Tag: thoughts

“Why do you talk about mental health?”

I asked strangers on the internet to send me questions yesterday so I could film a video, and I got a lot of fun things to talk about, but one pretty heavy question that I actually get very often; “Why do you talk about mental health?”

Until this year I only really chalked it up to “because I want to.” It started as a coping mechanism for myself to log my emotions and try to clear my mind that has now grown in to a bit of an obsession for me.

I didn’t really realise it’s importance to me until April when my dad told me to stop writing about my mental health and my experiences in my life that have influenced the person I am today. [This story is a lot a larger than that, but that’s all I can say right now. My dad has since been able to understand things on my end, and all is as well as can be.] I was incredibly enraged to the point that if I had to choose between him and writing, I would choose writing. But, something quite incredible happened.

In my life, I feel like I’ve always had to lessen myself in order to “be the bigger person”. But by accepting my mental health more and more, I’ve realised that sometimes being the bigger person means doing what is best for you. For once I fought head on for what I enjoy. I was able to use all the messages strangers have sent me; how I’ve helped them, advice they’ve given me, stories people vent to me when they feel no one else can listen.

I realised that this is much more than just ‘venting’ for me. I genuinely hope that the things I say can help others. Especially people who feel that they cannot talk to anyone or relate to anyone. However, when I was asked this question yesterday, I kind of realised something else.

Yesterday was the year marker for Linkin Park’s lead singer, Chester, on his suicide. I was pretty caught up in my feelings about it and also disappointed in how people react to suicide, and I realised… if I ever decide to kill myself, I don’t want anyone to feel surprised.

That’s probably why people like me can joke so easily about it. I understand that this is a complicated matter to people who don’t really get it… people always think that if you hear someone joke about death or talk about sadness, then you should step in and “help them”. But, this is just how we live. Death is an every day theme for us. An every day consideration. And there’s nothing you can do to change that. Support simply just makes the day to day a little easier. Which in some cases is all it takes, but mental health is a spectrum and it’s not the same for everyone.

But in my case, I guess I want people to know that it’s a possibility to me. I don’t want people to see my name pop up in a newspaper or someone’s facebook status and think, “Wow… I never would have thought.” “What could I have done?” “I guess I should have taken her more seriously when she said xx.” I just can’t imagine leaving that kind of thought behind. Like anyone could have made me make a different choice. Because that’s not how it works in most cases.

It’s really kind of fucked up to write it out like that when I read it back. And for reassurance to anyone reading, it’s not something I’m actively pursuing. However, death is apart of me as it is for so many other people. And I guess by writing about it I hope to be a comfort to people who deal with it, while also trying to offer insight to those who can’t really ever understand it because it’s not something they face.

With chronic mental illness there aren’t guarantees. But that’s how life is in general, right? No one knows what even a few hours can bring. All we can do is be kind, and honest, and offer others support and hope for the best in life. And I guess when I write, I just want to offer those things like support and honesty and kindness to others.

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The Future.

It’s graduation time once again. Even though it’s been a year since my own graduation, I’m still bitter. I remember being enrolled in my undergraduate program and seeing people before me graduate. The cheesy cap and gown photos… the families making a big fuss… I longed for that kind of feeling… a sense of accomplishment. To think, despite everything growing up, I had come so far.

Mine was a little different though… I had worried about being an inconvenience… I had filled myself with so much anxiety that select people in my life would complain about the hours spent at a graduation ceremony. They would deem it a waste of time and a day I was excited about would be ruined. I decided to believe myself that a graduation ceremony was a waste of time and money. So I opted not to graduate that way and invited family for dinner instead. A dinner which no one was bothered to come to. And like so many other times in my life I brushed it off. Who needs family, right?

I realised today I’ve been holding on to that bitterness ever since. But, I want to change my attitude to never let myself or others feel like their accomplishments aren’t worth celebrating.

