Category Archives: mental health

Spring Is Almost Here…

spring.jpg

Alright, people… if you’re like me, then winter depresses you the fuck out. The short days, the cold weather, the lack of vitamin D from the sun, the beige color that seems to cover the world because there’s no greenery around. I love snow on Christmas, but after Christmas I’m like, Ok that was fun….SUMMER PLEASE! 

And about this time of year, after Winter has already been around for months…. I start getting restless. I start NEEDING sun. NEEDING warmth. I start DREAMING of hot weather.

But I today, I saw the first little sprouts of tulips. The true sign that spring isn’t too far off. And, I’ve done some calculations.

spring1

It’s February 19th. That means it’s only 9 days until March 1st. March signals the death of the winter. The sun finally starts to win the battle against the dreaded cold. On April 1st, it’s relatively assured that there will be no more snow.

So, that means we only have 40 days until we can put away the winter coats and never think about them again until next November.

And then, by May 1st, the trees are in bloom once more, and the grass is getting green, and we can go back to wearing hoodies and nothing more! So, that’s only 70 days until we have green buds on trees and hoodies or sweaters.

We can do this.  YOU HEAR ME?  WE GOT THIS! Winter is on it’s way out!

spring4

 

Just remember that.  Armageddon ends in 9 days

Winter coats can officially be stowed away in the closet in 40 days

And we are only 70 days away from green trees and hoodie weather.

 

Eye on the prize, eye on the prize, EYE ON THE PRIZE!!!!!!!

 

~ The Dark Horse

Advertisements

Living The Dream… And It’s Truly Surreal

nyc

So, I’m here in New York City, and everything has spiraled out of control into the best thing ever. I’m here because I recently got an internship in television. Then, last week, I was published for the first time. Now, I also have a paid position blogging for a travel magazine. I had no idea when I started blogging back in 2014, desperate to reach out to others because of my depression and anxiety…that I would ever get a paid blogging job.

DOES ANYONE KNOW WHERE MY LIFE WENT? 

WHO IS THIS NEW GUY I SEE IN THE MIRROR? THE ONE WHO IS MORE CONFIDENT TAHN I EVER WOULD HAVE IMAGINED? 

(touches face with hand) IS MY SKIN EVEN LOOKING BETTER? 

People of the world, I ask you this…

HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?

girl

 

You always see the storylines in movies and books that tell you hard work pays off in the end.  But you never actually believe it right? (At least I didn’t). I always thought that happiness was something other people could obtain. Happiness wasn’t ever meant for me. It seemed like no matter what I did, everything would blow up all around me all the time.

I kept telling myself, “I am working hard, right? Is this all in my head? Is every other human trying even harder? Am I lazy and undeserving and just don’t know it?”

But I guess it goes like this: A train weighs about 18,000 tons.

It takes a lot of energy to make 18,000 tons move. It isn’t like the flick of a pinky can make it happen. And that’s what I was. I was a stopped train. I was a chicken running around with my head cut off. I was desperate, lonely, in pain, had no connections, was working in retail (and was doing a horrible job because I was bored to death everyday) so I wasn’t exactly building my resume.

And then I started working towards making my life better. 

Started from the bottom. Got back into school, working at Whole Foods to pay rent.

Then, unpaid internships led to…more unpaid internships…which led to really poorly paid internships…

train1

 

The engines on the train were heating up, but because the train wasn’t moving, I considered myself a failure. I didn’t notice the rumbling sounds of power underneath my feet. I didn’t see the steam rising from beneath the bowels.

Then those poorly paid internships led to well paid internships, and I started putting on events at school, and then suddenly I’m here in New York City, and it seems like possibility is everywhere. Suddenly the world doesn’t seem like a place that will always oppress me and keep me down. (Well, they can try, but fuck them.)

train2

I’m on a train chugging full speed ahead, and now I’m looking out the windows as the world swooshes by, wondering how the fuck I made all this happen.

Never ever stop believing in yourselves.

We got this!

 

~ The Dark Horse

 

Puppy Therapy: Puppy Bowl Edition!

bowl

So, it’s super bowl Sunday…blah blah blah, whatever who cares. BUT it’s also Puppy Bowl Sunday!  (Audience applause)

And this is very important for anyone needing some inspiration, some love, or some motivation.  Why you ask?  Well, for the simple reason that Puppies are good for you. 

Literally.

Medically proven.

