Late nights during the apocalypse

This article was originally started in March; a time before I quit my job and a couple weeks into the Pandemic. A couple months later, I’m up, so let’s get it written. It is currently 2:32am. I meditated around 7pm, had a zoom call, practiced German, and did a little bit of coding basics. From 10pm till 11pm I played Earth Defense Force, some Super Tennis, and a couple others on the Nintendo Switch. 11pm to 11:45pm I watched The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. And then, nothing. I browsed the web and got in bed around 12:30am. Listened to ASMR for a couple hours, sleeping mask on and now I have my diffuser filling the room with lavender. It’s strange.

There is seemingly nothing on my mind and yet I can’t sleep. So here I am, sitting late into the night, writing, like I used to with my journal. Monster Cat is currently playing and I’m oddly at peace. I have a lot of projects I’m currently working on and perhaps that is what is keeping me up. I bought a blue yeti mic with the hope to get back into streaming as a means to relax and help with my video editing skills. I’ll also need the mic for video calls and I’m going to start working on podcasting. I’m also thinking of starting a youtube channel but truth be told these are just thoughts. There’s a reason I’ve been practicing habit discipline and staggering habit acquisition. My whole life I have started and stopped, not really knowing where I want to go. Now that I have some direction, I want to ease into it. If I’m not having fun, then what’s the point? Right now, my primary focus is to grow the blog, which has been my pillar for the last 5 years. It’s great to simply have a place to come back to time and time again and be myself. And thank God I did not try a specialty blog.

Getting back to 2018

You’ll hear 2018 referenced a lot in the coming year. 2018 was the year I branched out into poetry, short stories, and special series. While I’m proud of all the content I’ve written throughout the years, 2018 was something special; it carried the momentum from 2016 and 2017, the year I did study abroad. 2015, when I moved from IGN to WordPress, I had a total of 37 views. To put that in perspective, January of this year had 67 views. So remember to smash that like button! Jokes aside, I’m flattered that my blog has become so successful. My favorite aspect of this year is putting in tangible work and seeing tangible results. The blog, as of a couple days ago, has hit 150 followers, ever closer to having a full blown community. I appreciate ever like, comment, and follow. When I say “getting back to 2018” I mean surpassing 2018. 2020 is the start of a new decade and it’s the year I put a bow on everything. In College I lived my life by “firsts” and I want to create new moments by sharpening the saw so to speak.

Sharpening the Saw

I’ve begun intensive learning again. As the blog starts to generate revenue, I’ve slowly begun investing in opportunities to be better. One skill overlooked, if I’m to be honest, is my writing. My writing knowledge is acquired from reading, and well, writing. That’s it. A part of me has envisioned a future where I take workshops and attend seminars and as the blog grows, that is becoming a more apparent reality. Over the last few months, I’ve made the decision that I want to be defined by my creative talents and push past the boundaries of simply dabbling in everything. Writing once every two weeks gives me the time I need. That’s not to say I won’t write more (like this week) but the idea is to have habits form. I like being on the grid and knowing myself, I can always find something to talk about.

As far as late night rambles go…

I’d say this is pretty good. If I can’t sleep I might as well write. This next month will be a busy month and I have big plans for June. I’ll be doing update posts similar to the one you saw in May for the foreseeable future. These posts help me outline what I want to cover in a month and hold me accountable to do so.


And here we are once again! At the end of an article. This year promotion is key. I’ve been thrilled with the amount of support over the last couple months. Every like, comment, and follow has helped this blog gain exposure and grow. Hitting 150 followers was a huge treat for the 5 year anniversary and thanks to everyone who has stuck around. I’d love to see this blog grow to 500 and then eventually 1,000. 500 by the end of this year would be amazing. I have a lot of articles planned for this year and I can’t wait to write them. A reminder that supporting my Patreon is a huge help. This is the first year I’ve received support and it feels great. I have big plans for my Patreon but right now those ideas are just dreams. Remember as well, just reading this article puts a smile on my face, so however you choose to support me is appreciated. Below is the Link to my Ko-fi and Patreon if you’re interested.

