So, as you may know, if you’ve read my blog before, I struggle with depression, like hardcore.
Now to me, depression is an unwanted life companion, it’s not something I expect to get rid of easily (I mean it’s been more than 20 years now since I started experiencing it), but in dealing with it I’ve learned one or two things and I felt like sharing some of these thoughts today. So BIG disclaimer: I’m not a therapist nor do I claim to have therapist superpowers, if you suspect you have depression, suicidal thoughts, excessive anxiety, or any other symptoms of mental disease, please do what you would do if you suddenly find an anomaly in your body: consult a medical professional.
This is the first piece of advice I’m providing today, there are SEVERE misconceptions concerning mental health, to this very day and age, it’s taboo for many people to even mention this. I don’t blame those who are afraid of speaking publicly about it, ignorance is very mainstream my friends, I’ve seen people on social media speaking very cruel things against depressive people and getting a lot of support because a lot of people who haven’t experienced it, simply don’t get it, they think it’s cheer weakness or lack of character. So find a competent professional to talk to, don’t just throw it out to the wind, and don’t ask for the “audience’s” advice on social media.
Secondly, please, please don’t make it religious: this is a health issue and science has found anomalies in the production of neurotransmitters to be associated with depression and other mental afflictions. I’m telling you this out of my experience, I spent many years in the past suffering intensely without medication because I thought this struggle needed more faith and fewer pills. As it turns out, both things have been super instrumental in helping me feel better and live a good-quality, productive life, not just one of them.
Thirdly, the doctors will always tell you to aim for a healthier lifestyle, and that feels annoying: but they’re right. Physical exercise is highly therapeutic, it helps you burn a lot of anxiety, helps you sleep better and of course, it helps you look better! Nothing wrong with feeling good about your aspect! Addictions are often very linked to depression, both as cause and consequence, it’s not unusual that a depressive person is also a very heavy smoker, as I used to be until very recently (I’ve quit for 3 1/2 months now). Other more “subtle” addictions like food or pornography are also reinforcers of anxiety since they give you quick and easy relief, but then start increasing your anxiety to consume them again. It’s very hard to deal with addictions, it hasn’t been easy to quit addictive behaviors but its totally worth the effort, my mind feels clear and I’ve found out I actually have more time, energy, and motivation to do things I’m interested in and I thought I couldn’t.
Fourth, learn to defend yourself. This may sound weird so give me an opportunity to explain it. Depression is an enemy, it’s a liar, that distorts your perception and requires you to buy its bullshit in order to sink you deeper and deeper. Yes, I’ve said before that it’s a medical thing, it is, but visualizing it as an enemy has helped me quite a bit; humans are naturally fond of stories and stories are full of archetypes. The villain or the personification of danger is actually instrumental in providing meaning to the hero’s story, villains move events, and cause courage and abilities to appear and so if you visualize depression as an external agent, an enemy, it’s harder to assimilate the thoughts it generates as if they were your own. Make it your own epic story of overcoming a powerful monster and saving your kingdom, it really is like that.
Right now, as I write this article, I’m defending myself. I’ve been feeling really bad and my only impulse is to sink myself under bedsheets, take my half bottle of Jack Daniel’s, and numb my mind with booze, just stay there in the dark feeling sorry about myself. Depression causes paralysis, and when you’re overpowered and paralyzed, that reinforces in you the thought that you’re powerless, useless, and unable to achieve the meaningful things you desire. Before ending there, it’s much easier to be preemptive in defending yourself and do it fast, not thinking too much about it. I came to my office to write a blog entry because I know that’ll get me started thinking about words, how to present the message, and how to help others going through this, and now that I’m done, I’m already thinking about a YouTube series of lectures for authors that I’ve been using to teach myself writing and I’m excited to start writing more stories.
See, I’m defending myself, I’m not what depression makes me feel but exactly the opposite.
This is a post about me, this is a public declaration of a decision that will change my life forever, I know it because I’ve taken a similar one in the past, and it did.
Let me tell you a story.
I got married young, very young. I didn’t know what the fuck to do with adult life suddenly falling upon me like a fucking iron dome, no way out. It wasn’t marriage that was the issue, as a matter of fact, this was no issue at all, my life was already a lot better than it was years before. The issue was, that I had to become a full adult as an “emergency procedure”, there was a sequence of decisions that were all about breaking free and having a very slight chance to actually build a life of my own, and the promise of these decisions came with a high cost.
It was tough. I was broken, really broken not like nowadays that everyone with a hint of anxiety says “we’re all broken” to get sympathy, fuck it. Seriously.
Do you know what it is to see everything you prepared and worked for years be destroyed in a matter of days?
Have you had an experience where something out of your control rips your life apart and effectively takes away every dream and hope you had sinking you into chaos?
Have you felt a hospital is more of a home to you than your actual home?
Have you been institutionally abused, harmed, tied to a bed, or threatened with getting electroshocks to your brain?
Have you watched every person you know move on with their life and plans, while your youth is draining like the blood of a dying man in an alley, with no hope to be helped, no one who can stop the hemorrhage?
