Taming the Dragon

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Front page news WordPress readers!! I am a Hufflepuff!!!

My whacky writer’s brain has been both a blessing and a curse for me. I escaped into my imagination whenever things became too much to deal with. It wasn’t just a place where I hid myself, but also the only place where anything made sense. Things seemed less complicated.

Many things in my life serve as creative fuel for me. My depression and anxiety, memories of good and bad days, lessons I had to learn the hard way, people I knew and wish were closer to me, things I had to overcome, and all that I desire.

Like Jewels, my nephew and niece, the man from my dreams….whoever he might be….whatever he’s supposed to really look like….hence the photos of man candy below….

 

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My writer’s brain runs on auto-pilot though. During my sessions with my counselor I told him how I called my depression the Nightmare Syndrome, how everything turns into a monster that I always see with my mind’s eye, and how it seemed as though they were always destroying everything in the world of my imagining that crossed over into my reality.

We used a lot of fantasy analogy. It’s something I had kept to myself for the longest time. I was mostly embarrassed to admit to any of it. I try to keep things as realistic as possible when talking about everything, but in the end it’s my creativity that has helped me more than anything else. Before the Zoloft anyway.

The Babadook came up in my sessions. I’m sure anyone who has seen the movie can relate to the analogy that there’s a beast that lives with those who suffer from mental illness. In my case it wasn’t just the one monster. We also talked about my favorite video game, Persona and I explained to him how the characters gain their power by overcoming and learning to accept their Shadow selves.

It was my counselor that brought up the analogy of a dragon being a personification of my depression. It coincided with the Shadows I mentioned. The creature can seem frightening and its easy to believe that its always out to get us. But sometimes it’s just misunderstood. Sometimes it can be used to draw strength from and propel us to move forward.

A few posts ago I did the Persona thing. I P4’d that bitch. I had come to terms with my depression and accepted it as a vital part of myself. It helped a lot. I felt my cognition take a huge shift. The rest is history. I’m doing good, but I’m not out of the woods yet.

My dragon and I are learning to co-exist. We’re not soaring the sky, but we’re not at each other’s throats either. Achieving peaceful co-existence with the dragon and unlearning everything that’s been hardwired into my brain is crucial to this recovery.

Within my mind exists my own universe where all my imaginative creations reside. I call it The Otherverse  and I’m putting everything into it to help me deal with things. It’s not about getting published and becoming the next J.K. Rowlings. It’s about healing and learning to truly live again, learn to better love myself, and to enrich the reality that I live in as well as my mental health.

The first step to any journey is to acknowledge the moment and who you are.

To pull some quotes from Dan Millman’s Peaceful Warrior…

  1. Where are you? I am here. What time is it? Now. What are you? I am this moment.
  2. There are no ordinary moments.
  3. There is no starting or stopping. There is only doing.
  4. A warrior does not give up what he loves. He finds the love in what he does.
  5. I call myself a Peaceful Warrior because the battles I fight come from within.

Have a nice day everyone.

Here I come World!!!

P.S. I consider myself a “Hufflepuff Warrior”.

 

 

 

 

 

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Is the Battle Over?

I started writing here in WordPress a year ago when I was in a dark place. I had been keeping so much inside of me that I felt like I would be driven insane. I had little hope at that time, believing that it was the end of everything for me. I thought by writing everything here that it would help me come out of that dark place, renew my sense of hope, and finally make sense of everything.

All of you readers who’ve been subscribed from the very beginning know everything that’s lead to to this point. This blog became an escape for me that proved to be one of many great tools needed to fight back against my “Nightmare Syndrome”, slaying the inner demons, and get me back on the right path.

In my first entry I had written, “By this time next year everything will be worth it”. I was sort of hoping that I’d have completed writing a novel or found the Dream Guy that I had written about. I thought that my last year in Boone would be what I had envisioned through the rose colored glasses. Those of you who’ve been reading and paying attention know that that didn’t happen.

But it was worth it. This is the recovery that’s going to stick. It’s thanks to the medication that I’ve gotten a taste of what life can be without having anxieties spiking at the smallest things, hearing that voice that always distorted my thoughts, or feeling like I am in a constant battle against the inner demons that I’ve always called “Nightmares”.

I thought about my “battles” yesterday. I thought about how great I was feeling yesterday both mentally and physically.  My body used to always feel worn down or beaten up. I was always exhausted. But now there’s none of that. The inside of my mind is so much quieter now. I have a lot more energy to burn now and able to shift focus on other things now there’s nothing to fight against.

