Moving beyond being Stuck

Move Past Things that Hold Us Back

I had surgery last week. A small skin cancer tumor no longer resides below my right eye in my cheek.

I never had cancer before. This was a ‘small’ cancer. It was not life threatening. It could cause problems later in life, but it is gone now.

I never had a surgery that cut into my skin before. I received many stitches in my face. I am fortunate. These stitches are my first too.

The surgery was 5 days ago. It took more out of me than I expected. I slept a great deal.

I could not smile for several days. That took a lot out of me too.

Before the surgery, my life kept accelerating. It grew and it grew better, but the surgery forced me to slow down and pause.

I need to speed up again.

Things are holding me back. I can feel them. I need to move past these ‘things’.

I do not know how, so I am writing through it here and now to find my path again.

What holds me back?

First, there are things that hold me back. There are things that help me move forward with ease. I need to remove the former and heal or repair the latter.

Example

I am depressed. This holds me back.

I am unable to exercise due to stitches for a few more days. This prevents me from running or practicing yoga. Those are things that help me move forward with ease.

The depression has many roots. Some are ‘all in my head’. I have an initial therapy appointment for the second week of December. This is the earliest the VA can get me in to start working on me.

I made the steps to get that going though!

My finances are upside down. I have worked on this for quite a while. I make progress every week. Yet, I am still in the upside down. This is frustrating and a driver of my depression as well.

I work to accept what I cannot fix in the now. I work to fix what I can. It is far easier to do this work well, when I do not feel depressed. The depression creates a ‘catch 22’.

I self medicate with a 200 mg caffeine pills as a daily supplement. This gets me through the hardest time of day, mornings.

It’s not enough. It helps.

I suffer from distractions. I do not call this ADD or ADHD. I do not have a diagnosis for either.

I get hung up on things:

Cash Flow Problems – Clients that do not pay me or pay slowly. This is a big trigger for me. Even when the amount is inconsequential, it can stop me in my tracks.
News & Politics – For 18 months I kept these out of my life. It helped. They have seeped back into life.
Interruptions – Running errands for myself or the family distracts me. This is a big one. As a half time single parent, it can be more challenging every other week. I get behind when I have custody of my children. Writing that sentence makes me feel guilty as hell.

This list is not comprehensive. It is a small sample.

It helps me to have many things to do.

Before writing this:

  • I unloaded the dishwasher,
  • reloaded my medicine box for the next week,
  • made the bed,
  • took a shower,
  • dressed my wound, and
  • had a healthy snack.

These small tasks gave me momentum to start writing.

Writing will be another task that will help me move onto client work that requires more writing.

That will feed to another task and another.

I build momentum to move forward. Moving is necessary to move past things that hold me back.

How do I move past this?

It helps me to write out the things that ail me. I need to put voice to a thing to move past it.

So writing this now, is helping me move past everything I mention herein.

Writing alone is not enough. Therapy next month will help.

Reading books, taking courses, viewing things on screens that inspire help me too.

I am overdue for a trip to the comedy club. Laugh therapy always helps me. I laugh at life’s challenges all the time. I often have a ‘good attitude’ even while depressed.

Laughing ‘at my circumstances’ is not healthy. It is self deprecatory.

Laughing along with an audience led by a professional comedian can be very healthy.

I need that soon.

I need to get out and dance as well. Music and moving to music, helps me metabolize my depression. It helps me transform into a positive person.

I need that soon too.

Did I really put the monster down?

In a month or a year or 5, will I look back and witness that I moved past the things that held me back?

Will I have put down the monster?

I do not know.

I will set some goals. I need to consciously see what I am working to improve. I need to KNOW when I have achieved it.

I will need to course correct if I fall of the path. I will need to adjust my goals if my view from the next vista indicates, I have chosen poorly.

In some ways, I may never put the monster down. That’s ok.

For many years, I never needed most of this stuff.

Well, I did, but I didn’t know it.

I lived without knowing what I needed to be happy, healthy, or to perform at peak performance.

I know better now.

Many of these steps are one part first aid and another part ongoing maintenance.

If I heal for now, and stop performing the maintenance, a serious problem might develop.

First aid might not be enough!

I can get to an easier place in life. I can get back to a place where I have things taken care of as part of my regular routine.

