in tears, and even though, we may not know, trying to commit suicide.  Instead of working together, and getting through those 3 years.  Why do we do our best to try and eliminate our peers. Bullying does absolutely no one any good.  As the person bullying, you don’t feel any better, you may feel like a big hero belittling someone in front of your friends while they laugh.  But, the second they leave, you probably feel like a zero.  And they do too.  But, this comes back to being young, and impressionable.  If our friends laugh, we will likely continue on our ways.  And shameful some people’s ways have become harassing someone into there very own grave.

These people who have picked on Amanda Todd, and people who have done this elsewhere, because I am sure Amanda isn’t the high school student to commit suicide, and she likely won’t be the last.  But, these very same people likely have as much or more problems than the rest of us, and need our help too. These people need us to stand up to them.  And, I really hope that each and everyone of them enjoy a sleepless night of sleep tonight, because, yes. I do blame you.  Fortunately, although in my mind you have committed a real crime, although no one above me legally see’s it that way.  It isn’t too late.  It’s time to grow a fucking pair of balls and be a real man, or woman.  Be a good person, turn the dial.  It’s way harder to be a good person, and a leader than it is to follow the norms of a bully, and you have all of your years ahead of you.

Please.

Be that person who stands up in the hallways, the streets, the rink, work or wherever, be that person to stand up to bullying.  It is way harder to do that then it is to “join the fun”  Because, you never know.  You could be saving someone’s lives.  Had someone in the group of classless hero’s simply said hey, look, that’s enough, or apologized to her, or even just talked to her!  Or, even a passer-by put and end to it.  Maybe Amanda Todd is gone to bed for another day of school in the AM, and I am not ear high in anger writing this blog.  Maybe.  Maybe that’s all it would take.  Now, hindsight, I bet it would have been easier for one of those kids to just put an end to it versus the guilt and shame I hope he/she feels the rest of there life.

So, long story short.  Why can’t we be good people.  Try a little harder and be that person that stops this bullshit in the hallways, the rink, wherever else.  I know that being in high school, you may suffer from a little tunnel vision, and its impossible to see 3 years out of the gate, and its difficult to imagine, and comprehend.  I Understand that, but just know that;

good people become professional athletes

good people become top of there university class

good people become CEO’s of companies

good people have families

good people are successful, and happy with there lives

Good people are role models.

These hero’s at school that harass others, those are the ones that live in mom’s basement till there… Who knows how old.  There the ones that live with more insecurities than you can count, and end up trying to live vicariously through those whom are good.  It shouldn’t ever have to be like this, cause we could use more professional athletes, CEO’s, role models than we can basement dwellers…

RIP Amanda Todd & everyone else who has lost there lives to senseless bullying.

To the bullies;  Good for you, feel good.

– Blair

The Devil in Details

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Hi Everyone!

Sorry it’s been such a long time since I last wrote in this blog.  I am going to avoid the saying “I was too busy” as that is one my biggest pet peeve’s people say is, “I’m too busy” Bullshit, If you want something enough.  You will find time to do it, and will cut the excuses.  And, the something I want out of this is of course, as mentioned, to help myself and others.  However, I did buy a new truck, and that had consumed my mind for quite a few days!  Still, nonetheless. I did fall back into a little lull, where I was just in the biggest meh sort of moods.  I remember my last entry was about momentum’s of mental illness, and I was afraid I was on the edge of falling into those lulls.  Well, I did get into a small one, and I think that had a lot to do with me putting this blog off and off.  I just kinda sat there and did nothing.  Other than buy a new unit. Haha, but really.  When you’re in these “lulls” and some are big, some are small, its tough to do anything.  You know you have these things you need to accomplish, you have your to-do lists.  But, its tough to get through those lists, cause its so easy to just lay on the couch, turn on TV, or have a nap, or play Xbox, and just say I’ll do it later.  I find when I am in my lulls, this is what I do.  Nothing off the “to-do” list gets done.  And, of course, you’re avoidant of these lulls, so the top priority on the “to-do” list should be… get the hell out of this.  But, of course, it’s so tough to see that.  Its difficult to admit this to yourself, so you continue to just lull around and go through an episode and life continues to zip right past you while you don’t seem to progress anywhere.

