Month: April 2017
Spontaneity has never been a word that was a part of my vocabulary. While I may have heard of that word in my day to day living it was not a word that I was using. The idea of it, to just go and do something, don’t think about it, don’t plan it, just do it, made me sick to my stomach and would fill me with dread.
That was my way of living. That was life in a nutshell for me. And if you’ve ever seen a nutshell they are very tiny, you can not get much in them. So to have life in one of them did not leave room for much. Such was the life I was living. It was very routine. It was very repetitive. Such is the life of a person who was plagued with anxiety. It did not help that I am also introverted. So for me I never really had that desire to be out and mingle with my fellow peeps out there.
The idea of me going against my own core ideals was very foreign to me. Yet I knew if I was to ever make something of my life. To ever have a hope of a better life I had to take everything I had ever known, everything I ever believed was true for me, and throw it all out of the window. And create basically a brand new me. For the longest time I used to say people do not change. Not really. They could change their clothing style, and maybe their likes and dislikes could change, but they wouldn’t truly change who they are. At the end of the day they would still be the same them. Just with different clothes. That is what I believed. In some ways I still believe that to be true. Yet I have seen within my own life that it is possible to change who we think we are. And in essence change who we were. Not all of us will change and that is OK. Because those things that make up us are what make us unique and different than everyone else.
Maybe that is all superficial things that we can change and our core personalities always stay the same? I dunno. Can I go from an introvert to an extrovert? I guess that is something I will have to find out for myself.
So how do we do any of it? How do we get up and change something? How can I go from an anxious guy, not living life, to being able to go on a weekly adventure for a year? How do we get the courage to do that? We can pray for that courage and beg and plead for it, and we may receive what we ask for. But it will never be how we thought it would be. What I mean by that is, we will get opportunities to be courageous, to be brave. It is up to us to act on them. And that is what I had to do. I had to take those steps to be brave. To be courageous. To go out and have an adventure. It was the only way I would ever be able to change anything about my life. I had to take initiative. I had to take the first step.
I won’t lie, it scared the crap out of me. Even with my health doing so much better before I took that step. That was crucial for me. I had to feel better physically before I could feel better emotionally. As they were linked together for me. A lot of my anxiety stemmed from a body that reacts crazy to certain foods. Once I got a handle on that I had better control over my body and that helped me to be able to take more steps in my life. For me those steps were out on weekly adventures. Even with the better health there was still the mental aspect of it. As most anxiety is fear thoughts about the future because of something that happened in the past. So to break free from those thoughts I had to recreate new thoughts that reinforced a new reality. To do that I had to keep moving forward. Keep my life going. And keep doing new things.
Each step. Each adventure gave me more belief in myself. Belief in what I was doing. Believe that I could do this. I could go out. Was it easy? No, it was not. Is it always easy to do? No, it is not. There are sometimes when I want to just fall back into my old habits, and just say no. But I know I cannot do that. I cannot fall back into things. Or I will start to say no more and more. I have to try new things. I have to keep pushing the envelope on who I think I am and keep trying. I need to keep moving. As I encourage you all to do as well. Life and time will continue to tick by. We can either just let it go on without us. Or we can join it in its eternal dance. I don’t know about you, but after 36 years of not dancing, I want to dance until the cows come home. Well not literally, I’m not much of a dancer, but if I keep my mind open, one day I may light the floor up like John Travolta.
