To Whom It May Concern

So I know that I’m the last person you want to hear from. I know that you’ve moved on with your life and found happiness, however brief. I know that I hurt you more than words can explain. Yet here I am, reaching my hand out to you again. However, this will be the last time. It’s true what they say, time does heal all wounds. Every passing day I forget more of our time together. I’m forgetting your face, your smile, the sound of your voice. I’m forgetting the hole that was in my heart after I left you. I’m forgetting the terrible things that I said to you. I’m forgetting how much I loved you, how much I still love you.

I know that you don’t believe me anymore, and why would you. I’ve told you so many different stories and reasons that I can’t even keep track of them anymore. I’ve told you I did what I did because I was scared. Because I couldn’t watch you slowly wither away to nothing. I told you that I felt tempted by the allure of other women. I’ve told you so many things to try to justify what I did, because I thought maybe it would make me feel better. It didn’t, obviously. And every time I reached out to you, I just ripped that wound back open. I truly am sorry for that. I want to say that I never meant to hurt you, that I cared for you will all my being, but I can’t say that. It’s obvious that, based on my actions, that these idioms are nothing but whimsical fallacies. They’re lies I tell myself to avoid confronting what I did to you. They’re lies I tell you to make it seems like I wasn’t being selfish and conceited.

I know that you’ve moved on, found new lovers, and bettered your life. I say it from the bottom of my heart that I am so happy that you did. You didn’t take the same path that I did. You rose from the ashes while I sunk into them. Granted that I was the one who burned everything to the ground, but the sentiment stays the same. The reason that I’m writing this to you today, is that I finally think it is time for me to move on. It’s been over 8 years since I left you, and I haven’t moved an inch from where I was. Not until recently did I even attempt to make any progress with my life. Now, I’m a new person. I wouldn’t say that I’m a better person. I wouldn’t say that if I could go back in time I would change the desicion I made back then. I want to say I would, but I can’t because I wouldn’t.

With each passing moment, I forget more of you. More of our time together, until ultimately I will only remember your name, and that we were intertwined for a brief moment in my life. However, I am also forgetting more of who I was, for good or for bad, I’m moving forwards. I write this to you now in the hopes that you will never see it. That you will never think about me again. That you will live your life and be happy in spite of me. If by chance you do find this, and it strikes a chord, I’m sorry. Just know that it will be the last you ever hear from me. Not in the sense that I’m going anywhere, but that, for the first time, I will be moving on past what was or what could have been. I will always love you in some shape or form, and just know that I’m greatful for our time together. I’m greatful for the responses you’ve sent me through the years. I’m greatful that I got to see you achieve freedom. But with this, I am closing the chapter of my life that has gone on for far too long. In the hopes of a better future. For me. For you. But not for us.

Goodbye M.

With love, E.

The Power of Fear

Fear is the strongest motivator. It is also the best deterrent.

Fear was developed by living things eons ago so that they could keep on, well, living. However, the concept of fear has since taken a drastic turn thanks to the introduction of more complex brains. Now, I’m a biology geek at heart, so I’ll spare you the lesson on fight or flight, but it really is interesting to take an abstract look at fear, and the power it holds over living things. As I said, life invented fear as a way of extending said life, yet at some point, fear gained the upper hand, and became less of a survival skill, and more of a hinderance to human lives. There are a few things that our ancestors left in our DNA, that seem almost trivial by today’s standards. Being afraid of the dark is probably the best example. The literal darkness is simply a cosmological event, but it holds several deeper meanings to us humans. We fear the dark because naturally, it dampens our senses, leaving us more open to an attack of some sort. People also fear the dark because it represents the unknown, you can’t fight what you can’t see, type of deal.

Though there came a time in human history, where the things that were scary to us, we overcame. We built homes to protect us, raised crops to avoid starvation, invented lightbulbs to chase away the darkness. While some of us are still “blessed” with the fears of our ancestors, (ie spiders, snakes, loud noises) the majority of people have evolved to overcome these fears. Yet there is one that still haunts us all, that most people are unable to escape. The fear of death. I say most are unable to escape it, not meaning that some escape death, just that some (like yours truly) no longer fear death, and some (me before treatment) openly welcomed death.

You might be thinking to yourself, why the heck did you just read through what felt like a dreaded college elective, when I said I’d spare you the lesson. I know, I apologize, my sciencey side often gets away from me. The reason I brought all that up, and explained it the way I did, was to illustrate why fear exists. Now I know you’re not stupid, and you probably already knew all that, but you’d be suprised on how many people slept through science class in highschool. The power that fear holds on our lives is often overwhelming, but with good intentions, though less good execution. In my mind, there are two types of fear. The fear that makes you do something, and the fear that prevents you from do something, like I said in the beginning. The multiple fears that force you out of bed at 5 in the morning to get ready and go to work. Or the irrational fear of boats that prevents you from going on a cruise vacation, even though you understand the science of buoyancy (that’s me). The oh so common, “If somebody put a gun to my head, I’d do it.” Fear has little to do with not being eaten by a saber tooth tiger, and is more of “how am I going to pay my bills this month” in our current day and age. Something that was born within us to keep us alive, is not really used for that reason anymore, and is more often than not, an obstacle that we must overcome. That being said, there are still crazy things people do when they are afraid for their lives, pushing their bodies to the limit, just so that they may see tomorrow. But what of those like us, whose brains are our own worst enemies? Well, as you probably already know, fear is usually in our way at every turn. Toss in some debilitating depression, and you’ve got yourself quite the conundrum. The fear of death is replaced with longing for it. The commonplace of everything else is replaced with crippling fear. Fear of rejection, fear of not being good enough, fear of being a burden. The list is as endless as the night sky, you and I know this very well. Hell, I couldn’t even make my own doctor’s appointments until well into my 20’s.

I would love to say that these misplaced, irrational fears can be turned into motivation with enough hard work, but I can’t say that, not without lying to you. I honestly don’t know why my generation was raised so that the answer to all life’s problems is “hard work”. There are things in life that you are just unable to beat. These things are programmed into our brains with the intent of keeping us alive, but in actuality, they prevent us from living life to the fullest. However, just because you can’t beat them, doesn’t mean you can’t get stronger than them. Hard work this, hard work that…No, as you can tell, I don’t like hard work, for numerous reasons. When it comes down to it, you simply need to accept your fears. They are real, they aren’t always reasonable, but they are justified. You accept that your fear of whatever is okay, and that it doesn’t make you any less of a something or other. Once you do this, you can begin working around your fears. Fear of making that phone call to the doctor’s office? Try doing it through their website, but you still have to do it, no getting someone to do it for you. The more comfortable you get with your fears, the less scary they are. Granted, they’ll never go away, sorry to say, but you can change the power dynamic. Instead of it holding the power over you, it becomes more of a “drop in the bucket” sort of situation. The fear is there, it’s not going anywhere, but you’re doing the best you can, that’s all anybody can ask for. Dr. Cannon was right when he first said that fear only leaves you with one of two options, you stand and fight, or you run to fight another day.

