Depression and the Decision

Depression & Anxiety effects at least 18% of the US population, but yet we feel so alone.

Among that percentage are people who suffer from PTSD are among the lower percentage of 3.3 % of the overall US population. This can be for number of reasons. Military veterans, Rape victims, people who endured some form of traumatic experience in their life will experience. According to the ADAA “Rape is the most likely trigger of PTSD: 65% of men and 45.9% of women who are raped will develop the disorder.” With active duty and military vets a close second. Also among these statistics are people who’ve were raised in a traumatic environment such as home life and also religious cults and victims of brainwashing scenarios.

When people such as myself suffer from anxiety, depression and/or PTSD we are trapped in our minds. Sometimes people lash out at others thinking that the reason they feel this way is because of someone or something that is causing it. At times it’s hard to free ourselves from a specific event, even something so small as a text that was sent that doesn’t get a reply.

Recently, after hitting rock bottom and hanging out there for a while, I realized that me fighting was becoming too much to bare and I was almost to my end. Then God found his way to me on April 9th standing and singing a song called “I Look To You”. I made a decision to keep going and to turn my eyes upon Jesus. I felt 10 feet tall and I thought I could conquer the world. I was ready for this. I thought for sure that this would be the end of my depression and my anxiety for sure.

Wow… Was I wrong.

It took two days after this for me to lock myself in the bathroom at work and have a full on anxiety attack. All my past decisions and regrets came back for me. Though I was the only one in the bathroom it felt like the room was filled with people who wanted me dead, or wanted to kill the people I love. Voices were telling me that I “wasn’t good enough and that God wouldn’t save someone like you. Not after everything you’ve done”. This finally subsided and I thought that was the last of it… Again I was wrong.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that the Depression that I thought would go away after rededicating my life to Christ, came back with just as much force as before. I was under the assumption that the rededication to Christ would fix it. That was not the case. I prayed for Gods healing and it didn’t happen, or at least I thought it didn’t.

Now after some realization, I have come to understand this after all. Depression, anxiety & PTSD are all disorders that people suffer from. These are things that I can honestly say that I suffer from. There is no easy fix for these. God can take them away and there has probably been times when God did decide to do so. For me I feel this just wasn’t the case.

I have a long way to go in regards to the depression and I have a long road ahead of me to learning Self-Love.

I now realize that yes, depression, anxiety, PTSD are all things I still have to live with. This isn’t going to go away anytime soon. This is a battle within my mind and within my heart. But for once I feel that I have a weapon to fight with. Something that actually gives me a chance at beating this. God is my sword, my shield. As Psalms 28:7 says:

“Psalms 28:7: The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise Him.

God has not taken the battle from me, He desires that I fight. So this is what I will do. I am helped. For that I rejoice. With my Song, I will praise Him. I have a long battle ahead of me, but I know that Jesus is right there with me. He is ready to step in at times when I am weak. Just as a reminder that He is here. To remind me that my help comes from the Lord.

My depression is no longer a death sentence. It’s a fight that I have hope of winning. I am no longer fighting alone.

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Transparency

Why do we feel this need to “put on a show”. We go through our day to day struggle trying to show people that everything is okay, while deep inside we are slowly falling apart. We play this mascaraed for people and even for God. We pretend because we feel like, if we just work hard enough to be “normal” and to be “happy” then eventually we will start to believe it. Why can’t we just have transparency in front of people and more importantly God? We don’t pray about our struggles because in everyone’s eyes, we are okay. We don’t have a mental illness, we don’t have anger issues, we don’t have postpartum depression. We don’t have PTSD, we are “fine”.

If we, however, been a Christian for any period of time, you know that God see’s everything. There is nothing that God doesn’t know about. People on the other hand, can’t know everything, but people have already picked up on your vibes and they know that something is not quite wrong with you. Your secrets will never be secrets for long. Here’s the thing, we already know that God see’s everything, and we know that people are smarter than we give them credit for. So why do we still lie?

The children’s song that comes to mind is “if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands” That’s what we are doing, we are clapping our hands regardless of how we really feel inside. Even as a kid, I would be in a bad mood and if they asked us to sing it, we would. We are clapping our hands to make everyone think that we are happy. So why, when we know the two has and/or will know the truth, why do we still lie? The truth is, we are not lying to the people or to God, we are trying to lie to ourselves. “If I just show myself that I am happy then, maybe it will be true.”

