Overcome your depression like a river

You want to overcome depression? Study a river.

  1. A river’s waters break down anything in time.  It doesn’t matter if the obstacle’s a boulder or a rock. Any obstacle in a river’s path it wears down. Any obstacle in a river’s bath is no match for a river that just flows around. Throw a huge boulder in a river, and the river laughs and finds another way. A river overcomes, patiently and gradually.

To overcome depression, be patient like a river.

  1. A river’s waters are made of the same stuff as tears: water and a pinch of salt. Yet the river’s waters give life —the water is a lifeline—to the shrubs, the beasts, the people by its shores. A river overcomes, with love. A river transforms tear stuff into life stuff and gains meaning from making others happy.

To overcome depression, be loving like a river.

  1. A river’s waters flow back to an original source. These waters don’t have no direction or no goal—they constantly, without apology, go back to their source. Is the river a Buddhist, Christian, or Hindu? It doesn’t matter. The river knows its source and its maker. A river overcomes, singing a faithful prayer while pressing on to the Source.

To overcome depression, have faith like a river.

With these things—faith, patience, and love—I promise: You will overcome like a river.

the greater the obstacle the more glory moliere

The day I realized “I have no friends”


Brother, can I tell you something I’m ashamed of?

Three years ago, at my goodbye party when I left the province, 90% of the people who came to my party were strangers. At my party, I felt alone. The only people present I kind of knew were T and D. Everyone else was their friends. I was a loner, surrounded people I didn’t even know. Did they give two shits about me? Would they care if I overdosed on sushi and Siracha that night and keeled over them is spaz? No, no.

I was a loner among “friends.”

I was a loner, which in the past, was a reason I felt so ashamed. I would beat myself up about my loner status. I remember opening my Hotmail account one birthday and saying to myself, “If no one writes me, that will be all the evidence I need that I’ve got no one, am no one, have not one reason to go on.”

I opened my email, and it was confirmed: “I have no reason to go on.”

Good Catholic that I was and am, suicide was out of the question. But I did wonder for years if life was worth living. On the surface, I was a put-together individual. Shy, maybe, but put-together. Underneath the surface, I was a mess of twisted cords of belief strangling my inner organs, making every movement difficult and slow. The most strangling idea? “ Nobody likes me. There is something wrong with me.”

Today, I’m no socialite, but I have a few friends—real friends. People I can call if my electricity goes out or  if the police are ever after me. Here’s what I’ve learned about making friends.

  1. Accept yourself. That was the number one issue I had. It was not my personality that was defective back then because I really haven’t changed all that much. It wasn’t that I was an introverted, Catholic, book-loving, virgin that kept people away. What kept people away was my thought that I shouldn’t be that way. You know what? You think you are whispering thoughts like, “I don’t like myself” inside yourself, but your body and actions are screaming them out loud on the streets. And when you’re screaming out “I DON’T LIKE MYSELF!!” people stay away as if you were a peed on fire hydrant. Can you blame them? Accept your flaws. Accept them like beautiful, sweet orphans in need of TLC. Caress them. Claim them as your own. I am still impressed by a now close friend of mine who admitted to me within a week of knowing him that he had once tried to commit suicide and had been seriously depressed. He said it matter-of-factly, as if this fact was a real gem in his personality, making him some kind of warrior. He said it in such a way that in an instant he was no longer a stranger, but a fellow human, with the same warts as me. And I accepted him. Most people would.
  2. Be honest. Similar to “accept yourself,” this rule means you don’t tell one lie. Especially lies that could get you into the cool club. I used to say I had Jewish ancestors, because I liked the idea of being part of a survivor race, plus I thought it would make me more accepted with—I thought—a boring personality. I also told guys I was a model. I told others that I’d had several boyfriends, because I was so ashamed of my lack of experience.  I should have just been honest. I should have just laid the cards out on the table. I’ve been laying out the whole deck of my life plainly for people I meet for the last two years, and you know what? Most people love me more for it. They’re not used to the honesty. The ones that don’t like the honest truth? I don’t care for them anyway.
  3. Take initiative. You want to make more friends, yet you hang out on Saturday nights      keeping your sofa warm? Pick up the phone. Dial a number. Send a text. Send an email.  Join a meetup group.Collect rejections like J.K Rowling did before Harry Potter became an international success. Collect rejections like Steve Jobs before he became a multi-millionaire. Understand, friends will not fall from the sky, people are just as afraid of rejection as you are, and the rejections you get along the way?  They are fueling your future success, and you will one day smile at the fact that you cared.
  4. Remember details. First time a coworker bought a gift for me on my birthday, I fell in love with her instantly. She baked me chocolate cake with Smarties around the edges. To this day, she is hands down a good friend. Now I follow her example. When I first meet people, I ask for their birthday. I program these birthdays into my iPhone calendar. I then write to these new friends on their birthdays and sometimes get them a small gift. In a big, bad world where all of us feel like nobodies at times, a person who remembers your birthday and reaches out—that person is gold. Become gold.
  1. Give freely. Similar to the “remember details” rule: Just give your crap away. Don’t be a doormat pushover who gives away your lunch money, but be wiling to buy someone a lunch, a coffee, a beer,a birthday cake. Be willing to offer a hand. That was my mistake. I just accepted other people’s kind gestures and never repaid them; I never thought to actually give. You know Scrooge had no friends. Why? Scrooge failed to note this life law: Give to get. Give FREELY and WITHOUT EXPECTATION to get. The only place “get” comes before “give” is the dictionary.
  1. Be patient. Don’t plan to go from loner to socialite. Don’t be so desperate. Desperation smells like sulfuric acid and baby diapers. We want none of that. Expect making friends to take time. Make a goal to make one new friend a year. That’s it.
  1. Be discerning. Only invest friendship in people that are good. How do you know if they’re good? They share your values. They listen. They give back. They lift you up. They propel you upwards and onwards. They are real. They tell the truth. They can say sorry. They have moral standards. They don’t need to be impressive, rich, or good-looking, but they must be good. Test them for this goodness in the process of getting to know them, and, if at any time that they fail to measure up, stand up, politely excuse yourself, and leave the restaurant.