Next Steps for Me

So I will publish this short article. I will help a client and then another and another.

I will help some of those same clients pay me.

I will improve my work and business. I am doing a lot to get far more organized. I am cutting costs too using new tools.

I will build more momentum.

My face will heal and the cut will stop oozing blood at unfortunate times.

I will exercise again. I will reboot my head practicing yoga again.

I will do many more things and do them well.

I will make mistakes and learn from some of them. With luck and effort, I will learn from all of them!

What would you do? What would be next for you?

I do not know everything. I am in unchartered territory and learning as I go.

If you were in my shoes, what would you do?

🙂

Enough about me. How are you? What would you do for you?

What will you do next for you?

Care to share some notes? Maybe we can learn from each other, maybe not.

I do know that it is healthy and helpful to work through life with others.

Thank you for coming along for the ride!

 

Fatigue Depression Caffeine – Lessons Learned After Recovering From Soda Addiction

My lazy title sort of says it all without saying anything but gibberish.

I had a conversation with a friend of mine after yoga class. She had just started back to yoga after being away from it for about 10 months. She is one of my closest confidants locally. 
She is trying to work through the challenge of constant fatigue. 

Personally, I experience something a bit similar. About three or four years ago, I stopped drinking diet soda cold turkey. This was a major accomplishment as I had a bad soda habit, drinking upwards of 18 cans of soda per day for the better part of twenty years and multiple sodas per day in the years before that as well..

After I cleaned up and stopped drinking soda, I worked diligently to avoid caffeine substitutes. About 12 years ago, I had unsuccessfully kicked coke for green tea. That only lasted three months and I fell off the wagon as soon as I ended up in some place that didn’t carry sweetened tea, probably on a road trip or holiday or trip. After that I was right back to the hard stuff, diet coke and coke zero.

This may seem like the lesser of the possible addictions that exist in the world. I will add that I have overdosed on diet coke once in my life. Diabetes and heart disease are challenges that run through my gene pool, although I am healthy and have not been impacted by these personally. I knew it was a problem but couldn’t stop drinking them until I finally did.

The addiction left a hole in me that I wasn’t aware of at the time. In fact it took me about three years to notice the hole. I attributed my longing to the addiction. I dreamed about soda, rarely did a day go by when I didn’t think about it.

I needed a lot more sleep. During these same years, I got healthier. I improved my diet and I exercised even more than I had previously. I’ve always been a runner and when I was drinking diet soda on a tread mill, I usually had a diet coke with me. I would open a fresh can before bed and put it on the night stand, drinking some in the middle of the night when I woke up for a caffeine fix.

My diet coke addiction was ridiculous.

But addictions are addictions. I had quit smoking easily when I was about 19. I have no idea why quitting soda was so much more difficult.

Sure, I have some ideas, such as when I stopped smoking, I partly substituted that habit with soda and junk food.

I wasn’t able to successfully substitute something healthier for soda.

Now three or four years later, and a major life change that shifted me from being a happily married, 23 years, father of three to a single father of three, I have done a lot of work on myself. I’ve gotten in touch with a number of things about myself. I’ve been working to heal and repair some damage done by a relationship that was apparently not as happy as I thought it was.

Over the last couple of months as I’ve been working in some new balance, I’ve started to come to the conclusion that in the mornings I experience a type of low level depression. It drives me to want to sleep more

Drinking only water and one sweet tea a day these days, I get very little caffeine. About 4 months ago, I was picking up some supplements and noticed a bottle of ‘Stay Awake’ pills, caffeine pills. On a whim I bought them and then they sat in my medicine cabinet for the next 2 months. Then one morning I took one, and I had lots of pep.

I felt like this probably wasn’t healthy so I didn’t take another for several weeks, then I took another and felt good and got a bunch of stuff done one morning.

On a related note, I tend to be a night owl. My brain doesn’t really wake up until the sun goes down. That’s nice and all but my family and a big chunk of my business operates while the sun is up. I have to be awake at some points during the day.

For years I tried to work something of a late 1st/2nd shift type of thing with occasional projects lasting all night long. I enjoy and benefit from extended periods of focus. There are some things that are easier to do in a solid 10 – 12 hour period than to try and split it up into 4 hours here and 4 hours there and another four hours to finish. The setup and reset times usually drag these things out even more.

