Rage

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“Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning do to do afterward.”
― Kurt Vonnegut

When it rains it pours, it seems frustrating things come in giant sticky clumps. If one thing doesn’t work, 50 other things are not going to work throughout the day, and when you are trying to calm yourself down from the previous thing, another thing just pops into your lap like a little annoying chihuahua. I guess Kurt is right, you can only really laugh at life, because if I am not laughing, it is something I do not want to face. It is a slippery slope to go down when you are frustrated, feeling the anger bubble in my body, distorting my thoughts and emotions. Feeling like a viper ready to strike at anything, just to get the negative emotion out of my system. Coping mechanisms seem not to work when the heat is on. So what does one do?

It all comes down to preliminary work, getting your mind and body ready for when the frustration comes. When I was a paramedic, I had a wonderful teacher who was a retired firefighter. He taught us a technique that would help us get through the tough times of the job, like when it is 3a.m and you have responded to a guy with a drug overdose, there he is, on the ground, turning blue, not breathing and he has no heart beat. You can study everyday in the books all you want, but that doesn’t mean the information is going to come to you. How do you make it so your mind is not blank in such moments? He said, when you study, say out loud what you are going to do, make it habit, and when it is 3 in the morning and you are looking at the guy who overdosed, you will just say what you have to do without thought. I am learning to apply this to the everyday world, for when crap does hit the fan, you don’t have to think about it, you just automatically know what to do. The problem with anger and frustration, is that when peoples autonomic nervous system is activated, we become stupid. The brain is not designed to think rationally in such moments, it is designed to either fly or fight. It is not until after you are out of the car, looking at the guy you yelled at on the road, and seeing him hulking over you, that you realized you should have just let him be. All the blood is going to our amygdala, the part of the brain that is responsible for reflex emotion, and not to the frontal association area, the part of the brain that is responsible for rational thought.
So it does not matter how well studied you are at coping mechanisms, what is important is that you practice preliminary measures, kinesthetically, so that when things go bad, you have automatic reaction to go to relaxation, not pure anger.

If you want tips on how to do this, please contact me! I would love to share with you everything I know.

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John Lennon and He-Man

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“I am a violent man who has learned not to be violent and regrets his violence.”
― John Lennon

There is a reason why we avoid negative people, because when they vibrate negativity, their negativity enters us. We are so interconnected in fact, that people do not have to even say anything to you, for you to feel that they are in a bad mood, or something is wrong. Energy comes off of us like heat rising from red coals. Everyone affects everyone, we are all interconnected, my choices affect you, and your choices affect me. If I go around all day, with negative thoughts, my thoughts will turn into emotion, and that emotion pollutes the world. In fact, it has been studied that if one person is carrying negative emotion, it could wake up latent negativity in others.

What about entertainment? It saddens me that our mainstream media, both in news, television shows, and movies, glorifies violence. Again, we are not interdependent, when I watch a show that is violent, it is going to leave an impression on my mind, my mind will start accepting that violence is the answer to solutions. If someone hurts me, I will want to hurt them back, with violence. The problem with this philosophy, is that violence begets violence. If I yell at someone for not putting away the cereal, or for cutting me off in traffic, it will feel good in the moment, but then I have lit the fire of anger inside the other person and they will pass the torch off to someone else.

I was watching He-Man the other day, and I realized this dude solves all his problems with violence, he beats the crap out of skeleton in almost every episode. Well, because Skeletor was beat up, he goes back to his lair at Snake Mountain and is pissed, so he thinks up genius ways to destroy He-Man. What is so disturbing about this, is that this is a kid’s show, and it shows, in black and white, who is the good guy and who is the bad guy, and that the solution is always violence.
He-Man is not much different than anything in the adult world, instead of He-Man vs. Skeletor, you have Christians vs. Muslims, you have Democrats vs. Republicans, you have Americans vs. the Russians, and on and on it goes. On the news you have stories that are peppered with violence, because if it bleeds it leads. This all leaves a very big impression on us, in fact such a big impression, that we are one of the most violent countries in the industrialized world. The sad thing is, we are not a violent species, if I am outside walking, I smile at people and they smile back. We have the potential to be wonderful. It is just we are being conditioned to be violent.

I wish instead of showing He-Man beating up Skeletor, he tried to understand why Skeletor was so angry in the first place, and really listened to him. Together, instead of having power over Eternia, they could have a peaceful rule. This of course, would not make for entertaining television, it goes against the rules of entertainment, which is having the proper antagonist.

