I’ve been quiet

Lounge

I’ve been quiet for want of a better word… On reflection though, perhaps the word ‘quiet’ sums things up rightly.

I did nothing this past weekend. I hadn’t felt like it. I just wanted to cocoon. Don’t get me wrong – I am not depressed. I just wanted to be alone. I am still in a reflective mood. The only thing making me leave the condo is work and work has been very trying this week with the work load picking up and the department being shorthanded (It always gets busy this time of year). So at the end of the work day, all I want to do is go home and have a beer.

I have been reading a lot. I should be writing, but my heart is not into it. Well, at least reading is sort of related with it being the other component of writing. This is where I find myself: Me wanting to hide out and chillaxing.

I guess some times we all need some alone time. I am off on vacation for two weeks starting next week. For you Americans, it is our Thanksgiving on Monday. I will cook the feast. It will kick off a much needed break.
—Robert Confiant 3 October 2018

I am a re-reader

I am a re-reader. If the book is enjoyable, then I will read it again. I do this for movies as well.

reading

Currently, I am re-reader the Harry Potter series; although, I am not doing so all at once. I do read something new between every book, or two.

I am on a young adult genre kick though. Call it, “Indirect research,” as I write YA Fantasy. I do not; however, stick to just the Fantasy genre. I read other types of materials. I find reading this material helpful to my writing as it has been a very long time since I was a teenager LOL.

I read a lot of fiction. I no longer read a lot of non-fiction, but I do have some mythology references, foreign language references, and some writing references. The references come in handy.

When I first got back into writing, and I began to take it more seriously I decided to take a few writing courses. One of my favorite writing courses was a grammar refresher course at UBC. The grammar refresher was very helpful. Although, I still have a long way to go before I become a good writer. I have observed improvement over the years, so I keep at it (Those who are familiar with this blog will know that “Improvement” is one of the criteria for me to remain doing something, or staying with a thing I am currently doing). Besides I love to write.

I am an avid reader and writer. It can be difficult trying to balance my time between these two activities, but I manage. I used to fret if I spent more time with one over the other. I don’t let it bother me anymore as both reading and writing are important.
—Robert Confiant 26 September 2018

 

 

This writing craft proffession is odd

Awake and writingThis profession called, “Writing,” specifically the craft of writing is odd. Some days, it comes easily and naturally, while other days, one draws a blank. In my case, I pretty much write something every day (I just don’t always post it).

I don’t always post because it is not post worthy in that it is horribly written, or uninteresting. Yes, I jot down every idea even if the idea is crap. Sometimes, I need to think about a revision. If I believe the piece to be salvageable, which if I am being honest, and I am, is not always the case. I am not as shame to admit that some of what I write is crap. I know everything I write needs editing, but if one is not signed on with a publishing, this can quickly get costly. As a result, I do my best to self-edit before I post to my blog.

Ideas, I have a lot of them. That part of writing is not too difficult for me. The difficult part is getting the idea onto paper in an interesting and presentable fashion. This is not always easy, but like every craft, I discovered that one improves over time. You should read my very early stuff. I have and I’ve revised a lot of it. For many of us who call themselves writer’s. I think the issue of: “When is a piece of writing complete,” is a struggle in, and of it. I am pragmatic about this. I post it when the article becomes a complete thought; otherwise, I would never publish.

So, yes writing is a strange craft. I can no longer stop writing; it’s in my blood. I love it. It gives me a purpose. It also leaves a legacy for me. As a gay man without children, I find this has become important to me and I find writing accomplishes this need of having a legacy. I just hope to hone my craft and that I continue to improve to become a better writer.
—Robert Confiant 25 September 2018

The insidious nature of depression

I am in a good place right now, but a few friends are struggling. Depression is an insidious mental illness.

Mental health continuum-mobile

I say, “Insidious,” because, for those of us who don’t have chronic depression due to a chemical imbalance, it creeps up on you, or you go to bed and wake up depressed. For me this is not always apparent at first that I am depressed, it can take me up to a week sometimes before I realize that I am depressed. I isolate myself, I drink and eat more, I stop doing activities that I usually enjoy like reading or writing, I am tired all the time and just want to sleep.

