Now announcing a new site address: Unknownreilly.com!
I felt it was time for a change, being the new year. This has been something that I have been considering for six months, but I was hoping that the old site address theunknownreilly.wordpress.com would do… However, my needs have changed.
Song of the post: You ain’t seen Nothing yet by Bachman-Turner Overdrive
It’s time for me to commit to a domain website instead of one hosted a subdomain under WordPress.
I’m doing this because I feel that I hit a wall with the old host. The free plan that I had was limited by design not to be the best website it could be. Therefore, I’m going up one step to the WordPress Personal Plan. Considering that this blog is still a hobby, unlikely to be my primary source of income, and I don’t want to blog full time as a job, the $80 per year is reasonable.
This plan is $48 a year before taxes, but I bought a domain name before buying the program without knowing WordPress requires a plan to change domain names. Que sera, sera.
Making a living blogging or writing, or the minimum wage is incredibly and statistically unrealistic. Making a living writing or in the arts is hard. I’m not against hard goals. If were to shoot for a difficult goal, it would be to become a showrunner or, to be a novelist who has their work adapted into an animated tv show or movie. (animated because I love anime and animated tv shows and movies.) Most creative people have a day job and create on the side like I do.
Maybe it’s time I start to consider working towards the goal above seriously. It’s been something that I have had to drop for years because I was living in survival mode and because I had to go through the slow process of healing my mental health. I digress.
This is an investment in myself. However I go forward, the first step is by improving this blog. The skills and time I’ve spent writing and learning about SEO and blogging will help me in all aspects of life moving forward.
More changes to come
I plan on making more changes such as a theme change for the front page, which is something that I’ve thought about doing for a couple months but wasn’t sure what I wanted, or what would better fit this type of blog. I’d prefer not to have to pay for this.
One thing that I would like to change is the posting schedule. In 2022 it was, frankly speaking, random. I wrote when I could, procrastination was part, and I had to focus on self-care because of my health. It was a busy year of change too, which required more rest. For now, I feel that the content schedule I would prefer to be Monday and Thursday.
How can I achieve these changes?
The Screenshot above is of the 2022 total app use by me, tracked by Stay Free app. In 2022, I spent 2516 hours on my phone—an average of 6.9 hours daily. While a large chunk of this time is due to me watching videos on YouTube or movies on Amazon prime while working, a significant share is not. It’s time I could have used doing something else.
That being said, I could have written more or been more disciplined. I like to watch anime or animated tv shows after getting home from work, and pretty much watch tv shows or movies on the weekend… But it’s time for a change.
Experience from past failures has taught me that incremental progress and doing things imperfectly are how I grow. I get in my head too much and rationalize why not to do stuff instead of being okay with being “good enough.” I grow by doing.
The only way I can improve is by investing more time into it.
I have three planned posts coming up. First on how the blog performed, second on how my life was in 2022, and third, on the finale of the fantasy football series. I discovered that I like this type of analytic stuff last year.
I want this blog to grow and I want to grow as a writer. This is a step forward. Onto 2023! Onto Year three of blogging!
Dearly beloved We are gathered here today To get through this thing called life -Prince
It’s no wonder I’ve been burned out… It seems to be something I’ve experienced around August for the past three years. See these posts:
The above gif and prince song are a metaphor for my life this month. The arrows are emotional.
I’m covered in arrows, in pain, from multiple sources.
My brother has had a severe back injury that he can’t get treated for due to legal complications. A double trigger due to dad dying almost 20 years ago in a car accident… Which resulted in a lawsuit against our family. This wasn’t my brother’s fault, thankfully. It’s tough to see him suffering. On top of that, he caught covid. He recovered, but it was a tough couple of weeks there.
My mother is recovering from an accident at work which resulted in her going to the ER to get stitches. She’s doing better now but still healing from bruises. That was tough to see her hurt. Especially since she’s getting older, she’s still a go-getter.
Naturally I’ve been worried about both of them.
The quest for inner peace, to heal
I have been exhausted this month. Between my family being injured, the heat, being isolated, and grief. I think I’m finally in the last stages of healing from my past major breakups.
I’m not sure if I still have long covid, or all this mental and physical fatigue is from recent events or depression.
It’s a great thing that I’m in therapy again. It will be better going forward because I’m on viibryd, an antidepressant again.
I’ve had trouble writing so I’m going to do something different here and express myself in pictures since my head hurts trying to think.
Various mental health pictures that describe me lately…
I hope that soon I will not feel awful and be able to write longer posts. Sometimes your health comes first, and when you have a chronic illness such as Long covid, and unpredictable migraines, the only thing you can do is take care of yourself.