Here is the thing, We see our imperfections, we see the flawed version of ourselves, we see broke, ugly, unloved. We don’t want people to see that side, so the other side that’s showing our unhappiness will be covered up. Yet, we still know that it’s there. God, on the other hand sees Perfection, He see’s flawlessness, He see’s repaired, beautiful, loved. Despite everything God see’s us as He see’s Jesus.

Let’s become transparent. Let’s live our lives as God see’s us. Perfect. Life is not easy. But it’s easier when you have purpose and when you have self-worth. Let’s be thankful for our imperfections. They make us unique. Let’s begin to see each other as God see’s us. Let’s provide the world transparency.

 

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Social Anxiety vs Hair Salon

When you’re an over-thinker, the smallest task can feel like a much bigger one. We basically live inside our heads going over ever scenario of past, present and future.

Friday, I went to the hair dresser and I couldn’t help but notice my over-thinking and anxiety was on high the moment I walked in. It kind of went like this:

Getting checked in.

Me: *Walks through the door*

Scenario: *Everyone turns to look at who walked in the door, some with sour looks on their face*

Me: (in my head) “Why is everyone looking at me?” *Checks to make sure clothes are on right* “If they’re looking at my hair, well, that’s why I am here. So stop” *I pause for a minute, then proceed to the front desk* *Disgusted at how awkward I looked for that split second pause I did at the front door*

Hair dresser: (before I got to the desk) “Gus, have a seat we will be with you shortly”

Me: Thank you. (in my head “Wow, they remember me?… I wonder if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Probably a bad thing. This is not good.”

Sitting down.

Me: *looks around at everyone.* (in my head) “Everyone must have had a bad day. No that’s impossible for everyone to have a bad day isn’t it? Oh my, I wonder if something happened globally?!” *looks at phone* “Nothing that I can see. Maybe it is possible for everyone to have a bad day, in the same room, at the same time.”

Hair dresser: *calls someones name*

Me: (in my head) “Ok good. I am glad it wasn’t me. It’s too soon and people would be mad if I got in front of them. They can’t do that to me. They already said my name. I don’t want them to think I get special treatment. But special treatment would be pretty nice_ NOPE I am being selfish”

*Woman walks in*

Me: (in my head) “please don’t sit beside me, please don’t sit beside me…”

*Woman sits beside me*

Me: -_-

New woman: “How long has everyone been waiting”

Angry woman #3: “I don’t know why we even call ahead. It doesn’t do any good.”

Me: (in my head) “Oh no. Confrontation”

New Woman: “It’s a shame. (Salon Name) is going down hill. I don’t even know why I come here”

Me: (in my head) “I don’t know why you come here either. You should leave and let me have my personal space again.”

Angry woman #3: “It’s like they only have a few people doing hair and the rest go to lunch. Don’t they know we have things to do also”

Me: *scoots away from New Woman* (in my head) ” Oh god. I hope the hair dressers doesn’t think I’m in that conversation. I hope they know I am not with them. Let me see if I can position myself so they can see I am not with them.

*Angry Woman #3’s name gets called*

Angry woman #3 “finally I’m not getting any younger”

Me: *laugh’s at the thought of the hair dresser shaving Angry Woman #3’s hair off for being rude* (in my head) “hehehe”

Me: (in my head) “Did it look like I laughed at what she said, oh my, they are going to shave my head”

My turn.

*My name gets called*

*A combination of excitement and fear comes over me. The awkward social interaction over, but another is about to begin*

Hair dresser: “Hi how are you? Sorry about the wait”

Me: “You’re fine” (in my head) “why did I say that? I didn’t mean she is fine, I meant to say no problem… This is not going well at all” *Anxiety starts to climb*

Me: (in my head) “Please don’t ask me if I have any plans this weekend”

Hair dresser: “Do you have any plans this weekend?”

Me: “Not really” (in my head) “WTF, I say that all the time, I swear they never think I have a life”

*Awkward silence* (in my head) “OH great. I had a full on script to keep the conversation going and I forgot it all. FML”

The hair cut.

Hair dresser: “How would you like your hair cut today”

Me: (in my head) “Do something new DO SOMETHING NEW!!!”

