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Confessions of a blogger… Part 4

When I started this series, I did not imagine it to be a series… I wrote, I rewrote, I wrote some more… saved draft after draft…  “How do I start the conversation exactly?”… I was not sure how deep to go, or which directions felt “right”… Still sussing out this whole “authentic blogging” adventure myself. Perhaps a great place to start is with some gratitude for prior “parts”

Part 1 I am grateful for the brief, concise nature of it… Just enough to mention difficulties/challenges/issues but not too much to get into that “hot mess” of over-share… As well as mentioning the specific tools recently utilized for moving forward…

Part 2 I am grateful for the almost poetic nature of this intriguing work… and the ability to feel a connection with the writer. Not to mention the fantastic optimism that ensues from the relatively short time frame from “bottom” to being “too busy living again”.

Part 3 I am grateful for the confession straight from the battle zone… The honest fact of the matter stance to triumph the stigmas… and the resounding support that instantly poured in through google+ for this warrior. Such as: Maryann D’Amico’s public response that includes: … I have suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for decades. … We are all suffering in some way. Some of us suffer much more. But, we are winners because we go on … We are some of the strongest people alive. If you do not have an illness such as this…and..you look down upon others in hospitals. Maybe you should look up to God and … thank Him that you do not suffer. Stop looking down. Look up.

Part 4 Discussing their experience with divorce, job loss and life in general demonstrates how “shift happens”… These brave souls reminded me of just how normal it is to experience stress, pain and turmoil in life… The previous reblog on “Let’s listen more and drug people less” also reminds me that if such “shift” should lead to mental health challenges, people can and do recover from “mental illness”.

I confess that this blog is my attempt to find just that… a platform to feel listened to, and to listen to others, so we can collectively drug people less. No matter what the illness or disease, I believe that feeling listened to and supported will always have a beneficial effect. (So does humour! Have you heard of Patch Adams? Inspiring PSA movie, based on true events. Hope he is able to see Gesundheit reach phase 6)

Knowing I have created “Wednesday Walk” reminds me to check in now and then… to express, communicate, and walk. To nurture that emotional wellbeing… maybe even share how my own shift is happening and where my passions are growing…  I have enjoyed the idea of “series” posting and may explore that more in future posts… Aiming for a weekly post, holding that with plenty of self compassion if things happen faster or slower… “shift happens” right? 😉

I’ll admit that life is not all “roses and unicorns” right now… and right now, in this moment, that’s okay…

Moving forward, shifting upward… that can be challenging. I do not want this blog to simply produce fluffy pretty things to make it look like my life is “roses and unicorns” and yours ought to be too… I also do not want this to evolve to a lengthy diatribe. I do want this to be a place of conversation, progress and growth… and I must confess, I am somewhat afraid of working the blog too much. I am afraid of having it become a burden that I feel I must pay attention to… I am afraid of posting too much online, or posting something I may later regret… Do you ever think similar things?

Some final gratitude is for you, dear reader. Thank you for stopping in to check things out and read this far. If you feel inclined to join the conversation – thank you again! I really do appreciate it, and look forward to the conversation.

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2012 in Confessions

 

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Reblog you say? What’s that? This is that!

“Let’s listen more and drug people less” Here, here!!!
Learned a few things today and thought I’d learn one more – what does “Reblog” actually do?… If you want the full scoop check out http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2012/01/22/reblogging-is-back/

What have you learned today?

recovery network: Toronto

UK Guardian Monday 31 August 2009

Diagnoses are psychiatry’s star signs. Let’s listen more and drug people less

The biological approach to treating mental illness has been a lamentable failure. We must focus on a patient as a person

Richard Bentall Surveying the history of psychiatry, the medical historian Edward Shorter remarked: “If there is one central intellectual reality at the end of the 20th century, it is that the biological approach to psychiatry – treating mental illness as a genetically influenced disorder of the brain chemistry – has been a smashing success.”

