The 10-Step Depression Workbook and Other Random Thoughts

I’ve been wanting to record a podcast, but the furballs are making it impossible for me to do anything except sit quietly on the couch. Have I mentioned that I can’t wait for my fiance to come home (now just days away)? Anyway, on to the important stuff including a couple of podcast recommendations.

I received an advance copy of “The 10-Step Depression Workbook” by Dr. Simon Rego and Sarah Fader, and I have to say I love it. I’ve done some Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in the past, and I recently started working in a CBT-based program. So I came into this experience as a believer, but this will make believers out of many more people. This book is fun and interesting. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to feel better about their lives, whether they have a depressive disorder or not.

The book will be published on January 9. If you pre-order before then with coupon code 2RELIEF, you save $2.50. As an added bonus, if you pre-order a paper copy, you can buy the Kindle edition for $.99 and start reading it that way right away.

Sarah Fader has a podcast that never ceases to entertain me. I strongly encourage you to check that out as well.

Speaking of podcasts, Rebecca Lemke had an especially interesting episode of her Scarlet Virgins podcast, “Interview With A Sexual Assault Prevention Educator”. Even though I’m not a Christian myself, I find Rebecca endlessly fascinating. This particular episode is especially informative for anybody and everybody regardless of their own religious values.

Back to my own life for a bit. As I mentioned, I am working in a CBT-based program. Perhaps I’ll write more about the details of this job in the future. The important thing right now is that I love what I’m doing and being actively involved in CBT techniques has had many positive effects on my mental health. I’ve also been experiencing some positive changes with my physical health, some of which is certainly attributable to my massage therapist, but I believe my mental health gains have contributed.


Not Feeling Too Good Myself

I’m numb.

I’m not suicidal, but my mental health is not good. I haven’t been eating or sleeping well. I lost five pounds in five days. Even for a fat guy like me, that’s not healthy. I’ve been thinking about drinking. I really want to seek professional help, but circumstances are making that exceedingly difficult, if not impossible.

My fiance has been gone for almost eight weeks now. She’s in residential treatment for her PTSD far away from our home. I get to speak with her on the phone for some minutes each day. I’m taking care of our house and our pets entirely by myself, shouldering our combined financial burdens alone. She doesn’t know when she’ll be coming home, but it won’t be at least until the new year.

Her birthday is next week. Her favorite holiday is Christmas. It was on a Christmas night that I first told her I love her. We will be spending these days apart. It hurts, but it’s what is necessary for her (and our) long-term health.

A week ago my co-worker at a group home told me about ANOTHER lewd sexual comment directed at her by a new supervisor. I helped her make a report. The harasser acknowledged that it was all true and was allowed to return immediately to work in the same place and in the same supervisory role over the person he sexually harassed.

I supported my co-worker, advocated for her, and tried to help ease her fears about retaliation. I was fired for standing up for her. The harasser is still employed in the same job, in the same place, and in the same supervisory role over the person he sexually harassed.

Is it any wonder why so many choose not to speak up?

I know I did the right thing. I did what all of my personal heroes would’ve wanted me to do. I stood up for the vulnerable without concern for the price I must pay. That price has been heavy. I’ve been trying to keep a brave face, but it’s cracking.

So if you see me, feel free to hug me. I sure could use that right now.

“Seems I’ve got to have a change of scene
‘Cause every night I have the strangest dream.
Imprisoned by the way it couldn’t be.
Left here on my own or so it seems
I’ve got to leave before I start to scream.
But someone’s locked the door and took the key.

Ya feelin’ alright?
Not feelin’ too good myself.”

Time’s Person of the Year Is My Personal Hero

Time named Silence Breakers their Person of the Year. They have taken great personal risks and paid steep prices to bring the truth to light. They are my personal heroes.

Sexual abuse and assault have been far too prevalent in my life and in the lives of people I love. I’ve recently been dealing with sexual harassment in an up close and personal manner. The response I’ve seen has been disgustingly familiar.

There are apologies that lack ownership. The survivor is bullied into accepting these “apologies”. She tries to go along to get along and then goes home to vomit and cry and wonder what she did wrong. (NOTHING!!!)

People invested in the status quo wish to silence me. They want me to stop advocating for the survivor. They will try to blame me for creating the hostile environment caused by one person’s harassment (and other people’s enabling). I don’t care what price I pay. I will not be silenced.