Here is a post that doesn’t have many views, but is one I treasure. It’s about my late cat Flip, who was a dear kitty that was part of my life for 18 years.
Tell me how you feel about this post in the comments. Can you relate to these images? Have you experienced these feelings below? Let me know!
I have a post scheduled for tomorrow that I’m really proud of and excited to share. Please be sure to subscribe below to not miss it!
I’m starting to feel fantastic positive feelings as a result of writing that essay. I achieved a goal I wanted. This victory shows that I am capable of so much more. This shows that all the inner work I’ve done has paid off.
This blog post is part 3 of a series of posts about this experience
I have an article in a newspaper! I told my story and hopefully will help change the world for the better. Holy shit. That’s a big deal!
This is evidence of how great a writer I could be. I had a lot of help from the Seattle Times journalist. This situation shows me that I can grow as a writer. I stood up and spoke out about problems in the mental health system. I’ll be helping someone else struggling. It feels good to help others by speaking up.
What a big deal! …
Follow up details
I need to add details to the last post and the article. I didn’t mean to overlook these details. Ever have that feeling after a conversation where you remember something after the fact? That’s been me since Monday.
I did have successes in therapy. I feel I discounted how much of an impact therapy has had when it does work. I was able to work through so much with my therapist and everyone at Sound.
They had great groups and any support you needed. I can’t say enough how grateful I am to Sound Mental Health in this therapy journey. Life from April 2020 to June 2021 was good. That’s because I was in therapy. That’s because the zoom groups were so great. Those kept me going despite the lockdown social distance phase of the pandemic. I attempted to return for treatment there; however, they only take Medicaid. Disappointing that I couldn’t continue… But I get it. Those on Medicaid who need therapy need great providers the most. Just as I did during my time there.
Groups were helpful and supportive at Valley Cities while I was there. I really enjoyed the activities and the people. The employee turnover and changing therapists was too much for me. I wish I could have found that therapist match there. Oh well. I got some helpful skills out of this disappointment.
Back in 2009, I had a favorable year-long therapy treatment that helped. We worked through PTSD I was experiencing then. A year later, I recovered from PTSD through exposure therapy. It’s what I needed at the time.
Ah… I should have accepted the suggestion by the reporter to say something positive about therapy. I hope I didn’t mislead anyone about my experience. Therapy can help. It is maddening to get that help you need.
My problem has been how hard it was to get started, get comfortable, and progress in therapy. It’s been a long roller coaster ride I didn’t want. I was frustrated because now I know how it feels to be healed. What it feels like to have your work pay off. I have become better. I’ve become a better man. I never thought life could feel so fulfilling. I forgot how success feels to achieve something difficult with persistence and hard work. Therapy became my higher power. The dream is to heal all the trauma, fix the suffering as a side effect of mental illness, and break the line of generational trauma.
I’m choosing to take this as proof that I have grown as a person. I’m enough of an adult to take care of myself by finding a therapist. I know that I can follow through and win. I know there is more to dream about. I know that I want more from life.
I wouldn’t be here without therapy, psychology, the internet, and not giving up despite the heartbreak. All the therapists and social workers all the way. I didn’t give up at my lowest. I somehow held on. I wouldn’t be here without all the excellent support from my aunts and uncles on my mom’s side of the family. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have my cousins. I wouldn’t be here without blogging. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have my cats. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have my mom or brother. I wouldn’t be here with my friends. I am here because I had so much support along the way. The pandemic has shown how many good people I have in my life.
This is a victory for my values. A concept I learned with my previous therapist. This is a life-changing victory on all levels for me. I am more capable than I ever thought possible. I stood up for better mental health. I stood up for better healthcare. I stood up for civil rights. I stood up for personal accountability. I did it because it felt like the right thing to do.
I’m back in the arena, ready for the next mountain to climb.
I’ve become a published writer in a big publisher!
I’m the first family member to be published in the Northwest section of the Seattle Times! My mother, the poet, hasn’t done this. She’s been writing for 40-plus years. My cousins won state championships in high school basketball but they never did this. Nobody on either side of my family has achieved this.
I have made it, and the 15 minutes of fame are over. It was nice while it lasted. I’m grateful to have wrote that. I’m grateful for the experience.
I’m back to square zero. I gotta figure out the next goal. What do I desire?
Songs of the post: All My Life, My Hero By the Foo Fighters.
A couple months ago in April, I wrote to my local newspaper for an article pitch.