If you like what I write, check out my personal blog Out Of My Mind for more thoughts about Mental Health and such from me, Alan Wolfgang

The Upward Climb

For those of you who remember me, I’m sorry I’ve been gone for so long. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Alan Wolfgang. I am diagnosed with Severe Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety. I have been suffering from my diseases for around 20 years, since I was a young child. I have been treated with a wide variety of medications, all to no avail. In 2019, I underwent Electroconvulsive Therapy, or ECT. While the cost of the treatment went beyond just financial, it has effectively cured my depression. While I am certainly no expert in the field of mental health, I definetly have amassed quite a bit of experience. Throughout my years, I’ve learned many things about mental health, those who suffer from mental illness, and most importantly, myself. Whether you’re new to the mental health world, or you’ve been here for decades, whether you’re a patient, medical professional, or just someone who wants to further their understanding, whatever you suffer from, you know that this (whatever this may be to you) is not easy. Life with a mental illness, or caring for someone with a mental illness is all consuming. If I may, there are a few things that I’ve learned in my journey that I would like to share with you. Some, you may already know, others, you may not agree with, and that’s fine. Because my number one rule, is that one person will never know everything about anything. Sure there are experts in their respective fields, but even they learn new things all the time. What you do with the knowledge given to you, that is the important part.

The most important thing to do for anyone trying to do anything, is to never give up. I wish I could say that hard work is always rewarded, and that perseverance pays off, but unfortunately the world is not such a romantic place. Nevertheless, if you are fighting against mental illness, or supporting someone who is, giving up cannot be an option. You may be asking, “If my hard work never really makes a difference, what’s the point in never giving up?” While I wish the answer was simple, it’s not. Giving up seems like the best option, a lot of the time. Believe me, I know…with 3 suicide attempts under my belt, and a fourth that was thwarted by my underlying desire to live, and an attentive therapist, I know that giving up is incredibly tempting. More than any drug or material good, it is the oasis in the desert of your suffering. See, the thing is, that even though giving up will end your pain, it doesn’t disappear, it gets passed on to those you leave behind. I learned this the hard way, waking up on a ventilator in the hospital, with both my parents still in tears, holding my hand. Dying is never quick and painless, because that pain will last a lifetime for someone who loves you. You may now be thinking, “Well that’s fine, because nobody loves me”. While you’re not wrong, maybe nobody loves you, but you’re looking at it in too small a timeframe. You’re looking at your past and your present, but you’re forgetting about your future. I know that it’s pretty easy to lose sight of any future when you’re in the depths of depression, but that’s where never giving up comes in. The longer you live, the more likely it is that you will find love, that you will find happiness. I mean, the statistics alone are probably mind-boggling, though I wouldn’t know, I’m awful at math. Though who knows? I may not always be awful at math. The obvious secret about the future, is that it is unknown, completely unknown. You can have plans, dreams, and aspirations, but who knows what will actually happen? You don’t, until it happens. In the darkest period of my depression, I developed a suicide plan with a 100% chance of success, and I was saving it for a “rainy day”. I never would have thought, never even would have dreamed I’d be were I am today. To the past me, the present me was an impossible fairy tale. Yet, here I am, against all odds, living, breathing, and loving life. I mean it’s not perfect, but it never will be, I am just content with what I have. I know, a very confusing notion.

This leads me to my next tip. You will never be or do anything perfect. We are all humans, I hope so anyways (Shout out to all my alien bros hiding amongst the population). The thing about being human, is that we are intrinsically flawed, we make mistakes, and a lot of the time, no matter how hard we try, we will never reach our own ideal perfection. I don’t care what religion you follow, what the color of your skin is, how much money you have, where/when you were born, or who you love, nobody is perfect. Not one person. Ever. So do what you enjoy, dance like no one is watching, binge that one show in a single sitting for the seventh time this month. Do what you love, love what you do, and don’t give a sh*t about what anybody else thinks. Yeah, words hurt, but so does not doing something you enjoy because somebody else doesn’t like it. So what? Are they the ones who spend most of their money on figurines and miniature statues? Nope, so why should they have any say over whether or not you do. Now of course, there are two exceptions to this. The first being, moderation is key. Overindulgence is never a good thing, and will more often than not harm more than it helps. Second, just because you enjoy it, it does not mean you can run around in your KKK getup, shooting people in the face, and beating pregnant women with a baseball bat. Don’t be a dick. Do what you love, so long as it doesn’t HARM other people. So long as you do that, who cares what other people think about your hobbies. You like watching other people play video games instead of playing them yourself, go get it fam. You like sculpting anime characters out of ice, make sure you bundle up. You like going to conventions dressed as a humanoid fox, a little weird for me, but who cares what I think. You like growing and brewing your own tea, when can we meet up? Whatever you enjoy, just enjoy it! Without worrying about anybody else’s opinions. Because opinions are like buttholes, everybody’s got one, and nobody wants to hear about yours.

Another key step in working towards mental or physical wellbeing, is accepting yourself for who you are. You didn’t ask to be plagued by suicidal thoughts every second of every day. You didn’t ask to be born in the wrong gender’s body. You didn’t ask to be afraid of making your own appointments over the phone. You didn’t ask to be deathly afraid of boats and open water (That one’s me). But here’s what you can ask for, help. It is never an easy desicion, to ask another person to help you with all your problems. However, there are these wonderful people out there, that listen to your problems, give advice, and trade that for money. They’re called, “Therapists”. I know, you think that going to a therapist means that you are admitting defeat, that you can’t handle your own crap, so now you have to have someone else do it for you. While I thought like that in the past, I’ve come to realize that there are several things wrong about that way of thinking. The first being, that going to see a therapist, is not a show of defeat, it’s simply reinforcements for the war that’s raging on inside you. You couldn’t win on your own, but that doesn’t mean you’ve lost, you just have to bring in more fighting power. Second, the therapist, no matter how good they are, won’t solve all your problems for you. I mean it is kinda common sense, but you’d be suprised. “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. A very common saying, and very applicable here. Seeing a therapist once, isn’t going to solve your issues. Hell, seeing a therapist 100 times may not even do the trick. However, if you work with your therapist, progress can be made. Albeit small progress, it’s progress nonetheless; and any progress is good progress. It means you are moving forwards, you are refusing to let the anchor tied to your ankle that is mental illness, drag you down any further. You refuse to simply tread water and stay afloat. You are making an active effort to save yourself. However, the part of finding a good therapist is slightly more tricky. The few things I have found that work for me, may not work for you, and that’s alright, there is no “one size fits all” therapist, or way of treating mental illness. It’s important that you find a therapist that thinks that way too. If your therapist thinks they can treat you just by reading from the DSM, and “listening intently”, you need a new therapist. Personally, mine challenges me, she doesn’t always agree with me, and is very honest about what she thinks regarding my actions and such. I have a very easy time rationalizing bad decisions, so she regularly calls me out over my BS. Again, might not work for you, but if you want therapy that works, you’ll have to work hard to find a good therapist. Secondly, make sure you can afford to see them regularly, and if need be, in emergencies. This is a often overlooked, yet crucial part to having successful therapy. You need to be able to see your therapist as much as you feel you need to. When I’m having a rough time, I’ll see mine weekly, when I’m doing better, I see them about once a month. And they are very flexible on scheduling. After all is said and done (after insurance) I only pay about 20 bucks per visit. It took me 7 years to find another good therapist after my old one stopped practicing, but again, never give up, and you’ll find the one who works with you and for you.