So can we as an individual change? Can we be something different than we were? I am starting to believe it is very plausible to change if we truly want and desire to. So can I go from introverted to a social butterfly? I don’t know. I don’t know if I purposely do it. Some would say I am shy. But I am not sure if that’s fully it. I just am not a small talker. Never really know what to talk about. It’s not that I don’t talk. Heck, I don’t shut up when I start talking. Even this post is going on so long that even I forgot what I was writing about. I think it’s about courage. And pancakes. How much better pancakes are than waffles. (Sorry waffle lovers, but pancakes rule. I will give you your due for putting ice cream and waffles together. Sadly I don’t eat gluten anymore for health reasons so I don’t get pancakes in my life these days. It’s sad. Truly is. See this is what I am talking about. Long whimsical rambling that had nothing to do with this post whatsoever. ) Yet when in public or with others I am quiet and reserved. I don’t really talk. It’s like I freeze up and don’t have anything to say. Even when people engage me I will speak short sentences and phrases, to just hurry along the conversion and get you to leave me alone. I sound like a cranky old man. But can I change that? Can I change who I am and be a social butterfly? I guess there is only one way to find out.
Life is crazy and exciting and it’s more so to just go out there and make something of life. To just have some wild and random fun. And if you are doing it with those you love those memories will be cherished for the rest of your life. And that is totally worth it.
Now I am living a life that is fun and that I truly enjoy. I can look back at a weekend or a day and say it was time well spent and had a lot of fun. When someone texts me about a gathering that is happening and if I want to go to it, I can get out there, on a whim, and do something new, and create new memories. That is truly a blessing to have in life. To get out there and make a memory.
(This post contains snippets of my life and my journey. It is dark and gloomy and moody at times, but that has been my journey. It would be a shame to exclude those parts from my story I am telling here. So this is my journey through the pain and suffering in life to picking up my broken pieces. You have been forewarned before reading. Thank you for reading. )
During the last decade my life has been and continues to be a roller coaster, it’s been crazy, dark, happy, and everything in between. But to get to where I am today I had to pick myself up from the pits of my own life, my own depression, and move to something new.
I guess for me to get there to a better place, I had to hit rock bottom. I’m sure I didn’t actually have to go that route, but as humans we are quite dumb that way. We love to do things the hard way. We are hard headed. We think we know what is right and best for us, and even worse, we tell others what we think is best for them. We seldom see the bigger pictures and even less than that we hardly see the route that was probably much more easy for us. Opting to go through the thorn bushes and not walk on the clear path. Sure the thorns have a lot more lessons and growth but I’m sure we would all like to have had that one time where things went smooth for us. There is a saying that God will not give us more than we can handle. That may be true, and we survive more than we ever thought we could, we will get scraped up and bruised, and maybe even break a bone or two in the process. It’s not all fun and games but they tell us it’s all worth it in the end.
When you are living with anxiety and panic that creates fear in everything you do you tend to always crawl through the thorns of life wondering if this next crawl will be your last. For me I crawled for many a mile that eventually I stopped crawling. The fear of being out there in the world was too much for me to handle. To be crippled by fear so much so that you would rather choose to stay away from the world is not a way to live ones life. As you are not really living life at all. You are just going through the motions. That is how I always described my day to day. Going through the motions of it all. While surviving another day. Until my time on earth was over. It was a bleak way of seeing life and very was depressing. You start to think something is wrong with you. You start to stop loving yourself. Stop liking yourself. And start to think no one else would ever love you either. Eventually all of that turns to self loathing and self hatred. You then start wondering what is the point of it all? Why even bother? Why even get up in the mornings to do it all again?
You shout out to the heavens, screaming and cursing, and shouting profanity that you didn’t even know you knew. Wondering what you ever did to ever deserve such a fate in life.
During that time you start to isolate yourself from your family, from your friends, and even loved ones. Relationships start to suffer and you end up not having anyone to talk to about it. As those who have never been there never really understand what it’s like so you feel alone. Which of course makes everything worse for you. For me my relationships suffered during that time of not being able to live my life. To not be able to go out and be young and dumb. In some ways that wasn’t me. I was not into that stuff, but I also was never able to really give it a shot. So relationships did not seem to work. Who would want to be with someone who couldn’t enjoy life and living? When you lose people you think you love because of it the fear starts to multiply and you think the next person will do the same. For me the next person(s) would be the same with it. Not wanting that type of person who can’t enjoy the life they want and choose to life. You then become afraid of any future relationship you could have. Would they all just be the same?
