Tired tired tired everywhere.

I have been so tired in the most recent weeks. Going back to work has taken its toll on me. My wife and kids have felt it as well. Starting school and keeping up with all the different jobs has been exhausting. I barely have time to function.

I came across a meme that help summarize how I have been feeling. I do feel that fibromyalgia could be changed to almost any chronic disease. I would be very presumptuous to think we have the corner on pain.

I am pressing forward. I am doing my best not to let this hold me back.

Any prayers would be most appreciated.

#hugapony

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Labor Day quickie.

I find the title funny because I am now employed! I am back in the labor force and am going to be stocking shelves overnight at a big box store. My family is in need of a little extra income to make it through the month and pay some bills off. I really wanted to be able to make my blog work on donations or my convention work to pick up the slack but that is not the case.

I hope everyone remembers to treat others as humans this weekend and not like robots. I do believe in good karma and treating our fellow man as a person and not a cog in a corporate machine. As you encounter people working this holiday weekend, go out of your way to say thank you. Make them feel special. You could help save a life.

Love Letter

We all need love. As humans, it is something we all want. I want everyone on this blog to know that I love you. You read this blog and by doing so you show me love. I am called by my God to love everyone. I do my best and try to help those I love. I feel my purpose is to share love in this world. I feel my purpose is to help others. I have a wife whom I love dearly. I have two amazing daughters that I love.

And I have all of you as well.

 

If you ever feel like no one loves you, bookmark this page. Read it again. Watch an amazing video. Leave a comment (once or a thousand times), I will respond each time. Someone loves you always. I believe that by sharing love, we might be able to stop some of the hate.

I love you all.

#hugapony my friends.

Contentment v Complacent

I have been know to be complacent from time to time. I get caught in a rut and just coast through my day as best as I can. While not good, I have felt that it just gets me through another day and I am able to hope for a better one tomorrow.

Contentment is something I am striving for now. I want to be content in what I have and what I live with. Contentment is feeling happy regardless of your life at that moment. It is looking for the joy in your life and the small things that help make it through the day.

I find that a lot of people confuse the two. They are not interchangeable. Complacent is lazy. It allows people and events around you to control you. It forces itself on you. You become Complacent. Contentment is looking and choosing to accept what is going on around you. You can still have bad days and be content. It is a state of being.

I have tried always to go from a human doing to a human being.

I am by no means perfect. My wife likes to comment on how people try to be perfect and strive for that perfectionism; people who try, always fail at being perfect. I agree, no one will ever be perfect. But you can be content. People who are content live better lives with less stress.

Now please don’t mistake contentment with complacency. You can be content and still strive for a better life with more in it. Here is where people veer off and think that by being content they do not strive for more. Complacency does this. You accept your lot in life and that is all you can hope for. The cards dealt you a hand that is horrid and you got to play on through. Contentment is realizing that you might can win with your cards already but, if not, you get another round the next deal.

Complacency is stagnant.

Contentment is found joy.

I have had to do serious thinking about my life and my mental and physical health in the recent months. I have had to make choices that will affect my life. I have had to recognize my own complacency. I have just accepted my fate and I have to live with it. We all have to live my mental illness and disability. I am making those around me, nay, forcing those around me to accept me and my condition.

Selfish no?

I now acknowledge that I started that path. I am not proud of it. I am now working towards contentment. I am working on helping others; either through panels or my blog or even a phone call from a friend. In a most recent panel, I talked about how my life has given me a superpower, my condition. It makes me more aware and effective in helping others. If I can show compassion and help others, who else will it inspire? I am choosing to be a better person and be content.

So I ask you, are you content or complacent?

I choose joy. I choose to find joy. I choose my soft plush ponies to hug and help me through bad times and am thankful for them. I am thankful for my family and friends who accept me. I am choosing to be grateful for my life. Complacency is a breeding-ground for bitterness and bitterness helps no one.

What do you choose?

#hugapony my friends.20141024_131856

Helping hands.

I had a solo panel at Anime Overload in Austin, Texas this past weekend. I managed to speak clearly, not break down crying, and I hope I change some lives.

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It might not show it here, but it was an almost full panel with most of the chairs filled (including my thumb at the bottom right corner of the screen!). One of the things I do at this type of panel is close the door and make it a safe room. We keep what happens behind those doors safe and secure. Stories that are shared and experiences that happen are locked for only those in the room to hear.

I enjoy the help it brings to others. I have been asked to continue this type of panel for at least two other shows. It shows the growing need to talk openly about things like depression and other mental illnesses and give support to those who need it. I have been blessed to have people support me on this adventure and I am humbled to have been put in this position.

One thing I notice in this panel is the raw emotion that comes from the room. Being able to handle that and to deal with it has never been easy. I spent the first hour after this panel trying to keep to myself and deal with all the emotional energy that comes from talking/venting/sharing. I have yet to see a panel where at least 50% of the attendees did not cry (myself included).