So I told myself that my after hours schedule was necessary and useful.

For the last week or so, I’ve found that I have been taking one of these caffeine pills every morning. The amount of caffeine is about 200mg which is about the same as is in a cup of coffee.  

I detest the taste of coffee. Its not an option.

Since I am a whole lot more in touch with my emotions and mental state now, much more so than I ever have been, I’ve realized that this caffeine consumption is form of self medication.

I’m essentially treating a low level type of depression. 

 I don’t really need it for the entire day. One pill wears off about as fast as a cup of coffee does.

Mostly, I just need it to get over the hump of the morning. Once I have built up some momentum, I’m pretty good.


I exercise a great deal by my standards, running, walking, hiking, yoga, and soon will be mixing in distance swimming, paddleboarding and I might even break out the bike again. I dabble with some free weights and kettle bells, a jump rope and try to hit the pull up bar 4-6 times a week.


I’m in decent shape.

Looking back, I suspect all that soda consumption was a combination of self medication for low level depressions + sugar addiction + addiction to whatever the hell else is in soda and later diet soda.  

I’m now getting some distilled, Walter White approved caffeine about every day. On days, when I can get enough sleep, I do not need it nor take it. Enough sleep would be defined as 8 hours or more of uninterrupted sleep.

I get that kind of sleep about 12 days a month. The other 18-19 days I’m getting 4-6 uninterrupted hours of sleep and on the days when I’m in the 4 hour range, I might also sneak a siesta in for another hour or two.

I mentioned some of this to my friend, who is a coffee drinker. Maybe she’ll consider the depression angle for herself. Maybe that is not her challenge.

As I write this, I’m pretty well exhausted. Its about 7:30 in the evening. I’ve been awake since 6 am after getting about five and a half hours sleep. It was not enough. I got up and ran up a local mountain called Crowders. For those of you that live where mountains aren’t mountains unless they are several thousand feet tall, Crowders is not that kind of mountain. Its more mountain in spirit than in form, although it is big for local proportions.


It was about a mile and a half total running up it and down it today. I was going up the steep part, which has stairs at the top. Then I hopped in the car and rushed off to yoga and practiced yoga for about 75 minutes.

Then cleaned up and got to work for the day.

I was going to take a nap after dinner tonight, before my youngest daughter became distraught about needing to go to a local park about a quarter mile away.

All her friends were going.

So I got up out of bed after having been on my back for 3 minutes, and walked to the park, did some pullups and dips and crunches and started writing this article.

Everyone has their life balance challenges. Everyone has their sleep challenges. This is nowhere near the most difficult situation I have balanced. I served in the Army and after getting out of the military I worked full time for the postal service while going to college more than full time (15-21 credit hours a semester with a 40 hour work week 80-100 hours during the holidays). That was tough.

I’ve worked for a tech startup as well and that too saw me working insane hours plus driving and commuting insane hours as well.

I’m not trying to compete with anyone, not even my past self.

🙂

I am hoping to learn and do better going forward.

I’d love to rework my schedule, but currently my schedule as a single father is simply not my own. I have to be flexible and adapt to my kids schedule plus my own. I’ve built in as much flexibility as I can so far. I make a lot of meals in advance, freeze them and cook them in an instantpot for example.

I’m maxed out at the moment.

I do not want to take caffeine pills for the long haul. Probably going to be a negative for some part of my system, and I do not need any negatives.

Yet, at the moment as I work to balance all of my other demands including fatigue and low level depression in the mornings and the need to be on at times, well I don’t have a better way yet.

Maybe you have had some similar experiences? Maybe you have learned some lessons from some of the mistakes I am making?

Love to hear or share in any of these. I do not know everything, not by a very long shot. I welcome any feedback or wisdom or opinions or wisdom that might be shared here.

I suspect there has to be some better ways. Or ‘better’ may be a flawed concept. I suspect there are some alternative ways that I could try, some things that I might add to the mix so that I’m not taking caffeine pills 5 days a week. Or maybe there’s nothing wrong with that and that too would be handy to know!!!

Whatever, thanks for sharing in this story and bearing witness to my tale. Time to go do some more pullups and eventually call it a night and get a full 7-8 hours of sleep if I’m really lucky.  