My last tip, because this is getting a little lengthy…almost feel like I should put a tl/dr…is take each day for what it is. What I mean by that, is try to frame your mind by thinking, “tomorrow is a new day”. Sure you may have stayed in bed all day, watched some tv shows, and got one meal in, but didn’t do your laundry, take a shower, or even open your bills. But that’s okay. You did what you could, maybe even what you had to, to make sure you could make it to tomorrow. And tomorrow is a new day, full of new opportunities. Don’t be too hard on yourself, you’re only human. Sometimes it takes all you have just to make sure you ate something. Just don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get things done, but also don’t procrastinate too much either. Start small, and start slow. If you didn’t shower today, tell yourself you’re going to shower tomorrow. If you still don’t get it done tomorrow, make sure to get it done when you feel you can, especially before you start to stink (I’m guilty of that…) Make sure you try to make a plan to get something done, and if it takes you a bit longer than you wanted it to, so be it. At least you got it done. The singular thing that keeps me going these days, is that when I wake up tomorrow, it’s essentially a clean slate. Sure I still have my past, my emotional baggage, but every new day can be whatever I want it to, so long as I set my mind to it. Managing your mental health is incredibly difficult, and very complex, and there are a lot of things that work for others, but not for you. You’ll find there are just as many contradicting things too. So the important part, is carving out your own path, finding what works for you, and trying your damndest to make it to tomorrow. Don’t be afraid to explore various treatments, medications, and methods to treat your illness. You may often surprise yourself.

The State of The World

I normally try my best to not get into touchy subjects when I write my posts. However, after a discussion with some of my coworkers (bad idea…I know) I can’t help but feel that these are some things that I need to get off my chest. For those of you whom are sensitive to the subject, I suggest not reading this article

**TRIGGER WARNING**

Politics + Suicide

**TRIGGER WARNING**

So, for those of you still here, let me first say that I live in America. I don’t hide this fact, nor am I blind to the obvious advantages that a white male gets in this country. However, I can say without a doubt, that the current state of this country, and the world, disgusts me. To the point where I often contemplate if this is even a world worth living in. Yes, I am talking about suicide, as the current state of the world has always been a rather large part of my depression. I mean honestly, if you take a close hard look at how the world is, how can you not feel overwhelmingly despaired. Though, I’ll save my view on World Politics aside, for another time, for now. The reason being, as my coworker pointed out, I have no experience living in another country. So I really have no place to compare to America. A portion of my coworkers are an entire family, of immigrants, who came to America in search of freedom. Freedom that they did not have in their native country. That being said, since they’ve moved here to America, they have too been dyed in the Nationalist red, white and blue. To them, America is the greatest country on the planet, especially compared to their home country. And to be completely honest, I don’t really blame them. Not only were they living in an oppressive regime, but they also were not given the same opportunities that they received here in America.

The one problem that I do have with their views, is that they are I incredibly skewed. They believe America to be the greatest country in the world, simply due to how much better it is than their country. There seems to be a common issue here in America, that in my opinion, effects everyone, whether they know it or not. I am referring to the near toxic levels of Nationalism, or pride in America. In schools, or at least while I was in school, it was subconsciously taught that there is nothing wrong with being extremely prideful in America, in fact they encouraged it. Now don’t get me wrong, there is not inherently anything wrong with having pride in your respective country, however, as I mentioned, it is almost toxic in America. It is not deemed by any law, or required by any rule, to feel immense pride in America. Yet if you start to dissent from that prideful stance, you are almost immediately ostracized by the general public. It’s as if there is this “unspoken” rule that says you can’t show anything but pride towards America.

However, there is this certain scene, of a certain TV show, in which a college kid asks a panel of “journalists” why America is the greatest country on earth (you probably know which one I’m talking about). The first says some stereotypical garbage, the second just double downs on “freedom”, and the third makes a rather obvious non-answer about a popular sports team. It is then that the third journalist sees a young woman in the crowd holding a sign that says “It’s Not”. Upon seeing this, the third journalist starts what would become the most infamous tirade in modern history, on why America isn’t the greatest country in the world, though at one point, it was. Needless to say, the entire crowd, as well as his “colleges” are stunned speechless. And to be completely honest with you, so was I the first time I watched it. Like I said, when I was in school, there was almost an indoctrination like pride being implanted in the students. Almost every day began with the National Anthem of course. Almost every class had their lessons skewed to emphasize the greatness of America. While it certainly isn’t the teachers’ faults, they still remained silent on this subtle brainwashing, that they might not have even noticed happening.

As you can probably tell, there are many, many things that I have issues with about my country. To quote the show I was talking about earlier, “We lead the world in only three categories: number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real and defense spending, where we spend more than the next 26 countries combined, 25 of whom are allies.” Also, to add my own to that infamous list, the number of mass shootings each year. There really isn’t anything all that great about America anymore. Sure we have FREEDOM, but so does over three quarters of the world. There isn’t anything special about freedom here in America either. The average citizen of the US spends the majority of their life trading their time for money. Money that doesn’t even really afford them most of the basic things in life, like clean water, healthy food, or a stable roof over their heads. There is another glaring issue with American freedom, the more money you have, the more free you are. For example, that whole college admissions scandal a while back. These celebrities with millions of dollars, essentially bribed various colleges to guarentee acceptance of their respective children. Not only did they succeed in getting their child into college by paying for it, but they also had barely any consequences, despite braking the law. If an affluent person of color did the same thing, they’d be thrown in jail probably for the rest of their lives. That’s another problem with America, we claim to be so free, and yet their is such rampant discrimination built into the cores of our society, it’s appalling. I’m not only talking about racism either, theirs sexism, classism, religious phobia, homophobia, and almost every other kind of -ism and phobia out there.

