Thoughts on Depression

It just occurred to me an overwhelming majority of the people I’ve known or met have depression in some form — me included. Not that’s necessarily a bad thing. In life, there are legitimately things or events to be sad about. Maybe it’s the loss of a close family member, feeling burnt out from work, the sinking feeling you have at not succeeding the first time around, or the heartbreak felt after a breakup. Shit will be thrown your way. It’s not a matter how, but when. No man is immune to sadness. That’s just they way life goes.

I’ve been told by my close group of friends the list of side effects on antidepressants far outweigh the feeling of being “normal” — if somehow taking a drug to alter your brain chemistry seems normal. I’m happy everyone can be so candid with me and for that, it’s not the route for me — or perhaps anyone for that matter. Being dependent on expensive doctor visits and medication is no way to go about managing your inner turmoil. The days seem grey and gloomy even on the sunniest of So Cal weather, but life gives you an infinite number of ways to deal with depression.

They say people who run and exercise regularly have a better mood overall. I can attest for this — it does help. A few miles a day doesn’t hurt, but you can quickly over do it — note to self: 10 miles a day is way too much. Many of my friends say go take up a new hobby and use that as a distraction. Truthfully, most hobbies require significant time and money if my phases of 3D printing, stock trading, chart analysis, and instant photography are to be viewed in terms of money spent. People just don’t have money laying around to do as they please. Undoubtedly, just venting to my friends offers the best feeling of assurances — that never costs a dime. A few trips to a coffee shop or late night dinners are on me — call it a gesture of my undying gratitude. If you’re willing to listen, at least we can have good food while I go at it. Recently, I found revisiting and discovering new places to go to offer quite a bit of enjoyment. There’s a very curated antique store in my hometown that I’ve absolutely fallen in love with. Antiques just have so much character and history inside. It’s incredibly fascinating to pick up each item up and marvel at the craftsmanship or time it takes you back to. I can easily kill an hour browsing. It’s fun just going by myself, but without a question more enjoyable with someone else for the visit. Now, if I can only convince them this isn’t just “old junk”.

In the past drinking and smoking offered the quick and easy route to a clear head free from intrusive thoughts. It’s an escape from reality, but devoid of treating the very thing that gave you depression to begin with. This is true. One night you have a can a beer; the next night, you’re pounding away at two 40s — easily. Everyone wants a good buzz, but your hangover in the morning says otherwise. Vices are just that — small drops of fuel for the problem you so desperately want to go away. Anyone who says otherwise is lying through their teeth.

I’m no longer a raging alcoholic or chain smoker, but sad thoughts remain — some days worst than others. It’s life. Thankfully, I have the best group of friends I could ever ask for. Honesty triumphs over anything and the feeling you get when your friends are so willing to support you lets me know this too shall pass.

Later world.

 

Two Years to the Day

Today calls for celebration. Two years ago, I decided to permanently quit smoking cigarettes. Much to the amazement of everyone who knew me in college and my close group of friends, I finally realized the harm it was doing to my body. That’s the thing about smoking, you can’t tell how much it fucks you up until you’re gasping for air at the littlest of movements. Walking up a flight of stairs felt like agony and made me sweat more than needed. I was weak and knew it. You do tell yourself various excuses along the way not to give up the habit — it’s only inevitable.

Don’t get me wrong. Smoking is fun and I have far too many fond memories just kicking it outside my shitty apartment in IV with my friends and a few beers. The feeling of drinking and smoking is something else. Your entire body is relaxed as is your mind cleared of unwanted thoughts. It’s a brilliant combination and it’s no wonder so many people do it together. The smell of my favorite brand of cigarettes conjures up vivid memories right down to the finest details. It’s a trap. Give up smoking and you’ll never have those memories triggered, but you’ll gain years onto your life. I think it only adds to the difficulty — so many people try to quit, but ultimately fail.

This would be my third attempt of giving up my beloved American Spirit Blacks. Previously, I tried everything from nicotine patches to chewing gum with limited success. If you really want to stop, I would advise telling everyone you know you’re trying. In doing so, it’s not solely about you, but rather not being disappointed at letting everyone down. You’ll have a few bad apples along the way — people who question your newly minted desire to be smoke-free. Words to the wise: fuck them. Even now, my boss and the owner of the company I work for give me shit for quitting while I’m so young. They both say doing so was naive and I could easily quit in my 30s than stop completely now. These people are weak and you can’t expect them to know where you’re coming from.