The Seattle Times has a series of articles about mental health called The Mental Health project where they ask the local community about their experiences…
“The Mental Health Project is a Seattle Times initiative focused on covering mental and behavioral health. The project illuminates a growing mental health crisis in the Seattle region, Washington state and beyond. It explores the many types of mental illness people experience, spotlights promising treatments and research, and examines actions by government agencies, nonprofits and health providers to address the problem.
Evidence points to worrying signs of a mental health crisis in the Northwest, across the country and around the world, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, economic fallout and the nation’s racial reckoning. The rise in anxiety is straining schools, legal systems and social services, and disproportionately hitting vulnerable people, including people of color. In the Puget Sound region, Seattle Children’s has seen a concerning increase in visits for psychiatric emergencies, and schools are grappling with the effects of trauma and stress on students’ ability to learn. Adding to the challenge: a shortage of therapists and other options for treatment.
The Mental Health Project explores these issues and more. The project is funded by Ballmer Group, a national organization focused on economic mobility for children and families. Seattle Times editors and reporters operate independently of our funders and maintain full editorial control over all coverage.
Our team — editor Diana Samuels, reporters Hannah Furfaro and Esmy Jimenez, and engagement editor Michelle Baruchman — welcomes the community’s help in guiding and informing our coverage. Please email any thoughts, tips or story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org, share them on Twitter at @stmentalhealth, or leave a voicemail at 206-464-2090.
Back in April, on 4/20/22 (Omg, both the classic stoner holidayandAutism Awareness month! I find this funny because I am both Autistic and a Stoner. I never noticed until today… Haha), I wrote to their project email account, pitching an article idea. I had read an article in the Seattle times newspaper about feeling anxious about returning to the office. I decided to take a chance and write to them about my experience in the mental health system. An Autism-centered story proposal- The lack of formal diagnosis tools for adults. I honestly didn’t expect my story pitch to be accepted… let alone published.
That week was so stressful, A classic Murphy’s Law week where what could go wrong, did. I was home after getting awful side effects from the Moderna booster shot. I felt called to write this article because of my past experience and it felt like the right thing to do. I would regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t take the chance to make it happen and possibly make the world a better place.
The Article after this awesome quote by Terrance McKenna, and drawn into a comic by Gavin Aung Than.
I was diagnosed with autism at 34. We need more research for adults.
I’m 36, and it wasn’t until two years ago that I was diagnosed with autism. I was lucky to even find out.
The years before involved multiple therapists that didn’t work, medication that gave me bad side effects, and misdiagnoses. Navigating insurance was a constant struggle.
The first psychiatrist I saw prescribed amphetamine medication for ADHD. That medication resulted in three heart attacks at age 22. Another psychiatrist prescribed two dozen different medications. Only one worked for ADHD, but my insurance didn’t cover it so I couldn’t afford it. I can only take it now because there is a generic form available.
It was hard for me to connect with therapists because I didn’t know how therapy worked, what kinds of treatment are available and that it’s based on developing comfortable, trusting relationships.
I later sought help from the mental health organization Valley Cities. I went through several therapists there with no success. One left for another job, one finished her internship for college, and a couple just weren’t a good fit for my needs.
It was also around this time that I started to believe I may be on the autism spectrum. No other diagnosis was fitting completely; depression, anxiety and ADHD only partially explained the behaviors and symptoms I had in social situations. Information I found online showed me that I did have some traits and could be on the spectrum.
I asked my Valley Cities therapist at the time what I had to do to be tested. She said the only testing available was designed for children and teens, and I would have to go to Children’s hospital in Seattle or search online for a test. This is like asking a person with a broken leg to go buy new bandages and medical supplies on their own, without help.
I gave up in frustration and despair. Medication somewhat worked, but the side effects were awful. And although therapy groups were helpful, I needed an individual therapist I could trust. I had been spinning my wheels and not feeling or seeing improvement in my life. My faith in the system was shattered.
Meanwhile, I needed to work full time to pay bills, so I took a job as a cook, which meant I had to give up my Washington state Medicaid coverage. Suddenly, everything that had been covered through Apple Health, including therapy, medication, doctor visits and sleep studies, was in peril. The cheapest, lowest-coverage insurance was all I could afford on minimum-wage work.
The early days of the pandemic, and the months leading up to it, were excruciating with few moments of joy.
My 18-year-old cat died, I lost my job, and the pandemic ended the board game night I attended at a friend’s house. I was smoking too much marijuana, and drinking too often. I was close to attempting suicide. I was toxic in a breakup with a friend who didn’t deserve it, which was the last straw.
I asked my mother to bring me to the hospital. The therapist at Swedish referred me to Sound Mental Health. I’m grateful that I chose to try therapy one more time, despite years of mixed results, because finally, luck went my way. I was assigned a therapist after a consultation who could treat me. As we continued working together, I began trusting her and we clicked.