Then, suddenly… you wake up one day, and you feel better, or you feel something better.  Maybe something happened to help pick your head up, and its sometimes like the snap of a finger, you’ve left the lull you were in, hopeful to never go through one again.  But, struggling with depression…  Its par for the course.  You undoubtedly will.  Just try your best to minimize the opportunity to fall back into a lull, or an episode, and minimize the time you spend in that hole.  But, again, I really think the best thing to get out of these lulls, is admitting to yourself that’s where you are.. And, thats ok. Force it upon yourself to take care of things, go do something active, call someone, talk to someone, don’t continue to the things you would while in an episode. Dont put getting better off.  Whatever mechanisms of avoidance you so too choose.  Denial is not depressions friend, as much as it is an instigator, and an agitator.

Denial is something that I have lived with for so long, way too long.  And it was significantly worse after my sister passed away.  I honestly think it took 4 years before I finally started to accept that she was really gone.  I know they say it’s a typical stage of grieving.  But, for 4 years ? It can’t be.  But, almost the worst thing about denial, is that, sometimes you know your in denial, but, you accept it cause you don’t feel anything. You feel empty.  And, when you feel empty. Sometimes that’s better that feeling sad.  So, you kind of just accept that and move on.  But, it’s a trick. Its not better to feel empty at all.  It’s like taking all the feelings you think you should feel, and you cap them into a bottle.  And leave it there.  Ignore them. And I did that for about 10 years with my depression as it was, and then once I lost Jen, I threw everything and more into that bottle, and closed the lid.  I didn’t allow myself to feel anything for the longest time, and let me tell you, I could not have choosen a more terrible way to deal with things.  I think this had a lot to do with me really hitting rock bottom not long ago.  It just became way too much, and I had no more room left in my bottle, and had nowhere else to put anything.  And, I lost it.  Maybe this is what happened to Jen, I don’t know. I wish I did.  but, I know that when this happened to me, she picked me up, and kicked me in the teeth and told me to get my fucking shit together. Now. For my family, for my relationship, for my friends, and for myself and her.   I think the biggest thing she did was tell me this denial is not going to work anymore for me.  And boy, was she right.  Thus, became the creation of goneawayboys.  Somewhere to put my feelings.  Instead of in the bottle.  Out into the open they go. Where, they belong.  Where they make me feel better, and hopefully others too.  So, while I try to begin and accept my sister’s death 4 years later, and start over, grieving in the proper, more healthier, beneficial way.  I really try to watch out for that bastard that is denial.  But, every now and then, when I land into a slump, lull or episode, whatever you want too call it.  I feel that shitty little thing again.  Denial.  And, it is not only an instigator, agitator, but it is misleading and tricky too.  Like I said, you just accept it, cause in denial, you feel nothing, you feel empty.  And that is sometimes that feels better than feeling sad.  But, No. It’s not. Because, it all builds up, and builds up, and eventually.  It explodes.  And what happens then can be truly tragic and devastating.

I think this is also a factor in why people avoid talking about their depression.  Sometimes they just feel empty, and feel nothing cause they can’t admit to themselves they struggle with depression. Since society has attached such a negative connotation to the word “depression” “suicide” “bi-polar disorder“…etc.  no one wants to have it, cause they feel they are going to be judged.  So, they can’t admit it to themselves.  But, If you’re someone who struggles with the same illness I do, or something of the like.  Be honest with yourself, and let someone help you.  But, you need to help yourself understand first.  and, No. It is nothing to be ashamed of.  As I have mentioned before, It is an actually disease of the brain. It’s not something we can just “get over” or “toughen up”. It’s different.  So please, throw denial the big “eff off” and work towards getting better.

