Maine Fun Facts & PICTURES!

Hi, everybody!

I went to a place this week where the sun hits first in the USA. Pretty dang cool. It’s called Cadillac Mountain, nestled in Acadia State Park, & I highly suggest you try to make it up there at some point in your life. The air, the wind, the sunlight, & most importantly the quiet is really something to make you appreciate the world we live in. Don’t worry, I’ll put some photos down below so you can take a look for yourself.

Did you know Maine provides about 90% of the lobster distributed throughout the USA? I didn’t, & today I’ll be trying my first bite in Portland, Maine. To be honest, I’m not huge on lobster. So far I’ve devoured bolognese, fish & chips, & a few other items not specific to Maine. I don’t have any regrets yet & I hope to not have any by the time I leave.

This trip hasn’t been all sunflowers & daisies, though. I’ve had my struggles. Being alone in a new place is always a struggle, but day after day you tend to get better. The more decisions you make for you, the better off you usually are. I’ve finally figured that out. Finally.

I’ve also had some bumps & bruises with Airbnb, but let’s not get into that. PLEASE, let’s not get into that.

Did you know that Maine is the number one provider of blueberries in the USA? I just missed out on blueberry season, so I’ve had to settle with strawberries. These little pockets of sugar are FANTASTIC. Highly recommend.

Outside of that, Maine is kind of a… slow-moving place. I’ve asked locals what to do & they usually respond with “go to the coast”. Well, pretty much everywhere in Maine is the coast. Did you know that Maine has more coastline than California? Crazy, innit?

Mind you, I’ve still yet to see the state bird. I know I posted a few weeks back which state bird it is, but honestly forgot till about right now! I’ll keep my eyes peeled for a sighting.

This trip is about restoration. It’s about getting out of my comfort zone & surviving, thriving, whatever. It’s really about learning how to take deep breaths again.

Deep breaths are so very important. I was able to meditate atop the Cadillac Mountain & wow, was that an experience. It’s the first time in a long time I’ve felt connected to nature. Don’t worry, I’m not about to go all hippy on you. Deep breaths are so, so very important.

My anxiety’s picked up a bit since I’ve been out here, but that was to be expected. The deep breaths help. I hope to find more of those today as I travel throughout Portland and other southern parts of Maine.

Oh! The locals are extremely friendly & nice. Keep that in mind if you make a solo trip out here. When in doubt, when tired, when beat up, strike up a conversation with a local Mainer. I haven’t been disappointed yet.

I’m off to get some breakfast & coffee! I have a list that tells me… Bards Coffee is the best coffee in Portland & Hot Suppa or Local 188 are the best spots for breakfast. We’ll just have to see about that, eh?

I wish you well. Try not to beat the shit out of yourself.

Portland Headlight Lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth
Airbnb in Camden, ME
Cadillac Mountain (West Trail) in Bar Harbor, ME

It’s Been a Minute

Hey, everyone!

It’s been a while. I do apologize. I’ve been in the shit.

However! Tomorrow I head off to Maine for eight days. Very, very pumped about it. It’s time for a trip filled with restoration & almost no expectations. It’s really freeing to have something like this booked. A week on the river, right by the ocean, just a couple kayaks & me. I have a rental car to skedaddle anywhere I want in the state & who knows where that will be!

So let’s talk about the shit. I haven’t posted in a week, why? Well, like I said, I’ve been in the shit. Self-motivation? Big fat NOPE. Self-care? Big fat NOPE. Crying? Big fat YES. But things change. They do. This week had shitty weather anyway, maybe it’s not even my fault. One thing I do know: Who cares! We have another day to live tomorrow, another breath to take right now, & another smile to unearth sometime soon, hopefully.

What am I going to do on my trip? Disconnect. I will have to work, but I’ve told my team that I will be delegating quite a bit of my workload next week. They understand. It’s nice to have coworkers that understand (they won’t understand unless you’re honest about your situation – try that sometime). I have a list concocted by a work acquaintance of the best street to shop in a certain city in Maine, the best trails, the best foods, the best everything. Very excited to use that resource as somewhat of a compass throughout the trip. Props to the person that cared enough to share the list, right? Some good people out there.