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And finally, feel free to comment! I need to get better with the prompts, so let’s try this on for size: how have your nights been during the Pandemic? Are you sleeping like a baby or are you staying up late? What are some techniques you use to cope with the added stress?

My 4 pillars to a meaningful life

So, I scrapped the original article. I found it to be boring and contrived and not what I wanted to write at the moment. Articles are always tricky and a lot of my process is all about flow. If an article is purely informational, that’s no fun for me to write. Originally, this article was a list where I covered my 4 pillars that I’ve used for the last 7 years to guide my behavior: Spiritual, Social/Emotional, Mental, and Physical. If they sound familiar, that’s because they are. I adopted these pillars at a time when I had no guidance, no direction and they’re based off of Stephen Covey’s book “7 Habits for highly Effective People”. But listing my habits and giving advice was too boring. And during a Pandemic, I simply can’t get bored; boredom leads to cabin fever and cabin fever leads to insanity. So I stopped. I wrote about Spiritual and Mental and then I just stopped, wrote another article and said today that it’d just be better to start over. I’ve done lists before but a conversational approach? I’ve also done, but it never gets old.

My final article for this month will be next week and will be a reflection piece. I’m taking a lighter approach this year as my health has drastically improved over the years. Every demon tackled, each new challenge I face is easier than the last or at least, a situation I can handle. A lot of my health, in fact, I owe to my 4 pillars. Originally titled, “My 4 pillars to a happy life”, both titles work in this case. My Sophomore year of College, I fiddled around with the concepts in 7 habits, taking a learn and apply approach. I tried one pillar at a time and while each are great on their own, they only work when practiced together. Spiritual I meditate and find myself in nature. Feeling the grass on my feet, hearing the birds chirp, creeks bubble, and the wind rustle. Spiritual is about being present; that’s all there is to it. It’s about having hope and faith and being content, however you choose to get there. Mental is about knowledge, to which, I am obsessed. I never stop learning. I read, I write, I learn. If the saw is not sharp, then the blade will not cut. It’s about sleep, recharging the battery, and respecting you mind enough to give it a rest. It’s also about respecting your mind by watching what you eat, because let’s face it, you are what you eat. Cliche? Of course. True? Yes, very much. Mental bleeds into physical as your body must be worked. People are lazy and narcissistic and there are many excuses we can make as to why we’re not working out. There’s a reason I was so adamant in expressing the importance of making things fun in “30 days to rule them all” and that’s because we suck at motivation. People don’t like the zig zag that is personal growth, they’d much rather have progress be a straight line. I can say with certainty that I am happier when I work out consistently; even just going on a walk is great. Human beings are not potatoes and we should not be acting as such. Make it fun and the rest will fall in place. Finally, Social and Emotional. During a Pandemic, people are freaking out. I’m not. Why? Because I have this pillar. This pillar is the foundation for healthy relationships, a commitment to making an effort, to be there and show up. I have no time to waste with toxic relationships. To flip back to mental, life is about adaptability. Instead of prioritizing going to workshops, meeting new people and board game nights, I have shifted to video calls, messaging, and my favorite, video games. Chatting with friends while social distancing has been great and while I miss being able to go out, the damage to my health has been mitigated. If you’re not a gamer, I highly recommend it for the social dynamic.

And all these pillars bleed into one another, that is why you can’t pick and choose. If you get enough sleep and eat well, you’ll have more energy to work out, if you work out, sleep, and diet, you’ll be in a better mood to chat with your friends and if you chat with friends you’ll feel great. Spiritual is the glue that gives you breath and reason. So, all connected.


