Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Anchor Or Life Jacket?

No silly photographs.  No ridiculous attempts at quirky humour, such as, this guy asked me if I would like an ice cream sundae, to which I replied, 'well, I'd rather one now, thanks.'  Indeed, my postings have been my way of trying draw attention to myself.  Can you sense the irony?  A virtual recluse seeking attention.
Overwhelming negative aspects to my environment came so close, oh so close, to undermining the remaining fragile shreds of dignity and self respect that lingered in the back of my mind.  For there were those who saw me as a mere shadow of a man and preyed on my vulnerability.  What sort of person would relish with glee the plight of their fellow man?  Perhaps they take comfort in bullying easy targets to mask their own insecurities.
I have mental health concerns.  I openly admit that I cracked and came so close to dying.  Situations so traumatic, turned me from an outgoing and happy guy to a sad and lonely recluse.  Yet I fight on and, to some degree, I am so much better now.  I don't have a lot of social contact and that is where my blog has played a vital role in my ongoing battle with my mental health.  Each posting a positive coping mechanism.  In fact, I would go as far as to say that writing has saved my life.
I am a positive guy.  When I do venture out most people pick up on my friendly vibes.  It warms my heart to see them smile.  I go home and the buzz of my few minutes out, makes me realise, that maybe, just maybe, I'm worthy to 'impose' myself on society.
I never thought I'd become mentally ill.  I mean, shit, that only happens to other folks.  Oh, how wrong I was.
Through all of this I have discovered the power of empathy.  If you were drowning in the negative sea of despair, some would throw you an anchor.  I would throw you a life jacket.

I look into the glow of a solar lamp and reflect upon the day just gone.  Here's to a kinder, non-judgemental, more compassionate world.


  1. Hey, love. You threw me a life jacket just last night when I felt like I was drowning. I see a lot of myself in what you wrote. I shut myself off from people, distance myself from relationships, I've made a bit of a recluse of myself in the last couple years. I am so so thankful for the relationships I've made through blogging and the feedback and the life jackets, as you say.

  2. Hi Gucci Mama,
    I really appreciate what you have noted. I want you to know I have great respect for your transparency and your candour.
    I have sensed, since I first had the great privilege of reading your blogs, that you related to the cathartic and therapeutic aspects on offer through the power and the magic of the written word.
    I too am most thankful for being a part of a positive interaction community. Of which, you are thought provoking and shining example.
    I am heartened that I impacted you with my genuine encouragement, last night. Gucci Mama, the gift of empathy is powerful
    With respect and kind wishes, Gary.

  3. I think you already know how I feel about your condition and you, yourself... but, I'll tell you, just in case.

    I have great sympathy for you concerning your metal illness and I have great admiration for your ability to show your true feelings in your writing, Gary. As I've mentioned before, any time you want to drop me a line when you're even a little feeling low or in the depths of hopelessness or loneliness, I'm there for ya, dude. I will not judge. And I do not give unasked for advice. But I will help by reading and responding with consideration.

    As you know, I have been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder for a some time now. I went through years of therapy and tried five different types of antidepressant medication before I found the right one. What you may not know is how many times I came close to offing myself. I thought how easy it would be, especially with my serious health problems. I thought about going off into the woods in the back and just allowing to let nature take it's course. Without my medication, I could be gone in a couple days. Tops. Thankfully, those extreme thoughts are rare, nowadays... almost nonexistent.

    You've never really said too much to me about exactly what traumatic situations you went through that changed your life. Except for maybe a few things on your post and here and there. If you ever want to write me about them, you're more than welcome to. If you never want to or don't feel like it, that's fine, too. Just know that I'll gladly throw you a life jacket, my friend.

    Take good care, Gary

  4. Dear Gary, very reflective post you have here today, and I can feel your gratitude at having reached to this phase in your life that you are comfortable with the balance of things.

    I have been on that patch of road myself, and sometimes the episodes do come, without you having a say on where it's leading you or how you should stop it.