Me: “The same”

Me: (in my head) “-_-”

Hair dresser: “would you like a beard trim and shampoo as well?”

Me: (in my head) “no I need to save money”

Me: “Sure” *dies a little inside*

The hair dresser proceeds to cut my hair. For a while I start to feel comfortable. She begins to start working on my beard and I realized that she isn’t cutting it how I like and thus starts the battle all over again.

Me: (in my head) “you have to tell her. you got this. DO IT. NOW!”

Me: “HEY” *too loud. hair dresser jumps, my face turns red*

Me: “Sorry, but do you mind adding a curve under the chin.”

Hair dresser: “Sure no problem!”

Me:

At this point I am so excited. I think I heard angels singing. I spoke up! I did what I hate doing, and it felt great! I feel like I can conquer anything. I AM INVINCIBLE!

Hair dresser: “would you like for me to trim your eye brows?”

Me: “Sure” *24K Magic playing in my head*

* Hair dresser forgets the middle part of my brow*

Me: (in my head) “YOU SHOULD TELL HER!”

Me: (in my head) “nope”……..

 

P.S:
Angry woman #1 & #2 didn’t really have a part in this because they were mostly quiet. Just scowling.

The rest of the story just has me replaying why I didn’t speak up about my eyebrows.

 

 

 

 

Keep Calm, Things Aren’t That Bad…

riotpolice-01-1455411

How do we feel when we are watching the news? Listening and reading each national story, do we feel excited to be living during the times that we are? I am assuming that the answer is no.

With each tragic story, one after the other, we feel as though this world is getting worse. We want to hide in the house and never go anywhere. We believe that we are living in the worst times on record. Are we really?

In a time when the media basically controls our lives with the story’s they give I thought I’d do my research, just to see if the fear the media instills in its viewers are warranted. The information that I found was not surprising to me.

Homicide Rates

The information that I recovered from Info Please, shows that since the 1980’s, homicide rates have dropped dramatically. In 1980 the rate was 10.2 cases per 100,000 people in the US. With 226.5 million people in the US at that time, it makes approximately 23,783 cases in the US in one year. In 1989 (the year I was born) over 21,000 cases that year. That is over 1700 cases per month and over 400 cases a week. In the source shown above, as of 2014, homicides have dropped to 4.5 per 100,000 people in the US.

The so called “Ferguson Effect”

There has been a popular claim circulating called “the Ferguson effect”. This claims that murder has increased since the protests in Ferguson. The claim suggests that the reason for this is because of the police less vigorous enforcement due to fear of backlash. The term gained steam after the term was quoted on May 29th 2015 via Wall Street Journal. There has no data to support these claims and in fact, the murder rates hold steady since 2014. More On The Ferguson Effect can be found here

Protests & Riots Today vs. Yesterday

There is a long list of protests all throughout history varying on topics that people can look up via WIKI:

1925 – Ku Klux Klan march. 50,000 KKK members marched to show support.
1957 – The first large (nonviolent) African American Demonstration three years after the Supreme Court decision against segregation in public schools.
1963 – The famous march where 250,000 people congregated around the Lincoln Memorial. This is where Martin Luther King Jr delivered his “I Had A Dream” speech.
1979 – First LGBT political rally where 75,000-125,000 gay men and woman marched on Washington demanding equal rights. Another would happen in 1987 where 500,000 gay men and women would attend.
1992 – Los Angeles erupts in an riots after the four white officers were acquitted over the videotaped beating of Rodney King.
Between 1863 and 2016 there have been hundreds of protests taking place, most of these protests in favor for equal rights and anti-racism. Some have been nonviolent, others ended in blood, fear and death.

Cases involving “forced rape”

From the stats found Statista, shows the stats of rape cases that have taken place. Up until 1992 there was a steady increase in forced rape in this country. A whopping 42.5 cases per 100,000 people opened regarding rape in the US. Some of these cases listed as violent and even fatal. After this time, the rapes started to decrease. Now the cases have dropped to about 26 cases per 100,000. This is after a slight increase from 2013’s 25 cases. It is a lot higher than it should be, but things are getting better as years progress.