On my third appointment, I asked about getting screened for autism. My therapist at Sound found a test for children and teens and asked me a series of questions, although some weren’t relevant for my age. I found out I am autistic the week of my 34th birthday in April, which also happens to be Autism Awareness Month.
Finding out was a relief because I now have something to work off of, and I know why I behave a certain way or struggle in social situations.
With a guide and stable professional support, I spent the pandemic working on myself full time. Therapy over Zoom worked for me. I met my Sound therapist in person at a park last summer for our final visit.
These days, I’m doing better. I’m in the process of self discovery and self awareness with autism. I am seeing a new therapist through Kaiser to work on the skills I began developing and practicing in 2021, and I smoke less weed and drink less alcohol than I did two years ago.
I do sometimes wonder if I’m having brief setbacks because I felt more comfortable during the lockdown than I do in the regular world.
But I’m also thinking about how long this process took.
It’s hard enough to find a therapist who accepts your insurance, accepts new clients, and has availability during the day that fits around work schedules. How am I supposed to grow as a person on the spectrum when autism in adults doesn’t have a formal guide of how it presents, and how to fit in?
There needs to be more research on autism in adults. It’s odd that I had to find out myself by looking online. Autism presents itself differently at every age group. By not having this knowledge for adults, we are causing unnecessary harm by misdiagnosing medical conditions.
Reilly Anderson lives in Seattle and works in the cannabis industry.
Thank you for reading this post, and this article! If you enjoyed this, please subscribe and comment below!
July 4th. American Independence day weekend. I don’t feel like celebrating.
Living in America feels like a bad dream. A never-ending nightmare of bad news. Yeah, there was that legislation to improve gun safety. But will it really change anything? I doubt it. It feels like another feel-good, a little too late, a middle-ground bill that pleases nobody… And the violence continues. We really need young people in charge. We really need non-corporate slaves in charge. Voting Republican isn’t a solution. Their goal is to create more problems. Way too many were cheering when January 6th happened when America almost became a fascist state.
I’m tired of Joe Biden being a caretaker president. Nothing has changed. His best argument when running was that his long record as a Senator would help him pass legislation through our deadlocked (by republicans) congress. That hasn’t happened. Sure, he has signed many Executive Orders, but those will be canceled by the next eventual republican. We gave him a good shot to get things done, to make big changes… And it hasn’t happened. I’m not voting for him again. I’m so tired of getting my hopes up with politicians only to be disappointed.
So far, he’s been the “Not Trump” candidate.
We need an actual liberal as president. Who isn’t another corporatist wearing a democrat mask? We need leadership that will be alive after their time as president is over, so they must live through the consequences. We need a president who hasn’t lived in the DC bubble, has worked a regular job for a living recently and is not wealthy. I love Bernie Sanders, but the man has done enough for the US. AOC would be a good choice for any of The Squad. There aren’t enough women holding office anyway. It’s embarrassing that we still haven’t had a woman as president. It’s fucking time.
I’m so grateful to live in Washington state. I wonder if things will improve in my lifetime here in America. It sure doesn’t look like the corporate hold over this country will soon disappear. Problems keep piling up, and these piecemeal, half-ass (aka middle ground) solutions won’t cut it any longer. So no, I won’t be celebrating this independence day weekend. Because we, as a country, are dependent on capitalism and corporations. As long as wealth exists, there will never be true equality. Never because some person will be able to be above another.
What am I supposed to do when I can be outspent by some rich person who can donate more money than I will make in my entire life? What am I supposed to do when those same rich assholes own news companies and can indoctrinate millions into what they want? My one vote only goes so far. I can only convince so many people. What am I supposed to do when a group of appointed assholes makes decisions based on their beliefs and not the law? Do we even need the supreme court? Do I even want to be an American?
I’m so exhausted from watching this country slowly disintegrate from a democracy to some nightmare straight out of 1984.
Also, fuck fireworks. They are loud and noisy everywhere these days. They cause pollution. Most of the time, they are set off late at night on a random day and time when you’re trying to sleep, just like a car alarm going off. Of all the amazing things in life, and this modern world, seeing or buying fireworks is the last thing I want to do.
Alright, enough complaining. Here are things I can celebrate.
I opened the WordPress app today and saw that the all-time views passed 5000! Wow! That’s a big deal for a personal blog like this! I’ll take it!