And there you have it, another article for the books. As we wrap up the month of May, I’ll be gearing up for June. This month is a great pause as we take a look at Mental Health. If you’re curious about my other articles, just type “Mental Health” into the search bar. If there are topics you want me to cover, let me know. And if you like my content, consider following, liking, and sharing among your friends. This year we’re already set to surpass 2019 in views and traffic to the website and it is my hope that we surpass 2018, which was my best year for the blog. Also, please consider donating through Ko-fi and subscribing to my Patreon. The Patreon comes with my own discord community server and various tiered rewards to make the subscription fun. At the moment, this is my only source of income, so please consider helping out! Even a dollar means a whole lot. Below is a link to my donation page:

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As always, thanks for reading and stay safe!

Journey’s End: My Final Demon

“The best way out is always through.” – Robert Frost


I’ve had many demons throughout my life. None tougher than coming to terms with the fact that my father is an alcoholic. I have never been OK with this fact and never will be. And it’s not so much the drinking I’ve had issues with (which is bad on it’s own) as it is the lies, the manipulation, and blame games that come along with it.

Why write about this?

Ultimately, it comes down to timing. I can either write my story or have it written for me. It is a demon that will haunt me my entire life and unless I summon the courage to fight it now, it will become all consuming. I thought I had dealt with my issues, in truth, I hadn’t. 5 years of work and I find myself exactly where I didn’t want to be.

Relationships are built on openness, trust, and vulnerability. If I can’t allow myself to be open, then my demon will manifest in other forms. Most likely in the forms of rage, sadness, and shame. And perhaps even fear. And I can’t have that. I want to be better.

Why not Journal?

I have, my journal is littered with my thoughts. However, there is a certain liberty in telling others. Over the years I have slowly gotten better at telling my story. It was hard when I truly opened up in private. In fact, I had a bit of a meltdown. It was a little argument over nothing and for no reason at all I brought up my Father. I thought my friends would shun me, but they didn’t.

And if I have so much trouble, even after working through most of my issues, imagine how many are out there who think they are alone, much like I did. It’s not fair and I say enough is enough. Children of Alcoholics deserve better, Families of Alcoholics deserve better… So it might not count for much but I’d like to at least try to provide some comfort for you and myself.

Children of Alcoholics

Perhaps those who suffer the most from a parents drinking. Children aren’t born independent, however, in most families they become independent. In families with alcoholics however, they remain dependent. They try so hard to please a parent who is unresponsive at best and at worst, responsive in all the wrong ways. They begin to blame themselves for problems they can’t control and feel guilty should they try to help the parent who is struggling. They are the ones who have to watch an alcoholic stumble home every night and slowly die. Alcoholism does not kill quickly. More likely than not, an alcoholic can live well into their 70’s or 80’s. And this is a lifetime of torment. What was once love for the parent turns into frustration, then resentment, and then bitterness. And because the alcoholic seemingly does not care, these emotions cause the child to hate themselves. They search for answers and find none.

Why does one become an alcoholic?

There can be numerous reasons as to why one starts drinking and it can be both situational and genetic (aka compulsive and addictive personalities). People drink more during depressions (or recessions), when they lose a job, or simply if they’ve had a stressful week (deadlines to meet, people to please, etc). The reason I believe however, is the simple reason they convince themselves they are unworthy of being loved and in doing so, it becomes prophecy. They believe so much that they don’t deserve love, that they are pitied, that eventually it becomes true even if it was untrue before; it is extremely heartbreaking to see.

It creates a cycle. And instead of receiving help, they play victim. They try to argue the opposite and flip the victim card unto you. Alcoholics have a tough time being vulnerable (don’t we all?) and are often too proud (or afraid) to truly open up. It is them against the world and they will use anything at their disposal to justify their habit.

If you’re wondering what emotion alcoholics feel the most, it’s shame and to the highest degree. Behind the Anger, behind the sadness, behind the fear, there is shame. If there wasn’t, I wouldn’t have seen a pattern in my own Father’s drinking. My Father sought treatment and has been going off and on. And every time I see him I have to wonder if he’s been drinking. However, there are days he is guaranteed to drink. More recently, his birthday. Most recently, Mothers Day. The next day I can almost guarantee will be Father’s Day. Days of celebration turn into days of torment for an alcoholic. Most tend to reflect on these days, whether they realize it or not. And unfortunately, most can’t see past the darkness they create.