And this goes for everything, our automatic thought for when someone hurts us is to hurt them back, and have vengeance. We do not think, why is this person so violent? Or try to de-escalate the situation, and show the person love. On the macro level, this is how wars are created, every war was created with the seed of hate, of one person wanting power over another, for one reason or another. The result is always the same, people dying for an unjust cause.

These are just some of my thoughts of the day, please respond, tell me what you think.

Life goes on

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“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” ~ Robert Frost

No matter how bad things become, or what happens to you in your life, things do go on. Just like a deep wound, it will eventually stop bleeding (if you survive it), and yes, it will leave a scar, but it does get better.  And sometimes it is though scars, that remind us of what we went through and the strength we have.

But what about mental scars? Do they follow the same rules as physical scars? In many ways yes. I have been in situations before where I felt at the moment, it is not possible for me to get through this hardship, and panic would begin to fill up my body without remorse. Of course, after my adrenal glands stopped pumping adrenaline through my blood stream, and I was able to take several deep breaths, I begin to calm down and realized that yes, things would get better.

Of course, not all mental scars are the same. If they are not bandaged correctly, they actually can get worse over time. And the wound becomes deeper.

That mental blemish could turn into fear, which would inevitably turn into hate and anger. So that is why it is so important to bandage the hurt, and take your time with it, and to be gentle with yourself through the process.

A lot of people do not know they even have mental injuries, because their mind has worked so hard to protect them.

His name is Kyle, and he has suffered an odd and terrible childhood.  When he was younger, he was kidnapped by his own mother, along with his sister to Montana.   HIs mother was not allowed custody of the children because of  her mental health issues.  She was later arrested, and taken to prison.  Kyle never told me the stories in detail, because I could tell it hurt him, and frankly, he just didn’t know how.  He did tell me though how later his mother tried to kill his father with a handgun  after she got out of prison.  I cannot even imagine the pscyhological ramifications something like this has on a child.  Kyle never did acknowledge, or take care of his mental wounds.  His mind developed coping mechanisms that has made him untrusting and extremely paranoid.

Presently Kyle does not trust in anyone, always feeling people are out to get him.  Because of this, his relationships suffer and people have a hard time being in his presence.  His paranoia keeps him from getting help, his mind tells him that it is not him who has the problem, but the world.  Negativity covers him like a thick stink, and I can only stomach being around him for so long.  I feel sorry for him, and dislike him at the same time.

I hope he gets the help he needs, but the lesson I have learned is if people are not ready to receive help, then it is not your responsibility to save them.  The only thing that will happen is that your energy will be sapped, leaving you miserable.

I enjoy the above quote, because it is on the forefront of what needs to be done, to me, it is interpreted as not dwelling in the mud bog of the past, but instead embracing the moment, and going on. It is like what Alfred said to Bruce Wayne in the movie, Batman Begins, “What do you do when you fall off the horse? You get back on.” So simple, and so powerful. Sometimes simple is best. When you fall off the horse though, you don’t have to get back on right away, but you sure don’t want to stay in the mud. Stand up, brush yourself off, maybe even walk the horse back to the stable. Strengthen yourself back up. After some good rest and nutrition,  jump back on that horse.

Easier said then done? Everything in life is easier said then done, and sometimes getting back on the horse requires a lot of time, reflection, therapy and most importantly patience. I understand that, I feel I am just getting back on the horse after a twenty year hiatus. The wonderful and terrible thing about life, is that it is going to go on, whether we want it to or not. So instead of fighting the tides, we should go with them. Start with where you are, with the resources you have. It is all you can do, it is all any of us can do. The funny thing about depression, is that when you are in it, sometimes you cannot remember how you got into it in the first place. It is the same with happiness, when you keep living life, you wake up one day happy, not knowing how it happened, but it did.

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The purpose

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“The bravest thing I ever did was continuing my life when I wanted to die.” ― Juliette Lewis

 

Who at one point or another has not thought about ending their life? It is just the kaleidoscope of living, so many different colors flashing before our eyes, some of the colors happy, while other dark, changing so fast we cannot keep up. It is when the colors don’t change for a long time, remaining in the darkness, that people begin to drop into the chasm. I would not know what to do if I did not have my family and friends, who are there for me no matter what. But what about the people who do not have friends or family around, what happens to them? One of the most devastating things about depression, is that it will take away your energy when you need it most.