I dropped the ball on the 1000 likes landmark and should’ve celebrated it sooner. It happened with this post:
I’ve blogged about it quite a bit. I keep talking about it, but I am not moving forward. Well, not quite. Last week, I began seeing a therapist again. I started seeing a life coach. My scrolling Instagram for hours is paying off because most of that time is spent watching therapy-related reels and images.
I went and saw my buddy on Saturday. He’s going through a hard time, and it’s tough to see him in pain. I’m grateful to have been there for him. That I do have him as a friend.
Feels like everyone is struggling these days…
Since I started in March 2020, the hardest part of this journey has been to pick myself up from rock bottom as my life started over at that time. Relationships changed. People changed. I changed. Life changed. So much so that I’m still adjusting to this new normal.
I had to learn the hard way that the only person to save me is myself. It’s okay to ask for help. Or for support. The bottom line is that I have to be the person to do so. Others do want to help. Others want to be in your life. However, you have to advocate and be there for yourself. It’s part of being an adult. To be healthy.
Despite all the difficulties, there are little things to celebrate. So that’s something… Guess I got that going for me. 😑🙃
I’d like to thank everyone who has taken the time to stop by this blog, read these posts, comment, and like them. I appreciate it. It makes my day. Doing so makes me feel not alone because others connect with my writing. It’s the one way I feel connected to the world and others. It’s hard to cope when I take a lot of time to write, edit, and advertise a post and few people read it. Please continue to stop by.
Song of the post, United in Grief by Kendrick Lamar
(I’ve been listening to this album on repeat, it’s a new favorite and I captured this moment in time perfectly.)
This week at work, everyone has a performance review meeting with management. It’s been in the works for a couple months, delayed by people catching covid and missing work like I did. Even though I’ve known it’s coming… I’m anxious about it now that it’s judgement day.
Okay maybe not that dramatic.
Had great feedback so far, and so much support and mentoring by my bosses.
I can’t help but feel worried about it. After last week, I have clarity what parts of my work self need improvement. I was brutally, then fairly honest on the self eval I did for myself. I was so brutal to myself that the big boss gave me a call to check up on me.
The same company that gave me a raise in last year’s evaluation. Said I had (now am) management potential? I’m not going to sit on my current success, or not keep improving. I’m practicing my job daily. I like working here with at this company with all these great people because I discover more about life. Because I’m discovering more about myself.
Work used a standard online survey with question boxes and multiple choice questions.
I learned yesterday that my review is delayed until they get more answers from the employees I’m in charge of, which will evaluate me and my department manager. I really hope we are doing well in their eyes. We work well together and he is a good dude. Much better with people than I am.
The anticipation is maddening. In the few hours since I learned that the employees would rate me too, I’m thinking back to every conversation, every interaction to try to determine if the good outnumbers the bad or potentially bad. Or that strange two face inner self that is half “positive reinforcement, Hope for the best” and half “Oh no, what if (insert catastrophe). The waiting is the hardest part…
This got me thinking…
When was the last time I checked in with myself to evaluate my life in this format? Looking back I’ve been over 3 months, six months, a year? Or the opposite… Looking forward 3 months, 6 months, a year?
How am I doing in life? It’s been a while since I last felt the desire to ask: What do I want to do? Who do you want to be? Is the way I am living, the choices I’m actually making… In line with that?
I wouldn’t be able to have this privilege without how well the situation is at work.
Why can’t I have the life I want?
Why not me?
What do you want, Reilly?
All important questions to ask and valid. For today, or until I find out how I’m doing in the self evaluation at work, I unable to think about it. Gotta have faith that everything will work out no matter what happens.
A further dive within, and answering these questions is a topic for another time. To be continued…
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It sure feels like a covid aftershock is on us. Some family members and people at my mom’s job are getting it. There’s been a streak going on at work. People have been either exposed to someone close or caught it themselves. The latest is my supervisor. Which means as the assistant manager, I’m the one in charge. I’m responsible for the room until he returns.
Thankfully, one of the big bosses has been in every day. It was a recent and necessary change. It’s so nice to have him around. I like how our owners care about everyone, care about the day-to-day details, want a safe and welcoming workplace, care about feedback while giving honest, professional answers, and model healthy communication.
I didn’t realize it was Thursday yesterday until I drove home. I’ve been so focused on doing well at work, keeping up with new and old duties, and basic life maintenance that I’d lost track of the day.
I’m falling asleep as I type this. Eyelids slowly closing. I was so tired that I went to bed at 8pm.
Been going to bed early, not getting up earlier at 5am because I’ve been so tired. Except for Monday, when I had a migraine and had to recover.
I’m losing focus, so I’ll continue tomorrow…
Though I had a brief period back in January/February where I was a department manager and was okay overall, I don’t want to.
