Month: August 2017

August 8, 2017 auticus 1 comment

The skipped song. I felt for the theme I was going for, it worked better at the end rather than where it falls in the album.

I think a mistake that is often made is that the second we get through a difficult time, things magically get better and there is no more work has to be done. But that’s not the case. Dealing with the fall out and aftermath is an important part of getting through and living a happier and healthier life.

At first glance, this song sounds depressing. It kind of has a “there is no point in continuing, everything is lost” sound to it. But that’s not how I see it. I hear it more as a sobering song, and one that has honest hope. The song opens with some fairly melancholy lyrics “There’s no more wind to be found, in the sails / Hands full of fallen stars and comet tails”. Doesn’t really seem to be the embodiment of hope. But as I said, it’s an honest hope.

What I mean by honest hope is this. It’s realising where you are, and where things are going to go. It’s a sort of realist view. But it’s not looking at things without any wish for things to get better. “I don’t want to pretend” is repeated through the chorus, which ties into that honest hope. It’s a desire to get through it, with the understand it won’t be easy. There isn’t a magical gust of wind that fills our sails, or a star to wish on that’ll bring us unlimited joy.

But it’s also, in a sense, a realisation of your own mortality. At some point, we all die, it’s just the way life is. To me, this song acts as a reminder to use the time we have. Each day we spend defeated is one less day we have. It’s important to remember that and live each day to it’s fullest, and strive as much as you can to overcome.

The chorus is full of that same hope. As I mentioned earlier “I don’t want to pretend” is repeated. It’s so easy to think of life like it is in the movies or books. Where seemingly right after the climax, the characters live happily ever after with little or no adversity. We don’t see that daily struggle. But it’s important to remember, and understand, you don’t have to be stronger right after. You don’t have to be the happiest person on Earth. The important part is make sure you are back on solid ground, and that you have a real, lasting peace, not just a pretend face you are putting on for others.

There is no secret sauce, magic wand, genie in a bottle, or any other sort of magical way to get through that. It’s getting up each day, and slowly working on it. Which the third verse sums up perfectly “There’s no respite to be found in the waves / Each rise and retreat will scrub the blood away.” The world doesn’t back off because we’ve been through a difficult time. It keeps coming wave after wave. But, if we keep getting up every day, keep working on bettering ourselves every day, the blood eventually is scrubbed away.

A friend of mine recently talked about habits and why they are important. Even though it’s mainly focused on writing, the truths are universal. It’s the same way when dealing with the aftermath of a difficult time. One habit that I’ve formed after going through a rather difficult time is journaling daily. I have formed a habit of writing in my journal every day at 7PM. It helps me to process the day and make sure that my headspace is ok. I’ve also had to set reminders to form habits to eat, talk with friends, go on walks, do homework, or whatever else I might want to form a habit on. It doesn’t matter how big or small that habit is. It’s one of the most important parts of getting back on track.

The important thing to remember, it doesn’t stop once the foundation is laid and the house is built. You still have daily cleaning to do, and storms that come to take you out. But, if you have an understanding of the reality of the situation, and put in the hard work, form habits, and strive every day to better yourself, you’ll be prepared for the next storm. You’ll gain the strength that the fair tale characters get right off the bat. The sadness of the experiences may never fade entirely, but they get easier to deal with, because you develop healthy coping mechanisms. Set an end goal, but start small. Form one small habit “I’m going to wake up at X time every day” or whatever else it might be. Once you have that habit/goal formed and accomplished, build from there.

Whenever I’m going through a difficult time, my dad loves to ask me a question: “How do you eat an Elephant?” He’s been asking me that question for years. He knows I tend to look at the bigger picture, and that question acts as a reminder to chunk things out into smaller, more manageable pieces. Which is what I want to leave off this series with. Take it slow, take it in as small of pieces as you need. But work at it each day. At least take one step every day. Eventually, you’ll get to your goal. You will get through it, you will rebuild, but it takes time, and that is ok.