Most importantly, I’m going to be doing nothing. Not nothing in the sense of just sitting on the couch like I’ve been doing this week, but nothing in the sense of expectations. Sometimes those pesky expectations weigh you down, drive guilt into your cranium, and make that heart puff up to the point of uncomfortability. I’m getting away from that next week & I cannot wait.

Will I write next week? Most likely. I tend to write when I do quite a bit of thinking, & I believe I’ll be doing quite a bit of thinking. I mean, it is just me & some kayaks.

I’m bringing four to five books with me, all untouched. If I don’t like the first few pages, bang!, I’m discarding the book. Well, maybe, they’re quite expensive. My point is: I’m doing what I want next week. Nothing more, nothing less, & that feels AMAZING to type out.

I hope you lot had a fantastic week. I hope to be on here more, writing my own shit & reading some of your great posts.

I wish you well. Try not to beat the shit out of yourself.

Long Weekends

Here we go again.

I do well right now with a lot of structure. This weekend lacks structure. I’m freaking out a bit.

Labor Day weekend, a four to five day span where people get together & grill, laugh, etc. Usually I’d be all up for that, but this year it’s a bit different for me. I do have a couple minor things planned this weekend, like a Fantasy Football draft (totally forgot football existed… need to do research or I’m just throwing away $100) & some family time on a lake. Those two moments sound great, & I’m looking forward to them. The only problem? The time in between those moments. There’s too much time in between those moments.

As for my anxiety & depression check-in, it’s not going according to plan. I seem to bounce back ever so slightly, then poof, I’m right back in the shit. Can’t really pin down what’s the issue anymore. It’s really starting to be frustrating each & every morning I wake up. Again, if you have any tips, please advise.

You know, I could fill my time with other stuff this weekend. I’m studying for the GRE, a prerequisite test to get into an MBA program. I could bring my dogs to the dog park, but the older one tends to hurt herself within 15 minutes of playtime. I could also spend time finishing up the outside of the house, which is somewhat in the plans, so I can get ready to sell it at the end of this month.

All of those things sound great. Will I do them? Who knows. Life is seriously so predictable & unpredictable at the same time right now. Weird, right? I need change.

Change comes in a week’s time. Off to Maine for a week. Am I worried about the lack of structure I have set for that week? Yes, but I think I’ll do just fine. I better do just fine, hopefully a bit better than “just fine”.

Thank you for being my soundboard. Never seen a soundboard but I think I used the phrase correctly. As you can tell, I’m quite indecisive in life & it’s taking a toll on me.

I am somewhat happy, really, I am. I have a lot to be grateful for. A whole lot. However, something in my mind isn’t letting me embrace it all. That damn depression & anxiety. I’ll beat them someday. I will.

I wish you well. Try not to beat the shit out of yourself.

Racing Thoughts

Sometimes the mind just won’t shut up.

Majority of the time, time moves slow.

When you add up those two concretes in my life, things can get a bit dodgy. Half of the day I spend inside my own head – hell, probably more than half of the day. If someone’s not communicating with me or if I’m not neck deep in a show, book, or video game, there’s a good chance my mind is toying with itself. Also, there’s a good chance I’ve had 2,949,820,439 thoughts within a span of five minutes – mostly all bad, some tragic.

Oh! But it must be good to be such an active, critical thinker, right? WRONG. I don’t think about the world’s problems during these times, hell, sometimes I can’t even focus on what’s going on around me. My EEG results proved that this week. Boy, I do not recommend getting that exam done if you’re experiencing depression and/or anxiety in clumps. It just adds to the clump.

I have been somewhat eating recently, which is nice. I mean, mainly it’s a couple yogurt cups, a few protein shakes, and a lot of bananas – but hey, it’s something, & I’m up four pounds. I’m sure I’ll lose it again, but I just have to keep pushing.

What do you guys do when time seems to recycle itself? I feel like I’ve woken up in the exact same moment on the exact same day for the past three to four days. It isn’t fun. It’s quite the opposite. My psych this week told me, “You aren’t crazy, at least.” MAN, SHUT UP. I’m growing tired of psych appointments, I’ll be honest. They leave me in a poor mood & it’s starting to feel like a prescription factory.