It’s been like eight weeks of medication and powering through the side effects. I’m feeling like my real self again, but it feels so foreign to me. Even though a depression free life is something I’ve wanted for the longest time. I feel like I’m re-learning everything.

I have my life back. But are my battles over? Truly over? It feels so surreal to me.

Maybe the battles are over, but the work needed to make recovery a success isn’t. Having no more inner demons to fight doesn’t mean that I have nothing to write about anymore. But it does mean that I’m finally going to have the chance to write about something that doesn’t revolve around my personal hell.

I want to write about other things that I enjoy. Movies, anime, video games, food, what a huge nerd I am about WWE or Power Rangers, ANYTHING! Plus I have so many other goals that I want to accomplish. Finishing college is a big accomplishment. Even if I didn’t have the smoothest ride through it that experience is still mine. I can cross that off my list of “Dreams to Realize”.

I’m making my intentions clear for all to know. Just like I did with the first entry I ever wrote. Now…I take action.

Until next time readers.

Later days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ride Those Waves

So I’ve been back home for a week now. I had been meaning to write something for a while, but I was relaxing. I was in deep relaxation. Let me bring you loyal readers up to date.

 

First, I’ve graduated. I didn’t want to go through with the ceremony, but I did. I had only gotten 2 hours of sleep the night before. But I didn’t fall asleep during the ceremony. Nope. Because I was wearing cargo shorts underneath the gown and in my pockets was my Nintendo 3DS. So the minute those long, dried, tired ass speeches started up I played the shit out of Bravely Second. I had to stay alert SOMEHOW. Then I walked. I had my picture taken a bunch of times. I came home and I celebrated with my family.

Everyone was happy for me. There was good on the table courtesy of my Tias. My cousin got me an entire bottle of Prosecco. No one is allowed to drink from that bottle, but me. ME ME ME ME ME.

And of course there was chit chat and questions. “What’s next?” “What do you want to do next?”

My answer was simple….

All I wanted….more than anything else in the world….

More than tickets to a Stevie Nicks show….More than I wanted to have a one night stand with Charlie Hunnam…..

What I truly wanted was….

TO LIE THE FUCK DOWN!!!!!

A week prior to that I had the dosage of my medication increased. I am now at 100 mg. And it’s paying off. I’ve had absolutely no intrusive thoughts at all. No anxieties acting up, no suicidal thoughts, no uneasiness at all. My serotonin levels are sky rocketing. I’m powering through the side effects.

I feel the Zoloft working inside of my mind. I feel it like a wave. It’s not painful. It’s just a wave that lets me know that it’s there. It’s gentle. I call it a Z-Wave. That’s how it all started out. But the other night those extra milligrams kicked in a big way. I experienced the freaking tsunami of Z-Waves. I felt very wonky. Not nauseous or dizzy, but just so out of place. This was two days ago. I slept it off and I haven’t experienced anything since. I’m adjusting to the full 100 mg. Last week I was on 75 mg to built up to 100. I’m feeling the difference in strength and it’s working.

From now on though I have this goal to adjust to this dosage. If my wave analogy is accurate then all I need to do is learn to ride it so that it doesn’t overpower me.

I’ve managed to make a lot new friends and I’ve reconnected with others that I deleted when the depression got so bad. The walls that surrounded me have broken down completely. There’s no noise in my mind. The fog has been lifted. And the Nightmares are much weaker. I’m finally able to write and enjoy things again. This is the best I’ve felt in a very long time.

I don’t feel afraid of anything anymore and I’m ready to do what needs to be done to turn all my dreams into a reality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here I Come, World!!!

As of Monday I’ve got my refill of Zoloft and have moved on to a higher dosage. I’m on 75 mg. By the end of this week I will be on 100 mg. I feel like I have to adjust to it all over again.

I took my first pill at like 8:30 AM. Earliest I’ve taken it. Then when I made my exist from class two whole hours later I felt like I needed a 12 hour nap. I slept like a Snorlax. Had to eat like one too to get some strength back. I’m pretty sure I’ve experienced my first Zoloft induced vivid dream last night.

I felt the druggy effect of the Zoloft in my dreams. I kept feeling weak and my legs were like jelly. I didn’t realize it was a dream though. The imagery from last night is becoming more blurry so I can’t entirely remember what I saw. But I know there was some pretty dark stuff.

But I knew what I signed up for when I agreed to medication. I might feel drowsy sometimes and may have to deal with weird dreams in the future, but at least I don’t want to hurt or kill myself anymore. I don’t see so much darkness and ugly in the world anymore either.

