This Loneliness IS Killing Me

So, we finished the two seasons of 13 Reasons Why(2017), and as we prepare to start our series on covering the subjects that are addressed in this show, I wanted to come out and say a few things before we get into the research of these issues. Going through some of the subject matter personally, I feel that this show took me to a place that reminded me of those difficult times.

If this is the first time you’ve ever read my blog, I’m about to get more real than I ever have before. My name is Chris Keeling and I’m a survivor. There are things that happen to us everyday that can cause us to choose very different paths then we are facing now, but we can also choose to make it through and get better, stronger then when those experience started.

In 13 Reasons Why(2017) Hannah Baker, a high school student is the subject of bullying, and as a compacted result of various types of bullying, decides to take her own life. Some of the situations that she experiences, I have myself gone through. Some of her experiences, I’ve witnessed with others. I’ve had conversations, and I’ve even seen my own children go through those experiences. I think watching my own children deal with these issues have been the hardest part of it all.

Now remember that I said, I am a survivor. I’ve survived several attempts of suicidal moments in my life. The old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is a bunch of bullshit. I remember being made fun of because I was fat, and being the son of an NCO(Non Commissioned Officer in the military) in a predominantly Officer area brought along other hardships.  I was looked down upon because of the status of parents careers in comparison.

So, let’s talk about where all this seemed to lean towards, isolation, a feeling of not having anywhere to turn. I remember a sense of loneliness at the age of seven, and that’s the first time I decided that I didn’t want to live anymore. I walked out into the boonies, and hoped that a snake would bite me so that I could die. I didn’t feel loved, I didn’t feel liked, I didn’t feel that I was good enough for anything.

Yes, I know my parent’s loved me. I mean shouldn’t all parents love their children? I know it doesn’t always happen, but I know my parents loved me. When you’re in that mindset, something like that doesn’t come across your mind, I know it didn’t come across mine.

In third grade, I saw some sort of phycologist, and my self worth seemed to become less then, and I wanted to die. I don’t remember much from that interaction however I think this was about the second time that I had the urge to want things to end. How crazy is it that I had those feelings twice before I was in double digits?

Maybe I should have been put on some sort of medication by this time. Mental health has always been kind of taboo, and wasn’t always addressed. I really can’t explain why this was something that didn’t get really addressed in my house. I do know that I kept that kind of pain away from my parents. Which isn’t uncommon, my own children haven’t always been open to talking with me about their issues either.

Being excepted, being loved; it’s within these connections that I strived to feel. Being an outsider I always tried “too hard” to fit in with other people’s expectations of what was considered popular, or cool. I wanted to have the “glorious life” of the in crowd, and would often get verbally beaten down for it. The girls that I liked weren’t always the nicest to me, and I would often get rejected and have my heart broken with a cruel word.

Now, if you have been following along for sometime, then you’ve heard about my bicycle accident that I had when I was thirteen. I was reckless, and I don’t think that I ever really paid attention that day. I don’t think I ever paid attention ever, but that day I do know was hard. Again, I think I got a rejection that I took perhaps a bit too hard that day, and was even less in a mindset to care of anything when I got hit by that truck. Head trauma, broken bones, and a coma is what that got me, and I almost died.

Like Hannah Baker, who had her heart broken, and trust betrayed, I know those emotions too well. I think people in general just want to be accepted. Sometimes we feel like we have to hide who we really are to fit in. I often times played down the things I had been into, just so I wouldn’t get made fun of.

When I was about seventeen, I was cruelly broken up with, and I had taken a knife with the intent to stab myself. This was an emotional turmoil that I had fought with for a few weeks. It took a friend who had the scares from actually going through the whole process to yell at me. She made me realize that I needed to get out of my head and actually think about who I was going to affect.

Now, comes the epic work melt down, this is the last time I actually had those thoughts. I was never good at finding a way to get through high pressure situations. I have my reasons for leaving most aspects of my profession out of everything. This is not only a personal choice, but do to the things I do, there’s a sensitivity of discretion that goes with it.