Terrorism

When we think terrorism, we think about what is happening all over the world. From our own US soil to what has happened in France, Germany…etc. We think of the things that we have seen on our TV and Online. What we don’t see is that Terrorism has dramatically decreased since the 1970’s in 1970 we had over 450 attacks each year, with over 25 of them being fatal attacks. This gives a total of 2,608 total attacks and 226 fatal attacks between 1970 & 2011. Now we don’t have nearly that amount. I do know that the amount has climbed since the recent horrible attack of the Orlando Night Club “Pulse”. While this is a set back and we still mourn for the loss, we as a country can figure out a non-racist, non-xenophobic solution to solving these issues so that America can go stronger as a country.

My point is this…

I am not trying to belittle the horrific tragedies that have struck our world. It hurts, we all hurt. My point is; we can constantly live in fear and never feel safe. I get that you want to protect yourself and your family and that’s great. What I am doing, is providing you with another way of looking at life.

When we hear people say “I wish we’d go back to the good ol’ days”, maybe we should think twice about agreeing with them. We live in fear now because the media tells us that it’s worse than ever. I am not against being informed, I love knowing what is going on in our country and throughout the world. Maybe a way we can feel happier living in the times we are is by understanding that things have gotten better.

When we heard about the recent terrorist attacks it caused us all to question our safety. We should all take extra precautions into making sure our family is safe.

I just wanted to provide you with the comfort that every year, through the advances in society, we have gotten better. Things aren’t as bad as they were. Take that comfort and spread more love. Maybe, turn off the TV and news websites and enjoy life with your family. Let’s all live our lives better and love stronger!

My Socially Awkward Life

awkwardHello, my name is Gus. I am a socially awkward person.

There are times when I can carry on a conversation and be completely normal. Then there are other times when I feel as through I am trapped inside of my mind, trying to carry on a conversation when there’s this inner battle happening in my brain. Welcome to my socially awkward life.

When I hear people talk about their social awkwardness, I question if they really know what it actually means. When I say that I am socially awkward, it means that I am a very awkward person at social gatherings. I am going to try to paint a “word picture” for you, so that you can understand what I go through as a socially awkward person.

SOCIALLY AWKWARD: “an individual excessively afraid of social interaction due to some form of peer rejection or personal choice. Presenting a form or different forms of uncomfortability when around others”

Meeting New people

When you invite me to a gathering. I usually ask who will be attending. I am not being nosey. I am not secretly telling you that I dislike someone within our normal gatherings. I am getting myself emotionally and mentally prepared just in case there will be people who I don’t know there. Once you let me know that there is going to be PIDK (people I don’t know) attending the gathering, I may ask follow-up questions if the answers haven’t already been disclosed in the following information: “is it family of yours?” Usually I get a feeling of relief if the answer is yes. I feel there is less pressure if the people whom I don’t know are family because you are forced to associate yourself with your family because you are related. If the answer is “no it’s a friend” then, things change dramatically. The pressure is on. My mind starts spinning: “is this friend going to like me? What if they don’t like how I look? What if they hate me?” then I start thinking of scenarios of how horribly wrong things could go. For instance, what if I meet them and I can’t think of what to say? Or what if I say something completely wrong and they think I am weird? What if I overly communicate and they think I am annoying? What if I make them mad and my friend has to be placed in that awkward situation to choose sides? If the mutual friend knows the other friend longer then he will most definitely side with the former.

The reason friends are harder to meet is because these are people who your friend has chosen to become a part of their lives. These are people who your friend has been friends with LONG before you came. Or they are new friends and maybe they click better? Have a lot more in common with? Now you feel like you have to fight twice as hard to keep the friendship you have and make new friendships with their friends. It’s complicated I know but I have social anxiety which plays a part in why it’s so hard to meet new people and/or maintain a friendship.

Then the what if continuation start. “What if they don’t like me?” “Does my friend like me?” “Are they talking about me behind my back?” then the “Why do my friends even like me?”