I hope you can do the same if not more!

Grief Feeding Anxiety & Depression Feeding Life Sabotage

Its late in the morning on Sunday. I’m sitting on my porch after a rainy night, a rainy week. The sun is out and its windy, but not yet warm. The sun and the wind are blowing away the last of the rainy weather in preparation to start up the pre-Memorial Day weekend roaster.
I’m feeling …. Too much this morning, but none of it heavily. I’m feeling a bit depressed, a bit anxious. I’m feeling a bit depressed looking back at the past of a long marriage that ended just over a year ago. I’ve had lots of reminders of this the last week, many interactions with my ex-wife, the mother of my children. These were positive interactions and some of the best examples of our potential to be co-parents in the future. This is something that I want, but it does not come quickly nor easily.
We do not get training in life in how to be a good divorced coparent. Some people, I hesitate to call them lucky, might have been able to see their own parents become good coparents and set an example. Even when this happens no one wants this for their future, because that infers that we have to get married and then get divorced and then become good coparents.For what its worth, I do think there is a big difference between being ‘coparents’ verses being ‘divorced parents’. In my mind, coparents work together to raise their kids. Divorced parents in my mind are single parents that individually take care of their children, sometimes alternating and sometimes negotiating or through lawyers organize some things. 

The difference I suppose is working together for the good of the children verses working individually or working together out of forced legal obligation.

The Conscious Uncoupling movement offers up a way to help make coparenting and ending relationships more positive and more healthy for everyone involved, but its very new and through the ever snarky media has been much maligned without any actual critical evaluation of what is involved.

Today, this morning for myself, I have not gone through a conscious uncoupling experience. I’m doing my best to try and move from being a divorced single parent to a coparent someday.

As I started going through the detachment from my ex-spouse, whom I still loved, I worked to detach with love. I was codependent and didn’t realize it until after we decided to divorce, but I did need to detach for my own health and well being. 

I did not want to detach using anger to fuel my break away from her. I did not feel that would serve me well and I definitely did not feel that it would serve my children. I did not feel that it would be healthy for them to see their father go through a process of ‘hating’ their mother. I do not hate their mother. I never have. I never will. She is a wonderful person. She is not perfect, but I have never dwelled on her negatives. We all have our negatives. I am no where near perfect. 

I do not think I am very bad either. I like myself. I am happy with who I am. I am happy with where I am going. I am happy with how I am getting there. To use a rock climbing analogy I feel like I am part way up a mountain, climbing up a cliff at the moment. A year ago as I climbed, I suffered a bad fall and injured myself. I am still healing from that and part of that healing involves the fear of the fall or the event itself. But I am on this cliff now, climbing and when I look back that takes my focus away from the handholds I need to maintain now. I can see this cliff that I dangle from is very difficult, but I can also see another section higher up that is inverted and even more difficult!  

My past fall and the setback it caused, represents my occasional depression. Some of that depression is something I am feeling this morning. As I dangle from my handhold now and wonder whether I can keep hanging on and move further up, this represents a piece of my anxiety about my future. Will I slip and fall?

As I look to the inverted ledge that I have to navigate in my future, that too adds to my anxiety about the future. 

Will I be able to do something even more difficult than what I have already done?

Sabotage

I need to do some basic things today. I need to do some work. I need to move myself up and forward. I have no time to reflect and dwell on the past and feed my depression. I have no time to be distracted by my anxiety over what might happen in the future.

Yet, these are real feelings. They are in touch with real pain that I have. Shutting this pain and these feelings out is a mistake as well. If I attempt to simply block them, this is the seed of a problem… I’ve done this before, ignoring this type of pain and it came back to bite me in the form of divorce.

We have to deal with these feelings and emotions and pain. Otherwise when we are trying to live, these things might creep up on us and surprise us and cause us to slip or trip or fall very hard right when we needed to move safely.

So that’s what I am doing right now. I’m raising this up in my consciousness. I’m dealing with it in part by writing about it. I’m chasing away my inner storm by casting light on it with my inner sunshine just as the sun outside is burning off the storm clouds from last night. Each breath I take and each word I write helps to blow the remaining clouds even further away.