So you start to dislike yourself more and more. And that hatred for yourself grows and you just stop caring about anything. Yourself. Others. Living. For me that was when I started to just eat poorly. I was not a drinker, nor did I do drugs. For me, I ate poorly. I loved junk food. Each and every meal had something sweet with it. Potato chips, and a candy bar, and the end of the night I would eat ice cream. I stopped caring about myself, and how I looked. I was trying to just numb the pain through sweets. Eventually I would balloon to 260 lbs. I no longer liked looking at the person in the mirror. For that person finally reflected what I felt like on the inside.
And in that moment you finally realize just how broken you have become. I knew, deep within myself, all the way to my soul, that I could no longer live like this anymore. This life was not worth living. I could no longer do it. I knew I had to make changes. I knew I had to do something about my life. It was not going to do it for me. No one was. I had to take the reigns of my life and steer it into something better.
I had no idea how I was going to do that. I had no idea what exactly I wanted from life. All I knew was that I didn’t want that life anymore. I had to do something. I knew I had to do it and I could not let myself give up. I couldn’t. Not anymore. I couldn’t go another day of not living.
So I started to make changes in my life. I had to change my life completely around. And that scared me even more but I knew I could not let the fear consume me and make me run away as it had done for my whole life. I had to wade through the waters of fear and keep going.
I had to start taking better care of myself and work on all the damage I had done from living that way for so long. Living in fear really leaves its mark on you. So I had to work to heal that fear. To heal my negative thoughts and heal my life.
I had to start the long journey of going from rock bottom, pick the rocks up off of me, and climb out of the fifty foot deep pit I had found myself in. It has been an incredible journey. I’ve done things I never thought I would or even could. Yet I do them all the time now. I have gone through fear and now I am able to not let that fear stop me from living my life. Much of that journey is documented on this blog, through my year long journey.
The only way to get through that fear for me was to walk through it. Slowly at first. Crawling. A step here and there. Pushing myself more and more. Each week going further and further. Doing more and more healing on myself. Living more and more.
Today I am happy to report that I am doing so much better in life. I am no longer obese, I have lost 80 pounds, going from 260 to 175. I am healthier than I have ever been in my entire life. I have met some incredible people. Made some great friends. Went out on adventures once a week for a year, and continue to do so. Continuing to push myself further and further. To being able to driving for hours in the car with another person. One of my biggest fears in life. I now can do.
My life is so much better. I am thankful for the journey. For the pain. For the heartbreak. It taught me much and brought me to this place where I am thankful for every moment of it. To now I hardly even recall that other life. It’s like a distant memory and I am thankful it is. I love my life now. I love life. I enjoy every moment of it. Today I love myself fully and completely. For the first time in my life.
Now I do Reiki sessions on others to help them heal their life. If I can do it. Anyone can.
Depression is one of the worst things a person can ever face in their life. IMO anyways. I’m sure there are worst things out there, as the saying always goes. Things can always be worse. But to me things were as bad as they could be. To me it was bad and I knew it. Or at least I should have known things were bad. I was quite stupid that way. When you are living your life a certain way you don’t see anything else at the time. You know something is wrong but you just cannot do anything about it. It all seems too big and too scary. So you go about living. Well you are not really living you are just surviving and going through the motions of every day. Life starts to just become a routine. Hours turn into days. Days into weeks. It all become a blur.
Eventually when you do that for so long you lose the will to keep doing that. It weighs upon you heavily. It starts to eat at you, slowly at first, until you eventually hit a pit within yourself and your soul and you have no idea how to get out or change things. When you hit that place you start to just go deeper and deeper into it where you start to lose sight of yourself and life and everything around you. You push away your friends. You push away your family. You start to hate them all because they have the things you always wanted but just could not get yourself. You become jealous which then makes you become more isolated than you already are. You get to the point of wondering why bother anymore? Why even continue living? What’s the point?