What I can say is that what I do, is an ungrateful job, much like the janitor, or the food server, people are often quick to point out when they feel that you’re too slow, or inconveniencing them. Often times, if the customer doesn’t get their way, they become verbally abusive. End of job description…

Take that, and combine it with a highly stressful home life. We at the time didn’t know how to deal with a high functioning autistic, or even that was what it was. I was feeling beat down. I felt that I was trapped in a situation all around that I couldn’t get out of. I wanted to run away, and soon after I wanted all the pain and suffering to stop. I thought my family would be better without me, because I felt like a failure.

I ended up trying to slowly kill myself with food, that ended up being the way I went. I would sit down and play video games all day because I didn’t want to deal with my mental anguish. Food became my drug, and the more weight I gained, the more I hated myself. The more I hated myself, the more I would take it out on the one’s I loved.

I didn’t know how to deal with these feelings for the longest time. I know that my maternal family has a serious history of mental illness. My mother is heavy set, I think that food has been her drug for dealing with life. My sister, has been put in a mental institution, and my brother suffers from having “dark” thoughts as well. While I’m not saying this to put them on “blast”, I wasn’t raised in this environment.

My father and mother divorced when I was a toddler, and I never got to know anything about that side of the family until the invention of social media. It was my sister who came to establish a relationship with me. I’ve gotten to know that side a little bit, yet I’m still a bit cautious because the way I’ve grown up. I’m here for them if they need me, and I’ve had talks with them at various points when they’ve been in a “bad spot”.

I’ve struggled my whole life to find my place, and while I went through these various spots in my life, and that this is just a little piece of who I am. I am a survivor. I made it this far and I’m not going back, hell I don’t need to anymore because I did go through that before. I know how to handle those thoughts now.

Semicolon: a punctuation mark indicating a pause, typically between to main ideas.

A semicolon is the symbol of suicide survivors, because it represents a continuation instead of stopping. I’m at some point going to get this tattoo as a reminder that I’m better than I was and I continued to strive for something better, even when I thought all hope was lost.

If you are lost and unsure where to go, 13 Reasons Why has provided a set of resources that could be useful https://13reasonswhy.info.

I’m not a professional, I’ve never claimed to be, but I have some experience, and I think that helps. I’ve been there for people who’ve wanted to end things too, and I’ve shown them that they weren’t along. I’m just another person who’s got a dog in this fight too. Everyday I worry that something like this could happen to someone I love, and it’s been a helpless feeling.

My parting words of advice are this: We don’t always know what everyone goes through. Some people go through some rough times in there personal lives, and don’t want to share, because it’s a survival thing, or at least that’s what I believe. If negativity is impacted, it will manifest somewhere else. Abuse at home, sometimes manifests into bullying at school, or work. Be mindful, be kind, because you never know if you’ll make that difference in some’s life where they decide to keep going.

 

 

Giving Into A Bigger Cause

As I sit here, I’m reflecting on all these past memories that come up on Facebook. I find where I’ve had motivation, and I see where I lacked the insight that would later help to develop the person that I would become. Seeing the first real developmental moments of starting the weight loss process with Weight Watchers in 2011. Seeing how I had started the CK Project as a way to motivate myself, and hold myself accountable. Then to watch it inspire people along the way.

It was an important time in my life, and I wasn’t even sure that it would turn into something more. I always that that the CK Project stood for the Chris Keeling project, hell I originally called in Project Keeling. I knew that I wanted to keep a record of whatever process that I was going through at the time. Little did I know that I would give into negative thoughts, and have a meltdown in which my life would take an unexpected turn.

Two years into trying to become physically better, my mind would shut down, and the CK Project was dead. It was just something that had gone to a back burner, and ignored. As I look back to this dark time period, I realized that I would respond more to negative things, and lunge out in a defensive manner. It came down to a “bring it on” type mentality, and in person, I wasn’t prepared for the things I would have to come to terms with.

I was angry, and at the time I felt rightfully so, because people get mean, nasty, and entitled. I didn’t have a way to vent out the frustrations that would come out of these daily interactions. I would internalize every ounce of negativity, and it would be mirrored back towards my family. Towards myself, I had been stuck in a spot that wasn’t pleasant. I felt trapped, not just professionally, but personally. What made things worse was I wasn’t any good to myself, and I resented being with my partner. We had issues, and it was more because of the fact that I didn’t want to deal with the situation. I just wanted to shut the world out, and be numb. Often times, I think that’s the way people deal with hurt, and trauma, is to go to a place where they attempt not to feel the emotions and pain that comes with these high pressure situations.