The Alcoholism Paradox

It took me years to realize this and as far as I know, this term doesn’t exist. But there is a paradox that comes with drinking and it is this; the more an alcoholic drinks, the less they will remember. So, when one argues with an alcoholic, it becomes almost impossible to reason with them. Why? Because an alcoholic will oftentimes blackout and not remember the evening. And thus creates the paradox. For an alcoholic to truly heal they need to acknowledge and be open with their behavior, however, when confronted, the alcoholic oftentimes thinks the confrontation is an attempt to make them look bad and that they possibly couldn’t have done all the things one claims they have done.

Is Alcoholism a Disease?

In the end, it doesn’t matter so much whether or not alcoholism is classified as a disease. In my personal opinion, it is not. To put alcoholism (also referred to as alcohol abuse) on the same level as someone diagnosed as cancer is less than tasteful. And in the end, it makes no difference. Behavior is behavior. Actions are actions. Alcohol inhibits judgement and simply makes someone more of what they already are (or who they see themselves to be). It is not an excuse for lashing out at others even if it makes it easier to do so.

Is Alcoholism a Moral Failing?

No. Alcoholism is neither good nor evil. It’s easy to paint an alcoholic as a villain, as some being devoid of a soul. However, they are not. If anything alcoholism represents an exaggeration of the human struggle. However, in most cases, most alcoholics never reach redemption. There is no hero’s return and all that could’ve been never was. That’s not to say these statistics can’t change, however, it would take a complete societal overhaul to do so.

Can alcohol abuse be cured?

Yes. The simple answer is yes. How do I know? I’ve seen it and I’ve heard stories. However, it is not how we imagine. Instead of never drinking again, the once alcoholic might have a drink a night (or not at all). They learn to moderate their consumption. It would be great if they never touched a drink again, however, in most cases this is far from realistic.

Ideally, the system would be set up professionally. Instead of going into rehab, an alcoholic should first be diagnosed by a professional (in the field of medicine). Not necessarily for their drinking but rather any underlying conditions they might have, such as depression. Then one might introduce the alcoholic to individual counseling and later on they should gradually reduce the amount they drink through a detox center. Afterwards, they should be introduced to rehab in addition to support groups (groups such as AA, although I wish there were more). The key word being “should”.

Does Rehab work?

No. At least, not in the United States. Rehab in the U.S. has a hefty price tag and does absolutely nothing. It’s a business and everyone suffers for this fact. A lot of programs don’t monitor the patients and try to offer a quick fix for a cure. They take advantage of those who want to get better and it’s a damn shame. Patients get shuffled from clinic to clinic and the only ones who benefit are those who own the clinic. If you’re curious as to how rehab works in the United States, here is some of the limited research I was able to find on the subject:

VICE DOCUMENTARY

JON OLIVER SEGMENT

My Story

How long have I known? Since Elementary School, so well over 15 years. The first instance I can remember is when I wandered upstairs one morning, entered the bathroom, and found about 5 empty wine glasses on the counter. And growing up I remember my Father slept a lot. He worked 12 to 16 hour days (5 in the morning till 5 in the evening) and when the evenings rolled around, he would either be sailing or asleep by 6. On the weekends? Yard-work or sleeping. It was exciting when we would go out as a family, however, excitement eventually turned into disappointment and embarrassment…

In Middle School, I was part of a bowling league. Every Saturday I’d go, and while it was fun, I always felt uncomfortable when my Father would place bets on whether or not I could make tricky shots. More uncomfortable was how he could never let anyone else pay for a meal (we always got breakfast before league) as though he was doing the other parents a favor. In Boy Scouts, he was always involved, however, it always felt like he cared more about the other children than his own. He would constantly be helping out and we were left to our own devices (so long as we didn’t wander too far). If we wanted to walk around our neighborhood? We had walkie talkies.