Far from being a success, there is compelling evidence that the biological approach has been a lamentable failure. Whereas last century saw dramatic improvements in the survival rates of patients suffering from heart diseases and cancer, so far as we can tell, outcomes for patients suffering from the severest forms of psychiatric disorder – the psychoses (disorders in which…

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Posted by on January 26, 2012 in Drugs

 

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Confessions of a blogger… part 3

In confessions of a blogger… part 1 I thoroughly enjoyed the writers ability to be short and sweet. He had challenges, maybe even what some may call failures, did some work and continues to do the work to overcome those and other challenges…

Part 2 illustrates a longer description of a similar journey that isn’t all roses and unicorns…

Part 3 was intended to be my very own confession… however I came across yet another inspirational bit of writting from a google+ post that I want to include in this series…

Mike Shaw shared:

I May Have Lost The Battle

But I’m still around to fight the war!

I have not been online too much over the last few days but there is good reason for that. I’m currently sending this from my iPhone on a bed in a psychiatric hospital!

I have struggled with depression on and of for what seems like most of my life and I have fought to try and have some form of normality but at times I lose the fight, this being one of those times and I have to stand up and ask for help. I consider myself one of the more fortunate people
In that I have a family that both understands and supports me at times such as this. My wife more than anyone else, she puts up with a lot others simply could not. Erratic mood swings, depths of depression that send me so low it’s hard to get back up from and anger at my own shortcomings but she is still at my side and for that I am eternally grateful for the love she has for me.

But why come on here to tell some 400,000 people who have yet to meet me about this. Because it is no longer something I do or should feel ashamed of, because sometimes when we talk of mental health issues in what others deem as “normal” people then just maybe we can remove some of the stigma that is attached with it.

Everyone at some point in their lives will be affected by either mental health issues themselves or someone they know. We have to be open about something that’s a lot more widespread than we like to think of. By being open with you maybe you can take it on board the next time you can come across a “normal” person that seems to be going through something like this and just maybe you can have a little understanding toward them. It’s not easy living with this condition, it’s even harder to openly talk about it, harder still for people to simply understand it.

Should you know of someone that suffers then take the first steps and offer some help. If you suffer then take the first hard step and take that help.

I know some of you will be uncomfortable with this post, I accept that but I stand by it, hope to catch up with you all soon, don’t break anything while I’m away 😉

What first strikes you while reading Mike’s post?

(For me it was something like “Wow… now that’s vulnerability and authenticity… “)

Have you had someone you care about experience something similar?

Just what is “normal” these days?

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2012 in Confessions

 

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Confessions of a blogger… Part 2

While Part 1 has a mystery blogger quoted, with the kind of stuff that is never roses and unicorns…  part 2 of this series is more of a guest post… “If you liked this article, please share it!” and so I am!

Note that the title below links to the original source where you are more than welcome to interact with the author himself. Some awesome confessional worthy sharing in this one and further inspiration for part 3 coming soon!

(I was going to quote just a section of this post, like part 1, however I couldn’t seem to pick out just one chunk on it’s own… )

Social Media Saved My Life and Helped Me Achieve a New Career

Sometimes in tragedy we find our life’s purpose – the eye sheds a tear to find its focus.  ~Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com

3 years ago all was good in my world. My career was going places, I was living the American Dream in Southern California, and I was in a good place with friends and family.

In September 2008 it all changed. The first blow came when I learned that I was caught up in a significant layoff that was happening throughout the division that I worked in.  The second blow came when I lost a second job 1 year later, and the final blow came when a series of chronic health problems caused me to lose yet another career opportunity. Deep depression set in and I found myself questioning the purpose of my life and seriously considering an exit plan from this world.

For over 6 months after the illness set in and I quit the final job, I literally did nothing but get up in the morning, watch TV or listen to talk radio and go to bed at night.

I completely cut myself from all friends and family, not wanting to talk to anyone and was so embarrassed about my situation. I was filled with so much self-hate that I just could not bring myself to connect with others. I had nothing to offer the world, did not want to drag anyone down into my despair, and did not want pity from anyone (there was a piece of me that was crying for attention, though). I had no goals, no strategy for getting back in the game, nothing left to live for: or so I thought.

I hit bottom and was at the point where my life could go in two directions. When I decided to go forward in a positive direction and chose life over the alternative it was because I felt I still had something within me that I could offer the world and was obliged to at least give it a shot.

I knew it was best for me and any potential employers to work from home. The chronic pain I was experiencing requires me to lay down or take a half hour break after several hours. Social media has always been fun, intriguing, and for me held lots of potential for a serious career. I figured if I was going to be at home anyway, there must be a way I could make connections, learn several social media platforms and go forward from there.