You see, I have incredible friends. Three special humans that put all of their own differences aside, their own stresses, etc, and took me downtown for dinner and drinks. Seeing all of the families around me celebrate was hard… and I wanted mostly to just cry and lock myself away. But here I was with these three smiling faces that refused to let me be alone. The same way that they had been doing for the past couple of years. The family holidays I would skip. The no good boys I would cry over. ALL of the stupid shit I would do or say. My anxieties. My depression. My sometimes rude sense of humour. My struggles in Japan. And even now I as I look to the future with uncertainty.

Those are the memories and feelings I should hold on to. People like that are the only ones that should matter during my accomplishments.

I spent some time after graduation feeling sorry for myself. And that’s something I never want to do again. Nearly all of my life I have spent placing my worth in the hands of people who simply will never be pleased with anything I do. Be it family, strangers, or people I had called friends. The truth in life is that sometimes, certain people come along and can not accept us as we are. And that’s no one’s fault.

I don’t want to live a life where I feel sorry for myself. And I certainly don’t want to blame others. What does that do? I want to just spread positivity, especially on the days that are hard for me. Because, let’s face it, even though I’m saying all of these things, I’m going to be sad, and mad, and so hurt some days over events of the past.

But all we can do is aim to grow stronger and build something brighter. Surround ourselves with people who bring light into our lives despite the darkness we wish to bury ourselves in.

I don’t know about my future. I don’t know if the things I’m stressed over now will pay off. I won’t be able to meet the timelines of others. My way might not be the best way. But it is my life, and the only thing I can try to control is what I put into it. And the people I allow to be involved in it.

So if you’re ever questioning yourself… am I doing a good job? Is it okay to celebrate this? Am I awesome? If you have to ask yourself, then you’re doing just fine. Even if it feels like your family or friends or anyone isn’t rooting for you, I can guarantee that people are.  The amount of times in the past few years that I’ve gotten messages from near strangers or people I haven’t talked to since high school just to tell me they get inspired from me or to offer encouragement is wild. We may feel alone, but we never really are.

So yeah, you’re awesome. And make the future whatever you want it to be.

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Death, Dying & Material Things; Why I’m going to stop celebrating Christmas.

When I say stop celebrating Christmas, I don’t mean I’m going to neglect the important things; the supporting charities and spending time with the people I care about. The days leading up to Christmas are a splendid time of year for the most part. The lights and general cheery demeanour of others.

But, I’m at the age where I think about the mortality of people of a lot. Not in my normal semi-suicidal sense, but the basic fact that every one is going to die eventually. It’s not that I never experienced death when I was growing up, I just didn’t really get to see the after effects of death. It was a simple, they are not apart of this living world that I can see anymore.

My freshman year of college I lost my grandfather. We weren’t the type that talked every day, or often at all in fact, but he was someone that I felt I shared a mutual understanding with. A family member that didn’t need constant reassurance that we were family. Though he wasn’t the best husband or father in his day, I had much love and admiration for him. Despite his mistakes, he always tried to communicate with his children and even support me when we were able to meet. He never once made me feel silly.

After I graduated high school is when I started to think of my grandparents more as people. When I found out my grandpa had cancer, I found myself wanting to know more and more about his life. What I didn’t take into account yet however, was time. It waits for no one. I had four days left until I would move back to my father’s for the summer when my grandpa passed away suddenly. I had thought that we had all the time in the world to talk once I was back.

I was devastated. And sometimes I still am… that I never got the time I had wanted with him. I was never able to find out what life had been to him. I was never able to personally ask him if I could buy or keep his unused car. I couldn’t ask about the war photos I found while cleaning out his home. Or the birthday cards. Who his first love was. If he ever got over her. If he could change things would he. What his passions were.

Every day I spent cleaning his house reminded me of these things I wish I knew.

My grandfather always sorted through coins looking for the old ones that would be worth more money. In his older age he used a handheld microscope to check the dates, so when no one was looking I slipped this item into my pocket along as a keepsake. A thing he used probably every day.