Anyway, I don’t have much to write today. I just noticed that I haven’t written in a bit & it felt wrong to leave you lot stranded. I know a few of you read my stuff as soon as it comes out & I appreciate you for that. This blog is quite helpful along this journey.

BUT we’re not done! I have to finish with a positive. Maybe a couple today? Who knows, feelin’ wild.

Positive #1: I planted all of the bushes needed to make my house sellable. Sellable? Yeah, sellable. I think.

Positive #2: I’m doing well at work & other companies are noticing. It’s nice to see that others see more out of me than I currently do myself. Maybe they’re onto something.

I wish you well. Try not to beat the shit out of yourself.

Shaky Writing

Today I sit here 27 pounds slimmer than a month or so ago. Not on purpose, I mean… I wasn’t in bad shape prior to the breakup & new medication. I’m a 6’3″ guy that weighed about 196. Today I clocked in at 169. It wasn’t a good feeling.

Don’t tell me to eat like I haven’t already tried that. I do try to eat. For some reason, my appetite is suppressed & no matter what I do, I don’t work up any supplemental appetite throughout the day.

People have told me I still look good. I look healthy. All that jazz. I mean, I’m back around my fighting weight. I don’t feel good like I did when I was fighting around this weight. I feel like a skeleton, brittle & shaky. It’s difficult to focus on this screen & the movements my fingers are trying to make. Eyes blur constantly. My hands, from wrists to fingertips, are substantially uneasy. I’m not nervous, I just have nothing left in my body. It’s starting to show not only on my body, but in my body, too.

I went to the gym today to try & box, one of my many ways of release/therapy. I hit the bag for about 20-30 seconds & boom! Lightheadedness, breathing difficulties, heart moving at an unrecognizable pace. I stopped. I knew I didn’t have any gas in my body – I mean, I haven’t eaten since breakfast yesterday. YES, I’M TRYING TO EAT. Ask one more time.

I have a bag of Chipotle in front of me. It’s been in front of me for 30 minutes. I waited 15 minutes to pick up that Chipotle. I should eat it, right? I mean, Chipotle isn’t super duper cheap.

Maybe I’ll eat it later. I should eat it right now. Maybe I’ll eat it later. I should eat it right now. I’ll eat it later.

Every day it’s that. It’s that type of thought that blocks me from eating. I can’t figure it out. I really can’t. Also, when I do have an appetite? Well, it’s still not very helpful. My stomach is the size of an ant right now & it shows when I try to eat – especially while out. I took THREE to-go boxes a couple nights ago. I’m usually the type of person that can order two meals & walk it off fine. It really is a drastic change for me – one I hope to figure out how to reverse sooner rather than later.

So what are my options here? I ask myself this every day. I’ve tried expanding what I eat to things like morning power shakes, more eggs, anything fatty. I’ve tried the extremely healthy route with dairy-free yogurt, bananas, & plenty more fruit. I’ve intersected the two routes & still… no luck.

I’m hoping in writing this before I try to eat Chipotle will help me this time. That’s literally why I’m writing this post. Seriously, I just laughed out loud writing that because holy shit, that’s pathetic. But if it helps, it helps. Who gives a shit.

If you have any tips for someone recently struggling with working up an appetite, loser major weight, & struggling to focus day-to-day due to it – please advise. I’ll take any tips on how to get back on the right track.

I wish you well. Try not to beat the shit out of yourself.

Update: Finished half of the Chipotle bowl. I will finish it… in like 30 minutes. Right now I have to work on keeping it down.

Surprises Should Make Ya Think

Yesterday I woke up dehydrated from the previous night. No, not from booze. It was 90 degrees (all humidity) & I played an INTENSE volleyball match in which we lost.

I then proceeded to hang out with a friend &, well, I ran out of gas. I drove an hour home & laid down, chugging as much water as I possibly could. Didn’t really help. Totally forgot about the usefulness of pickle juice.

Anyway, I was freaking out last night & yesterday morning not because I was dehydrated, but because my ex was coming over to pick up some stuff & say hi to the pup. What was the biggest surprise of it all? She stayed for close to 10 hours. Boy, did we have fun.

Am I worried about the fun we had? No. Am I worried about false hope? No. Did yesterday feel normal? Yes. That’s what I’m worried about. It felt normal, which felt good. Gotta push that to the back of my mind… or do I?

