The Only Way Over Is Through

Firstly, it’s good to be back, I know I left this baby of mine alone for far too long. Here’s hoping I will be a neglectful blogger NO MORE! Now that’s out of the way, let us begin.

Yet again, I credit the wonderful invention that is YouTube for providing the inspiration for this post. In particular, a huge debt of gratitude, not just for this post but for many hours of entertainment over the past six months, goes out to Hank and John Green. Now, if you don’t know who the Vlogbrothers are, if you have not been blessed by the awesomeness of Nerdfighteria, the bed of knowledge that is Crash Course and if you have no idea what DFTBA stands for, I suggest you go and educate yourself. Then, and only then, will you be fit to read this here post. I’m super serious. Have you gone and joined the light? GOOD!
So, as you can clearly tell, I have a great deal of admiration and indeed affection for the Green boys, as I trust you now do too. But I’m not here to talk about them…well, I kinda am…ANYWAY! I want to share something one of them said, something so simple yet deeply powerful.

Now successful as writers, entrepreneurs and of course YouTubers, both Green brothers were bullied as children, and both are very open about their experiences. I myself have been picked on in my younger days, and though I wouldn’t say I got it the worst, I can say I definitely know what it feels like to face a daily tormentor. One who seems unrelenting in their desire to break a small piece of you, chipping away until all that is left is an unrecognisable ruin of what once was. For me, those feelings are brought on from within, not without. But many of the emotions brought on by bullying are similar to those experienced by those suffering from mental health issues. And I think many of the solutions, or rather, surviving mechanisms needed to cope with bullying are similar to those needed to cope with a broken mind. In perhaps his most personal and resonant video, John Green speaks about his experience being bullied in school. And he tells a story of a time he performed at Carnegie Hall, a legendary venue across the pond. During audio check, one of the musicians he was on the bill with declared on the microphone ‘this is a message to my 16 year old self’. The cry was one of self affirmation and of survival. A call to a person who once suffered seemingly insurmountable obstacles, and yet made it through to see a happier day. This idea of surviving for a better day is somewhat problematic, well, at least it always has been to me. So I want to share my take on the whole thing.

Being told it will get better or hearing the dreaded ‘this too shall pass’ has always been the worse case scenario for condescending B.S.anyone can feed me. Because who the hell wants tomorrow to be better! After years and years of pain tomorrow just seems like another day to do it all again. So I say, forget about tomorrow! I do not know what, if anything, I will accomplish tomorrow, next week, next month. The fact that it is currently 05:56am indicates nothing but unnecessary tiredness rolling my way for the coming dawn! I can draw up the most elaborate plans for the next weeks, plans that take into account my potential, near inevitable mood swings, but as a the old saying goes, man proposes, God disposes. I am not saying throw your plans for the future out of the window, not even close. What I am putting forward is this. Think of the future, as today. Not in some motivational speaker go get em kind of way. Think of it factually. Today is your future compared to you yesterday, you last week, last month, last year. Think of today as a future, a future in which you survived. Because you did survive. The fact that you are reading this right now is all the evidence you need for that (I did hear you can make your blog available in the afterlife, but that’s premium package stuff and I ain’t got the funds for that). I refuse to believe that anyone who reads this cannot point out to a moment in the past where, in at least one way, they did not feel worse than they do today. And even if you are reading this feeling rock bottom, you are surviving it. And solemn as it is to think about, it is a sad fact that not everyone does survive from that. So I say, do not wait for some great success to come your way to send a message of victory to yourself. Today is your victory. It may not be the greatest victory of your life, but everything won in life is won in small victories. For those of a football persuasion, today may feel like more like a scrappy 1-0 at home than beating  Bayern Munich 5-0, but who cares. You won. Tell yourself from last year that you may not feel as good as you want. The demons may still haunt more than you’d like, you may still cry more than you care to ever share, you may not feel as confident as you think you should, but you are here and you won. Yes, it is just another day to get through, as was yesterday, as will be tomorrow. But get through you can. And if what ever you’re going through will be over, the only way over is through.

