First of all, let me introduce myself. I’m Raymond and I run a blog over at Free Dating Service. It’s a blog that merges dating and relationships with empowerment and mental health. I’m a 35 year old ex-addict (of pretty much everything you can think of) that survived to tell the tale. Not only did I survive but I blossomed, aspired, created, designed and a whole lot of other positive mental attitude feely-weely things. Yes my friends, I grabbed the world by the privates and said: Screw you! This is MY life, I decide how it’s run. And you can too 🙂 You can find more over at my “About me” section where it’s probably the longest you’ll ever read, albeit it is very thought provoking!
I’ve been there. I was the guy that looked at the ground when the hot girl talked to me, I was the guy that was too scared to tell his friend that he was wrong, I was the guy that would say “yes” to everyone because I didn’t like to say “no”, I was the guy that didn’t think many people would miss him when he was gone, I was the guy that always wished he was someone else because my life was a train-wreck, and lastly, I was the guy that sat there thinking of ways to make a make-shift noose because life just wasn’t worth it.
Sadly, that was my life 15 years ago. I was an alcoholic and an psychologically abused kid. My Dad was a raving alcoholic and would almost always walk in drunk and blame every problem in his life on me. My Mum got rid of him in my early years – but like a pungent smell he seeped back into my life several years later. I could probably attribute all of my life failings to my Dad; he was a home wrecker, a soul destroyer and a personality crusher. But enough about him. I’ve made my peace with him and he’s dead now. So I was a fucked up mess at 21, this is the point I try to make.
25 years old was probably a very low point in my life. I was working, had friends, had a social life, had almost everything a young guy would want but I would always think I was destined for more. Like I was living some other persons life. Then, out of the blue it came to me like a bolt of lightning; what if I stop all this crap, clean up my act and learn something? What did I do? I sought help. I went to a counsellor, a lady that seemed to know the exact position I was in life, what I wanted and I wanted it badly. She seemed to understand me, my thoughts, my feelings; I had never had someone *actually* understand me at all before. So I started to listen. For the first time in my life I actually listened.
Because I started to *actually* listen I learned. I learned about life, I stopped drinking, I stopped drugs – even after being made redundant from my job I had more spare money than I have ever had in my life. And, not knowing what to do with it. I took myself to college, learned a vocation, qualified as a tutor, conquered University, Married a lovely lady, had a Son, helped hundreds of people in my position cope with life too, became a project Manager, started to fucking love life! 🙂
You see, depression is a mindset. It’s a mindset and that is what it is. A nasty one that places massive barriers towards any success in the future. I wish I could go to my 21 year old self again and scream – “Do you know that you have your WHOLE life ahead of you? You can do virtually anything you want. Anything! You have no responsibility whatsoever. You can pack your shit up and go to Africa and help sick kids if you wanted (I’ve always been a sort of humanitarian at heart, I’m also big on social-anarchism), or working holiday to Australia for the year. You have so many endless opportunities just stop thinking so negatively”. However, I know, easier said than done. I’m big on empowerment and people have to realise these things for themselves and act upon them. Me just telling you isn’t going to get dick done.
What about if I told you my methods how I picked myself out of the gutter? I hope some people can glean whatever they can from this, if it all:
Communication is the key. Talk and talk lots. Find a friend or confidant (preferably a counsellor) that’s not judgemental and pour your bloody heart out. Why do you feel worthless? What makes you feel that you aren’t the same as John, Lisa Dave, Jenny or Tim. Why don’t you feel you deserve to be in a relationship? So many things to talk about, lots to get off your chest!!
Part of becoming more integrated with society is learning how to be on your own and enjoy being with yourself. I’m sitting here writing this while the wife is downstairs playing some Facebook game. Own time, important! Try to find a hobby. My hobby is Photography and writing, these actually give me a break in thought where I can just be myself and have fun on my own. I actually like spending time with my own musings and hobbies – you will too!
Stop being a perfectionist. Perfection is a bullshit word and there’s no such thing. You are flawed just as I am too. The more you realise this the better you will criticise yourself in a positive way. If I find out that something I did, wrote or said was fundamentally flawed, I wouldn’t seriously beat myself up about it I would fix it and learn to not make that mistake again
Set a goal, stick to it and reward yourself. Part of my very first steps were basically – Ok, I’ll not have a drink in one week. If I don’t drink I’ll buy myself a big ol’ Sirloin Steak at the end of the week as a treat. And you know what? I stuck to it. So my goals began to increase as the further that I moved on. Little steps at first my friend. You can’t be climbing Mt Everest after your first hill climbing tutorial.
Think of life not like a force that dictates how you live, rather that the way you live is a force that dictates the way in which your life turns out. So, if you’re an arsehole (which I’m sure you’re not, you’re an awesome person) life is going to throw you in the midst of complete arseholes. I meet the most positive and thought inspiring people today because of the way that I think and conduct myself – you can too. All it needs is a little push in the right direction 🙂
Last but not least – I would encourage you to quit roasting a bowl or downing a bottle of bourbon for a night of fun if that’s your thing. You may want to stop the mind altering influences because it limits your ability to grow and influence others. It also may be part of the reason you’re feeling a tad blue. I know through experience that binge drinking can have a negative impact on daily emotions. However, I’m not the Internet police so you do what you wish! 🙂
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. Now it’s time to go back to my domain. Have fun folks!
Photo Credit: Trey Ratcliff