Fortress of Solitude

Depression Is Very Real and Very Painful

I wish I had the words to convey just how physically painful depression truly is.  Note that I said “is” and not “can be” because depression IS very real and very painful.

This became very real to me on August 11, 2014 with the news that the “happiest man on Earth”, Robin Williams, had committed suicide and had battled depression for most of his life.

Robin Williams

Since the age of 12, I knew something was wrong with me but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was.  I would feel sad for no reason.  I would go for days with no energy to do anything.  I spent most of my waking hours harboring the idea of suicide, and my dreams were dark and filled with death images. It hurt to breathe.  It felt as though I was about to implode very slowly.  The pain just wouldn’t go away.

I tried to talk with my parents about how I was feeling and their response to me was “Stop feeling sorry for yourself!”  The fact was, I didn’t feel sorry for myself at all…I hated being alive!  My mind SCREAMED at me constantly. No words, just screaming!

When I was 16, I got a .38 caliber revolver from a friend with the intent of making the screaming stop.  My friend called someone to come talk to me.  That person told me “Be a MAN! REAL men don’t do this kind of crap!”  Yeah, very helpful.  So I took up drinking to dull the screams and to ease the constant pain from the slow implosion. But no matter how much I drank, the screaming was always there and so was the crushing pain.

When I was 25, I sat in the corner of a dark hotel room with a .45 and another in an endless string of bottles of vodka.  I drank most of the bottle, put the pistol in my mouth and pulled the trigger knowing there would be a split second of searing pain before the darkness took me and the the pain and screaming stopped.  Instead, all I got was *click*.  So I racked another round, put the pistol to my head and got another *click*.  Disgusted, I racked a third round, aimed it at the window and the window disappeared.  Thank goodness it was one of those old Motor Hotels in the Southwest where no one was around for miles.  Next morning, I paid for the window.

I am now, well beyond 25 years old, and I can tell you I have tried pills, knives, and car exhaust.  But I am either meant to endure more of the crushing and screams, or I really suck at trying to die.  But the pain is still very real and the screams still resound.

screams

 

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Not Sure What It Means But….

  • shrug-4

 

  • I have reached the age where my joints sound like someone stepping on bubble wrap when I get up in the morning and stretch.
  • Naps are, once again, an essential part of my day.
  • The noises my Grandpa used to make are now coming from my own mouth.
  • I accept that I am sexy despite what people say to the contrary.
  • Thanksgiving now requires that I wear elastic to enjoy the holiday to its fullest.
  • Friends are more than merely names on a Facebook page. I would LOVE to meet more friends face to face. Words only go so far.
  • The days that are the toughest are the days where experience pays off! Patience learned from a lifetime of mistakes actually does have benefits.
  • I have still never used the geometry I was forced to learn in High School.
  • I still have a “thing” for the girl from my most embarrassing moment. Probably always will.
  • Time is not measured in breaths taken rather than rushed through.
  • Have never figured out how to win at poker. Okay, played Strip Poker a few times and lost on purpose. 😉
  • Broccoli and Asparagus are still, and forever will be, PURE EVIL!
  • My imagination is still extremely active and highly creative. Just sayin’.
  • Find a place where you can relax, and visit often.
  • Spend time laughing and being silly every day!
  • Cry when your heart hurts.
  • Share love with someone every day!
  • Oh, and if you’ve read this far…….Thank You!
Categories: Fortress of Solitude, Hmmmmm........, Koffee Klatch, Perspectives | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

I’ve Reached The Point

You are hereFor some reason, I found myself in a contemplative mood this afternoon.  The thoughts dinking about my mind were becoming annoying, rather like a dripping spigot with the drops striking a metal basin. 

Reaching the milestone age of One Day After Yesterday is quite the achievement. And to celebrate, I decided to take an inventory, of sorts, of my life thus far.

I am, quite literally, twice the man I was at 16.  More solidly built, sacrificing speed, yet still sturdy.  The hair is a completely different story, being that it vacates the premises with alarming regularity and speed.  But I must admit, grass does have difficulty taking root on an active playground.

My memory is becoming somewhat “iffy” due to my inability to remember due to…..let’s go with “all the wisdom that has taken up residence in my mind.” It sounds better than “I just forgot what I was writing.”

