This week has been a celebration of life for me. More aptly this has been the anniversary of my birth. I am a year older this week, and hopefully I am a year wiser. I have certainly learned a lot this year, and have of course made a few mistakes. But each one has provided me great opportunities to grow and learn. Each of them, the good and bad, has provided me lessons that have better me. I have survived them all and am thankful for that as they have helped me to open up to more and more. And help me to allow in more in my life.
During this week it has given me much to think about and ponder as I turn 38. While I look back upon a life that is now better lived. I can not help but to smile on where I am now in life. When I started this journey two plus years ago, I did not know where I would end up. I started with basically nothing. I was living an empty life, and had nothing to show for me. While I had some friends, and family, I was alone with them all. It’s a hollow existince to have to be surrounded by people yet be alone.
Yet this journey has surprised me in so many ways that I can be nothing but grateful and thankful today. For all of it. In the course of that journey I have met so many incredible people that has become such important people in my life, people I can truly call friends. People that support me, care about me, are there for me, and above all of that, love me for who I am. That was a blessing I never expected to find in this journey. To be honest it was something I never thought I’d get in life. I was not looking for it, because I had come to accept that that was my life. That was the way I would always be. I am thankful I was proven wrong on that. Life has a tendency to prove me wrong when I think I know something. And I am ok with that.
When I started this journey I was so afraid to go anywhere. I had not taken an actual vacation in a decade, and since this journey, I have taken an actual vacation four times in that two years, and have visited so many sights and so many landmarks, that I have lost count of them all. And I am not complaining about that. There was a time I was wishing to not have to go places because that was easier for me. Now I’m wishing to go more places and see even more. Just wish I had the money to do so. As we all do that wish to travel.
I have been blessed in so many ways, that I am so thankful and grateful for. All because I set out to change my life, and my life changed me. It’s opened so many doors and given me so much. Shown and taught me so much. And with that joy it has given me, I am able to create things with a grateful heart, as that is what I can now bring into my life. More things to be grateful for. I never thought I would be where I am. I never thought it was possible. I doubted too much and denied even more. Now I am able to watch miracles unfold in my life. See prayers be answered and doors open even further.
Gratitude has gone a long way for me and does for everyone who is grateful. It creates a positive atmosphere within us that reflects out into our lives. My journey is only just beginning and now I am witnessing dreams of mine come true. So this week is a celebration for me, not just because I am older, but because I am celebrating life. I was given life back to me, and I thank God every day for that.
I am thankful for this journey, I am thankful for everyone who I have met, and heard from, who have told me my blog has inspired them. I am glad to had that and hope that this blog does just that. Inspired the light within you to help you make the changes you want to, to live the life you have only dreamed of. We are all worthy and deserving of good things. God, or whatever you want to call God, wants the best for us. And we deserve that. That love and happiness is real. And is a lasting part of our life. Something we will always have and cherish for as long as we live, and beyond.
Be grateful. Be thankful. Love fully. And smile more.
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.
I have alluded to this on this blog before that when I was living, and I’m sure those with anxiety/depression can also relate to this, and that is a feeling of hopelessness. Where things seem so bleak and bad that there will never be any good in life. That life and living will always suck.
I think the hardest thing with ever having hope is that you can not see it. You can not see that it will happen. You can not see the good that will come. All you can see is this moment that is happening and the moment you had yesterday. So to tell someone that things will get better seems like rubbish. And that is putting it nicely. At least that is the way it felt to me.
How can we ever believe things will get better? When did we ever see it as getting better? All we know is fear, anxiety, and depression. That is our whole world. That is our life. For me that was all I ever knew. So me to have hope that the sun would finally come out in my life and things would change. I would not believe you. Even today I can hardly wrap my mind around the fact that the sun can come out. That things can change. I guess the saying is true, tough times don’t last.
Then we’d have to ask ourselves, would we enjoy the rainbow if we didn’t dance in the rain? That was a question I had been pondering to myself since yesterday. Let me set the stage for you. Me and a good friend of mine, someone I have been blessed to get to know real well in the past few months, were going to go out for the night, and visit some friends at the opening of their store. Then we went out to dinner afterwards. The whole things had really just blown me away. How three years ago I would never have seen any of that happening in my life. To have been able to go out and meet people, get to know them, and go out and have a fun night on the town. Then finish it off with dinner. It really blew me away.
Which got me to thinking about it, and how back in 2013-2015 was really dark times for me. Had I known this is what my life would end up like would I still have been so dark? Since most of that darkness was the result of being in such a bad place because of not being anywhere in life, but to finally be somewhere in life, would that darkness have still happened? Would have been able to enjoy the beauty of the night out if I hadn’t had that darkness?
For me the answer(s) was pretty clear. I would not have been able to truly appreciate the joy of going out last night, meeting someone incredible and important to me, if I did not go through those trials and tribulations in life. I had meet people before and even dated them, I know shocking, but I did not have the appreciation of life and them without knowing what it was like to not have it. It is true that we can not fully appreciate happiness without sadness. I am not forever grateful for all that I do have and do now because I know what it was like to not have it.
So how do we get hope? Some would say to have hope you need faith and trust, and belief. I think that is true in many ways. As hope is just this knowing that things will be OK. It’s not something easy to get. It’s not easy to believe in something you cannot see. When all I knew was anxiety and pain, to see anything but that was very hard to do. What we do know is that nothing lasts forever. Bad times and even good times. All we can do is make the most of every moment we have. Which helps us to cherish all the good memories we experience and work on those that we did not like.
For me life did not just change on its own I had to go out there and make that change. I had to work hard at it, as we all do. We all have to work at life. We have to do what we can to make our lives the best we can make them. For many like myself we have an exact image of what we want our life to be and how we want to get there. For me I had to surrender that control to the universe. It’s not easy let me tell you. At first I had an image of what I wanted but once I let go of that and allowed my life to blossom it became so much more than I could have ever hoped. I couldn’t picture my life to be any other way now.
To me that is hope. We get out of the way of ourselves and just let life take its own course. Let it be more than we want it to be. Let it take off. Let it knock our socks off. Otherwise we may try to control life and decide not to go to that luncheon or gathering that night.
What if you go beyond your image and go to that event and meet the one person who could change your life completely around for the better? So don’t limit yourself. Don’t limit life.
Let it be more than you could ever imagine. You may just love the ride.
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.