GUEST POST: Have Faith In The Universe – by Sean

I’ve been in touch with a lovely blogger, Sean, and I want to say a big thank you to him for allowing me to post this wonderful piece.

Hello everyone…

Let’s discuss Depression today. I’ve been in that dark place before and it’s not something I ever want to go back to, actually I’ve been there twice. Once when my mother passed away then in my Sophomore year in High school. These would have to be the hardest times in my life and I’m thankful I was able to come out of the dark cave. Let me dive deeper.

I was nine years old when I lost my Mom to Breast Cancer. It was horrific and sad, but the thing that depressed me was that, neither of my parents would be around. My father, I can only guess what he’s doing right now but anyway, I didn’t have either of my parents. I ended up living with my older sister who is great but the thing was, my mother was gone as well as my father. I fell into a depression because I felt like a burden on my older sisters. One was working and the other already had a family of her own so what was a Sean suppose to do? I remained depressed for the next two years. I never thought about killing myself but I didn’t want to be alive. I was 11 now and I was more mature. I had to grow up and come to the harsh realization that the world did not owe me anything. The universe took my mother and I had to deal with that. Once I came to terms with my mother’s passing, I got better. Things got better. For a while I had to fake my own happiness until I eventually was happy and it wasn’t until I was 13 when I realized I was finally better and my laughter and smiles were actually genuine.

It was my Sophomore year in High school and it felt like I was losing my mind. Not only were my grades sub par but I felt as if I wasn’t sleeping or enjoying myself. No matter what I did I was not happy. (Again with the theme of happiness.) I felt this way until the summer going into my junior year. During the summer I lived on a college campus as part of this program I am involved in, isolated from everything I knew was troubling me. My friends within the program helped me through this tough time. They believed they were just being my friends but little did they know, they helped me through and out of my depressed phase. Along with coming out of my depressed phase, I also grew into my own body. I used to always say I was a 9 year old in a 22 year old’s body, (I have the body of a 22 year old college football player) but I finally grew into myself. My personality evolved, I became the Sean I was born to be.

Depression can be tricky. Depending on if the issue is internal or external there are different ways of handling it. The depression with my Mom was dealt with internally, it just happened that I molded into being happy. The depression during my 10th grade year was dealt with externally. My friends helped me through it. If you’re depressed or someone you know, tell them that it gets better. TRUST ME. It does. Have faith in the universe.

Sean (forever hopeful)

Thanks again, Sean, and if anyone reading this would like to talk or would like to write a guest post please get in touch!

50 Important Facts About Having Anxiety…

I was inspired by this post which listed 50 facts about having autism, so I thought I’d do a similar post about having anxiety. I’ve had anxiety since I was around 10 years old, and if you’ve been following my blog for a little while you’ll know it has improved in the last two years. But I still do have panic attacks and anxiety still plays an important role in my life. I’d love to hear your thoughts about this, and as always I’d love to hear from you if you have anxiety yourself.