In High School, the economy crashed and while he had always drunk, it was far more noticeable at this point. And while our financial situation had changed, his spending habits did not. He still sailed and he still had a loving family, so there was very little reason to change. At this point in time, I believe my brother had just graduated High School and was enrolled in College. Also during this period, my Father bought a tractor (that was the day my brother and I stopped mowing the lawn) and as if that weren’t bad enough, drove it down the street to offer his help in mowing our neighbors lawns. As much as I wish I could make this up or add spice to the story, this is literally what happened. I chuckle now but it was quite embarrassing at the time. Anyways, fast forward to my senior year and my brother was forced to drop out of College due to “costs”. I was worried but looked past the situation as I had just been accepted to university. My Father had “promised” I would be taken care of and at this point I still trusted him, despite years of broken promises. During this period we had been to family counseling. My High School counselor was able to identify that something was wrong and while I saw the school psychologist for a bit, it was eventually recommended that we see counseling as a family. I was excited to go. And then my Father turned it into a joke… He truly believed he didn’t need counseling, that there was nothing wrong with him. And then I was off to College.

As a Freshman it was extremely difficult. I tried coming home on the weekends, however, my Father would always be drinking. And once my dog died, I stopped going home altogether. I was angry, ashamed, afraid, and sad. So many times I wanted to give up, yet I kept going. Eventually, after another argument at home over finances, I knew student loans were my only option. My Father made enough to support his family, however, due to his drinking and gambling addictions, we barely had enough money to buy bread. People would see our 3 car garage and think my family was well off when in reality we barely had enough money to keep the electricity going (and not even). When I started taking control of my finances, a miracle happened. I no longer had to join a class 2 or 3 weeks late (classes were 10 weeks for perspective) and when I got a job, I had just enough to get by. And my roommates? They were beyond understanding even if they didn’t know the details. I would not have graduated if it weren’t for great roommates, plain and simple. And my Mom. She worked while I was in College and that extra bit made all the difference. My Father would sporadically help, however, that would only be after arguing with my Mom for God knows how many hours. And I went into extreme budgeting, literally surviving off of eggs and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Rent was as cheap as it could get and I never bought textbooks unless I absolutely had to.

Then my Father totaled our jeep… Another drunken escapade. He was forced into rehab and that was the only time I had ever truly seen (actually, more like heard) him sober. He wasn’t happy that his drinking had finally caught up to him and that, after all those years, his license was finally suspended. I took this chance to severe my relationship with my Father. At this point he was an obsession and I knew for myself to survive, I could only focus on myself. The conversation was less than pretty but I said what I needed to say. And from there I began to thrive. I became the person that no one would believe had trust issues and I was happy that I was finally able to break free from co-dependence. I had no one to blame for my actions but myself and I was finally free. If I’m not mistaken, it was around this time I stopped playing victim with my life and began to truly live it.

So come graduation, I decided to be the better man. I invited my Father to graduation and decided to give him one last chance. It was awkward but I felt it was the right thing to do. I wanted to see if we could reconcile, so after graduation I took a break. And for a while my Father was sober. He was going to AA meetings (I had always wanted him to go growing up) and we were having family dinners! It was wonderful and everything I could’ve ever wanted. And given a few more years, we might’ve resembled a family. However, nothing gold can stay. As soon as my Father got his license back, it was like a switch. He was mobile again and went for the nearest bar or liquor store… Did he resist the temptation? I can’t really say. Regardless of his thought process, the outcome remains the same; he is drinking again and there is nothing I can do to stop it.

Where does our relationship stand?

There is no relationship left, there hasn’t been in years. I am proud of myself for giving my Father another chance and while it is my hope that he does stop drinking, I won’t be around to witness the day. I hope he learns to open up about his past and learn to truly trust others, even if they might hurt him. I hope he can be vulnerable, to allow himself to cry and not think himself weak. And I hope he continues to seek help and it saddens me that this is the bridge I must cross, but cross it I must.

