#Depression is a Bitch

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This is going to be a tough discussion.

Not easy to type either. Or talk in person, or even think about.

But depression is a bitch. And I have it.

I don’t know when. I don’t know where. I don’t know why. But I have it.

On the outside, you would never know it. Hell, people in my “inner circle” wouldn’t even know. I’m an excellent actor. After all, I am an introvert that does a ton of public speaking.

I’m not in the medical field. I have no real research, so this blog is only going to be about my experience. Don’t take it as medical advice.

Seriously, please don’t.

But I have to talk about it. If anything maybe it will be beneficial for me. I don’t know if we introverts have a higher rate of depression or not. It would seem to make sense to me since many of us cherish our alone time. But with alone time comes that dreaded thinking time.

A little history about me.

I grew up in a middle class family. A happy family for the most part. After graduation from High School I joined the Army and spent four years being a soldier. A successful soldier.

When it was time to get out, I did. A buddy and I drove around the country in a U-Haul truck until we ran out of money in a small town in Montana. If you have been to Montana, most towns are small.

About a year later I moved to the capitol city, and even though I struggled to get back in “civilian mode”, I was fortunate to land a decent job that allowed me to pursue my degree while working.

College came much easier to me than High School did, and I graduated with a 3.5 gpa.

I met my wife (The Hippy), we got married and enjoyed travel vacations as my career became more and more successful. We were able to buy a house, and though it took a long time, were blessed with an awesome son. We’ve also been blessed enough that The Hippy has been able to be a Stay-at-Home mother for that awesome son.

So why do I battle that bitch depression?

I don’t know.

I do know that I would go through what I called my “blue” periods at times before my diagnosis.

They didn’t register much to me though. It was in my mind it was just my time that I needed to be alone to recharge. Perhaps it was.

Perhaps I just didn’t recognize the truth.

Finally a little over a year ago I told my doctor that I thought I might have a little depression.

But when I got my prescription, it was an eye opener. My bottle had the lovely diagnosis on it of treatment for “major depression.”

MAJOR.

To be honest, it was kind of a relief. I didn’t have to wonder. I didn’t have to WebMD myself. It was in black and white.

MAJOR.

But treatable.

So it’s been over a year now. My meds have been increased slightly once, but for the most part it helps. People still don’t know. People would be shocked. When someone asks how I’m doing as part of opening a conversation, I don’t really answer. My answer is, “How are YOU doing?”

I still have times when I am sitting alone “recharging” when I wonder if I am really recharging or being depressed.

When I was down in Denver last week I had the opportunity to have dinner with a high school buddy of mine. I haven’t seen him since we graduated nearly 25 years ago. I haven’t seen anyone from high school since then since I don’t live in Colorado anymore.

I actually was hoping during the day of our bro-date that he would cancel. This was a good friend of mine. Someone I still consider a friend through Facebook. But I just wanted to sit in my hotel room, order room service, and do nothing.

He didn’t cancel.

I’m glad he didn’t.

I enjoyed reconnecting with him. It was by far the best part of the entire week. He’s also kind of a hippy dude, like my wife.

The moral, if there is one…if you “think” you may be battling depression, talk to your doctor about it.

I didn’t want to. I don’t know how long I have been suffering, but I didn’t want to admit any weakness. But I am better for it.

Yeah, I have to take some meds each morning. If I miss them I have some pretty jacked up dreams at night. But ultimately I think it makes me a better person.

You deserve to be better too.

Trust me.

Hotel living…Introvert Style

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Is there anything better for an introvert than a hotel?

I’m sure there is, but today I am going to act like there isn’t.

If you have read any of my posts, you know that last week I was in Denver for a week of meetings. Oddly enough, my headphones actually kept people from talking to me for my flights, so that was a win.

I have to give a shout out plug for the Doubletree Hotel that I stayed at. I have stayed at this hotel for probably close to a total of four months over the past three or four years, so they certainly know me by now and take care of me.

As an introvert, they are perfect for me.

Their shuttle shows up about every half hour at the airport. You don’t have to call, and it’s free.

I got in a little later than usual due to a delayed flight. “We have an unexpected situation in the lavatory” is not something you want to hear right before boarding, but I guess it was fixed.

Anyway, it was nearly 8:00 p.m. when I got in, so I didn’t really want to eat. Standing in line to check-in to the hotel, I was already looking at the restaurant for the overpriced bottles of water…but it wasn’t needed. Two warm cookies and two cold bottles of water were presented to me when I checked in. Not the best dinner, but I didn’t have to come back down to the lobby after unpacking.

I mentioned once before to them my preference was a room away from the elevators, and they must have put it in the computer because once again I was at the end of the hall.

Score!

The best part about hotels, though, is that if I didn’t want to, I wouldn’t have to leave the room for anything…other than the meetings. When hungry, I could either order room service or from my best road friend Grubhub. If I forgot something from my bathroom bag, I would just have to call down and they would bring it to me.

On the day of checking out, the receipt was under my door so I didn’t even have to go to the desk.

There have actually been times where I haven’t had to talk to anyone the entire time. Perfect!

Anyway, I am done traveling out of state for four weeks. Then I have a back-to-back trip to Washington DC and then to Dallas the next week.

I’m happy to be home, and look forward to catching up on everyone else’s blogs that I missed.

Air Travel as an #Introvert

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I’m flying to Denver on Sunday afternoon for a week of meetings.

I’m not excited about it.