It took another major event in life to get my attention and make me realize that I needed to snap out of the dense haze of self loathing. Some people consider it “divine intervention”. This event had caused me to look at myself, and realize what it was that I needed to do to get better. If there is one thing that is difficult to master, it’s taking  a critical look at oneself and looking at one’s flaws.

I needed to prepare myself in ways that I knew had to bring me back to a presence that I hadn’t really been in mentally for a long time. I made decisions to take back my own life, and had to realize that part of my problems where that I didn’t have purpose, and that I needed to learn to react better to the situations in life.

The change was a hard and slow process to go through. I had to learn to not hate myself, and I needed to find that relief of not feeling so trapped. Finding that purpose in life, and how I wanted to be represented to others were the start of my healing.

I’ve always had a good heart and I loved to help people, unfortunately, that’s also lead to a lot of heartache and caution when interacting with others. I find that new relationships that develop often times come with a bit of paranoia when trying to figure out what angle these people are playing. Most often it comes up when it comes to actually needing assistance in some way. Myself and my family have been hurt by this more times then we would care to admit.

Back to the subject at hand; there were so much emotion, and loss that had happened in life that I realized that I needed to do something. I more than ever wanted to share my story in hopes that others wouldn’t feel alone when suffering in depression. I started telling my story, and doing mini-blogs on Facebook, and this time of year is when they all start to appear on my memories. It’s made me realize that everything happens for a reason. The good, and the bad, it’s in the balance that people grow.

Going to school and finding WordPress was a blessing. It was about two-years after I decided that I wanted to talk about my mental health, and it presented me with a platform that I could get my story out to more people. It was easier to spread out in my various platforms of social media as well.

As I started to present this as the new and improved CK Project, it’s funny how it went back full circle and went back to my weight loss journey as well. Seeing that my physical and mental health are very intertwined, has allowed me to connect better with people. It’s allowed me to form more bonds with others, because my story isn’t that uncommon.

It’s strange to think that mental health and obesity are both subjects that are taboo, and how much people judge on  those basis. I even know people who have a dislike for “fat people” while they aren’t exactly small either. Is this another form that goes with mental health? I think that I’ll have to go down that rabbit hole with research at another point in time.

Sometimes people regret the decisions that they’ve made in their past, and often times, “if I could only do it again, I’d do it differently,” are often spoke. If you asked me that same question, my answer would be no. I’ve been through those dark times at various points in my life, do I wish that I knew better than I did? Hell yes, but I wouldn’t change it. I think it took that last time to allow me to get my head right. I needed to get through that rough time, just so I could evolve. I’m better now, I’ve invested in myself, which isn’t something I would have ever done. By investing in myself, I’ve been given the motivation to help others, and I’ve seen what my helping others is doing. I get to watch these people I help, grow, and become better version of themselves.  To me, that’s one of the best gifts that I could think of.

I want to share a conversation I had at work the other day:

I was working with a co-worker, and we got into the conversation about God. I'm by no rights a religious person, but I do have a spiritual belief in a higher power. God, and my personal beliefs don't usually come up, anywhere but we started talking about the Bible. Act 7:48 (God) dwelleth not in temples made with hands.




It got me to thinking that if the body is the temple, and you fix it, and build it strong, is that why we feel better mentally? Or how about the fact that I also feel better spiritually? I know when I go out for my walks, it feels like my meditation. I feel closer to having a conversation with God, or even just the fact that it helps me talk to myself and sort out ideas in my mind.

Life is a puzzle, and I know that I’ll never have everything figured out. All I know is that I was put here to help people. If there’s anything I can do to help, please reach out and I’ll see what I can do. This is the Director, and that’s a wrap.

Twenty Pounds Worth of Plastic

So, on May fourth was my seventeen month check up, and I had dropped another one and a half pounds since the last time I personally checked. So that put me at 265, and I was excited. My hard work continues to pay off, it’s just not as fast at it once was. Though the numbers continue to help motivate me to keep going.

Things have happened that kept me from getting to this blog started on May sixth.