I had no idea of what lie ahead, nor if I would actually be able to do anything productive. However, I always had fun engaging with others on Twitter so I started there. Not yet ready to reconnect with friends and family, I set up a new Twitter account and began to tweet. Twitter chats seemed to be all the rage and a great way to meet people from diverse backgrounds so I began to participate in several that I really enjoyed. I also decided that I wanted to begin blogging so I set up an account on WordPress.com.

Quickly picking up on the nuances of the chats and having come up with some great ideas for leading one myself I soon started one of my own. I made some really great connections with “Thought Leaders,” movers and shakers on Twitter. I participated in a Twitter Chat where Guy Kawasaki was a guest. I had no clue who he was at the time, but he and I actually had a pleasant one on one discussion for a few minutes after the chat and he started to follow me on Twitter. I was on a mini high when I later found out he was actually an A-lister.

Then came Google Plus and my whole world began to turn upside down in a great way. I knew from the moment I heard about it that I had the opportunity of a lifetime to get in on a platform at the very beginning. I made it my mission to learn everything I could about Google Plus and gain as much expertise as I could with the ultimate goal being to help businesses use it as a tool to engage and gain additional customers.  I would spend at least half the day, if not longer, on the site posting, engaging, and meeting some very cool people.

Google Plus opened up a lot of doors for me. I began to connect with people on many levels.  I learned many of the technical aspects of the site as well as how easy it was to meet others on the site. By applying professional skills I have gained throughout my career to the opportunities that I encountered on the site I now had the new career opportunity I was seeking before. I had goals, a plan to reach those goals, and many great new friends that I would have never met were it not for Google Plus.

The engagement with others is certainly what brought me out of my despair and gave me hope that I did have plenty to offer others and a venue to do so (from home). The final piece for me that confirms that I have overcome depression was I have now joyfully re-connected with almost everyone from my past.

When I tell people about my story and the problems I have encountered in the last several years I get nothing but support and encouragement. My close friends and family know exactly what I was going through and are helping me to achieve success both on a personal and a professional level.

I am still in a lot of pain and due to the nature of the illness it is likely something I will always have to endure. But I now have a support group that is more than happy to prop me up and are there for me in spades when I am feeling a bit down.

I am telling my story to the world through this article, because if I can make it, given all that I have been through, others struggling with their issues can make it too. I cannot guarantee what tomorrow will bring for me, nor am I certified to make a clinical diagnosis, but I believe my depression is in complete remission. The proof to me is I now enjoy doing all the things I used to do except for the exercise (because it is too painful). I watch DVD’s all the time, I have re-connected with friends, I have friends and family visiting for an extended period of time this spring and the dark cloud is lifted. Social media played a significant role in my path to healing. Although I am probably more vulnerable to depression in the future as that is the nature of the disease, I don’t have time to worry about it now. I’m too busy living again.

Note: if you, or someone you know (or suspect) is suffering from depression it is vital to get help. The disease is still not well understood and I can tell you from my own personal experience, when you are in its clutches you do not think rationally. It is very easy to go into a dark place with thoughts that you would never entertain otherwise. For men it is especially difficult to reach out and the suicide rate is much higher for men versus women who suffer from the same. There are many professionals who are trained to deal with depression and its effects. If nothing else reach out to a trusted friend and share with them what is going on. 

If you liked this article, please share it!

Jim Fierce

I live in sunny Southern California with my partner and our 4 Pomeranian Pooches. I am an avid fan of social media and my favorite platforms are Twitter and Google +. My background is Quality Engineering in Pharmaceutical and Medical Device but I have decided to take a complete U-turn and test the entrepreneurial waters and develop a niche market in the social media environs.
Follow me on twitter @Fierce_Living and @Fierce_Chat or on Google Plus at + James Fierce
My personal blog
Fierce_chat blog

Is there one segment you would pull as the essence of this blogger post?

Is there a piece of this story that resonates with you? Something you can relate to?

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2012 in Business, Confessions, Social Media

 

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Confessions of a blogger… part 1

As I have mini walks the past little while I still ponder the focus, theme or niche if you will, of “Wednesday Walk”… where will this web walk lead I wonder… and todays ponderings have led to 2 other inspirational posts that I want to share with you today… or at least part of them, before delving into my own confessions…

(and seriously, is “todays” and “ponderings” actually worthy of the squiggly red line of incorrectly spelled? Neither is a contraction with the word is, of that I am sure! anyways..)

