Recovery Strengths…Determination

Ok…it has been a weird bunch of days lately.  i have gone from panic attack to panic attack in every conceivable situation and have survived.  i have had a lot of help from Tricia, Ed and Sarah, but i have survived.  i am one determined person.

i know there are some of you who would call it stubbornness.  i care not.  i have overcome major obstacles in my life at other critical junctions and survived.  i have been through things that would break a lot of people and have somehow managed to come out the other side.

Not unscathed, mind you.  i am more like the hero who gets beat up a lot and still comes back for more.  And i seldom give up.  That is why depression is such a frustration to me; i feel i should be able to just tough it out.  i will refuse any intervention you might suggest in order to fix it by myself.  “i will teach that depression a thing or two,” SuperJohn proclaims.

And that, dear readers, has been the root of my problem all along.  i refuse help.  That is a topic for another time.  For now i will astound you with tales of my determination and greatness.

No, not idiotic determination.  Not the kind of determination that keeps me banging my head against a wall that will not move.  i have done that kind of thing before.  That is stubbornness, not determination.

i used to bite my fingernails.  Terribly.  You know the type.  Fingers constantly bleeding from nails being torn instead of cut.  A terrible habit and i hated it and could not quit.  But i stopped.  Why?  Because i am marvellous?

No.  We had a baby.  And that baby had poopy diapers.  One evening i was watching TV and happily munching my nails when i stopped to consider how well could i possibly wash my hands that this was not disgusting.  Never bit them again.

Ok.  i quit smoking and drinking for 15 years.  Cause i am wonderful.  Nope.  Became a Jesus person and that took care of that.  Seriously.  We did not drink, dance or chew and did not date anyone who do.  You know.  Serious shit.

After 15 years i had a cigar at a wedding.  Started smoking again.  Idiot.  Now smoke free for over 5 years.  THAT was determination.

Is that not a friggin’ cool statement?  Think of it.  Just go for it.  No, not by purchasing a lotto ticket with your last $5 (i do not know) or buying shares from a Nigerian prince awaiting his fortune.  By setting my mind to the task and doing it.

All those records of failure have haunted me my whole life.  All the times i did not measure up or succeed or get Boardwalk.  Seriously.  And i forgot any victories and dwelt in the land of failure… the barren land of depression.

i have experienced this truth over and over in my life again.  It is a matter of getting going…i spoke of movement in another post.  i do not care what the task might be; every task accomplished is a victory.  And victory, even when one is pushed back, continues to motivate and give hope for the future, if we will not allow momentary failure to obscure our accomplishments.

i am a man who let years slip away from me because i stopped looking after myself and forgot about Recovery and how it works.  i stopped exercising.  i stopped engaging society.  i stopped talking to people who loved me and wanted only to help.  i did not eat properly.  i would skip meds randomly.  i had terrible sleeping patterns.  i self medicated.  All behaviours known to exacerbate depression.

i guess what i am saying, is i have learned this about myself; i can be determined to succeed or fail.  i can choose to sit on the track waiting for the 4:13, or i can use that same strength to being me a step closer to Recovery.

i started exercising.  A man who has been lethargic and sedentary for years.  There were no illusions.  i knew my body would hurt, but it would pass.  And the dog loved going for a walk.  Then i began to trot a few steps now and again.  Now i run .5km and walk 1km.  Some days it still hurts, but this will pass as my body adjusts to activity.

i began to eat regular meals.  Proper, healthy meals at around the same day.  i know how much blood sugar affects mood.  i may not feel like eating, but just having a few bites is a victory.  Now my appetite has improved and i actually need to eat regularly.

i take my meds at the same time every day.  ‘Nuff said there.  Want to guarantee failure?  Stop taking your meds.

i stopped watching shows that encouraged me to think negatively about other people.  i needed to stop watching cartoons, as a lot of them encouraged me to think negatively about women and people who are different.  Doesn’t affect you?  Fine.  Fucks me right up.

i have memory problems.  Always depended on Sarah to be my memory.  Now i make lists.  i have lists i hang on the wall, so i cannot miss them.  A list i read before leaving the house.  A list i read before bed.  Positive distraction lists.  Safety agreements.  i would never have done this before.  But i am determined to get better.

And i began to accept help from all kinds of places that were always available, but i refused them.  Read earlier posts and bathe in my anxiety and fear.  i was oozing it.  But i am feeling stronger by the day.

Am i “bettter”?  Relatively speaking, yes.  But i am not “all better”.  i will need to engage in Recovery activities every day the remainder of my life.  It is the only way i will succeed.  i need to be vigilant and determined or i will fail to maintain my mental health.

i still get panicked sometimes.  i still feel the pull of familiar, negative emotions.  i am still tempted to curl up in a ball and take some time off.  But i am determined to succeed.  It begins with the small victories.  Getting a shower, eating breakfast, going for a walk…i do not know where you need to begin, but i encourage you to begin.

i know how you have tried so many times to begin and things have not gone well and you have retreated further.  Take a step.  Don’t give a shit if anyone else thinks it is significant.  Do it for you and screw everyone else who criticizes…most of them don’t know shit about what you face.  Do it for you.



Trust me…you are worth it…you need to talk, send me a message, but i believe you will find amazing sources of grace all around you.  Sometimes they are hard to see, but they are there.

Screw it.  Do well.



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