While I was there the subject of skin removal had come up by the doctor, and he told me that removing stomach skin would take off an additional twenty pounds. This was exciting, but at the same time anxious news. While the idea of losing my extra skin sounds great from the vanity point of view, doing my observation on the weight loss support groups has shown me that the procedure has a a painful recovery time.

The recovery time is six weeks from what I gather, and that would mean that another six weeks of my life would be put on hold. While that doesn’t sound that bad considering the ultimate pay off, it still puts a tinge of nervousness on me. I know that I will go through it, as I plan on continuing to the final parts of this weight loss process, and I know that I still have about six months, if not more, to decide when I’ll get it done.

Continuing on the subject of my weight loss journey, I was on Instagram last week, and I saw on the West Medical page that yours truly was the transformation Tuesday for them. I was in shock, but I do remember telling them that they could use me as an example, especially since I seem to be doing my journey the right way. I needed up checking it out on Twitter as well, and I tweeted them and asked them if I could get on a billboard once I reached my goal weight.

To me, that just gives the CK Project that much more legitimacy, and it shows that my hard work is paying off. Hard work, that doesn’t always come easy. There are times I want to quit, and give up on everything. There are times that I still feel like I’m at 429. I was told just yesterday that it should take about seven years for me to get out of that mind set. In the end, I know that I have this, even if it’s a struggle at times.

Now to the point of why this blog has taken so long to get out: I’ve been mentally at a spot that I haven’t felt comfortable about where the pressures in life have been coming from. I’ve felt in adequate, and I can’t really pin point the source of why I’ve been feeling that way.

The last two weekends, my sleep schedule has been shit. I haven’t been able to shut my mind off, and it’s been difficult not thinking about everything under the moon. I hope that the steps that I’ve taken to forward myself professionally works out the way I would like. I’ve had to take a step back and look at all the factors in my life, and formulate a five year plan. So far, it’s too early to see those results, as it’s just starting.

The strange part about my decision was that it was never apart of the over scheme for my life, and I said that I never would take that leap. God, things really have changed for me over the last year and a half. So much has happened that has been unexpected, and here I am, finding a different passion, and connection to life. This journey continues to take me places that I find surprise me, and the choices that I make.

For the last thoughts on this blog today is that I started a challenge that I found on Tumblr, while I’m in someone’s challenge there, I reached out on my various social media pages, and posted a fun challenge called The No Zero Day May challenge. The challenge consists of doing some sort of physical activity everyday during the month of May, no rest. You can do a light walk, as a rest day, but the challenge is to keep it going all month.

The awesome part is that I have three people that I personally know taking this challenge, and I’m excited to see their results everyday. My friend Terry has taken this challenge and is kicking so much ass, and his results are making me proud. He’s been my friend for over twenty-years and I’ve seen his health go down hill, that to hear that his weight is dropping and his blood sugar numbers are going down, is a gift unto itself.

I can’t believe that we’re already almost half way through the year already. It’s crazy to see how things are going so fast. I’m not ready for my oldest to graduate next month, and then become a legal adult. Anyway, this is the Director, and that’s a wrap.

#ITSOKAYNOTTOBEOKAY

     Disclaimer: Due to technical difficulties with internet and the real world, I’ve been away, and I’m back for more….

     As with most of my blogs as of late, I usually start off by talking about my weight loss journey, but being away for the amount of time I have, something has struck me with inspiration, and pulls me in a direction that I normally only touch upon. Not today! Today I want to talk about #itsokaynottobeokay.

A few weeks ago I was on Facebook, looking at the many posts and memes that get shared, when I happened to see a post about being there for others with the hashtag its okay not to be okay. As many of you who do actually read my blogs, know what The CK Project is all about. Some have been with me from the beginning, way back in 2011, when it was just about motivation for better physical health, but its since evolved into more than just the physical, but has incorporated the mental health as well.

It’s funny how things seem to go full circle, then brings attention to the real reasons that I started blogging. I’ve been witness to some friends of mine being in the dark places, and I want to let them know that “it’s okay not to be okay”, but to remind them that better times are always around the corner.  Being someone who’s been in the mindset of suicide on more than one occasion, I want to remind my friends, my readers, that I know it’s hard to get out of your mind with the ideas that there’s nothing better, and to end it all, would be the best way, but it’s not true, nor is it the best option for anyone.