So to myself since I last posted. To the boy who spent far too many a night looking down into an empty bottle or glass of wine, beer and any spirit to hand. To the night when a broken rope was the only thing that kept me from disappearing into the eternal abyss. To the days and days spent in bed, not eating, not bathing, not doing anything more than the increasingly less frequent toilet visit. To the boy sitting in lecturers offices ready to throw away my degree. To the past five months, this is my message, from me to me. You survived. And that is enough to make today

a good day

Bridge Over Troubled Water

Over the summer I have become somewhat addicted to pop science channels on Youtube. Vsauce, Minute Physics, Space Rip, stuff like that. This new past time formed a nice little escape for me, after all, there is nothing like hearing about exploding stars and colliding galaxies billions of lightyears away to make you forget about your problems here on little old Earth. But there was one video which had a lingering affect on me, and ultimately brought me to type the very words you read right…NOW! The video, posted by AsapSCIENCE, was titled ‘Why Do We Cry’. The answer was…*drumroll*…we do not know. All I got was a bunch of theories, and there is one I want to share with you all.

So, apparently, we developed the ability to cry in order to signal emotional distress to others. When we cry, we impair our vision in an obvious display of our own vulnerability. We cannot see and thus one of our main tools for spotting danger is disabled. And the theory states that crying allowed our earliest ancestors to come to the aide of each other, forming bonds when one member of the tribe was in need. Now, this is pretty basic, and probably not totally sound science. But I don’t care about that. What I do care about is the possibilities that lie in our vulnerability.

It is no secret that far too many people suffering from low moods and mental health conditions try and be too strong for too long. In my own case, I have seen the ideal as being totally stoic, in a world where everyone has the ability to solve their own problems and more importantly, I have the ability to solve my own problems. What seems like a formula for an orderly and functioning self and society is actually nothing more than a path to emotional self destruction. As humans, we form strong bonds through empathy. We may never know why we cry, smile, laugh or even sigh, but we all know what it feels like to do all of those things. Our friends and loved ones may neverfully understand the peaks and troughs of Manic Depression (Bi-Polar) or the constant struggle of body image, physical health and obsession which is Anorexia. Our loved ones may and sometimes will struggle to understand crushing fear of judgement and claustrophobic strangulation of Social Anxiety, nor will they understand the desperation and twisted mix of shame and satisfaction of a razor blade on skin. But what they WILL understand is that the tears rolling down our checks are the streams from a river of troubles. And our loved ones will feel COMPELLED to build a bridge over whatever gap separates us, as we would do for them. And this is not just about crying; ANY emotional expression has this power.

Exposing our vulnerable side may not seem like the basis of a positive mental state, and I know this because I have thought that way many times. But this is JUST NOT TRUE. Because nothing connects us more than our deepest shared emotions. And even when it seems that nobody around us understands what we are going through, there is always, ALWAYS something we can connect on. And nothing is more BEAUTIFUL than building a bond with another human being. So whether you have to cry, tell a story or just explain a difficult period, do not be scarred of your vulnerability. Allow others to bond, to see your pain and build bridges. Allows others to allow you to have…

a good day

Welcome to my blog!

It all starts with a good day…

this is my simple idea now turned into a reality!

 

What is this idea you ask? Well, the idea behind this blog is to share the simplistic beauty and unrelenting power of simply having a good day. For a good day may not snowball into a series of life changing events and decisions. You may not emerge from it a wiser, better person. Everyday stresses are not likely to disappear. Anxieties may still be with you in the morning. The depression of today may not fade into a memory of the past tomorrow. But this is no reason to let the joys and satisfaction you experience become meaningless. Whether you; paid a bill, bathed in the sunshine, ran into an old friend, were struck by the innumerable forces of creativity, found love, or made love.Perhaps you made someone smile, cooked an epic meal or just found a great deal on Domino’s and ate pizza all day -if it made you feel good today that is all that matters.

 

Because

 

even though we may always know it is coming, tomorrow really is …..nothing.

Simply time waiting to happen or the unexplored expanse of continuing nothingness.

 

But

 

today, your good day, is the day you achieve the most important thing in the world. You brought happiness into your life. Perhaps you shared that feeling, and brought happiness to another.

WELL DONE YOU

For there is nothing that tomorrow can bring that will matter more than you being happy. So even if your joys were brief, embrace them! The shade from life’s downpours may have only lasted until sunset, but do not let that feeling fade away.

 

For whether it lasts a lifetime, a year, a month or a week, everything positive in this life starts with

                                                                                      

                                                                                      a good day