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Struggles and Stuff – Update – Sat Jun 29 2019

Well, another month has passed and I am not much closer to my goals from February, aside from my weight staying down. I know that sounds different because at 36 y/o we all know that weight is difficult to maintain, especially with erratic sleep and eating schedules. Bet hey, we take the wins where we can get them.

For those that follow me closely (Hi, Mom), I have been really struggling with my sleep and subsequently my mood. It’s funny that I am writing this at 0555 in the morning on a Saturday. I thank my daughter for strolling into my room at 0400 this morning. I just stayed up because I can’t continue to just lay around wishing for sleep, it’s driving me crazy.

So I came to the kitchen to perfect my espresso. 7 shots later (I only drank 3) I am still not perfect but I know a few things that I should not do…. like start the machine without a cup underneath the drip.

Cup of espresso sitting on my coffee counter in front of espresso machine and some grounds visible on the counter with a 1970’s backsplash in the background, and a shakeology cup :)

My seventh and final cup of espresso from this morning. Lightly tamped, full ground (9) blonde roast, approx. 2.6 oz.

It doesn’t look too bad. In hindsight, I should have practiced with my cheaper auto-drip coffee, but you know what they say about hindsight… it fills you with regret and despair! Seriously, it’s not that serious.

Health Status

Where to begin… I have no idea about my health. As I alluded to above, I am not sleeping well at all. At all. I had a sleep study done about six days ago on Monday night. I had seen a new sleep doctor the preceding Friday, Dr. Jane Doe. Actually, it isn’t ‘Jane,’ but for anonymity I will keep it like that. I don’t want to alienate my new Doctor, although she has a better chance of being discovered by kids in Guam with no internet than on my scarcely read blog pages.

My depression is but it isn’t. That’s about how much sense it makes to me. I try to justify my wild ups and downs (mostly the latter) by referring to my three close encounters with death (read about those in here). *(While linking that I just realized my blog is still an unorganized mess… and I’m very frustrated with WordPresses Interface)

I’m hiring a pro-bono website designer..

As Far as medication, I’m off of everything except vitamins and otc medications for my stomach/GI tract. But I don’t have to tale those much thanks to my Shakeology and Shakeology boosts. Check out my YouTube channel for a video or more about Shakeology (yes, I sell it, but more importantly I drink it…the proof is in my kitchen. Click on the picture for my YouTube Channel that needs more content)

Shakeology stash... vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, caffe latte, digestive health boost, power greens boost

My beloved Shakeology stash. This, my friends, is why I’m not 300 lbs right now. No joke.

So, I clearly have no clue about my health other than that I am alive and breathing, and today that’s good enough for me.

School

Well, graduate school is not hard, well, not in the sense that it takes maximum effort to produce quality work. The hard work comes in when trying to makes sense of the terrible ideologies of the professors and the education system in general. I believe I should finish my degree(s) before I elaborate on that.

I can write an A paper in no time; about 7.5 hours for a 7-8 page paper, APA formatted with 8-10 references… IF I know what I want to right about. Maybe double that when trying to narrow a topic. That may sound like boasting, and it is. I am quite proud of my strengths.

I have no idea where I am going n my educational journey, but I know I don’t really want to quit just yet. I have received a few job offers this summer. Well, we’ll say one actual job offer and opportunities. Connections are important folks. I’ve always been bad at that, but the connections that I have made are quality. Quality > Quantity as far as I’m concerned.

I’m going to add here that I don’t think that psychiatrists in general are very good people. I’ve never met one that wasn’t a complete fabrication of a counselor… a medical doctor (not even a knowledgeable one) that TALKS TO YOU, never listens, for about 10-15 minutes and pushes medications. They have no training, or act like they don’t, in counseling. I don;t know how that got so twisted on television. But then again, I’ve only ever seen government paid Psychiatrists.

I said that to say this: I explained my goals (and my apprehension in pursuing them because of my age and family status) to my psychiatrist and she acted very pleased and offered me her best wishes. When I read her note the next week I saw that she actually thought that I was psychotic and had ‘grandiose’ and unrealistic plans for my future. I have a gang of terrible words brewing about her right now so let me just say that I was not happy.

Goals and everything else…

Ok, so as I said in the opening to this very lengthy Seinfeld-esque post about my vanity, I have been slacking on my goals. In reality, I’ve been crushing out my college courses but that’s about it.

I am doing my best to get into my fitness regimen (not regiment folks… a routine isn’t a military unit) again, but as you read, maybe, I have not been sleeping well. My energy is down. And to be honest, if you have every had MDD (major depressive disorder) you would know how terrible that is. Depression is one thing, everyone gets it at some point. It sucks. MDD is different. Listen to Dr. Jordan Peterson’s description here. That’s about as accurate as I can tell. It may even be worse. It’s not good. And the worst part of it, I KNOW THAT I AM BLESSED AND I HAVE SO MUCH TO BE HAPPY ABOUT. That’s why it’s so complex and difficult to treat.

So I am going to jump back on the horse and get back into working out. I need some workout buddies. My fitness clients don’t live anywhere close so I simply post about my workouts (or lack thereof) and coach them. You don’t technically have to be fit to help others get fit, but it is useful to be a product of your knowledge. And I am going to make sure I get there.

In my opinion, if you can walk without support you can be fit. NO EXCUSES. I will standby for proof to the contrary.

As for my fitness coaching, blogging, vlogging, and other endeavors… I am pushing forward. People need encouragement and I need to help people. Without that, I don’t know what I would do.

I think I’ll stop here and pick this up next time.

Thanks to those that took the time to read this. If you made it all the way through, leave a thumbs up or something in the comment section.

Have a great day!

Andrew

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Introduction to Some Other Me:

The Making of “The DadAholic

(Part 0 of 3)

This is some type of introduction to my story about my journey through the first part of my life, and my arrival… here… to the first part of my life.

I have accumulated quite the collection of stories in my short lifetime. These stories a a variety of interesting, horrifying, and even unbelievable events and experiences that I have done a good job of hiding. Unfortunately for you, I’m going to share most of them. And it’s probably a good thing that I don’t.

I have several good reasons (and many selfish and ‘not-so-good’ reasons) why I will keep the majority of them to myself.

One good reason is that my stories aren’t special in the sense that other people’s are average. They are unique because they are mine, but they are average because everyone has their own unique history. I don’t see the point in stirring up memories and emotions (mine mostly) just to show everyone how… far I can spit.  

Another decent (and selfish) reason is that I’m not going to put unnecessary personal information out for the world to see. And though there are few things truly secret in my life, people can work for dirt on me of they want it. But be warned because what some people may see as dirt, I regard as building blocks. And I’m not afraid of exposure. I’m just not going to fuel it.

So… I decided some time ago that I should document my journey in recovery. Actually, I want(ed) to document my entire life. For the reasons stated above. Additionally, I should mention that I find people extremely interesting. I mentioned that people are unique in their life experiences, and this is correct. But what might surprise many people, is the fact that most people have similar thought processes and instincts to one another. And when you see someone showing all the beauty and awe in their social media profiles, rarely are they much different from you. And the most likely scenario (though not in every case), is that they are more messed up than you think… or maybe even more than they realize.

That’s a post or series of posts for another time.

I’m going to break down my recovery story into a series of posts that will build on one another… I think. This post is already approaching 400 words and I’m not a huge fan of writing a book for a blog post. It’s hard on the eyes.

I will begin with my first decade of memories in the next post, which would be about age 7 to age 17. Then I’ll do 17-27, then 27-present, roughly.

Stand by while I figure out what I’m going to do…

Part 1 is HERE-

Part 2 is HERE-

Part 3 is HERE-

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My Fitness Transformation Journey with P90X (circa 2010 and GOING AGAIN)

The “Mother of All Workouts” Tony Horton

Survey

“Heeeeeeeeey!!!!

I’m glad you got to this page…obviously you are interested in creating a healthier and new version of YOU!
I’m interested in helping YOU make that happen.
Why?

Because someone helped me the exact same way, with Beachbody Programs (P90X) and Shakeology; and to achieve massive weightloss with fitness, exercise, and healthy eating habits.