Granted, most of America’s problems stem from two things: The Ultra-Wealthy, and Stupidity. Often a combination of the two. In history class, we were taught that this country was created by the people, for the people. What they don’t tell you, is those people are those with either a ton of money, a ton of power, or both. Everything is run with profits in mind. War, profits. Laws, profits. Opinions, profits. Inovation, profits. Healthcare, profits. I could go on and on until the end of the world (which probably isn’t that far off at the rate we’re going). I personally like to think that I don’t fall into any political party, I’m solely driven by facts and respect. Though it might be a rather controversial stance, I believe that religion (any religion) has no place in government. You can’t force everyone in a country to follow your rules, just because “you want them to go to heaven” **cough**christans**cough**. Every living thing on this planet deserves some level of respect, regardless of religion, politics, skin color, nationality, “intelligence”, etc. Though where I do draw the line is pure stupidity. I’m not talking about the kind that you’re born with, you can’t change that, not easily anyways. I’m talking about the people who think they’re right, regardless of factual evidence stating the contrary. For example, flat-earthers and anti-vaxxers. These two groups of people believe what they want to believe (which I inherently have no problem with) but refuse mountains of evidence dropped at their feet, just because their “research” (5 minutes on Facebook mostly) claims otherwise. This kind of stupid, is clearly a choice. Anti-vaxxers use a single study from a decade ago, that has been proved false numerous times, and yet they believe it. I honestly want to ask an anti-vaxxer this single question: “Even “if” vaccines could cause autism, you’re saying that you’d rather your child be dead, than have autism.” I’m honestly rather curious on what their answer would be. It would most likely be a rather angry deflection that doesn’t answer the question, but rather somehow solidifies their stance. In my opinion, it’s similar to an animal chasing their own tail, thinking it’s some enemy creature of some kind, only to realize that when they finally bite down on this unknown monster, that they “suddenly” feel inexplicable pain for some reason.

There are a vast number of things that I don’t agree with, and so long as it doesn’t effect the freedom of others, you’re more than welcome to do whatever the hell you want. That’s what freedom truly means in my eyes. If you want to wear rotting fish instead of shoes, go right the hell ahead. But if you start preaching to me, that I should also wear fish on my feet, because sneakers were created by the evil lizardmen shadow government, that’s when it becomes a problem. Not only are you infringing on my rights, and wasting my rather valuable time (as we as humans only have so much time on this earth) you are making a mockery of the freedoms you hold so dearly. Yeah you can stand on your soapbox on the corner of a busy intersection and scream your opinions until the cows come home, but if you start doing so in the middle of the intersection causing an endless traffic jam, or visit my house and knock on my door just to spread the “truth” every day, then we start to have a problem.

If it wasn’t obvious at this point, let me clearly spell it out: I really could care less about what you do with what little life you have, or what you believe in, or don’t believe in for that matter. So long as you don’t vilify me for not bowing down and following your idiocy, you can do whatever you damn well please. I support the important things in life like total equality (gender, sexual orientation, skin color, etc), freedom to do just about anything you want so long as it doesn’t harm anyone else, and everyone’s inate, inalienable right to a happy life if you so choose. I don’t care whether you agree with me, or despise me, like I said, I follow the facts, and general respect for nearly all cases.

You’re generally free to follow whatever causes you choose, and I won’t infringe upon that freedom, so long as you really only hold yourself to those standards. I figure I’ve ranted enough for one day. I don’t think I’ll change any hearts or minds just by simply getting a few things off my chest. However, my hope is, is that you’ll begin to look at life a little more skeptically, and decide things for yourself, fully aware of the rewards or consequences that await your actions. Alan Wolfgang, signing off.

In The Face Of Mental Illness

There are often many things that fall by the wayside due to mental illness. They include, but are not limited to, hygiene, relationships, motivation, academics, social interaction, romance, honestly the list goes on and on. Though the one thing that I miss the most is probably a mixture of relationships, social interaction, and romance. I’ve had several romantic relationships in my years, none of them ending well, but also providing invaluable experience on what NOT to do the next time. I happen to have a rather uncanny ability to be attracted to women with their own mental health issues. It seems that out of all my romantic relationships, I have not had a single one that didn’t get rocky because of mental illness, mine, hers, or both. For example, my most recent relationship, which was several years ago now, ended because my partner was slowly killing herself through eating disorders and self harm. So, try as I could, I offered her as much help as humanly possible for someone struggling with their own mental health, but nothing helped. I imagine that she was where I reached with my depression not too long ago, where you just accept that life will be this way forever. After a year or two together, I couldn’t bear both watching her slowly fade away, or deal with my own depression. Unfortunately, even though I cared for this woman very deeply, still do actually, I had to end the relationship for my own mental health.

Romance is already a tricky subject for most people. There are those that believe that there is a single person whom matches the other perfectly. Which, from a scientific standpoint, is certainly plausible, as there are nearly 8 billion of us on the planet thus far. Then there are those, like myself, who go through numerous, often painful, experiences, both learning to love and be loved, until they find the right person for them. Humans are supposed to learn about love from their parents, both in an emotional viewpoint, as well as physical (Y’know, the “birds & the bees” talk). For those like me, this doesn’t happen. From my perspective, my parents never had what you would call a “healthy” marriage. So, right there is strike one, I couldn’t learn the correct way to love someone. Also I’ve discovered recently that the love from my parents is often conditional, though they claim otherwise. Strike two, couldn’t learn how to be loved in a healthy fashion. Then finally, the only person in this world that I felt that shared an unconditional love for one another, my grandmother, passed away in 2009. Which, honestly speaking, is still rather difficult for me to speak about. And there is strike three, losing the only “real” and “healthy” love I’ve ever had, caused me to rely on the “unhealthy” love that I experienced as a child. Then cue the numerous, highly unhealthy, incredibly painful romantic relationships that I did have in my teenage and young adult years. Still to this day, I yearn for the kind of love that my grandmother and I shared. I mean, it’s natural isn’t it? To want to be in a healthy, equal and fulfilling relationship with another person.