People have called me a hero for what I am doing. I am not. I am just a grumpy old man tired of the b.s. from abusers, predators, and enablers.

I am no angel either. I have done bad things with the best of intentions. A couple years ago, for example, I gave a kiss to the forehead of a female friend. I had intended to make her feel loved and appreciated. I caused her distress. I own what I did. I apologized and listened to what she wanted from me to make amends.

Abusers and predators, on the other hand, don’t want to pay that price. They often expect forgiveness without consequences. They want silence. Enablers will join in their efforts. They want to keep the status quo and not do the hard work of truly making things right.

I want no one’s silence. I want to tell my own truth and invite anyone I’ve ever hurt to do the same.

Truth is the enemy of abusers, predators, and enablers. They want the truth to remain forever hidden, but eventually it always emerges.

Truth is every survivor’s greatest ally. And it will help us win in the end. The Silence Breakers are incredibly courageous to bring the truth to light despite the risks and prices they must pay. That is why the people named as Time’s Person of the Year are my personal heroes.

Fragment From a Fragmented Mind, Part 1

Excuse me while I work out some scenes outside my head:

She’s been gone six weeks now, and I’m losing my mind. She calls me every day, tells me she misses me. I tell her we’re all doing fine. I hate lying to her, but that’s what she needs to hear.

Maybe when she gets home, I can take off a while and get my own head in order. It was really bad a week ago. I noticed a bottle of wine she has in the fridge. I’d say someone saved my life that night, but it was really just that I hate wine. I was also too tired to go to the liquor store.

Or was I too depressed?

Now that would be ironic. Depression saved my life.

Six weeks. Probably two more to go, maybe more.

Someone save my life tonight. I’m going to shower.

To My New Blogging Year

On my second Blogversary, I find myself trying to get myself together. I’ve been through a couple of schedule changes over the past year, one of them quite recent and pretty drastic. My current schedule is by far the best, but change takes time to take hold.
Adding to my stress is being alone in my house with three crazy furballs. My fiance is away at the moment dealing with family business. I can’t wait to have her back even if it’s just to distract these lunatics for a little while.
Right now I want to take a little time for reflection. I’ve focused much of my writing, both published and otherwise, on looking over my life and the lessons I’ve learned.
It seems every day a new scandal arises involving predatory sexual behavior. While I advocate for justice, I wonder if we have set ourselves up with the expectation that destroying everyone who has committed such acts will cure the problem. I fear we will accomplish no such thing.
Growing up I was repeatedly taught to push for things sexually with girls, and this lesson even came from some women I admired. I sometimes made women uncomfortable and did things I regret. Were I not so naturally shy, I fear I would’ve done much worse things than I did. I don’t excuse myself. I am responsible for my actions, but changing the culture that encourages such behavior will take far more than ruining the careers of everyone who has engaged in such misogyny.
So in this next year I hope to do more reflecting and working more and more at being someone better. I have a couple of submissions in the works that may or may not advance that mission. Hopefully, I can also find more work from others that help me with that as well.
So here’s to my new blogging year. “May she be a damn sight better than the old one…”

Meandering Musings Week 32, 2017

I’m working on writing a few things. It feels good to write on a regular basis again after a long and horrible case of writer’s block. I’m not sure if any of it will see the light of day, but it feels good to actually do the work. In the meantime, here are some scattered thoughts.

I have done a horrible job of keeping up on reading, but here is something everyone should read from Leslie at Normal Is Out There. Suicide is not something to joke about, fool around with, or fake. It’s a very serious matter and should be treated as such.

I’ve been asked to write about the proposed military transgender ban. That is among the things I’m working on. You might think it’s breaching my vow not to write about politics, but this is more than a political matter.

There are two things you can count on in a crisis: First is a reminder of Heath Ledger’s classic Joker line, “Everyone just loses their minds.” That leads to people showing you what they’re made of and where their priorities lie. I saw a video on social media arguing that the Joker merely tries to show the world that their priority is always self-interest. So I’m kind of talking out loud to myself (in written form) to remind myself to write about that some day. (Now that’s an odd-looking sentence. Perhaps I’ve lost my mind.)

I’m working on another solo podcast episode where I’ll touch on a few (not necessarily related) topics including Colin Kaepernick, thought policing, and Eric Bolling. That last one will lead to a favorite subject of many of my blogging buddies: dick pics.