Thursday, January 09, 2020

Sickness, then Celebration – Putting Suicide Behind Me

Even despite the worst sickness in years, I’ve maintained an even keel. Come celebrate with me.

Family carrot. My daughter, Cathryn Today is the 650th day since I was last suicidal. Keeping track of this stat is only something I began six hundred and fifty days ago. Before that was a hard spell in 2013, and before that was the two year rollercoaster at the end of my marriage. I thought about ending things quite a bit back then. I’m grateful that I was able to ignore those urges, but as I marvel at the number of days free from suicidal ideation, I am more grateful that I have retained my positivity through almost five months of being housebound with a chronic respiratory illness.

I’ve written here before about the dark clarity that suicidal ideation can bring¹. When our minds are awash in sadness and overwhelmed by the undertow of confusion that suicidal depression brings, we tend to grasp at any bit of flotsam that crosses our path. Some of that flotsam, like suicidal ideation, ironically seems like a lifeline. It gives us focus, clarity, and purpose when before there was only chaos.

One false clarity that suicidal ideation brings is the idea the world would be better off without us. Once we’re gone, we reason, our pain will end and with it will come peace to those we burdened. No more disappointing others. No more failing to meet their expectations. We’ll be doing them a kindness.

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Easy Goals Even Old Coots Can Achieve

Sometimes the best goals are soft and squishy like an eggnog filled belly.

It’s either very late or very early, depending on your point of view. Either way, I’m sitting here thinking deep, New Year’s-like thoughts. In the other room sleeps a friend who almost wasn’t my friend anymore until we patched things last week. Upstairs sleeps my third daughter whose heart is in need of mending as her marriage comes to an end. Hanging out with dad and his friend on New Year’s Eve was either a low point for her or just exactly what she needed.

My thoughts are a warm blend of nostalgia and regret with a subnote of bitterness and peace. I am, as they say, conflicted, but I’m happy. My health didn’t interfere with the night’s festivities. We all had fun and enjoyed each other’s company. We were supposed to play video games together, but ended up introducing my daughter to the wonderful My Hero Academia. Finally, we pulled ourselves away from bright conversation and Crunchyroll to kill each other mercilessly in Sega Saturn Bomberman. We fight for the trophy, a glorious knickknack that was put together by another friend who is spending New Years with my good friend and their two children while her newest, third child hangs onto life in the NICU.

I could lie that my thoughts are filled with a deep concern for mankind and the state of my nation, but honestly, I am only thinking that I had too much eggnog. That, and I am wondering what my goals will be for my fifty-third year. This blog is now fifteen years old. The fourteenth year was a rough one on it, filled with months of neglect and shifted priorities. What writing goals do I have to look forward to? What will motivate me to make time for this blog and my writing projects?

Friday, December 13, 2019

One Step Forward…

Santa's Beard

I picked up particulate respirator masks so that I can go outdoors again. I’ve apparently developed asthma due to the pollution in Salt Lake Valley and the California forest fires. It’s why I’ve been so horribly sick since September. I’ve been a near complete shut-in. 

Alas, I overdid things yesterday. I looked like a dork in my mask, but I happily ran errands all over town. I also worked out on my treadmill, exercise bike, and did twenty minutes of aerobic activity. Unfortunately, I forgot to use both my inhaler & nebulizer. My lungs are burning again, and the cough has returned. 🙄 I feel so feeble. I kinda hate this. 

I don’t regret my busy day, especially going to the library for a writing session. That felt great. I’ll just have to make sure I use my inhaler and nebulizer faithfully. No skipping days!

My coping strategy for today is to:

Monday, December 02, 2019

Keeping Upbeat During Illness Is a Challenge

Totally sick dude - September 24th

Do I still have a blog? You wouldn’t know it by how infrequently I’ve updated it lately. Sometimes life can overwhelm. When that happens, I like to believe that I will always be plucky enough to fend off the doldrums and shake my fist defiantly at the obstacles that beset me. However, when illness weakens your knees and keeps you motionless in bed, is there enough pluck to lift your fist, never mind keep your spirits up?

I’ve been incredibly sick this Fall. I started my journey on September 7th. I attended FanX in Salt Lake City, had a good time attending with my daughter, then came home and tried to fight off a case of con crud. After about a week, I thought I had licked it. The sky was clear for a change, and an open parking lot was calling to me. While my daughter was in therapy, I pulled out my longboard for some therapy of my own. I usually wear gear because of my Tourette’s, but I was certain I could be careful.

I lasted six minutes.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Don't Apologize for Feeling Suicidal

You shouldn’t feel ashamed for feeling suicidal. Here’s how you can take a stand for yourself.

I saw a news item a few months ago that troubled me.[1] At first, the item was in regard to a K-pop idol (Goo Hara) who my third oldest daughter and I enjoyed watching and listening to in the group, KARA. During KARA’s heyday, my daughter and I followed all their videos and song releases. It was fun—at least until she discovered a guy who had his own rock band. Then dad and K-pop were replaced with an electric guitar and a husband. Poor Daddy.

Reading about anybody’s suicide attempt is heartbreaking, but Goo’s suicide hit home because I remember her so fondly. However, what followed two days later deeply disturbed me. While recovering from her suicide attempt, a press conference was held and Goo apologized to her fans for worrying them—from the hospital. She looked pale and haunted.[2]

Imagine having to say the following while recovering from a suicide attempt:

“I am sorry for causing concerns and a commotion.”
“In terms of health, I am recovering … I had been in agony over a number of overlapping issues. But from now on, I will steel my heart and try to show up healthy.”
“So many things were happening in my life, all at the same time. I am truly sorry. I will show a brighter and healthier side of myself.”[3]

Thursday, September 05, 2019

Five Frank Tips that Helped Me Manage My Depression

Managing your depression doesn’t mean it goes away. Sometimes life will come at you just fast enough to throw you off your game. Here are five tips that helped me get my depression back in control.