At my worst, I was smoking two packs a day. I question if my lungs ever got any actual air in them at this very thought. Add nights filled of alcohol binges and I might as well have been a walking time bomb. Life has a way of really wanting to fuck you and this is my best example. I was not well and knew it, yet I had not the will to stop — yet.

Will is something I believe anyone with a desire to change has. Motivation is the missing component in fulfillment of a person’s goals. Maybe it was my fear of any early death — quite the possibility at the rate I was going or my sudden realization I didn’t have a good enough reason to keep this up. School was done, yet it continued. Whatever the reason, I’m glad I kicked the habit. It still amazes me I’ve made it this far. My lungs recovered, but my voice is raspy and deep. You can’t win them all.

Later world.

Feeling Fortunate

Some days are much harder than others. The universe has a way of biting you and not letting go. I feel I’m quite fortunate to have a group of friends I can be completely honest with, people I can confide in, and look to them for guidance. I’ll be forever thankful they exist and wouldn’t hesitate to bankrupt myself if it meant they get back on their feet.

Recently, I was asked something quite stupid and rediculous, “How do you know for certain their intentions?” I looked at this person with my hand resting on my chin and index finger held up on the side of my face. I had just one thought in my head:

“The fuck do you know about them?”

Is it really impossible to think you can be so close to people? Is it really crazy to think they’re just as much as you’re family as your blood relatives? Holding back an angry response, I only responded with a smile and short “hmph”.

Shame. I’d do anything for my closest friends without a second thought or hesitation. I’d take a bullet for every last one of them. I often joke my slim body won’t stop it, but at least it won’t be lethal. What is living without having others to be there for you and confide in?

I’d trade every penny to my name before I let that be lost to me. Later world. Danny, out.

Winter Nights of Somber Eve

Dearly departed of a time once gone,

The night is dark of a cold winter breeze,

Days of yesterday and tomorrow then,

Yet present feels like endless creed,

Your thoughts betray you,

Past, present, and future,

Ticks nor tocks have time awarded,

The night was young,

But the days are gone,

Dream state infinity

Past days of serenity

Looping love like afterglow

Land of the rising sun and sea side scapes,

Darling. Where are thou?

Dearly beloved of the night sky haze,

Is the moon not above?

What is I but not of you?

Tis the end of you and I,

Merry merry merrily of closing chapter end

Your words stunned

Your words echo

Chambers fill with voices then and now,

Of that that time of you and I,

We walked.

I ran.

And in the end,

I let you go and forever as my friend

Call it love

Call it lust

It was all a dream — the girl of corn flower hair

Depression: Getting Help

The past several days, I’ve come to realize my case of the “winter blues” is something more serious — requiring medical attention. Usually, I’m able to snap out of it within a few days, but there’s something difficult this year preventing me from the seeing the light. I haven’t felt right all month and that’s reason to worry. I’ve spoken to two doctors and both conclude I’m diagnosed with depression.

I’ve been asked how my life is going and in all honesty, it’s going great — at least on paper. This job pays well and it’s afforded me the ability to laser my eyes, fix my car, get those tattoos I’ve always wanted, basically buy anything to my hearts content and even pay for my best friend’s plane ticket. I’ve met all my goals and then some — there’s no reason I should feel like this. I’ve spoken to Julian, Garza, and Anthony about this and I’m thankful they support my decision to see a psychiatrist. The stigma with mental health is still there, but I have no reason to hide it from them or even my co-workers. They notice something is off and I’m not terribly good at hiding my feelings from the outside world. I look sad(er), but that’s fine and I’ll admit I’ve felt better days.

At least with everyone knowing what’s wrong, I can make a few jokes about seeing a therapist. There’s always an upside to everything — even if the days feel grey and cold. My thoughts tell me I need to be alone and keep away from everyone who cares about me, but I know I shouldn’t. Truthfully, the first step to getting help is admitting you have a problem.

Well, I do. I’ll be seeing a psychiatrist and be on medication or at least temporarily. I can’t imagine taking an antidepressant long term without a few reservations about being forever dependent on them. Everything gets better with time.

What separates the current me with my former self is I’m more mindful of how I really feel. Rather than ignore the issue and resort to drinking or smoking, I don’t fucking have that luxury anymore. Old habits die hard, but really — this kinda fucking blows. I would advise anyone who binge drinks to 1) stop before it’s a habit 2) ask yourself why you do it. I’ve personally let this get the better of me and my 1 year no alcohol pact is really putting up a challenge. Would I rather fall back to how I was a few years ago than feel overwhelming depression? Hell no. I put this on myself and it’s finally caught up to me. Life comes back around to bite you.

