Who To Talk To When You’re Having a Depression Attack

When we are dealing with an intense issue such as depression, we don’t tend to want to vent and get out all that is causing us to feel negative. However, most know that talking during a “depression attack” is helpful and lowers the risk of suicidal thoughts and actions. However, after talking to my friends and family about it for a while, I noticed that they can become a bit tired of my depression attacks. I get it. They’ve offered all the advice that they had and have lent me their ears and hearts for as long as they could. They’ve done all they could do. Does that mean I am without anyone to console me during my depression attacks? When my family and friends need a break, where does that leave me? Well, I know that I’m not alone in my quest to get better and find relief so I have compiled a list of things to do when you finally feel up to talking through your depression attacks.

Hotlines
Whenever family and friends are unavailable or unable to understand my depression attack, I know that I can turn to a hotline. Hotlines have trained staff and trained volunteers who are able to offer helpful advice or just lend a listening ear. When you’re experiencing an attack, don’t rely on just anyone, you want to make sure that you survive this depression attack. Give yourself a fighting chance and make a free call. It cost me nothing and it won’t cost you anything either. In fact, you’ll gain more from calling and asking for help than if you just sat at home trying to process your own feelings.

Here are some national numbers to call if you need to connect with someone during a depression attack.

Group Therapy
What better way to discuss all that is going on internally than to talk to a group of people who understand where you’re coming from. The people in the groups relate to my emotions about family and friends, my problems, and my depression attack symptoms. Most have been where I’ve been and even have some remedies. They can offer the best help as well as innovative and creative ideas for dealing with depression attacks. There is also the possibility of making a friend or two. If that happens then I’m sure they’ll never get tired of hearing about my depression attacks and I won’t get tired of hearing about theirs. We could work together to get through each attack.

Online Chat & Text
For me, writing is easier than talking. I have an easier time explaining myself thoroughly when I can write my feelings down. It makes it easier for me to connect to someone trying to help me. It also makes it easier for me sift through my problems and get to the bottom of it. If writing is better for you than try online chatting or texting from your phone. If you want to try texting, just text CONNECT to 741741 in the United States and your text will be sent to a professional at Crisis Text Line.

The key here is to never give up when trying to voice your feelings about your depression attack symptoms. Although it may never feel like it, I believe that one day there will be a breakthrough and each depression attack won’t last as long as the previous one. In order to get there, I just have to keep fighting, even when I don’t feel like it.

Accepting Depression Can Be Hard

Accepting depression can be hard. Depression affects many people in world, but most try to hide their symptoms from family and friends. It makes people feel embarrassed knowing their feelings can bring others down. Their solution is to stay at home, curled up in a ball drowning in their depressive thoughts. According to Inscribmag.com, depression is one of the most common health conditions for men and affects millions worldwide.  The article, aimed at men with depression, gives better solutions to dealing with depression than what most men are currently doing.

Accepting depression can be hardThere were two suggestions that really stood out to me. I think it’s great advice that I will act on. The first piece of advice was to stop punishing yourself. I do this too much and it’s time for me to take care of myself the right way. I can’t keep punishing myself for something I can’t control. I have to come to terms with the situation and accept that it’s truly a mental illness. Once I am able to accept the problem for what it is, then I can move forward and find a real solution. The next step would seek professional help. A doctor that has dealt with patients that exhibit depression symptoms can legally diagnose me with depression. After a diagnosis, I can then start treatment that will hopefully lead me to overcome my depression. However, all of this starts with me acknowledging my illness as something that isn’t going to go away on its own. I’m more committed to making sure that I stop being hard on myself and turn this negative into a positive.

The second thing that I agreed with was exercising to decrease symptoms. I normally workout and exercise to achieve this goal. I can say that this is something that works well for me. In fact, I’ve recorded a video on YouTube about it, click here to watch it or watch it below. I do cardio to help with depression. I actually do it every day. According to the article, there are “25 studies that have found that physical activity helps fight depression”. You will need to take about twenty minutes and exercise to help fight your depression. However, like me, you will need to do this every day or at least five times a week. This helps you to release the right chemicals in your brain which adds to your happiness. Try looking up cardio videos on YouTube to get ideas for routines that are easy for you to do. You can start out doing exercises for your legs one day and then the next day, try exercises for your arms. There are exercises for almost every part of the body. Choose one a day or just find a regular cardio workout. 

If you want to lift your depression, then I think you should follow the advice above. Seeing a doctor will really help you to jumpstart your treatment and help you add happier days to your life. Although it may not cure your depression, it will give you more days to spend with family and friends opposed to you laying under the covers alone. Take the steps necessary to make your life more fulfilling. I know I deserve it and I bet you do to.

 

Depression Triggers You Can Control

Depression triggersDepression is a mental health disorder that can suck the life out of you and the people around you. The negative social effects can cause the sufferer to dive deeper into the cognitive disorder as they think about how unpleasant their moods can be. Although treatment is available, not everyone has access to the expensive medications that often cause a mental fog. If that’s you, trying to avoid depression triggers can be a positive solution. Here are three potential depression triggers that you can control.

Don’t Go Down the Rabbit Hole

Those that suffer from depression know that it can start with just a thought. Most of us spend a lot of time thinking to ourselves and never allowing rational thoughts to combat negative thinking. This can cause a psychological downward spiral to occur. Once there it’s almost as if we are in “the sunken place” or the basement of our consciousness and we are unable to function because of it. This place leaves us feeling lost, paralyzed, and hopeless. If we are honest with ourselves, we can tell when we are about to enter a dark cave of solidarity and one-way thinking. Why go there? You can make a decision not to dwell on negative thoughts.