I’ve managed to make quite a few new friends. I’ve been chatting them up like crazy. I joined these Facebook groups for gay geeks like myself. I forgot what a joy it was to talk about stuff like anime, pro-wrestling, and Power Rangers was like with someone who shares the same passion for it that I do. The walls that obstructed me from socializing with people are crumbling. Part of that is because of the Zoloft and the other part is my own desire. Whatever was holding me back before isn’t there anymore. I feel as if I’m free.

Over the last few days I’ve been mulling over what to do with myself. What to do once I’ve put App State behind me is what I mean. Originally I wanted to just focus on my writing and work on getting a novel published. But now I believe I have a new goal.

I want to help with mental health problems like myself. No one should ever have to go through anything like that on their own. No one should ever have to feel like they’re always on their own. I’m going to look into volunteer work with organizations. I’ll become an advocate.

I might be feeling better, but that doesn’t suggest that I get to forget all my experiences. I should be able to use what I’ve learned to do some good in the world and help others.

That’s really all I want to say for now.

Take care everybody.

Finally There is Hope.

So ever since I made last night’s post I’ve begun to feel a major shift in my mind. I feel like my mind is being rewired. It shows that I was right to accept my depression as part of me when I did. I kinda wish I came to this realization sooner, but this is the way it happened.

Fighting my depression the way that I have has been the wrong way to handle things. Alienating people might have kept me safe from harm, but it’s also built up walls that I now have to break myself. Going at things on my own has only taken me so far. Holding on to this do-all-or-die-trying attitude has made a giant mess of things. It’s all wrong and it all has to go.

I’ve made mistakes along the way, but I accept it all for it is. I’ve grappled with the darkness that festers inside me, but I don’t deny the growth I’ve experienced and that it has helped me to find myself. I have a long road ahead of me, but I’m willing to go forward. Even if it means risking something more painful and frightening than anything else I’ve endured.

My life is a mess. I am a mess. But that’s okay. I’m still rewriting the narrative of my personal story and I’m still willing to do whatever it takes to live a life of better mental health.

I have people in my life that may never fully understand my experiences, my thoughts, my feelings, my journey, or my story. But that doesn’t matter anymore. Because it’s all mine. I’m the one that needs to understand it all. Nobody else.

I don’t feel so scared anymore. I actually feel more hopeful for the future.

Here’s my new plan. I’m going to sign up for the summer semester to make up for my bombed classes. I’m going ahead the with the walking ceremony for graduation and put the experience behind me. Then when I come back I’m going to resume therapy and I’m going to work together with my counselor to ensure that I stay on track with my goals of finishing things off for good. At the same time I’m going to continue with medication and doing my part to live a life where I don’t have to fight monsters living in my head everyday. My brain is getting rewired and it’s going to take me to someplace better. But I have to do my part to ensure that it stays that way. It’ll be bigger than any other challenge I’ve ever had to face. Schoolwork pales in comparison.

I don’t feel like running away back home like I did before. I feel foolish thinking about it now. I’ve got butterflies in my stomach about everything, but I’m letting it process and I’m moving forward anyway. I will live with my depression, but not as curse. But it will be where I will draw power from. Then I will use that power to do amazing things. I will have power over it and not allow it have power over me.

That’s all I got for now. I’m back on the mission. Time for action!

The Recovery Plan

So I haven’t been able to write anything here for a while. I haven’t been able to create anything in a while either. Not on my WWE game, not for my story universe, not in the kitchen, or anywhere else. I’ve been sticking to my medication, I’ve continued going to counseling, and it looks like I’ll be doing the same over the summer time.

This semester completely blew. It’s almost identical to what happened to me last year. I thought that getting help when I did would mean that I’d have everything nipped in the bud. But that’s not how it turned out. But it’s a good thing I did reach out for help when I did. Otherwise I’d probably would’ve been dead by now.

But it’s okay. Mentally, I’m doing all right. At some point I’m going to have a stronger dosage of Zoloft prescribed to me. Emotionally, I feel like a complete wreck. I wish I could explain the reason why. But I can’t seem to explain to myself. I was hoping that by writing something here that it would offer up some clarity. This is the best thing that I can do in an attempt to purge out everything.

I have my last counseling session tomorrow. This will mark the first time that I’ve used up all ten sessions offered. That’s the rule here at App State. You only get ten sessions per semester. Afterwards you’re supposed to go look elsewhere for help where it’s not free. But if it comes down to that I have no problems with it.

