Yesterday, while glancing the internet, I was sadddened to learn about the loss the music industry received when it was revealed that Linkin Park frontman, Chester Bennington, had been found dead, from apparent suicide.
It is always truly heartbreaking to see someone take their life. I know first hand how bad depression can be, and to be in a place where I have wanted to take my own life numerous times. Reiki and energy healing really helped change my life and turn all that around for me, to a place of real and lasting happiness.
It then becomes more heartbreaking as most families and friends know nothing about the struggles we face, and when they do know about it, it’s usually way to late. So someone asked me, “Sad to hear that.. Why do you think this happens with out family realizing somethings wrong” I replied to them many who are depressed put on a false face, where they project a look of being happy, without actually being happy. Some don’t want others to be burdened with their pain or suffering. They don’t want their pity, and so keep it to themselves. And for a vast majority they don’t feel like they have anyone that’s really listening to them. They have a tendency to feel alone with it, even though they may not truly be alone. To them they are.
My struggle over the years was always a silent one, I didn’t really talk to people about it. It was always my burden to bare. I also did not want anyone’s pity. To me when that happens you start to feel guilty about the way you feel and act, and that just sends us further down the hole we are in. Or worse they tell us to “suck it up.” To others our struggles may not seem like a thing, but to us, they are huge. They are real. So we keep them to ourselves.
That’s not to say there is nothing you can do for those who are struggling. There is plenty to do for us. Being there for us and just listen to us. Listen to us ramble, listen to us complain. Hold that space of love and light for us. Because we are not seeing it within ourselves. We need that light to be there to remind us of what we already have within us, that we have forgotten. We don’t want to be told we are wrong, or that we shouldn’t feel that way, for many we already know that, but we can’t always help it, because we feel defeated. We are tired, and run down, from being strong all the time. So listen to us, don’t tell us how we are wrong, we hate that, we want to be heard, and loved. Because in those moments, we don’t love ourselves. To us all we see is what is wrong with us and our lives, we need to be shown and felt what is right. We need your patience, and support, and encouragement. To help us get ourselves back on our feet again. We have to find that light, and that spark within ourselves.
Finding that spark is a journey within itself. It’s not an easy one. It will be hard at times, and will really push us from the edges, back to the other edge, before we come out to the other side again. That in itself can be scary. Change always is. I struggled with depression, and even wanting to end it, for a long, long time. There was a lot within myself that needed to be changed. For there was a lot of healing that needed to be done. Those wounds within me, were still bleeding. I may not have shown it, or even saw it, but they were there, within me. I had to find the healing I needed, to come back from the edge of the void I was living at. I had to make that choice and decision that I wanted, no I needed to, heal my life. I had to truly want it. I had to come to the realization that what I was doing, the way I was living, was not working for me anymore. I needed more from life. It wasn’t life that had failed me, I had failed life, for I was not living. I was just existing in life.
It was energy healing and healing myself through using crystals, and Reiki, and crystal bowls, that really helped me open up, and change my life. Which helped bring me to people that were there for me, supportive of me, and able to see the spark within myself that I no longer saw, that really helped me find my way out of the darkness, and into the light, and no longer look back. This journey has been an incredible one. I have learned so much about myself, what I am capable of, and am now a person so drastically different than I was before I set out two years ago to change my life.
Change can be scary but it can be so incredible if we allow the chaos of it and allow ourselves to be more than we ever imagined. We are incredible beings capable of incredible things. We just forgot that along the way. The more we believe in and trust in ourselves the more our lives can truly change for the better. All it takes is us truly wanting to change. To live a better life. And then just enjoy the ride.
We all deserve happiness and we are all capable of being happy. We just have to realize happiness is within us. Not something we have to find outside of us.
(If you are struggling with depression, and suicidal thoughts, reach out to people. Talk to a trained professional. You don’t have to struggle alone. There are many there that can help you. )
This popped up on my timeline today, I wrote it a year ago.