Whatever is going on may be factual — maybe you did gain weight, maybe your parent will pass, or maybe you will fail your professional exam. Truth be told, it’s not the end of the world. That’s harsh, I know. However, everyone gains weight and fails exams, just try again. People obtain degrees every year, but once they have them, no one knows it took them 10 years to get it. No one knows that they pass by the skin of their teeth.  It’s also better to dwell on the time you have with your parents or sick relatives than it is to dwell on their earthly exit. There were times that I thought myself into a deep, dark, mental fit because I was scared my mom would die, but once I came out of it, I realized I never wanted to go there again. Now I’m able to feel its preliminary attack and I make a decision not to go down the dark rabbit hole.

Limit Secondhand Smoke

There’s a chance that you or someone you know smokes on a daily basis. According to research, smokers are addicted to the nicotine in cigarettes and have a hard time quitting, despite knowledge of the harmful effects. Even if you don’t smoke, second-hand smoke is still as dangerous. Just being in the presence of someone who is actively smoking has its consequences. Breathing in someone else’s smoke has been linked to cancer and other physical health conditions. What many people don’t know is that second-hand smoke is substantially linked to depression and other cognitive disorders.

The Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London conducted a study that included over 5,500 non-smokers. Their research followed them for a span of six years. At the end of the six years, the data were analyzed, and they found that “14.5 percent of the individuals were found to be suffering from psychological distress”. The people that were part of this study were initially tested for their exposure to smoke. They were also selected based on their non-existent history of mental disorder. Lastly, at the end of this study, they were still non-smokers and some of them had been admitted to the hospital for mental health disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, and delirium due to their continual exposure to secondhand smoke. Another study found links to lower levels of a brain chemical called dopamine that is responsible for happiness. The toxins in the cigarette smoke cause disruptions in the brain and blocks dopamine from being effective causing mood swings.

Limit your social activities with people that smoke. If you’re a smoker, it’s time to get into a program that will help you quit. If you really want to stay mentally healthy, make the decision to stop. There’s another way smoking can be dangerous, it’s called thirdhand smoke. This means that the residue from smoking can get stuck on your clothing and enter your skin. This causes DNA damage and contributes to mental health disorders as well.

Change Your Occupation

Everyone knows people have the tendency to be rude and mean. They are the cause of bullying and they ultimately cause depression in depression-prone individuals. Those who are susceptible to depression should limit their interaction with those who may be triggering negative moods. People in the service industry occupations are at the most risk. They have to endure unsatisfied customers yelling, cursing, and passing on their angry attitudes to employees who are just trying to help. Studies show that people in low waged jobs and/or high stressed jobs can suffer from poor mental health and bring on depression. It may be best to find work elsewhere.

“Most people who work for tips experience regular lulls and peaks in their income, and the uncertainty can cause enough stress to make the worker suffer from anxiety and depression,” licensed mental health counselor GinaMarie Guarino told Healthline.

Try a job that doesn’t rely on people being satisfied with your service. Jobs where you assist other employees may offer a better outcome. This way you only have to work with a few people and you have the company backing for hostile environments in case things go awry.  

Depression can be a time-consuming health condition, but it is one that can be prevented. Releasing and disengaging in depressive triggers will contribute to a happier lifestyle and a more positive social identity. You don’t have to let depression rule you. Instead, you can live life depression free.

Working a Dead-End Job and Taking Care of Yourself

dead-end job

Anyone knows that working a dead-end job is physically and emotionally taxing. I know because I’ve been doing it for many years now. Since I have to work this type of job, I had to learn how to take better care of myself.

Recently, a doctor told me that the disks in my neck and back are degenerating. This produces a pain, tingling, or numbness due to the irritation of the nerve roots that lead to the sciatic nerve.

In one of my videos, I advise previous felons to be sure to take care of themselves. It’s very likely we will be working job that will cause these types of problems. It’s also unlikely that we will have a job that is worth our time and talents. We might have to work several of these jobs just to put food on the table. In order to survive and not become partially crippled trying to make ends meet, here are my suggestions for self-care.

Suggestions

  • Baths
    I suggest that we take baths to soak sore muscles and joints. Use Epsom salt if necessary.
  • Heating
    I use heating pads after working a long shift or sitting down for too long. I usually put it on for twenty minutes at a time. If I don’t have a heating pad, I’ll take a warm, damp towel and put it in the microwave for about one minute. Make sure it isn’t too hot before you put it on your skin.
  • Anti-inflammatory
    Take any anti-inflammatory medicine during and after work. I suggest the Vitamin Shoppe Ginger Root 550 MG Capsules. I take a pill during my job and in the car when I’m finished with a job. However, any over the counter or herb remedy will work. This medicine will help to prevent you from swelling (which causes more pain) when you have overworked yourself.
  • Take a Day Off
    I’ve learned that resting is the best medicine sometimes. Although I may have taken ginger root and applied ice or heat to my back, I find I still need several days of rest. This is usually because I’ve worked several days straight.

Please remember that when people work at a low waged, dead-end job, managers and bosses are often not thinking about the employee’s future or well-being. I often felt they were trying to run their employees into the ground because they were expendable and plentiful. It made me realize that the only person who was going to take care of me was me.

Why is Men’s Mental Health Ignored By The Formerly Incarcerated?