For me I was in those shoes for many, many years. Those were very dark and hopeless times. It was so bad that I looked at “hope” as a thing dumb people told themselves to make themselves feel better. It lasted for years and it is a miracle that I even made it through those times that one could only define as “a dark night of the soul.” Which come to find out has nothing to do with Batman.
In those times of wanting to harm myself, end it all, and make the pain go away, I learned so much about myself. Sure I could have just masked all that pain with pills and drugs, but I never had the desire to do so. I never wanted to be numb even though I had become apathetic in the process. I had been numb when I took anti-depressants for my anxiety. I’ve seen firsthand the horrors of going down that route and am so thankful I found myself and got out of that despair without them. Not everyone can be. Some do need them. I would never tell anyone to not take a pill. While they did not help me, people should seek all the help they can to do what is best for themselves.
For me during those times, much like it is for others, we don’t have people that we become close with. That we can trust with our lives and our deepest secrets. So we bottle it up and swallow it all. That is how it was for me. It did not help that others did not understand it because they were not there in those shoes. They would tell you to “suck it up.” That it’s all in your head or you shouldn’t feel that way. So for me I just stopped talking about it. I lost my voice because I was no longer being heard. When we get to that place we turn everything inward and eventually it consumes us and crushes us.
Now I am learning to find my voice and to speak up and to speak my truths. That is one of the things I love about blogging and writing. Being able to speak what is on my mind. Using it as a creative outlet to get it out. Depression and suicidial thoughts are things that are so taboo in our society. We become shunned and considered outcasts and labeled with a mental illness. We become the “black sheep” of society. Yet we are so much more than that. Sometimes we just want to be heard and listened to. We want to be shown we are loved and people are there for us. We don’t want to be told what to think and how we should act.
There was many a time where I wanted to go to sleep and prayed every night for death, to not get up in the morning and do it all over again. Each day of doing it became harder and harder and darker and darker… but in those times of wanting all of that to end, and trying to push oneself to the limits of what one can endure and take. You realize that deep within you, all the way on the inside, is a piece of you that wants to live. That has the desire to live. Many people will tell you how it’s so easy to end ones life, etc. But I have found it’s not. There is a desire to keep going and keep fighting. We are stronger than we ever give ourselves credit for. There is more in us than we ever knew or know. And this journey has been all about that. All about healing myself and helping others to heal and get out of the pain and suffering they are in. I’ve been there and I would not wish that on anyone.
So tell your loved ones you love them, give them a hug. Call them out of the blue and tell them you were thinking about them. You never know, it may change their whole life.
My journey has been a crazy one over the years. One that was filled with some ups and a ton, ton, ton of downs. I’ve had downs that took me to very, very dark places. Places where I’ve wanted to give up and end my own life. There have been many a time where I have tried to do just that. I’m not proud of those moments but I do not regret them for they are a part of my story. They were very dark times. Those times have taught me a lot and shown me that I had a lot of strength within me that I didn’t even know I had. I learned I had even more in me when I set out on taking a weekly adventure for a whole year. It has not been an easy journey. I have struggled a lot. More than I would care to admit. I am not perfect and I have many flaws and faults.
During the past couple of months I have done lots of healing on myself. Taking down the walls I put up to keep myself safe and opening up more to others and my abilities. Doing all of that I have come to realize just how wounded I was. Just how shut down I was. How hurt I was and how depressed I had been for a long time now. How I had basically shut down myself so I would no longer be hurt. It become too much on my empathic self that I closed down the world so the world would not hurt me anymore.
The old me wants to just run away from it all. Shut down and push people away and out of my life. I had spent my whole life being alone and isolated from my anxiety that I am so used to being alone and taking care of my self on my own. Or at least faking it for as long as I could. Yet that is not the person I want to be anymore. That life sucks. Point blank. As much as we like being alone and on our own. It is a heavy burden to carry. We are social people and we need that connection from others. So instead of doing that, shutting down, I will work through it all. As much as I can and as much as I can handle.