I know how lonely it gets, and it’s frustrating to see my own wife go through her battles, and watch her discover what the dark shade of depression is. I also know that it’s easier said than done when it comes to dealing with it. Just know that those who are meant to be in your life are there for a reason, even if it’s just so you can learn to tell them to fuck off. I know someone who’s dealing with hate and discontent in their family, being that I myself have a spotty relationship with most of my extended family, I understand. Sometimes we have to make the difficult choice to cut those people out of your lives. I know that I don’t deal with most family members because I’m the black sheep, and I look at life very different then those who grew up together.

Remember, it’s okay not to be okay. It isn’t just a hash tag trend on social media. It’s a reminder that it’s okay to not stay strong. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay, to be vulnerable. You’re only human, and that’s….okay. We all have gone through some form of rough times, and we all can weather the storm. Life can and will get better if you allow it, even with a bit of help.

Self analysis is a strong tool to have to help get through these problems, and I remember when I felt like I had nowhere to turn. Getting the help, more importantly, asking for the help is the first step to recovery, in any situation in life. That’s always why having other’s around you can help you figure it out. If you don’t have the tool set, find someone who can help you get that tool set. Find that way to count your spoons.

As I’ve been on this journey of self discovery, and building a better me, I’ve grown so much, and I see people who’ve had the similar struggles, tend to show kindness in a world that usually doesn’t have any of it to spare. So we deal, and try to manage, then you get that asshole who wants to shit on whatever progress you’ve made. That’s something that’s damaging and can lead to worse things. Unfortunately, those people don’t care, or give a thought to what they might have just done.

It’s okay not to be okay, and if you need assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me, and if I can’t help you, I’ll find you somebody who can. I’ve lost a few people to suicide, and even one is too many. This is why the project is stronger than ever. This is why I do what I do. This is why, somehow, its been my bigger focus in life. Saving someone is worth it, and I’ve been there to help people not leave this earth too soon, and I’ll continue to strive to help as long as I can.

This is the director, and that’s a wrap.

 

Push To Not Give Up

Our minds can be our greatest strength, but it can also be our worse enemy. I also know that this has been a subject that I’ve been touching on quite a bit recently. It’s just part of the journey, as I continue on building a better self. At least I haven’t given up on the path yet.

Moving forward, I weighed-in yesterday. Being in a place of self doubt, and not thinking I’ve been doing vary well, I was glad to see that I hadn’t let myself get out of control. The scale came in at 293.9. That’s a five pound loss since my last weigh-in. My BMI is at 42.2, which is great to know that I’ve lost about twenty percent of my body mass.

I’m kind of in an odd spot where I’ve had to get smaller equipment to wear for work, the stuff I’ve been wearing is getting way to big on me, yet one size smaller is still a bit too small for me. I did notice last week that the belt I wear was starting to fit better though. I also realize that now’s the time I actually get myself some new uniforms.

All I can keep telling myself is to just keep pushing forward. It’s always hard to keep that on the forefront of my mind, but it’s worth it. A misstep isn’t the end of the world. I think that’s the biggest fear…to just loose control and end up back at square one. Maybe that’s my check point, and what keeps me going. That fear of being like I was, with no will power, and no self control. I don’t want to feel the way I used to feel. I’m liking my new outlook on life.

Going back to the weigh-in though: I’m down 136 pounds. It feels good, no, it feels great. My next goal to hit is 270, and I know that isn’t so far away of obtaining. I’m now at a weight that I was before I got with my wife Sarah. It feels great, and that was over eighteen years ago. If I hit below 270, that will be a weight I haven’t seen in over twenty years. As I say and think it, a feeling of amazement comes to mind. I can’t even begin to grasp the concept of me being less than fat. While I’m no longer considered morbidly obese, I’m considered severely obese.

I guess that it’s a down grade, but it still feels negative to be considered that. I know that I have a long way to go before I’ll be considered healthy, but I’m getting there. That’s the mentality that I need to keep: I’m getting there. So, that should be one of my new hash tags- #Imgettingthere . A mantra to follow, and keep me going.