I’m trying to get a handle on what I’m feeling. My emotions are in a whirlwind and I’m doing everything I can to not allow them to influence my thinking. I’ve been feeling this way since last week and it’s drained so much energy out of me.

I keep picking up fear, anger, sadness, indecision, confusion, and shame.

I’m scared of what’s going to happen next. I’m scared that my depression will be the end of me. I’m scared of not knowing how I’ll be able to function in life on a daily basis.

I’m angry at myself for being this way. I’m angry that nothing has gone according to my vision. I’m angry at the world that keeps fueling my inner demons faster than I can blink. I’m angry at people for not being to understand how I think and feel. I get even angrier when they say something that will minimize what I’m going through.

I’m sad because it feels like I’m nowhere close to where I want to be. I’m sad because it feels like my dreams have become impossible to realize at this point. I’m sad because it feels like there’s no end to this struggle, no matter how hard I try.

I feel lost and confused. I don’t know which path to take and where it will lead me, to a brighter future or to a darker pit. I don’t know how to be stronger than I’ve already been. I don’t know how to undo all the negativity that’s been hardwired into my mind. Sometimes I don’t even know how to believe in anything good and beautiful. And if depression is supposed to be a catalyst for great new change then I don’t know if I should be looking forward to it or not.

I’m scared of changing, but I’m also scared of never changing.

I try not to dwell on the things I haven’t accomplished on my journey or the many setbacks I’ve encountered along the way. But there’s still this sense of deep shame that’s nesting inside of me.

In my mind’s eye I was supposed to be living the lifestyle that would make everyone be envious of me. It’s me that’s supposed to have bragging rights, a person to love and call mine, see the world, and be successful in everything I set out to do. No matter how much time has passed I feel this bitterness.

No more. I don’t want to feel this way anymore. I don’t want to die, but I also don’t want to keep living a life where I am always feeling this way. If something hasty change then all of this mess needs to change. And that can’t happen unless I change.

So I’m in the same spot that I was in last year. I had to pick myself up from rock bottom and move forward to something better. No matter how much I piss and moan the things that I desire will not be handed to me.

I have a lot of work that’s ahead of me, but I can’t accomplish anything as I am now in my current state. Not as long as I keep feeling sorry for myself, not with my warped cognition, and not by staying still or not being true to myself.

So I’m coming up with a “Recovery Plan”. For now I’m gonna get the basics down and then I’m going to jump into things head first. Once I’ve taken the plunge I’ll know where to go from there and what adjustments have to be made. I have to keep this as flexible as possible so I’ll be able to adapt on the go.

Before I’m able to do anything I need to accept where I’m at now. I have to acknowledge everything that I’m feeling. I know why I feel the way that I do and I can tell myself that it’s okay to have these emotions. They are what make me human.

And yeah, depression has been a bitch in my life for many years now. But right now I’m seeing the good that has come from it all. Depression has matured me in ways I never thought was possible. It’s given me insight. It’s made me grounded. It’s made me empathic. It’s made me stronger. It awakened and molded this warrior spirit that I never knew existed until I made the choice to live and go after what I want. I still have that. I never lost it. Getting lost in the darkness of my depression has only made me believe that it was gone and made me believe that I’ve been powerless this entire time.

I’ve been treating my depression as a curse for the longest time. Not everyday is always a good day, but I’d be lying if I said nothing has come from it. I’ve been beaten down and I’ve been able to come back from my defeats. I’ve been able to overcome numerous fears and challenges precisely because of my experiences with depression and because I tried killing myself. I’ve been fighting it nonstop, but it keeps coming back. Maybe that’s where the source of my problems truly lie within.

It doesn’t matter if I like it or not. This depression and all that has come from it have become a vital part of me. So I can’t be rid of it. I can’t forcibly remove it from myself. I can’t suppress it. I can’t kill it. I have to live with it. I have to make my peace with it. I have to accept it as a part of me and love it in the same way that I want to love other parts of myself.

Depression is a part of me. But that doesn’t suggest that it gets to rule over me or define me who I am as a person. It’s just one of infinite factors to my self. I can draw strength from it. I can use it to propel myself forward. I can use it as my shield and sword. I can use it as my own power. I just have to learn to not allow it have power over me.

I think maybe I’ve found the clarity that I needed.

I accept it as a part of me. But that doesn’t suggest that I’m going to stop medication, counseling, or allow myself to drown in the darkness.

I meant to share details of my “Recovery Plan”, but I think this covers the first phase. I’ll get around to explaining the rest later. For now, I need to let all of this sink in.

Take care everyone.