I have reached the point in life where I dread going to the doctor, not so much for the news that I need to exercise more and stop enjoying bacon, but because it is increasingly difficult for me to take seriously this advice having come from a lengthy heritage of bacon enjoyers.

A few things I have learned in my sojourn here….

  • Asparagus will eternally be evil.
  • Nap Time should not be limited to children.
  • Chocolate does cure a multitude of moods.
  • Coffee is a necessity, moreso than pants.
  • It is ALWAYS good form to be polite.
  • What you don’t know might actually kill you, but you won’t know it.
  • We try far too much to achieve far too much without considering the things we must sacrifice.
  • No, you cannot have it all.
  • There is a difference between a “mistake” and an “error.”  A mistake can be fixed with an eraser. An error needs an apology (sincere and immediate).
  • If you strive for perfection, you will live your life in great disappointment.
  • Flowers smell nice for a reason. Slow down and smell them once in a while.
  • True friends are rare gifts. If you want one, BE one.
  • Dance with all your heart.
  • Never forget what it feels like to laugh!
  • Love is a treasured mode of travel, not a momentary destination.
  • You are only allowed one breath at a time. So make every breath count.
  • Every day is building your legacy, make sure it is a legacy worth remembering.

Tomorrow is another milestone on this journey.

Categories: Fortress of Solitude, Hmmmmm........, Koffee Klatch, Perspectives, Wanderer's Wonderings, Wandering Mind | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

My Clone Would Plot My Demise!

cloning panda 1Clone Panda

Last week was one of those weeks where I wish I could have had a clone.  The thought of having a clone has its appeal:

  • Conversation would always be amazing and informative.
  • I could actually BE in two places at the same time
  • There would always be someone to go have coffee with.
  • Not to mention the sheer power of the sexy awesome dorkiness times TWO!
  • I’ve seen me pre-coffee, and I would know instinctively not to speak to me until fully infused.
  • The entire coffee industry would LOVE the idea.
  • I would know not to bother me while I’m thinking. And I would know that I am an introvert with misophonia, so I would know not to make loud annoying noises around me.

Then said I to myself, or was it to my clone to be, I can never remember, ah, such are the way of things I suppose:

  • I could never win an argument with myself.
  • I would be impossible to throw a surprise party for me.
  • I could never blame my mistakes on anyone….except the clone me…..who is me. Ah, crap!
  • I could never “borrow” (steal) soda money from me, because I would know I would do that and I would catch me doing it or I would try to hide it from me and because I know where I hide things, neither one of me would get any sleep.
  • I could never give me directions, because both of me are completely directionally challenged and need a GPS to find our way out of a t-shirt.
  • And then there’s the whole, “Who used all the hot water?” disruption. Of course, I know I used all the hot water, so why am I even asking me if I used all the hot water, and I really need to get out of my face about it before I punch my lights out.

Hopefully, you can see my dilemma.  Alone, I admit to being pretty amazing in a goofball sort of way. Cloned…one of us would have to go, but which one…..? (insert maniacal laugh here)

Categories: Fortress of Solitude, Hmmmmm........, Perspectives, Wanderer's Wonderings | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

I Was Turned Into A Newt…But I Got Better

Good afternoon.  I realize it’s been a while since last I let loose the gerbils of my mind for some fresh air, so whilst they are having a romp about, you are stuck with me.

 Gerbils on a Bender

When you stop laughing and start breathing, we can continue…..

 

Here’s a gasper for you, a realization that slapped me awake faster than my morning coffee: I’m not perfect!  Give that a moment to sink in and the screaming of disbelief to subside.

 

It’s true though. I am in no way perfect, or invincible, or “good enough” by any standard.  But guess what? I don’t care!  I’m not here to impress anyone, smug though that may sound, it is, nonetheless, the truth.  I am rather an introvert, not given much in the way of “chatting” or small talk. As a matter of fact, I am a contemplative by nature, preferring to ponder and consider and observe.  That moment when you pick your underwear out of your butt and thought no one saw, you were seen by a contemplative.  I’m the person in the car next to you cringing while you attempt to sing the high part on Bohemian Rhapsody (and let you get well ahead of me in traffic so I no longer have to hear it).