What I was surrounded with sickened me. My family searched the house high and low… in the fire place, behind pictures; just looking for hidden cash. I had the best laugh when they managed to break into a safe only to find an ancient Playboy magazine. Bush and all. Who would have guessed while I was looking through magazines and books he kept on his desk I was the one who found 300 dollars in cash. How excited they all were to pocket it… I wish I wouldn’t have said anything at all. Because I wouldn’t have felt right keeping that money. I wish I could have donated it some way.

Watching all of my grandfather’s belongings and life collections being sized up on their value really changed something in me. Did anyone even keep any of the photos and cards I had found? I’ve never asked. But my guess is that they were thrown into a giant dumpster with everything else that was deemed “invaluable”.

I remember as my father mourned his own, the agitation in a person’s voice at him “taking too long” at the visitation. I couldn’t believe that people thought this way.

Recently I’ve been watching death unfold from a distance. I always thought that when someone passed away, if there was something that a family member was extremely passionate about keeping in the deceased’s memory, that item would be granted to them. But I’ve watched from a distance with lips sealed shut as things have been denied to those people because said item may have value.

I often feel bad that I avoid family during times of death, but we simply do not see things in the same way.

I’ve grown to detest the act of giving material things without meaning. So this past Christmas as I was in Mexico trying desperately to think of things that would make family members glad to receive, I got pissed and thought, “what’s the point?!” What’s the point in bringing them a magnet? I don’t give a damn about magnets. Why should I give them a sculpture that has a million copies that’s going to sit and gather dust and be thrown out anyway?

I’ve thought of any gift I’ve ever given that didn’t have much meaning. And I don’t want to be that person anymore. I want the things that I give to be given out of appreciation and not coercion. Not just on a day people thing means giving gifts, but any day that I feel like giving a gift.

I read an article this year on how Christmas used to be a day folks just got drunk and had a merry time with loved ones.  I thought about the awkward feeling I get when people ask me what I want for Christmas or for my birthday and how much I’ve grown to hate getting things from other people just for the sake of getting. I’d rather receive nothing and just spend time talking.

When I look around on the holidays and everyone is plastered to their phones. People come up with excuses to leave quickly after eating. Etc. It’s become a sad thing since the days of playing outside or colouring with cousins.

So from now on, I want to express myself in my own way. Be it in death or during the holidays. I am different than them, and I want to take more pride in myself as individual.

 

Trust your gut.

So I’ve moved across the country and it turns out it was harder than moving to the other side of the world. I say it’s because I know my heart doesn’t belong in Nevada. It’s been a hard week. The temperature is beyond me so I can’t step outside without feeling like a vampire turning to dust. My memory card smashed so I can’t focus on photography or filming. Job hunting is a pain, especially with a half committed heart. And a long distance relationship is just as disgusting as they say. (He’s worth it.)

But I’m leveling out.

The first week, every day I almost booked a flight back to Michigan. Even in moments the past couple of days I want to run back into the security of what is familiar. I can’t understand the struggle I’m going through because it was so easy to go to Japan. When I got off the plane at Las Vegas I wanted to turn right back around. The lights and people and gambling and beer… culture shock in my own country. I spent the past week telling myself that I couldn’t do this. Applying to jobs that I know I’m over qualified for in order to play it safe, and then becoming crushed because I know inside they won’t benefit me.

But, through all the crying and doubt I’m starting to want to realise my potential. To apply to jobs that will test me and push me. All while saving up for the jobs abroad that I truly wish to take. Even though being alone in Japan also frightens me, I’m remembering that a huge chunk of my heart is still there, and the feeling that I haven’t spent the accurate amount of time there has returned.

No matter how unraveled my world seems to be right now, there is something in the pit of my stomach telling me that I am in the place I need to be right now. So as much as I wish I was somewhere else, it’s the reason I stay. And I hope I can keep pushing harder and come out stronger.

There are people rooting for me. Some wish to see me stay held back in Michigan, but others see what I often forget. That we are capable of anything. I hope I can focus on that and start creating more positive thoughts to go to the places I want to go and see the people that I want to see.