Today I’ve decided the best way to push it waaaaaay back into my mind is help my Pops with some manual labor. Building a deck, to be exact. He’ll do most of the work, I guarantee it, but I’ll do what I can. Maybe that’ll keep yesterday off my mind a bit more. Or will it? Should it matter?

But sometimes I think… why fight it? I had a great time yesterday, why push that away? I think it’s the surprise aspect of it all. I just didn’t expect it. Now it’s time to either internalize it, think on it, or act on it. I think the middle option seems the smartest, wouldn’t you agree?

Each day brings surprises, some bad, some good. Always take sufficient time to think on these surprises because, well, you didn’t have time to think about them before because, well, they’re surprises. Don’t get too high. Don’t get too low. It’s so very important.

I wish you well. Try not to beat the shit out of yourself.

Black-Capped Chickadee

What, you didn’t know Maine’s State Bird? What the… is wrong with you?

Anyway, let’s get into the meat of the matter. Yesterday I booked a trip for me, myself, & I. Eight days in the beautiful state of Maine.

I’ll land in Portland & crash at a Airbnb on the coast for a little over a week. Why Maine? Why Portland, Maine? Well, have you seen pictures of the state? Acadia Park, Cadillac Mountain, Mount Katahdin, Beehive trails, & more. Don’t Google search these. It’ll ruin it for you. Just go.

I like taking trips by myself. I did once before, a few years ago after a terrible breakup. I went to NYC & had an absolute blast – actually met a woman from an eastern European country that I’m still friends with to this day.

Stepping outside of your comfort zone is important when you’re trapped in a mental struggle. Challenge yourself. Put yourself in uncomfortable positions with your uncomfortable thoughts. But don’t just do that. You’ll struggle a bit when you travel alone, of course, but say hi to some stranger. Help a stranger pick something up off the ground. Take a photo for a stranger so they don’t look so strained in their selfie. Just look open to anything. You’ll be surprised what your trip turns into.

I’m extremely excited for this trip. It’s been way too long since I’ve went away on my own. Don’t you worry, I’ll be blogging from my kayak. I need to go pick up some hiking boots…

I wish you well. Try not to beat the shit out of yourself.

Why Does Sad Music Feel So Good?

Whenever I’m in the dumps, I tend to float towards a very depressing music playlist. Songs strictly about depression, breakups, anxiety, & suicide. And for some reason it helps.

I think I know the reason: They’re going through the shit, too. When I’m down, I don’t want fucking Bruno Mars to sing me… hold on, let me go look up a song. Yeah, I don’t want to hear Bruno sing me 24K Magic, whatever the hell that is. It just doesn’t resonate with me. Hell, even in a good mood, still doesn’t. OK, enough about Bruno. This isn’t about him. This is about you & me.

I’m curious, do you also find depressing music comforting in times of doubt, shame, and defeat? The song Jocelyn Flores by XXXTenacion is currently playing as I write this. Why? Well, I’ve had a very similar experience to the lyrics in the song (I’m sure I’ll write about it one day). Also, artists who sing about real shit get my respect. I don’t think they care if they have my respect or not, but hey, any artists out there, remember your main audience: Depressed, creative people. We need you as much as you need us.

This is another one of those days where I really don’t have much to say, but again, I just enjoy writing to you lot. Today’s actually been quite amazing. My Pops came over for the day, I had a fantastic day at work, & I was pushed through to the final interview stage at a company I’d like to work at. Again, almost a 10/10 day, but I wish I could eat a bit more. Why can’t I just stay positive?! I was doing so well there!

OK, back to music. I’m not talking depressing music like… I don’t know, just soft stuff about breakups. If an artist creates a song about breakups that’s realistic, then I’m all for it. I find it helpful. Do you?

When an artist speaks of suicide, I find it helpful. Do you?

It’s nice to know that even the millionaires struggle – we have to remember that, we aren’t fucking alone here. We are the majority these days. We, The Sad. The individuals that will break from these chains & do some really, really cool shit in this world. Yeah, we’ll be dead one day, but how about we do some shit while we’re here? I think that sounds nice. Do you?