 

But for most of my life, I dealt with Atelophobia.  I believe most of us have to some degree, and many still face it every day.  Atelophobia, for those who haven’t looked it up by now, is the fear of being “imperfect or not good enough.”  In a world that demands perfection, it’s difficult not to have this phobia. Thank goodness for airbrushing photos, photoshop, masks, and darkness (those who have photos of me are thankful for these).

 

But here’s the part I like best: I no longer care.  I have FINALLY reached the point in life where I no longer give a rat’s dinkle if I “measure up” or have reached “this tall so I can ride this ride.” Why? Because it is much easier to be who I am than pretend to be what someone else expects of me. 

 

I sing badly, so I sing where no one can hear me (i.e. in the shower where the acoustics are fabulous).  I dance like a one legged frog on a hot pavement, so what? If that bothers you, don’t watch me.  I’m not a good conversationalist until we get to know each other, so feel free to inquire and let’s get to know each other.

 I Am SEXY

When you look in the mirror, do you see someone trying to be what others expect you to be or do you see the wonderful gift that is YOU? So….Am I “good enough”? No! I am so much more than merely “good enough,” I am ME and I enjoy it!

Categories: Fortress of Solitude, Hmmmmm........, Koffee Klatch, Perspectives, Wanderer's Wonderings, Wandering Mind | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Nugget From Wisdom Owl #2

Wisdome OwlIf your boat floats, don’t wait for the wind, grab the oars and row!

Categories: Fortress of Solitude, Hmmmmm........, Perspectives, Wanderer's Wonderings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Recognition

tarnished

Whilst enjoying my morning coffee at my favorite office away from the office this morning, I noticed a group of older gentlemen seated around one of the tables. Engrossed as I was in writing my assessments from yesterday, I couldn’t help but eavesdrop on their conversation. Actually, several of this coffee klatch were apparently hard of hearing because the conversation was a tad loud.

I listened to these men recount their lives and they regaled the group (and those of us who were within earshot) with their opinions, thoughts, solutions, and then came the kicker….all the awards and recognition they had received. For some odd reason my mind recalled my childhood, seeing the faded names on tarnished brass or worn, barely recognizable names on dull placards; how many people actually remember those to whom these names had been given?

Don’t get me wrong, I find nothing wrong with awards and recognition, but such moments are fleeting yet we pursue these moments like a shark after a wounded fish.

As I sat there enjoying the stories of the men’s club my mind kept playing “Glory Days” by Bruce Springsteen. Without stories life would be so boring, but each day brings new tales to be lived and written. Me? I do not wish to be remembered. Yes, that may sound rather brutal, but I have no desire to be remembered by name. I wish to have touched people’s lives in such a way that they have no need to remember me because we are part of each other.

But that’s just me. Long live coffee klatches!

Categories: Fortress of Solitude, Hmmmmm........, Koffee Klatch | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Shush! I’m Thinking Here!

As a youngster, people annoyed me.  When it came time to go to the play yard, I would find some out of the way place and read.  My parents and teachers thought I had a mental problem or had anti-social tendencies.  I, on the other hand, while not realizing at the time I was introvertish, simply didn’t like all the noise and activity. It made me tired, and gave me a headache, and, quite honestly, just prefer the exercise of my mind. 

While I don’t claim to know or understand all the physiological, mental, spiritual, emotional, or complete oddness of introversion, I do acknowledge that “I Are One”.  During social gatherings a plan is developed and put in place almost as complicated as Mission Impossible.  While there’s no secret, self destructing mission messages, there is a cooperative effort amongst a close band of friends that is triggered upon the issuance and acceptance of the obligatory social activity invitation.

A pre-arranged time is set for our departure strategy.  This will usually be no later than 90 -120 minutes into the soiree.  At the predetermined time, the chosen individual will pocket dial the rest of us, or develop some sort of distress (stress of these situations does this), or we will step out for some air and slip away.  We will make a point to thank our host, upon our arrival, for inviting us. 

Admittedly, during company dinners, this strategy is not easily employed, but we tend to arrive early to select our seats near the exit so we can make discretionary escapes to the lobby and/or lavatory as needed.  Having a bar in the lobby is quite helpful until the bartender gets tired of our escaping there.