August 5, 2017 auticus No comments exist

Man, I could go on and on about this song. It’s the song that sparked this entire series, and has become a sort of Anthem for me. It’s touched me in a way that few songs have, also one of the few songs that I actually like the music video for.

This entire series we’ve covered so many different topics, from what happiness is, how depression affects our lives, and so many different things in between. This song is where that all comes together.

A topic we’ve discussed is how to build a solid house. But, there’s one problem with building that new, stronger house. The old one is still standing. Before you can build the stronger house, you have to tear down the old one. Not an easy task at all, it’s probably one of the hardest things to do. It requires you to be at your most vulnerable. However, don’t confuse this with self destructing in a negative way. It’s not destruction for the sake of destruction. But it’s with a purpose. it’s to strengthen and build yourself up.

I love the analogy of a house for a multitude of reasons. We’ve talked about the foundation built on your own self worth, not on the backs of others, and your friends being pillars. Both are equally important to building a solid house. I also love the house analogy because houses have rooms. We often keep certain areas of our homes clean. The living room, entry way, bathroom, and other places that guests might see. But we close the doors to the bedrooms, make sure the blankets on the bed hang down to hide what’s shoved underneath.

We put on a show to those who enter. We do the same thing in our relationships with people. We only allow them into our entry way and living room. We hide all the filth and dirt from them, showing them the best we have to offer. It’s what society teaches us to do. Over time though, that house gets packed full of junk, and it’s overwhelming to try and deal with it. We don’t know where to start, or how to go about it.

Sometimes, the best answer is to start over, from the ground up. That doesn’t mean to forget everything in the past and pretend it didn’t happen. It’s not a “get out of jail free” card. It’s taking the best of what you were, and turning it into something better. It’s learning from those past mistakes and turning them into strengths. When you burn down your old life, and start to build the new one, you can learn just as much from your mistakes as you can from your successes.

But, burning down your old house isn’t just to clear space for rebuilding. It’s also exposing yourself. Showing off all your vulnerabilities. To me, it’s a proclamation to the world that you aren’t ashamed of who you are. It’s a show that you aren’t ashamed of who you are. The thing about a fire, once it takes hold, you can’t hide it. People notice. People will see your insecurities, your darkest secrets, you’ll be exposed and naked.

But luckily, that’s not where it ends. Because as I said before, it’s not destruction for the sake of destruction. Once the fire fades, and the old house is gone, you’ve got the starting point ready for you. You can start to rebuild your life in the direction that you want, not weighed down by all the baggage that you’ve had stuffed in the various cracks.

It’s important to note, that this type of rebuilding can only be done if you’ve got that solid foundation of self worth. If you don’t have that foundation, this type of exposure could lead to more harm than good. There’s a reason that this isn’t the first song, because you have to build up to it, and be prepared for it. You have to learn where your happiness lies, and how to find it. This is the last step, not the first. This is when everything comes together.

This also isn’t to say that by rebuilding your house that Mental Illness is defeated and you’ll never worry about it again. There will still be times of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. But, now you’ve got a house that can withstand those things. Think of Mental Health as a hurricane. If you’ve got a shaky house, it’s not going to fair too well during that storm. But, if you’ve built a solid house, on a solid foundation, it will probably still need some work when the storm passes, but not nearly as much as the previous house.

Which is what I want to impart on you. You are rebuilding to be stronger, and more effective. This house is meant to be one that doesn’t require months of work after each storm, one where you don’t feel safe. This house is meant to be one that you know you are safe in. One that when you invite guests over, you don’t have to close the bedroom door, or other places to hide the filth.

I don’t want to ramble on too long with this post, so I will leave with this thought. If you’ve come to a point where you’ve realised the house you’ve built isn’t strong enough to get you through the storms in your life, don’t give up. Don’t feel like you are alone in your struggle. Lean on your friends, and trust that they will help you. Don’t be afraid to admit you aren’t strong enough on your own. Talk to a mental health care provider, take the steps you need to take. But it is not weakness to ask for help.