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i missed the boat…

A collection of thoughts, musings, and useless propaganda.

I am feeling a bit under the weather tonight.  Maybe it is because my allergies are acting up, maybe it is just stress from work, but I am finding it really hard to turn off the stuff in my head.  You know, the stuff that creeps in and likes to mess with reality.  The little lies that we somehow find believable when we are feeling low.  The depression and bipolar folks know what I am talking about…

It is becoming harder to face these demons in my brain lately and it has become a struggle to just move past them.  I figure if I name them, then maybe it will be easier or at least help those who have to fight these thoughts as well.  Maybe not,  but hell, here goes.

1.  I fail at everything I do.  –  This one is a really tough one.  I have had a ton of jobs, careers, and hobbies.  I find myself being nothing but mediocre at all of them.  I am not impressive or interesting.  Do you know how everyone seems to have one thing they are really gifted at?  I don’t have that.  I am mediocre or terrible at everything.  I can do a lot of stuff, but nothing really well.  I keep thinking maybe I am missing something, maybe I just haven’t found that one thing yet at 38 years old?  It is hard because of this:

2.  No one is proud of me or will ever be proud to be with me or around me.  I really want to be something better.  I feel like I am meant for these great things, but I am not.  I don’t know why I feel like I should be something other than what I am.  It hurts to think that I am constantly trying to impress the people in my life, but honestly I keep making bad choices and making an ass out of myself.  Now I sit here after yet another career venture with barely anything to show for it.  I am making less money, I am not any happier, and I feel like I am stuck.  I feel like I jumped at something and yet again I have failed.  I just wanted to build something for myself.  I wanted to be part of something bigger, but again I have bellied up.  I am nothing more than a failure to my family.  I see the way people look at me.  I see it in their eyes that they can’t believe they were saddled with this big sack of poop.

3.  No one really wants to spend any time with me or invest any time in me.  This one hurts the most.  I just had dinner with my father who barely spent an hour with me.  It is like it was an obligation.  All I want to do is hang out with him.  I want to have a time with him where we sit for a few hours and talk about anything.  I try to bring up conversation.  I offer him another drink.  I try to convince him to stay.  He can’t wait to get out of here.  In fact everyone can’t wait to get away from me.  My child runs downstairs, then my boyfriend runs off to meet his friends.  I spent all day cleaning the house to have my Dad over.  Now I am sitting here by myself in the clean house.  It feels even emptier now.

4.  I am not worth anyone’s time.  Why would anyone bother to want to be around me?  I am boring.  I am uneducated and I do not add anything original to the conversation.  When I speak, no one really listens and usually they talk over me.  Why should anyone spend time or invest in me?  I am clearly not going to better anything.  I am mediocre, nothing special or especially interesting.

5.  This is the best I am ever going to be.  Things will not get better for me.  I will always feel this way.  I will always be stagnant.  I will always be struggling to make ends meet.  Things will not change, nor is there anything to do to better the situation.

These are the top 5 things I fight every day.  Today I feel like I am on the losing end of these.  I am sure it will pass, though it is tough to drown them out when things are playing out right into them.  Not every day is a good one, so I wanted people to be able to see what a bad one looks like from within.  If you know someone who is going through a rough patch, give them some hugs.  Be there.  Ask them what their demons are.  Thank you for listening.

 

 

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Recently a friend posted a little bit about their mental health and what they need others to know about their specific circumstances.  Talking about our feelings and the things that we need will accomplish so much!  We can help to smash stereotypes and knowing what our issues are can help our friends and loved ones to respond when things don’t seem quite right.  So be brave!  Shout it out loud!  Okay, maybe not that, but still we should talk about it.  I’ll go first…

I am a diagnosed bipolar with anxiety, ADHD, and probably some other weird things that are kinda swimming around in there too.  Being bipolar is usually characterized by ups and downs.  Typically, you usually swing one way more than the other or one facet is more of an issue than the other.  In my case I tend to be more manic than depressed.  I do get depressed, but the spells of depression are not nearly as destructive as my manic phases.

