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!

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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.

Club Meds

Originally I was gonna title this “Pillhead” but I figured that’d be insensitive.

So Monday was D-Day for me. “D” as in “Doctor’s Appointment. I’ve been given my prescription for Zoloft. It’s only day three and I’ve already come to the conclusion that it kinda sucks. I’m already beginning to feel the side effects.

Can’t say that it comes as a shock. Doc did sit me through the side effects and instructions on how to properly use it. I knew this was a risk when I made the decision to go through with it. There’s no backing out now. I’m just surprised that it’s happening so soon. I’m only three days

I’ve already tried to white knuckle things for almost ten years now and now I can’t do that anymore. My knuckles are completely FUBAR. If I were a character in one of my whacky stories I would be bloodied all over and barely able to stand or hold anything. I’d be bed ridden, bandaged, and require constant nursing and monitoring.

Technically I’m already at that last part. My family is worried. My mom, my cousins, my aunties, everyone. My mom told me so during one of our last phone calls.

I’m only experiencing drowsiness so far. I felt it hit me in the middle of the day. I was able to power through it.

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This helped. I’ve been coloring a lot of pages lately. It’s mindfulness in practice. It allows me to keep the depression at bay. Just like my WWE game. Speaking of..

Booyah. Zoloft isn’t dulling my creative spark. Haha!!

This is the first time I’ve ever been medicated. It’s an adjustment. I will adapt. Drowsiness is the least of my worries as far as side-effects go. I will get past this. I am going to recover and I’m going to turn things around. Just like I’ve always had. Around this same time last year I was in a dark hole. I was able to crawl out of it that time. I can do the same thing again. I have to. My life is at stake here.

My primary goal is to get better. Everything else pales in comparison. I’m doing what is necessary to fight my depression and get better. I have to put myself first before everything else. When I think like that nothing else matters.

I can’t be afraid go through with anything just because of stupid side effects. I’m not suggesting I’m gonna power through all of them. No. If things get seriously bad I’ll call for help.

Yeah this drowsiness sucks. Feeling the pill get stuck at my throat like a rock pebble is irritating when it doesn’t go down with my food. And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid of experiencing other side effects. I’m just now wrapping my mind around all of this. I’m accepting the reality of it all. I’m not resisting anything anymore.

That’s all I got for now. I’m drowsy as fuck.

Rewrite the Narrative

So Easter break has finished up. The dreaded G-Day is rapidly approaching. Oh yeah and I just finished a session with a counselor and there’s the doctor’s appointment on Monday to discuss medication.

My head has been in a whirlwind and I feel like I hurt everywhere. But I’m still finding ways to continue going forward.

I suffer from a lot of cognitive distortions. But I also hold on to a lot of misconceived notions of how things are supposed to be.

I came to App State wearing rose-colored glasses. Even though when I got my acceptance letter things weren’t that great. My experience here has been very mixed. To be perfectly honest it feels like the negative has outweighed the positive during my time here. But even until now I held on to this idea of how things are supposed to turn out or what my life is supposed to be like right now.

I should’ve been done with the college experience a long time ago. I should’ve met and married someone by now. I should already be world travelled. I should already be a best-selling author or at least have some cushy job. I should have all my dreams become a reality by now.

I’m only now remembering the first entry that I wrote last year. I started off by saying, “Well…that didn’t go as planned”.

There was a point where it looked like things were going to turn out exactly to my design. But somewhere along the way everything changed. I have no idea what caused this change. I don’t even know when, but it happened.

“Rewriting the narrative” was the theme of my latest session. It came up when we talked about graduation day and what it’s supposed to be about. Again, I said, “It feels more like survival. Not real success”.

I had a vision in my mind’s eye about the things that I wanted to happen. Things I was willing to work to make happen. But then they didn’t. All the negatives kept outweighing the positive and sapped away all energy that I could’ve poured in for effort.

Success in my mind’s eye meant that I would have plenty of things to brag about just like dumbass jug headed Mike Garrison. It meant being on the honor, being a straight A student, having jobs lined up, having the chance to study abroad, and having accumulated positive memories of college experience complete with adventure, laughter, friendships, and wild rabbit sex on days that end with “Y”.

Success in the real world after college is supposed to mean landing a dream job, paying off student debt and bills with relative ease, home ownership, raising a family, having a 9 to 5 job without any mental meltdowns or wanting to kill yourself, being a normal, productive, tax paying member of society who doesn’t have monsters and cosmic battles in his head on a daily basis. Where evil keeps winning, might I add. My place is a dangerous place to be these days.

I realized today that I have to let go what things are supposed to be like in my mind. I have to really let go. I want to keep believing that I have a fairy tale life ahead of me. I want to believe that I’ll find my “something better than this”. But in the mean time I have to accept the hard reality of some things. And I need change my idea of what success is for me. People that are similar to me are welcome to agree or disagree, but here I go.