It’s damn hard, trust me. I am trying it now, and I still fall into my little lulls, and have a heck of a time getting out.. But, the best part of coming out about my depression, and my families past and tragedies, is, it allows me to feel better, it allows me to see that light everyone talks about, so I know that better is coming.  Whatever better is. Maybe its only temporary, who knows.  But, I will take temporary, over rarely.  So, I am going to work on it, and this is it, talking.  Not by taking 400 mg of wellbutrin, xanax, or zoloft or whatever other medication you’ve been told to try.  I have been struggling with depression for 10 years myself, and have been on medication for probably 7 of those years.  And, I still have depression.  Maybe I always will. Maybe it’s not something that truly ever goes away.  It’s only something you can have temporary relief from.  But, like I said. I will take temporary. But, I believe that in doing the right therapy, I will beat this.  And, its not taking the same little pill every morning after breakfast I have been taking, just because some doctor shrugged me off and wrote a prescription before he asked me hey, how do you really feel.  Nope.  Depression ? Oh, here up your wellbutrin dosage and try that young fella!  Ok. Thanks doc. You’re a real help.

Talking about it, blogging about it, making it normal conversation, getting out of denial, starting over, has been the best source of medication I have ever taken.  And, I hope you decide to join me in this remedy.  It’s difficult to get out of that denial stage, and admit to yourself that you may suffer from mental illness.  But, it’s much better when that little dosage of denial is not sitting in your pocket, feeling sad, or down is better than feeling empty.  Feeling empty is the worst thing we can do.  Denial, avoidance.  Thats the enemy.  We can’t feel that.  We need to feel.
That’s all for tonight.  I already feel much better just having wrote this entry. I am really excited for everyone to get back to reading my blog. Again, I can not stress enough how flattered I am, and honored that this has reached so many people.  It’s been amazing. I hope that everyone continues to read.  And, I will do my best to regularly write.  I am thinking about writing a tribute entry about my sister.  But, that is going to take a full day of strength, incense, and probably some atavan.  But, I think it will be good for me.  so look for that on the weekend. I will need a full day of preparation to write that.  But, I think it’s important, and everyone will get the chance to learn more about her. She was amazing, and still is as I feel her helping me through mud all the time. Today.

Also, If, I am taking awhile to put in another entry, give me a shot and tell me to get back at it. I had a couple friends kick my ass back into gear over the weekend, and get me back here.  It’s been nice.  Thanks.

Thanks again everyone.

Keep in touch. Tell someone.

-Take Care,

-Blair – goneawayboys

Hello again!

First off, I wanted to start tonight’s blog by thanking everyone again that read my last few entries, and especially the people that have reached out to me about the blog.  You’re kindness, and overpouring support is graciously appreciated.  Thank you all. I really just hope you continue to read!

It’s nice to know, that not only am I doing this blog to medicate myself,  I am reaching out to others as well.  I really hope that this blog helps you, and I really hope that it helps you in coming forward about your struggles too.  Hell, feel free to fire me a message, text or whatever other million possible ways there are to contact a person these days and we can just chat about it.

My goal, by the time I leave this world, is too see mental illness in the same conversation as any other illness.  A normal, non judged conversation.  Because, whether you agree with me or not.  It is a illness.  Its an illness in the  brain.  If you don’t agree with this, well, I am sorry, but you’re flat out wrong.  Depression is often times a result of chemical imbalances in the brain, generally monoamine levels;  Whether that’s serotonin, norepinephrine, or dopamine.  You choose. It took me 8 minutes just to spell those words.  Norepinephrine was the easiest one.  NORE-PINE-PHRINE.  nore pine phrine.  Perfect! Easssssy!