  1. We’re not attention seeking. We are genuinely scared of social interactions or triggering situations.
  2. We’re not vampires. Okay yes I am as pale as a piece of paper, and I burn like one too. But I do actually like to go outside, and I do like to socialise it’s just very stressful.
  3. It upsets us if you cancel your plans last minute. I have spent days, even weeks preparing myself to go out with you and then you’re cancelling 10 minutes before we’re supposed to meet up? Not okay. At least 24 hours notice please!
  4. It upsets us if you’re late.  Don’t be late. Or if you can’t help being late, text me! Anywhere I have to be I am there 15 minutes early. And if you’re not there on time I start to freak out. Have you been hit by a car? Have I got the wrong place? Do you hate me?
  5. We blush. A lot. Like 90% of my life is spent looking like a tomato. If I get embarrassed, or I start to feel anxious I tend to blush. I know I’m bright red! Please don’t point it out! Then everyone looks at us and it makes us feel a thousand times worse.
  6. We sometimes don’t like eye contact. Eye contact feels so personal to me. When I get nervous I might avoid eye contact. The correct response is to carry on speaking to me as normal and let me get used to you. Don’t point it out and try and force us to look you in the eye!
  7. We might run away. I have actually ran away from people when I get too overwhelmed. No I’m not just looking for attention. Please don’t point out that I look crazy. I know what I’m doing isn’t seen as normal but sometimes life is too overwhelming. Wait for me to calm down, then just stay with me. We can sort any problems out later.
  8. We have anxiety attacks. But they might not involve us struggling to breathe. My anxiety attacks come in many shapes and sizes. I may suddenly need to go somewhere I deem as “safe” which is usually my bed, I might start crying, I might run away. All these can be panic attacks, so if you notice I look scared then chances are I’m freaking out. Stay with me, don’t raise your voice, remove me from the stressful situation if possible and lay my hands on a flat surface. I’m not doing this for attention, I am overwhelmed and stressed.
  9. Getting drunk is not going to cure my anxiety. It is surprising the amount of people who tell me to smoke or drink to solve my anxiety. I personally do not enjoy drinking and it actually makes my anxiety worse, as I feel as though I’m not in control of my body and I feel very vulnerable and weak. Don’t force me to do anything.
  10. You don’t have to have a bad upbringing to have anxiety. Although my anxiety personally stems from traumatic events, not everyone’s does. Do not automatically assume someone has had a crappy childhood just because they have anxiety, this can make people feel as though they are wrong or silly for being anxious when they “Don’t have a reason to”.
  11. Anxiety is not just being nervous. Just like being sad does not mean you are depressed, having normal feelings of anxiety such as around exam season or before public speaking does not mean you have an anxiety disorder. However, if you have very high levels of anxiety during these times to the point where you are physically suffering then you need to speak to your doctor.
  12. Our brains exaggerate everything. You take longer than 3 seconds to reply to my text? You’re either dead or you hate me. You don’t hear something I said? You’re ignoring me, you’re angry with me, and you hate me.
  13. Forcing us to socialise does not help. Yes, please ask me to parties and to hang out with you. But don’t pressure me it into doing it, and if I say no I mean no. I love going out, and I love feeling included but if I feel like it would be too stressful or I’m doing something stressful the day before I might say no.
  14. We will probably leave the party early. Although I love socialising, there is a limit. Socialising is exhausting for me and so I will most likely leave after a couple of hours. Don’t get upset or offended and don’t make me feel guilty for doing this.
  15. Telling us “Don’t be shy.” does not cure our anxiety. Oh thank you so much. My anxiety is now suddenly cured. Where were you 8 years ago when this all started?! You truly are magic.
  16. If we say don’t touch us, we mean it. Because my anxiety comes from a traumatic point in my life being touched can feel threatening, so when I feel stressed I may tell people not to touch me. I mean this. If I am touched whilst having a panic attack it makes me feel terrified and increases my anxiety so much to the point where I have been physically ill. However, some people like to be hugged or comforted so ask the person if it’s okay to touch them.
  17. New people are terrifying. There’s so much pressure to make a good impression on new people. What if I mess up and they hate me? What if I have a panic attack and they think I’m a freak?
  18. New places are terrifying. I personally feel so exposed and vulnerable in new places and I hate feeling weak.