A relationship cannot exist without trust. And after a lifetime of broken promises, lies told, and feeling like I didn’t matter, the trust is gone. I can run from reality or I can face it. This is not easy to say let alone hear. However, it is important that I acknowledge the fact.

I will be fine. The goals I’ve set for myself I’ve accomplished and the pain has become bearable. I am independent and it’s time to step forward into the world once more…


And with that, my mental health awareness series comes to a close. A month of writing and many hours spent researching the various topics as well as reflecting on my own life. It feels as if a weight has been lifted off my shoulders; I’m glad I was finally able to talk about this difficult subject after so many years. When I wrote my “Journey’s End” series on vulnerability, I mentioned one demon I could not yet tackle and I thought I never would… However, today and here on after I can proudly say I have. Thanks for reading and I hope you’ve found some benefit from my mental health series.

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Our Darkest Shadows: A tale in wellness

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” – Confucius

Depression. The darkness that lurks in every corner not lit. We all carry our little flames, shielding them with our hands in an effort to keep them from going out. And I’ve found in life, as long as there are still embers, the fire can be lit again. We may not see the embers, but they are there nonetheless.

And this is what depression is. It is stumbling our way through the dark, not knowing if the direction we’re headed in is the right one. It is the fear that the flame we carry will burn out, never to be lit again.


For the longest time I’ve had depression and I had to watch my once bright flame slowly dwindle until it was but embers. The best way to describe depression for those who have never experienced it is that of a rain cloud constantly hovering over someones head. When I was younger, I would take every word said and distort it to my reality. You gave me a compliment? I would tell you why you were wrong. You offered to help? I would take personal offense. As you can imagine, that can be quite exhausting for someone to deal with. The best part? We know what we’re saying is wrong, yet we can’t see past our own delusion.

If you suffer from depression, you know this. There are thousands of articles written on the darkness and how there’s no escape. And if you’re depressed, it is nice for a bit. To know you are not alone in your struggle, that others suffer just as you do. However, then you come to the realization that these articles have no solutions and you dive further down the rabbit hole. And eventually? The lines between reality and fantasy begin to blur and you have to watch your world melt away until you can’t tell what’s up and what’s down. Absolutely terrifying.

This is not one of those articles. This is an attempt to offer some guidance based on my experience.  It’s been a long road, sure, but I can look back and smile. Every struggle has made me stronger and once I learned to cope with my depression, I could see my life in a new light. If this is all you read, just know this: You are worthy of love. You may not feel you deserve it, but you do. Be the person you want to be. And take it one day at a time. It may be hard to put one foot in front of the other but you must.


“And when you needed people the most, it felt like there was no one to be found.”

When I arrived at College, I never imagined graduation. I struggled my first year. My Spring term I found the mental health services. A few years of counseling and then I set out on my own; I would occasionally see a counselor for emergencies, however, not once a week like I used to. At the end of my counseling, I bought a journal and then I set out to bury my past, one day at a time.

I have friends but I feel so alone… I’m sure this feeling will pass but for now I’m in complete despair. I worry too much about what others think of me; I have spent a lifetime trying to find myself when I should’ve been spending a lifetime creating myself. It’s never too late, but I feel as though I have a lot of catch up to do… I wish I had someone in my life I could go to for advice, someone close that could come to my aid in a heartbeat. Mr. E has been the biggest positive influence in my life and the only person I have truly felt has believed in me. I need a break and soon, otherwise I worry that the weight of the world might finally crush me into dust…

I almost didn’t write this article. For research I was reading stories written by others and I could feel the struggle, the conflict. The desire to be better but the not knowing how. Looking for a candle in the dark and finding only darkness… And then I reached for my own journal. Nowadays, I dust it off from time to time. If I’ve had a bad day, I like to write. There was a point in my life I was writing every day and when I reread my journal, I can feel the pen hit the paper and when I was at my worst, the frantic scratches as I sat gasping for air.  To be honest, a part of me wants to snap my fingers and erase this part of my life. However, I wanted to be able to tell my story. And as much as I can try, the past never stays buried.