Now, I do care for my mother, very deeply; and by all accounts, she feels the same for me. However, the problem is, that she, probably unconsciously, sets these standards for me to meet, that I have yet to achieve. Whether it is cleanliness, academics, hobbies, financially, whatever, she has these expectations for me. Truthfully, I don’t blame her, as most if not all parents want their child to not only succeed, but surpass them. This is where I have my issues. My mother is a very driven individual, who has worked incredibly hard to get where she is, as well as what she has. That being said, she expected the same out of me. Unfortunately for the both of us, my depression derailed my progress in life very early on. It wasn’t even until I was 17 that anyone knew I was struggling so much (my first “major” suicide attempt). Granted, for someone like me, it was rather easy to hide my pain, especially from those closest to me. While I certainly do not blame my mother for my depression, she did exacerbate it during my youth. I was always a disappointment to her, from my grades, to sports, to friends, just about every aspect of my life didn’t “live up” to her expectations. While she still will wholeheartedly deny this, I cannot ignore the damage it has done to my psyche. I’m not sure if it is due to being depressed for so long, or if it’s just the way I am, but I am incredibly low maintenance. I am not bothered by unclean conditions, I don’t need the grass cut every week, I don’t even need to eat very often if I so choose. However, my mother is incredulous when it comes to cleaning, I will clean an area top to bottom, yet she will still find something that I missed, or ignored because no one ever sees it. For example, I would spend hours cleaning the bathroom, but she will still find places that aren’t even that dirty, that need to be cleaned, like behind the toilet. Enough about my mother, as you can tell, I am harboring a sizeable amount of resentment.

I do think that I miss social interaction the most, as it is usually the starting point for all relationships. Now that I am not depressed, I can start pushing myself towards more interactions. However, my social anxiety is still a very large burden, that prevents me from socializing quite often. For example, at my new job, despite developing a rapport with some colleagues, I still eat lunch by myself. I still barely speak when avoidable. I am not saying there is anything wrong with being solitary, or what the kids call “a lone wolf”. In fact, I often prefer it this way, because it is less maintenance on my part. Though like I stated prior, I am uncertain if this is due to my mental illnesses, or is just a part of my personality. Often times, especially lately, when I develop a romantic attraction towards another person, I have to take a step back. One because I need to make sure that it is genuine, not just a desire to be in a romantic relationship. Two, because as of late, these women that I am attracted to, are people that I work with. Three, because as I said, I have an uncanny ability to become attracted to women with mental illness(es). Also, there is a part of me that is still afraid of the pain involved with an unsuccessful relationship. Now, this is completely a natural fear, that almost everyone who has been through an “ugly” breakup experiences. Not many people like pain, and therefore we try our best to avoid it. However, I liken the situation with a young chick learning how to fly. As you may have heard, there are many species of bird that forcefully push their offspring out of the nest, where they either learn to fly, or die. Though, when it comes to romance, there often is not a “mother bird” to give us that push out of the nest (our comfort “zone”), so more times than not, we have to just make the leap ourselves, further inducing fear. The reason it is not easy for us (humans) to conquer our fear, is because fear is an evolved behavior of survival. To be afraid raises our blood pressure, increases our heart rate, increases the strain we can put on muscle fibers before they snap, all physically increasing our chance of “survival”. With such illnesses as anxiety, and whatever type of anxiety the person suffers from, we experience a “pre-programmed” aversion towards certain situations or objects. What initially was evolved to keep us alive, now makes our lives unbearable in most cases. I myself suffer from panic attacks, where I experience the physiological symptoms of fear, for what often are situations that are mundane and generally average. Not that I needed to explain a panic attack to a mental health audience, but hey, I’m a Biology Nerd. Anyways, this fear of exiting our “comfort zone” is also primal, as once our ancestors left their caves, they could ultimately die in a large number of fashions. This is usually incredibly multiplied in those of us with anxiety disorders. So even the thought of starting a conversation with a women I have an interest in, can send me into a state of panic (not really a full panic attack, but a “lite version”). So as you can probably imagine, actually doing it, well that seems entirely life or death in my mind. As we are most of the time opposed to death (at least should be) the act of speaking to a “crush” feels like jumping out of a plane with no parachute. Or in my metaphor’s case, jumping from the nest without knowing how to fly.

As a chronic over thinker, I will often isolate for the sole purpose of not over thinking. Conversations can go any number of ways with a specific person, and despite how I write, I prefer proactive rather than reactive. Add that together with my observatory skills, and you have yourself a fine recipe for unlimited anxiety. As during a conversation, I will not only be “preparing” for the different responses, I will be analyzing how the person reacted to my original statement, and further trying to predict the best course the conversation could take. The key word here is could, as despite how much effort I put into steering the conversation, people are near unpredictable. As you can imagine, or even relate, romance has not been easy for me. As many women who have reciprocated my attraction, there are many more whom I have “scared” away. If any of you, who have found a way to overcome your social anxiety, have any tips for me, I would greatly appreciate it. I think I have rambled on enough here, plus, my fingers are getting tired from all the typing.

ANYWHO, thanks for reading! ❤
Check me out on my own blog at Out of My Mind

My Delusions

So, as you are all probably painfully aware, depression is an illness that can take all of the life out of living. This was the case for me. For roughly 8 years, out of the 20+ years I’ve been depressed, I had nothing to live for. I tried to kill myself twice before 2011, when I was barely a teenager. Obviously, both tries were rather unsuccessful, I think that I have my poor planning skills to thank for that. My childhood was not great, but not awful either. Granted there was nearly constant bullying from people that I thought were my friends. However, you get into my teenage years, and it all seems to go even further downhill. I lose my will to live, secretly attempt suicide twice, and go through the motions with school, chores, relationships, etc. It wasn’t until 2011, that I really planned out my “next” suicide attempt. I had shoplifted 2 bottles of over the counter sleeping pills, that I originally was using for my insomnia, which I suppose could be related to my depression or even my anxiety. Though, I had gotten to a point, where I just couldn’t stand living another day. Going to school. going through the motions, getting bullied, going to football practice, coming home to a dysfunctional family, I just couldn’t do any of it anymore. So, over the course of about 3 hours, I drafted my first real suicide note. Posted it to Facebook, and then took roughly about 150 sleeping pills. This was my first serious suicide attempt. By serious, I mean, it actually had a chance of succeeding. Luckily for me, someone called the police once they saw my suicide note on Facebook, and I was saved, by the “skin of my teeth”. I woke up probably a day later, on a respirator machine, in the ICU of the local hospital. My parents both there beside me, with a rather obvious mix of anger, sadness, and joy written all over their faces. I then promptly got committed to an in-patient facility, and began my near lifelong journey in the mental health system. If any of you reading this are also residents of the lovely United States, you know that our mental health “system” is severely lacking, and filled with stigma.