I’ll answer one difficult question I’m sure lingers in everyone’s thoughts, “Do you want to hurt yourself?”

Hell. No. Not then and definitely not now.

October has been my most “productive” month if that somehow downplays the severity of my work life / social life imbalance. Putting in ten hour work days this entire month and even weekends has taken it’s toll on my body and mind. Motherfucker, you need to chill. Yeah, I know. I’m a workaholic with self-destructive tendencies that raises eyebrows. My thoughts sometimes teeter between obsessive compulsive and neurotic. It makes for error-free office work and high-level productivity. Ha. Considering I originally had a month and a half to complete this project and I essentially squeezed it all into one week and a half sounds like a miracle. The owner of the company is flying in suddenly and wants it done now — I’ll happily oblige with a few consequences thrown in. My hands shake and only stop with a few cups of tea and cappuccinos. I’m tired. Fucking hate everything. But only one of those statements is true. Take your pick.

The cloud looms over me, but sunshine is just on the horizon.

“The past few years I was a grape,

But now I’m a raisin,

Not yet aged like fine wine”

If you’re one of the dozen or so people I’ve told about my online diary of sorts and have a few comments or reservations about having me prescribed medication, please reach out.

I’ve personally told everyone who needs to know right now and with that, I have a feeling of security and safety at hand. Later world. Danny, out.

The Why In Life

What is the purpose of life?

This question bothers me to no end. In an age where everyone is connected digitally in some form or manner, why is it we lose touch with people? I’m thankful I have a group of very close friends I text daily and can confide in. Honesty and sincerity matters with friendship or companionship, yet it’s rarely seen. I love seeing someone in their state of vulnerability. It’s genuine, candid, and a glimpse into their soul — something real and unfiltered.

I fear not for living, but not seeing someone for who they really are. People often only want their best side to be broadcast online, but it’s far from the reality of life. You cry, get depressed, and generally have an awful time for at least a small portion of the year. That’s the reality of living. Without it’s downs, could you really say life’s special moments can exist? Candidness wins me over beauty any day. Add intelligence in the equation and I’m in love. To be close is to be vulnerable and open to pain and heartbreak. Yet, knowing the possible outcome doesn’t hold you back from being with someone or some person. Tell me your deepest darkest secrets and I’ll gladly tell you mines. I have problems and so do you.  If they convince you otherwise, that’s a lie. Anyone who paints a perfect picture of their life feels more like reality TV than live breaking news. We are people living in an imperfect world somehow surviving in the chaotic coldness of space. It’s amazing how we or anything exists.

I often use to fear not living long enough. They say the next person to live to 130 years old has been born already. While that sounds fascinating and incredible to comprehend, I ultimately think it’s what you do with your time on Earth that matters. It’s a matter of purpose and impact over duration any day. A life spent holding back and caught up in vices is precious time wasted. You can say this is why I’m often so outspoken and unhinged with my friends or love interests. Say you were dating someone for a while painting a picture of what you want to be rather than who you really are. Is that fair to your date? Is it not bait and switch in the clearest of form? She’ll figure out the real you quickly, so why worry about looking like Mister Perfect when you can relax and just be yourself?

Guys get too caught up on worrying about how they look to others. I chalk that up to insecurities more than anything. No man is immune to sadness and anyone one who says they don’t cry is a lie. We all get sad — only difference is how it manifests itself in you. Maybe your best friend nearly drinks himself to death after a hard break up, or has tears roll down his face when he talks about “her”, either way — raw human emotion is powerful, brutal, and yet strangely beautiful. Ask me, “What makes you sad?” and I’ll tell you with the utmost honesty if you’re willing to listen. If anything, you’re doing me a huge favor and one less session with the therapist.

There’s a quote from one of my favorite movies, “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering”. While normally, I don’t think too deeply about quotes from a science fiction movie, this one holds true. Fear is innate in us all. Whether it’s fear of rejection, death, loss, or something much darker and colder, with too much of it, eventually you will suffer. Don’t run from your fears or resist not thinking about them. Saying you’ll sleep on it, won’t make fear go away. Face them head on and battle your own inner demons. A life spent living in fear is one shackled on one foot and a prisoner of your own mind.