First and foremost – name that blogger if you dare! Reflecting on 2011 he writes:

Personal Challenges Abound

My personal life underwent a lot of transformations. I parted ways with my wife. Saying this is also not saying three thousand or more sentences of what that all entails, but that’s personal. I wish her well, and my children are now able to enjoy two loving homes. That kind of transitional stuff is never roses and unicorns, but we’re all doing the work it takes to make it successful. I’m grateful that my children and I have spent so much more time together this past year. All this work and travel most certainly impacted my home life, and along the way, I never lost sight of the importance of my children, but I definitely didn’t schedule the time for them the way I do now. My relationship with my children is the best it’s ever been in my entire life, and I’m grateful for that.

Beyond that, I did a lot of work on myself. Through work with a shrink, through some helpful medication, through my fledgling practice of Buddhism, through a lot of my own hard efforts, and through finding love with a wonderful new woman in my world, I’ve done more to repair several things that were “wrong” with me over the last several decades than ever before. This was tremendously difficult. None of it has been easy. But knowing that I couldn’t live my life the way I had been living it has most certainly helped a great deal. I made a lot of mistakes in living with all my demons and I certainly messed up a lot along the way. I can only work in one direction, so moving forward is a strong effort of staying very clear and open and doing the hard work, over and over again.

Have you read these words before? Or maybe written a few?…

bonus points for the first one to name that blogger!

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2012 in Confessions

 

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Vegans Vs Meat Eaters: Who’s healthier?

That was the tagline that caught me today and I just couldn’t help but wonder how this would play out on “The Doctors” television show…

Glad to see the presence of Dr. Neal Barnard (President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) to ensure there is at least one vegan supporter in on the debate. He appeared to be knowledgeable and shared some good points – like dairy products reducing the absorption of iron and contributing to anemia.

However, I was generally disappointed with the responses, and lack of intellectual debate among the panel… This debate can become quite involved – as touched on in a previous post on different diet preferences… not today though… Todays show seemed to have more personal anecdotes from the docs than intellectual debate…

(If you want to check out the show synopsis for yourself, you can find it here or the video preview here)

In terms of the show actually answering the question of Vegan or Standard American Diet – FAIL.

The Standard American Diet (SAD) is familiar, comfortable, convenient… but…. as thekitchenskinny.com notices…

  • “The United States has the highest obesity rate in the world.” – Business Insider, Dec 10, 2010
  • “The American environment is conducive to this epidemic, presenting temptation to the populace in the form of tasty, energy-dense, micronutrient-poor foods and beverages.” – USDA 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
  • “This could be the first generation since the Civil War to have a shortened life expectancy.” – CBS News Jan 2010

    the solution…

  • Improve nutrition literacy and cooking skills, including safe food handling skills, and empower and motivate the population, especially families with children, to prepare and consume healthy foods at home.” – USDA 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

The above quotes demonstrate how there are very real risks and side effects of the SAD ways… and the need for the solution… so… with that in mind I feel that the vegan crowd tends to be more nutrition literate, with expanded cooking skills beyond meat and potatoes… and when done in an informed and motivated way, the vegan way is healthier than the SAD ways. Also, everyone seems to be in agreement that more fruits and vegetables on north american meal plates would be a good thing 😉

But…. why was this topic initiated for the show in the first place?

Home video clips demonstrate a young woman – Kaitlin – complaining about her vegan sister – Kelly – essentially pushing vegan food choices on her… Meanwhile, Kelly complains that Kaitlin is not accepting that veganism is healthier than the current household diet…

Ultimately when reviewing the video clip, the main issue for these feuding sisters appears to be the  proselytizing vegan… Kelly chose to deviate from the household norm and feels that she has benefited from it…  she quite obviously wants to share this with those she loves… whether they are accepting or not… Kelly may not be validating her sisters way of life or opinions. Arguing and pushing your polar opposite opinion, whether it truly is better or not, does not lead to acceptance…. resistance and defensiveness are expected reactions.

Maybe that is what Dr. Travis’ closing comment truly refers to… 😉  “In the end, what is best for you may not always be what’s best for someone else, Figure out a healthy diet that works best for you.”