  19. We struggle to sleep. You know when you lay awake and think of all the things you need to do and you can’t sleep? Well imagine that 100 times worse. I think of everything I need to do tomorrow and the next day and I’m so scared I’ll forget them I have to get up and write them down, I go through all the conversations I’ve had and I panic about them, I then think about the next social event I’ve got and I play all the possibilities through in my head. Because of this it usually takes me 1-2 hours of worrying before I fall asleep.
  20. We hate being left alone. If you come with us somewhere, say a party, do not leave us alone. It freaks us out and we start to panic. If you have arranged to stay with us, then do that, don’t change plans suddenly.
  21. We love being left alone. Then again, if I am upstairs in my bed surrounded by pillows with my laptop and a cup of tea in one hand, I want to be left alone. I don’t want to socialise at that point and I am honestly perfectly happy with my own company.
  22. We have scars. I have a lot of scars actually, and although I am not ashamed of them I feel the need to hide them a lot. Mostly because you get called “disgusting” and a “freak”. Please, if you see someone with scars, and they’re a stranger, don’t point them out and don’t be mean to me. I have gone through more than you will ever know. And please, if you know me and see my scars for the first time, don’t tell  our entire class I’m an attention seeking whore. Thank you.
  23. We are not just shy. I am actually really bubbly and excited when you get to know me. But you have to earn my trust. And calling me “shy” and teasing me about it is not the way to do that.
  24. We are proud of our little achievements. For example, for the first time since I was 10 years old I am going swimming. My 7 year old cousin asked me to go with her and I promised her I would. For me this is amazing! I am actually going to show off my body to the world! Okay, I’m going to be in a bikini top and shorts and it’ll be in my town’s local swimming pool. But still, it’s an incredible achievement for me and although I am very, very nervous I’m excited too! Please don’t put us down for being proud of little things like this, because these little things are what help us overcome our anxiety.
  25. Anxiety is not depression. These are two very different mental health issues, and although someone may have both of these, they are not interchangeable. If you are confused about the difference, please take 10 minutes to research both of these terms.
  26. Some people with anxiety take medication. Although I personally do not take any medication for my anxiety, some people find it very helpful. No one should feel guilty for taking prescribed medication to improve their daily lives, just because their illness effects their mental state doesn’t mean they should be ashamed of getting help.
  27. We know we’re not acting logically. I know that I shouldn’t be afraid of going to the supermarket, or meeting my boyfriend’s friends, but I am. My brain tells me these are dangerous situations and there’s nothing I can do about that, so telling me I’m being stupid doesn’t help.
  28. We hate feeling abandoned. I personally get really upset if I feel people are abandoning me, even when I know that’s not the case. For example, if someone calls me I have to hang up on them first otherwise I feel as though they don’t want to talk to me. This sounds really silly, but if my boyfriend needs to walk away from me (such as if he’s going to get a bus or is going into another shop) then I can’t watch him walk away because it just makes me feel nervous and upset.
  29. We get flashbacks. If someone’s anxiety comes from a traumatic event (similar to PTSD in a way, but that’s not an anxiety disorder) then they may get flashbacks to times where they have been under stress. For me these usually take the form of nightmares. If your partner has these then don’t underestimate them, to us they feel very real, when we wake up just comfort us and like I’ve said before ask before touching us because that can make the situation worse.
  30. We’re not ashamed. We want you to know we have anxiety, and don’t be afraid to talk to us about it. In fact, talk to us about it! Research anxiety. Anything you can do to educate yourself on why we feel and act certain ways can only be helpful.
  31. Anxiety isn’t just a mental problem. There are a whole heap of physical issues that go along with it. Shortness of breath, high pulse rate, shaking etc. Not only does this make us more anxious but it can affect our daily lives.
  32. Work can make us very stressed. A lot of people get stressed at work, but for people with anxiety it can be 10 times harder. My main job involves delivering Chinese takeaway, which means I have to talk to 15-30 strangers in a night. This is very stressful for me, and when I first started I wouldn’t look customers in the eye. But now I have definitely got more confident, and can speak to new customers quite easily. So if you work with someone with anxiety give them time to get used to the job and used to you.
  33. We’re good at offering support. We’ve been through so much that we can handle any problem you throw at us and we can remain calm and offer advice and support, without judgement (most of the time!).