“Just about a year ago, I was in a terrible place in my life. I was unhealthy, out of shape, in a lot of pain emotionally and physcially. I was in a very, very dark place in my life… I then decided to do something about it. Turn my life around. No one was going to do it for me. So I cleaned up my eating, and started running. Within a short amount of time things were changing and improving for me. I was becoming more than I could ever imagine. Within that time I dropped 70 pounds and got into the best shape in my life, I am feeling happy, healthy, and so much light. I am truly, for the first time in my life. Happy. I genuinly am happy to my very core, and I look forward with much optimism to the future and all that it will bring. I don’t wear tank tops, never have. It was not easy sharing a pic of one, even if I do look good. Na na na na na… Batman.”
It’s hard to believe the guy in the left is the same as the guy in the right and that that guy was me at one point in my life. Two years ago I sent out to change my life for the better. I never thought I would get to where I am today. Since I started that journey I have been to the Poconos, twice, to a Washington D.C., to Gettysburg and there is so many more adventures in there. I never could have fathomed being able to do any of that. Yet I am proud to say I have done that and so much more.
I have seen and done so many things, and met so many people over the course of that two years. I am blessed and thankful for it all. I’ve seen first hand what fear can do to us and our lives and I know for us to get through the fear we have to walk through it. We can pray for all the strength in the world by only we can act upon the opportunities presented to us. Only we can act courageous in the face of fear. Many will supposed and encourage us but it’s up to us to act. Not everyone will understand our new journeys because they only knew us as the old us. Yet we become something so much more.
My journey has shown me that if I can do it anyone can do it. Two years ago I set off on an epic journey to change my world and I am so glad to have done so. I look forward to where I will go tomorrow.
That pic was a year ago, I have lost even more weight and finally am at a place where I love the way I look, and don’t hate to have picture taken.
Here is what I look like today.
I’m creating a life I am proud of an can look back upon and smile. It’s not been easy and has challenged me in many ways. I know how eat it can be to just want to give up and run away. How the depression dark thoughts I have fought can still have a tendency to creep up on me and want to consume me. But I keep my head up, and keep the energy going, and keep moving forward to better things. And this time, the depression doesn’t win. It didn’t have power over me anymore. I don’t give it any. I don’t give in to it.
I live life.
Shadows of the past – sounds like a movie in the Star Wars universe. Some days life feels like a sci-fi movie. I think my life could certainly use a theme song to it. Or at least Morgan Freeman narrating it. How awesome would life be if that happened? It would be epic.
As I have worked with Reiki, crystals bowls, and various healers, I have gone through many layers of myself. I have brought forth parts of me I no longer remember and parts of me I didn’t even know existed.
The more I have opened up to that, the more I have seen how much the past has cast its dark shadow upon my life. It’s that last thg can create so much anxiety, and fear within us. As we hold on to our baggage that we just for some reason or another can not let go of. Perhaps because it’s familiar to us or it’s just how we identify ourselves as. Some times we hold them because we don’t want them to repeat so if we remember that John was mean to he, we hold that baggage so no one else hurts us ever again. But really at the end of the day, who does it hurt by holding it? We do. It affects us and any future encounter with people. This baggage creates doubts and those doubts feed our insecurities and we start to just descend into dark places of the mind that start to make us feel paranoid about others. This baggage, all it ends up doing is robbing us of peace.
The more we cling to it, the tighter our grip becomes, the more we lose ourselves in the process. We become consumed by it and that becomes all we can see.
We then have a choice; continue to grip our baggage tight or let go of it and open our hands up to new experiences with an innocent mind. A mind that is not stuck on the past. A mind that can be one to trust life. Trust another person. For me I have spent so long living with baggage. Unable to let it go. Unable to trust in people. I have experienced the insecurities in brings to the mind. Causing me to push away the world in the past. I choose to live a better life. I choose to be happy now.
Working on myself has shown me many truths about myself. I know I am not perfect. I have a lot of work to do on myself. And truthfully we all do. We just have to be willing and ready to do so. Not everyone is ready. And that is ok. That is their journey. Each day I strive to be a better person than I was yesterday. I have come so far in my healing, my development, and life, within the past year. I look forward to where next year, and five years from now will take.
I am glad I took those first steps to change my life. I can’t imagine my life any other way now.
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.