I was overweight in the US ARMY (gasp…I know…) and I was losing traction in my career pursuits. The truth is, if you want to make it in the military you have to be super fit, and intelligence is minor factor…really.

Anyways, so I’m fretting about how to get in shape in early 2010 because “I’VE TRIED EVERYTHING!!” Well, I hadn’t, and a friend handed me some P90X discs to try. And I cranked them out for two weeks and immediately saw results.

Next, I ordered my own set of P90X, started Shakeology, began eating per the meal planning guide, and waking up at 0300am every morning to workout.
90 days…
In that time, I was more fit than at any time in my life. Even right after basic training. 

***Cont’d from BB web page…

 

It's only going to be better this time because I don't drink, use tobacco, or eat unhealthy food...Initial results from P90X

So, I was able to pursue schools, promotions, and super cool (Top Secret) stuff as a result. Like I said earlier, no matter how intelligent or lethal you are, if you are off balance (weight/muscle/fat) then you will stall and be chastised.

P90X is the “Mother of All Workouts.”

Are you skeptical? Do I sound like a salesman? Well, I do get a commission from the products, because that’s just how it works. But I would never sell something that I don’t believe in or use myself.

And these are just words, right? Well, I put my money where my mouth is. I am starting P90X again on Monday, April 22, and I pay for Beachbody OnDemand and Shakeology just like everyone else.

I will take pictures, post the pictures, and while you decide I’m going to start cranking it out. You want proof that it works…. stay tuned, the results are coming. You can join me now or later, or not at all… but at some point you will have regrets. But nor worries, you can always catch up and even surpass me. You can join at any time… and if you join within the first 15 days (you’ll see my 14 day results and start thinking….) I’ll even restart to day one so we can go at it together.

I’ll have before pictures (from this journey) up by Monday morning, probably Sunday night. Game-time Monday morning.

Decide…Commit…Succeed… Guaranteed.

Questions, Comments, Concerns? Please put them below. I got you. There is no failure with Drew by your side. This I give you my word.

And please take this 2 minute survey… HERE

And please take this 2 minute survey… HERE

**Edited to add…
As you may well know it happened again, but I’m hopeful and healing because God promised this to me.
I was on the vent in a coma again for a couple days less than a week (or right about) ago.

Today I did a workout (4/29- late post). I’ll be doing some light to moderate cardio this week to prepare my lungs for next week’s action. P90X, May 6th until complete.

Check out my recent video and my new plan and commitment… HERE.

Never lay down, never quit, never surrender, and never, ever skip a workout!

Let’s get our game faces on. I don’t know about you, but I’m keeping this body in peak condition because I have become acutely aware of the finite nature of existence and the suddenness in which we may all pass.

Let’s go!!!

Share, enjoy, but most importantly join me. No regrets!

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I actually died IN the hospital this time…

So, here’s the story.

I wasn’t sleeping well the few days leading up to Easter Sunday. That’s not all that abnormal. Sometime I get busy at night and I have a strict 4am wake up policy (however depending on duration I may sleep an extra hour, or if I can’t squeeze more than an hour or two in I may skip it all together). I know, it’s not normal.

So, I was getting about 1.5-2 hrs of sleep Friday and Saturday night, and Sunday I was back up pressure washing the GRASS at dawn … because I fell asleep while I was pressure washing the patio.

Apparently I was acting a bit out of sorts, and when our Easter celebration was over I was encouraged (told) to go to the hospital. Apparently people could see things that I could not. I remember showering, leaving, arriving in the ER on Sunday Night…

then waking up with a tube in my throat on Tuesday morning…

I have not a clue how this happened or why. Apparently they had me on various types of breathing apparatuses and when I was alone in a room, I simply stopped breathing (Monday morning) and was emergency intubated which is worse than a planned one because I have some serious bleeding in my throat and lungs…. part of the deal I guess. The reason I stopped breathing was yet again my Co2 levels in my blood/brain were so high that my brain turned my lungs off.

Like the first (Feb 22) episode and unlike the second (April 4) episode, I actually have a touch of pneumonia in my left lung.

So what is going on?

Lots of theories, lots of questions, no concrete answers, and I’m afraid to die in front of my children.

Some theories are Chiari Malformation, which was found in an MRI. Apparently very common and usually asymptomatic. Repeated MRIs showed that this is most likely not the cause, and the Neurosurgeon and her team feel comfortable this is not the issue.

Another theory is Central Sleep Apnea, but evidence is lacking at this time. And another working theory is that I may have a it of daytime sleepiness (narcolepsy) which causes my sleep/wake cycle to be off and can cause central apnea among other things. This would explain alot since I do have a habit of falling asleep anywhere at anytime, even in the car. These two theories are from Team Pulmonology.

I’m not afraid to die at all, my Creator has that all worked out. I just don’t want my kids to see it happen. That’s not okay.

But I must put my trust in God because the alternative is unspeakable and truly nihilistic.

I ask for two things…share this far and wide so we can possibly find some workable theories, and comment below if you have any ideas…

Also, I ask for your prayers. Whether you pray or not, I ask that you suck it up, speak to my God in whom I place all trust, and ask him to proceed with his will, whatever that may be.

That’s pretty much what I have for now.

Please and thank you, share, share, share… pray, pray, pray… and pray for my dog also…

God Bless!!

-Andrew

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Feeling Stuck, Unhappy, or Unsatisfied? Unfulfilled?

You don’t have to stay there. There’s hope…if you seek it.

Most people are afraid of change, yet everything (including YOU…AND ME) is in a constant state of flux (change).

People are afraid to take risks or ‘take a leap of faith,’ because people fear uncertainty…and more often than not fear of rejection is a contributing factor. What will my friends think? What would my Dad say? What are people going to say about these extravagant dreams/goals?

SIMPLE ANSWER: Who cares what other people think…

When you start chasing those seemingly outlandish life-long dreams, people will come out of the woodwork to try to convince you how crazy that is or why it’s a bad idea. SHUT THAT SHIT OUT. Go with your passion, visualize the end goal, and work your ass off everyday to get there. Never stop, never quit, and never take NO for an answer. If you fail, change your strategy and do it again. And again. And again.

Shut those toxic naysayers out of your life. Friends? Bye. Spouse? Sorry, Bye. Family….yep…Bye.

You’ll quickly find out who has your best interests in mind. And that process won’t be pretty, but in the end it will have been worth it.

Someone said (Jim Carrey?) that “you can easily fail at what you don’t want in life, so why not go after what you do want?” Failure is part of the process. Don’t be afraid of failure, that’s how we learn and grow.

And for crying out loud, stop comparing yourself to other people, and start comparing yourself to an earlier version of yourself. (Jordan Peterson, Rule #4 in his book “12 rules for life: An anecdote for chaos). All rules listed below.

WATCH THIS ~5 MIN VIDEO BY JOE ROGAN

www.youtube.com/watch

LINK TO Dr. Peterson’s BOOK HERE

12 RULES FROM BOOK:

Peterson’s 12 rules

Rule 1 Stand up straight with your shoulders back

Rule 2 Treat yourself like you would someone you are responsible for helping

Rule 3 Make friends with people who want the best for you

Rule 4 Compare yourself with who you were yesterday, not with who someone else is today

Rule 5 Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them

Rule 6 Set your house in perfect order before you criticise the world

Rule 7 Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)

Rule 8 Tell the truth – or, at least, don’t lie

Rule 9 Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t

Rule 10 Be precise in your speech

Rule 11 Do not bother children when they are skate-boarding

Rule 12 Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street

PLEASE LIKE, COMMENT, SHARE, AND FOLLOW/SUBSCRIBE…AND VISIT MY “SUPPORT” PAGE TO CONTRIBUTE TO THIS MANIACAL VETERAN’S MISSION OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND SHARING JOY AND KNOWLEDGE.

THANKS FOR READING!!

Until next time.