So either I tell you, “oh sorry, I can’t, I have this thing” or “sorry I’m not feeling all that well”, OR I make the dreaded decision to attend. It’s not that I don’t like hanging out with my friends. I love my friends. The reason I have them in my life is because I love them and I feel as though we connect. Then, it’s on to the next battle

Being Social

Making the conscious effort to go is only the start of the battle that I will be facing during that night. To start with, especially when the case is old friends or best friends. I now become the third wheel of a bunch of conversations that I have no part in. I don’t know what they did, have done, will continue to do. No, I do not remember that one time back in high school. I didn’t know him/her then. So usually I am finding myself wondering off into the corner somewhere sitting. Watching TV, Getting acquainted with the pet of the home or the sleeping family member. Trying NOT to wake them but then make up a conversation with them anyway to keep yourself entertained between the snores. Then I try to make myself look like I am having a good time because I don’t want to expose my need for communication I can relate to. “Maybe they’ll bring up the time when we…” So alone I sit. It’s not my friends fault. They have their conversation that I saw myself out of because I didn’t feel like I belonged.

There have been times in really awkward situations where I’ve quietly left. That’s usually the result of a panic attack mixed with the depressive feelings of disconnection. That I didn’t fit in and I am now I’ve become officially labelled as the person who doesn’t talk or the person who is rude. Please know that is never the intention. There are days that I just can’t handle it. Being social feels more like realizing that you have nothing in common with the people you are associating with. That’s probably not the case. It’s more because I never opened myself up to exploring the interests of the people.

Finally, I get the courage to speak. Sometimes I execute it well. I say the right thing at the right time and BEHOLD, I have become one with the pack. Then there are the REALLY awkward moment where you say something that didn’t go over well. Maybe it wasn’t funny enough or maybe it just sounded stupid. This is about the time when I search for the first drink with alcohol and I drown my thoughts. This is when I maul over every, single, word that I said and what went terribly wrong. Then I feel as though I have blown my chance and they are all wish I wasn’t there. So either I am depressed, leave, or I am drunk and have prolonged my misery and then will apologize for everything I said. Or what I can remember of it.

The Best Friend

So if that wasn’t all bad enough, you now meet your friends best friend. When I meet a friend (which is rare because I don’t think I really ever ACTUALLY meet friends. I feel that it just happens), I want to put my effort into the friendship. Maybe grow it into a close friendship and who knows. Maybe one day, you become best friends. Once you realize that your friend has a best friend, that all goes out the window. You will probably not become that persons best friend. You will never be what they are. You now rate lower. Now as I said, none of this may be true. In my mind, however, it’s gospel. So then the pressure is on even more because now you feel as though this is the only way you will be able to maintain your friendship with the mutual friend, you must make the best friend like you. If they don’t, then say your close friendship goodbye. The friendship will become strained, you will become acquaintances and then merely Facebook friends until one day you post the “Have to let go of my past” meme and then finally delete that person. This is all going through my head while trying to carry on the conversation.

After Gathering Regret

So you made it through the agonizing defeat that is socializing. It may have went well, it may have went terrible. BUT THAT DOESN’T MATTER. You critique every moment. You realize all of the horrible things that went wrong in your mind. Then you are thinking how much they must have thought you were a weirdo. Either I stayed in one place by myself and never talked, I left early, I probably offended someone, or I got drunk and became annoying. Regardless the regrets never go away. They still remain in your head as defeat. You had one chance and you blew it. There is no coming back from this. Then you are afraid to text your friend, afraid that the relationship has changed between the two of you. So you don’t talk to them, but when they don’t text you, you begin to freak out and wonder if you said something or did something wrong. Maybe they aren’t your friend anymore. Maybe you ruined it. Something is wrong. So you decide to text. “hey had fun yesterday”… THEN YOU REGRET THE TEXT MESSAGE… Then after waiting for some time the text comes back “me too”… Then the vicious cycle continues.

I Hope You Don’t Think I Am Crazy

I feel that this doesn’t only happen to me and I really hoping that the friends who read this don’t think I am crazy. I am just explaining to you that there is a lot the goes into when I am invited to places and get invited to do things. I am sure there are hundreds of other things that happen and I am sure I will experience them. This surely doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be invited to things. It’s therapeutic for me to be invited to do things, that I am liked enough for someone to go out of their way to invite me to do things with them. I just want you to be aware of just what it takes to be invited to places where new people are going or people I don’t know well will be there. I may go but please know that it takes a lot for me to do so. Also know that I may decline. Usually that means I can’t mentally do it now. But I will take a rain check and maybe you and I can do something later.

This is something that I am working on. I feel like I have gotten better then what I use to be.

 

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