I am working through the grief cycle. Its been over a year since this started for me. The grief cycle takes as long as it takes. I was married and in love for twenty three years. It might take me twenty three years to fully put all this grief behind me. It might take twenty three more days, or twenty three months or however long it takes. In the meantime, this does not stop me from living, from moving on.

I fell in love again this last winter. I did not stop loving my ex-wife, but that relationship was not my love. The relationship burned up over night (from my perspective) but the love did not. I fell in love this winter with a new person in my life named Sharon. We have been building a new relationship with each other every since. 

I view these two relationships of mine like growing a forest. In the first case, I grew a beautiful forest for twenty-three years. It burned down in a forest fire and there are only smoldering remains of tree stumps left.

Near that forest, I am growing a new forest with Sharon. It is full of beautiful new growth, new trees and plants and is full of light and good things. 

The two forests exist near each other in my heart. I can even look upon both at the same time. I can love the beauty of the old forest before it burned and the grief of that destruction for what was lost will be with me for a long long time. I can love the beauty of the new forest and the hope that it represents and the beauty of all the good it offers in the present.

Getting Through the Day

Each day I work through these feelings. Somedays I have to work through them more than others. Some days I am so busy as a single parent that I can barely focus on putting my shoes on and other days I the emotions or feelings build up to the point where I have no choice but to confront them, to work through them and deal with them. I have to raise them up and take them on and clean the wounds and dress the wounds and allow them to heal. I have to work my soul through physical therapy, through psychic therapy. It takes effort.

In the meantime, I also have to rebuild my life around me. That is what I have to do next. I have work to do for my clients. I have work to do on my business as a WordPress Consultant and Web Presentation Architect and as a Writer. I have work to do on my household and with my family, with my children and parents and brother and my wonderful friends and clients, all of which are part of the family that I am growing in yet another forest in my heart.

I can only do one of these things at a time. I can gaze out from my cliff at the vast collections of forest around me, all the relationships. I can walk through those forests and care for them pruning and weeding and watering and growing them each.

I can rarely work on them all at the same time, but I can care for them. I do care for them.

Writing this warms my heart, just as the sun is finally starting to rise to a point where its rays now touch my skin, starting to warm my shoulder and back. In the reflection of my iPad I can see the wind chimes that my son purchased for me for my birthday. I am reminded that his language of love is spoke with gifts. My language of love is spoken by doing things together. I need to remember to consciously speak his language of love back to him. This is part of the way that I can help care for this section of forest.

So many forests to care for. So much life sustaining beauty and purpose that can be added to my life when I do these things well….

I breath in deeply and out again, blowing away more of the minor depression and anxiety whisps that were in my system when I first put my fingertips to my keyboard. I feel infinitely better. I’m ready to move higher up this cliff as I reach for another handhold and lock my fingers on it.

This is going to be a very good day. I’m going to make it a very good day. I trust that you will make your own day very good and care for the forests in your own heart!

🙂

How To Stop The Slow Death – My Night With a Negative Nymphomaniac

We all make mistakes in life. If we make a mistake, it is important to forgive ourselves and move on. Let it go. If we are really good, we might even momentarily make the time to learn from the mistake, and then let it go. After all, the goal isn’t to keep repeating the same mistakes!Last night I made a mistake and spent the end of the evening with a negative nymphomaniac.

This article might end up being a little too personal for some people, so here is your spoiler alert and warning. Read on at your own risk!

Backstory of a Positive Day

I am not going to recount my entire day yesterday, but let me just say that it was a positive day. Good things happened. I accomplished a good deal of positive things for myself including getting a great start at making a significant update to my resume. I had floundered with that over the last few months, and felt like I was finally tacking into something good, something that felt like the right path.

Towards the end of the day, I got so caught up in my resume work on the actual resume as well as updates to my LinkedIn profile (still a work in progress) that I missed going to yoga at 6:30. I had eyeballed the clock for 3 hours before. I kept watching the time slowly move forward waiting to get to yoga and it wasn’t time and wasn’t time and then, all of a sudden it was past time and I had missed it.