Now this is not just a panel about openly talking about our lives but also how to help others and ways to deal with problems. I always invite people to share their lives and experiences with others to show what works and doesn’t work. I share my life and ways to help others. I push them to form a community of individuals to bond together and to build support groups.

At the end of the day I was able to talk to several people closely and give them some guidance in their lives. I was approached by the directors toward the end of the convention because someone (or more than one I am not sure) spoke out at a meeting requesting me to continue to do the panel. Again, humbled was just the first thing I felt.

I am drained at the moment but happy. I enjoy helping people and it makes me want to do more. It takes a lot out of me to speak like this but I hope to get better at it. If you were at the panel and want to leave a comment OR you would like to request a panel for a convention, leave a comment.

Leave a comment to just say hey if you want, I will respond.

Thank you all for your love and support.

#hugapony my friends

The Great Unknown.

It has not been a good day/week/month/year mentally. I have undergone many a issue. I have worked harder on finding out more about myself and what is going on. I have worked harder on myself and my illness. I have tried to make things change. I have pushed to have more control over my life.

And I feel back behind square one.

Square Zero.

I am tired of being tired. I am tired of being sick. I am tired of hurting every single day. I am tired of being a mess.

I decided to write what I feel and what goes through my head when I am having a bad day. I wanted to show what goes through my head and what my mind is telling me. I wanted to see on paper and hold my issues in my hand. Try and see the tangible evidence of my mind spiraling out of control. I only wrote for about a minute, but it was not pretty.

I AM SELF-CENTERED. I am an idiot. I am a horrid person. I am a failure. I bring everyone down around me. No one wants me. No one actually cares for me. No one wants to give me anything. No one wants to do something for me without wanting something in return. I always feel guilty, even when sitting and reading. I don’t take care of the kids. I don’t fulfill anyone’s hopes, dreams, desires. I am not attractive. 

I am trying to sort through just went through my head what my mind tells me.

I know I am not a complete failure. (But you fail at so much)

I know I take care of my kids. (You don’t do enough)

I know people care for me. (They are just faking or feeling sorry for you out of pity)

I know my wife and kids love me. (They have to, they don’t have a choice)

I should not feel guilty about sitting and reading. (You are lazy for taking time for yourself and need to be helping others or cleaning or anything but what you want to do)

My mind is a battleground. I wanted share this with everyone. Not for pity or help. But to show that I suffer as well. I fight each day. I have people fighting with me. I am seeking new ideas and ways to help/sort/better myself.

You are not alone, dear reader.

Even holding the card in my hand, I see myself and almost want to take pity on me. I have to write things down to get them out of my head? Worthless. Even now I struggle to be free of my mind.

Even now I hug a pony.

 

 

 

I wish I had Cancer

Cancer is a disease that people can relate to and under. The causal head nod, followed by the “I’m so sorry” makes it so people understand that something serious is going on. People hear it and recognize that a person is going through one of the most difficult things to go through. One of our closest family friends is a cancer survivor. Eight years ago she got a terminal diagnosis. She says her first thought was “Thank God it’s cancer and not depression.”

Depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses don’t carry that same weight. People don’t understand and cannot see the changes. Family, friends, and even doctors all look at you and say “It is all in your head”. While they are not false, this makes it seem like I have the ability to change my illness and “Just feel and act better and you will BE better”. It is easy to forget that these illnesses can be just as deadly.

Here are some statistics on depression/suicide.

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US for all ages. (CDC)
  • The suicide rates decreased from 1990-2000 from 12.5 suicides per 100,000 to 10.4 per 100,000.  Over the past decade, however, the rate has again increased to 12.1 per 100,000. Every day, approximately 105 Americans die by suicide. (CDC)
  • There is one death by suicide in the US every 12.3 minutes. (CDC)
  • Depression affects 20-25% of Americans ages 18+ in a given year. (CDC)
  • Suicide takes the lives of over 38,000 Americans every year. (CDC)
  • Only half of all Americans experiencing an episode of major depression receive treatment. (NAMI)
  • 80% -90% of adolescents that seek treatment for depression are treated successfully using therapy and/or medication. (TADS)
  • An estimated quarter million people each year become suicide survivors (AAS).
  • There is one suicide for every estimated 25 suicide attempts. (CDC)
  • There is one suicide for every estimated 4 suicide attempts in the elderly. (CDC)

With all this data, why is there such a stigma around mental and neurological disorders? Why are people so quick to judge? Why is it so hard to believe it IS all in my head due to my head having an illness.

It is frustrating trying to explain why you can’t focus on the happy. Your mind looks and seeks the flaws. You go and find thinks to fill the gaps in your day so the anxiety doesn’t catch up to you. You just try to stay ahead of the wave that is threatening to drown you.

And people stare at you.