Oh, what’s that? Don’t believe me?  Well, perhaps you’ll believe the Mayo Clinic then?

Click this link if you’d rather here a medical professional tell you this instead of me:

Mayo Clinic: Animal Therapy Article 

That’s right, I’m not crazy.  Now, since we’ve established that looking at puppies isn’t just fun, but is actually beneficial to our mental health…. let the cuteness commence!

 

First up we have a little Shiba puppy who is just so beyond adorable that even the darkest, grayest depression imaginable can be broken by his puppy powers:

bowl1

 

 

Next up we have a husky puppy that clearly doesn’t understand the concept of a water bowl. Or maybe he just had a little too much to drink last night, I’m not here to judge…

bowl2

 

 

I would let this little lab puppy wake me up any day. However, being honest, if I had this little pups with me, I’d probably be tempted to just stay in bed and snuggle all day long!

bowl3

 

 

Have you ever seen little baby German Shepards playing with their dad?  (Literally falls off chair, and begins convulsing at the sheer, overpowering cuteness.)

shep

 

Want more puppy action?

Want to help people as well?

Check out Vet Dogs  This nonprofit provides service dogs to veterans who return with a variety of service dogs.  From PTSD dogs, seizure response dogs, guide dogs, and more!   DID YOU KNOW YOU CAN VOLUNTEER AND HELP RAISE PUPPIES THAT GO ON TO HELP VETERANS?  

That deserves another puppy gif….

boo

 

And don’t forget to watch the Puppy Bowl!  It’s good for you, PLUS, all the puppies are shelter pups that can be adopted!

 

Enjoy the cuteness!

Puppy Bowl 

 

~ The Dark Horse

The Trouble of New Beginnings When You Have Depression and Anxiety

new

 

So, I just finished my first week at my internship in television.  And it was exciting, and crazy, and hard, and stressful, and a total learning experience.

But, looking back now that the week is over, I’m like… WAS IT ACTUALLY HARD? OR WAS IT JUST MY ANXIETY? 

 

For example, I was told to do some media monitoring. That’s where you scan various news outlets to see if your shows are getting publicity and mentions and such. When you make your report, you put the news outlet’s name, followed by a forward slash, and then the date.

I had put the news outlet, then a space, then a forward slash.

My boss was like, “I’m a stickler for formatting, so next time, no space between the outlet’s name and forward slash.”

And then I was like..

OH MY GOD. I FAILED!

I PUT A SPACE BEFORE THE FORWARD SLASH! 

OH GOD…..I’LL NEVER GET A REAL JOB! 

By 10am, I was doing a full-blown Anne Hathaway, wondering why my dreams will never be…

dreams1

 

 

But now I’m kinda like… I suppose it’s possible that I may have been being slightly, but just ever-so slightly…. a drama queen. 

It was my first time doing media monitoring, and my boss knows that.  And adding a space isn’t the same as me just not being able to function. And looking back, I don’t even think my boss sounded mad.

 

BUT THEN…..

 

I had to write a press release for an upcoming show.  A REAL PRESS RELEASE FOR A SHOW THAT WILL AIR ON NATIONAL TELEVISION! A PRESS RELEASE THAT WILL BE READ…BY THE PRESS!  Like, THE PRESS. 

Entertainment Weekly. Variety. People Magazine. TV Guide. The Chicago Tribune. The New York Times. Those places, along with every other news outlet in America (And Canada) will be sent this!!!!!

I was like, Oh my God if I fuck this up it’s all over.

I’m done.

Life destroyed.

I’ll be unemployed.

I’ll become homeless.

I’ll have to sell my teeth for money, and then get Hepatitis C and die.

Oh my God, I need anther Anne Hathaway GIF,   NOW!!!!!!!!!

dream2

 

I think Anne is the only person who truly understands my struggles.

 

So, I’ve sent my draft of the press release to my boss, and we’re going to go over it on Monday.

SO, OK SURE. SHE HASN’T ACTUALLY SAID ANYTHING BAD ABOUT IT…. YET.

But there’s always a chance that could ruin it!

I mean, it was my first major press release after all.

Do you think she’ll understand that?

Oh lord, here comes the sweats… I’m such a failure. I’m going to die.

This is it! Goodbye cruel world!

dreams3

 

 

OR, IS THIS ALL JUST ANXIETY?

 

I mean, new beginnings are hard. For everyone. Anytime you have to learn something new. Or be in a new place. Surrounded by new people. There’s always going to be a learning curve. You’ll never be completely perfect right off the bat when you’re in an unfamiliar area, doing new and unfamiliar things.