The hard part about being manic is that often I don’t know I am manic until it is too late.  I have destroyed friendships.  I have lost relationships.  When I am manic, I talk faster, I have tons of energy, and I feel as though I could take on the world.  Most of the time for me it is controllable and it is no more than a sustained sugar or caffeine high.  It is harmless and honestly it can make me really fun to be around.  I have even had bosses that praised me for my high energy and positive attitude.  There are times though that it crosses the line into being a sickness.  This is when it becomes a full blown episode.  I feel like I want to jump out of my own skin.  I feel like everyone is against me and no one wants me to be happy.  I find myself more anxious.  If two people are talking to each other and I am in the room, I automatically assume that they are talking about me.

What I need the most in that moment is someone to stay with me.  Someone who won’t be pushed away.  I need people around me that will continue to be there when the storm passes.  People that will continue to text, IM, or call, even if I do something terrible.   The worst thing you can do to me in this situation is to walk away.  I struggle so much with guilt.  I feel guilt for things that are so small.  Those little off color comments or ashamed for acting a certain way.  They tear me apart inside even though they matter little to anyone else.

There are positives to all of this stuff.  I am really sensitive.  This means that I am really good at reading other people’s emotions and to see many sides of an argument.  I am good at playing devil’s advocate if need be.  When I am on, I am amazing.   I get things done, my brain works quickly, and I am entertaining to watch.  Especially at work.  I have a really big heart.  I tend to be more tolerant of all types of people.  I like to give more than get.  Bottom line is that I love to feel good.  Don’t we all?  Manics love feeling good, perhaps more than most.  Anything that gives me warm fuzzies, I can’t get enough of.

That is me in a very small nutshell, I suppose.  If it seems a bit compact, it is.  Layers… Ogres have layers….  More will come soon.  I am rusty at this getting my feelings down stuff.  Thanks for reading.

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I feel like I need to say something.  I watched so many news programs that dealt with the death of Robin Williams.  They talked about suicide and depression.  People were talking about mental illness openly and how it affected them.  People really seemed to give a damn… for about a week.  Then just as shocking and sudden as the news of his death, the conversation closed.  It was like there was some sort of proper waiting period, before we snapped right back into political rhetoric, naked celebrities, and abusive athletes.  Unless I missed something, I am still mentally ill.  Actually 1/4 of the United States is still mentally ill, but it is still something that no one wants to talk about.  Those of us that have it are too embarrassed to say anything and are convinced that those that are “normal” don’t really want to hear about it anyways.  The most frightening part of this scenario is that people are dying because of it.

A few days ago I was scrolling through Facebook, seeing how the other three quarters lives and I came upon a post made by a friend from high school.  One of our classmates had died.  She took her own life.  We were not friends.  She wasn’t even on my friends list on Facebook.  I went to a really large school and we didn’t run in any of the same circles.  I won’t pretend that we were friends, spoke more than a few times, or that I knew something was wrong.  She isn’t the first person I knew that committed suicide, though I didn’t know her that well.  I had planned to write something about depression a week ago, but I feel like it became more important for me to open up, because someone has to start the conversation.

My goal is to shine a light on what is often hidden.  I want people to know that it is going to be okay.  That there are others out there that are in their shoes.  The things I will talk about will be personal and may scare some of you that do know me in real life.  It isn’t my intention to hurt anyone, to upset anyone, or to frighten anyone.  I want to be upfront with you, so you will have the courage to do the same if you need help or encouragement.

In the next few posts I will write about my experiences with depression, bipolar, anxiety, and the rest of the chemical imbalances that are a part of my life.  I am not a doctor, nor am I someone who is qualified to tell you what to do.  I am just a crazy person.  Or as I like to put it, just like anyone else, but not as chemically balanced or predictable….