So, the next few years weren’t easy, by any standpoint. Though I graduated high school, enrolled in college, had a rather serious girlfriend at the time, and life was going, not great, but well…at least for a little while. It was in college that I finally tried medication for my conditions, and not quickly, discovered that I was medication resistant. So, I believed that with a mix of medication and weekly therapy, I would be able to get back to living my life. For several years, it kinda worked, though I was still plagued by incessant suicidal thoughts, and severely deep depression. I also developed a rather unhealthy dependence on alcohol, but that’s for another time. Fast-forwards a bit, to 2016. I was technically a senior in college, but due to my inability to decide what I wanted to do with my life, I needed a fifth year in college. As a small side note, I couldn’t pay for my 5th year, as the scholarship I was “awarded” only lasted the 4 years. I was barely keeping my head above water at this point. Seeing my therapist every week, was basically the only thing keeping me alive. Though, with the constant suicidal thoughts, I always had a plan in motion to kill myself, I would just never act on it. My therapist knew this, and gave me some leeway in not committing me. The problem is, I was spiraling the drain, and I knew it, but I did nothing to stop it. What definitely didn’t help, was my chemistry teacher was also my academic advisor. He, when I went to him to schedule spring semester classes, told me that I would never amount to anything in life, or be hired by any company, if my GPA wasn’t above a 3.0, which it wasn’t. This single line is what pushed me over the edge. Turned, what I call “passive” suicidal thoughts, into “active” suicidal thoughts. One day, during my chemistry class, with Professor…oh I’m sorry…DR.WHATEVER THE HELL HIS NAME IS, I got fed up with listening to him pretending to be a good teacher. So I stormed out of his class, went to my therapist, and told her that I was probably going to act on my plan…SO, in what not to do to someone standing on the edge, she called the police on me, and had me committed to in-patient…

Fast-forwards a few more years now, I was single again, and have gone through several jobs with promising companies (contrary to what my advisor said) and began working at a rather large laboratory company. I, once again, began circling the drain, and I saw it coming from a mile away. I hated my job, hated my life, yadda yadda yadda, blah blah blah you get where I’m headed with this, right? So, this time, wanting my life to be different, and not go back to in-patient, I quit my job. Right there, on the spot, no warning, no advance notice. I then began to look into ECT treatment, which you all have probably heard me talk about before, so I’ll skip explaining it. After about 6 months of ECT treatment, I finally began to feel better. I went from, essentially, the bottom of a ravine, to the peak of a mountain, in the course of a few weeks. Yeah, I’ve read the articles that ECT causes permanent brain damage, and that the “elation” that I felt, was simply a symptom of the concussions ECT was giving me. I don’t believe any of that. I was saved by ECT, because it was more or less, my last resort. After a couple months of feeling like I was on top of the world (or so I thought). I began to “level out” and stopped being so happy all the time (which probably was as unhealthy as depression) and began experiencing what “normal” feels like. It was then that I was scared that a I would fall back into my deep depression, as my mood was starting to dip. What I didn’t realize for a few weeks, was that life is basically a whole lot of “blah” feelings, with a little bit of sadness or happiness sprinkled in at the right moments. So, coming off of this “high” I was on after my depression faded, I was scared of falling back into depression. I was under the impression that this “happiness” I felt, was going to be the way I was from then on. Of course, I was wrong. And contrary to my beliefs, my mood stabilized around a sort of “grey” middle-ground between happiness and sadness. This was not something I had ever experienced before, so I was (needlessly) worried for quite some time.

Y’know, I was under the impression that life would get easier once my depression was gone. While technically I was right, I was also completely wrong at the same time. I have always known that life is not easy, for almost everyone. Of course I also knew that this really depended on where and who you were born to. I have known for a long time, that I got rather lucky, as I was born a white male, to a successful mother, in the United States. Although, I was convinced that once my depression was gone, I would be able to do all the things I needed to do, that I couldn’t while depressed. Such as chores, simple self-hygiene, socializing, finish my degree, get a good job, pay my own bills, move out on my own. Y’know, become a true adult. While life certainly is much easier to manage without constant suicidal thoughts, and all the depression symptoms, it is not as easy as I thought it would be. I was unemployed for 7 months, in order to get my ECT treatments done. Though, because of my bills, I never stopped looking for a job after I quit my last one. Though, I have to say, until I was hired around the end of July, I have never had as much trouble finding a job, as I had during those 7 months. Even depressed, I had a seamless transition between two jobs, for more pay, and less commute. Though, without my depression, with all the energy and motivation that I had regained, I couldn’t find a suitable job for the life of me. I still dealt with all the same issues that I did while I was depressed. I couldn’t take care of myself, I could barely pay my bills, I didn’t do chores, I still had a drinking problem, I still had massive anxiety, it was like nothing even changed. My life was supposed to get better by leaps and bounds without depression, or so I convinced myself. The problem that I didn’t account for, is that life always sucks, whether you’re mentally ill or not. Life is always hard, and nothing will fall into your lap just because you want it. Like I said, life did get easier for me, but marginally (Compared to my “predictions” anyways).

I just had to realize a few things that most people learn in their childhoods (that I didn’t thanks to depression). #1, life is hard, for EVERYONE, regardless of circumstance. #2, life is not all happiness without depression. Like I said, it’s mostly this weird “grey” area, with a little bit of happiness and sadness sprinkled in. #3, if I want ANYTHING in my life, I am going to have to bust my a*s for it, no excuses. #4, my depression is in REMISSION, not cured. Unfortunately there is no cure for depression (yet), and it will worm it’s way back into my life at times. I just have to hope that I have enough experience to deal with it the right way, rather than just kill myself. Once I realized these things, life didn’t seem so bad. I go to work, pay my bills, hang out with my friends, actually live life. So if you are still struggling with mental illness, don’t delude yourself the way I did. Although life will get better if you get your illness under control, it won’t magically become super awesome. So continue with your treatment plan, go to therapy, take your meds, and just bust your butt, until what you want is realized. Having a dream that you are striving towards is usually a double-edged sword, take my word for it. It is great to have a goal in life, but you either have to make it realistic, or be prepared to never reach your goal. Granted, with a wild, outlandish aspiration, there will be a boatload of fun along the way, but it will be incredibly more difficult. So, y’know what, live your life the best you can. When your time comes, as all ours will, just make sure that you had enough good times to look back on as it all fades to black.

Hopefully this wasn’t too depressing for you people. I really wrote a lot didn’t I? Sorry…not sorry…hope you enjoyed reading. As always I would love to hear from all of you on what I should write about next. Especially since the future for the BPW blog is a little fuzzy at the moment.

