The Building Blocks of My New Path. Managing My Disorder, Owning It & Talking About It. (A life update)

My disorder is not my identity

I’m changing and for the better. Little by little, changes are becoming apparent to me.

The last time I posted, was in June and as you all know, I tend to go radio silent for a while. I run out of things to say, to express and share so I take a break and live my life and see what comes of it so that I can come back here and share it with you.

Many things have changed, some for the better and some for the worse. I managed to find a place where I could earn a bit of extra cash during the week. I’m not actually employed by the company however the owner was and is going through a tough time and needed an extra pair of hands to manage their store. It’s actually an art gallery. This is pretty perfect for me as I love looking at art and I have such respect for artists. I get lost in some of the paintings and my imagination runs wild with the abstract pieces. To be honest, some of the paintings make me want to cry, they are just that beautiful.

Another positive element of hanging around here is that I learn a whole bunch of new skills. Not just the generic managing the store, there are plenty of other things as well for instance social marketing and networking which is something I have been interested in for quite some time so this gives me that experience and lays down the first couple of new blocks for my path going forward.

I feel that I have been managing my mental health much better lately. My dosage has been reduced a tiny smidge which is a win. I breathe to calm myself down almost every day. I apply the CBT techniques to get facts over difficult situations. It has not been easy. I had a panic attack at the art gallery a few weeks ago which really took a toll on me and I felt like such a failure at that moment that I almost wanted to quit BUT progress is progress no matter how little it seems.

I have also become extremely open with my condition. Where I stay the stigma over mental health and what people say about individuals who have to be admitted to our mental health clinic is sad. I say this because sometimes it’s the same people who fuel the stigma who actually need the help the clinic offers. I’m kind of done being subtle about it in my town.

My disorder is not my identity. I am Ryan, I love nerd and geek things. I love to play video games, I enjoy photography, I try to help people where I can, I have a six-year-old daughter and I MANAGE my mental health disorder.

My goal going forward is to help others do the same. I don’t how or when yet, but I’ll figure it out.

Mental Health Tip: When Anxiety Strikes and Depression Sets In. Begin Listing Your Victories, Start Shedding Your Skin, Find Your Passion & Don’t be Afraid to Fail In the Process. Discover and Identify Yourself.

Lately, the words are just spilling out of me. So far this week I have felt the need to write and write and write and for some good measure, to write some more. It is probably one of the most powerful tools you can use in order to straighten your thoughts out and analyze what you feel when you are feeling it and how it was triggered. I highly encourage anyone who suffers from anxiety or depression, hell any mental illness, to attempt doing this.

Yesterday I published a post that dove into my past and my experience with my first bully as a child. After I had finished writing that post, I was emotionally drained. Remembering the feelings, some dialogue that was said and names that came up really took it out of me and opened a door to yet another layer.

Like Shrek once said, Ogre’s are like onions, they have layers. I’m not an ogre but mentally, emotionally and spiritually, I have the layers like one just like everybody else.

Yesterday, when I got home, I explained to Mici what the body table was. This table allows you to essentially troubleshoot the thoughts, what the body does, how that connects to your emotions and how that influences ones’ behavior. The reason I chose the word, troubleshoot, is pretty much because I can identify more with either technology or geek stuff.

If you would like information on the body table, let me know in the comments below and I will list them out for you and share what I have learned, it’s pretty interesting.

It was pretty fun explaining this to Mici. I was drawing on the chalkboard, using the story of The Bushman that my psychologist told us, in our group, as a metaphor to explain the Four F’s and I had this feeling. This feeling of wanting to share, maybe a yearning, a calling? It felt good explaining this stuff and using some of Mici’s past to illustrate how the table works. It’s pretty incredible what can come out when one does this. I think this is my calling, to help people, to counsel, to give knowledge and understanding. To let people know they are not alone.

I feel this fire burning in my soul and whenever I share my stories with someone that might be going through something, it burns even brighter. Plus, with the World Health Organization officially clarifying that gaming addiction is a mental illness, it’s a field I’m definitely more interested in now as I love both. It’s like two pieces falling in place together.

I am by no means saying that I have my shit under control. In fact, I really don’t but I feel that without my old job holding me back, or to be more honest, without having the pressures that my old job threw on me and me not being able to handle those pressures, I feel like now, I have more of a grasp of what I want to do. I’m just not sure where to start.

There is also something else that I have noticed that came out today. I’m leaning too much on my psychologist. It was brought to my attention that I only see her usually when there is a crisis in my life and there is just a bunch of negative things in my head but I never see her when things are going smoothly or fail to notice the positives that have happened.

I don’t acknowledge the small and simple things that should be considered victories to someone like me.

I got out of bed. Victory.

I showered. Victory.

I left on time. Victory.

I ate three meals and took my pills. Victory.

I attended every group session. Victory.

I participated in every group session. Victory.

I engaged with and socialized with people. Victory.

I shared my stories and my experience with others. Victory.

I’m writing today. Victory.

I drank a lot of water. Victory.

I haven’t taken any pain killers. Victory.

I have become so happy with myself right now, listing my victories. Small to some, but insanely, Galactus like huge to people with anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders.

Right now, at this very moment, I feel like I am on the right path. The path I should be on. This exploration and dissecting of my identity have proven more insightful than I ever would have thought possible.

Don’t get me wrong, the dissecting is not an easy process. It’s difficult, it’s emotional, it’s tearful and it will be time-consuming but it is necessary for me to find myself again.

I need to shed this skin of what I am currently. I need to evolve into a better version of me and I can no longer avoid the pain and obstacles that have been placed in my path by others and more importantly, obstacles that I have placed in front of myself. I will overcome this and I will be stronger for it.

There is a small light at the end of the tunnel that I never used to see. It’s there. It’s faint and blurry but it is there. Which means there is hope for me and that hope will fuel my determination to reach that light.

I won’t give up on myself.

Don’t give up on you.