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I Had a Panic Attack

Four days ago, I felt my chest beat so hard and rapidly, I thought my heart was going to explode. I feared the worst and with my entire family around me as my body was slowly clenching up, I told them my final goodbyes in case this was the end. In some twisted sense of morality, I let go and told everyone I loved them dearly and said sorry for having to go like this — and so terrifyingly. Of the highest order of my guiding principles on how to live life, I consider this action “directive one” or leave this world peacefully with everyone.

The paramedics arrived and put me on an ambulance to the nearest hospital where they quickly diagnosed me with a severe panic attack. A nurse administered a shot — on a my butt no less. My heart rate went from over 250 back down to 100 in a matter of minutes, but it felt like an eternity for me.

I’m alive. I feel relatively unscathed. Maybe there’s a bit of post traumatic stress disorder still lingering somewhere in my thoughts, but the four days of Xanax I’ve taken has completely removed my ability to even think for myself let alone worry. This might just be the worst year I’ve ever experienced and for good reason.

In those fear filled moments where I thought I was going to die of a sudden heart attack, I wondered to myself, “Wow. This is how I’m going to go — dying and in pain”. It’s morbid to consider. My entire life played like a long movie in my head and this was the finale. I remember thinking I did well for myself even if my life was going to be cut short. I knew if I wasn’t going to be around, at least the very people I love would be taken cared of. I have a very extensive will outlining how my assets get divided up upon my passing and it’s more than what some people make in an entire year.

I’m trying to find some silver lining to this traumatic experience and I’ve come to realize that: 1) I don’t rest enough 2) my friend’s activities are in direct contradiction with my morals and 3) I can die in peace. The last one is a bit much, but I know it to be certain. I’ll be spending less on what the meaning of life is and more about just living to my fullest potential from here on out. It’s strange, yet philosophical.

To all my readers, best wishes and with love. Later world.

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Reminders from Death

Today, I found out one of my childhood friends passed away. It’s terrible news in an otherwise unremarkable week. It’s the sore that lingers in the body that is otherwise unharmed — painful, yet only temporary. As I’ve gotten older with each passing year, I get these reminders — unwanted, but infrequent. Somehow, life goes on. Their presence is no longer of this Earth — only the memories of them. Life feels impossibly fragile when faced with loss and the pain losing someone brings.

It’s the second loss this year. Is it appropriate to keep count? My hope is that everyone lives a life of personal fulfillment and happiness. Search for it, hope you find it, and keep looking towards the future.

Rest in peace Vince.

 

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Mortality

What does it mean to live?

You get reminded of your finite existence every now and again. The receptionist at my office was involved in a very serious accident with a drunk driver this Cinco de Mayo. Fuck that day.

It’s eerie to think we will one day cease to exist. That heartbeat is not forever and everyone you know and love will all have the same fate. It’s said humans are one of the few species in the animal kingdom to know of their fate. For that, the urge to live now and not later should be paramount.

That’s not to say everyone has the same view on life. You can spend years wandering without a clue of where to go and what life holds for you. It’s unfortunate the lives of many fall under this predicament. To live and without intent. To search without a purpose. To go day to day without meaning. Fuck that shit. It terrifies me.

Death doesn’t terrify me as much as it use to. More than likely, my close calls with the grim reaper have made me value living more than anything — pain and suffering included. It’s all a necessary evil that everyone has to face. Can a life of nothing but pleasure be one worth valuing? It doesn’t seem like a reality anyone should want. Paradise by all means is an illusion.

Once in a full moon, I tend to find myself surround by a group of friends who have their reasons for escaping from reality and into the sweet bliss alcohol and other illicit substances brings. There are many means to escapism. None I find particularly worth pursuing. I can’t partake for my own sake and safety. But it’s foolish to say we don’t connect on other levels. These guys just live in other realities below mine.