    But with time and more of your positive experience in life, you will get the hang of being you. Sometimes (in my case), I get very critical of myself, that I can't just move. I feel the same like you, that writing is sort of a therapeutic way to organize the crazy thoughts in my head, and connect with wonderful persons from all over the world. That's something for a hermit like me. =p

    Smile, Gary! =)

  5. Dear Gary
    Your blog must help so many other people. It is good that writing helps you come to terms with your life and how you feel and for those who are unable to write as you do, I certainly hope they read your blog. I feel many folk would draw some comfort knowing that they are not alone if the find themselves in a dark place through mental health issues. Your battle to remain positive is inspirational and one that I hope you will put in a book some day!
    Magical wishes

  6. Gary, you have my respect and admiration. People who have never walked down that path have absolutely no empathy. Keep up your good courage and know there are many who care...and understand.

  7. mr gary for me im not giving you a big ol anchor or life jacket. instead im giving you my hand. im gonna help pull you up when youre feeling down and hold your hand when your sad and lonsome and give you a pat on the back when you do good stuff for you and high fives when youre happy. and with two hands im giving you a real big hug.
    ...biggy hugs from lenny

  8. Hi Kelly,
    I have complete respect and total admiration for your openness and honesty. I know candidness such as yours, should be well and truly applauded.
    I want you to know that our ongoing positive interaction has been of great comfort and support. For that, I am very grateful.
    Yours is a story of inspiration and determination. We know that life is about choices. That dark alternative is a place that neither of us wish to visit, ever again.
    I have sent you an email. You will know that I have had to be somewhat vague out of respect for those who have been involved with situations in my life that are of a highly sensitive nature.
    Thanks for the life jacket, friend.
    Peace and respect, your way, Gary.

  9. Dear Shanaz,
    I have read and commented on your very open and honest postings. I sensed that you would relate to what I was trying to convey.
    I am comfortable with who I am. I would venture to say that very traumatic situations have not defeated me. Like you, my friend, I have a determined resilience that challenges the negative self doubt that would sabotage our right to a peaceful and happy life. A harmonic balance is within reach and I rejoice.
    Indeed, writing, getting those thoughts out and trying to make some sense of it, is most therapeutic. It is my great honour to interact with a kind and decent lady such as your good self.
    Shanaz, for sure, you are not alone, for we are all in this together, helping and supporting each other.
    With respect, kindness and smile back to you, Gary :-)

  10. Dear Diane,
    Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words.
    My blog was originally set up as part of a 'blog library' which had an ongoing theme of folks with varying degrees of mental health issues, interacting and supporting each other.
    Sadly, the blog 'library' has lost its momentum but I have continued on with my blog along with 'David' who writes at: My aim has always been, despite the rather silly blogs I do, was to show people that the unfair stigma that still surrounds mental health concerns, needs to be eliminated. We are getting there but we still have some ways to go.
    I know you are right that people do take comfort through my display and the display of others genuine caring and empathy for those who are experiencing mental health distress.
    I would love to write a book. I just wish I had the confidence to even attempt that. In the meantime, I will try and be here for anyone who wants to read my stuff and interact with me. We are, whether we have mental health concerns, or not, very much in this together.
    Thanks again, Diane.
    Magical and positive wishes, your way, Gary x

  11. Dear Cher,
    "There are times when a series of events collides into calamity."
    I have read your profound and thoughtful posting and I, in my own way, can so relate.
    There are people who have never been so overwhelmed with negative forces that they cannot begin to comprehend that even the 'toughest' of us can have occurrences in our lives that can rock the very foundation of our sanity. I have visited a very dark and frightening place. Luckily I found the key within that helped me escape.
    Thank you Cher. With respect and empathy, Gary

  12. Hi Lenny,
    What a kind and thoughtful comment you have left.
    You know, it the young folks of the world, like you, that make me think that our wonderful planet is going to be a really neat place.
    Big hugs and high fives back to you, Lenny. I hope lots of people read your delightful blog. What a great young dude you are.
    Happy wishes and a big smile, your way, Gary :-)

  13. There was a time when I would have jumped in, and we probably both drown. Today I'm proud to say I'd throw you a life jacket. Once you were on land, I'd suggest we eat cheese cake. Cheese cake has medicinal properties that can cure almost anything.

    Seriously, I love reading your posts. I love that you are brave and willing to express your inner most thoughts. I'm not there yet. When life gets really really bad, I concentrate on my toes. I sense the life inside them, then wait as it spreads to every inch of my being. The life vibration makes me smile.

    But to say out loud how much pain I feel would be and is incomprehensible. I can't even hint at it here in this little post. Instead I decided a while back to fake it. So far that's working.

  14. Reading through your post and the comments, it is great that there are so many kind people in the world. I hope you can cling to that. Love and hugs, Carole.