  34. We care a lot about what others think. People tell us all the time, we shouldn’t worry about what others think. But I do. All the time. I care whether people think I’m talking too loud, or if people think I’m horrible or a mean person. So, just be careful what you tell us, because our minds may exaggerate what you say.
  35. We love compliments. Seriously, someone telling me they like my shoes can make me happy for the rest of the day. It makes me feel like I’m doing something right, I know we shouldn’t rely on others to make us happy but honestly I love getting compliments. If someone you know has anxiety, giving them a compliment can definitely help them relax and can help reduce their anxiety.
  36. We are really good at problem solving. My mind is constantly thinking of all the bad things that can happen, and I always think of what I can do in case that happens. Also, because of my anxiety I am prepared for everything! Got a papercut? I’ve got 30 plasters and a bandage in my bag. Your hairtie broke? Don’t worry, I tie my ponytail up with three of them just in case. Your button fell off? I’ve got safety pins in my front pocket. I am a lifesaver!
  37. We don’t like confrontation. If someone yells at me or argues with me I worry about it for days afterwards and it makes me feel very sick. If you can, try and remain calm and discuss the problem because I won’t be able to sort out anything if I’m having a panic attack.
  38. We like our personal space. Just be aware that if I don’t know you, or I don’t trust you yet, you need to stay well away from me. I don’t mean avoid me, but I shouldn’t be able to touch you if I stick my arm out. If I move slightly away from you, don’t step closer to me! I’m feeling uncomfortable and suffocated.
  39. We care so much about others. We do so much to help others, and because of our anxiety we are constantly worried about how others are feeling or whether they’re safe. In fact a lot of people with anxiety will put others before themselves because we are more worried about them than ourselves.
  40. We get moody. But we don’t usually mean to. Sometimes our anxiety makes us irritable. Imagine that every day you wake up and you realise you’ve got a really important exam to take, but you haven’t studied for it. That’s how we feel. Would you find it easy to be happy and upbeat in that situation?
  41. You are important to us. If we say that we love you, and we trust you, and we let our guard down around you then that means you are so important to us. We don’t choose friends or partners easily, so know that we love you even if it doesn’t seem like it sometimes.
  42. We’re not weak. In fact, we’re the opposite. We’re some of the most courageous and bravest people you’ll meet because everyday is a struggle for us.
  43. We can’t “Just relax”. How the hell do you relax?! Every single waking second my mind is racing with thoughts, no matter what I’m doing. The only thing that helps is running in complete silence, just me, my breaths, and my footsteps. Please don’t tell us to relax, because it’s pretty much impossible.
  44. We need you to be there. If I need to call you at 3am because I’m alone in the house and I just heard a noise downstairs and I’m pretty much dead right now, then you need to answer it. If I trust you enough to ask for help, then you need to be there to give me that support. Don’t be angry if we call you at inconvenient times, we need your help.
  45. We need you to listen to us. If you do not have anxiety then you don’t know how it feels. Please don’t try and give us advice when we’re having a panic attack because we’re too far gone, just listen to us complain and rant and freak out.
  46. We need our sleep. It is exhausting to be on edge every day, so if we’re sleeping please don’t wake us up unless you really have to. Getting to sleep is so difficult, so although we might go to bed at 10pm we probably didn’t fall asleep until midnight so please cut us some slack!
  47. Our words are precious. We might not say a lot, but what we do say has been well thought out. We don’t feel the need to fill silences with stupid small talk. We’re quite happy just listening in conversations, so don’t force us to speak when we might just not have anything to say right then.
  48. We’re good observers. We notice everything. We pick up on every little detail of your body language and the way you speak, and we make judgments on this. This also means we’re good at reading people because we’re very aware of when someone’s body language or tone suggests they’re angry or sad etc.
  49. We use a lot of body language. We might not tell you we’re panicking but our body language might show it. Everyone is different, but learning how someone acts when they get upset helps you handle their behaviour better. I personally get very quiet, I pull my sleeves down, I might visibly shake, and I avoid eye contact.
  50. We are not our anxiety. We are people. Some of us are so sweet and kind, and some of us are assholes. Take the time to get to know the person behind the anxiety, who knows you might just find someone amazing…Like me 🙂

