Wow! What a year in the books for me, and hopefully for you as well. It’s crazy to think that 2017 is coming to an end. And 2018 is getting ready to pounce on us. It feels like the year just started, and now, it’s over faster than Christmas break when you are a kid. This year had a lot of firsts for me, and I did things in 2017 that I never thought I would.
It’s been two years since I started my journey of healing my life, and changing everything. I never thought where I am today would be where I would end up. When I started this journey I was alone. Sure, I had a small selection of close friends, but it was just me. This was a journey I had to take. This was something I had to do for myself. I needed to do it. I set out to change my life. I set out to go beyond my anxiety. I set out to go beyond my depression. I set out to live my life and be more than an anxious/depressed person. I was not living up to my potential. I was not living at all. I was existing. I was going through the motions. Day in. Day out. Repeat.
Setting out to heal myself has been such a liberating journey for myself. It’s also been a scary one, and a hard one at times. It’s hard in the sense that to heal ourselves we also need to confront ourselves. Confront the way we have been living. And we have to learn to accept ourselves for who we are. That last part is one of the hardest things we will do.
Accept ourselves. Accept things have happened to us, and are part of our growth and learning. Hopefully we learn from our missteps and stumbles in life. It’s easy to just sit there and wish we did this or that differently. What if we tried harder? What if we were nicer, or funnier, or better looking. What if. What if. There comes a time in our lives that we must accept that what has happened to us. Happened. And perhaps it could not have happened any other way. We can learn, in time, to let go. Many of us, myself included, want to control so much of our lives. That we sometimes forget that much is out of our hands, and all we can do is just enjoy the ride.
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.
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.
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.
It’s Monday, again, the start of a new work week for most. So start your work week off right. So you, yea, you. You right there reading this message right now. You have a good week. May it be a week filled with love, joy, and happiness.
Since it’s Martin Luther King day, I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes of his, a quote that is certainly needed in the world today. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Inhale love and light. Exhale negativity. Radiate compassion and kindness.
This week I got to be reminded of how fortunate I am to have such good people in my life. People I can call friends. For so long that term was used so seldom. Now I am blessed to have many in my life that support me, are there for me, understand me, and just allow me to be me. Not wanting me to be someone I am not. This week I got to spend a few nights hanging out with them, just laughing, telling stories, and bettering ourselves. For that I am grateful.
I have many walls still in place, and I have lots of work to do on me to take down my dependence on those walls. I believe and know I can be free of them. Now I am fortunate to have those willing to help me, and are there enjoying that ride with me. Watching me grow and become a better person. Truthfully I probably could not have done it without them. So I wanted to take a moment to just thank them for coming into my life, teaching me, and growing with me. I look forward to where life takes us all in our journeys.
I am thankful that just two years ago, I was so anxious, so fearful, so broken, that I couldn’t even be out with friends in a place for a few hours just shooting the breeze all night like. And yesterday I did just that. I have come so far and am so thankful for it all.
Tomorrow I will have a write up of my weekly adventures. I have many more stories to tell with this blog, and hopefully I can start writing more. I’ll keep this post short.
One last note if you are looking for something to watch I recommend, Stranger Things, on Netflix. It is a wonderful show that really just draws you in to keep on watching it, without even realizing they are doing it. It’s an odd, strange, and bizarre show, that starts off slow, but really picks up, and hooks you, in episode 4 and on. So check it out, I love the way they captured the 80’s in, and the nerd in me loved the Dungeons and Dragon’s references. Speaking of which, I am off to watch the old animated series. Enjoy your weekend.