Andrew

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Take Responsibility Even When it Isn’t Your Fault

I believe that we, as a modern and debatably weak(er) minded construct, have become accustomed to blaming anything and everything for the way we live our lives, the way our lives turned out, or the things that have happened to us or are happening to us right now. Maybe it is someone else’s FAULT that you are missing a limb. It is most definitely someone else’s fault if you have fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). It’s not your fault if you parents liked to drink or drank so much that they can be considered ‘problem drinkers’ or alcoholics.

But with all these faults that are ours, yours, mine, theirs… we have to take responsibility NOW for what we are going to do next. “I was born in a barn.” Okay, so what are you going to do? Stay in that barn? (metaphorically) Or are you going to leave the barn and begin to live, burn that barn down and start fresh, walk away from that barn and never look back??

Playing the victim seems to be the popular game these days, especially for ‘groups’ of people that claim they are marginalized and labeled, when they themselves are the ones that are marginalizing and labeling, or even worse, accepting those labels and crying out for people to give them something foe their suffering. Money, power, attention…but most importantly they want to be respected. We all do. But you don’t gain much respect by playing the ‘victim’ and blaming other people for you inability to overcome adversity.

Les Brown stated that “nobody is going to want to help you if you are always complaining.” Isn’t that true? Think about some examples of that in your own life. Have you experienced this or seen someone else experience this? Who gets more money… the guy on the street looking angry holding a sign that says “homeless and hungry,” or the guy playing the violin with a sign that says “will play for food?”

I’m not inferring that homeless people need a talent to be fed. I was demonstrating the importance of positivity, responsibility, and motivation to get what you NEED.

Now, with all the adversity that EVERYONE contends with every single day, why is it that groups of people are labeled as being worse off than others? Whole groups of people, and there are hundreds, maybe thousands of groups depending on how the ‘victim’ chooses to describe his/herself, are at a disadvantage because of something that happened hundreds or thousands of years ago?

I think it’s time we will take responsibility for our own lives and those of our children and start making tracks every day to improve our existence. I’m not going to sit down on my couch with my hand out waiting for someone to pay me for a wrong that happened to me 10 years ago, or for something that happened to an ancestor that I’ve never met (Scotland would probably owe my family of that were thee case).

It is my duty, my responsibility, and my moral obligation to say “I’m moving in that direction, straight ahead (straight up is also acceptable) because there is nothing back there that is going to change a thing. I can blame everyone for everything, but in the end that blaming will get me NOTHING but pain and suffering, which I don’t want any of, not anymore.

Now I’m going to get really specific because this has been eating at me. You can love it or hate it, but life is too short to sugar coat this mess.

I am not sorry that I’m not a person of color. I’m not privileged because of the color of my skin. Some people may have been mocked or mistreated because of the color of their skin, and I have too. But I’m not complaining about it. The thoughts, opinions, and words that other people have towards me are irrelevant to the goals that I am chasing. If you choose to dwell on who has more and “why me?” crap, then you will just get more of what you’ve been getting, and you can only blame yourself for being who you are today.

Get off the “poor me because I’m…gay, black, Hispanic, female, male, Asian, muslim, disabled, etc… The question remains… “what are you going to do about it?” What, within your locust of control, can you do to improve your suffering and live a life of fulfillment and meaning?

You can start by getting rid of those thoughts that someone owes you or that you’ve been wronged. Take responsibility for your trajectory, take charge of your thinking, take actions daily to improve your life, and when you finally get it…you will be obligated to share it and help ease the suffering of others.

And if you are thinking that this post is racist, or sexist, or anything ‘ist,’ that just goes to show you that this post is indeed about you. And you need to change the way you are looking at things. Racism is real. Sexism is real. Bigotry is real. But that’s not coming from the majority of the populace… it is a very small minority of people.

Don’t believe the lies you have been told about history, about the world, and especially the ones about yourself. “Self-fulfilling prophecies.” I’ll let you look that one up.

Have a great day and please Like, Subscribe, Share, Comment, Complain, Follow, etc…

Additionally, if you have an opinion piece that would like featured on this page, send me a message and I’d be happy to consider it.

 

-Andrew

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Either you control your day, or your day controls you…

What’s it going to be?

www.youtube.com/watch

Donate to my cause by clicking HERE or by visiting my Support My Efforts Page. 

 

Please share, like, subscribe, follow, and COME BACK for more great content!

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Goals

Well, after reviewing my self-proclaimed ‘epic’ advice blog post about goal setting…I realize there is very little actual information about how to actually set the goals rather than just the importance of having them.

I will write a shorter, more digestible blogpost later today with some practical steps/advice on how to set goals that will be productive rather than destructive. I’ll also explain the importance and difference between 1st level, 2nd level, and 3rd level goals (short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals, respectively).

Prioritizing within these levels is also important, and developing and implementing an action plan is just as important as setting the goal(s). You can’t have one without the other. Well you can…but you won’t end up where you want to be.

More on this later….get your workout in!

As soon as I’m healed, I’ll be joining you. I had my workers (family/friends/spouse/kids) finish my workout space/office…and I can’t wait to use it.

And here it is!

Patiently (impatiently) waiting for my body to heal…meanwhile…Shakeology!!

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Goals and the Illusion of Happiness- 3/22/19 @ 2218 hrs

Pleaser Consider a Donation for My Cause

Helping people realize and actualize their potential and their goals. We all get stuck in life, some worse than others. But there is always a way to make the suffering less impactful and to live a better life. I share my story and experiences because I believe that gives people hope and understanding of the diversity and similarity of different people's lives.

$5.00

Goal Setting and Why This is Important

Chances are, at some point in your life, you have heard of the importance of setting goals and keeping them forefront in your mind. And there is also a great chance that if you have, you have fallen short, outright failed, quit, gave up, or set easier goals because LIFE IS HARD.

Setting goals is perhaps one of the most important habits that we do as humans. That’s one of the things that separate us from primates and other animals. We have the ability to think about our future, make goals, formulate a plan, and forego instant gratification for the long-term gains/pay-off.

The problem is, especially in today’s society with all of the electronic devices and excessive consumerism lifestyles most of us live, we aren’t generally comfortable waiting for that pay-off. We want it now. And it’s easier to make decisions that benefit us now even when thinking it through would reveal that these decisions are detrimental in the long-term. But our brains tend to shut down as soon as we make a decision that RIGHT NOW matters more than tomorrow. And it is tough to think about how much work is required to achieve the kind of success that most people want. We all want to be successful, but very few people are willing to put in the TIME, EFFORT, and HARD WORK that it takes to get there.

Successful people didn’t just wake up one day and become successful (you can define success any way you want to).

Young people (and sadly, many adult children) have a distorted perception of life. I know, I was one of them. It took me my whole life (slightly ambiguous) to get to the point where I finally understand the concept. Sure I’ve worked hard and accomplished much…but I was never happy when I got ‘this,’ or achieved ‘that.’ Happiness was always on the other side of the next accomplishment, the next thing. But it never came. And chasing ‘happiness’ only resulted in being increasingly unhappy. Well, this made no sense.

When I discovered that there is actually no realistic end goal where happiness awaits, a place one can reach in their life where there is nothing but elation and good feelings (aside from clinical delusions), I came to understand that happiness is a futile pursuit. Happiness comes and goes, sometimes by the minute. Sadness comes and goes just as quickly. Life is tough. Life is hard. But the most important thing that I came to understand is that life is AMAZING…

Being alive today is nothing short of a miracle. If you think of the evolutionary processes and the acts of God throughout history, natural selection, the rarity of sperm penetrating an egg during conception, the fact that our parents met, and so on…. and here we are. HERE WE ARE.

So…the idea is that happiness is a ridiculous goal, right? I mean, it’s all great when we’re feeling happy and we should embrace that and remember it. But it isn’t a sustainable state of being. “Life is suffering” (Jordan Peterson). We must work each and every day, every moment to work to better our lives and the lives of those around us.

So I learned to enjoy the little things, the moments throughout each day. Good, bad, terrible, amazing… it can be a roller coaster most of the time. But that is life, and I’m grateful for being here to feel those things. So, the ultimate daily and life-long goal, at least for me, is to remain grateful and joyful. It is joy that we should be after. And money won’t do that for you. Neither will sex, drugs, food, or even exercise. Sure, these things may provide some semblance of joy or short-term happiness….but joy must come from within. It has to be a part of who we are, who I am.