It’s up to you to decide where you are most comfortable on this spectrum… And it’s okay if that decision changes from one day to the next… shift happens… Kelly and Kaitlin both have shifts they could make on this spectrum… the important thing from today’s reflections: there are different variations in healthy and ultimately we can only make the best choices in each moment for ourselves…

What shifts have you made recently? Are you planning on making any this week?

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2011 in Food, Nutrition

 

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Social Media Madness

Walking today there was a distinct quietness… alone-ness… calm… As the squirrels run, chase and jump between trees, bushes, snow and one another, it got me thinking about all our connection points and our own evolving forms of communication with one another…

“Are getting it? Really getting it? Come on give it to me! Get signed up on linkedin! Give me all of your tweets! Come on baby be friends! Never want it to stop! Oh! Are you getting it? Social media! Really getting it? Social Media! Come on Joey! Uh!”

Maybe not the next American Idols, but a nice short intro to the myriad of social media. I think that diagram at the end of the song says a lot!

Just tipping the iceberg of social media sites with this full diagram, it can be a stormy sea of social media. Since emails came along in 1966 (did you know they have actually existed that long?!) the communication scene continues evolving. Ed Kang says it well with: “anybody tells you that they’ve figured it all out is lying, selling you something, or a combination of both.”

Facebook touts 800million users so that’s where it’s at right?

One user noted that their video store disconnected their phone line as they take facebook DVD reservations… (watch out they probably won’t even be around with more ubiquitous sites such as netflix) Other users commonly note: “Got really irritated by all the posts that were meaningless chatter.” So maybe those millions of users aren’t too sure how to appropriately use each channel of communication… “would you get in your car and go around to someone’s house to tell them that?” Can be a good reality check question for users… I like to think of it as an online billboard, notorious for privacy breaches… so would you be okay posting your message on a busy highway billboard? Or downtown? If not, then why would you post your message on your computer screen that could potentially reach out globally?… Retweets, reposts and copy/paste are some pretty basic tools for average social media users…

Twitter may be nearing 1/4th the number of users as facebook, although it can be just as addicting for tweeters. Focused on short 140 character messages it can be fun to chirp away like Demi Moore or Lady Gaga.

With more people carrying smartphones and data plans there seems to be a push of personal messaging boundaries… with a facebook user noting exasperation at “Having people post messages to me at any time, expecting an instant response”. (I agree! When did we become pavlovs dogs?)

My fave facebook user comment on the platform I just had to share:

” I absolutely hate how intrusive it is. I hate the stupid little ditties that people put on thinking they are so interesting when they really are not. I hate that I feel a need to even read the stupid little ditties!!!! I do, however, love getting to see my nieces pregnancy belly growing as she is too far for me to see it in real life. I love that the girl who was my best friend, when I lived in a different city, traced me on it and we are now back in regular communication. I love that I can keep up with those family members in other continents, and at the other end of this country, and not just talk at funerals!!! Very undecided!!!!”

Google+ appears to be the latest fad in social media. With only 40 million users thus far, it is definitely a quieter, less frequented communication space. Which may very well be a good thing! Personally I enjoy the circles and “follow” method rather than “friending” as on facebook… Just be sure to sort your people into your appropriate circles up front! Think of your purpose and what kinds of segments of society you want to interact with… Not only do you have friends, family, acquaintances, coworkers, you may have your own blogging friends circle, or book club. Super great being able to easily post to your profile (equivalent of your own facebook wall) and easily specify who sees it… Not to mention if you want to close your profile, you can download all your google+ related info to your own computer prior to closing your account. Use-ability, generally love it, still learning the appropriateness, and kudos for google demonstrating better boundaries!

If you are interested in spreading your online presence with a google+ profile, or business page, what better time to get in and figure things out before all 800million facebook users jump on board? 😉 Today I discovered a succinct online article on google+ pages that may be worth a perusal…

As my first official blog kicked off somewhat recently (as you may well have noticed), I often pondered why Blog? With google+, facebook walls and notes, windows live, myspace, personal emails, texting, blackberry messenger, etc, and even phone calls, who would have time for a blog and why would you invest in creating one? Well, don’t knock it till you try it “they” say… so here I am pulling back a little from some other inundated forms of communication to give this medium a try… According to a recent online article, blogging is here to stay! Are you?

What is your preferred form of communication lately? Do you maintain a blog? How do you maintain your sanity in the sea of social media? Where do you get your info on current events?

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2011 in Business, Social Media, Squirrels

 

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