I’m better in a support role and working with my department lead. I came to peace with this in What if it all works out?, Two weeks ago. This isn’t to say I’m not ambitious or could improve on things like my people skills and communication. I’m at peace with where I’m, who I am, and who I want to become. I think we have a good balance between our department managers.
It’s been helpful to have the upper bosses around and checking in often this week. I’ve had a little experience managing people back in cooking school, which was half a lifetime ago 😬…
Along with them modeling how to be a good boss, I’m learning how to effectively communicate and see nonviolent communication in action. I’ve read a lot and watched many hours of relationship skills. However, it’s different to see it practiced in a situation.
Recently our department and certain employees haven’t been hitting our goals. My gut tells me that there was a communication gap somewhere on the line. Based on how well we communicate, I know it wasn’t me, my department manager, or our boss. In any case, this is the work environment I’ve sought for a long time. I’ve had many jobs and haven’t had that right balance of work I’m good at + the work environment I fit into + employers/bosses that fit my needs + a consistent schedule + good coworkers. (Though I haven’t had trouble with coworkers in my work life.)
Work and my bosses are giving me an example of the man I want to be. The person I want to be. I want our department to be successful. I want the business to succeed. I want to be successful.
Today, my department lead returned. It’s nice to have him back, as some of the pressure to be the person in charge is off. I do enjoy being the lead for a couple days a week. We have overlapping duties, and I have been letting him do many of them… But I’d like to do that a little bit more than trimming full-time. I’m sure he’d be happy to rotate duties a bit since we get along well. I just got to do it.
Everyone’s performance reviews are coming up next week. I’m nervous, fighting off the “You’re going to be fired” thoughts, even though I have no reason to be. I am enough. I am doing well. I am worthy of this management job.
This means I’ll have to increase anxiety-related self-care. This part of me is saying that it needs attention.
I got to get ready for work in a minute. Coco is lying on me on the couch, purring after her morning neck nuzzles, and I want to finish writing. I don’t want to get up for work. Despite enjoying work. I don’t want to let my boss down. I’ve missed too much work recently and have no sick time.
Alright, gotta psych myself up to get out the door…
(I did it! And made it through the day! A good day at work!)
Post Script: Man, it was hard to write this week. Finding time when I wasn’t exhausted or spent was a challenge. The key is that I’m improving. I increased my time management skills by pushing just enough to write a little bit, edit a little bit, and recognize when I had 10 minutes here or 15 minutes there to put words on the page. Sometimes writing is a psychological negotiation with yourself. I’ve won by focusing on improving a little bit and committing to finishing. Hopefully, this will help someone else out there struggling to write.
In short, I stepped up at work. I stepped up at blogging.
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I am so guilty of this, that it’s like a served a term in a jail of my own making. For many years I was stuck in life and mired in depression. While a large portion of this suffering was due to traumatic things happening to me, processing my own issues, and the pains everyone goes through in finding one self, there was a part that I could do something about. That I can take action about every day.
For a long time, I was that person who lived by the mantra: “As soon as I have/am _____, I’ll be worthy. I’ll be enough because I have: a well paying job, live on my own, or am healthy with no mental health issues or problems.
Yes, being independent and self sufficient with the ability to take care of yourself are needs everyone has. You work on those every minute, hour, and day.
That doesn’t mean you are enough as you are right now. Every person on earth has worth. The point being that I made the choice over and over again for years that I wasn’t enough to take a shot on something because I felt unworthy. Insecure. Not mature enough.
Even when life put the goal right there in front of me and asked: what are you going to do?
Too many times I avoided it.
This missing out on potential friends, activities I might have enjoyed, connection with existing relationships, standing up for myself, saying what I want and need, and missing out on so many romantic opportunities. Rarely, I’d make a shot, but it’d be a partial success, or the puck would bounce off the boundary. Each time I felt like a failure and gave up. I was already in a low place, and didn’t get understand that you have to fail. Failure is part of life and part of success, however you define success for yourself, your life.
All because I didn’t feel like enough. That I wasn’t good enough because I work an entry level job. I wasn’t worthy of women because I have mental health problems. Because I haven’t moved out and live with my parent.
I avoided even when all flags were green and the goal was wide open, assuring success. Or that I would have made the goal if I believed in myself that I’d make it, despite a life defending the goal. I’m enough right now. People will like and appreciate me as I am. And I can work on myself too.
That time has gone and passed. I can’t go back and change things. Each a lesson. Which I had to experience multiple times because I was in denial and life kept throwing these situations at me because it was necessary.
So, I said: Fuck it.