So…we were talking about goals right? I get going sometimes…

So, to achieve something meaningful in life, at least something meaningful to ourselves, we must identify what it is that would provide meaning. Some people call it our WHY, or dream, or ultimate goal. The underlying question is “where do you want to be in 5 years? 10 years? 50 years? And ultimately, what is it you want to have accomplished when you are on your ‘death bed?”

These are tough questions, because it is difficult to visualize. It is especially hard when you’ve never been asked about it or have never put much thought into it. Our school system doesn’t do much to help either. The goals are middle school, then high school, then college, then….???? That’s kind of where many people get stuck.

When I chose my current educational/degree path, I had put months of thought into what it is that would make me proud and provide fulfillment for me. It was no easy task after ~10 years in the military. They don’t prepare us much for the real world, similar to how grade school and college kind of shove you out into the world when they’ve taken your money, your heart, and most of your soul.

This is a critical point in life when we must decide what gifts we have that we can use to give to others, to humanity. Sure, some people want money, cars, and big houses. And there’s nothing wrong with that, if that’s your thing. But the process is still the same whether you want to be an astronaut, an engineer, or the Governor of California (shout-out to Arnold!).

Make the decision…(i.e., “I want to own a 5 star restaurant in a big city.”), WRITE IT DOWN. Write down the plan, the steps and the process that you will have to go through, the effort that you’ll have to put forth, the TIME that you’ll have to GIVE to get to this goal. Be realistic, and be intentional and unwavering in your pursuit. And every single day, you revisit that goal sheet and action plan, reflect on what you did yesterday that either moved you forward or set you back, and adjust accordingly. You will have to remain willing to adapt to changes in the plan because, well, plans are well and good but the Universe (God for me) has His own plans.

The idea is, if you want it bad enough and you visualize your goal(s) as if you are already there, you will subconsciously make decisions in your life that draw people and opportunities into your path and that draw you towards your goal. Some people call it the law of attraction, others call it God’s will, and still others call it sheer will power. Call it what you will, it works. But the goal has to be concrete, you must believe in yourself, ignore the naysayers and haters (they will be everywhere, even your closest friends and family), and do what is best for you.

Go to bed at a decent hour, wake up at the same time every single day, no matter what. I get up at 4AM. It isn’t my alarm that gets me up anymore…my goals wake me up. I usually get out of bed between 0315 and 0345…depending on when my sleep cycle actually ends. Yes, it’s a thing. But if you are drinking and drugging, you can forget about getting your circadian rhythm to work for you.

Do whatever it takes, don’t be afraid to fail (because you will fail, over and over and over and over), never quit, stay the course, never quit, never quit, never ever ever quit.

And never settle for anything less than what you want in life. You can’t wish yourself into riches and fame…but you can think and work yourself into them. But don’t take my word for it…go ahead and look up your favorite sports stars, movie stars, etc… They all have different versions of the same principle. PUT IN THE WORK.

And lastly…. you’re not a victim, you’re not a slave, and you’re not oppressed by anyone unless you are doing it to yourself with your own thoughts. Those kinds of mindsets are guaranteed to keep you from going anywhere in life. Stop putting your hand out, because nobody is coming to save you or pull you up. You have to do that by yourself. Sorry, but that’s the reality of it.

Well, I covered what I wanted and a lot more. As you can see, I get moving in all sorts of directions. But my information is good and I have faith that you can do whatever you want to. But that doesn’t mean anything unless you believe in yourself. Feel free to contact me if you want some free advice or if you think something I said was wrong.

Please like, follow, subscribe, share, and comment your thoughts below. Thanks for reading!!

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Self-Reflection and What is Next

Reflection

I am unsure of where to go from here. There is no lack of experience and knowledge in my psyche, and I have had my fair share of ups and downs. But I also know that I don’t actually know much at all. And that’s okay. I’m in no rush to figure it out. I have all the time that God is going to give me, and that’s enough for me.

I try to be a good Dad and husband, but that stuff is difficult. I find it easier to be kind and compassionate to people I don’t know. Why can that be? Well, maybe it’s because I feel no real responsibility regarding their end-game or where their future will take them. With kids, I have to be many things…sometimes more than one at any given time. I want to give them everything, but I know that would ruin them. I want to instill serious discipline and expose them to the real world, but that feels cruel and unnecessary. I want to be their friend, but if you give them an inch…

Something I have been practicing lately is consistency and communication. Not only with the kids, but with my wife as well. I think that it is very important that if parents are saying or doing something that may not be ideal for development, at least they are doing and saying the same thing as each other. Corrections can always be made, but security can easily be broken for a child.

Life-General

“Life is Suffering”- Jordan B. Peterson (jordanpeterson.com). This was a shocking statement when I first heard him say it. So I have been listening to more of Dr. Peterson’s talks and lectures, and I am reading his second book now. I have been thinking and reflecting on the concept of suffering…and I believe that he is right. As I look back at my life, I’ve honestly had more hard times than easy, or simple. But that, to me, is the beauty of life. We all suffer. So let’s suffer together.

Another concept that he adds to “Life is Suffering” is the idea that we should do everything we can to “contend” with that, to work on ourselves and build ourselves up to reduce that suffering. And also that once we have learned to “shoulder that burden” and ease our personal suffering, we should do everything in our power to lift others up and relieve suffering on a larger scale. This is what he describes as the meaning and purpose of existence, if I am paraphrasing correctly.

I don’t want to spend the entire post here regurgitating someone else’s ideas, but I’ll conclude that part by stating that I have not found someone with whom I can relate to and understand as much as I have with Dr. Peterson. Give him some of your time. Maybe shut off Facebook for a day, hop on YouTube and listen to his stuff. If you search for it, you can’t miss it. Additionally, Dr. Peterson draws a comparison between world religions (especially Christianity) and the concept of suffering. Lots of lectures on that also.

Life-Gratitude

Something very important that I have learned over the last few years, and especially over the last month is that life is precious (even with all the suffering). I am grateful to be here, and to have the things that I do. My health and wellness is not peak at the moment, my memory is shot, and I have pain in places that make me tear up sometimes. But I’d rather Be than to not Be.

I have found that one of the most difficult things that I face daily is not only my own mindset of remaining grateful, but helping my kids to realize how absolutely blessed they are to be alive, to have what they have, and to stop complaining about trivial material things. Maybe that’s a child-like disposition that kids share collectively, or maybe my kids are spoiled. I have committed to change this nonsense. If we have to begin living like paupers to achieve this goal, then I’ll gladly do it. I can do it longer than they can…I was in the Army for 10 years, so I can “suffer” through many conditions for months that many people couldn’t do for a day.

Okay, so that rant is complete. In essence, I choose to look at life as a gift rather than a task. But after having almost passed away, I am beginning to feel that I’ve lost my direction, purpose, meaning…

Purpose

This is a complicated idea. Where can we find purpose? I think as a society, we are beginning to collectively agree that we have control over what we do with our lives. Sure, some people settle and get stuck in jobs they hate, houses in bad neighborhoods, and relationships that are unhealthy. But what they don’t accept is the responsibility that they have for staying in those ‘spaces.’

We, especially in the Western Culture, are becoming increasingly aware of the idea that we should do what it is we are passionate about. This is not to be confused with laziness or addiction. A pot-smoker may be passionate about smoking pot…but that (in my opinion) does not constitute a significant pursuit in life. If that works for you, please drop a comment below, I’d love to hear your story. And selecting the pseudoscience area of study such as gender studies because of…well I don’t know why anyone would take those classes…but this is a ridiculous pursuit. However, I have met some connections on LinkedIn that have degrees in gender and women’s studies (why is there no gender and men’s studies) that have been largely successful. But this is, in my opinion, a passing fad and will hopefully dissolve before dangerous legislation gets passed (re: C16 in Canada).

