Truth and Vindication.

It has been a couple weeks from my last post. I have struggled greatly at what I have wanted to do next. I have thought long and hard about continuing my blog and how I help others. I thought upon my own condition and the battles I have fought. My own demons have been at battle in my body in my own mini civil war. I have been seeking answers for several years now.

And now I had them.

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Knowledge is a double-edged sword.

I have something I can look in the eye and know what I am battling. I have official paperwork and can show people that yes I am sick. I have been examined by a medical professional and have been given the answer. I can proceed on to the next steps and, hopefully, get the proper help.

It also cuts me deep. I cannot deny or excuse myself. I have to admit to myself that “Yes, I am sick.” I was not as prepared for the answer as I thought.

In some small part, I must have even had doubts myself. Who wants to admit to themselves they are broken? It goes to show that even I had doubts about myself. No one is safe from their own inner voice.

I am broken.

And that has to be OK.

I feel like I have run one of the biggest marathons in my life. I have worked hard at research into what is wrong with me. Consulting my doctor, friends, and family for information. I have used my unknown to help countless others. It has been the fuel to drive me to reach my hand out and pick people up. Now that I have the answer, am I out of gas? How do I go on from here? What changes now?

I have spent 2 weeks trying to answer these questions. I am no closer to a solution than I was then. But, I have not thrown in the towel.

Where one journey ends, another begins.

I find myself confused at the finish line I crossed. I feel like I stumbled through the tape and am now in a daze. My journey has been about answers for myself and others. Now instead of seeking answers, I will be looking for help and treatments. I will be walking down a slightly different path. A new race has begun.

I hope you all can join me on this journey.

May all your plushies get hugs.

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After the Black.

Another Black Friday has come and gone. I was fortunate not to have to work this one. I was able to spend time with my family and enjoy time off. I saw several other friends online who were able to be off for the first time, for some, in 25 years. It was heartening to see people having a good holiday.

For every person that had the day off, I saw two more who had to work. As it stands, I saw a reasonably good day on Friday and it seemed that people mostly behaved themselves. While tired, overworked employees abound, everyone survived. 

I look at this last month of the year with hesitation. I see many hard days coming soon and different problems to face. I look over this past year and the difficulties me and mine have handled. I look at my year in review post for new year’s and I see so much that had happened. I honestly can’t remember a year that has flown by this quickly. 

I have an up and coming doctors appointment at which I have to confront my doctor about my medical condition. I am at the point at which my depression is under control for the most part. My anxiety is managed when I have an attack. However, I see my muscle and nerve pain has increased and my body fatigue and insomnia are through the roof and I know more is going on with me. I need more than just pills. I need some answers. 

I need to be diagnosed. Correctly.

I look at family. I want to do so much more for them and I feel I am being held back by so many things. My body can’t keep up. Job opportunities are not there, much less my current job. I just want to be there more for my family. 

I look at my blog. This diary of good times and bad. I see the people I have helped and the trials that I faced. I look at the joy I have spread and the sorrow I helped people through. I see it all and know in my heart that I could do more. 

I can always do more. 

I can always do more to make the world a better place. 

I just don’t have the energy to keep going sometimes. I feel trapped in this shell of a body. The pain and exhaustion overwhelms me. All I can think of is to press on. 

I do it for my family

I do it for you. 

I do it for me.

H

#hugapony my friends

The weekend in review.

It was a long weekend. It started on Friday with my van and the water pump exploding inside of it. Being that this  our only vehicle we were kind of in a bind because we were not going to be able to make it to work on Monday. This was also our only access to most of the outside world. Now while I am an introvert and I would be content to stay at home, this did not mean that I would be permanently founded in the apartment. 

Things were not looking up. 

I then received a message that my mother was in the hospital. She has had issues with migraines and we had not been able to get a cause of why. Of course, with the added stress of the rest of life, I did not take the news very well. So I did what I do best.

I stopped and prayed for a miracle.

I did not get one.

I got many.

My wife and I went to a local dealership to look at vehicles. We have been rebuilding credit due to a bankruptcy and I knew it was going to be a painful process. I had gone online and found a decent car for the money. When we arrived, the salesman and the car was waiting for us. We were the rushed into the test drive. The car was small, very small back seat so not good with a baby on the way, and was beyond basic. While, we really needed more, we did not have a lot of options. Upon arrival we told the salesman that we would have to think about it. He brought in the manager to close the deal. He came in ready to pander and please and my loving wife put a stop to it. The manager completely rubbed us the wrong way and was not what we needed at the time. We left soon after with a very bad taste in our mouths. 

It was after this that I received the message that mom was in the hospital. Not much information to go on but needless to say, it was a terrible time for everyone. I prayed.

My dear brother in law stepped in and saved us. He and his wife are some of the kindness people I know. They knew our situation and stepped in and called to say they wanted to help. This opened so many avenues for us. I was close to tears. Hope was not dead.

The next day we had been prepared to go look elsewhere when a dear friend suggested we go back to the same dealership, talk to a very specific salesman and only work through him. I was reluctant but I decided we would. 

Upon arrival we asked to see this particular individual and he created warmly. He asked what we needed and we told him flat out our needs with kids and one on the way. He was the only person to congratulate us on that fact the entire time. There was an instant liking. We also told him of our displeasure from the day before and he agreed that it was not right. He then lead us to a path on a much better car that had been a loaner but was still considered new. It had so many fancy features and a back seat that could hold 3 grown adults comfortably. Just upon seeing the car, my wife and I were filled with hope. This was the perfect car.