-Success is a life of better mental health.
-Success is choosing to live even on days where you feel like dying.
-Success is putting forth effort in everything you do even when you feel like quitting.
-Success is pushing forward when your mind is in a whirlwind and you feel hurt everywhere.
-Success is collecting things and moments of beauty that bring light to a world that is filled with darkness, ugliness, and madness.
-Success is having people in your life that care about you. A lover, family, or close friend, human or animal.
-Success is being comfortable with yourself and having confidence in your skills, whatever they might be.
-Success is surviving your worst nightmares and living to tell the story about it.
-Success is being happy with you are and what you have going for yourself in life.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Maybe I’ll add to the list later. Until then, later days.

Feeling Sparky Again

It’s been a minute since I’ve last updated. This post is merely proof that I’m still alive. Also it’s an excuse to show this beautiful pro wrestler I completed with a new outfit.

Everything that’s happened to me before, everything that’s happening to me now, this is the fate I want so desperately to re-write. It’s why I took on the name “Pen” over my given name “Alex”.

I’m going to get better. I’m going to conquer my worse nightmares. I’m going to finally be happy. I’m going to live. I’m going to make up for all the times I’ve felt sad and made my loved ones worry about me. I’m going to give life everything I got without pulling anymore punches.

I will turn my pain into power and I will create the life I want. And I will get what I want through any means necessary.

The Grand Escape Plan

I’ve done everything I can to make life in Boone work for me. I’ve done all that I can without running away from anything. I’ve tried to make the most of everything even when things didn’t turn out to be the magical fairy tale that I had envisioned. I’ve tried to keep it going even when I’ve ever wanted to do was to just lay down in bed and cry my eyes out.

I thought I was being strong. I thought I was being brave. I thought I was doing everything I can to be normal and not some neurotic mess who can’t deal with reality.

I’ve kept so many things bottled up inside of me and now it’s all surging inside of me. Including all my anger and hatred, two things I never wanted to experience again. I’m losing my calm. I don’t feel so composed. And I can’t hold anything in anymore. I can feel it all rising to the surface for an explosive release. It’s an inevitability. It feels like a force of nature is inside of me. It’s something I can’t fight against. So, it’s something I feel like I should embrace. And the best part about it is that I know, for a fact, it’s not one of my usual Nightmares.

My time here at Appalachian State hasn’t been the most glamorous. Nothing has been what I envisioned before my transfer. But I endured it. I’ve become stronger. I’ve changed, and it came at a great cost.

I hate it here. I hate Appalachian State. I hate Boone. I hate every single person I’ve ever met in this bumfuck piece of shit town. I hate Mike for just fading away from my life, for not fighting to keep me around. I hate what’s become of me during my time here. I hate being away from my friends and family in Charlotte. I hate that the world moved on without me after I left home.
I hate putting off what I want to do for the things that I have to do. I hate being a career student. I hate my friends who’ve never kept in touch with me. I hate having to pursue a degree that requires me to be “realistic” so I can have a “practical” career. I hate having to learn things when all I’ve ever wanted to do is to be a novelist. I hate, I hate, and I hate even more.

I still want to be a novelist. I want to do what the stereotypical writer does. I want to spend my days in cafĂ©’s filling out pages without a care in the world. I want to be spend my time with my imaginary friends and go on imaginary adventures, claiming victories in the imaginary battles I have within. I want to live by my namesake, Pen, and rewrite my fate into one where there are no Nightmares or compromising myself.

I want to be around people who aren’t a bunch of whiny, sniveling, snowflake bitches that need to be hooked on drugs or opposed to everything just to pass of as interesting. I want to be visible. I want to be heard. I want to matter to someone besides my family. I want to be true to myself. I want a reality where I don’t have to run away from everything. I want to take revenge against the reality that has tried endlessly to destroy me, along with everyone who has ever opposed me. I want to get the hell out of Boone.

I’m tackling on the graduation issue head-on. I have more than enough credits for a walk-in ceremony. I’m going to go through with it. Afterwards I’m putting this place behind me completely. I thought the Cottages was supposed to be my Vietnam. But no, it’s this entire town and the University here. Yeah, there’s stuff that happened that has nothing do with either but being in this town is not good for me anymore. To hell with that “survival over success” bullshit I wrote about before.

I will take survival and I will embrace whatever consequences come from that choice as well as being true to myself. Leaving Boone won’t bring a permanent end to my Nightmare Syndrome. But it will be a step in the right direction for me. If the whole point of going through all this is to make me stronger or to give me something to write about later, mission accomplished then.

To all people affiliated with Appalachian State University, student and faculty, FUCKING big “thank you” for making me feel like a freak, for feeding my monsters, and for making me into this melancholy warrior.

I no longer care what comes my way or what I have to put myself through mentally anymore. One way or another I am getting out of this town and I’m going to unleash the full might of my imagination. Until I purge myself of every unused idea and character and new ones that may develop I absolutely refuse to allow my thoughts to die with me.

I have battle plans and now an escape plan. I feel a revival in my spirit. Now is the time to strike.