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Creeping Up

You fear less about wanting to do something when you remind yourself of your morality. A drink here. A line here. A pill or two there. It’s easy to swallow for the bliss all the vices the world brings. It’s a battle against yourself, your mind, and the feelings of temptation.

Life’s not all pleasure seeking. Some days you fall. The false invincibility substances and sweet lady courage brings is met with danger. You tend to get lucky. Like most addictions, it’s fun in the beginning. Slowly, the light begins to fade. You’re met at the abyss. Look into the mirror and you may see someone unfamiliar. It’s interesting how you can lose control of your own body.

The mercy of the world is right in front of you. Somehow, telling yourself no is one of the hardest decisions there is to make.

Fight me.

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Where You Come From

Yesterday was Saint Patricks Day. While many would opt for the usual drunken shenanigans that comes with diving into your inner Irish, I went and paid respects to my Grandpa and Great Grandma. It’s been ten years since he left this world and into the pearly gates above. We were all powerless to pull him down as he was lifted into the sky.

My beloved Grandpa Bing loved everyone with compassion and unwavering commitment. Even as I was falling from grace and getting closer to the dark side, he did not once give up on me. It’s incredible considering the things I was up to at the time. My behavior was inexcusable.

I felt a lot of guilt the months and years after he was gone. I set myself up for it in many ways. Here I was, left alone in the world without the one person I held to the highest regard. It was a rude awakening for just how unfair life can be. How the very people you hold closest to you can be taken from you in an instant. It stung, it hurt, I cried, and the feelings linger even now. My world came crashing down as the facade I built up around myself crumbled.

This tragic and heartbreaking time for me was the catalyst that would set into motion for the new me everyone has been accustomed to. I began to care more about the people around me. Often going out of my way for them by any means necessary.

I soon gained an awareness for genuine people who cared about me. Telling friend from foe wasn’t easy. Some fake sincerity with ease. Cut those people out of the boat and hope everyone left is still here for the voyage. I gave no time for fakeness and bullshit. We have clocks and I felt mine was running faster.

My Grandpa always told me two things: work hard and save money. I can admit there were several missteps along the way in fulfilling those two requirements. Ten years later, I feel like I finally made it. I’m not done just yet. There’s always room for improvement. It’s incredible. The ones who make the biggest impact don’t have to be around with you.

All I’m left with are my thoughts. They dwell on past-present. I hope I never forget him and what he’s done for me. I miss him everyday and more than anything in the world.

 

 

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Thoughts on Suicide

The following are my thoughts on suicide. For anyone reading this, I don’t expect you to agree with everything I say. The United States has a growing mental health crisis that’s risen exponentially year after year. I can’t offer any reasons why this is the case other than what I am aware of.

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For some, the thought of ending their own life is a fixation of the highest magnitude. The perils of living have outweighed the desire to continue on, which it’s a thought that is hard to grasp. To somehow be alive and conscious, but seek the solitude that death brings. It’s terrifying and almost salvation in some sense.

They say the ones who go have no warning signs. That they live normal run of the mill lives that otherwise wouldn’t raise any red flags. Perhaps they seek a therapist, but don’t admit to having suicidal thoughts. You have to ask, why would they? The guilt admitting wanting to go brings a lot of conflicting emotions. Burden is brought on to them and those who know. It’s a lost of autonomy for them. The stigma is too strong, especially with the cloud over mental health as severe as it is in the US. The cynicism that suicide brings makes it seem like death will be their ticket out. A permanent one at that.

Mental health care in the States is a joke. Some believe those who are affected by this illness are easy to spot and clues can be found in their behavior. I’m inclined to believe this couldn’t be further from the truth. Those who are suffering suffer silently. There are no hints, no warning signs, and nothing unusual about them. It happens suddenly when you least suspect it. They are silently dying and suffering.

If the act is unsuccessful, you’re met with high medical costs, time in suicide watch, handcuffed to a bed, court dates, mandatory therapy sessions, and round the clock surveillance. It’s fucked up how we can treat people like this.