The next two days were filled with better news. My mother came home and was feeling much better. We got an idea of what was going on with her. Knowledge is power and this help tremendously. 

Miracles happen.

We went in finally on Monday and got the final paperwork ready for the car. We had one last barrage of last minute add-ons that the car that we were being pushed to buy. My darling wife batted the numbers aside and in the end we ended up getting all the add-ons with no extra cost. 

We now have a car. A new car. Something I have never had. It was the first time in many years that I did not have the fear of if the car would start. I had a vehicle that did not have a warning light on the dash for the first time in 5 years or more. Relief flooded over me and mine. 

I cannot thank enough my friend that convinced us to go back and also let us borrow a car to do so.

I cannot thank my brother in-law and his wife enough for help us out in a time of need. 

I cannot thank a competent salesman who took the time to listen and care.

I cannot thank the doctors who helped my mom enough.

I cannot thank my wife for being strong and standing by my side.

I cannot thank my God enough for providing it all.

I am beyond blessed.

I still have hardships and trouble that I deal with daily. In the month of Thanksgiving, however, I recognize the need for praise and thankfulness. I am truely blessed.

What are you thankful for?

#huga pony my friends

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

Begin again.

I’ve been scared to write for the past while. It’s not something that I have had to deal with in the past. I’ve always found words to be able to explain myself or to vent my feelings or even to help other people out. I find myself more and more afraid of sharing in the most recent weeks.

I went to the doctor here recently and was prescribed more medication. It has been a rough time adjusting to that and my other meds. I am finding it much harder to focus and to write and be creative. It has gotten bad enough that I haven’t posted in over a week which is something that I haven’t done since starting my blog over two years ago. Words don’t flow the way they used to and even the simplest tasks seem harder now days. I’ve even been contemplating not continuing my blog and ending it where it stands now.
I have decided against doing so.
I know my blog has been an inspiration to quite a few people. I have received more than one note or letter from people telling me how much they appreciate me writing and helping them through difficult times. I feel somewhat responsible for helping continue to help people out through tough times in their lives. That is not something I can throw away very lightly.
And so I asked my dear friends, please bare with me over the next coming weeks as I am continuing to adjust to this new life on more meds. I have recently started a overnight stocking job for a large retail company as well to keep things mixed up. I also had some other interesting life news happen that I cannot share at this time. Some of that news was good and some of it was bad. Rest assure I will continue to do my best to help encourage others, and continue documenting my journey through depression and anxiety and other invisible disabilities.
I thank you all who read this. Know that I love each and everyone of you and I look forward to bringing you more words of wisdom and encouragement.

#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

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.

Time is not on your side.

This month as been one of the busiest of my life. I have never tried to cram so much into a month before and I don’t think I ever want to try it again.

I moved from my friends house the first week.

I had the convention A-kon in the second week.

I moved to my new place the third week. So much unpacking.

My wife is gone on a trip with our church’s youth group this last week.

Busy busy busy.

Sometimes that is what you have to do to keep moving.

Time is a terrible thing when you are fighting depression and anxiety. Time that is unfilled is then injected with your mind going crazy and irrational. Anxiety takes those moments and fills them with every possibility of what is going on, everything you should be doing better, and who is talking about you and your failures.

Depression then takes that moment, as you fight the thousand thoughts of anxiety, and hits you in the back. It reinforces your anxiety with the thoughts of you really ARE a failure. It is the rebar of your prison of concrete. It helps make your cell that much stronger.

Anxiety is about everything going on around you.

Depression is what your mind thinks of yourself.

Together they form a one-two punch that knocks you out.

So what do you do?

You keep moving.

You fill the time up in your day so that you never have a moments rest. You keep running away. If you can fill the gaps, the breaks of your day, it doesn’t give your mind the ability to pounce. You have one main thought. Don’t think, just keep swimming.

It is why we are so tired.

We can’t stop running or we have to fight. Or we stopped and let the guard down. We are fighting so much, we can’t focus on anything else until we drop from exhaustion. We have all our muscles tense from waiting for anxiety to drop the other shoe, or the depression to drag us down with chains, or for us to pass out in bed.

I can’t stop running. I can’t stop doing. I can’t stop. I must stay busy.

And so I fill my month with an unbelievable amount of things to do. God help me if I miss one or mess up on one. I just have one thought.

Don’t think, just keep swimming.

#hugapony my friends

The quicker picker upper post.

Yesterday was a really rough day. Some personal things fell through, I was overly stressed taking my final test for the job (still no idea if I passed) and then I ended the day with a migraine.

It was not my favorite.

I had a close friend of mine give me some encouragement. I will refer to her as the Tea friend. Tea was so amazing and helpful because she goes through hell and back and still manages to take time to help me and others. She is one I look at and question my own pain and it makes me realize that I have no place to complain at times. She has been a wonderful friend for years and I love her dearly. She was also one of the friends that help me meet my wife.

I cannot thank her enough.

I am thinking, because life is about to be crazy for the next month, I am going to do a series on thanking people in my life. I hope it encourages you to remember to thank everyone around you.

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