As I write this, I am depressed. I shouldn’t be. There’s so much going right in my life right now, but the feeling of that bleak fist of hopelessness around my heart is fairly tight. I am finishing up what is arguably the most productive summer I’ve had in years, yet I feel like an abysmal failure. This summer I have mountains of paperwork and completed applications to prove my productivity. Logic stammers in awe at the long list of massive projects I have undertaken since May. So why do I feel like such a failure tonight?

The obvious answer is that it’s just my stupid depression talking. I’m not a failure! But I feel like one. For some reason, I am miserable, agitated, overwhelmed by feelings of grief, and crushed under the weight of a stifling sadness. I called a daughter, finding the love and support that I needed. Yet despite my daughter’s earnest cheers on my behalf, I still could not shake the oppressive weight of depression. It was time to change my way of thinking. So I decided as a coping strategy to go for a walk and think about my recent accomplishments.

One accomplishment in particular should have me tap dancing on the moon. I have lost 40 pounds since March 2018. I lost over 8 inches off of my waist. This is a phenomenal accomplishment, ending a twenty-seven year struggle. I no longer wear XXL shirts, and I can fit in size L pants now. No more refrigerator box-shaped pants for me. I haven’t been this trim since my early 30s. So of course I shrug my shoulders apathetically and dismiss that accomplishment as insignificant. However, my dietary health issues have never been so regulated and under control. Why shouldn’t that make me happy?

Thursday, August 01, 2019

You Can Do It! Defeating Mental Health Issues with Your Own Voice

You’ve heard that you are your best advocate, but are you giving yourself pep talks? Maybe you should be.

Clip from Yowamushi Pedal

For years, I have been an advocate for talking out loud to oneself as a way to organize one’s mind. I’ve casually blogged about it (as can be read here), and there was one time I gave a tutorial of sorts on the subject over on[1] However, I have also been known to give myself advice as well as a pep talk, both here and in person, as a coping strategy for dealing with my depression. I have found talking to myself to be an effective coping strategy for ADHD & depression, despite people around me thinking it’s kooky.

I can do this!

You can do this!

You can do it!

You can find variations of those expressions all over my blog, but the “you” is usually you, the reader. In real life, however, I’ve been known to talk to myself in the second person as well.

Crazy, huh? I’m a certifiable nutter. But the technique works so well, I can’t see myself giving it up anytime soon. To be discreet, I’ve taken to speaking into my earphones as if I’m on the phone so nobody is the wiser.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Eight ADHD Tips to Tidy Your Tabs & Bookmarks

You’ve heard the expression, “Less is more”? Too bad your bookmarks & tabs haven’t.[1]

Nice & Tidy Browser Tabs

Sometimes I wonder if there’s a support group out there for adults with ADHD who have a tabs & bookmarks problem.

Hello, my name is Douglas Cootey, and I’m a hard core tabs junkie.

Maybe this seems like a first world problem. Maybe you’re asking yourself, “What’s the big deal with several hundred open tabs and a million or two bookmarks?” If that’s how you think, you might need to join me at that meeting.

In theory there’s nothing wrong with lots of tabs and bookmarks. I did things that way for years. The problem I ran into, however, was although ToDo tabs were great, I had so many tabs open in my browser I couldn’t find what I needed. Just as ToDo lists can get long and unmanageable, ToDo tabs multiply until they become noise—no longer useful as resources or reminders. Bookmarks are the same way. Yes, you’ve saved that funny self-surgery with tweezers link, but where is it? Unless you organize your bookmarks regularly, they are probably a jumbled mess. They cease being useful. If you’re searching the internet for something you’ve already saved, maybe your system isn’t working for you.

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Healthline's Best Depression Bloggers for 2019

Facebook isn’t always the best curator of excellent content. If you’re looking for people who write about depression, you are going to love Healthline’s new list.

depression best blogs badge 2019

I am honored to be included in Healthline’s Best Depression Blogs of 2019. This is my fourth year to be listed. What a wonderful resource they have put together for you.

Many mental health sites have made curated lists of depression bloggers over the years (you can find some of them here), but Healthline’s is the most consistent year over year. You should bookmark the link. They update it every Spring with their new selections. Read on for my personal recommendations.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Accolades, Attributions & Awards

Over the years, I have received various awards for my efforts here. I've even been interviewed, though I've not been thorough in keeping track of those. It's like I have an attention deficit or something. You can find all those links below. Why would you care? Maybe you wouldn't. I keep track of these links for my own sake to remind me that I'm doing alright—that I'm not just shouting into the void. You might enjoy these sites, regardless. There's more there than applause for yours truly. Most of these awards lead to a list of excellent blogs and wonderful writers who have their own things to say about ADHD, depression, and mental health.

Unfortunately, not all of the sites that featured me are still online. Frankly, I am gobsmacked and befuddled that I have been online long enough to outlive so many of these resources. To address this, I've updated this page with archive links so you can see what the award pages looked like when the award was issued. The layouts are often broken, and some require you to scroll and scroll and scroll… but the content is there. Now you can discover them, and, with luck, access them again.



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