A big part of survival, of not just the individual, but for everyone, are coping mechanisms. What does someone do if they cannot escape the clutches of depression, and they have no one around? That is why I am developing this website, it is because I want to give people a tool, a tool of hope to know that they are not alone, and that they have a network of people who are able to help them on the spot. Where they don’t need to present insurance information, and make an appointment that can be weeks away, or that they have to travel far to get to. By the time the appointment comes, it may be too late for that individual. I am creating a website where they get help on the spot, with a group of people or through individual counseling. A website that gives people tools, and that doesn’t expend energy and cause frustration for the person.

 

Mental health is a big subject in this country, and it seems presently, the system is failing the people. With as much as we know about it, we are not delivering the relief so many people desperately need. And it does affect all of us. For example, I cannot go a week without seeing terrible violence on the news, about how people are shooting, hurting and killing each other. I look at the shooter, and think to myself that this individual was showing signs before all this happened, and when I read the stories, I find out that some of these people did in fact try to get help for themselves or someone else tried to get help for them. I then read how some of the people they reached out to did not get them the help they needed. Professional agencies, denying their services, because of red tape.   This website is going to be red tape free, where you get help when you need help, period. Just a meaningful conversation can avert terrible tragedies, it can create new neural roads in the mind, so violence is not the only option anymore.

“Bad things happen when good people do nothing”

-Edmund Burke

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We are all good people, and I am going to be the change I want to see in society. So help me build this thing, so we can make people feel good again. And this site isn’t just for those who are suffering terribly, but for anyone who wishes to talk about anything. You are going to be part of the process, part of the group, what you say is going to make a huge difference in people’s lives. Have a great day! Please subscribe = )

The choice of happiness

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There is no path to happiness: happiness is the path.

Buddha quote

 

It is hard to be happy.  Sometimes I wonder if it is even a choice for some people.  For some people, happiness is probably something that comes every once in a long while, like a harvest moon or a four leafed clover.  I have talked to people who cannot even remember the last time they felt good, safe or felt things were going to be okay.  Most people do not live out this life like it is a prison sentence, but a lot of people are suffering alone, keeping their demons to themselves.   Many people are conditioned to keep their pain quiet, and the reasons are many.

I have a friend named Jake (not his real name), and he is probably one of the loneliest souls I ever met.  He goes to work, and then comes home to watch television alone.  He is going on 40 and has never had a real relationship, he will occasionally have a small fling, but rarely anything that lasts longer than a couple weeks.  When he does muster the energy, he would go out to the bars and look for people to talk to, but then he would quickly run out of energy, and retreat home.  When I ask him why he does not go out more, he tells me he is tired of being rejected, or just tired of how much exertion it takes to go out after work.  So I am sure what ails him is more than just a negative attitude, but a complex web of genetics, chemical imbalances, socioeconomic factors and other things.  He has the same attitude when it comes to getting help, he will begin the process, but then quickly run out of energy and optimism.   Or he will get help from the wrong people, making the situation even worse, causing him more anger and sadness, pushing him down further then he was before.

So he then retreats into the dark recesses of his mind, going deeper into the void of his life, losing whatever inertia he had.

So I asked him what would make him happy, he shrugged his shoulders and then told me that if he had a girlfriend who loved him, and that he loved back, and maybe even have a child one day.  I then asked him, even if he was able to achieve that, would that truly bring him happiness?  He gloomily looked at me and said, “dude, I really don’t know.”   So I then asked him, what if you just chose to be happy?  He looked at me like I was crazy, and I guess I don’t blame him, because it seems we are always looking for outside circumstances or things to make us happy, but what if we just chose to be happy in the moment, no matter what the moment was?

My friend of course needed help to see that it was a choice. That is what my main goal is to do with this website.  To have people receive help right on the spot, through certified counselors either it be one on one, or through a group chat.  It is through support we get through pain.  It is knowing that we are not alone, that gets us over the hump.    This though, is a blog for another day, I will be writing about it soon.

I am guilty of course of not choosing to be happy in the moment.  I think that once I get that car, or that job, or have the respect I always wanted from the community, then happiness and satisfaction will inevitably be mine.  I then realized though, this was a fallacy in my thinking, because once I achieved one thing, something else would pop in my mind that I needed, and soon understood that the process would never end.  I would always be looking to the future for my happiness, but the problem with the future is that it is always in the future, and I would forever only be in the present.  So, why not just choose to be happy now?   To not let the outside world influence my decision, just to say, hey, I choose to be happy, and then let myself be happy.   It really is a choice, we have just been conditioned for years that it is out of our control.

I really would like to hear what you think, write back and tell me your thoughts.