I’ll leave you with this: Next time you’re down on yourself, find a sad song and listen intently to the words, the melody, everything. Let the lyrics pull those feelings out of you, let the melody move those tears down your cheeks. Don’t be scared of listening to real shit. You need to hear it. You need to. We all know what running away does to us. We all know.

I really don’t know what the hell I typed here. I hope you enjoyed it. I enjoyed writing it. It’s about 90 degrees fahrenheit right now & I have about 10 mosquitoes feeding off my left arm & maybe my left butt cheek. I’ll find out later when I shower. Looks like it’s time to head back inside!

OH! Happy National Dog Day! (Don’t worry, this is the only “national” day that I actually give a damn about. Pet your pups!)

I wish you well. Try not to beat the shit out of yourself.

Pops

This post is dedicated to my father. He’s one of the very few people with knowledge of this blog, so he’ll most likely read it. I hope he does. He deserves to read what makes him such a… perfect Pops.

Pops hasn’t had it easy. Everything I’ve been through, he’s been through + the other things that I’ve put him through. I really don’t know how he does it. Let me explain.

Pops had quite a few misfortunate events occur in his adult life (understatement of the century). I’m sure he had plenty as a kid, but I haven’t asked much. I probably should one day. Throughout adulthood, though, he hasn’t had it easy. His first-born son passed away at the age of nine. He tells me of times after my brother passed, times where he couldn’t sleep. Where he’d wake up after intense nightmares about the loss of his son. Where his anxiety spiked through the roof & he’d pace. I can’t even imagine how tough things were for him during that time.

His wife, my mother, suffered a brain aneurysm in her early 40’s, only about seven or so years after they lost their son. This changed mostly everything about my mother, outside of her knack for always giving unconditional love. Pops stayed at the hospital almost every night when my mother was in the ICU & as she recovered. I believe it was three to four months before my mother was released from the hospital. I think he was there almost every day, & slept on a cot next to her almost every night. Praying for her. Being there for her. Showing unconditional love through each tear & each breath. Again, I can’t even imagine.

Yes, I was going through this stuff, too, but I was young. I didn’t fully understand the magnitude of these traumatic events, but my Pops wasn’t as lucky. In fact, I don’t know if he’s ever had an ounce of luck in his life, but the man just keeps going. Again, I can’t even imagine.

After all of this, you’d expect things to get easier. They didn’t. My mother had to learn how to walk again, how to talk again, how to really do anything again. Who was there through it all? Who showed up each time she needed help, love, or both? My Pops.

It didn’t stop there. His mother & my grandmother, started to suffer from dementia, & he was once again the person in charge. How did he handle it? Well, just like he’s handled everything in life. Through love, patience, & most importantly for him, faith. His faith is something that I can’t quite grasp, but boy am I happy he has it. During this time he was also struggling with me, an early 20’s kid causing needless trouble & couldn’t save a penny if he glued it to his forehead. What did he do in that situation? He helped. He didn’t have to, but he did. Concurrently, he was losing his job. Think about that for a second: He was losing his job but still put my mother & me in front of himself, along with somehow managing the loss of his own mother. How he handled everything with the prospect of losing his job, the only income my family had, is beyond me. Again, I can’t imagine.

When his sister passed, who was in charge of handling the funeral, who had to drive 17 or so hours to & from our state to her state a few times? Pops did. Were there capable people down where my aunt lived that could’ve handled the situation? Probably, but Pops is Pops. He lives to help. He lives to impact others in a positive way. He lives the way everyone should live. That Golden Rule you hear about? He’s perfected it.

I struggled hard today. Very hard. What happened next? I bet you can guess.

Pops dropped everything he was doing at work & drove to my house, where we talked for hours about everything from my problems, to solutions, to leadership. We really covered a lot of ground, but I didn’t even notice what was going on. Why? Because Pops was being Pops. Loving, caring, & always listening. I can’t tell you lot how much that means to me. I wouldn’t still be here today without my Pops in my corner. My mother wouldn’t be here if my Pops wasn’t in her corner. Who knows how many other people he’s impacted this way, but I bet it’s not exclusive to us. The man is a machine of kindness and compassion.

You know what I think about sometimes? How quickly I would run away from these situations. I’ve talked to countless people about it. He’s been through so much. So much shit tossed not just in his general direction, but directly at his face. However, nothing stops him from being Pops. Why? Faith. Again, I want to have that, but I can’t imagine.