  15. Hi Joylene,
    I thank you for your thoughtful comment.
    You have displayed your own resilience and determination to not be so overwhelmed that you would be drowned in the negative 'sea'.
    I love cheese cake and I have been told that cheese cake and a cuppa' of Red Rose tea can be a powerful tonic :-)
    So glad you like my posts. They really are one of my coping skills. I find it cleansing to try and work through some very raw emotional pain by verbalising my thoughts. Even my silly postings are my way of not letting my illness get the better of me.
    Actually, I have been slightly vague, out of respect for those who know there is more. This posting, to some extent, was a tale of love.
    I totally respect what you mean in regards to faking it and at the same time, revealing a candid honesty.
    In peace and kind wishes, Gary

  16. Dear Carole,
    It is so nice to hear from you. Hope you are well and in good spirits.
    I am greatly heartened by the kindness and well meaning of those wonderful people who have so clearly demonstrated that we can all be here for each other.
    I am deeply grateful for this positive interaction. I am deeply grateful for all the kindness and warmth that you have provided over the time we have known each other.
    Thank you very much, Carole. Love and hugs, your way, Gary :-)

  17. After some very negative experiences in the last few years, and indeed throughout my life (and to be fair some brought upon myself) I find myself shutting myself away from people too, and have experienced some very lonely times, but a few good friends such as you Gary, have stuck by me and kept me from sinking totally. I find myself very anxious and awkward in company but hope that in time I will find social interaction
    easier and more natural. When I have a blog of my own set-up in the near future I hope that I too my benefit from a few life-jackets and hopefully throw a few too! Kind regards to all, Simon

  18. Hi Simon,
    Thank you for such a thoughtful comment. I believe that articulating and being transparent about our feelings can be a most therapeutic outlet.
    I know that you will be able to use your blog as a positive resource. There will be many who will find they can relate to your honesty and your earnest desire to have a better and more fulfilling life.
    In peace and empathy, Gary.

  19. Thank you for your kind comment and words of introduction through Bazza... the greatest gift of blogging through the years has for me been the opportunity to meet and make connections with others who are sensitive, thoughtful, and so open hearted and open minded. Scrolling through your posts I find you here.

    We are, I think, as humans, at once social and also reclusive, in one sense or another. Even the most comfortably social have fears, insecurities, parts of themselves they wish to shut others off from, and shut themselves off from.

    I applaud your willingness to open yourself, to be so sincere and honest... It is those willing to share of themselves in whatever way they can (and with whatever it is they struggle through) that really helps everyone... to know that walking through the dark places one isn't ever alone... there are always fellow travelers on the road right there beside them.

    It is a pleasure to meet you.

  20. Hi Joanne,
    It was my pleasure to have left a comment on your wonderful site. I have a lot of respect for bazza and any link he submits is well worth checking out. So I'm thankful to him for making me aware of you.
    My blog has always gone on the ethos of positive interaction within the blogging community. It heartens me to know that there are many who share this ethos.
    I believe there are many amongst who live, what could be called 'double lives'. I am indeed a person, who, if you met on the street, would come across as a friendly and outgoing chap. Yet, the other me, the reclusive me, is the one that goes back indoors, alone and afraid.
    I try to articulate my transparency and candid honesty through my blog. I am convinced that when we help each other, we help ourselves. Empathy and the desire to show compassion for our fellow man are powerful gifts. We are all on this journey together. Like you, I do my utmost to be there for others.
    Thank you for such a kind and heartfelt comment. It is my pleasure to meet you.
    With respect and kindness, your way, Gary.

  21. A lovely and fascinating post Gary.

    I think blogs are a way of interacting with others that we can keep control of. We choose when we visit our own blogs as well as others. We can edite what we say in a way that cannot be done in a face to face world. We can delete the hurtful comments or those that irritate if we wish.

    We can feel involved but keep our distance.

  22. Hi John,
    Thank you. Luckily I have never felt the need, with the exception of spam comments, to delete a remark.
    I celebrate the diversity within the blogging community. Out there, in 3D land, I have wished at times I could rewind my statements and edit them.
    Still, live and learn.
    Cheers, John.


I do try to comment back to each commenter individually. However, I might have to shorten my replies or give a group thank you. That way, I can spend more time commenting on your blogs. Thank you and peace, my friend.