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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Where It All Began.

So believe it or not, despite how open I am about my current problems I’ve tried to not look back to the past for anything. I tried not to look back out of fear that I’d sink back into depression, get caught in regrets, imagine myself doing something differently.

Clearly that’s worked out well in my favor right. Hehehehe…That was sarcasm.

But while my professor was in the middle of her lecture my mind started drifting back to when my battles truly began. I remember 10 years ago when my depression began. Back then I didn’t have a name for any of it. That’s when I started to call it the Nightmare Syndrome. I remember where I was mentally back then. I remember how alone I felt no matter where I was or how many people surrounded me. I remember how much I loathed myself. I remember feeling so worthless in everything that I set out to do back then. But most of all I remember feeling trapped and powerless to do anything.

While I was in school at Central Piedmont Community College there was a day when that horrible trapped feeling and all other types of negative thoughts and emotions had devoured me. I was in the library that day. I remember I had my eye on this door where there was a spiral staircase. I knew that it went all the way up to the roof. I remember wanting to go up to the roof. I remember how enticing the thought of going up felt at the moment. It was like this magnetic pull. That’s when the suicidal thoughts first came to me. I wanted to jump off that roof and land head first into the pavement.

I scared myself just thinking about it. I didn’t get up from where I was sitting and I kept looking at that door for what might have been twenty minutes. At some point I snapped out of it and I got out of there. The whole time I walked from campus to the bus stop I was like, “What the fuck was I thinking?”

That feeling of being trapped always stayed with me. It wasn’t until I came up with the idea of quitting school that I started to feel relieved. I figured back then that school was the problem and that when I left that horrible feeling would go away forever. I figured I’d get my writing career started. I was determined to go through with it.

But I was totally deluding myself. Sometime after Christmas my Mom was so angry with me about my decision to quit. She kept yelling and yelling at me like I had just committed the worst of sins. Like I was guilty of murder. She left the house in a rage. I went to write something in the journal that I kept at that time. I was writing about the experience that had just happened.

That’s when the suicidal thoughts started to come to me again. I remember writing in that journal entry, “I guess this is it. This is how its supposed to end for me. This will be the last thing I ever write.” That’s when I went into the kitchen and grabbed one of the sharpest knives kept in the drawer.

I remember thinking, “How deep do I have to cut?” “How much blood needs to spill?” “How much is this going to hurt?”

And then I pressed the blade against my wrists.

That was the closest I ever came to going through with it.

I still don’t know if I was too afraid to go through with it or if I was just too apathetic at the time. So I didn’t die that day. But something inside of me had already been long broken. I didn’t put the knife away though. I kept it in my desk drawer.

I thought, “Maybe not today. But somewhere down the line.”

Even though I stayed away from that drawer for six months the thoughts wouldn’t leave me alone. I would wake up with that knife being the first thing on my mind and the last thing before I went to sleep. Even whenever I was out of the house I kept imagining all the many other ways I could’ve ended myself. Stepping into traffic, drinking bleach, jump off some other roof.

It always brought me back to that moment when I almost went up those stairs to CPCC’s roof. The enticement was still there. It was like someone was whispering in my mind this promise of sweet release and they wouldn’t stop until I went through with it.

It wasn’t until the very end of my first therapy session ever that I told someone about wanting to die. I remember the look of shock and concern on her face when I told her about the knife. Up until that moment I had already put on my fake happy face. But then I just blurted it out.

Now that I’m looking back on things now I can’t help noticing how things from back then and now almost mirror each other. That trapped feeling is back. And it almost feels like its brought me back to the person that I was back then. Why else would I have these intrusive thoughts?

I’ve done all that I can to not think about anything from back then. I thought that by not thinking about it that I was able to move on from it. But I think I needed to remember that time. I needed to remember where I was at the beginning.

If my Nightmares weren’t figments of my imagination gone horribly wrong then I’m pretty sure they’d be trying to convince me that this is the end of me. That no matter what I do I’ll never realize my dreams.

All of this came to me when I was in class and wondered why I was so scared of what happens in the future. From there I started to think that I already felt trapped in that dreaded 9 to 5 dead end job that I hate having. There’s that word again, “trapped”.

Maybe I’m supposed to remember now so I could do something that I couldn’t do back then. And I’m much stronger now than I was back then.

I need to stop right here.

Good day everyone.

Hermitry

I’m a lonely soul. Have been for the longest time. And it’s never been by choice. But now I’m beginning to believe that it’s the way that it has to be.