They wonder why you are so different. They wonder why you can’t just feel better. They just want you to be normal. They are tired of you and all the baggage that you carry. They get tired of you and how you act.

Believe me, if I could just “Man up” and be a better person, I would have done it years ago.

No, I would never want or wish on anyone cancer. It is a terrible disease and I am glad so much time and research goes into it. I just want people to understand that mental health issues can be just as dangerous and deadly. Keeping people’s mental state in order so they can live better lives should be a focus for everyone.

I’ll step off my soapbox now.

#hugapony

#prayers4dallas

I am calling for prayers and good will to those of us here in Dallas. This was 15 min away from were I live. This is way too close to home for me. I will resume normal posts at a later date. I and my family and friends are fine. I pray for peace for the families of the fallen. Thank you to those who serve.

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#weallneedaponytonight

A-kon panel #2

My second A-kon panel was not an easy one. I was part of a group that spoke on invisible diseases and disabilities. I was asked several months before, if I wanted to be a part of it. I jumped at the opportunity to speak. Unusual for a introvert like me. I, however, know that I have a way with words and thoughts and feelings. I know I can help people.

That I have, indeed, helped people.

We all gathered in a panel room, all unsure of what to expect. The room was almost filled. We sat down and our head panelist called everyone’s attention.

And we talked.

We, as the panelists, gave our stories. We gave our backgrounds and our illnesses. We gave our experiences. As our stories were told, I ended up passing some of the ponies I carry on me (my talisman against the evils of depression and anxiety) up and down the panel line to help every get through their stories. We gave a piece of ourselves to the crowd.

And they responded.

I do not believe there was a dry eye in the room. I saw some people get up and leave, only to come back with tissues.

Some cried for us. I had a close friend who said they could only see us as people she couldn’t help and wept. She had me in tears when I talked to her afterward. This kind and loving soul said she just wanted to give us all a big hug and make everything better.

Some cried with us. Some in the audience stood up to thank us. They were amazed that we had the courage to speak. They said they didn’t feel alone any more. We all were in a room that was a safe place, and the audience opened up.

It was awe inspiring.

After the panel the crowd came up to talk to each of us. Some wanted to know more of what we do to work through our illnesses. Others to reach out with encouragement. One will forever stick in my mind.

I have a wonderful young lady come up to me and thank me for speaking. She told me she had been fighting her own anxiety that day and had almost left several times, but she wanted to attend our panel. She said she was so glad she did. I thanked her for coming and started talking about what she had been through. She started to cry as I could see her beating herself up for having the anxiety but she didn’t know what else to do. She had nothing to help her.

She didn’t have a talisman against the dark.

I pulled out my mini Fluttershy and handed it to her. She took it as she wiped away tears. As she started to calm down, I asked her if she had heard of stuffed therapy. She said she had during my presentation but didn’t know much more than that. I told her that the plushie she held was the first step in helping. I showed her how much she had calmed down just by holding it and petting it. I showed her a weapon to fight with.

And I gave her my talisman.

The room stopped. Many there knew my symbol of stuffed therapy. Some knew it was my first plushie in this adventure. They knew it was my mini Fluttershy, and how special it was to me. Tears started to flow from my friends who were still in shock.

This wonderful person who clutched at the plushie started crying and hugged me tight. She thanked me over and over. She took a step back and looked at Fluttershy again. As she looked, I explained that that was my first plushie. I told her that I had it when I first went to the doctor. She look on in shock as I explained how much love and help that mini had given me. Shock then spread to the rest of the room as everyone saw me tell her that I wanted this dear girl, who was suffering, that I wanted her to take care of Fluttershy.

She broke down crying and hugged me again even tighter.

I said a quiet goodbye to one of my dearest friend who brought me so much strength and love. I passed her on to the next person to take care of her. I strengthen someone else to help them through life. I started to cry myself.

Everyone started to cry.

I am tearing up thinking about it now. I wonder how she is doing? I wonder how her mini Fluttershy is doing? I wonder if I helped enough?

I believe I did.

Goodbye once more, my dear friend. May you bring happiness and peace and love and joy to another as you did me. You were there for countless panic attacks. You were with me at my first doctors visit. You were there in the hospital when I was sick. You were there in the lowest times of my life. May you do well and do the same for her.

#hugapony my friends.

Post A-kon Report

I had a time. It was grand and terrifying. I worked longer and hard than at any other convention I had ever attended. I worked with some of the most amazing people. I cannot thank them enough.

I had a chance to be a part of two fantastic panels. I plan on sharing my thoughts on those in my next post. There was so much fun to be had and many a tear shed in one.

I even gave away something very dear to me.

I am trying to recuperate and get rest while getting ready to move again. I want to thank all of you who read this and follow me on this journey. I checked my twitter and I had over 95,000 impressions in 28 days with a one day of 33,000 impressions as a top day for me. I am humbled beyond reason.

Thank you and love to you all.