Thank you so much for reading!

Well, that didn’t go well…

I’m so sorry. I’m not even sure why I’m apologising, I mean my actions don’t effect you. But I feel like I have some responsibility to be the strong one here, the one that people look to, the one that has made this remarkable recovery from the shy suicidal girl I was 5 years ago to the strong beautiful woman I am now. But I broke down today. I self harmed. In public. I had a tantrum. In public. I didn’t even care, I was too far gone.

My boyfriend and I had an argument. This doesn’t happen very often, we have little arguments or bickers but we never have arguments like this. I’d had a shit day, to be honest. My mum has been ill for a little while, but today she actually had a day off work so I had to look after her. I had so much housework to do and my little brother doesn’t lift a finger at all. I was then told by my mum that I would have to start tutoring my little brother once a week as well, and starting next week I’d be babysitting my cousin one day a week from 7am-7pm. Don’t get me wrong, I love my brother and my cousin and I don’t blame my mum for being ill but sometimes the pressure is a lot.

Ever since I was very little (about 10) my parents have worked a lot to keep us afloat, so since then the housework has pretty much all fallen on me. So everyday I do two loads of washing, and usually an hour of ironing, I wash up the dishes twice a day, hoover once a week, and generally clean the house once a week. Then I work 3 nights a week from 5pm-10pm, I tutor one night a week and weekends if it’s exam season, I look after my brother, and I still managed to get the top grades in my class and get a scholarship to University. Sometimes I just feel like it’s too much for me to deal with.

Then my boyfriend comes home and we go for a walk and he starts telling me that I shouldn’t be doing everything, and that I’m miserable, and I’m being moody. It was so stressful, he started yelling at me and I couldn’t handle it… So I ran. I literally ran away from him like a child. Then I sat on the ground because I couldn’t breathe, I was having a panic attack. He stood over me and continued to yell at me. He said I spend too much time on my computer and I need to get out more. Yeah, that’s exactly what you should say to someone with anxiety. He saw I was struggling and he didn’t help at all.

I wasn’t thinking straight, I stood up and I looked him in the eye and I dragged my wrist against a brick wall. And I did it again. And again. Months without self harm and now I’m back here again. Wrist bandaged up, laughing with my parents at how clumsy I am.

To be fair, this time is better. I’m okay now, we spoke and we made up and I know he’s under so much stress too. He apologised and so did I. We spoke about what we can do to make things better and we made a list pf practical things to help us in case we’re ever in this situation again.

I do feel like I’ve let you all down. Honestly, that’s what has upset me the most. How pathetic is that? But I just care about you all so much, I want to be a role model for you all. I don’t want to be weak. I just feel like I’m under so much stress right now. I guess the main reason is because my childhood finished at age 10. And now I’m 18 I’m no longer a child and I guess that made me realise I can never get those years back, I can never be a child. That’s it. I’m an adult now.

I’m so sorry this is not a happy post, but I feel so much better now. I think I just needed to release my stress, and yes I should have gone about it in a better way but I still feel strong. Even if I have to type this with one hand, I’m doing a good job though! I think it’s the years of practice when I type while drinking tea at the same time!

I hope you are all having a better day than I am, and as always if you ever need me please get in touch. x

The Struggles Of Being A Teen.

As a white, British, straight, non-religious, female living in England I am statistically one of the safest and happiest people in the World. I think people forget sometimes that all teenagers have struggles, no matter what their background is. So here are the struggles I face on a daily basis…

I struggle to go to sleep at night because I’m terrified I’ll go back to that time where I didn’t want to wake up. Those days when I used to stay in bed until 10 minutes before my parents got home from work, then I’d quickly get dressed and spray on tons of deodorant and dry shampoo so they wouldn’t realise I hadn’t showered in a week. Then when they got home I’d make excuses that I’ve had a busy day, or I didn’t feel very well so I could go back to bed and stare at the ceiling. But I am not alone. It is thought 1 in 8 teenagers will suffer from depression, and many of these then go on to have further mental health problems.

I struggle to shave my legs without thinking of all those times I abused my razor. It scares me how easily I could destroy myself with a bit of metal I can buy in my local supermarket. Each time I shave my legs I can feel the bumps of the scars and I hate it. Those scars remind me of a time where I hated myself, but I’m not ashamed of them anymore because they show me how far I’ve come. But I am not alone. It is suspected that 1 in 12 teenagers will self harm, but of course the actual figure is much higher than this.

I struggle to meet new people without feeling like I’m going to be sick or have a panic attack. For those of you who don’t have anxiety, imagine the feeling you get when you’ve got a really important exam but you haven’t been taught any of the topics. We feel as though we’re completely unprepared and overwhelmed with life. But I am not alone. It is thought that 25% of teenagers have some form of anxiety disorder. In a time when we’re expected to be outgoing and to have an extensive social life this can make life extremely difficult and exhausting.

