A Mental Exercise

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I struggle with depression. On a daily basis. On an hourly basis. By the second it feels sometimes.

I constantly grapple with issues of self worth. Am I good enough? Do I deserve the life I have? When will it all fall apart?

Do I suck?

I endeavor to build myself up even as I tear myself down. It’s unrelenting, this struggle between the productive and destructive parts of my personality. It never ends, just me circling round and round in my head. It pisses me off, to be honest. I am tired.

And it’s not just me. The world has descended into darkness. A disease has swept across the globe, while a societal disease has finally revealed itself amongst the populace. People are afraid. Depression and anxiety are more prevelant then ever before. Or perhaps, more people are opening up about their experiences with depression?

So, as a mental exercise to help me in my constant struggle, I am now writing down a list of things I have achieved in my life, as a way to quantify to myself my continuing existence. This strategy is a result of a solid conversation with my therapist, who uses Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and has thus far been so helpful in building my mental health.

So here is what I am and what I have accomplished:

  1. Indigenous
  2. Elementary school graduate
  3. Highschool graduate
  4. College graduate
  5. University attendant (maybe a story in there about those days)
  6. I have read thousands of comics
  7. I have read hundreds of novels (I read War & Peace! Not many can say they’ve done that in my circle)
  8. I grew up bathed in Rock & Roll, I was molded by it.
  9. I also enjoy other music, now that I have more exposure to different musical styles.
  10. I love Transformers (toys, er, action figures, cartoons and comics. Movies, not so much, but the animated movie of 1986 was the BOMB, Go Rodimus Prime!)
  11. I am a cat person. I have now one cat I prize above all others, named Wesley. He is my constant companion and cannot bear to be long parted from me, nor I him.
  12. I have grown up watching television (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, OG Battlestar Galactica + new series, the A-Team!, Night Rider, among others)
  13. I am a feminist
  14. I fully support LGBTQ+ (find yourself. be happy)
  15. I support issues of Indigenous sovereignty and self-government
  16. I am gainfully employed (15 years now)
  17. I was reluctantly dragged into the digital age by my S.O. (but now that I’m here, I kinda enjoy it)
  18. I am a Gamer (Gods, I love games! RPGs, boardgames, video games)
  19. I was Santa Claus once
  20. I was an advocate for my elderly mother, which lead me into guardianship and trusteeship (one of the most difficult periods of my life, but ultimately the most rewarding)
  21. At age 46, I wrote my first novel! (Humanity’s Best, buy it on Kindle and Amazon!)
  22. I am Caring
  23. I am Compassionate
  24. I am funny (at least, I think I’m funny)
  25. I am a tender lover (so I’ve been told)
  26. I am a survivor of mental abuse
  27. I am a survivor of physical abuse
  28. I have sought help when I was at my lowest
  29. More importantly, I have ACCEPTED the help that was offered. That is a big one
  30. I actively try to maintain my mental well being
  31. I love coffee
  32. I love my S.O. (you the best!)
  33. I am a geek (but not a nerd, not smart enough for that)
  34. I am Gen X (& proud!)
  35. I am a writer
  36. I am not spiritual (I am not sure if that is a good thing but it is what it is)
  37. I am a humanist pessimist (We are not special, merely one species of many that walk or crawl or fly on this planet)


That is a lot more than I expected. I am sure that I could add more but I don’t want to come across as self-aggrandizing. I suppose I could add Humble to the list. Or Sarcastic.

I am sure that by tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that, depression will find it’s way back into my mind. That is the way of depression. But for now, I am feeling better. I am happy.

To those that read this, try making a list about yourself, this has been a valuable tool to make one realise one’s self-worth.


green lit torch
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His friend quipped a hilarious comment, and he laughed.

Laughter roared around the table from the gathering of his friends.

The whole evening went on like that. The gathering of friends each striving to make the others laugh the hardest. It was a good night.

Then, the night wound on, and the gathering of friends made their separate ways home.

As the last friend closed the door behind her on her way out, his world was once again plunged into darkness. The memory of their shared laughter a dwindling light flickering off into the ebon blackness of the world he lived in. He sighed.

He felt hollow already.

He was wounded, seemingly from childhood. This tear that rent his mind, his soul, was part of him, ingrained in his actions, and his mannerisms. He knew no other way to exist. He simply assumed that the rest of the world operated in the same manner as he.

For the most part, he was correct.

So he dwelt, in this shadow world, looking for those rare moments that lit up his existence. In his youth, those ‘flares’ would occur somewhat frequently. Finding a friend, travelling to a new location, discovering a new love, learning and education. They were torches to him in his darkness.

The wounds that tore at him continued to worsen. They clawed at him, slowing him, affecting his reason, altering his decisions. They struck him down. Again. And Again.

But every time, he pulled himself up. He carried on, unaware that every time he fell, he lost more of himself on the ground. More and more of him was left behind as his wound increased.

In time, his darkness swallowed everything. His wound a ragged, a ravaging maw that destroyed all light it encountered. There was so little left of him. He was so tired.

A voice began to speak to him, at first in quiet moments, then more and more frequently as the years went by. It was Death.

His Death.

It spoke to him as a friend. Promising an end to his struggle. A cleansing of his wound.

He considered: To Leave? To Stay? There seemed only pain in this world.

His view was not unwrong.

In his travels, he obtained knowledge about his wound, and that others also suffered as he had. He learned that it was possible to repair oneself, through various means. He arrogantly assumed that he was strong enough to endure where others had fell. He had chosen take none of those options.

He was so wrong.

It was his death urge that had convinced him that he could endure, knowing he would fail in the long term.

He was not strong. He never was. The nature of his wound convinced him otherwise.

And so, in his darkness, he considered his End.

Those flares in his darkness, those loved ones, those friends, seem so far away. Almost beyond his reach, beyond his memory. Those nights, spent alone in the dark, talking to Death, were among the longest nights of his life.

He was at his End.

He knew this.

He took the only choice he had left.

He asked for help.

He had to admit that he was broken and needed help.

And help was given.

Each new day since then is still a struggle, but now he has the tools and support to continue in the world. He has hope now, for perhaps the first time in his life. He can live in this world.

And so, He Does.

Those Torches in his life saved him.