That’s just life.

But when you have depression and anxiety, making those little mistakes (what normal humans probably consider “learning”) can be really hard on us. We dwell on them. We worry about them.

Or, with the press release example, we can worry without even hearing anything bad! It’s that unknowingness that gets us. We want to be assured that we’ve done good.

That we’re safe. 

When you have depression and anxiety, instant gratification is a gift… A gift that life rarely provides.

And we have no choice, but to soldier through. We have to brave our fears.

Keep Calm

And

Carry On.

We can’t let our depression and anxiety ruin new opportunities for us. Stress and sadness will accompany us during our new exploits. But, we need to be strong. Because the payoffs that you get from taking a chance is work.

Great things come from taking risks.

So let’s take em!

Need some inspiration?

Ok watch this:

In Ohio we have a theme park called Cedar Point. The tallest ride is called the Top Thrill Dragster. It’s so tall, and requires so much energy to create enough thrust to make it over the hill, that if the weight in the train is off (like, if you have a train full of short, thin people, or a train full of overweight people) the weight imbalance causes an acceleration problem and causes the car to not make it over the hill, AND THE ROLLS BACKWARDS TOWARDS THE STATION WHERE THE OTHER TRAIN IS BEING LOADED WITH PEOPLE! 

top thrill

 

So… if you’re about to embark on something new, and are scared. Just remember… things can be much, much scarier!

 

~ The Dark Horse

 

 

Dispatches From The Far North

nwt

 

Have I ever mentioned that after college I ran away into the woods?

 

LA had worn me down and beaten me to the ground. I was so depressed I could barely stand up most of the time. And then that’s when I discovered American Transcendentalism, and the ideals of running away and escaping capitalist society.

I took Thoreau for his word and ran away.  And now that I’m older and read Thoreau more clearly, I’m pretty fuckin annoyed… because he never actually ran away. He lived on a lake only a few miles from town. He literally would walk home and eat with his family and shit… what a twat.

I on the other hand, during my period of total infatuation with his ideas, really did run away into the middle of nowhere. Where there were no roads. No phones. No sewage systems…

I went to the Northwest Territories, a little north of the Great Slave Lake.

There, I lived in a “cabin” which was really just a plywood box that was covered in arctic tarp. Recently, I found the pictures I took of inside my cabin.

Whenever I’m feeling down, writing and art has always saved me. And so, being up there was no different.  Armed with nothing but sidewalk chalk (why was there sidewalk chalk? I have no idea…) Anyways, armed with sidewalk chalk and bare plywood walls, I got to work.

Here are a few of my derelict masterpieces:

 

cabin1

Here, with CHERRY BOOM, I needed color, and I need fun. I went for a retro-Pac Man thing because it was exciting.  It was something that made me feel like I wasn’t completely lost from society. A memento that there was a world full of video games, ice tea, and mattresses that I could return to at some point.

 

 

cabin2

This was my manifesto to the world. I wrote this, and then read this to myself every night before going to sleep. It was a way for me to tell myself that I’m not done. I went to the woods to find myself, but the woods wouldn’t be my final resting place.

 

 

cabin3

My absolute favorite.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written these words in my journal, or said this under my breath as I’m about to take on a challenging day. The albatross has always been my spirit animal. They’re so large, so misunderstood, and so solitary, that it’s hard to imagine how they survive. But, against the odds, and against the elements, these birds flourish, even though they can spend months over the open ocean without ever even seeing land. They’re stronger than you’d ever believe. And so, I look to the albatross, flying high, for inspiration.

 

Eye to the sky!

 

~ The Dark Horse

Can The City You Live In Impact Your Mental Health?

city

 

The short answer (In my opinion) is yes. And in multiple ways. Let me explain:

 

For starters, if you’re living in a city where you don’t fit in, then right off the bat, you will have problems.  For example, I’m from Ohio.

ohio

I am gay, very liberal, loves travel, and have always wanted to do something in the arts and in media, and have always wanted to somehow impact the world in a big way.

Ohio is a lot of blue collar people who don’t have passports (and who rarely even leave the state), they’re mostly republicans who fear the outside world, and life consists of going to work to make money to start a family and go to church to pray to God to let you go to heaven because you’ve spent your entire life only half-lived, because you’ve been suck in the social norms that your too afraid to ever step away from.