ANYWAYS, hope you all have wonderful days today, and forever ❤

Fighting The Stigma

Hey all…I know that it’s been a while since you’ve heard from me…at least it feels that way. I probably even said that as the intro to the last post I wrote here. At least I think I did, memory is still pretty awful these days. Anyways, let’s talk about Stigma. Ah yes, everyone here knows of the lovely stigma, at least they should. Not saying that I hope you’ve experienced stigma, just that you know of it. Though, it is pretty difficult to get through life with mental illness without experiencing stigma. For those of you who don’t know what stigma is, consider yourselves lucky for one, but maybe you’ll understand if I use these words instead : Intolerance, Discrimination, Hatred, Prejudice, Bigotry, etc. Stigma is essentially all of these things, and it is not unique to the mental health world either. Stigma has been experienced by everyone on this planet, except for maybe rich white guys. Then again, I just stigmatized the rich white guys, by saying they’ve never experienced stigma…so I mean…Stigma can easily be described as treating someone a certain way because of something that is beyond their control. Examples include racism, sexism, addiction, mental illness, eating disorders, height, hair color, etc. SO, if I were to treat you differently because of something that you could not control, then I would be stigmatizing you. For example, if I said, “Just get outside and bask in the sunlight for once, then you won’t be so depressed!” That would not only be highly insensitive and heavily misinformed, but would also be adding to the stigma currently surrounding depression. Now I’m not discounting the positive effects of being outdoors, and getting some sunlight, but it is in no shape or form, a cure for depression, or for any mental illness for that matter.

I forget who it was, but there was someone who was spreading misinformation about mental health on Twitter, and many of the more social advocates immediately jumped on it. The person in question said something along the lines of, and I’m in no ways quoting exactly here: “Mental illness is a choice, you just have to decide to be mentally healthy and it will happen.” Needless to say, this person was INCREDIBLY wrong about mental illness, and she was almost immediately called out on it. The thing that makes this instance so much worse, is that for the next several days, she was trying to defend her position from all the immensely educated mental health advocates on Twitter. Sure there were some all too obvious “low blow” satire like, “Oh my gosh! I had no idea! Thanks blank, My mental illness is now cured!” However, a rather large part of me completely supports turning this person into the “village idiot” for a little while, and letting them soak in how wrong they truly were. Yet, the other part of me thinks that she should have just been treated as uneducated, and promptly, politely corrected (even though it wouldn’t have made any difference). Speaking of Twitter, how did you like the alternate words for Stigma that I listed in the beginning? Well, it wasn’t yours truly that made the rather obvious connection.  It was a user on Twitter that goes by the handle of MyMedicatedTO, I would use the @ symbol but it creates some weird link that doesn’t lead to Twitter…so I trust you all to find this guy/girl/non-binary person yourselves if you’re interested enough.

The sad thing is, is that this MyMedicatedTO is completely right! Stigma can easily be interchanged with any of these awful terms, and quite honestly should be. MyMedicatedTO also made a remark about how the word stigma feels too soft for the actions it usually perpetrates. I actually agree here, because the word stigma, has somehow gotten attached to Mental Health, for better or worse. Now, this is MY opinion, being attached to Mental Health, often allows some people to easily dismiss something. So as stigma is attached to Mental Health, when these people hear about the Stigma that mental illness sufferers experience, they quickly dismiss it as more “Mental Health hullabaloo” and don’t address it. However, since these other terms like Intolerance, Discrimination, Hatred, Prejudice, and Bigotry are kinda hot topics our current society, I feel that people would be more receptive of what we have to say. Now I am in no way saying that we should stop saying Stigma, because well, it more or less is synonymous with mental health. I am saying however, if we want to add a little extra “weight” to what we are saying as mental health advocates, we could use another term for basically the same thing. Because honestly, stigma is almost always no different than discrimination because of mental illness. Hell, that’s why I write under a pseudonym. Although, I am tossing around the idea of using my real name. I mean, I’m writing this article on my work computer, in front of my coworkers, and have not received a single question about it. Anywho, we all have to do our part on fighting the stigma, not just in the mental health world, but everywhere there is one. If there are people that still judge others based on things that were not a choice (unfortunately there are) we still have our work cut out for us. At least to me, I can’t just be a mental health advocate, I have to be an equality advocate. All people are equal to one another, and should be treated as such…but hey, what do I know, I’m just some faceless blogger.

Hugs + Kisses,
Alan

What To Do?

It’s been a while since I’ve last written on the BPW blog…at least it feels like it’s been a while. Memory is still pretty bad, but cognative function is slowly returning. I’m not excited that it’s returning, because not only did I get used to having no memory, it was actually comforting to have forgotten all the bad without trying. Lately, I feel like I’ve been in a slump. I’ve got a full time job now, so I’m back to work. It isn’t rewarding, but it’s a paycheck, which I desperately needed. I know that “normal” life is a lot of feeling whatever, then short bursts of happiness or sadness. It’s just weird for me, because I felt like I was at the top of the world during my treatment, or rather when the depression finally lifted. Now though, I’m getting used to the feeling of “normal” which isn’t a good or a bad, it’s just kinda blasé. It feels eerily familiar to the numbness of depression, but fundamentally different. It is a little worrisome, obviously, as I never want to go back to being depressed.

The question now is what the hell do I do with my life? I mean, I work 40 hours a week, like almost everyone else in America. But like, my hobbies have suspiciously vanished, my friends are, well, there, but living their own lives too. And I don’t want to cut in on that. I don’t want them to feel like I’m forcing them to make time for me. Y’know? I guess it’s just a part of getting older…people focus more on their careers and romantic relationships, and friendships kinda just sink to the wayside. I know it sounds like my friends are terrible friends, or maybe that I’m a terrible friend, but two of my dear friends, we have an understanding. We can not see eachother for months, then pick it right back up when we do see eachother, like there was no time in between. It’s actually a great style of relationship to me, because it’s very low maintenance, but offers all the benefits of a close friendship. Back to the point, I just don’t know what to do with my life now that I’m not depressed. I mean I can clean, and do chores and such, but my physical pain (slipped disk in my back) still limits me severely. I also want to do something I enjoy, y’know, something that brings me joy. It’s funny, because I’ve never thought of things like that before. Everything I did during my depression, was simply to get my mind away from the suicidal thoughts. Now that I actually want to live life, and bring myself joy and fulfillment, I’m at a loss. I enjoy writing, as you can probably imagine, but I can’t just lay in bed and write my time away. Writing is therapeutic for me, but also can be a source of stress, so it’s a fine balancing act. So I don’t really know what to do? I mean, I want to date again, but my social anxiety is still out of control, especially in romantic situations. I’m on many, if not all, the dating apps, but I don’t really just fire off messages, because not only could that be annoying to the girl, but the effort I put in to messages, and then to receive no response is saddening to say the least. So I don’t really spend too much time on dating apps, plus I may be old fashioned, but I like to meet people in person, develop a platonic relationship, before moving on to romance. So, what do I do with my free time? I am actually looking for answers, so if you have recommendations, let me know. Also, is this sort of weird middle area of emotions just life? Or what? I don’t know…maybe I’m just over analyzing. Let me know, please?