We all get sad sometimes, so that is why I say, “It can take a while before I realize that I am depressed.” Depression is more that feeling sad; although, most people don’t know this. They tell you, “Get over it,” or “Snap out of it,” or the condescending, “Just think of being ‘happy’,” as if positive thinking alone is the magical cure. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not judging these people; they mean well. They just don’t fully understand what depression is.

My depressed states are rare and no longer intense as they once were. Before, my depression stemmed from a lack of self-confidence and a strong sense of hopelessness. I no longer feel this way.

My bouts of depression are a result of Seasonal Affect Disorder. I bought a lamp for this, which helps, but not completely. Fortunately, I have coping mechanisms that work to help me out of depression. I talk with someone (and not necessarily a professional), I go out and socialize (just small outings, nothing big), I control my drinking (alcohol is a depressant), and I try to keep positive (I usually do, but I try not to dwell on the fact that I am depressed).

I am not too sure why I chose this topic to write about. I think it was because I know is people who are currently struggling. I just wanted to share my experiences to help those who have never experienced depression to understand.

To those suffering right now know that you are loved. Please seek help if you require it. Virtual hugs.
—Robert Confiant 20 September 2018

A day in the life of

I am not quite awake yet. I think it’s “another coffee,” kind of day. I am commuting to work on public transit.

It’s coming on to the fall season. It is getting dark in the evenings and pitch black when the alarm goes off in the morning. It’s also cooler now. I took down the screen I taped up in the living-room to keep the cat from falling out while the window was open (the window opens outward with a gap of four inches) with nothing below it. I also placed candles and other knickknacks in front of the window to keep her away (It worked).

Fall, the season is different here in the Vancouver area. While some trees change colour and drop their leaves, many other trees remain green. It also rains in late Fall and Winter months, but the Farmer’s Almanac is calling for a colder winter across the continent, so it’s going to be a “wait and see,” kind of year. I don’t do well with snow. I cannot walk in the snow anymore, so I am hoping not.

I do walk better than I ever had thanks to my Dantrolene prescription. I tried exercising again, but then my hips, knees and back hurt. Even with just the cooler weather, I feel aches in my knees and hips. It’s a no win all around. Sometimes, I hate getting older. I wish they had known about the drug a lot sooner, then a least there might have been less impact damage to my hips and knees. Oh well, bothering to be done about it…

So, it’s just a bus ride into work. It’s the same old routine of going to work. This is what comes to mind. This is what I write. A bit boring I know. It’s just another ordinary day in the life of “me”.
—Robert Confiant 19 September 2018

My complete coming out story

I’ve written about parts of this in other posting here on this blog, but I haven’t put the whole story together.

gay & disabled

I first came out to myself where I really admitted to myself that I preferred guys over girls. I hated myself. I tried to pray it away – God, how I tried. I cried and prayed. I did everything I could think of hoping I would change. I did not want to be any more different than I already was. I think this was one of the reasons why my downward spiral began.

High school was okay, I wasn’t teased or anything like that it was fine. I had a handful of friends, but I still felt like I was always on the outside. I grew up in the projects and I know that if it came out that I was gay; it wouldn’t have been good for me. It was different times. It was the mid-1970s. It was never mentioned, but it was known to be frowned upon. I grew up Catholic, so you can imagine what that was like. So, I kept quiet with things being what they were. Still, I had good friends; not a lot of friends, but I kept the key aspect of my life private. I didn’t tell anyone. Not even my closest friends. My disability avoided a lot of unanswered questions.

For a lot of my life, I remained celibate. I never dated; although, I did start to fall for one or two guys over the years, with one who “scared me straight” for quite a while. He was older. We never told each other outright, but the feelings and the flirting were there. He invited me over one night and I am sure that the only reason nothing happened was because he was waiting for me to make the first move something I wasn’t ready to do at that time.