There has to be a renewed focus on mental health care and prevention. Not all illnesses are so cut and dry. Emotions come in many forms and levels of intensity. How we can condense the complexity of a person’s mind and thought processes into archaic and systematic steps isn’t a solution. We shouldn’t punish those who are calling out for help — not like this. Ever.

Later world.

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Taken From Us 1/9/2019

You truly don’t miss someone until they’re no longer around. I think it’s only human nature to long for those you wish you saw again. You remember times you spent with them, laughter, hugs, talks you had — just everything that brings a smile to your face. A large part of life is continuing on knowing all you have are the shared experiences with them and the memories you keep.

Depending on the circumstances, sometimes it’s quite tragic how they go. You see them living their final weeks and days in pain and suffering hoping they would find happiness again — happiness that was taken from them. We all suffer with them in that regard. Feelings are shared and mutual. Their pain is your pain.

I try not to focus on their final moments. It brings feelings of sadness and greif at the very thought. It never leaves your mind though. Afterall, the clearest ones are usually the freshest. Life has a way of tormenting your very being like that. You wish you remembered more of the past, but time is against your side.

When they do go, you’re left with two conflicting emotions: sadness and relief. It’s sad to not have them around, but you’re relieved they’re no longer suffering. To be alive and suffer tears you up inside. There are not enough words to describe the feelings of despair and therefore, I try not to fixate on them. You find solace knowing they’re finally at peace. Such unrest within someone you love turns them into a different person. It makes them a shadow of their former self. Focus on how they were, not how they became. If you remember them like that, letting go gets just a bit easier. Yet, no one is really ready to say goodbye.

Years may pass, but the feelings linger. Places you’ve gone to tend to trigger thoughts of them once again. I suppose for that reason, they truly never fully left you. For that, I’m grateful for the times we spent and memories we made.

Later world.

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Why Go On? 1/4/2019

If you’re opposed to living, I’ll offer my sincerest thoughts on living. Life fucking blows sometimes and anyone who tells you it’s all rainbows and fairy dust is full of themselves. In its most essential form, I’m thankful to be alive and well. It’s not everyday you wake up wondering how you’ve made it this far in life. I’ve had a few close brushes with death in my lifetime. I’ve counted four separate occasions where I majorly fucked up and almost died from my transgressions. You would think you’d learn after the first couple close calls, but I digress. People only change under the most unusual circumstances. I’m fucking stubborn — can you really blame me for the not seeing the light just yet?

After my last three near ODs and one almost drowning, something clicked in the labyrinth of my head. A mind is truly a terrible thing to waste and I’m able to attest to that. They say you see a white light in the moments leading up to your death and in my experience, it’s quite true. It’s the reality of almost dying — your mind goes on this infinite replay in reverse — much like a VCR. You remember times long since forgotten, days you had yet to fully comprehend, and you yourself is an audience your own life. It’s a trip — if that isn’t some major understatement to almost dying. I didn’t reach out towards the light. I wasn’t ready just yet. No one is or should be. There’s much to do and yet to accomplish.

What did I learn from my near bouts of death? Realistically, nothing more than I had imagined it to go. The following day comes and goes, the sun sets and rises, and the need to get off my ass to go to work remains. Perspective is everything and I’m certain mines is a bit more skewed because of it. Old habits need changing, you develop a greater sense of purpose and the reason for living in the modern world somehow becomes more paramount. You live knowing what death feels like and now try to prevent it to the extent you’re fully capable of.

Life’s a bitch. For these reasons, I don’t fear death, I welcome it.

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To Be Lost, Heartbroken and Suffer

Life has a way of throwing a lot at you at once. Suffering, heartbreak, tragedy, etc is all within the realm of possibility. Some days, I’ve felt better and wonder why me of all people. But this is necessary when we’re all given the gift of life. To live is to feel and sometimes we must all suffer — even if it seems like there is no end in sight.