Finding ones purpose usually takes time. But to have one so concrete just to lose it, well, dang. I don’t know how to explain that. I do know that I am only 36 and I have plenty of time to work it out, but my time is finite just like anyone else’s. Hopefully my readings and blogging will help me find what I am seeking.

So, we have many entrepreneurs (I always have trouble spelling that word) that will tell you that college is unnecessary and you can do great things without it. While this can be true in some cases, many times you need that paper or those initials after your name to be able to pursue certain careers/passions. Personally I think it is a ridiculously lengthy process, but necessary. I can give reasons for each.

Higher Education

Why is the process so lengthy and demanding? Because if it weren’t, we would have a society saturated with degrees and that would render them essentially useless (which is about where we are with undergraduate degrees. It takes a masters or higher these days to get into the upper 5 digit (70k+) job market. But with the prevalence of online education and “degree mills,” soon masters degrees will be a dime a dozen. Still, it takes time and money, so not everyone goes that route. Nor should they. We need people in all levels of the workforce, and not everyone needs to know how to read, write, and perform research to do many jobs. On the upside, a college education exposes one to ideas and knowledge that those without will not get unless they perform reading and research on their own (which I fall into both categories, more on that below).

Why degrees are frustrating and arguably a waste of time and money… This is an easy target, but I have some great stuff. Firstly, what in the absolute heck is going on with our education system that people go into sometimes life-long debt just to get a job?!! College should be free for anyone and everyone that maintains a 3.0 or higher. Sorry for those under that cutoff, but college should be reserved for those that care, work hard, and are prepared for it. Just a theory, but I believe it’s sound. Horribly ignorant and almost intellectually disabled sports stars go to school for free and pass classes that they don’t even attend…because they have talent (that makes the school money…it’s always about the money). No offense to these guys, better for them than society.

Second part to the above answer… waste of time. I am paying a system that then pays an individual to give me their ideologies and opinions on any given subject. This isn’t universal, there are many great science minded professors out there. But in the general counseling programs…waste-of-time. Also, and I know this is going to sound grandiose, I believe that the entire PhD or PsyD process is too lengthy, expensive, and unnecessary. And maybe this is different coming from a 36 year old that has been through some wild sh##, but I find that much of what I am being taught is impractical, outdated, and unnecessary for what I want (or did want) to do. Jay Shetty stated that most people don’t even figure out what they want to do with their lives until their mid-thirties.

I think there should be an accelerated doctoral program for those of us that have been reading, living, and researching psychology and philosophy for greater than two decades. Take a test, write a dissertation, defend said dissertation, and get out there and start making a difference. Back before 1900 (and maybe a little after), people used to practice something, and throw a sign up that said Doctor [of whatever] and that was perfectly acceptable. Many were highly competent, and many were not. So, regulation of licenses are necessary…but a one size fits all process is not only ridiculous, it’s costing many people a fortune that could otherwise be out there making a difference. But hey, let’s keep paying the machine for paper.

Meaning

Now that I got that out of my system…what is meaning and how do we find ours? Easy answer…I have no solid answer. But I do have theories… Meaning is dependent on the individual, fundamentally, but also highly dependent on how that individual interacts with their environment and more importantly, society/humanity. When I contemplate meaning, I don’t generally start with the Bible or thinking about God’s plan for me (though maybe that should be the first step…hmmm…). I usually start with thinking about what I can contribute to others… “What is it that I have that I can share or teach to other people?” Well, lots. So we bring passion and purpose into the mix…and my brain has been freezing recently. At the beginning of last month (Feb 2019), I would have given a concrete answer..I want to help at-risk youth overcome adversity, specifically addiction, and to study brains to learn what patterns or activities are associated with different thoughts and behaviors.

However, like I stated earlier, I have lost my purpose. My priorities are jumbled, but more clear. My kids have become my number one priority, and being their father has given my life meaning and some semblance of purpose. But what else? A person has to work, right? Volunteer? Missionary? Lawyer? Doctor? (I just added those last two for effect, I have no wish to be either, in the strictest sense). I actually do want to be a Doctor, but not a Medicinal Practitioner. If I were to go medicine, I would do psychiatry. If you read my previous blog, you’ll see that I’ve had my fill of death and destruction. I want to contribute to prevention and helping, not rolling the dice with someone’s life hanging in the balance by the minute. No way. Not one more, God willing. I can’t imagine getting a child in the ER or ICU and working for hours (or minutes which seem like hours) and it turns out that it was all futile.

But I have much to offer, I just need to read, pray, interact, think, meditate, and listen for God’s calling to see which way that I need to go.

This has been a circus of a month…and I have learned a great deal about myself and my life. I’ve also learned that I am clueless about many aspects of myself and my life. Things I thought I understood and had control of, I no realize that I was way off and I am still a student of my own consciousness. And for me, that’s a decent place to be.

I don’t know how often I will be writing a blog, I’ll shoot for once a week but I don’t know. I have difficulty sitting for long periods, laying for long periods, etc… So imagine how long this took to write.

Thanks for reading my blog. Please like, follow, subscribe, and comment below…

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I DIED, AND NOW I AM GOING TO LIVE…

First of all, don’t forget to like, share, comment, and follow.

What does it feel like to die? Do we see mysterious things? Visit mysterious places? Heaven? Hell? Something else? We’ll come back to that.

*** Denotes changes, additions, and corrections to information(excluding typographical and grammatical changes) Last Edits: 3/5/10 @0924; 3/16/18 @ 0449;

B.S. Psych Graduation ~9 months and ~50 pounds ago

It is said that there are essentially two ways that a person can change and/or grow: ‘failure’ and ‘significant life events’ (e.g., trauma). I’ve had my fair share of both, or course, just like most every other human. Some significant events in my life include multiple types of trauma, many failures, and a handful of miscellaneous ‘significant life events.’ Let’s explore a few of these negative ones before we get to the event that is described by this post’s title, and the reason most of you are reading this. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, I’ve had more success than I deserve. But some took pain and discomfort to achieve, and for that I am grateful.

I am comfortable discussing many things, but there are a some that are just for a very close circle of people. I will share some of these ‘life events.’ For most of these events, there are only a handful of people that know about them. For a couple of these events, there is one person. And for one that I don’t talk about, there is nobody alive today that knows and that’s the way it shall remain. It’s just one of those things. So…here we go.

3rd Reenlistment, Fort Beginning, GA

While serving in the military, I experienced roughly 8 events that had a significant impact in the manner in which I viewed my existence, humanity, and God. I’ve seen death from both sides of ‘the line.’ I’ve lost very good friends on deployment. And I’ve had to do some ‘thing’ which is still [debatably] unforgivable. That ‘thing’ took my soul and changed me for life. (I’ve since reclaimed that soul)

Additionally, while serving in the military, I’ve experienced some events on the semi-civilian side of life while acting as a volunteer fire fighter (love/hate relationship). I’ve lost three patients on medical and motor vehicle accident calls. Two were rather benign in nature, contextually. One of them, a man that had been entrapped in a logging truck and slowly burned alive (my sincerest condolences if his family reads this and feel a lack of empathy, that is not the case, I feel for him and you, almost every day). Well, I say alive but that’s an assumption. He was surely unconscious from the accident. A fire began in the lower right front portion of the semi-truck, and I was instructed to stand-down by my Chief. I do not feel good about this at all. But I have to believe he made the right call, and I do believe that it was his call to make. But man, the thoughts of “what if” creep in very often, and I have has some terrifying nightmares/terrors as a result of these events, especially this one. ***Both the Chief and I smelled that distinct, indescribable odor in our faces/noses/brains for weeks.

However, when I finally sobered up in May 2017, I regained control of my mind incrementally and most of my mental health symptoms are well-controlled without medications. Though I still have nightmares, I have learned how to mitigate their effects. I now have the power to decide what I let into my head to hang out, and what to let go. ***That is a quality that some people never learn, and I can thank my experiences (especially addiction) for taking me on that journey of self-discovery and self-awareness.