There are many reasons why men’s mental health is ignored in regards to recidivism. According to many members of society, men’s mental health in association with crime has little bearing on their decisions. It is often considered an act of desperation for an individual to plead insanity in their case. If one is considered to have been aware and understood that their crime was wrong, the insanity plea won’t hold in court. However, mental health disorders are more complex than what most members in society think.

Depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, phobias, and many other disorders develop while men are incarcerated. However, upon their release, they are sent out into the world still carrying the stigmas as former criminals. Therefore, society focuses on their past, rather than the fact that those crimes were paid for in full; as a result, making any mental disorders and traumas virtually impossible for society to accept as legitimate problems.

Money is another reason that mental illness is ignored. No matter the rhyme or reason, society often fails to have any sympathy for former criminals. The inability to solve the mental health problem is due to the high expense and leaves the criminal justice system unable to intervene in the area. It is reported that psychiatric help is more than twice as expensive as incarcerating a single prisoner annually. Therefore, it remains unlikely that the system will take the step to consider mental health issues as a real problem that results in recidivism. Ignoring the problem leads to forgetting its existence.

It seems that society is unable to imagine themselves in the shoes of former inmates. Many never realize that there are nonviolent crimes that label men for the rest of their lives. Even men convicted on nonviolent charges are changed forever; often experiencing severe emotional trauma that prevents them from interacting with society in a positive way. Their illness is often ignored because they are considered to have “made their choice”. Society feels that they’ve made the decision to commit the crime, and they should suffer the consequences, whatever that may be.

It seems the main reason mental illness is ignored is only because it’s easier to do so. It’s easier to think of these men in one light and never give them a chance to make it right or to put their lives on a better track. For this reason alone, mental illness in former convicts will likely never be treated properly to prevent recidivism in their futures.

How Mental Health Disorders Affect Success and Productiveness Within Men

By Pyerse Dandridge
Author: Subprime Felon: Inside Federal Prison Camp

Mental health disorders often result from extended time in incarceration. After release, men are sent back into society with not only criminal convictions, but gaps in employment, negative stigmas, alternate mentalities, and an extreme amount of work necessary to shed the skin society now sees. Simply reentering society can cause high anxiety and the consistent rejection can cause depression in terms of job searching.

It is clear that mental health issues are present in criminals during incarceration, but post-release, these anxieties have increased and other mental health disorders make recidivism highly likely in over 50 percent of men. Mental health issues can inhibit much of daily life including finding a good job. Successfully finding a good job is difficult because former inmates are usually subjected to obtaining low income jobs like janitorial work or fast food employment. Their past mistakes are used as ammunition in such a way that it is difficult to maintain motivation to keep up a positive path towards success. Most people have experienced the stress of job searching, however, think of the increased amount of stress when the odds are stacked extremely high against you.

Mental health issues can take a real toll on life. Success could almost be said to be completely out of reach due to the fact that underlying conditions prevent the ability to conduct oneself properly in society. Anger, paranoia, abrasiveness, high anxiety, mood swings, and other characteristics that are created during incarceration can cause major problems for many trying to create positive relationships with employers and co-workers.

It is clear that success post-release depends highly on the help these men receive to rejoin society with positive hope for something beyond a life of crime. Recidivism is twice as likely to occur in those who are released from prison with untreated mental health issues. If mental health issues were treated properly, these men could have a chance at a productive life.

Many don’t realize that male inmates must live a life completely isolated from civilized society, procure a heightened masculine mask fit for incarceration (in order to survive), and then are kicked back out into society. Often they are back in society with a completely different mentality than before their incarceration and are now without any genuine direction on how to survive outside prison walls. Considering all they’ve gone through just to pay their debt to society, these men have very little chance at success.

How Does Mental Health Affect Masculinity?

By Pyerse Dandridge
Author: Subprime Felon: Inside Federal Prison Camp

The identity of men can be seriously influenced by incarceration in correctional facilities. This can often have an effect on their mental health. Prisoners are forced to submit themselves to authority. They often have no control over what they do and must contain their natural emotions. They also have to let go of their inherent need for power. When core characteristics of masculinity are taken away, mental health issues often result.

While behind prison walls, men often feel an incessant need to present a hyper-masculine identity that isn’t necessary for the outside society. The general norm for American men is to present an identity that includes restraining emotions, exerting dominance, displaying independence, exhibiting competitiveness, and ultimately winning. The need to present this identity, especially behind bars surrounded by only men, makes the need for masculinity even more necessary to posture. This ongoing feeling to ensure that one does not appear weak, gay, or emotional in any way can lead to increased anxiety when one is constantly over exerting themselves to appear a certain way to the inside society.

It is a constant struggle for some men who are incarcerated to deal with who they are and how they view masculinity versus what they believe others feel are masculine qualities and norms. It is reported that incarcerated men who conform to the notions of others against their will often experience higher anxiety and depression disorders, as well as other poor health conditions. However, it is hypothesized that outside support has a positive influence on the adverse effects of posturing a hyper-masculine exterior. Support allows for real interaction, despite any traditional or implicated ideas on masculinity and is facilitated by those who truly care and have a love for these men. It is also reported that this type of interaction can aid in positive outcomes for mental health and allow these men to have a sense of the world beyond the society they are locked in.

While incarcerated, men are forced to strip much of who they are to conform to the rules and authority. Anyone who must conform to a completely different new way of life will face some form of anxiety. They will also have some emotion that will alter who they are even if only slightly. Is it fair to say that these men deserve whatever negative repercussions occur as a result of their crime, even down to the core of their masculinity, or should society accept that they’ve paid for their crimes and give them the ongoing treatment and rehabilitation they deserve post-release?