Have you ever felt death was a gentler fate than dealing with who you are or have become?
If you have, because I’m sure I’m not alone in tragedy, then I send you a sincere hug and I tell you: this will pass, but you need to hold on to hope, focus on that and find a way out, things will get in place eventually.
If you haven’t, then I hope you never have to walk those paths, I don’t envy or resent people who’ve had a better or easier life, I believe this world needs all the happiness it can get, and I sincerely hope you’re making the best out of it.
I lost the five most important years of my young adult life, my college years, not in college as I have prepared for, getting the best grades, getting admitted to the college, and the program I dreamt of and planning everything carefully. I spent those years in between hospitals, doctors, depression and despair. It didn’t come to me because of a bad decision, it simply happened and it couldn’t be helped.
Back to where I began: adult life. At 23 I was just recovering from the darkest period of my life when I decided to make it on my own and marry. Not only was I broken mentally, emotionally, physically, and with no structure whatsoever in life but also, I was financially broke and absolutely ignorant of how things work. So I came out of a personal tragedy five years long, to an absolutely brutal struggle with my own decision of becoming independent and the poverty that came with it; when I say poverty I mean it.
Then, a life-changing decision
While I took a crappy call center job, I came across network technologies; I heard it from lots of people this was a hot trend to get into and people were being paid lots of money. I needed no more explanation.
You see, I was a failed law student because of tragedy, but that was in the past now. At this point, I was able to have a job (that was a huge achievement believe it or not given my circumstances at the time), I was just married to the best girl I’ve ever met and we were both enduring great pain. It didn’t matter that “it wasn’t my passion”, it didn’t matter that “I felt life was unfair to me”, nothing of that mattered. What mattered was that there was a very slight chance of turning the tide for us, and I took it.
It wasn’t easy, I was never a systems person, I have always been a culture and humanities person. But I’m thankful to God I had the opportunity, and the vision to believe I could thrive in this; I couldn’t afford lessons so I had to learn this by myself.
I had no computer, I stayed late at my job to use their computer and then took the bus home; my health was still in terrible shape, and doing my job plus studying was simply taking me to the limit. When I finally was able to buy a cheap Toshiba Satellite laptop, I was living in a tiny, cheap apartment full of noise and shady people, one of whom actually came to threaten me with a gun if I kept asking them to lower the music a notch. These are the conditions in which I completed my first I.T certification, after paying it with a credit card because it was impossible for me to afford the exam, and then failing my first attempt.
It didn’t matter, now I was in a different community, a different market with unbelievable opportunities and I laid my life on the line to be part of it. Many more years of study, a lot of tough on-the-job learning, and countless hours of side freelance gigs to increase my learning and development, finally took me to a proven position of seniority and the ability to pretty much choose my jobs, after a decade.
I let myself go and also my previous aspirations in order to be able to attain opportunities for me and my family. It’s taken me a lot of time to understand that there are years of my life I simply lost and they’re not coming back, nor the experiences I was eager to live during those years. But I got something different and amazing, certainly far better than what my original career was going to give me as far as life quality and opportunity.
I was blessed, and I consider myself blessed. The decision to jump into the void finally proved to be the right one.
But this is not what I want in life, it’s certainly a beautiful stop on my path to it, but it’s not it.
I told you before, I’m a man of culture and humanities, not a man of technology. I’m a thinker and a writer, and it’s amazing that I got to build a strong career as an engineer given the fact that I’ve never had fulfillment doing this.
Man, you build a life for more than one decade of continuous, hardcore sacrifice, sleepless nights, all sorts of jobs, you earn certifications, study the coolest and craziest cutting-edge stuff, build a business and succeed, then fail, rise again, build connections, travel the world with your shiny career… all of this after being poor and having nothing at all! And then come to realize this will always get you a good income, but will never fulfill you, will never replace what you know you want, what you know you are. It’s hard to know what to do.
I’ll tell you what I did: I wrote.
A New Beginning
This takes me to 07-01-2022 at 1:52 AM, the time of writing this post.
When I was a child, I used to create monsters, stories, and worlds of my own; my first short stories, I wrote just because I felt like at 6 or 7 years old. My first poems at around 9 years old, and as a teenager, I always carried a notebook for thoughts, songs, and poems, and I ended up destroying it always because I felt it wasn’t enough and because the contents hurt me more than they would help me.
It’s been extremely hard to find myself, but this is me, a writer.
I believe even if tragedy hadn’t struck me and I had carried on with my plans, sooner or later I would have realized law was not going to fulfill me the way writing and creating does.
This is me, I’m an artist.
It’s hard to find it out at 35, but it would be a lot harder to never find out and live with a deep pain I can’t understand.
My English sucks, I really need to work on it, I’m totally rusted, I have never studied creative writing seriously and I know no one else close to me who is a writer, who could give me a hint.
But I found out I have a slight chance to be fulfilled at what I do, even more, to leave a mark on other people. And I will take it.