I saw a hash tag on Facebook the other day that I think I’m going to also start using: #itsokaynottobeokay. I think that it speak volumes especially since it still seems taboo to talk about mental health issues. I’m glad that I took up the mantle to be a voice for mental health awareness. It was sad when there was people that I knew had taken their own lives, and that’s part of why I do it. That and I have family members who also suffer from depression and I love them, and want them to have a long and wonderful life.

This is the director, and that’s a wrap.

 

Insomnia…. You Dirty Bastard

With everything that’s been going on with me personally, insomnia seems to be something that has been re-occuring for about the last month or so. I’m not sure if this had to do with the hard winds that are blowing outside, or the unpleasant dream that my father had died. Hell, maybe my creativeness is wanting to be let out…..

I liked how as I went to bed last night, that I had finally came up with a better name for my Geek on Geek project(which will be revealed soon enough). I was gonna wait until morning to write it down as it was, but I decided that I’d better write it down before I forgot it. That’s how things used to be for me though, I would come up with something that I thought was awesome, like a song, or an idea, and I would keep it in my head for months and never write it down. However, since this is the livelihood, that I’m trying to make a career out of, I can’t take those chances anymore.

Usually when I have depression, that’s when insomnia seems to kick my ass the most, but outside of a few short bouts of it because of my surgery and my body changing, I’ve not really anything to be depressed about. Sure, I know that I had to have my dog put down last week, but I was already prepared for that, and I knew that it was only a matter of time before that happened. My life style is forever changed, I’ve had moments where after I ate, I had that moment of feeling depressed, but I’m liking where my body is going and even just after a week and a half, I’m starting to feel comfortable in my body again.

I think the thought of my father dying is what’s weighing on my mind. He’s not dead, thank God, but that’s something that is a concern as he’s getting older, and he’s not treated his body right. I’ve watched the man slowly fall apart over the last couple of years, and I’m not sure how I’ll handle his eventual expiration. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve never lost anyone close to me, besides maybe pets, but my circle hasn’t ever been penetrated like that. I worry about those whom are close to me that have the same struggles with mental health as I do, and if there was a loss there, I know that I would be devastated.

There are days that I feel that I’ve failed as a father, and as a son, but I try to show my family that I do love them and I’m trying my best either way. I think that’s why I survived the melt down like I did. I wasn’t going to let those negative thoughts, and my feelings define the person that I was, because in the end…I wanted to be better than I was. I hated feeling like a piece of shit, all day every day. Especially since I knew that I had more to offer than just being a verbal punching bag to the people around me. I took that suicidal moment, and learned to make it my armor.

When you spend most of your life looking and serving inwardly there are many miss opportunities that happen in life. I don’t remember how, or when it happened, but being the person who wants to safe a life is the best thing ever. This is true when that test comes in front of you and you have the chance to change someone from making that mistake that has gone through your own head dozens of times. There’s a feeling of being able to do something meaningful in life.

That’s the purpose of the CK Project, to help inspire and motivate. When I originally started it six years ago, I was hoping to help change lives, and get people inspired to become more healthy. Then, I had my melt down at work and depression took over. Now that I’m a filmmaker, and a networker, I’m finding new ways to bring the message to people and I’ve talk to people about my weight loss journey, and it’s getting people motivated to lose their extra pounds. If I can do it, anybody else should be able to as well. I just had to take a more extreme route to get to where I need to go.

So, with a week and a half out from removing most of my stomach, I’m very much excited for where my life is going. Things have been moving forward for a while now, even with a few bumps in the road. I just keep moving forward. The pain is over all gone, and my stomach isn’t in the way of everything anymore. This journey has a long road to go, and I’m prepared to follow that road until the end, because I want to live. I want those who struggle to also live, because many people I know who’ve gone through the same struggles as I have, are some of the most beautiful people that I know. If by my helping just a few people ended up being my legacy in life, then I guess that’s not such a bad thing.

God, I know that this blog seems to go a bit everywhere this morning, but all considering….it’s helping me out this morning. I’m finding myself in a very zen place in life. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m getting older, or if I’ve just let the drama go, but the last few months, I’ve really found myself at an amazing place spiritually. Yes, there have been a few shit days here and there, but over all, my vibe has been positive. I think the only thing I haven’t had much patience for is incompetence, but that’s a story left for another time.

This is the director and that’s a wrap?