What Are The Warning Signs of Mental Illness?

By Pyerse Dandridge
Author: Subprime Felon: Inside Federal Prison Camp

Did you know that mental health issues are extremely common in the criminal population? Over 10% of inmates have been reported to have some form of mental illness. Studies have shown that even after receiving psychiatric help, some former criminals still present psychiatric symptoms after discharge. The most common disorders are substance abuse and personality disorders. Unfortunately,  some of the individuals with mental illness are unable to afford proper care and because of this, they return to committing crimes both violent and nonviolent in nature.

Many who experience mental illness often find no relief and perpetually find themselves incarcerated or detained in some fashion. If mental illness symptoms go untreated, these individuals are likely to hurt themselves or someone else. We must take the time to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness so we can help multiple lives. Please familiarize yourself with the signs below.

Signs of such mental illnesses include:

  • Significant mood swings
  • Prolonged depression periods
  • Constant fatigue
  • Extreme weight gain or loss
  • Lack of sleep
  • Violent outbursts
  • Extreme behavioral changes
  • Consistent self-criticism
  • Suicide attempts

There are many ways to find solutions for individuals who struggle with mental illness. Psychiatric and rehabilitation facilities are the best fit in the hopes of assisting someone with these problems. Studies have shown that assistance facilities and programs help individuals with mental illness by establishing a consistency in day to day living habits. It allows them to remove themselves from poor and dangerous environments that can lead to homelessness. The problem lies with financing. For those that have no income or very limited funds, those types of facilities and programs are unrealistic and their symptoms are left untreated.

Another solution are employment programs. There are work programs designed for people with mental illnesses and evidence proves that having a job significantly enhances overall self-esteem. There is also proof that employment aids individuals with mental illnesses in other ways. Additionally, Some programs help individuals with basic needs such as finding food, shelter or around-the-clock assistance. However, some cities do not include this type of assistance due to low population of available volunteers or charity organizations.

Mental illness is very real and very serious, and many individuals are locked away in correctional facilities (where they do not belong) rather than receiving help finding the mental care they need. Substance abuse is a major illness that affects the entire character of an individual. Rehabilitation centers are often the best place to detox from these types of illnesses but, again, these places are not accessible to everyone. However, without help, these individuals often worsen and have no hope for a better future.

Why Mental Health & Ongoing Support For Men Is So Important

By Pyerse Dandridge
Author: Subprime Felon: Inside Federal Prison Camp

It is reported that over half of male inmates have at least one mental disorder. This means that mental health issues are present before incarceration takes place. Without treatment or with inadequate treatment, it is highly likely that men with mental health issues will re-offend and contribute to recidivism rates.

Mental health issues are often the reason inmates initially commit a crime. However, winning a trial with the plea of insanity is difficult to do. Studies show that less than 1% of those who plead insanity are actually acquitted and sentenced to psychiatric care. Of those who receive help, it is reported that over half are less likely to re-offend after their admittance to psychiatric care. However, of those who show signs of mental illness and are sentenced to prison time, their likelihood to recidivate increases exponentially.

Although there are programs to help former inmates, ongoing support after being released from incarceration is expensive. The cost for psychiatric care seemingly is outweighing the cost per inmate in correctional institutions. However, if recidivism is truly a problem the criminal system wishes to avoid, ongoing support and care after release should remain a priority. Institutionalization provides a steady way of life for men inside, however, when they are released, those with mental disorders are re-triggered when their placed back into society. The community expects former inmates to be completely rehabilitated, but in actuality they were always unable to function in a society that has extremely high expectations for them.

it is clear that psychiatric care could provide real hope for those who have very little opportunity to walk a more righteous path post-release. In psychiatric facilities, men are treated as patients, and the medical professionals conduct their care as patients rather than prisoners. Studies have shown that this form of rehabilitation has proven to prevent recidivism and allow proper diagnosis and resolutions, rather than pushing individuals back out into an environment where they have no other options.

Institutionalization provides an ongoing, supportive and stable environment. Though the cost may be financially high, how can it compare to the suffering of the individual and their unfortunate victims? There may be losses in certain areas, but if the criminal justice system would take into consideration the decreased rates in recidivism after receiving ongoing support for mental health disorders, the results would be highly favorable when looking at the bigger picture.

Why Black Men Don’t Use Mental Health Care

Black Men Don't Use Mental Health Care

In a recent article from the Business Insider, they discussed how our mental health care system fails Black men and the fact that Black men under-utilize the services provided.

“Instead of receiving professional help for their depressive episodes, black men are often told to “pray it away” by older family members who find solace in scripture. Others are told to “man up” or “stop being a punk.””

In my experience with mental health issues, these are the exact quotes people have told me. It’s as if people believe that the solution to my problems is to somehow have a Superman approach to everything; kick it, punch it, blow it away and it’ll be solved. When I experience depression it’s usually due to the fact that I can’t find a solution to the problem I’m experiencing. Every remedy I find is shot down or just doesn’t work out.

For example, my finances are a huge issue for me. Due to student loans, I’m thousands of dollars in debt. Of course the solution that everyone is using is to work and make enough money to cover the cost. However because I’m a felon with a fraud conviction, I can’t obtain any job that requires me to deal with vulnerable people or sensitive information. I can’t work for the DMV because social security numbers and license plate numbers are sensitive information. I was thinking of joining the Armed Forces, but they no longer recruit felons. I can’t even get a job as a waiter because they work with customer’s credit cards. If I can’t get hired at these type of jobs, most management jobs are also out of the question. I tried working for the state of California in the food services area, but I couldn’t get that job either. I can’t even work for Uber! The only jobs I am hired for are low wage jobs like dishwashing, bussing tables, or janitorial work. I bring home about $1400 to pay my bills, but I need at least $2500.