Ohio also has a very bad crime problem, and is part of the opiod epidemic, along with having a bad meth problem as well, but that’s a whole other story… 

ANYWAYS, the point is, someone like me just doesn’t fit in there. It just wasn’t ever going to work. My life in Ohio would always have been un-lived because there isn’t anything there for me.

And the same can be true for the other side of the spectrum as well.  If you’re a Protestant who thinks homosexuality is a sin, and loves Trump and wants him to build the wall, and you genuinely fear and hate people of a different skin color from you…  you’re probably going to have a horrible miserable life in cities line New York, LA, or San Fransisco.

And as much as I’m terrified by the idea of some Protestant with so much hate and fear inside them, part of the trick is just finding where they fit.  Just like I needed to find where I fit.

 

But there’s also more factors:  

For example, Los Angeles, is car-centered city.  When you walk out to a road, it looks like this:

ohio1

 

You don’t see many people out walking the streets. For America’s second largest city, you sometimes wonder if you’re in a suburb somewhere.

And don’t get me wrong. There are some very beautiful, fun, and lively parts of LA. Sunset Strip, WeHo, Santa Monica, Venice.  You’ll find busy areas.

ohio3

But if you ever live there, you’ll soon realize that this is a very small percentage of LA. Most of LA, on the street level, is a barren wasteland.

ohio4

And I used to find that emptiness absolutely crushing. I used to walk around, trying to shake off my depressive episodes by being in public, hoping to gain some energy from the outside world.  And I’d wander around and be like… Holy crap, do people actually live in this city?  So, if you’re like me and find yourself lonely a lot… find yourself in desperate need of some good company… try major cities like New York, Chicago, or even San Fransisco, where the streets will be full of pedestrians, mass transit is packed, and everything seems more alive.

ohio6

 

 

But perhaps you’re not like me. Maybe you’re not a guy in his 20’s. Maybe you’re a middle-aged woman who wants a garden. Or you’re parents who don’t want to raise their children in Manhattan (which, does have it’s problems for kids… the other day I watched a couple of 15 yr olds buy drugs…. it was insanely depressing.)

Then a big hustling city might cause you stress. Whereas it’s great for me, it might make you miserable. Then you gotta go and find where you belong!

 

ohio7

Maybe you need a place like Burlington, VT? A good school system, some large corporations, but also the quaint, small, safety of a little New England City?  We all need different things.  And we all need to be where we feel comfortable and happy. Because that is the first step to good mental health. 

 

Speaking of good mental health… perhaps you’re like me and you need sunshine.  Avoid Places like Chicago and Boston, which sit at the easterly end of their time zones, and the sun sets early. Word of advice from someone who has lived in both of these cities. In the winter, it will be completely dark before you’re out of work. You will spend a few months in eternal darkness.

ohio8

 

But time zones are the only thing to worry about. Locations like Portland and Seattle are covered by clouds most of the year. And how far North you are will also have a huge impact on sunshine….So, you can rule out Alaska.

 

Obviously, there are huge factors that make a lot of this not possible. For example, if you’re a surgeon, you probably couldn’t go live in Manning, North Dakota. No matter how desperately you want to live in a rural village, close to the great outdoors… you just won’t find employment there.

ohio9

Or if you have kids who are in school. Or if you have sick parents that need caring for. Or allergies, or skin conditions, and the list goes on and on.

 

Being able to move is a luxury that I have because I’m young, and have no spouse, or children. I understand that. And I understand that not everyone can go and try and find where they fit. But still, where you live has a huge impact on your mental health. So, if you’re in a position where it’s possible (and Im not just talking about fear… don’t ever let fear be the thing keeping you stuck where you are.)  A dying parent, sure. Then you have a srepbsobilty to someone and are needed. And you’re stuck. sadly.

But don’t hide behind excuses either.  Yes, moving away may put you further from your family, and from what’s familiar. But don’t ever let fearing the unknown keep you somewhere. Don’t hide behind the excuses of “Oh but what if one day my parents happen to get sick…” or “How will my friend group go on without me…” That’s just you hiding behind excuses because you’re afraid. If you’re truly unhappy somewhere, and you have the ability to take the leap… then honey, you gotta’ go full-blown Thelma and Louise and just gun it!

 

ohio10

 

~ The Dark Horse

Was this proofread?  I’ll say this. It wasn’t not proofread. But it also wasn’t “proofread” per-se. Does that make any sense?