I’d much rather fail, and fall on my face than regretting not trying.
I’m going to have my issues, and working on myself for the rest of life. I’m not perfect, and this is who I am, where I’m at in life.
The pandemic really cemented my “Fuck it” attitude. Half the US decided not to wear a mask or get vaccinated because they don’t care about others, no matter the consequences. This same group attempted a coup because their feelings were hurt and they’re sore losers because Trump lost the 2020 election for president of the United States. I’m so tired of Trump supporters. It feels like Trump and his anti-democracy cronies are getting away with the Jan 6th coup.
The one upside to this madness, is that it’s given me clarity on who I am as a person and the values I put into practice in life.
It feels like every week, the United States is on a downward spiral as important problems are left unaddressed, or stonewalled in Congress. Rights such as the choice to abortion, taken away. Where is the hope of positive change forward for all, America?
I feel helpless, horrified as the world goes to a dark future. Signing petitions, and sending emails to my senators hasn’t helped. What can they do when every republican senator refuses to compromise at all? When Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Kristen Cinema of Arizona play games, are misleading with their views. Come on Biden, get it done…
Can’t do anything else, so… Fuck it!
I’ve set my focus to what I can control. Use my time on changing the world for the better.
Therefore, when I saw an article in my local paper asking for content about mental health, to contribute to their series of articles about it, I jumped at the opportunity.
One idea immediately came to mind. The lack of diagnostic tools for adult autism. When I was first diagnosed on the spectrum in April 2020, right before my birthday and at the beginning of the pandemic, my therapist used a questionnaire designed for kids potentially with autism. And to my knowledge, nothing has changed. There are mental health questionnaires for people if all ages for depression, anxiety, and ADHD, but not autism.
I wrote an email to the designated email by my local newspaper, figuring that even if nothing happens, I have it a shot. I tried at speaking up for others like I did, struggling to know why. Because it was a clear problem that could be solved with some light shed in it.
I sent the email and…
My story pitch was ACCEPTED! Holy shit. I didn’t expect this to happen, so I’ve been shocked! I haven’t gotten the go ahead, or asked what would be acceptable to post publicly on a blog regarding the article, but it’s really happening! I’ve had a couple email threads with the reporter in charge of this article series, and she’s liked what I’ve sent so far! Which is an overview of what I plan to write about, my experience with autism and the mental health system, and an article outline. I have my first draft due on Sunday. I haven’t written any new content for that in 10 days. As Sunday approaches, I’ve become more anxious. Anxious and stressed because I get to write this, the two blog boosts I get to do, and be the man(ager) in charge today and tomorrow at work since my fellow leads are out of town.
All this happening because I made it happen. Dude… Yes. Keep moving forward.
Cover photo credit to my brother! He took this awesome lunar picture with our mutual friends telescope!
Side note, post script: I really need to improve the layout and presentation of the blog. I viewed the home page, and it needs work. I don’t feel it’s the best it could be. I need to learn why, and how to make the most of it.
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Times like these, live acoustic version, Foo Fighters
What a difference two weeks makes.
I’m still standing here. The booster shot kicked my ass. I survived. I’m tired and worn out after a hard workout, but I’m okay. I stood up for myself and my values at work, and everything turned out great! I’m doing an excellent job at work, according to my bosses, despite the mistake. Coconut seems to have recovered from the UTI. Life is going great. I’m not over long covid, but it’s manageable. What’s important is that life feels it is moving forward in an unexpectedly excellent positive way.
I’m reposting this Rocky Balboa quote because it still speaks to me in these good times:
“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that! “
I’m winning at life right now
I haven’t been able to say that in a long time.
Being able to express me through blogging and meeting people with this same interest is much better for connecting. You can have friends and people there for you of all types. It’s been a long time since I felt inner peace. Felt at ease being myself. Able to communicate my needs with others and live my values.
It’s been a long time since I’ve felt at peace that I can be myself with anyone. While there were brief periods where I felt at ease, confident, and with little insecurities, it was short. Life beat me down. This breakthrough may have been under the surface due to the pandemic. Being at rock bottom, healing, and being cautious because of the need to survive are factors. The pandemic isn’t over yet, and I’m still taking safety measures…
But it’s all working out. I sure didn’t expect that in (cringe) these uncertain times. (Can we agree as English speakers to kill this phrase after all this?)
I didn’t get here alone, and I’m so grateful I didn’t have to. Yes, I did the hard inner work and improvement. I feel like a man.
Acts of kindness
There was an uncomfortable incident in a meeting where a coworker was being critical and making us comfortable with their feedback, which wasn’t asked for and was unprofessional. Right after, my boss apologized to everyone there for the situation.