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I don’t usually do this sort of thing.  I hate setting lofty goals for myself and tend to be hard on myself when I don’t reach them.  This year, for whatever reason, feels different for me.  Maybe it is because of my new job I started in November.  Maybe it is due to all that has happened here in the US the last few months.  I find myself caring more about what is going on around me and my family.  Or maybe it is my renewed mindfulness and spirituality within Buddhism.  It could also be the change in the medication I am taking.  It could be any number of factors, but I feel like this coming year should not be lived in vain.  I feel that if I put these resolutions in writing for the world to see, that they will be real and binding.  I have to work to achieve them.  If I don’t, I have to answer to anyone that reads my sad little blog.  So please, hold me to them.

Here goes…

1.  No More Excuses

I have spent most of my life using excuses that in the end hold me back from putting forth any effort to change my current situation, deal with problems, or becoming successful.  I have used my mental health, economic status, physical health, past traumatic events, etc. as excuses for my behavior or lack there of.  I let myself sink into a state of merely existing instead of actively living life.  I have missed out on opportunities and events out of fear and pessimism.  I have kept myself from trying, because I was sure I was going to fail.  I stopped believing in myself years ago for some reason.  This apathetic personal view has crippled me and has put much strain on those around me.  It isn’t beneficial for anyone involved and I must stop fooling myself into thinking that it is.

2.  My Opinion is Valid and Important

My thoughts and feelings matter, even if it is only valid to me.  I am important, my needs are important, and I am worth listening to.  If I want something, I need to say it.  If I need help I need to ask for it.  If I don’t agree with something I need to say it.  I do myself and others a disservice by keeping silent or being agreeable to avoid conflict.  It keeps me wallowing in low self esteem and makes me miserable.

3.  Keeping Myself Healthy

I don’t plan on quitting smoking.  Honestly I like it and I am not ready yet.  One day maybe, but for now I want to hold onto that vice.  That being said, I do need to start getting some exercise, eating better, and paying attention to my weight.  While many people use the new year as a catalyst to start losing weight, I struggle with the opposite problem.  I must start gaining weight.  I am thin to begin with, but recently I have become far too thin.  It is becoming a heath problem at this point and I need to start realizing that.  I have been eating here and there, skipping meals, and just generally forgetting to eat.  I started taking a stimulant medication for ADHD and that has caused my metabolism to go into overdrive.  I don’t eat healthy meals and my body seems to burn the calories and fat faster than I can consume it.  If I get a bruise, I have it for weeks due to the fact that my body can’t seem to repair itself fast enough.  I am frequently tired from being out of shape.  I have had people comment on how thin I look, but in a concerned tone, not in a “good for you” tone.  It is time to get healthier and it starts with me.  It is my fault that I am this way and I have done nothing to change it.  It isn’t the medication or my physiology, it is my laziness.

4.  Write in This Blog More

Mostly for selfish purposes.  I need the release.  I need to have a sounding board for everything that has been happening in the world.  It forces me to use my voice in a concise manner.  I have wanted to write about a number of things, but something keeps stopping me from actually pulling up WordPress.  I am constantly worrying about being judged or saying something wrong, but with resolution #2 I need to stop worrying and just say what I feel or think.  So subscribe, check back, follow, what have you.

I know I will struggle to keep some of these and I will occasionally fall back into my old behaviors, but I hope to accomplish each one this year.  Time to let go of the past behaviors and welcome the new year and the new opportunities it will bring.  Thanks for reading!  I hope that 2013 is kind to you as well.  Let’s shake off the past hang-ups and negative thoughts together!  If you have resolutions you want to be held accountable for or share, feel free to comment below.  We are in this together and we can help keep each other honest.

Peace.

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An article appeared on CNN’s front page today about a dispute  involving the charitable group Livestrong and some of its contributors.  The Livestrong charity was founded by cyclist Lance Armstrong during his bout with testicular cancer to raise money for those impacted by cancer in their daily lives, while also to help change the stigma of cancer and how those affected are perceived in society.  Armstrong recently stepped down from the organization after he refused to fight allegations of doping that had been brought against him over the course of his career.  He is now facing having all seven of his Tour de France titles stripped as well as an Olympic bronze medal.  In the midst of all of this, there are some contributors that have asked for their donations back.  That’s right.  They want their donations to charity refunded, because the guy with the bike may or may not have been using performance enhancing substances.  Is it fair?  Should they get their money back, even though it was a charitable donation?