They say it’s best to get it out of us and off our chests so I will use this blog as an outlet to vent, to ramble, and to just share whatever it is that I am thinking or feeling at the time. There is 37 years of crazy, shut down stuff in there, and it’s time I get it out of me and let go.
Losing friends and people you think you are in love with does a lot more on a person than you ever realized. At least it did for me. I am thankful now that I have those in my life that love me and want me to be happy and are there for me. It’s a new thing to have those kind of people in my life. I am so thankful for that. So thankful for them.
I just pray that I don’t push them away like I’ve pushed away so many else in my life.
If you were to have told me a two ago that one day I would have had my own table at a public event doing something, I would not have believed you. I would have thought you fell and bumped your head and was talking nonsense. If you were to have told me that I was going to be doing Angel Card readings for people I would have thought you lost your mind. Yet yesterday I did just that and it was no April Fools joke. It was real and it was spectacular.
Yesterday my friends at On Angel’s Wings was doing their first expo, and I somehow got it in my head that it would be a good idea for me to be a part of this event. At first I was not sure on what I was going to do. I have plans to do more Reiki energy healing this year so I was debating about having my table there doing mini readings, but settled on doing Angel Card readings instead. The Expo was being held at the Lyceum in Burlington, NJ. It was a lovely little building with a nice little energy to it for this first time event.
I will be honest and say that I was very nervous about doing this event and wanting to just back out of it. In truth I wanted to get to my car and just keep driving to Canada. Starting a new life of a Canadian lumberjack, being paid in Maple Syrup and Jelly Doughnuts. In the past the fear would have been that my anxiety would get the better of me, or my stomach would run amok and take me with it. Especially since the event hours were 11-6. 7 hours of being in one place would have been enough to send me to the bathroom having panic attacks, yet that was not what I was nervous about. My fear was that I would not be able to do the readings for people, I would get nothing, and not be able to do it. Making myself look bad and the people who host the event look bad. It’s amazing the fears that can run through our brains, more so, when you have struggled with anxiety your whole life.
Luckily my friends there could see that my energy was feeling a little frantic, and came over and comforted me and told me that I could do it, and two of my friends allowed me to do two quick little readings before the event started to calm my nerves and help me get in the zone. That really helped. My friends that I have met through this journey have literally been a godsend through all of this. Being their for support, love, and comfort. Without them I would not be where I am. Those two little readings really helped take the edge off, and helped me start to get into the zone. For when people really started to pile in and I started to do the readings and really get going.
Once again like it always is with my anxiety/panic that once it really happens it is never like it is in my head. Much like going to the dentists office. I was able to do 11 readings throughout the entire time I was there. I was calm, and relaxed, and really in the zone with it all. I met lots of new people, and had lovely conversations with people. Without a single freak out or panic/anxiety attack. I think I even got a lifelong friend of mine to really believe in what I do and am able to do. So that was a nice little added surprise to it all. I am very fortunate for this wild and crazy journey I have been on. There have been many, many low times, and now there are some incredible high times. I am thankful for it all. They have taught me so much about life and living and have given me so much in life. I would not be who I am today without them. This was an incredible step for me to go out and do an event all day. I was there from 9am until 7 Pm. 10 hours at one place. I would never have dreamed in my wildest dreams that I could ever do something like this. Yet I did it. I survive, and dare I say, I had an incredible time doing it.
I am not doing something I love, and sharing it with others, and loving every moment of it. One day perhaps I will do a talk about my journey and how I got here and share it with others so they too can live the life they want and deserve. If I can do it. Anyone can. My next event I will be doing will be in May, where I will be doing mini Reiki sessions. I look forward to that one and where the future will take me. During the event yesterday I was able to get a Tarot reading for myself, and she said this stuff that I am doing, will really take off for me. So I am looking forward to that and a very blessed future.