I happened upon a wonderful book by Sophia Dembling called “The Introvert’s Way” (shameless plug that I don’t get any royalties for), and upon reading it, saw my own life habits in her words.  Needless to say, it is always good to know that Introverts are not alone, even though we like to spend time alone.  There should be a club where we each have our own soundproof cube and can all be alone together.

Anyway, where was I going with this?  Oh yeah, a few things about introverts I have learned:

  • Introverts are weird, not psychotic.
  • Introverts recharge our minds by being quiet and processing.
  • Introverts can sit together for hours without speaking more than 3 sentences.
  • Introverts ARE social, just not in the way some might think.
  • Introverts have an incredible sense of humor, albeit sometimes subtle and dry.
  • Introverts enjoy having coffee conversations (if you talk with coffee in your mouth it will burn and stain, so the silence pockets are greatly desired).

 

Please do not take offense, but I am one of those insane people who believe libraries are for reading, not chatting or eating or engaging in various amorous activities in the reference sections.  If you have the need to smack or pop your chewing gum, rattle your candy wrappers, or have a nasal ailment, please step to the restroom and deal with that, as a courtesy.

Which brings me to another question: Why are the wrappers for foodstuffs always so loud? 

Anyway, that’s what has been meandering between my ears for now.  Feel free to ponder at will.

Shoosh

 

Categories: Fortress of Solitude, Hmmmmm........, Koffee Klatch, Perspectives, Wanderer's Wonderings, Wandering Mind | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

And The Question Is…

Stress ReductionHaving a bit of a mental wander today. Part of my habit includes listening to people. And of all the conversations I have been party to, there are a few things I’ve never heard:

  • Will you hold my kangaroo while I paint the piano?
  • I really don’t have enough stress in my life.
  • I never learned to smile.
  • I like being around crabby and critical people.
  • Love doesn’t exist.
  • If this makes me look fat then I’ll just have to go naked.
  • Would you please pass me that honey badger.
  • I think I’ll start working on becoming an alcoholic today.
  • Why no, my poop really doesn’t stink.
  • Don’t need to turn the light on, the furniture will move out of my way.

There are probably more, but that would require more coffee and another mental wander.

 

 

Categories: Fortress of Solitude, Hmmmmm........, Koffee Klatch, Perspectives, Wanderer's Wonderings, Wandering Mind | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

When Life Feels Too Hard

candle light

Of late, life has felt overwhelming. There never seems to be enough time or energy to accomplish all I want, and there is never enough money to help those I want to help. The busier I get, the more I know a difference is being made, but it can be overwhelming.

You see, I am a Law Enforcement Chaplain. Yes, I have theological training and am credentialed by a religious entity to perform the rites and rituals. But, I don’t try to convert anyone or preach to anyone to become part of my way of belief.  My job is to take my training and experience (lifetime of making mistakes) to listen to Officers and their families and offer counsel (if requested).  It’s a lot more difficult to listen and NOT speak than one might think.

When I first began this life adventure, I didn’t think I could possibly make a difference. The best I could do was offer encouragement and perhaps a little different perspective. Then one night after spending an entire 12 hour shift with one of the Officers, I was walking to my car and heard the cruiser back up and get ready to pull away. But then I heard the cruiser stop for several seconds.  I turned to wave to the officer, and the officer rolled down the window, grabbed my hand and said, “Thanks for listening Padre.” And with that, the officer drove off home, leaving me standing in the dark parking lot next to my car.

When I got into my car, I sat there for a minute and just looked at the sky watching the stars flicker.  Then an image came to mind that I hadn’t considered: One can only see the stars when it’s dark.  Hmmmmm….  The more I thought about it, the more I kept remembering some of the lessons I had learned over the course of my life. A single candle doesn’t produce much light, but in the darkest place where there is no light, it’s almost blinding.

From that day, I have remembered that even though I may not understand or even see how my light may help someone else, in their darkest moments, hopefully they will remember.

Watch this video and see what I mean:

Light Up The Sky

 

 

Categories: Fortress of Solitude, Hmmmmm........, Koffee Klatch, Perspectives, Wanderer's Wonderings, Wandering Mind | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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