The next thing I tried was working multiple jobs. However, working two jobs didn’t guarantee that I would get everything I needed to keep my bills current. The type of jobs I was able to get could and sometimes would cut my hours with little notice. These jobs were hard on me mentally because my employment with them was predicated upon me dealing with unprofessional management. I also had to deal with burnt out co-workers who were sick of their jobs which brought negativity to the environment. These types of work environments are not healthy for anyone let alone someone who isn’t mentally stable.

Negative environments fuel future depressive episodes since I begin to feel as if I can’t do any better for myself. It feels like I’m not good enough or I’m only as good as the jobs I work, like my co-workers and unprofessional managers.

If I know the solution to my problem, why do I need to talk to someone who specializes in mental health. Unless this person can give me something to aid my income generation, then there is no point in having a conversation for $100 an hour. I also don’t like medication. I value being a creative person, which means I use my mind a lot. I need it to be free so I can think up the best content. If they give me Prozac, I fear it will hurt my mind’s ability to imagine and wonder about various things. The people I’ve seen on that type of medication are zombie like and I can’t be a zombie and create a ton a content.

Again, I want a real solution to my problems. I don’t need to just talk about it unless that conversation leads to us solving my problem. I don’t want to mask my problems either with things like medication. Lastly, I don’t want to run from my problems, I just want to solve the problem.

Being Negative at Work Will Drain My Energy

Unhealthy work places
Unhealthy work places are bad for your mental health, but I have a some solutions.

As I get older, I realize the importance of working at jobs I like and enjoy. I’ve learned that being negative at work will drain my energy. I’ve also noticed that working jobs where I feel overworked and underpaid, or where I just didn’t like the people prevented me from having mental clarity. At times I would come home completely tired without a desire to write after washing dishes or busing tables all day. On those days, I couldn’t focus on even the smallest task like writing blogs or reading anything. If anything involved me getting my mind focused, I would be easily distracted and look for a Facebook game that required less thinking.

Apparently, I’m not alone in this dilemma. According to NY Magazine:

“In two surveys of full-time employees, a team led by Russell Johnson of Michigan State University found that employees who admit they spend more time criticizing and complaining about practices at work are more likely to end up feeling unfocused and unable to concentrate than their colleagues who instead suggested ways to improve things.”

The team also finds that when we work at place we don’t like or deal with co-workers we hate, we use so much mental energy that when we get home, it’s depleted. The same goes with trying to reserve your willpower in order to maintain your composure.

What is the solution to this? Quitting and finding a job you like should be the ultimate goal. However, when I can’t quit my job, I find that doing community service helps a lot. It surrounds me with people who are appreciative of my efforts, which instantly raises my spirits, thus giving me more mental clarity. Also, when I get off a hard day at work, I would go to the bar and watch a game, or hang out with friends as much as possible. This gives me someone or something to look forward to so I don’t have to think about the negative things at work, even if I’m at work.

Every Setback Sentence Acceptance Speech

Acceptance_Speech_-_Dance_Gavin_Dance

As I was browsing the internet, I came across a blog post by Tara Pringle Jefferson. Her site is called “The Young Mommy Life“. In her post she mentioned her younger sister who is in her twenties and just finished college. She has high aspirations to make a positive impact on the community and make a decent living. However, although she has a degree she is stuck working part-time, dead-end and low paying jobs.

Tara gave her sister the same pep talks people keep giving me. They include “keep your head up”, “be patient” and “life is more than a paycheck.” Although it sounds good, her sister and I have the same reaction. We don’t really want to hear that. Instead, we are looking for quick, visible results. I’d tell people about my four year degree and that I didn’t mind washing dishes, I just wasn’t going to be Al Bundy.

Tara did give her sister some advice that I liked. Her advice is, “When I’m stressed about something, I tell myself that this is simply the opening line of my acceptance speech one day in the future when I’m on stage being given an award for my contributions to the world of media.” Taking that advice, I would say my opening line of my speech would be, “I realize sometimes going backwards is the only way to go forward.” As I thought about it more, I came up with more.

Or here are some others:

  • “Nothing in my life was straightforward and easy. Of course, my post-prison life was going to be challenging.”

  • “I’ve always said there was going to be a backwards way for me to get ahead. My life once again proved that.”

  • “Maybe it was just proof I had to come up with a more creative way to get what I wanted. And damn if it wasn’t worth.”

  • “As much as I hated the struggle, I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Now that I’m done thinking of my acceptance speech opening lines, I have to remember that setbacks are a part of life just as much as moving forward is. If something stresses me out, I have remedies such as medication and journaling to get me through it.  I also remind myself of my time in prison camp and how I turned that into an advantage. I have more freedoms here than in prison camp and that means I have more freedom to change my life than I had in prison camp. Though I understand how hard life can be, there’s no excuse to allow myself to be a failure or give up because everyone struggles, but he best of us overcome it. I believe overcoming my problems is what will make me the best I can be.

Now to get ready for my speeches.

The Importance of Following Your Inner Voice

inner_voices_2012

You can hear it and you can also feel it, but how often do you ignore it? It’s the sometimes peacefully quiet, sometimes boldly obnoxious voice on the inside of you. It’s the voice that you second guess or brush off, but it’s the voice that when you follow it, affords you opportunities beyond your imagination. It’s your inner voice and it shouldn’t be ignored.