When I was in my late twenties, I was ready to come out. My brother beat me to it. My parents soon asked me if I was gay, but he came out because he was sick and I didn’t want to cause any further worry, so I said, “No.” I should have said, “Yes,” and gotten it over with. I am a hundred percent sure that my parents would have been cool with it (the way they dealt with my brother leads me to believe my parents would have been okay with it).

When I moved away and eventually came out. It was freeing. Imagine the one thing you don’t want others to know about you and then imagine it getting out to everyone. At first, you think, “That’s it, no one will like me now,” but it is also freeing. Everyone knows. You’ve reached the point where either they do accept or they do not. Those who don’t; well, one has to wonder… Doesn’t one?

Anyway, that’s it in a nutshell is my full coming out story.
—Robert Confiant 18 September 2018

Depression and life

I just listened to a TEDx talk on suicide and life. Once upon a time, I could not do this.
I am told quite often that I am a strong person. They say this because I have dealt with having a disability, so well. And if I am honest, in some ways they are correct. I am a person who happens to have Cerebral Palsy. Back when I was younger, I didn’t let my dis-ablity stop me from doing what I wanted to do. My dis-ability (sic) is not who I am. I am not defined by my dis-ability. I live with it. To me, it is not brave, nor heroic, nor anything special. I have always had a bum leg. I don’t know any different, so this is my “normal.”

Somewhere on this path of life, I lost my confidence. I stopped believing in myself. I developed a low self-esteem about myself. My depression resulted because I believed that I couldn’t do anything. I was told, by kindly meaning professionals, that I couldn’t do this, or I couldn’t do that. I don’t blame them for what resulted. It just I took their statements to be realistic about my career choices to heart. I felt that I couldn’t do anything. It’s strange, how my all or nothing attitude played a factor even back then. I am an “All or nothing” kind of guy. I don’t like to admit it, but I still am. The result is that I suffered from depression in my late teens and early twenties. The fact that I was gay didn’t help. I was closeted, gay young man who grew up in the projects. I was supposed to be tough. I was also a strict Catholic and these two aspects were “polar opposites” in their views. I still joke about going to hell (I don’t believe it, but I still joke about it). So really, my depression stemmed from my lack of confidence in myself and the loathing I felt about being different. I gave up. I stopped living and I couldn’t see a good future for myself. I was depressed.

After I hit rock bottom, I went to counselling and I sought out help. I wasn’t working because of the recession at the time and because I felt I couldn’t do anything with me having a dis-ability. I got work eventually after I went on some job training course. It helped boost my confidence again. I later returned to school to upgrade my skills. The success I found there also contributed to my confidence boost. Step-by-step, I began to snap out of my depression and my confidence returned. It was a slow process, but one that built a strong foundation on which I could stand upon.

Today, this is all history. I have had my bouts of depression, but I have figured out tricks to help me snap out of it. My depression now stems from Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD). With this realization, I find that my depression is manageable, if I caught it. Sometimes it can be a week before I realize I am in a state of depression. When I finally do come to realize this, I do the opposite of what I feel I want to do. Namely, I go out, instead of staying in; I socialize, instead of shutting myself out. For me, this doing opposite works. I also purchased a light for the winter months. It helps.

I am at a good place. I can’t say I never get depressed, but when I do, I can deal with it. For the most part, I am happy with my life. I no longer worry about the past, and I don’t fret about the future. I stay in the now. This was another issue back then, I couldn’t stay in the now.

Most of the time, I am that strong person I appear to be, but sometimes I am not. For those times I am not, I work on it. Over all though, life is good.

For those of you who are struggling. I am reposting this image:

Mental health continuum-mobile

Get to know the signs and if you are in any phase other than healthy, seek help. There is no shame in asking for help. We all need a hand up occasionally.

My life may not always be exactly what I want, or I wish for, but it is a good life. I have my health. I have a good family, partner and friends who are always there for me, and a decent job. A hobby that I love – writing, contrary to what our income obsessive materialistic society wishes to sell us, these are what truly matter.

Peace and love.
—Robert Confiant 15 September 2018