Personally, I use to fear death and the very thought of non-existence shook me to my core. Many sleepless nights resulted from this very thought. Only did I become honest with myself did I realize I don’t fear dying — I fear not living the life I could have had if I tried harder. While I often joke around about dropping out of college for an entire year, it was a miserable time spent thinking about fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Without purpose, fear manifests. Set goals and if they are met without much difficulty, be more ambitious. Anyone with a plan can meet any goal no matter how grand or big. It’s the truth and I’m a firm believer in personal responsibility. One who takes the first step in reaching their goal is one of action and direction.

It’s a miracle I’ve gotten so much done the past few years — honestly. High school was spent dicking around and not giving a fuck. Now, I’m respected (and somewhat feared) by my co-workers and peers. Amazing. I naively use to think the hardest part was finding some way of graduating college without a penny to my name or a major in mind. Looking back, higher education was a piece of cake once I started to give a fuck.

What is the key to life then? Don’t hold back. Tell everyone what you want to say now — not later. Be candid, honest, and real, both verbally and emotionally. Don’t fear living. Fear not being the real you in the short time we are alive. Sometimes you need to say fuck it and just do it. Ask that girl you’ve been eyeing and take her on a date. Call it a date too. Other times, you need to be alone and figure it out for yourself. Life will always throw a curve ball in your direction. Most days, it’s a miss. Either way, you’re human and not invulnerable to unwanted thoughts, feelings, or experiences. Be you and I’ll fucking love that more than anything else I can buy or own.

Calm After the Storm

The night was without a noise or a rustle in the bush,

Look around and find tranquility of the evening

Yet darkness looms across the horizon

A torment for the ages and tragedy of the fragile mind

Eer for not the cold but a weeping soul

For there is no escape from your inner self

To err is the be human

Unrequited love of days gone past

Such the world we live in of modern vices and the wicked

Your thoughts betray you

The sky becomes gray, water of a lesser blue, and days of gloom

Perchance for not living

Yet the anguish in the missed is unspeakable grief

There’s calm after the storm

Set sail in the bay and graze up towards the half moon

The wonder of the celestial and dusty cosmic of yonder

Perhaps there is more to living and the undiscovered

Until then dearly departed, I’lll miss you then and forever always

 

 

 

 

 

 

Envy & Jealousy


envy: a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck.

It’s good to be envious of others. Without it, you may never know what you’re missing out in life. Perhaps it’s someones car, relationship with a woman, or family bond. You want what you don’t have when making these comparisons and should use it as driving motivator in obtaining the life you want. Motivation is hard to self-rationalize and acquire if all you have are your own thoughts. If it makes you discontent, then by all means do something about it. Self-loathing and unrest won’t make envy go away.

I personally love envy. Without it, I would have never knew how good others have it and use it motivation to somehow acquire it for myself. In the past, it was as simple wanting the same material possessions. More recently, I use it for fuel in my pursuit of self-improvement and betterment. Material possessions won’t make you any happier and that’s something I unfortunately had to learn the hard way. Ownership of said things doesn’t make you better or superior than the next person over — far from it.

Some of my friends and co-workers say I have expensive taste. Maybe this is true in their eyes, but having nice clothes, an expensive watch, a new MacBook, and the latest iPhone isn’t making me any more content or happy. You can say I’m quite fortunate to be able to afford these items and then some, but I make sure to stay grounded. Be envious of me, but don’t think I think otherwise of you have having lesser. Find motivation and with that in your grasp, you can do literally anything life throws at you.

jealousy: feeling resentment against someone because of that person’s rivalry, success, or advantages (often followed by of)

While at first glance, it may seem jealousy is the same as envy, this is untrue. You can see envy as a two person affair — you and the person’s possessions, qualities, or luck you’re envious of. Jealousy on the other hand is a three person matter. While envy is the discontent you feel in making social comparisons, jealousy is the threat of losing someone. It’s a triangle and some outside party is causing you to believe your relationship with your significant other is at jeopardy.

It’s a terrible feeling. Maybe it’s a coworker your significant other is close with and hear about — it causes your thoughts to run wild. My last girl friend attempted this so I would feel jealousy, but failed much to her dismay. I’m not jealous the least bit ever. How can this be possible? I know I can be and do anything and anyone who’s a threat is only my mind being irrational. That’s not to say the threat isn’t real. Sometimes, you have to fight for love. Bring it world.

Envy and jealous is fuel for the fire. And until mines goes out, I won’t stop trying any time soon…

10/15/2018 – 6:00PM

I come across the empty bridge in the city of rose,

My eyes peer over and into the depths below,

A sun casts a shadow and I can feel to disappear,

Yet all thoughts remain,

Past love and more at every corner and every street

Days I’ve wanted and days I missed

What is love without the city?

Darling, where are thou?