Haha. Anywho, yes. So, we have learned that there is actually a scientific explanation for depression, and without me explaining any further, just google it. Please, cause I should still be in science 7.  Now of course, there are all kinds of contributors for this imbalance in the brain.  Just like, there are all kinds of causes, or things that can give you other illnesses… Unprotected sex, smoking, drinking, drugs…etc, and genetics of course, as almost always.   So, if we can talk about the diseases and illnesses that are a result of the formers, why the hell can’t we talk about an illness that is a result of a loss loved one, a major change in lifestyle; perhaps a job, divorce, new child, PTSD from an accident, or a traumatic event.  Why the hell is this so different! I don’t get it! I truly don’t.  If someone can get back to me with a legitimate reason as to why mental illness is so much different than all the rest, other than its chemical explanations. I’d love to hear it… Then, I’d love to sucker you right where your shitty argument came from.  I am sorry, if I am being offensive, or insensitive.  I sympathize for anyone that has gone through any treatment, of any disease.  Wait, that’s another commonality.  You have pneumonia, aids, cancer…etc.  You get treatment.  Hey!  You can too with depression.  So we have described various commonalities between mental illness, and the rest, yet, we still can’t talk about it.  I am extremely sympathetic to those with other illness, I am.  My girlfriend had her own battle with leukemia, and thankfully, was the winnnnnnnner! and many members of her family have had the same struggle, so  It’s not like I am in depressions corner with its jersey on cheering for it.  No. Fuck no. But, I get frustrated because it is so hush-hush, and it just should not be.  No one is going to call you, leave flowers at your door, because you’re depressed.  It’s not going to happen.  Or at least, it hasn’t happened to me yet…….  Hold on…. Let me go check the door for some baking.

Mmmmm…. Nope.

Its really too bad, it is, because I know that if we all worked together to talk about this the way we talk about so and so when they get, whatever it is they get.  I think that we would be taking significant step towards in mental health treatment.  Part of the problem, is everyone for embarrassed to tell someone, they’re embarrassed to get help, they can’t tell their spouse, gf/bf so their relationship struggles, they can’t tell their kids, so then little Johnny wonders why daddy is in bed sleeping all day when its plus 30 and all his other friends are playing catch with their fathers in the sun.  Their embarrassed to tell their employees in fear they will lose their job, or be judged.  Their afraid to tell their best friends cause they think they wont get it, or they’ll be soft, or whatever shitty chirp you’ll get, so their friendships suffer.  I could go on and on.

And you know what.  I am sick of it.

I’ve told my girlfriend I struggle with depression.

I’ve told my family.

Pretty sure all my friends know if they didn’t already know before this blog.

I even told my co-workers I fight it everyday, including my bosses.

…Guess what.  They all get it. They’ve been fine. They’ve treated me just fine. Just as it was.

Why did it take me 23 years to get to this point. To be able to freely talk about….

It would be so much easier if we could just all understand this monster, and we could all just talk about, help each other understand it, whether we have depression or not.  Not everyone is affected by this. I have never had cancer, so I can’t understand the pain and experience that Amanda went through, nor will I ever try.  But, I do understand what “cancer” is, and I will listen, comprehend and be there for her as best I possibly can.  Likewise, I don’t expect her to completely understand what I am going through, because she maybe hasn’t experienced it. But, I certainly expect her to treat me the same as she did, regardless of how I feel.  And, I want her and everyone to just be knowledgeable about mental health, help yourself understand.

And, thats what everyone else in this world needs to do.  Because, truth be told.  We live in a real shitty world right now. We do. And, it isn’t right. There are so many people, so many resources that there is no excuse for this. There just isn’t.  The solution is simple, we need to talk, we need to be knowledgeable, we need to help each other understand.  How we do this. Its up to us.

So please. Start now. Start tonight.

If you read this, and you struggle with mental illness.  I want you to tell 1 person that you are in this war.  1 person. I don’t care who it is.  Hell, tell me even! I don’t care. Tell your sibling, parent, friend, co worker, or a complete fucking stranger. Tell someone.  and, I tell ya what.  I can almost guarantee you that they will be fine with it. There will be no jumbo shock reaction. LYKE OMG U WHAT! No. If they are grown up, civilized individual and in this society with the rest of us.  They’ll be fine.  And, let me tell you. You will feel so much better.

Since I started this blog… 3 days ago? I have had 2 good days… In a row. Thats been rare lately.  And, I’ve had no real reason to have these good days. I was up early for work, and home late. Both days. Usually good days are accompanied by friends, family or something. But, nope. Home alone, just me and work.  But, its simply because I am telling people.  200 people have read this blog.  200 people know I struggle with depression. And, thats what I want. The more, the better.

So, Please.  Lets talk.  Now.

This is how we are going to make this place better.

-Thank you all again so much for the support. It truly means the world to me!

Have a great long weekend, and I will likely chat with you again on Tuesday!

Be safe. And, remember.  Tell someone. 1 person. Please.

-Blair

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