The thought came to me yesterday after my latest post. It was the line that read, “Having a coffee date with myself” that triggered it. I’m pretty sure if my life were a Persona game then my arcana would be the Hermit. That’s gaming humors for all you non-nerds reading this.

I used to be more social and open with others about everything. I used to be. I used to attract people who were similar to me as far as interests go. I used to. I had always been used to having someone by my side to help me whenever I needed it. Again, used to.

Too many things have changed. People I know have changed. I have changed.

There was no way I could’ve predicted these changes to occur and I don’t have the power to undo any of it. I’m left with no other choice but to simply accept things as they are and move on.

For as long as I can remember I’ve held on to this hope that someday people will come around to my own way of things. How I perceive the world, how I treasure things that inspire me, how I try to make the best of things, how to stay sane in an insane world.

For whatever reason people just cannot connect with me. I can’t attract the man of my dreams to come and save me or the right people who can help me with my creations. And forget about attracting people with the same interests as me.

I’ve tried to be open minded about all different people. I’ve tried. I’ve really really tried. I’ve been open minded to the point where brain matter has literally leaked out of every possible orifice you can think of. I’ve taken every considerable factor into account to be better understand things. But it’s never enough. I can’t wrap my mind around people who inhabit this world anymore than I’m able to understand any of the things that go on in my own mind.

There are too many things that I have no power over. Too many situations that have left me with no choice in the matter.

I’m tired of worrying over the things that I cannot do or have control over. If I’m going to live a life where I’m not defined by my depression or every bad thing that’s happened to me then I have to shift focus on the things that I do have control and power over.

So as of now I make the choice to embrace hermitry. I’m tired of waiting for the friends I have to suddenly clear up their schedule and make time for me and I’m not going to waste energy trying to attract better people to become new friends or a future husband.

I have to bring the focus back to me and the things that I need to get done. Besides I have an entire story universe that I need to create. Socializing would just slow me down and dating would invite drama that’s best preserved for fiction.

Nobody matters except me.

Second Wind

This semester is coming to a close, but there is still a lot that needs to be done. For someone like me it always feels like an epic battle. The sort of battle that will either make or break things. This perception casts a heavy weight on my mind. Not to mention makes for inner demons to grow larger, meaner, and more powerful.

This time is a little different from all the other times. If any of you remember from the earliest posts I’ve talked a little bit of my spirituality, how I’ve been receiving signs for many years. These last few months have been no different. I won’t get into too much detail on how these signs came to me, but for the most part they’ve all pointed to something positive, greater, and dare I say a depression-free life, something I want more than anything.

I’m realizing now that when the signs first came to me I became passive and fatalistic. I just accepted what was presented to me without question. This set me up for constant disappointment. I expected the good things to simply be handed to me and if the signs pointed to something bad I merely shrugged and said, “Oh well. I can’t stop it from happening.”

Perhaps that’s why I’ve been forced to endure all the hardships that occurred over the last few years. It was so I’d be able to find my fighting spirit and decide for myself what I truly wanted for myself. It forced me to think differently, change my perceptions about the world around me.

There’ve been days where I felt so drained that I thought I was barely holding onto my existence by a thread. There have also been days where it seems as thought I’m not alive or exist at all. No life, no afterlife. Pure oblivion.

But the more I think about the good that is promised to me the more I feel as though I’ve gained a revitalized spirit. Simply put I’ve found my second wind. But that doesn’t mean I can relax just yet. Just because something is promised to me doesn’t mean I don’t have to work hard and pour effort into anything. I’m only now realizing this as well.

I’ve carried this perception that the dreams that I’ve been pursuing was always under some sort of time limit. I imagined the same thing for everything else as well. But now it seems as though time doesn’t matter anymore. Which means that it’s not too late.

So I’m gathering everything that’s in me. All my greatest hopes and desires, my conviction and faith, and even my pains and regrets to propel me to go forward, to empower me, and finally uncloud my eyes from anything that’s confused or obstructed me.

It feels similar to when I wrote my intentions to rise up from the rock bottom I was in back in April. There’s the sort of pain that is associated with growth. Clearly I’m not done growing yet. I’m not done becoming stronger and wiser. My challenges have yet to end.

But here is a new intention I want to make clear right now. It’s a depression-free life that I seek, but it’s a mistake to simply wait for it to be handed to me. It’s a mistake to wait for anything to be given to me like it’s a prize. Nothing that I’ve been doing has been about collecting prizes. My life isn’t a playstation game where accomplishments are measured by trophies being earned or scores being weighed. The life that I’m living now is worth more than that. The life that I seek is worth so much more. I will live as though I have the life that I want, as if all my dreams have been realized.