I will keep working in technology because my career is a miracle and a blessing and because I have to fund my dreams and provide a platform for my family. But once again, I will study at night, and spend late nights writing, reading, and editing, not because I need the money like the first time, but because I need to be me.
The first serious poem I wrote as an adult, “Binary“, is my story and my promise to that broken teenager who died in darkness, that he will live again and become what he should have been, and do what he’s meant to do.
It’s Sunday evening again, and it’s been a quiet one. Quiet Sundays are my favorite.
It’s been a difficult week, I believe I’ve mentioned before that I have been working two jobs as part of a plan to save money and eventually be able to dedicate more to my writing and to build business, so that I can spend more time in culture and arts; and well to tell you the truth I was fired from one of them.
So that sucks quite a bit, and for a person like me what sucks the worst, is that I was given excuses as to why this decision was made rather than, at least an honest explanation. The truth is the whole department had issues in the last two months and a scapegoat was needed. And that would be me, lol.
So that was unsettling first, but then I also realized that I actually appreciate having the time for myself; that’s the thing with adult life isn’t it? That fine balance between time, money and energy. So I decided to make the most of what happened this week and use this time in the best way possible while I get a chance to make more money again and resume my savings.
On a happier topic, I got time today to read a lot, and I started 1984 which is a book that was gifted to me last week and I was very eager to start reading. I also spent some time reading poetry and I’m becoming a fan of Lord Byron’s.
OK I think this is good for today, I have added an email address with the domain of this website so you can write to me if you feel like. Thanks so much for reading me and have a great week ahead.
Alright! So this is really really exciting, you’re witnessing a historical moment, the first entry in the jjosuminded.com Late Night Journal, heeey!!!
In this site you’ll see a lot of what’s on my mind: poetry, opinion on arts and music, cultural commentary and so on.
But this is none of that, so I dare saying this section is for fans only 😉 Not serious at all, but as intimate as I can allow it to be, again, for fans…
This is a freely written journal I’ll keep writing at night, because there’s a special magic late at night, like a daring electricity that excites the imagination! Some of the craziest and most exciting ideas I’ve had, happened at night, most of them are stupid AF but well, there’s a magic to it.
I have to confess I’m a bit tipsy right now, I know I’m not exactly a cowboy when it comes to drinking, it’s odd I can drink 6-8 straight scotches in a row and still behave decently, but there’s something to wine (and specially Sangría) that kicks me so hard!
In any case, here are the random thoughts for the night!
This past Thursday I had an appointment to renew my passport, long story short, I’m applying for a possibility to obtain European residency so it was pretty important for me. Because eveything government-related is fucking clumpsy in this country, I had to drive 200+ KM to have my fucking passport renewed. Annoying as it was, it gave me the opportunity of visit a coastal province that’s very close to my heart. Man I was so depressed, this place is to poor and backwards in time, it seems like a completely different reality than my everyday life which I feel is very blessed; this province is important to me because I lived there for a short time as a kid and because my dear uncle died there this year, having loved this place and built a family there during his lifetime. I’m decided that when I achieve to amass a good capital I’ll go back and explore ways to develop this area, which is in terrible neglect.
On the good news (this should have been point 1), today I’m launching this web site! And I’m SO THRILLED! I mean I’ve set up websites in the past for businesses I had but this is different, because this is a portal into my mind and my whole life plan transtitioning to an active career as a writer, which has been a struggle for many years (I’ll tell you more details later). In any case, besides publishing my first modest posts, I’ve received almost immediate support by other bloggers and readers and I’m so thankful!!! Thanks for liking my poetry, it means the world to me!
Just visited a small restaurant, grill style, and ate a true feast for a very affordable price so I’m super satisfied. There was live music and I thought on how I’d love to play at a bar in the near future (I’m a bit of a music enthusiast), and it’s certainly among my plans to have my own restaurant/bar/theatre to present my own shows and the ones of crazy, talented artists doing things worth witnessing.
Also, I’ve been thinking about NFTs. Man, it’s so hard to control emotions when it comes to collectibles! I’ve got my eye on Tripsters (already own 2) and Cets on Creck (but, fuck they’re expensive 😦 ) . And it’s bear market now so prices are loooow. But then again, I’m also “adulting” lately and realizing this is a hobbie for people with a lot more money and/or less responsibilities than I do; honestly it’s a high-risk gamble and it’s expensive. So, I decided once I achieve my savings/invesment goals (working two jobs rn, so I’m fucking serious about my goals) , I’ll give myself a break and purchase some nice NFTs and hopefully some of them turn out to be a good investment.
Final one: I’m watching a series called “Severance” in Apple TV+. It’s produced by Ben Stiller and it’s just amazing. I won’t spoil, but they really manage to portray the psychological dynamics of population control by adoctrination/ideology quite well, while preserving a somewhat dystopian but relatively grounded reality of people whose memory has been split in two in order to have two “personas”: one with a personal life, and one exclusively with a work life. It gets creepy very fast and if you read into it, it also provides some good criticism concerning power dynamics, personal freedom and corporate/political tensions in society. Definitely worth watching, compelling visuals and strong characters which are carefully and well developed.