http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/19/us/lance-armstrong/index.html?hpt=hp_c2

http://www.livestrong.org/What-We-Do/Our-Actions/Programs-Partnerships

No.  Absolutely not!  Are you really that selfish?!  It’s not like Lance went out and bought steroids with your donations.  The money went to develop programs for people with cancer.  So there are allegations against him.  What’s worse?  Lance for possibly taking steroids to improve his racing, or you for shaking down cancer survivors because you are shocked about it?  Here’s a hint…  It’s you.  You are scum if you think that those people who did nothing wrong owe you a dime.  Grow up!  Get over it!  People do rotten things, but they are also capable of doing good things as well.  Armstrong was dishonest about racing, but not about cancer.  He stepped down from the charitable organization he created to keep the charity going, because it helps people and he doesn’t want what happened in the cycling realm to affect the work that the charity does for others.  He didn’t lie about having cancer or his battles associated with fighting it.  That hasn’t changed.

Again, you don’t get your money back.  You are disgusting for even asking and you are an idiot for letting CNN publish an article with your names.  So Connie and Daniel Roddy, you are scum.  If you want your money back, maybe you should go door to door and meet the people that the charity has helped, then ask them for your money.  Tell them that you don’t think that they should benefit from Livestrong’s programs, because some guy on a bike might have cheated in his races.  Tell them that their battle with cancer isn’t as important as the integrity of a celebrity.  Show them that you got your name in the paper for it as well!  I am sure they will understand.

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I recently read an article concerning the Christian church’s response or lack there of to Mitt Romney’s choice of faith.  I myself am an Atheist/Soto Zen Buddhist who honestly subscribes into the “live and let live” philosophy, unless that religion involves the hurting or oppression of others, which seems to become the norm lately across the board.  This article is not about which religion is right, but instead is about the sudden flexibility of morals and values within the Christian church when it comes to supporting a candidate.  As a former fundamental Christian that practiced within the Assemblies of God church, I was floored to hear about such flexibility and how far the church would go to prevent a democrat (who is a Baptist) from being elected as president.

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/10/16/billy-grahams-group-removes-mormon-cult-reference-from-website-after-romney-meeting/?hpt=hp_c3

This article addresses something that the church wanted to sweep under the rug or throw a newspaper over and act like it didn’t happen.  Reverend Billy Graham of evangelical fame changed his website to omit the Church of Latter Day Saints from the introduction to the cults section on the site after meeting with Mitt Romney.  This was a bold move and message to his followers after years of being told that the Mormons were not Christians.  The sketchy part of all of this is that it was done without mention.  Rev. Graham made no announcement and didn’t so much as draft an email as to why the change was made.  It was kept quiet with the hopes that people would forget the years of vilification.  It has worked for the most part.  Many of the Christians I know have not mentioned the fact that the candidate they support is a key figure within the Mormon community.  Almost as if they stuck their fingers in their ears and sang “la la la la” to avoid hearing something that should be a deal-breaker for them.

Exactly how much of a deal breaker could it be?  For two years I attended North Central Bible College, (now called North Central University) in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  It is a college run by the Assemblies of God church.  One of the classes I took was a class that taught about Cults, highlighted their belief systems, and how to debate with their followers or disprove their beliefs.  A big chunk of the curriculum was centered around the Mormon church, its history, and most importantly its blasphemy.  We were shown videos of the “darker” side of the Mormon church, paper underwear and all.  There was a point during the term where two Mormon church members were invited into class and we were told to ask them questions and challenge their faith.  We were told to be ruthless and tough, to not let them answer back or to let them argue that they were even Christians.  They were not one of us.  They were wrong, evil, and predatory.  They preyed on the weak minded and brainwashed them into thinking they were Christians.  In answer to my above question, it should be a big one.  Why isn’t it?  Why has the church changed it’s tune overnight?  Are they not the evil people that they were previously made out to be?  Are they now in fact Christians?