The Journal

The entry above is from the first day I started my journal. I had nowhere to go and was taking it one day at a time. This was a time where I was fully wrapped in my delusions. My flame was embers and all I could do was pass my hand close to feel what little warmth was left.

It is hard to imagine a time I hated myself and where every step I took was like trudging through wet cement. To simply go through the motions and to have every emotion felt (anger, shame, sadness, and fear) except happiness? A living nightmare. To actively avoid the mirror because I hated what I saw? Pure torture.

But I held on. Why? I didn’t know.  I wanted life to be better and thought “what do I have to lose?” And I supposed, if all else failed, I thought at least I could say “I tried.” and then, “I tried again.” So I used my Cross Country coach as a base. I said “if just one person can believe in me, then I could believe in myself.” I asked myself what he saw in me and remembered that I was encouraged to be at my best. He knew I could be better and that I was more than what I was. He was the one who called me out on making excuses and while it took 5 years, I learned how to take accountability and say “no” (which I still suck at). More importantly, he imposed an idea. A thought in passing that I took to heart, he asked if I really wanted to be “mediocre kid.” And you know what I said? I said “Yes.” Mediocrity was comfortable and darkness? A blanket. For better or worse, it was what I knew. Like Batman, the shadows were my friend.

Victim Mentality

Depression is both behavioral and situational. It is something that can compound over time and is living proof that the little things do add up. Or in other instances, proof that nobody is perfect and all it can take is one moment to break even the strongest of individuals. Depression is complex and must be approached on an individual basis and then, involve a community. People want to be heard and feel valued. The further down the rabbit hole you are, the less likely you are to believe people actually care.

For the longest time I played victim, it was always someone else’s fault or if you know me personally, I would say “society’s fault.” I would blame everyone but myself and then, laying in bed or staring at the mirror, I would do exactly that. Typical “I’m a hideous monster”, “I’m stupid”, etc. You know, all the “positive” reinforcement stuff they talk about in books. And as much as I’d love to share another journal entry, i’ll save you the horrors of the blame game. When I’d go to counseling, I’d sound like a broken record. It was the same story over and over again and while it felt good to talk about, it changed nothing. It eventually led to frustration and then, anti-depressants. I took the lowest dose and tried two different types and while they worked, I eventually stopped.

Regardless, what I learned (and this has been the most helpful in life) was to be proactive vs. reactive. Being proactive is the idea that you are in control and it has three degrees of variance. What you do (control), what other people do (indirect control), and our past or situational realities (no control). Basically all this means is you’re not Doctor Who and can’t change your timeline. All you can really control is yourself and to an extent how you interact with others.

The easiest way to get started is to shift your dialogue. Instead of saying “but”, try saying “and” more. Instead of “I”, try saying “we”, “our”, etc. Instead of “I can’t”, say “I can.”

Acknowledge the past but don’t let it define you. It’s easy to spiral if you’ve had a bad day and focus on that.

Don’t deal with “What If’s.” You will literally spend all day thinking of what could be rather than making it a reality. And the more you do this, the more miserable you become.

And perhaps most important, don’t make assumptions. This was my saving grace. It took forever to realize but a lot of issues I was having with my perception had to do with my assumptions. I would constantly say “Those people are so successful, I’ll never be like that.” and “I bet that person thinks I’m a loser.” or “I don’t think they liked what I said.” Then I started asking people what they thought of me and it wasn’t further from the truth.