My look at the world has always been bright and optimistic, but I wouldn’t want to be shielded from all the ills, vices, and temptations life brings. Reality hurts and I rather firmly put myself out of the Matrix or the Garden of Eden if given the false alternative. A life of nothing but joy and happiness is a lie — the biggest one there is. We all exist to have experiences and not all that we feel will be good ones.

Your closest friends and family are the ones you hold most dear to you. Yet, the reality is they will all go someday — not now but much later. Death comes and goes much like the changing tides or the many phases of the moon. Laughs are shared, hugs are exchanged, and bonds are made knowing one day, the very people that are a part of your memories will go. I’ve always felt knowing we all won’t be around eventually would make us want to get up out of bed and feel the urge to live now — not later. Time is of the essence and it trickles down the spout. It’s a slow leak, but the water will run out.

To some and some months — myself included, the world feels empty and devoid of joy and happiness. It’s all elusive and much like a quest for discovery. We want to be happy, but it never finds us. Some months it quickly goes as soon as you get a taste of it. All good things are only that — temporary. It doesn’t deter me and shouldn’t anyone for that matter. Feel thankful for the days you do feel your absolute best and hope it comes more often. There are billions of people out there who at one point have felt the same way. For that reason, we should never feel alone. We get better eventually. It may not be a full recovery, but behind every sliver of sunlight piercing through the crack, is a bright sun.

Anyone who’s afflicted with sadness, greif, or depression might feel the days are grey and the world is cruel. You’re right actually — the would is cruel. It’s the only honest and correct response for anyone dealing with days, weeks, or months of crippling depression. Thoughts manifest into habits and those habits keep you a prisoner of your own body. Truthfully, some days I dread at the thought of getting up in the morning and having to show myself to the world. Yet, I find the strength to keep pushing forward. I have responsiblies, duties and ambitious goals to accomplish. I’d feel worse knowing they’re slipping from my grasp by feeling sorry for myself. Your view of the world is never accurate to how you’re feeling this way. If you know this, then get up and go about your day. Odds are, it’s not as bad as things seem. Friends, family and co-workers are there and many have words of advice to keep you moving. We’re all interconnected and supported in that regard. That’s the beauty of life — feeling connected.

For some, years might slip by. It’s only inevitable. Most people are on auto-pilot and have no clear direction or idea what their future holds. It’s why I’m so goal oriented. Goals set the future up and with an expectation of it occurring. It grounds you in the present working up towards something you want to happen or transpire. Without goals, I’d be nobody or the person I am today. Give yourself ambitious goals that’s within the realm of possibility. Find all the areas or ways you can be set back and think of alternative solutions. Plan B is needed as is plan C. There will be bumps in the road. All you’re doing is preparing for the journey. It’s not a full trail you’re following in the woods. Some days, you’ll veer off into the wilderness, but you still have an idea of the destination no less.

With every journey, we all get caught up with unhealthy distractions. They’re littered everywhere and at anytime, will try to deter you. Stop to smell the roses. They look beautiful and smell great. Give time to be mindful of where you are and where you want to be. The more mindful one is with their actions and behavior, the more likely they are to reaching the finish line. Two steps forward and one step back is still a step in the right direction.

Some people suffer their entire lives, which is disheartening to think about. My only advice is to take a step back and reevaluate what’s important in your life. Find what makes you sad and by all means, do something about. It’s always easier said than done, but any solution to a problem requires thinking about it. No one likes to think about the very thing that makes them sad or causes issues.

Do I want to admit I have a few issues with addiction? No. Do I want to admit I needed help? No. If I could have it my way, I’d be just an average Joe trying to find his place in the universe, but I’m far from it. I tend to gravitate towards one thing after the other and fall victim to new traps. Shit, everyone does. If you’ve yet to feel depressed for weeks at a time or wake up and tell yourself you fucking hate everything, then my god, you’re just lucky. Life can be a bitch, but how you deal with it makes all the difference. I’m not Superman and my friends have their own issues to deal with. I’m the end, we openly talk about them and give each other a hand.