I mentioned sobriety just above: 22+ years of drinking and sporadic drug use. Nothing since May 8th, 2017. That’s how I learned to cope with emotions and feelings, negative and positive life events, and eventually everything. Some of you understand and many of you might be ignorant people that don’t and/or never will understand addiction. Meanwhile, most humans suffer from some form of addictive behaviors. It’s not your fault if you don’t understand. And I’m not here to convert anyone or educate anyone about addiction. If you have questions or need someone to talk to about your use or that of a loved one, please feel free to message me. I would be happy to help in any way that I can. ***I love to talk and encourage, and I will try to be available when times are tough. This is a free service.

I think that’s plenty of history for this post. Now for the event that occurred on February 22nd, 2019.

I have no memories from the evening of the 21st to the evening of the 25th) that night I was breathing funny and my family begged me to go to urgent care the following morning. I guess I refused because I just wanted to sleep, so they all went to a basketball game. Something (GOD?) told my wife to come home to check on me, and to take me to the ER.

er 1

When she and my kids came home, I was unconscious with stridor at about 2-3 rpm, cyanotic (blue) from head to toe and in my fingers. My body shut down to preserve my brain. At some point, I was gone completely. I cannot find the appropriate documentation to say for certain how long that was for. My wife called EMS, who came and suspected an overdose and gave me Narcan (naloxone). Obviously, that didn’t help at all because I don’t do drugs. Somebody very powerful also tried a sternum rub…which I feel still today. I was rushed to the hospital, intubated, brought back around, induced into a coma for three days (Feb 22, 23, 24) and awakened the evening of the 24th. At the hospital, once intubated, a young doctor came out and told my wife that IF I regained consciousness, I may not ever be the same due to the unknown length of hypoxia (loss of oxygen to the brain). That was within the first few hours of my stay. While these unpredictable assumptions can be true, it’s best to refrain from telling that to a family member so soon. I understand where he was coming from, and I respect his honesty, but he should have waited for more information to make such a claim.

Propofol Diaries

Within the first ~18 hours of awakening from the medial coma, I was hallucinating from the propofol (***and maybe ketamine, versed, and/or fentanyl) and I couldn’t remember talking to people every time the same people entered the room. I literally met the same people, for the first time, over and over for hours. It sucked. This is where I should add that I had so much love from friends and family visiting, taking care of my kids, and bringing food. I just couldn’t remember that they had been there when they came back in the room.

Propofol Diaries 2

On top of that horrible short-term memory loss, everything in the room made a noise, pictures and objects moved with the sounds, and I kept seeing spots. Oh, and there was the amazing removal of the catheters in my [place where catheters normally go] and in my leg. No fun. I did not sleep at all that night. But somehow, through the power of prayer or a literal miracle, I began improving at an alarming rate. ***There is also a good amount of retrograde amnesia, which is confusing because I can barely remember the entire week leading up to this incident.

Every time that I began to pray or thought of my kids…I cried uncontrollably. Thankfully since I couldn’t finish a prayer, there were hundreds of friends, family, and even people I don’t know praying for me. 🙂 This world is a good place to be. I truly believe in humanity.

On Feb 25th, I was told that I was going to stay in the ICU for about 7 days, then go to an inpatient OT/PT unit for 10-12 days. On Feb 26th, they moved me to a room down the hall where I had some more freedom and less wires and tubes. I also had the opportunity to move around more. On Feb 27th, they said that I would most likely not need the inpatient OT/PT….and later that day I was released into the care of my family.

They wheeled her up to see me
(I’m so bloated from whatever they put in me that I couldn’t see my toes very well).
***(I’m also happy to report ~18 pound weight loss in a week while the drugs and other [bloat-y] stuff cleared out)

While all of this was going on, my wife was undergoing surgery in the same hospital, unbeknownst to me. And she was given too much dilaudid (hydromorphone), overdosed, and stopped breathing. What a week!!!  Narcan flip and back to life with her, also (praise God). Her last word before she stopped breathing… “ANDREW”- My first words upon waking…  “My Wife!” 😥

Now let’s skip back to our original query. What is it like to die? Can we see a light? Do we dream? Out of body experience?

I cannot say for sure. What I remembered was not consistent with reality…or was it? The reason that I am posting this over week after it happened is because I had to pray, listen to everyone’s accounts of the events, think and make sense of it all. And here’s what I have.

There was something. I was in a white environment, illuminated with brilliant lights: blues, white, and an unexplained ‘other’ hue. The reason that I remember going to this place was to be freed from illness. I know what you’re thinking…”that’s a hospital, goofy.” Maybe. But it felt real, and right, and not even close to anywhere in that hospital that I’ve seen. I felt that I was being carried into a room immersed in light and had kind people everywhere. I had the feeling that I was not supposed to be there, but I was there because I had to be. I can’t really explain much more than that. And that doesn’t sound much like a miracle. ***But there is something distinctly divine about the experience. That’s my testimony. I know, meeting Jesus or seeing God would make for a better story, but I didn’t. Or I don’t remember if I did.

But the shape that I was in on February 22nd, and then the shape that I was in on the 27th…..nothing short of a MIRACLE. Nobody could believe it. I mean, I was gone. Kidneys shut down, hypoxia, lungs completely full of serum, not fluid. You see, I had vomited into my lungs for two straight nights. I was the youngest person to be in that ICU. And two people died while I was in there (God rest their souls. The staff were great, the process was horrible, but I have LIFE. I AM ALIVE.

Nothing comes close to forcing a person to take a long, hard look at their life and priorities than dying and coming back so fast that it’s like you’d never left. I had my life plan, my daily routine, my priorities in line before this accident. But that’s all in the bag. Sure, I’m still going to pursue a doctoral program. But which one? Well, I want to do two, simultaneously. PhD in Neuroscience CONCURRENTLY with MD (Dual Doctoral). ***On further reflection…I have no idea what I’m going to do when I get all my strength back and my pain decreases.

Other than professional goals…the biggest changes in the way that I plan to live now is with intent, purpose, and for relationships. My kids and wife come first (well, after God of course), family and friends second, and I am going to pour everything I have into anyone I meet. And I don’t give a [crap] if I get paid a tiny red cent. (why red?).  

You see…for me…life isn’t about what I’ve done or who I was, and it isn’t about what I’ll be or what I want to do…Life is about other Life. Think about it. Why are humans so social? Relationships are the most important thing that I am going to focus on. That’s what this experience told me.

My kids almost lost both parents in just a few days. And I have always been to busy trying to grow a business, build a career, and make money to provide for my family. My family wasn’t ever starving for food, or clothes, or other material things. They were starved for attention. TIME. Kids don’t care how much you make, what kind of car you drive, or how cool your job is. They may brag about those things to look cool, maybe, to their friends. ***But they don’t actually benefit from these things, developmentally. In my opinion, the key to a successful relationship is to spend TIME with those kids. (plenty of research that supports this, but I think deep down we all know our kids want us to put the damn phone down)

If there is anything that I want you to take away from this experience, from a 36-year-old retired, disabled, recovering alcoholic, father of three, husband, Christian, full-time student and Red-Cross Volunteer…it’s that the only three of those [labels] that truly matter are that I am a husband, father, and a Christian. And I’m going to put my money where my mouth is. It’s not about me…it’s about the people that I can help.

Yes, I wake up that beautiful… (***they shaved part of the left side of my face for taping the tubes, and it still hasn’t grown in right)

As soon as I recover…because yes, I’m still very weak and my brain still quite slow.  

Thanks for reading…please like and subscribe…share, and follow my other media…and most importantly have a blessed day!!

***As I learn new things, I will add and/or correct this story to keep it accurate.


Best, Andrew

Featured post

The Benefits of Cold Showers (AKA…Scottish or James Bond Showers)

Tony Robbins is standing in front of an 18 degree plunge pool which he jumps into every morning.
Tony Robbins and one of his Cold Water Plunge Pools (sign says 18 degrees…wow)

The first time that I heard anything about cold showers, I was young. And it was spoken about on an old sitcom called ‘Seinfeld.’ One of the characters, Kramer, liked to take cold showers, and one of hid friends suggested that cold showers were for psychopaths or psychotics…one of those. So, that’s what I’ve thought about it my whole life…until about a month ago. And since then, cold showers have changed my game in many ways.

