What Makes You Happy?

Uncategorized

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.

Your Move, Chief

Uncategorized

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then equally sized morons commenting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

It’s not a choice

&

 

It’s not your fault

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

This One is for Amanda Todd & The Rest of Us

Uncategorized

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