The world can be a scary and awful place, but there’s two sides to every story. Dark clouds lead to brighter skies. I can’t say I have all the answers or is immune to my list of vices, but I’ll listen to everything my friends tell me and follow their word. Everyday should be looked upon as a chance for self-improvement. Old habits die hard. The feelings that harm you fade. Memories that keep you up at night grow fainter every month. Shit gets better once new experiences take over. No one remembers everything forever.

There are people I miss. Some everyday for almost ten years. There are words I wish I could take back and said differently if given a second chance. There are times I should of stopped myself but didn’t. I’ve let my closest friends down numerous times. Some have cried, felt betrayed and been belittled in my presence. I’ve failed most my life and am racing to undo it all. But this is the nature of living. It’s an imperfect world and truthfully, there’s no better time to be alive than now. Anyone who says or believes differently hasn’t seen the bigger picture.

Live now and not later, but always onwards. Later world.

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Running Out of Time…

My beloved Grandma told me on Thanksgiving she knows I’m the one who cares and loves her the most in the family. It was beautiful to hear, more so to spend the day with her ensuring she’s not alone. You can say I redeemed myself for all those years I let slip by — salvation even. She remembers the day I arrived in America and I called out for Grandpa and Grandma. I was just 3 years old, yet, I remember it too. It brought a tear to her seeing how old I’ve gotten. Gone are the days of cooking me breakfast and walking me to school. I’m thankful she’s been essential to my upbringing for so long and I have all these memories to keep.

But my Grandma is getting old. She’s pushing 80 and broke to me the hard truth — she doesn’t see herself around in the next few years. Having her tell me the truth shook me to my core. It bothers me to no end. It’s a constant reminder how little time I have with her. It’s the sad reality and I can’t bare the thought.

I’ve planned to buy a condo or house by 2022 and naively thought I was ahead. To my friends, I suppose I am. However, the end should be less important than the journey that brought me there. I just want to share in the moment with her. For some time, I’ve had this perfectly planned phone call. Upon closing on the condo or house, I would call her. I’d asked how her day is, what she’s up to, and surprise her by saying I did it. I can imagine her voice and excitement from the good news. To me, it would be relief and a several tears. Once I’m settled in, I’d bring her over. I’d open the door and let her walk in first to see what my years of planning brought me. It’s joy, excitement, relief, tears, salvation and redemption at the highest magnitude. I could die a happy man if this happens. Her opinion is supreme and this no different.

A few years to me seems like a nothing, yet, my Grandma doesn’t have that luxury. If I could stop time just for her I’d trade my time for hers. I’m running out of time — and it doesn’t sit too nicely in my thoughts. I’ve always said death brings urgency and this Thanksgiving, it resonates all too loudly. My love for her and anyone I care about is everlasting, but time is of the essence. I want a cheat, more time, a few extra lives, a time machine, more money now… I could go on. It’s ambition that drives me — but I blindly follow through the unknown life brings.

The last few years I’ve haven’t fallen short the least bit. Much has been accomplished for my own personal fulfillment, yet the grand scheme isn’t about me. Is so she knows I did it. It’s so she knows I’m ready to take on the world. It’s so she knows I’m a man and not a little boy. My Grandma is everything and my god, I hope and pray I have more time with her.

Life is inherently unfair, but doesn’t mean I won’t make my journey fighting and pushing forward. The very people you love are always the first to go and its wrath shows no mercy. It’s not my idealistic optimistic appraisal, but life always has a set a new challenges with every turn. All I can do is stick to my instincts and remain mindful of my actions. I tend to think about the past a great deal to keep me grounded in reality. You can say that keeps me from forgetting memories that I hold dear.

To live is to share in the moment with your loved ones. Friends, family, the only woman I’ve ever loved… It’s a race against time to make memories.

Later world.