There are many touted health benefits to cold water immersion. Tony Robbins has a Plunge Pool that is set at ~56°F that he jumps into every morning. He does not not have an internal discussion about it, because his brain would win every time. He doesn’t give himself the option, he simply does it because he decided to. That is discipline.

I know what you’re thinking, ‘why would anyone want to do that to themselves?’ Well, I’ll discuss several reasons why it’s awesome, as well as giving examples of ‘professionals’ and ‘celebrities’ that engage(d) in cold water immersion therapy (cold showers). 

There are several different methods employed that fall into this seemingly bizarre practice. One is complete immersion in cold water, instantaneously; this is how Tony Robbins does it in his pool. Charles Darwin (depression) and athletes like Lebron James and Kobe Bryant (health, muscle recovery) immerse themselves in large [tubs] of cold water, Henry David Thoreau (writer) jumped into an extremely cold lake to treat his depression, Australian model Miranda Kerr took cold showers because of the benefits to her skin and hair, famous actress Katharine Hepburn loved cold showers for health benefits and great skin, and of course….I have been doing it for several weeks now and I can’t even describe the changes that I….oh, yes I can…but first…the science. 

NYC-based dermatologist Whitney Bowe, MD, is an advocate for cold water immersion, though she does recommend tepid water (room temp) over frigid temps. “Hot water disrupts the skin’s natural oils, removing its natural ability to ward off dryness and irritants,” says Dr. Bowe. “Lukewarm water is much more gentle on the skin.” It can even help to tighten pores and reduce inflammation, including under-eye puffiness. If lukewarm water can do that, then what about COLD water (mid-winter Michigan well water)?  Cold shower therapy is recommended by many medical professionals to patients with depression and anxiety as a naturopathic approach to mood improvement. Research has shown that lowering the brain’s temperature with cold exposure has “neuroprotective and therapeutic effects,” activating the brain’s release of norepinephrine, the adrenal hormone that helps people with depression to feel more “up,” naturally. Pretty cool—and even if you don’t struggle with depression, the cold exposure can work as a great mood-lifter for winter blues, and can help with weight loss and hunger cravings. Also, Wim Hof (the Ice Man) has been talking about the positive effects of cold exposure therapy on the brain, aging, skin, and immunological effectiveness of the body. He says it is the answer to most of society’s mental and physical health issues. 

And now about my experience… 

It’s no secret to those who know me or who have read some of my other writings that I have suffered (and currently still occasionally suffer) from anxiety, major depression, and bouts of mania. I also have (more than one type/cause of) PTSD, and many areas of early onset osteoarthritis, surgical bone deformities and painful scarring, and I have chronic pain, asthma, ADHD, and sleep apnea. I began waking up early in the morning (4AM) at the beginning of this year to create more time for meditation, self-care, workouts, and school work while the family slept. I now wake up earlier than that because I read that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson gets up at 4AM, so I get up at 0330-0345. This new wake-up time has done amazing things with my productivity and time-management. But it contributed to emotional strain, stress, and early afternoon fatigue. 

Well, I started taking cold showers about the first week of February of this year, after having watched Wim Hof on You Tube discuss the benefits. I researched his claims, and they were backed by a significant amount of research over decades…so I began. I started with the hot to cold method, slowly lowering the temperature throughout the shower until it was fairly cold for the last couple of minutes. This week, I went all in and ran a shower with straight from the frozen Michigan earth water. It was an experience, that’s for sure. But what has it done for me? Well, I can’t rule out the probability that the improvements are psychosomatic or correlated with other factors….but anecdotally I have noticed a dramatic increase in energy, motivation, mental clarity…decreased anxiety, depression, and mood swings…and much better sleep. I’ve also been having better and faster thoughts and ideas, and have really been able to begin multiple projects that I have been putting off. My dandruff has almost disappeared, I’m still dropping weight (I also workout and drink Shakeology everyday), and I consume less than half of the amount of caffeine (coffee) throughout the day than I did prior to this new habit. Hair, skin, and nails seems to be healthier, less allergic response to the animals in the house. Again, many factors to consider, but there has been a very dramatic shift in these areas. 

If you’re doubtful but curious, try it for yourself. Research it, here. Do it every day for a month, come back here, and comment your thoughts and experiences with it. 

Do you think this is something worth trying, given all of the reported positive health effects? Or would you rather stick to your hot showers?  

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Thanks for reading, 

Andrew

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Life, Goals, and Mindset 2/20/2019

I’m taking a couple of courses in school right now that have challenged my world view and the way that I think. And that’s ok. But one thing that I don’t agree with, is that peoples’ passions and life purposes can be evaluated by a so-called career counselor and dismissed based on practicality.

This is what people actually do….sleep their lives away. I’ve done it, and all it did was make me miserable.

I think we all know the story of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Jeff Bezos…just to name a few. If they would have listened to the naysayers and compromised on their dreams, who knows where they’d be, or where we as a society we would be. But they didn’t listen, and they made amazing things happen. 

Don’t ever let someone tell you that you can’t do something. That’s up to you to decide. Don’t settle for the easy route because it’s safe, comfortable, and/or familiar. Dream big, go hard, and never quit chasing your passions.

One thing to ask yourself, however, is if what you want is just to make a bunch of money (and there’s nothing wrong with that), you might be chasing a career or job that will feel like work. The goal is to do something that feels rewarding and fulfilling. Life is too short to hate your job, and you’ll die early if that’s where you are.

If you’re stuck in your job, and you hate what you do…evaluate your dreams and passions and go after it. It doesn’t matter of your 45 or 59…because you still have a good 40-50 years left to crush life. So…what are you waiting for?

The only limits we have are those that you set for yourself and believed, and those that others set for you and you accepted. NO LIMITS! Sure, some people may have to work harder for many reasons; disabilities, race, ethnicity, gender, or whatever other victim mentality you choose to embrace. Well, put all that shit aside and take the next right step. The truth of the matter is, not everyone is created equal. Individuals are different, with different genetic make-up.

Famous quote from Dr. Peterson: “Human beings are born with different capacities, if they are free, they are not equal. And if they are equal, they are not free.”

But these differences do not lay within ethnic groups or geographical location…they cross cultural lines and gender differences. Men are stronger than women, fact. Women can think more abstractly than men, fact. Skin color has nothing to do with talent or ability, and everything to do with blaming others for your lack of effort.

Look up Denzell Washington’s speeches, Matthew McConaughey, Gary Vaynerchuck, Jim Rohn, Dr. Jordan Peterson, Tony Robbins, and do some google searches on what it takes to reach your potential. There are numerous videos and podcasts and quotes from these people and more, and none of them mention inequality as a factor. Successful people don’t play the blame game or play victim to past circumstances, or present perceptions of how people think of them.

Quotes from Les Brown: Black Author, unconcerned with his skin color or the ideology of ‘privilege.’

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.”

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

 “Help others achieve their dreams and you will achieve yours.”

“Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else.”

“When life knocks you down, try to land on your back. Because if you can look up, you can get up. Let your reason get you back up.”

“Life has no limitations, except the ones you make.”

“Your smile will give you a positive countenance that will make people feel comfortable around you.”

“Don’t let someone else’s opinion of you become your reality.” “If you set goals and go after them with all the determination you can muster, your gifts will take you places that will amaze you.”

Think about these things when you start feelings sorry for yourself, or when you start comparing yourself to other people because you think you know their struggles through life based on how they look and act. You’re not a victim unless you choose to be.

So man-up. woman-up, human-up….whatever…just RISE UP and get after it.

As always, please comment below, share my post/page, and subscribe to my blog. I need some feedback from you all!!

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Featured post

The Reality Behind Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

There is a strong position amongst therapists and educators promoting the importance of emotional intelligence. But is it an actual thing? There is one Psychologist who declares that it is a societal construct, coined by a journalist and not a social sciences academic. More on that as we go…

Emotional Intelligence can be defined as “(noun) the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.” (Siri :)).