I struggle to talk to people whose name is Josh without getting upset. My friend Joshua committed suicide when we were very young. He was bullied at school because he was gay and one day he came home and hung himself. Every time I speak to someone who is called Josh I get nervous and awkward around them because they remind me of the friend I should have grown up with. But I am not alone. On average, each day 12 teenagers commit suicide. Every single day 12 young people lose their future, 12 families lose a loved ones, and 12 groups of friends lose their partner in crime.

I struggle every single day. And according to these statistics, most of you reading this will be struggling too. If any of you feel overwhelmed please go have a chat to someone. Teachers, friends, a doctor, family, or me. Never feel like I’m off limits because I’m a stranger who doesn’t want to hear your crap, because that’s not true! It’s okay to struggle, but you should never have to do it alone.

This was in response to the Teens Tell Their Story Project, and thank you for reading.

Dear Anxiety,

Dear Anxiety,

What the fuck do you think you’re doing? Do you realise you have singlehandedly made me cry more times than any other person? Do you even care?

I remember the day I met you. The Bad Man had just left and then you showed up. You were so nice back then. You kept me out of trouble, made me feel safe, you kept me quiet. You spoke to me so gently, and you said you’d help me get out. Oh I was so glad to have you with me.

But then you started to whisper in my ear as I slept. You showed me all those times The Bad Man hurt me, and you told me it was my fault. If I had just stayed quiet he wouldn’t have hit me. If I were invisible I wouldn’t have been attacked. It was my fault. All my fault.

My friends hated me. My family secretly wanted me dead, it would be easier for them that way. Right? That’s what you said. Everyone I met was out to hurt me. Every fingertip on my skin was a knife to my neck. But you were always there for me, to keep me safe.

I stopped going outside, avoided mirrors, and stopped talking to my family. You told me I deserved every slash across my thighs. That every burn, bloody knuckle, and bruise were the only way to prove my dedication to you. You were my only friend.

But you didn’t count on Love, did you? To be fair, I didn’t see it coming either. I definitely didn’t expect it in the form of an 18 year old boy.

You started whispering as I slept again. He was going to hurt me. He only wanted me for one thing, that’s what The Bad Man  wanted so why would this boy be any different? But you didn’t count on him whispering back. “You’re beautiful”. “I’m so lucky to have you”. “I love you”. You didn’t like that, did you? So you threw a tantrum. And you made me breathless and you made me cry. You made me weak. Yet he still held me close. We fought you for so long and guess what… we won.

You still come and visit me sometimes, but that’s okay because you can’t destroy me anymore. You can’t turn my dreams into twisted flashbacks. You can’t force me to paint my legs with blood. You can’t tell me I’m worthless… because I’m not.

I am worth everything. I am intelligent , beautiful, kind, strong, and I am loved. And there’s not a single fucking thing that you can do about it.

Lots of love, hugs, and kisses

Amy xxx

GUEST POST: My thoughts on suicide- By Kate Byrne

I have been in touch with another amazing writer who wanted to write something for my site. I love that people want to share their stories and thoughts and experiences on here, and I want to give a massive shout out to Kate Byrne who wrote this post.

A previous post referenced, “suicide may just sound like something “cowards” or “weak” people do. You’ve probably cracked some jokes about it with your friends, playfully told people, “Just go kill yourself”[.]”

We’ll start with how flipping true this is: we’ve all heard the jokes and/or made them, then we’ll move on to how strong I feel when I don’t pick up the knife, don’t drive my car off the road, don’t throw myself off a cliff. Ultimately, though, the strongest I’ve felt in the last six months wasn’t the day I walked into AA, it was the day coworkers were making light of suicide and I asked them not to.

Now, it’s not like I’m cagey about my mental health issues. Even if I didn’t walk and sit shoulders and head hunched I write about my things online so publicly. I write about it on public blogs, public Twitter, heck, even on the Huffington Post. My family knows it’s not uncommon for me to feel suicidal. My friends know, the world knows. Yet standing up in a call center basement and saying, “Guys, please don’t joke about this,” was So. Flipping. Hard.

