Friday, September 16, 2016
I've struggled with depression for probably my whole life. I finally decided to take medication consistently in my 20s and have taken it ever since then. In my thirties I've started to also have anxiety issues which I've had to get treatment for (and currently deal with) I've never actually wanted to kill Myself but I have thought about cutting myself so that I could feel pain on the outside like the inside. I have wanted to go to sleep and not wanted to wake up. I've risked my life by abusing drugs, alcohol and other things to numb my pain. My father was hospitalized many times for drug addiction and depression and suicidal thoughts. My mother struggled with depression and anxiety. Both sides of my family struggle with depression rampantly. My best friends father shot himself when we were in the 11th grade. One of my sons soccer team mates jumped off the Ben Franklin last month. There are 3 other families I'm connected to who are burying loved ones who lost their battle with mental illness this week. I have had countless conversations with friends and Acquaintances feeling lost and hopeless, plagued by anxiety, sometimes with thought of ending it all. Mental Illness is real. It's nothing to be ashamed of...you know why? Because look around you at school, at work, at the mall, at the gym and I guarantee someone around you struggles with mental illness or someone they love does. We aren't supposed to talk about it. Maybe because it's not supposed to be a real thing like a physical disease. Or maybe because it makes us look weak. But dammit we need to start talking about it. We need to change the script. Quite honestly mental illness is the root of a lot of the shit that's plaguing our society and we aren't talking about it. Well I'm talking it about it. My life is affected by mental illness and so is yours.
Thursday, September 15, 2016
There are some bad people out there. There are people that hate. People who will universally disregard someone solely based on their differences. People who will willfully discriminate and in the worst cases harm.
However in my heart of hearts, I do believe most people do not hate. Most are willing to respect those that are different than them and don't consciously discriminate. And most people wouldn't intentionally mistreat or hurt another human being.
But I also believe all people have at one time or the other have stereotyped, misjudged or misunderstood others without realizing.
I don't find ignorance to be a huge problem. How can someone be expected to know what they don't? Of course our elders and communities have shaped our understandings. Of course our experiences have led us to feel a certain way about representatives who have in one way or another perpetrated our dignity or maybe just run in contradiction to our own values and beliefs.
I do however find the inability, or perhaps unwillingness of us to take a long hard look at ourselves and our society, the largest problem dominating our culture today.
It is not the haters that are causing the problem and it isn't changing the haters minds that will save us.
It is people like you and me, who need to bravely look into our own hearts and mind, our own families, our own communities and our own societal institutions and courageously address what we don't know and what we don't understand. We need to listen more. We need to look beyond what is at first glance and dig a little deeper to find out what shapes the core of our individual and collective experiences.
It is the elevation of consciousness, individually and collectively that can heal us. It takes great courage to be awake, but we need it now more than ever. It takes guts to venture out of the margins of our own outer experience and probably even more to venture out of the prison of our own egos and self preserving minds.
As long as the entirety of what we choose to know, is what we know already, suffering will continue to pervade our existence. We must be brave enough to face our ignorance and unconsciousness if we are to evolve ourselves, our families, our communities, our country and our world to their potential.
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
But what if we looked at fear another way. What if fear was on our team?
You see fear, does a very specific job. Its objective is simple….it works to keep us safe.
When there is new threat to our system fear jumps to attention, and hollers STOP!
And like the tightness or soreness that lingers in our bodies long past the original injury, fear remembers old pain, it will go to great lengths to protect us from what has hurt us before.
Fear has helped us survive our lives. Its saved our skin and hearts a thousand times. But like an over protective mother, fears best intentions can sometimes be our determent.
Fear cares nothing about whether the threat to us is real or if it is simply perceived. Fear knows nothing about the joy or glory that may lie ahead. Fear doesn't like risk, even when the odds are in our favor.
Fear cannot discern…it does not judge one threat from the other. The job of discernment belongs to us.
We cannot live a live absent of fear. Fear will always be part of the human experience… and we should be glad for it.
When our hearts begin to race, when the prickles arise on our skin, when our stomach starts to churn… Fear has already completed its service, we can sit there with it or we can simply acknowledge it and make a choice on how to act.
Do we run the other way to say and safe or is it in our best interest to keep courageously moving forward into the unknown?
Is the potential reward worth the risk? Have we prepared to make this move forward? What do we have to lose, if anything at all?
Sometimes the answer is obvious but often times its not easy to decide. The right choice might make logical sense, and may sometimes it may make no sense at all.
If we do choose to move forward it will take some faith. Faith in our preparation, faith in our capabilities, faith in our bodies, in our minds and in ourselves.
Fear is not liar. Fear is not our enemy. Fear is actually on our side. Fear sets off the alarm that will save us from actual danger or to save us from the danger of playing it safe and short changing our lives.