So I went out for a run instead. It wasn’t much of a consolation prize. I wasn’t really in a running mood. Halfway through my run, just as I was about to turn around and run back, my phone rang. It was my ex-wife. She wanted to see if I might be able to pick up our son in the city as she was caught up signing paper work and buying a new car. There is some back story with me picking him up that I will mostly skip. Let’s just say, I had asked him many many times if he needed a ride and he didn’t, until he did. 🙂 I didn’t mind. In fact, I had not gotten to see him on his birthday the day before. I was missing him so this was a good thing.

I ran back home at a sprint for most of a mile and a half, past the cross fit zombies and to my apartment. I jumped in the shower, got out and checked my text messages. No confirmation that I really did need to pick him up, so I asked. The response was ‘I’m still stuck here, can you get him?’ My answer, yes I’m leaving now.

So I drive into Charlotte about 30 minutes away and pick him up at the Belk or Blumenthal Performing Arts Center where he had had his first night of rehearsal. (He had been selected for a best actor award from his high school musical making him eligible to participate in the Blumies (sp?). Cool Stuff

I pick him up, drive him back towards his Mom’s home as it was her week for custody. Get about halfway there and she texts me to bring him to the dealership to help drive the 2nd car home, not a trade in apparently. So I detour down the interstate another 5 miles and just missed some nasty road construction at Cox Rd. I drop him off and congratulate his mother on her new car, and drive home feeling lonely.

I have been seeing someone since about December. Her name is Sharon and she is amazing. I had just seen her the day before. Its a long distance relationship, a couple hours drive. So when I say I was ‘feeling lonely’ relatively speaking, I was not feeling that lonely, but lonely was the feeling regardless.

The Evening Starts

I get home about 8:45 or so. I’m hungry as I had not had supper so I warmed up some curry pork and potato left overs. I had one bowl while watching a John Oliver episode on HBO Now followed by another bowl and another episode. Neither the food nor the episodes were very satisfying. I couldn’t quite get myself into the mood to do more work on my resume or work in general.

I turned on the latest episode of Game of Thrones (spoilers ahead). This episode was a bit on the dull side as well. Kaleesi does her get naked and burn people thing again. It didn’t seem fresh. Her character has been sort of one dimensional for a while now and has about as much feeling as a robot. The rest of the episode was dull as well. Its building to something, but at this point its becoming easy to see where its going.

I had no intention when I got home of watching a couple hours of tv. But now I was feeling like I was still missing something. I was still feeling lonely.

I didn’t see anything on HBO Now. I looked through Netflix and saw that the awesome Queen Latifah movie Last Holiday was there. I wanted to watch that again, but thought I might wait and watch that with Sharon or the kids. Its a great movie, positive and uplifting. I should have watched it.

Instead, I flipped through the categories on Netflix and eventually stumbled on Nymphomaniac: Volume 1. I didn’t google it or anything (would have been wise). I hit play and I was immediately struck by the feel of something similar to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. So I kept watching. I liked those books and the original movie too, not the Hollywood travesty.

I thought the movie might be a bit on the edgy and intellectual side with a bit of sex, maybe a lot of sex. I wasn’t looking for porn, and I was not looking for masturbation either. I was looking for something to take my mind off life in general.

Little did I know that this movie was long as hell. I do not generally mind that, but this was over two hours and apparently volume 1 had a volume 2. The next day I learned that it was originally a 5 hour and 45 minute single movie before it was split in two.

It had Daniel Defoe, Christian Slater, Uma Thurman, Shia Lebouf (all in small roles) and other actors taking turns as the main characters at different ages of life.
This movie was a DOWNER!

In fact, I also did not realize that the Danish director consider this part of a trilogy named the Depression Trilogy.

This was not what I needed, but I got slowly sucked into it. It was like getting slowly boiled alive….

That’s not the best analogy as I was not getting angry.

It was like being slowly gassed while sitting in a car running in a garage with the door shut.

It wears you down and before you realize its bad for you and not what you want, you are so worn down you can’t flip away.

That’s how this movie was.

I disliked it quite a bit. It simply pulled down my energy the entire time I watched it. I started fast forwarding through it. The movie is broken up into a half dozen chapters. I got to a point where I kept watching and fast forwarding because I thought it might have something that pulled it all together and made a bit of a ‘punch line’ sort of like Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction.
This was not really the case. There was no unifying string or scene.

There were a lot of sex scenes, but not very many considering this is almost a 6 hour movie.