At the risk of sounding like a jerk, I’m going to tell you why…and my pet peeves about air travel.

Before I get too far into this, let me throw out this sort of disclaimer:

1. I tend to get impatient when traveling.

B. I completely understand that there are people who do not fly very often. My wife (The Hippy) is one of those people. She flew to Vegas last week and was clueless. Fortunately I was there to provide a detailed checklist on what she needed to do J

Third. I really am probably going to sound like a jerk.

With that said, if you read this and I am complaining about someone who sounds like you, I apologize. Like I said in my last blog, I have my quirks.

So first let me mention the awesome thing about flying. I am flying out on Delta. Most airlines now have the kiosks to get your boarding pass (unless you do the even better phone app). This is right up my alley because it allows me to avoid additional conversation. I type in my confirmation number (which I will have verified about 100 times on my way to the airport), pay for my luggage, change seats if I want, upgrade if I want, or take a later flight if I want to completely mess up my detailed schedule I have already planned. I am completely in control without having to talk.

Perfect!

Once that task has been completed, however, it goes downhill from there.

I travel by air probably 5-10 times per year. For some, that’s nothing. For others that may seem like a lot. I get it. I really do.

I know what to expect when I go through security. I’ve done it enough.

The airport here in Helena, Montana is a small regional airport. There is only one security line. It “usually” moves pretty quickly. When it’s slow it’s not because of TSA. More times than not it is because the traveler isn’t prepared.

When you pass by multiple signs and announcements letting you know that you can’t have liquids over a certain size, don’t wait until you are at the gray bins to decide what to leave behind.

When you pass by multiple signs and announcements letting you know that you that you will need to take off your shoes, don’t try to walk through the metal detector with your shoes on, only to have to hold everyone up as you move back to take them off.

When you pass by multiple signs and announcements letting you know that you need to take your laptop out, don’t have a conversation with the TSA asking if you need to take out your laptop. You watched everyone in front of you take theirs out. You are not unique in this requirement.

And for the love of God, please don’t put on 70 metal bracelets on both wrists then act like they want to give you a colonoscopy when the alarm goes off.

Seriously.

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I know that sometimes accidents happen. Believe me… I KNOW.

Shortly after 9/11 I had a multi-destination trip that I did. I flew to Dallas, and then over to DC, and then my final stop was Boston. By the time I was leaving Boston, I was not in any mood to deal with delays from people who were not prepared.

But it happened.

As I was waiting for my backpack to come out of the x-ray machine, TSA stopped the belt and asked who had a knife in their backpack.

I nearly had self-inflicted whiplash from shaking my head back and forth from the idiocy of someone trying to bring a knife through security. Especially in Boston right after 9/11.

No one admitted, so they pulled out the backpack.

It was my backpack.

Well, it was The Hippy’s backpack, but I was traveling with it as my carry-on.

Buried deep inside one of the internal pockets was a small pocketknife. How I got through three different airports with it is beyond me, but there I was, the idiot holding everyone up with a knife.

Ok, not really “holding anyone up” in the literal sense.

Like I said, I get it.

Anyway, back to my gripes.

Delta, like many airlines, has seating zones. In other words, the “elites” get to board way before the rest of us. I am not an “elite.” I did get to fly first class back from Germany in the 90’s when I was in the Army because the flight attendant thought I was someone famous.

Best flight ever.

But I am not a diamond level, or whatever level, traveler. At best I sometimes upgrade myself to the preferred comfort seats because at 5’7 it’s really important to me to have the extra four inches. Plus I get to board in Zone 1, right after the elites.

My point to this is that we all know, for the most part, what Zone we are to board. But it never fails that people in the Zones that board last create a wall of humanity blocking off everyone who is supposed to be boarding.

Makes no sense.

The instant I step on the plane, I am already counting the rows to see where I am sitting. More importantly, to see who I am sitting with. Not that it matters, since I don’t plan on talking. And if it’s an extremely attractive female, I’ll probably just sweat nervously anyway…lol.

Now to my next complaint…carry-on luggage.

Two things. First off, you are not going to get that antique trunk from 1889 to fit in the overhead bin. Don’t act like you thought it would fit. It barely fit in your car. Now that you suddenly came to the realization that it won’t fit, everyone behind you are forced to either climb into the overhead bin so you can exit the plane and check it, or to give free lap dances to the person already sitting down right where they were standing.

The other part to carry-on luggage deals when the person puts their bag ten rows back from where they are sitting. I understand if you are one of the last people on and everything is already full because the guy in the suit felt his suit jacket needed to be laid out in a bin, but when it’s a bag that will fit under the seat in front of you, put it there.

Because the chances are high you are going to want to get up and walk against the flow of departing traffic to get your bag when we land. You are not a salmon.

I know I’ve bitched enough. It’s Friday…it should be a “no bitch zone”. But I do have one more.

Getting your luggage.

My suitcase stands out. I do that so I know it’s mine, and so you don’t touch it.

There are not too many camo suitcases, but in case there is more than one on my flight, I also have a billion colored ribbons on the handle.

But it never fails there is someone who feels the need to grab it and look at the tag to make sure it isn’t theirs. One of these times I am going to stick around to see what their suitcase looks like to see why they would think the camo suitcase with a rainbow of ribbons on it made them verify it wasn’t theirs.

So there you have it. If you have made it this far, I really appreciate sticking with me through this rant. This is by far my biggest post so far.

I really do hope that some of my pet peeves are also yours. I don’t want to be the only jerk flying.