I was reading a blog post from intentblog.com and she was wrote about how she disregarded using her inner voice for a guest blog post she had written. Unfortunately, her post was rejected and she attributes this to the fact that she didn’t use her inner voice. As I read that post, I was reminded of a time I was rejected. The platform said my post was too stuffy and unreal.

However whenever I “write like I talk” or just write the way I feel about a subject, those articles seem to do better and receive better responses. Personally, I think the reason for this is because people want to read real emotions about real people. Kristin A. Meekhof said in her post, “I think we all have our own inner voice that guides and teaches us. For some of us, that voice is strong and courageous.” I think people want to see that strong and courageous voice seep through our every word.

Quite honestly, I feel better when I write with my inner voice. It makes me feel like I’m saying exactly what I want to say. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to be a writer. I want the ability to convey thoughts and my mind in a way that could help others.

I realized that if I’m not writing with my inner voice, I’m not achieving that aspect of writing. I’m actually doing the opposite, which to me, is too much like employment. I like the freedom of writing and writing from my inner voice and heart, but it’s my inner voice that gives me that type of freedom. When writing, I shouldn’t allow myself to be put into a position where my inner voice is unheard.

Is It Possible To Reach The Ceiling?

If you’re in the corporate world or even just the professional world, you understand ceilings. There are ceilings in talent, position, promotion and much more. Most ceilings are glass and you never see it until you hit it, but what if you create your own ceiling? Did you find that it wasn’t glass and you just haven’t paid attention to it or  noticed it? What happens when you finally hit a ceiling?

I remember when I was in Herlong Camp. I had a desire to leave Sacramento. I guess it was due to my previous success. I had lots of it. Then all of a sudden, I started failing and falling. After falling so far, I didn’t want to come back to Sacramento. I began noticing other talented artists, business professionals and other intellects leave the area and do very well for themselves.

Staying in Sacramento made me feel like I hit a ceiling, thus one of my many reasons I had failed and kept failing. I thought my lack of resources would also contribute to it. I was fearful of failing again.

However, now I see that I was thinking negatively. Maybe I have a ceiling because I put a ceiling there. I think I created it. I mentally created a ceiling with walls and limited my own success. The key to my future is to realize that I have no boundaries or ceilings unless I create them. Instead of focusing on the boundaries around me, I should be focusing on my time. I should also be focusing on the type of job I want to obtain as well as my craft. If I continue to focus on the boundaries, I’ll limit myself.

What have you been focused on lately? Has it created any limitations for you? Write it in the comments section below.

Why Men Don’t Discuss Sex Openly

Today I was reading a post from VerySmartBrothas which discussed why men don’t discuss their sex lives openly. Like the author, I was thinking, “All I ever hear are men talking about their sex lives.” In fact, I think men do it too much. It gets really old hearing men talk about their latest  female or greatest sexual conquest. Then they turn around and later tell the world how much of a (insert female offensive slang) she was because of (insert trivial reason that never seems to make sense no matter how many times it’s explained). Come to think about it, I’m starting to do the above statement a lot more than I’d like to. We’ll talk about that later.

The author goes on to say that the problem isn’t that we aren’t talking about sex. The real problem is we don’t talk about our feeling or thoughts about sex. I have to agree because I don’t OPENLY talk about my emotions about sex. When I do talk, I do it in small, very intimate circles and rarely in the company of people I don’t know too well or people in which with II have a “professional” relationship. That being said, there are a few reasons why I don’t talk about it.

  1. An Invitation to Whine
    I don’t want to invite guys to a whine-fest. When men get together and talk about their issues, we compain and talk in circles. We don’t have conversations with constructive feedback, which is unproductive. In fact, it’s emotionally draining. Also, most of my friends and I hang out in a group setting at bars, a place for fun. Since I wouldn’t want to ruin the mood, I avoid it at all costs.
  2. Too Exposing
    Talking about sex is extremely personal. I usually don’t care what people know or think about me, but on the other hand I don’t want everyone to know EVERYTHING about me. I know it’s contradicting, but I like the fact that people don’t know everything about me. If they did, I would feel exposed, but if I have a few secrets, then I feel like I stil have some control over my life. I portray myself to some people in a certain way and if I discuss a topic like sex with them, then it could give people an impression of me that I don’t want them to have. This is especially true seeing that people have so many interesting views on sex.
  3. Time to Work It Out
    Like any emotional issue, I try to work it out in my head as much as possible. I will also journal before I decide to take my problems to friends. Sometimes, I have a repeat problem and this way I won’t sound like I’m always whining. Instead of continuously going to the same people with the same problem, I can just work it out in meditation. However, if I can’t work it out, then I’ll take it up with my intimate circle of friends.

Despite my reasons for not wanting to share openly, here are a few reasons why I do think men should start discussing how we feel about sex.

  1. We’re Not Alone
    If we feel this way, a ton of men also feel that way. They just don’t want to look softs or like punks when they are explaining their problems.  They probably feel that way because of their upbringing or peer pressure. They don’t know how to express their feelings in a constructive way.
  2. Helping Each Other
    This could be the best way to help other men with their problems with sex. I mean, if I have a problem with sex, it would be nice to just on Google “Top ten ways to get over your emotional struggles with sex.” What if something I wrote helped a man with his sexual issues? Then one of my purposes as a writer is fulfilled.
  3. Better Sex Experience
    If men talked to each other about their sexual issues, then our women would have a better sex experience, thus we’ll have a better sex experience. If we understood how we felt as individuals when we have sex, maybe we could understand why women have so many problems with men during sex. We could solve those problems and go into sex stress free and highly confident.