Otherwise I’m living like I’m always wanting something and always being cheated. I would be living life unsatisfied and feeding myself misconceived notions of how things are supposed to be. It’s no different from a smoker who tries to quit and always goes back to lighting up. It’s a bad habit I’ve carried with me for years and it hasn’t brought me any good at all. So it has to go. Just like I’ve been wanting my depression to go.

This year is coming to a close. I don’t want to start up 2018 carrying 2017 issues. This is the best way to guarantee that. I’m done being stuck in the same horrible habits and going through the same thing in a never-ending fashion. This is what’s been driving me insane. This is the very definition of insanity.

This will mark a new beginning for me and ,hopefully, be the permanent end to my nightmares. It’s possibly a huge leap. But I have to risk it. Because if I don’t make the jump now then when?

It’s now or never and I refuse to stand in my own way.

My given name is Alex. But people know me as “Pen”.

Here is the reason why I took the name Pen. It’s not just because I’m a writer or because I wanted to make a play on “pen names”. Those are factors, but not the biggest reasons why. It’s because I believe that no matter what your belief system is, whatever God you pray to, or if you believe in magic or not your fate is always in your own hands.

Every breath is like a new word. Every day is a new page. Every year is a new chapter. You are the protagonist of your own story and you write your own fate when you decide to take control of your life.

And that’s why I wanted to take on the name, so I can always remember this simple truth and stop perceiving the things I desire as impossible to have. That’s all the magic in life I will ever need.

And I’m off. Love and peace.

Come on with it Universe!!


This is me, getting to take on the day and all the universe has to throw my way.

I Face Myself

It’s Fall. So that should mean a guarantee of cooler weather and pumpkin spice lattes, right? That’s the ideal scenario but here I am chilling out in the campus library, waiting for the temperature to die down so I don’t have to be sweating buckets while walking from my bus stop to the Nest (my Boone home) while sporting my blue varsity jacket, which by the way I think I look pretty fucking cute in it.

I’ve had quite the week. My anxiety levels were kicking in. And was it for good reason? Nope, of course not. I was feeling down, my symptoms were acting up, and everything from my house work to my school assignments felt like these daunting tasks to take on yet again. Yup, they became monsters in my head that I had to put down. For those that have been faithfully following me since the summer time, remember that post “Being Real”? Where I compared my anxieties to fighting the actual Babadook? Yeah it was kinda like that. It wasn’t as extreme as that time, but it still had some force behind it.

So yeah, that happened. But I powered through it and lived to tell the tale. I still have some work to catch up on for one of my classes, but the teacher is very cool and understanding. There’s a box of fresh baked cookies in her immediate future, I guarantee it.

I was able to get some writing done over the last few days. And not just for one story either. There’s no outlining or anything. I’m flying by the seat of my pants with these drafts that I’m writing and I’m loving it. It is such a rush to rack up the words. What’s even better is that I’m finally able to cancel that part of my brain that’s always casting judgements that kept obstructing me. I’m writing like you would be dancing in a room like there’s nobody watching. It’s liberating! And it’s because I’m at the point where I can finally do it for myself. I’m beyond wanting to impress anyone. If only I had this mindset a long time ago. Things would have been wildly different I’m sure. But better late then never.

I don’t want to get into exactly what it was that triggered my little mental crisis because I was painfully aware of how dumb it was. My inner “Mr.Monk” came out to play. But I can take pride knowing that I’ve gotten stronger. I chastised myself about how foolish I was being and that going through it meant that I was weak. That I had been breaking apart again.

A bunch of interesting stuff came to mind when I realized that I’m never going to be Mr.Perfect, I can’t keep everything together, I can’t conform to someone else’s perception of what makes a functioning human being, but I don’t have to be ashamed of that. I feature two beautiful words that epitomize this concept. And a quote from one of my favorite movies.

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I’m sloppy. I’m emotional. I’m a mess. I say things that make no sense sometimes. I do things that make no sense in the eyes of others. I’m different from others. I make mountains out of mole hills. I get knocked down. I get beaten. I break down. I’m full of flaws.

But I get back up. I keep trying. I take the broken pieces of myself and put them back together. I share my stories to show that I’m still standing. I survived what I went through. I’m a better person because of it. If someone wants to take all that and call me an attention whore, someone who loves to play victim, or whatever then I have nothing but pity for that person because I cannot make them understand. My experience is my own. My journey is my own. They do not get a say in it at all. I’ve got better things to do with my time and energy then to try and make them understand.

I am who I am. This is who I really am. You can accept me, love me, as a I am or you can stay out of the way. I will stay true to myself and I will gladly live with whatever consequences come with it.