Earlier that week, my boss gave me a high five as I was on my way inside to eat lunch, holding a stack of small containers. I did that strange thing one does when you want to have a pile of stuff with one arm, holding it between my left arm and chin. High five accomplished. Lol.
The next day, the owner does the same and says he wants a culture where everyone is treated with respect, no matter what their job title. The latter reinforces my POV of my email, which caused a problem at work and got me in trouble because I overshared. In short, massive green flags. I can make mistakes, and my bosses will work with me to grow as a person.
I ordered lunch at this amazing restaurant called Damoori Kitchen. They serve delicious Lebanese cuisine. It’s barely close enough to drive to for pickup, and back in time to eat at lunch. I get there, it’s like 115, but my order wasn’t made because the counter person missed the sound cue. Which sucks, but disappointing. They offer to make it right away, but I explain that I can’t wait because I’ll be late returning for lunch. They refund my order, but I’m left hungry. Damn. I return to my car, and as I’m about to back out in reverse, the owner waves to me so I pause, and she brings me some pita chips, eggplant dip, and hummus free of charge! Awesome.
I feel well enough to blog on a regular schedule once more. I physically couldn’t due to long covid, starting this new manager position, and a problematic coworker who drained me because of their drama… Thankfully that’s resolved. My plan, for now, is for eight posts a month/twice a week to improve the quality of my writing and my SEO knowledge/skill. The key is to keep moving forward.
Another small covid outbreak at work… I know there’s another surge, but come on. Enough is enough. The timing is not great. My boss was nice about me notifying them about the doctor’s note I gave them about missing two days’ work. I went to urgent care on Sunday because I woke up with chest pain and had trouble breathing. I wasn’t sure what was happening. I got up, focused on breathing, got some water, and waited to see how I felt and to look up my symptoms on duckduckgo. I did get the vaccine two days earlier, the Moderna booster ( the previous two shots, the Pfizer vaccine series), so while I was concerned, I decided to see how I felt in the morning. I had similar but less severe symptoms, so I played it safe, called the nurse line for my healthcare, and sought advice, which was to go to urgent care. Thankfully after a series of tests, I’m okay. I can’t relax because I suspect this bill will be a couple of grand because of our shitty healthcare system in America. I have the best plan I can afford. I’m glad I’m okay on the typical tests, and this is likely a combination of panic attacks and mild booster symptoms, but ugh. I’m tired of the coronavirus and the pandemic… Tired of long Covid controlling my life. Ugh.
I’m already dealing with post-verbal warning emotions; I assume I was under close watch after my big mistake last week. Coco had to go to the emergency vet last Wednesday because there was blood in her urine. It turns out to be a UTI after tests. She’s been peeing in my room on clean laundry and my bed, even after I did all my laundry. I’ve had to use a spray bottle with water on Coco to stop her from peeing everywhere. We haven’t had to use this to correct her behavior for a long time. I had no choice. I take her off my bed, then she leaves the room, comes back, and tries to pee again. Thankfully it’s only a handful of drops, and I’m not seeing blood or pink-colored urine. It’s still gross. It’s frustrating because I don’t want her to suffer from pain or a UTI. It’s frustrating because I still have to deal with this while not doing great emotionally or physically. Thank goodness mom offered to help do laundry.
Radical acceptance, one hour at a time.
Life’s been so stressful lately. I have to focus on what’s going well. I’m killing it with boundaries, values, and communication. I began from a Pot Hole and am choosing effective responses. The past seven days started with boundary mistakes and adjusted. I’ve been standing up for myself, what I believe is correct, and accepting feedback from others. The blow to my ego and shame from breaking my values at work is lessened. Sending an apology message to my bosses helped. Now, I have to have faith that things will work out for the best. I’m doing everything I can.
I’m not letting anxiety take over completely. Thanks past, Reilly! Because you didn’t give up on working on therapy, on yourself, or the problems you learned about Radical acceptance. I’m participating in life. I’m feeling everything. You did that. I’m filling my tank. It’s okay to ask for things you need. For help from others. It’s not black and white.
It’s not arrogant to take care of yourself and be kind to yourself when life’s tough. Or any regular day, for that matter.
Maybe this is that quote on self-improvement Instagram accounts that goes something like: “This situation is showing you what you can handle, and that you handle much more life that you think you can.”
This week is showing me that I’m ready for more. Soon as my mental and physical health recovers. I’ve been kicking ass at life, finally, despite long covid. Remember the good stuff. The small stuff. I am getting better, slowly. I am becoming a better adult, slowly. Slowly forward.