This is off the cuff. I felt the need to write about him right as he walked out the door to drive the hour or so back to his house. He’s coming over tomorrow morning to help me get the house ready to sell. Can you believe that? He just spent five or so hours listening to me cry, listening to me complain about everything in life, & listening to me cuss at almost every pause in my sentences. Yet he’s still coming back tomorrow. Is Pops even real? Now that I’m typing this, I’m starting to think he’s an alien or some type of robot – maybe he is that machine made of kindness & compassion. I just can’t imagine how he does all of this for the people in his life.

I’m a very lucky son. Yes, my Pops & I have had our fair share of butting heads (one time we put a hole through the hallway wall when I was kid, but that was my fault – most everything we butted heads on was my fault… go figure). However, no matter what I’ve done in my life, & I’ve done some terrible shit, he’s always been in my corner. Always. Just like he’s always been in my mother’s corner & just like he was always in his mother’s corner.

If there’s one person that deserves some type of “legacy”, some type of statue or some shit, it’s my Pops. Not some random president or the first man on Mars (I know that person doesn’t exist yet). That shit doesn’t compare to what he’s done in his life. It truly doesn’t. He’s the most amazing man I’ve met & I’m somehow lucky enough to be his son. He’s talked me off the edge more times than I can count. He’s put in countless hours with my mother & me to make sure we’re doing well. I can’t remember the last time either of us asked him if he’s doing well. Maybe it’s time to return the favor. Actually, it definitely is.

For those of you without father figures that are reading this post, don’t get too down. Just because he’s my Pops doesn’t mean you don’t have someone like this in your life. They don’t have to be your dad. They just have to care about you unconditionally. My Pops does that. He’s done that my whole life & seemingly since the day he met my mother. I wouldn’t know prior to that, but maybe I’ll ask tomorrow morning.

Anyway, I hope he gets a chance to read this. I don’t do a good enough job telling him these type of things. They just never seem to come out – maybe because he always puts me in front of himself. He’s just that selfless.

Anthony de Mello, a Jesuit priest & author I bring up quite often, says that all men are selfish. Anthony, I respectfully disagree. My Pops is completely selfless & there’s no way anyone could prove otherwise.

Again, I want to stress to you that you have someone in your life like this, too. My Pops isn’t one in a million. I know that. You need to know that. Start to look around you, see who’s really there, see who’s been there for you no matter what. Once you find that person, never take them for granted. They could, & most likely will, save your life.

I wish you well (especially you, Pops). Try not to beat the shit out of yourself.

Also, I love you, Pops. Thank you for everything. I mean it.

Requesting Advice

I’ve spoken positively, I think, a few times on this blog about psychiatry and therapy. They’ve been good to me at times, but they’ve also made me feel helpless at times.

Today’s another day where I don’t have many thoughts outside of my own filth. Today started with a trip to see my psychiatrist & that visit ended horribly. First, I was seven minutes late, which meant they couldn’t tell me the results of my EEG that I took two weeks ago. That pissed me off. Also, the doctor was eight minutes late so it didn’t make much sense in the first place.

I didn’t handle that well. I blew up, kinda, in typical me fashion. I have so much disgust for how mental health is treated that I sometimes attack those who work in the space. Again, not fine moments for me. I’m always disappointed in myself when I resort to that style of … problem solving? I don’t know.

Anyway, I need your advice. Today I was prescribed two new medications based off a cotton swab test that checks how well your liver is metabolizing the medication. Funny thing is, the medication I was on was metabolizing just fine & it showed in the test results, however, I never felt any better on the meds.

My psychiatrist told me today that he’s here to “prescribe medication” and “there’s not much else I can do” – it really sucks hearing that. It does. I know it’s the truth, but I wish it wasn’t. I have to wait another 30 days to see if these medications do anything, and there’s no telling if they will or not.

So here’s my question(s), and hopefully someone responds with a tidbit of advice. How do you handle negative feelings towards psychiatrists/therapists? How does switching medication impact you? Have you found any other way outside of medication to help yourself have more & more better moments each day?

I just can’t figure it out. And it’s scary to not know. It really is.

I wish you well. Try not to beat the shit out of yourself.