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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I don’t know what it is lately, but the best company is myself, alone.  Which is ironic cause I know right now I am not my best self.  I don’t know what that even really looks like actually, good question… what does my best self look like.  Personally.  I don’t know. Does anyone?

It’s been awhile since I wrote in this blog… It’s been months, I don’t know why.  I want to say the reason is because I have been so much better…  I have conquered my depression, I am happy now. I am O.K.  But, in being completely honest to my self now.  That’d be horribly false.   It was a hectic month of March.  Hockey ended and I left my old job, thankfully and started a new one.  Which has been absolutely amazing.  The people at the new job have been nothing short of phenomenal; the job itself has been much the same.  So that’s been a significant change…for the better.  It’s been a big change, especially mood wise. I am happy with my new job. I am happy at work… And, while I am happier, when I am happy, that down, empty, withdrawn emotion has not really left.   As people who also suffer from depression can attest too, we can make these changes, like a new job for example and we can be happier when we are happy, but we can still be depressed, and still be down, empty, or sad.  And, I still am.  It sometimes can create a challenge, in that it’s misleading.  Sometimes, including the entire month of March, and more so beginning of this month, I’d think I am doing great… because, I am happier when I am happy, but, I am still going through these lows, and lulls but its easier to waiver them because, the highs are high.  Which, in the moment seems like all we need.

Do I think I’ve been doing better? Yes. I do.  But, am I 100% removed of my illness?  No, and I don’t know that I will ever be.  There are days where I have accepted that, and then days where I am afraid of that.  Days where I don’t think I’ll ever make it to see if I can ever rid myself of this illness.  Then some days, most days, the thought is… It’s ok.  I can manage it, I am happy right now….  Those are the thoughts when I am doing ok…. Which, is for the most part, more then I am sad, down or empty.  Which… right now, that’s how I keep score in this battle, and the winner is frequently changing.  No one can keep a damn lead.

Part of the problem I think of late has been that it’s that difficult time of the year for myself, and my family.  It’s nearing May 7th…  May 7th will be the 5-year anniversary of my sister passing away.  Every year, it seems that a few weeks leading up to this day is extremely difficult.  As my mom put it today… It’s the “pre-anniversary depression” And, that’s exactly what it is.  I’ve slowly started to notice it take over.  Daily, I think about May 7th.  I think about the May 7th five years ago, and I think about the May 7th coming up in 3 weeks.  I am afraid of it. I am nervous.  I just have no idea what to expect from myself.  Every year it’s the same thing. Am I going to be ok? Am I going to be sad? Am I going to miss it? Am I going to do things the right way? Am I?… Am I?… Am I?… I just work myself up so much for the day, overthinking and overanalyzing just about everything.  I try to just let it be another day. But, it’s not. So how can I. How can I even bother pretending, and I just hate that suggestion.  There have been years in the past where May 7th seemed like a manageable day itself, and when it’s over I’m almost relieved… but feeling slightly guilty because I thought it was maybe easier then it should have been?  Then, there have been some years where May 7th is a completely overbearing and emotionally fucking exhausting day.  What I fear the most is I don’t know which one of these two days it’s going to be.  And, I think about it. Hourly, making the lead up to May 7th… almost worse then the actual day itself.  Last year, it was manageable because I was able to avoid the build up.  One day I was Venice, then I was in Bari, then I was in Corfu, then Santorini, then Katakolon, then Kusadasi, then Zurich… Avoiding the lead up to May 7th was a breeze.  The actual day itself, I remember it still being difficult.  I was in Zurich. I was my other self.  Quiet. Empty. Withdrawn.  But nothing out of what is normal for me. I was still Ok.  I think.  It’s easy to look back and say that now.  But, I was in Europe. I was with people.  For some reason, on that day, alike the others I almost always want to be alone.  Which, in turn is likely the worst idea possible.  I feel like, because it’s such a challenging day for me, I don’t want to bring other people into my misery.  Into my world.  But, I think that’s exactly what I need is to lean on my support group of friends, and family that day… At least that’s what they tell me anyways.  But for me, I feel as though, as much as I maybe wish it to be “just another day” for me like it is for all else, it just isn’t and I shouldn’t nuance someone else to become involved.   I can remember in previous years though, it’s almost like I’ve been upset, or annoyed at people not knowing that it’s May 7th.  And, what that means for me.  I have a hard time remembering that IT IS just another day for everyone else.  Why should they act, or say something differently to me… and if they did act differently, I’d probably hate that equally as much, if not more!

It’s just like, as I’ve wrote about before… When my sister passed away and I thought the world would stop. I thought it did.  It certainly did for me…But, people still walked and got the mail, they still cut their grass and they still took their dogs for walks.  I couldn’t believe it. It didn’t seem right.  That’s almost how I feel about every May 7th now.  The world stops for me.  It’s almost as if it should stop entirely.  People will still go to work, they will still walk their dogs and get the mail and in 3 weeks that will astound me.  It’s doesn’t emotionally make sense for me!

Nonetheless, this year, right now.  I am no question deep into the “pre-anniversary depression” There is no doubt it is hitting me hard right now.  I won’t deny that.  That’s what started this entire blog, was not denying my depression… right! … And, to be honest, I have been denying it to myself the last few weeks.  But, right now… given the extenuating mental, and emotional circumstances… I’d be lying to that self to say I am at my best right now, and don’t take it personally, or to heart if I come across a tad withdrawn… It’s just that season for me. It’s a challenging time.

It’s coming on five years, and I feel like it’s just the other day Jen & I were with mom on Whyte Ave at O’Byrnes in Edmonton enjoying a Stella.  I can remember even the exact spot I had parked my car.  I can remember what everyone was wearing…

Here is a picture of us having a beer at O Byrnes.  Last beer I had with her.

Here is a picture of us having a beer at O Byrnes. Last beer I had with her.

This would be the last time I ever enjoyed a beer with my sister.  It felt like it was last weekend.

I miss her.  And days like these, and weeks coming… I think about her more then ever, and more then anything…and in part I work myself up more then is healthy.

… Bare with me

 

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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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