Let me know your thoughts on this topic below in the comments section. Men are you willing to open up?

How To Get Someone To Enjoy Your Passions, Even If They Hate Your Passions

Black Man

With a plethora of interests and hobbies available to us, it can be hard for two people to be on the same page when it comes to making dates, having fun and exploring new activities. There are times when it’s difficult to share the remote. Watching TV and/or movies can be a tricky task when you both are interested in opposite genres. This is especially true for men that love comic books, sci-fi and animated shows.

In fact, it’s one of the problems I’ve had with my relationships. Since I’m into superheroes, sci-fi and cartoons it is always hard to get her to enjoy my passions. I guess because I’m a big kid at times.

On February 7th, I was listening to a podcast called FanBros. That day they were doing a segment about how to get your wife into sci-fi and other geek stuff. I learned a few great ideas from their podcast that I want to share. This will help me introduce my next girlfriend to the types of things I like even if she isn’t interested.

Here’s what I learned:

Find Similarities
I’ll start with geek stuff that is similar to what she already likes. If she likes mysteries, maybe start of with a Twilight Zone episode. If she like family sitcoms, then we could watch the Simpsons.  Also, when I find an actor she likes, I’ll search for sci-fi movies and shows they are acting in.

Understanding
I’ll choose a time to explain to her why I like these films and cartoons. Maybe the reason she doesn’t like my stuff is because she doesn’t understand it. I mean I mostly watch stuff like blow ’em up and somehow the hero wins in the end, then everyone’s okay type of shows. It could be hard for her to see the value in that type of prograMming. In fairness, I probably said something similar to her about her type of programming. Anyhow, I figured if I told her that I enjoy mindless violence as a way of escapism or because I have an appreciation for animation, that may make more sense to her. From there she might take the time to enjoy my programs with a new type of mindset.

Be Fair
To balance everything, I’ll need to watch the type of movies she likes that I might not like. I mean to be fair, a relationship can’t be all about me. If I want her to like my movies, it’s probably a good idea to watch a lot of her movies as well. In turn she might watch my movies just because I watched hers.

If you’re having a hard time connecting your girl to your interests, then you should try some of the things I mentioned. It sounds like a good idea and I think they will work out for you and me.

Let me know if you have any ideas for introducing your lady to your interests.

Being Positive During Difficult Times

Light streaming through forest

I swear one of the most difficult things to do is get over hard times. Everyone has them and although they create character, it’s rough to get through. It’s like trying to see the forest apart from the trees. It’s difficult because it seems like you have to focus more on the trees than the forest. In other words, it’s better to focus on one thing at a time instead of all of the things around you.

Today, I definitely had to focus on one thing at a time. First I had to go to Downtown Sacramento and deal with the bureaucracies of the county. I’ve been having trouble with collecting unemployment insurance and Food Stamps. Once there, I found out that the problem was so bad that the staff had a difficult time trying explaining to me what went wrong. In the end, I had to fill out another form called the Semi-Annual report and turn in my proof of income (which is my unemployment). After that, they gave me a meeting on Wednesday morning, but until then, I have no food. Thank God I moved in with my mom.

Since I haven’t been able to get an assignment from the temp agencies, I had to go to the unemployment office and try to obtain my unemployment insurance so I can pay for my personal bills. However, because of Federal cuts in unemployment funding, the only way to get a hold of an EDD person is to call the 1-800 number. Unfortunately for me, the call center is only open from 8 am – 12 pm and if they have too many calls in the queue, they hang up on me and I have to call again. Which I did.  I called the EDD 200 times in that four hour window–I didn’t talk to an operator. I’m hoping using the phones at the EDD office will improve my chances of getting this handled.

With me moving back to my parents house and the above events happening, things have been stressful to say the least. However, I try not to worry about the stressful stuff. I focus on the fact that now I have time to solidify my routine and rehearsal schedule. I also have a chance to focus on writing my blogs on a daily basis. I’m totally blessed that my parents have my back and I have time to work out these issues.

One technique I’ve been working on is to only focus on what I can control. That’s how I got through prison camp. I didn’t focus on things like what if count came earlier than usual, or what if the library didn’t open on time. I focused on getting as much writing done as I could because that’s what I could control. I could write anywhere at camp to be honest, so it didn’t matter that the library wasn’t opened because the CO was having a bad day and didn’t want to open it. I couldn’t control that, so I didn’t care about it. I wouldn’t even think about it.

Learning lessons like the one above was one of the greatest blessings I learned in prison. Although, I am having trouble applying all those lessons in the real world, but I’m still thankful I was able to apply this one. It is just a matter of maintaining the mindset.

What Is Too Much Sex?

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I remember when I came home from prison camp, that’s all I wanted to do–have sex! Lots of it. And I did. Well, I had more of it than I used to have when I was single. I had about one girl a month, but sometimes I had three girls in a week! If I was dating her, then we were sleeping together between one and three times a week. Sounds healthy right? Honestly, it was a bit consuming because I put sex over everything. I know it’s because I was denied it for seventeen months while in prison camp, but I made it more important than friendships, work and even paying bills on time. On top of that, I didn’t even care who I was sleeping with. I slept with all types of women from fat girls to white or black girls to ugly girls. I just didn’t care.