The sex scenes were extremely graphic, closer to porn than something you might expect to see on Netflix. If you are looking for a movie with male nudity aroused or flacid, this had it.

BUT the movie was not sexy. In fact, watching the sex scenes fast forward or not, was the type of thing that is more likely to turn you off of sex for days or weeks. I’m not judging people and their sexual desires, but this just was not sexy. It was a very loveless(intentionally so for the plot) type of sex.

It was sad.

There is a reason why this is in a Depression Trilogy because this sex was sad sad sad.

It only got worse. After watching maybe 40 minutes of the actual movie and fast forwarding through the rest mostly at 3x fast forward, I felt drained.

I went to be feeling exhausted and depressed and annoyed with myself for having subjected myself to that crap.

I ended up sleeping a bit later than I intended after going to bed later than I intended and waking up still feeling drained. Mornings are not my best time of day. I usually build up my positivity and energy throughout the day. When I first wake up, that’s when I am at my lowest.

But the night before the movie had taken me to my lowest and a night of sleep added to that. So this morning I had to work extra hard to pull myself out of that negativity crap.

img_7563

I’m writing about it now to clear the final cobwebs of negativity out of my system.
I’m sitting on a boat ramp/launch for kayaks on the South Fork River just down from my place. The clouds in the sky are just starting to burn off (finally) and the sun is hitting my back occasionally. I’m about 3 feet from the water and a very large bass just jumped behind me.

Happy on Facebook, Happy with screens?

This movie things as it turns out is a bit of a metaphor in my book for what we all do on a regular basis online, on social media, on Facebook in particular, when we are looking at screens.

We watch ‘screens’ expecting to fill something in our lives. When we actually connect and converse with people, it can be positive and filling. But when we just passively sit back and hit play or scroll down endlessly, it drains us.
Its like a gambling addict going to a casino and pulling the slot machine lever over and over and over and losing.
In gambling, the science has taught us that in the mind of a compulsive gambler, a near miss is the emotional equivalent of a win. ‘I just barely lost’ translates into ‘WOW I ALMOST WON!’ So they repeat this and pull the lever again and again and again, ALMOST WINNING. But then they have little if anything to show for it afterwards and the depression sets in, if it hasn’t already accumulated.

We all do the same thing on Facebook and twitter and on Netflix binge watching tv shows.

Now, sometimes we have a good experience and we really do win.
Sometimes though we chase a good experience and never get it. Sometimes we chase things and don’t even realize we are ‘hooked’ and before we know it we have just gassed ourselves into a depression.

It takes a whole lot of 1) awareness and 2) self control to recognize what is going on and then step back and away and put the device down, or stop the remote and turn off the television.

Last night, I didn’t figure it out fast enough. I should have stopped after the first John Oliver episode. I definitely should have stopped after Game of Thrones. I most certainly should have stopped after the first couple of minutes of Nymphomaniac: Volume 1.

But I didn’t and I paid for it.

There is a white cat stalking me along the shore. I was just working to get a picture of it, when it leapt about a foot in the air and swung around in a 360. It probably walked by a snake. Its a young cat. There are many many strays in this area. I met a different stray on my back porch earlier today, that I am naming Mister after the Dresden Files cat of the same name. My Mister is young as well and has a massive head and smallish body that hasn’t fully developed yet. Mister is always very hungry and when I have my screen door open on the porch to let in air, he walks up and meows at me from a distance. Mister could be a boy or a girl, I have no clue as I do not walk around sexing stray cats….

 

So I have my lesson for the day. I am feeling better for having learned something and for writing about it to raise the demon and put it down for good as well. I am going to make a better evening tonight and certainly not going to bring any Negative Nymphomaniacs in. I hope you join me in this and find a way to keep yourself positive and happy and find ways to identify the stuff that brings you down and then stop them before they do.

We can all do this on Facebook as well. First, we can stop endlessly scrolling. But more important, take sometime and simply talk to your friends there. I’m not talking about debating politics or debating in general. I’m talking about having a dialog with them about something important to either of you, something that isn’t politically important. Check in with them, see how they are doing. See what is happening in life, where they are going, what they are doing? See about catching up with them for a beer even, but don’t just hit the Like or emoji icons and scroll more moving on to your next miss.

Do yourself something good, talk to your friends!