It would seem that values are compromised when faced with a difficult decision.  While many Christians say that they stand firm on their values, it seems that even the most stubborn have decided to let this one slide.  I have to wonder, what is worse?  Is it a case of anything but the black guy?  Is it a case of we have to vote republican, so I guess this is okay?  I encourage those of you out there to explain why.  I honestly want to know what sparked this change.  What is so bad about Obama that would make you choose someone from a group you consider to be evil, predatory, and blasphemous?  Are your values and beliefs that adaptable?

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In the upcoming election there are two important decisions to make on the ballot in Minnesota, other than who you want to see as our president.  Both amendments if passed will take away the rights of our fellow Minnesotans.  These are people that were born in this country, who may have served in our military, and those who work and contribute to our society.  This cannot happen.  We as a nation have a history of being a safe haven for people of all backgrounds, colors, and religions.  We came here to seek freedom, but somehow we have lost that vision.  While I may not change your personal opinion, I do however aim to tell you that your personal opinion isn’t right for everyone, nor should it be the law.  So hang with me here and remember that you are not your neighbor, brother, the waiter at lunch, the guy who bags your groceries, or the elderly man in a nursing home.

Let’s start out with the big one.  The amendment that has been the most strongly and at times violently argued is the amendment that will define marriage as between a man and a woman.  I have heard many arguments against it.  Every single one of them is steeped in religion or personal opinion.  Here is the problem with those arguments.

1.  The rights of the people that are in question here, probably don’t go to your church:  I can’t make a sweeping generalization here, but more than likely if you are using religion as a basis for this decision, then it is pretty safe to say that they don’t.  If the amendment fails, you will never see a gay wedding ceremony performed in your church.  You will probably never go to one either.  You won’t be forced to watch two men or women who love each other exchange wedding vows.  It won’t affect your religious activities in the slightest.

2.  If the value of your marriage is threatened by two men or women getting married, then your marriage is already in trouble:  To harsh?  It’s true though.  Think about it.  What you are saying is that I could go and marry somebody I just met,  then get divorced a week later, but that would still be more valuable than 2 men or women getting married, even if they have been together for decades?  Hint hint:  marriage isn’t special.  The piece of paper that you both sign and the notary stamp doesn’t make something instantly special.  The relationship between two people is what is special.  The love that they share together is special.  If they want to put it down on paper, how does it affect you?  How does it make your piece of paper and less than a piece of paper?  How does them not getting married make your paper any stronger?  It doesn’t.  Paper is paper.

3.  You aren’t voting on whether or not you think homosexuality is morally right:  You are actually voting on whether they can get married and have the rights that go along with marriage.  These rights include hospital visitation, custody, veteran benefits, death benefits, and life insurance.  Should someone in the hospital have the right to  have their partner of 20 years at their bedside?  Absolutely.  Should the partner of a war veteran be denied the death benefits to bury his partner?  No.  Again I have to reiterate that your vote won’t suddenly make being gay not okay.  It won’t make it socially unacceptable.  There will still be gay people.  There will still be gay bars.  There will still be guys kissing and girls holding hands.  Again you are voting on whether or not a veteran’s partner of 10, 20, or 30 years should receive death benefits, be able to visit him in a hospital, or even receive health insurance.

4.  The majority should not decide how the minority lives their lives:  We have been down this road before and it isn’t a pretty one.  The majority doesn’t come out looking good.  If this passes, the slippery slope is a big one.  It is not what this country was founded on or stands for.  The bigger mob isn’t always the right one.  They just have more people yelling.

Voting no on the marriage amendment isn’t voting yes for homosexuality.  You don’t get to vote on that one.  It is there whether you like it or not.  Voting no is a vote for giving people rights that they should have in the first place.  Nothing about you or concerning you will change.  Your relationship with Christ will be the same.  Your church will be the same.  Your kids will be the same.  Your marriage will be the same.  Why would you want to deny anyone the chance to be happy?  While people try to dress it up in its Sunday best, bigotry is still bigotry.  Hate is still hate.  You can try to paint it up with morality and wrap it up in religious text, but it is still hate.  Exercise some compassion.  We can do better.

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