Parents are concerned about their child’s or children’s ability to develop intellectual skills they will need to succeed in school and life. But what level of intelligence is required for success? Surely it’s healthy to express emotions in a reasonable and socially acceptable manner. But should we really expect children to “master their emotions” (Dr. John Gottman)? Dr. Gottman writes that “once they master this important life skill, emotionally children will enjoy increased self-confidence, greater physical health, better performance in school, and healthier social relationships” (Gottman, 1997).

Well, that all sounds fantastic….but how do we measure emotional intelligence? Everyone is drastically different in how they view and process their existential reality. Most adults I’ve met don’t have that level of emotionall intelligence that is described in Dr. Gottman’s book.

Communicating with our children is not easy, and it’s downright frustrating when emotions run hot. Some experts claim that when there is a heated exchange, the parent shoudl allow the child some space to decompress. However, Dr. Gottman suggests that you sit down with the child and encourage them to explore what they are feeling, identify the feelings and what caused them, and to walk them through positive coping skills. That sounds fantastic, but it isn’t practical. When my child is angry or upset, the last thing she wants is ‘Therapist Dad’ probing her brain and teaching her life skills. It’s best to leave that for when they have calmed down. Because when hormones and adrenaline increase, cognition and memory decrease. So obviously we can have a more meaningful discussion once they’ve calmed down.

Now, enter Dr. Jordan Peterson, a very intelligent and atypical Clinical Psychologist and Professor from the University of Toronto in Canada. He boldy claims that EQ does not exist. The idea was made up by a nobody journalist named Daniel Goleman, who is not a psychologist. Dr. Peterson claims “there’s no such thing as EQ” and that “you can’t just invent a trait, you have to define it, measure it, and distinguish it from other traits and use it to predict important ways that people vary” (Peterson, 2016). In a study by a couple of Australian psychologists, they discovered that there is little evidence of validity to support the claims that EQ is important for any meaningful gains in the pursuit of life, love, liberty, and happiness. That article can be read HERE. 

So….what’s my take on the issue? Well, as a father of three daughters, I want them to be emotionally intelligent…but I’m unclear exactly what that means or how to promote it. I speak with my children about feelings and expression of emotions in healthy ways. But as far as a life-changing ‘trait,’ I’m not convinced. But I’m not professional on the matter….at least not yet. But Dr. Peterson is….and you can read his full response to the EQ idea HERE.  

As always, I welcome and encourage comments, thoughts, complaints, etc… If you have some thoughts on this topic, please leave them in the comments below. If you have questions, leave those below also and I will seek out the best answerd that I can.

My Girls
Russell Brand and Dr. Jordan Peterson

Have a great Saturday!! And remember, don’t overthink life, just do the next right thing.

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Featured post

Thoughts on Parenting Pt. 1

I think, at least for those of us with kids, or that had kids, or that work with kids…that they can be SO DIFFICULT!!

They are little sponges….and they’re super intelligent. They’ll remember something you said or did 4 years ago and bring it up in an argument…literally rendering your point moot. But they can never remember where they put that other shoe. Mommy and Daddy always “take ONE SHOE” and hide it to make her upset (so I’ve heard…).

I’m raising three beautiful and smart daughters, and I have no idea what I’m doing. There was no manual that popped out with the kids during childbirth (trust me, I grabbed a tool and checked…:) ) I don’t know if there is a perfect way to raise kids, and I’m sure there are a million ways to mess it up. But what I am sure of is that if I show them love and respect, along with discipline and consistency, they will have a fighting chance.

They do have my attitude and stubbornness, and they are more intelligent than I give them credit for sometimes. But I love them, love them, love them…No lack of hugs and verbal affection in our household. I think that’s important. I also know that our communication needs improvement, because if they can’t open up to me then they’ll open up to someone like me (when I was a teenager)…and this is not what we want at all.

We are a work in progress…which is where I think most of us are in our parenting journey. Of course it can’t be a universal and static process….every person is different. And there are plenty of confounding variables outside of the family system, especially through media, that really mess with some of the core values and beliefs that we (I) try to instill in them.

Older picture of me at my heaviest…just over a year into recovery and cranking out mad classes to graduate.

I love my babies….and I wouldn’t give them up for anything. But I’m also not having anymore biological children…snip,snip,snip…. But we may foster or adopt at some pointy when my educational journey has come to an end….

Thanks for reading….Please share some of your parenting tips, tricks, and complaints below!

**Please pardon any typos…I am going to start writing my posts in MS Word so I can regulate the grammar and spelling more efficiently.

Please subscribe, follow, share, and leave a cooment about how this post made you think or feel.

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Featured post

2/13/2019 Quick Update

Some of the highlights…but deceitfully free of life’s lows…I’ll get around to sharing that.

I’m slowly building this site so bear with me a bit, it’s coming along. As I decide what it is exactly I want to write about in my blog, what kind of value I can provide for those that happen to stumble upon my page, I am discovering many things about myself…but more importantly I am realizing that I have so much that i want to tell the world, so much that I want to teach my kids, and so much that I want to give back to society. As this blog progresses, more of my life will become public and people will learn things about me that only a few people know.

As a veteran with PTSD, a father of three daughters, a graduate student, and a person in recovery from chemical dependence and mental illness….I have some skeletons; but I’ve never met anyone that has no skeletons in their closet. I have met many people that choose to project that they don’t have issues, baggage, or past trauma…and they want everyone to believe that their lives are perfect. You will not get that vibe from me. I’m an open book. I ask that you subscribe to my blog, share your experiences in comments or private message, call me out if you hate what I say, let me know if something resonates with you….but my goal here is to encourage people to look at themselves and others and realize that they aren’t alone. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

I think you’ll be surprised at much of the personal stories and experiences that I share. I have nothing to hide.

Standby as I come up with a method to share that flows well and doesn’t get too jumbled. Stick with me, and you’ll not regret it. Have a fantastic day!!

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This vlog journey thus far… I’m not quitting. I just have to attack from a different angle.

April 29th 2019— Ready to kill it

May 6th, 2019– Still Ready to kill it…

May 17th, 2019—- Maybe I’ll ease back into this….

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Simon Sinek on Millenials in the Workplace (~15 minutes; less time than it takes to scroll your feed(s)).

This brief video is better described as:

“Digital Dilemma,” “Digital Dementia,” or “Piss Poor Parenting/Preparation.”

As parents we need to be more engaged with our kids as they navigate through early life, adolescence, and young adulthood.

I see too many 12 year olds, 10 year olds (mine previously included), even as young as 6 years old having cell phones or iPads. Listen to this video, and identify yourself, your friends and family, and your kids in his talk.

How many of you are guilty of being on your phone when your kid is trying to get your attention, then getting angry because they are interrupting your game, or post, or mindless scrolling?

Me. I’m guilty. As a matter of fact, I’m guilty of everything that I wrote in this…advice piece…rant….whatever. I’ll call it an enlightening article.

We have to pull these phones back. They have watches that allow kids to call a set amount of pre-programmed numbers, and you can track your kids via GOS on them. No messages. No social media. No addictive dopamine kicks throughout the day, which then cause terrible crashed, withdrawal, and depression later.

I propose that kids have no digital device (social media, texts) until they are at least 16 years old, and even that may be too early.

And stop giving your kids everything they ask for. If they didn’t earn it, then they don’t give it.

And seriously, what kid needs a smartphone? It’s barely necessary for most adults to own.

Watch the video… on your device…then put your devices up because your kids probably want your TIME.

www.youtube.com/watch

Simon

Example from video’s implications of negative effects:

A ‘friend’s’ kid went to the doctor recently and was prescribed an antidepressant. From a 30 minute office visit, from a physician…and no diagnosis. I advised the ‘friend’ to disregard this hack’s prescription, find a new doctor, and maybe try to spend less time on their own devices and more time with the kid. Like Simon says in the video, when our phone is siting in close proximity when someone (in this case our kid) is trying to interact, we are sending a signal that they aren’t important, or at least as important as the strangers on our social media pages.