Environment Changes Everything

Our innate response when we’re in trouble (or not) is to find like minded individuals. My advice? Don’t. I tried multiple groups before I settled on a strategy that led to my success and while it might not work for everyone, it’s a theory worth writing. If you want success, you must go where success is. In College, I had access to opportunity and resources. I had the luxury of choice. So I joined student organizations and for my first few terms, literally just sat in a corner and said nothing. People were most likely thinking “wow, that Mike guy seems a little off” How do I know this? Friends have told me their first impressions of me. However, I was sitting in admiration (and dismay). I hoped one day I’d be able to get in front of a group and eventually I did. And then the “impossible” happened. people believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. I became a leader and was forced out of the shadows. Did I fail? Yes, many times. However, I always got back up. And through doing and pure association, I became. You can’t see what’s not right in front of you, so it’s best to artificially create a new lens through which to see the world (aka surround yourself with the people you strive to be). And nobody is perfect. It takes time and effort. If change were easy, everyone would do it.

Another note I want to make is when I was finally ready to open up. I was extremely fortunate to have great roommates in College. They, as well as my organizations, have made me a better person. They are some of the best friends I’ve ever had. When I would say something wrong, they would call me out. They taught me to cook, clean, and be an overall decent human being. If I was upset, they’d ask what was wrong. I thought for the longest time, if they knew the real me, they’d run the other direction. However, when I had my tipping point, they stayed. They listened. And when I pushed, they pushed back. And that’s the thing, my case is not uncommon. We may not realize it at the time but looking back we have the support we need even if it may not seem like it at the time. Some leave, sure, but most stay. And those who leave you didn’t need in your life anyway.

If you’re struggling to meet people you strive to be, TED talks, podcasts, books, movies, TV, and video games (story driven) make a great substitute until you can find “your tribe.”

I wanted to start this the other day, but today works just as well. I want to record at least one awesome thing a day as a means of changing my outlook on life. Hopefully this will make me love myself so others can love me as well. So, without further ado, what was awesome yesterday? Free food at the library, yum! Soup, Smoothies, Sandwiches, Snacks, you name it, they had it. Completely unexpected but totally awesome! Roommates made cookies yesterday! So many in fact, that it was impossible to fit them all in containers, awesome!

It Takes Time

“I can no longer settle for second best as I myself have become second best, no where close to where I should be. I have friends, I am not alone. I must break this loop of self-destruction I’ve created for myself and I have to do it now; not soon, not later, now…”

You will not see immediate results. You will get a taste of happiness here and there only to spiral back into depression. This is normal. It’s only when looking back are we able to see the gardens planted in fields that once looked barren. And I’m not perfect. I suffer from depressive states from time to time. The key difference is it has become manageable. Where once I would spend all day in bed, now it’s writing, ASMR, meditation, and my trusty stress ball. Other days it’s flipping through a book or watching a show to remind me of the good in the world. Where once my emotions would run wild, I now wield them as I would a sword. If I am angry, I use my anger to focus and channel my passion. If I’m sad, I let myself cry. If I’m afraid, I put one foot in front of the other; sometimes slowly, but still moving nonetheless. And if I’m happy, I cherish the moment and simply allow myself to be, knowing all too well that tomorrow could bring another storm.

In parting, I want you to know that I believe in you. I am not going to sit here and tell you everything will be alright, but I will tell you that it does get better. When you’re ready to give up and your world comes crashing down, don’t. Keep going. You might stumble and you might fall, but you are worth the fight. Hold your little flame close and don’t let go, for one day it will lead you through the dark.


Thanks for reading! This was perhaps the toughest article I’ve ever written. That’s part of the Mental health awareness project. Each week a little deeper and now here we are at the end! It’s been more of an undertaking than was expected but definitely worth it. Next week I will be talking about what I have deemed as “my final demon” and with that article my mental health awareness month series will conclude. I’m both excited and terrified to finally be writing about it. Regardless, feel free to discuss any personal stories related to depression in the comments below (only if you want). If you liked what I wrote but feel self-conscious, I now have a contact me page and can officially receive emails! I read each and every comment and love hearing from all of you lovely people, so feel free to reach out.

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