I was able to get it out of my system, but then I realized that too much sex is when it becomes more important than your responsibilities. When you think you need it more than anything in the world or you need it before you start to do something, then you’re having too much.

As I look back over that time in my life, I can see that it was too much because I wouldn’t talk to a girl for any reason other than wanting to have sex with her. The only thing I cared about was how long it was going to take to get her to sleep with me. When I realized what I was doing, my solution was to be celibate for a while. It took some time, but it finally worked. In fact it worked so well that I developed a habit of not wanting to talk to women in general. I went into a shell which caused me to be nervous and shy around women.

The complete turn around made me want to understand why I wanted so much sex in the first place. Thinking about it made me realize that what I really wanted was a sense of connection and affection from a woman. Knowing this, I was able to interact with others who were good to be around, like the members of my lodge. I also kept myself busy with community service or working more hours.

The other important thing I’ve done and I’m working on this now, is build my relationships with platonic friends. My theory with this is that I need to learn or re-learn how to value my female friends without turning them into sexual material objects. Now, I’m not saying I don’t want to have sex with them, but rather I’m learning how to understand them in a non-sexual manner. I’m convinced that this will lead me to better chemistry with them, while taking me away from trashy women, who are only good for sex.

Taking Gambles and Chances–And Being Afraid!

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You know the only way to get ahead in life is to take chances. Why should you take chances? If you have goals and dreams of achieving your heart’s desires, then it’s the only way to get to where you want to be in life. You have to go out on a limb in order to make things happen for yourself. My goal is to become a decently or well paid writer. I believe I’m a leader in this world, or at least I have the potential to become a leader, but because I find myself too nervous to take the leap, I’ll never truly know what it takes to maintain that status.

Not only am I too nervous to take the risk, I also fear success. Fear of success in my case, is me being afraid of actually gaining what I set my heart on achieving just to lose it. I’m also nervous about the negative side of success. I think it’s crap for people to verbally abuse you, become a hater or all of a sudden think that I changed by thinking that I’m “too good” now.

However, my most pressing concern is maintaining my success. If I can maintain it, then I’ll be just as creative then, as I am now. I also want to maintain my current lifestyle. I have freedom, I live alone and I enjoy it very much. My goal is to make enough money to prevent ever having to move back into my parents house. The only way I maintain myself now is by looking for jobs and accepting whatever is available.

What’s available? Dishwashing and serving jobs. Not too bad if you consider the fact I’m a felon and I can get a job quickly there. However, it’s not what I want to do. I mean, who wants to do that daily?  I have been serving and dishwashing and without seeing any promotion or advancement, but instead, I saw my writing suffer. This made me move from a full time dishwashing job to a temporary dishwashing job. That way I could work when I wanted and unemployment would help me from there.

On one hand, I knew what I was doing and I’m in the perfect situation–I got the time I needed to get my writing career off the ground. I don’t have to worry about being too tired after work, instead I have all the time I need to talk to people and work.

On the other hand…I’m broke like just under broke or like living on social services broke until this works out. Some may say that this was a gamble, but when I think about it, I think this gamble is worth it. It’s the best way for me to get to where I want to be in life. Now all I have to do is turn this into a blessing; I’m going to make my risk payoff in the end. All I have to do now is avoid the feeling afraid and embrace success.

What about you? Do you have a fear of success?

When it’s all said and done, would you have said more than you’ve done?

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It’s Time to Go After Your Dreams

Today I came across a quote that read:

“When it’s all said and done, would you have said more than you’ve done?”

Quickly I thought to myself, ‘yes!’ However, I had to stop and think about it. I realized that if my time ended right now, I’m not sure I’ve done more than I’ve said. I have talked about doing things, but did I actually do them? The answer is no, but why? The truth is I like comfort and predictability. Although I want to be successful, I find that I’m more nervous and overly concerned about taking a risk. I have been burned a few times already. Even though there were very few times I was burned, those few times caused me to be immensely skeptical.

There are times I get caught up in dreaming about the negative things that could happen. I find myself dreaming about the best things and fearing the worst things. My fears overwhelm my dream and I get lost in my head –a lot.

If I’m blessed to get more time on this Earth, I WILL accomplish more than I’ve ever dreamed or talked about. I’m now determined, but I need to create some goals in order to pull this off. If you’re like me than here are some ways to stay focused on the best things.

Focus on What You Want
I want to be a writer and I should focus on writing more than anything else. If I’m ever comfortable doing something, it should involve writing. I should introduce myself as a writer everywhere I go. Every step I take from today should bring me closer to writing. You should do the same. Decide on what it is you want and go after it. Introduce yourself as you desire. Make sure everything you do from today involves your main focus.

Take the Risk
If you don’t anything, it’s still risky behavior. Doing nothing is still taking a chance. It’s true! You’re risking your dreams and goals and the chance to improve yourself. Yes, you might fail this time, but try again because you may succeed. If you can learn from your mistakes, it’s only a matter of time before you’re successful.

Don’t Settle
Similar to taking a risk, don’t allow yourself to get comfortable or complacent in what you’re not doing. It’s like washing the dishes. While I’m relaxing, I could find a million reasons not to do the dishes. Complacency also comes from the frustration of needing stability. However, you have to remind yourself that there is nothing in life that is stable. People suddenly have life changing events (illnesses, accidents or death). Sure, we may have long periods of time with predictable “no drama” events, but ask yourself if those times gave you any real growth in your life.

The bottom line is we are here on Earth for a short period of time. Don’t waste it on fearing the worst. Make the best of each day by taking a risky step forward down the path of accomplishing your desires.