Thankfully they stopped joking about it. A number came up after and apologized. I’m fairly certain my face was flushed for the rest of my shift, but I just couldn’t say nothing.

I completely agree with this, jokes should never be made about suicide or any mental health issue. You never know who may hear these “jokes” and how upsetting they may be for people who have been through things that no one should have to. I want to thank Kate again for writing for me, you are an amazing person that has been through so much. If anyone wants to talk to me about these issues, or if you want to write a guest post please get in touch at: aleve44@hotmail.com. Thank you for reading 🙂

GUEST POST: Suicidal Thoughts, Self-Harm, Depression: It’s Okay- By Matthew Tome

I’ve been wanting to include guest writers and posts on this site for a while now, and I am so glad that my first guest post is about something so close to my heart. As many of you know my best friend committed suicide when we were both very young. No body should have to feel like he did. I want to give a massive shout out to Matthew Tome at Exactlywhatyouneed.org for giving me permission to post this to help raise awareness of self-harm, suicide, and depression.

For many of you, suicide may just sound like something “cowards” or “weak” people do. You’ve probably cracked some jokes about it with your friends, playfully told people, “Just go kill yourself”, or maybe even looked down upon someone who actually attempted to kill themselves. The same goes for victims of cutting/self-harm and depression. These people seem to get rejected by society, even picked on for being vulnerable. I’m not trying to justify suicide or self-harm here. I don’t believe there is any justification in taking your own life or hurting yourself. What I’m trying to get at is, there is a major problem in our society. If someone is hurting themselves, thinking about taking their own life, or suffering from depression the LAST thing you should do is pick on them. It highlights a repulsiveflaw in your character, and is extremely detrimental to the person who is suffering. And, as for that suffering person, there is always hope.

On this blog, I search the world for things that inspire me. When I find one, I research it; study it better, so that I can find what exactly makes it so uplifting, and hopefully adopt those characteristics into my personality, and share it with you all. My goal is to encourage and help guide as many people as I can to the better lifestyles that they deserve. As someone who was formerly depressed for a period of two years (with a break in the middle of a few months), I can honestly say: Depression is no joke. 

For personal reasons, I won’t go into depth about the causes of, or specific events related to, my depression publicly. If you’re interested in learning more about me, my story, or even just need someone to talk to, you can contact me at exactlyceo@exactlywhatyouneed.org. I’ll be sure to respond to each of you, personally, as soon as I possibly can. Support is the most useful tool for overcoming depression, so don’t think you’re alone in this world. Some people honestly do care.

It’s not some momentary sadness that you can cure by buying a shiny new toy. It’s a disability that can last for extended periods of time, and in some cases, even for the rest of your life. It leaves you tired, weak, unable and unmotivated to go on. It deprives you of most, if not all, the joy in your life. I remember several occasions where I’d be hanging out with my friends, laughing and having lots of fun (or so it seemed on the outside). But, in the back of my mind, there was this lingering feeling. You could never seem to shake it. It’s like a little voice inside your head saying, “That smile isn’t real. Just wait till you’re alone. I’ll show you what you’re really feeling.” The instant you became isolated from other humans, it would all hit you at once. That nagging little voice turned into the ONLY voice. It was this overwhelming, debilitating emotion that completely and utterly consumed you. No matter what you tried, no matter how times you’ve experienced it before, no matter how badly you wanted it to stop; it just wouldn’t. That was definitely the hardest part of my life. No other hardship could even hold a candle to it-financial debt, wondering where I could find a job, not knowing what I was going to do with my life, broken relationships, divorce, family deaths. Depression was, and probably will continue to be, the biggest obstacle I ever faced in my life.

But, That’s the Beauty in All of This

It was just an obstacle. That’s not to lessen the traumatic experience of going through depression. It’s insanely difficult; seemingly impossible even. But, it can be overcome, just like any other obstacle. It will be hard, but you can make it. You will come out: stronger, more passionate, full of life, and full of love. It teaches you to appreciate every waking moment, because you never know when it might be your last.