Off My Chest

So, as you can probably tell, this is not going to be like my usual posts. My brain has returned to its normal, insanely fast pace. I of course didn’t really do anything positive to help myself. I watched some of the saddest music videos I could find. Of course, you know that I believe music to be one of the most powerful things that humans have ever created. A single certain song can make or break your whole day. Today, the song that set my spiral was 1-800-273-8255 by Logic. You may or may not know that that’s actually the number to the National Suicide Hotline. And of course, it has a very sad music video, and very sad lyrics. I found myself sobbing at the end, and went on my usual depressive train…I am not proud of myself, because I worked so hard to become not depressed, and here I am, willingly slipping back into it. Granted, this is not my old clinical depression, this is simply situational depression. Yet, that doesn’t make it suck any less, and that doesn’t make it less terrifying to me.

What I have to get off my chest, is the two main reasons that I wanted to die while I was depressed. These may sound like small problems to you, but to me, they meant everything.

The first reason I wanted to die, is that I am a empath. See, sounds trivial, but let me explain. You see, when I see, or hear about people struggling, with anything, my depression deepens because I cannot help them. It really all stems from the phrase, “You can’t save everyone”. That single phrase kills me inside. There are things going on in peoples life that makes them suicidal. Or maybe you were/are like me, and you’re suicidal for no reason, all the time. You know, now that I think about it, I probably should have started with reason two, because they are rather intertwined. The second reason I wanted to die, is the world f*cking sucks. There are such injustices in the world, slavery, oppression, corporations pushing products down our throats. I like to think that I’m what the kids call “woke” in that I see everything wrong with the world. Yet, I’m only one person. I can’t fix the worlds problems. You see how the two problems are intertwined? It hurts me to my core that there are so many problems in the world, and I can’t fix any of them. I can’t save everyone, nor should I. But that’s where my empathy takes control of my mind. I so badly want people just to love each other, and love themselves. So, I started blogging to help with my own issues, and I really wanted to help as many people as I could reach. The internet is a wild thing, we are all connected now, literally. How can I focus on myself, when there are so many problems in this world. Now, I have to stop myself from thinking like this, because it will drive me deep back into depression, and I cant go back, I won’t.

For real though, like what the actual f*ck is hate? Why do some people hate other based on their skin color, gender, sexuality, whatever. It pisses me off. It pisses me off even more that I used to hate people based on things they couldn’t control. Yet, the wealthy and greedy all only care about money or power, or both. I mean, we could cure cancer, but do you know why we won’t? There is more money to be made treating the disease than curing it. That’s f*cked isn’t it?! Why the actual f*ck is there a market for child sex? Like WTF is wrong with people? Why do corporations continue to destroy the planet, and then blame our individual actions? Like me using a plastic straw is worse than dumping millions of gallons of trash into the ocean. This world is just full of such bullsh*t, and I couldn’t stand it. That’s why I wanted to die. The rich and powerful continue to trick the rest of us, making us think we can change things. But as soon as we affect their bottom line, it gets swept under the rug.

I am terrified to have kids, because I KNOW that I won’t be able to leave the world a better place for him/her/them. And I’m just supposed to live my best life, while turning a blind eye to all this? How the heck can I do that? I so desperately want to live a normal, not even happy, just like baseline, life. These thoughts though, it is a real struggle. Now don’t get me wrong, there is true beauty in the world. I want to be able to focus on the good in life, I think that’s the only way I’ll make it, but I don’t know if I can. I need hope. It’s as simple as that. ECT did treat, and probably, cure my med resistant depression. But without hope, I don’t see my life changing all that much. Please. Whatever you do, just love yourself, love others, let’s make this world a place suitable for our children, our children’s children. Let’s just live and love life. Please.

What Are Friends For?

Do you ever get that feeling that you’re the needy friend in the relationship? I do, quite often I might add. You see, my depression was pretty much taken care of by my ECT treatment. The thing that didn’t go away, or even get better as a matter of fact, is my anxiety. Particularly my social anxiety. I don’t want to sound like I’m tooting my own horn here, but I am rather observant. Which, combined with my overthinking capabilities, can get me into so rather “sticky” trains of thought.

As a quick related side note, my family has been more or less disfuntional for just about ever. Yet, more recently I feel like it’s kinda falling apart. We don’t eat meals together. We don’t really gather all that much. I mean honestly I rarely ever see either of my siblings, and both of them are just upstairs. It probably has something to do with everyone getting older. My mother is well into her 50’s now, my siblings and I all in our 20’s. It just feels different than the normal dysfunction.

Back to the point, because of this, I’ve been going out to eat more often. However, due to my social anxiety, I find it incredibly difficult to do so by myself. It feels like, to me, that going to a restaurant and eating by myself makes me stand out too much. I almost feel like I shouldn’t be there. Needless to say, it makes me very uncomfortable to dine by myself. So I usually ask my family if they want to join me. Most of the time, it’s a no. But then, if we don’t go out to eat, and nobody cooks dinner, then are we just not going to eat? This happens uncomfortably often in my house. Granted, we are all grown adults, and able to fend for ourselves, but then I run into 2 problems. One, being that I can’t go out to eat by myself due to the wonderful anxiety associated with it. Two, if I make a meal for myself, the rest of the family gets upset that I didn’t cook for everyone. See, the second part I don’t have that much of a problem with. Unlike my two siblings, I was raised to think that if you are going to cook dinner, you cook it for the whole family.

Another quick related side note, I have a lot of these preconceived notions in my head about right and wrong, and how I should act accordingly. The issue is, is that most of these notions, are either self-detrimental, or are there because of my depression.

So, I can’t make dinner for myself, and I can’t go out by myself, where does that leave me? I usually call up my good friend, who lives just down the road. Let’s call him R, for the sake of his privacy, and my own. So, R and I have been friends for about a decade now. I met him through video games, and we quickly hit it off and became good friends irl (in real life). The problem that I’m facing now, is that I feel like I’m putting in a lot more effort into our friendship than he is. I also feel like I’m “The Needy Friend” because I am normally the one who initiates time together. As you can imagine, with my disposition to eating alone, I have been calling him more often than I used to. I mean, I also am a lot less depressed these days, so I am probably just overthinking it.

So, the question, that I am finally getting at, that I have for all of you is: Do you consider what I’m doing, to be okay? Like “normal” I guess? I feel like I call him numerous times a week, and want to hang out, grab a bite, whatever. I have had a lot of time on my hands, because he has been working, and I (until August) am not. So, honestly, would you consider me the needy friend? Hopefully none of you relate to this, because friendship is a glorious thing. Especially close friends, especially when your family is as lacking as mine. So, I basically want your advice TBW fam, what should I do?


And if you have a quick minute, or want to read more by me, check out my home blog Out Of My Mind