Life is full of beauty and wonder. This goes unnoticed, overlooked, and unappreciated constantly, but it’s there. I promise you. Life is so worth living, it’s almost hard to understand how you didn’t think so before. I’ve been there; wanting to die, feeling like a complete waste, totally useless, and just wishing it would all end so you could stop feeling. It sounds horrible (and it is), but I’m actually glad it happened. It helped shape me into the person I am today; a person I am extremely proud of and happy to be.

To help drive my point, we should look at Thomas Edison. He had a fantastic outlook on life and I think we could all benefit from adopting this perspective. Ryan Holiday talks about it here on “The Tim Ferris Show”. (Lovely podcast, by the way)

At age 67, Thomas Edison returned home, one evening, from another day at the laboratory.Shortly after dinner, a man came rushing in his house to tell him some urgent news. A fire had broken out at Edison’s Research and Production Campus a few miles away. Fire engines from the eight nearby towns rushed to the scene, but they could not contain the blaze. Fueled by the strange chemicals in the various buildings, green and yellow flames shot up six and seven stories, threatening to destroy the empire Edison had spent his entire life building. Edison calmly but quickly made his way to the fire, through the now hundreds of onlookers and devastated employees, looking for his son.
“Go get your mother and all of your friends,” he told his son with child-like excitement. “They’ll never see a fire like this again.”
“What?”
“Don’t worry,” Edison calmed him. “It’s alright. We just got rid of a bunch of rubbish.”

This was, no doubt, a hefty loss for Edison. Years of hard work, millions of dollars, and tons of research/prototypes were lost in that fire. Edison knew he couldn’t let this stop him though. He lived by “Amor Fati”. It’s a Latin phrase that can be translated as “love of fate”. To put it even simpler, you have to “love everything that happens in life.” The good, the bad, the totally life-altering traumatic experiences. Love it all, and greet it with a cheerful smile. Edison knew this, Jack Johnson (first black heavyweight boxing champion) knew this, and Ryan Holiday knew this. All three of these people are/were very successful people. They all had this common belief and outlook on life, so there must be some power to it, right?. I’ve began to incorporate into my life, and it’s worked wonders. It helped drag me out of my two-year depression. Before, I was very grim about living. My life had no meaning, and I didn’t see the purpose in anything. Now, I’m well-driven. I chase after my dreams relentlessly, brushing off all opposition: the naysayers, rejections, and non believers. Of course, this doesn’t mean go running off without a plan, but that’s a whole other topic.

How to Find Help

For those of you who are struggling with depression, thoughts of suicide, addiction and self-injury, you can find help from myself or loads of good people over at Heartsupport, or even check out this cool project: Project Semicolon.

At Heartsupport, you can find people, like yourself, struggling through things right now. They have a community forum where people can post and receive support from people all over the world. They also have lots of great bands/artists give personal life stories that are remarkably relatable. Heartsupport was created by Jake Luhrs (vocalist of August Burns Red, one of my personal favorite bands for many years now). If you like, you can support his band by buying their music, donating directly on Heartsupport, or even just participating with the community.

Then there’s this fantastic idea behind Project Semicolon. “A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you, and the sentence is your life.” They use a semicolon to represent that your story is not over. You’re enduring through the tough parts. If you look back at any great story though, be it fiction or nonfiction, isn’t the part where the protagonist struggles the good part? Those are the juicy bits that build the story, strengthen the hero, and builds them into the wonderful champion who overcomes all obstacles presented before them. A story without struggle is boring. Who wants to read that? Not me. You’re just giving your life character; making it interesting by enduring the hardships, so that one day, you can tell others about what you’ve been through, and that YOU MADE IT. You’re still alive right now. You’ve made it through EVERYTHING life has thrown at you, so don’t give up hope. You’re stronger than you realize. Keep your chin up, and keep trying. Together, we can make it through this world (and as a pleasurable experience, at that).

I just want to say thank you again to Matthew Tome for allowing this beautiful post on my site. And if anyone reading this wants to speak to someone about their personal experiences with these subjects you can email Matthew at: exactlyceo@exactlywhatyouneed.org or you can come talk to me at: aleve44@hotmail.com.