Following this seven step formula, brother, I know you will reach a point where friends are yours to keep. And should you ever leave the city, I promise you: The people around you will give a shit.

With love.



Be who you are and say what you feel dr seuss

Regrets I won’t cry about anymore

Brother,  I’m going to share a bit about the choices in my life, including those choices I’m happy about and those I regret so much that when I think of them my eyes get runny.

Choices I’m happy about

  1. Anything I was afraid to do, then did, was a good choice. For example, to overcome social anxiety I’d go to church youth group. I’d sit in the basement coach room with a bunch of strangers and listen to their thoughts over Oreos and milk then pipe up once a while with my own thoughts. I remember then every such evening, every shared thought, was a do-or-die situation in my mind. Now it’s easy. Good choice.
  1. Getting a job. Working hard at something and striving to master it. Because when you have skills, people need you. When people need you, you have power and more choices in life.
  1. Choosing friends wisely. Not clinging to the first person that came my way because I was desperate to make friends. Choosing friends wisely– that means vetting them out, seeing their characters, giving them small tests before allowing myself to be called a “friend.” Every time I have dropped this process and accepted a person for the heck of it because my couch was too well-worn by my bottom sitting on it too many weekend nights, I’ve regretted it. Deeply. Choose people wisely.
  1. Loving myself through discipline- working out. Going from flabby to fit. From “meh” to “heck yes!” I’m in the process now. 12 weeks ago, I pulled up my shirt to see my belly in the front of the gym mirror. I saw flab. I made myself look at it till I couldn’t bear the thought that I had done this to myself– I had done this to myself!– and then I got to work. Then I did that every day for the next three months. Today, I look into the mirror, lift my shirt and see abs and I know I did this myself— I did this myself! And now I know. I know what it means to love myself by discipline.
  1. Going overseas to work. I realized when I worked in Poland that the saying is true: “Wherever you go, there you are.” I left to Poland hoping to shake off a grey, rainy cloud that followed me around– you know it as depression.The newness of Poland distracted me from it for a while, but then, sure enough I was soaked with my own sad thoughts. I realized in Poland my character and thoughts shape my life, not my location or my circumstances. Things started to change then. I decided to work on my mind– my own microcosm.

Choices I regret but won’t cry about

  1. I regret letting people who cared about me fall away. I regret not answering text messages. I regret saying, “I’m busy that night” when I had no plans. I regret all of that. I don’t mean to say this to make you feel guilty. It’s just true that I lost friends because I was being selfish, too wrapped up in my own storm to say a few words. To this day I regret my actions. Going back now and rekindling these friendships would be like signing up to high school again to pass physics. But now I thank God for family. Those family bonds never fade. They pass every test.
  1. I regret letting what other people thought of me decide so much of what I did. What will they think when I wear this? What if I do this? What if I wear my hair like so? I got tired of those thoughts. I’ve decided to go towards my fears regardless of what people think. I also realized people care less anyway because I am but a blip on their radars. Think of it. How often do you think of me?
  1. I regret allowing fear to guide my decisions. I regret playing it safe. I regret not applying to jobs and opportunities because I thought I was “too shy” or “too nerdy.” These ideas, as it turns out, were my own fear-induced limitations I now chop down like a crazy ninja in a Chinese forest. CRAZY ninja.

I want you to know this:  I send you these updates to let you know that I care about you, love you, and will always be here. Always until I die.


Continue reading “Regrets I won’t cry about anymore”

Why your excuses are lies


Ughh, I hate myself.

I hate my old self, I mean, the self, that made so many excuses my head spin–which excuse shall I pull up now out of my files? The bad childhood excuse? The too busy with work excuse? The my-dad-died-poor-me excuse? What about the genetics-predispose-me-to-getting-fat excuse?

Which excuse will it be today, Grubas? Which one do you choose?

Up until about 3 years ago, I had a rolodex of excuses I pulled out and slammed in front of me every time I felt sorry for myself.

That rolodex served me well—it massaged my mind, it softened the blows of reality—it made me feel okay being a bottom dweller.

I used that rolodex until I met someone who had the same excuse as I did. Actually worse. I met a man who had such bad parents they had extinguished Marlboro butts on him. I met a man whose parents were drunk more than they were sober until one of them died. I met a man who ran away from home at the age of 14 only to offer up his own straight ass for gay sex for voyeurs on Church St. just to make money for a breakfast bagel. I met a man who, in the process of pimping himself out, had a customer carve a deep “L” with a knife in his belly.

This same man I met took all that garbage and went to recycle it. He took that garbage and went back to Sheridan College and got a degree and then turned a church into a homeless shelter and then pulled other people out of the universal gutter all up with him while he  praised GOD.

God, I hate my old self.

How could I make excuses when men like these exist?

Another situation. I looked at my flabby belly once and said to myself, “God, if only I had more time.” “If I was working less hours in a less stressful job,” I told myself, “I would be fit as before.” And then guess what? I found out that the older FIT woman at work whose physique I envy has TWO  kids she takes care of herself, yet she pulls her ass out of bed at 4 AM to workout before one kid cries out for a diaper. What am I saying? She makes choices not excuses.

Choices not excuses.

Another example. I look at myself in the mirror one day and I tell myself, “Why can’t you be more positive, Grubas?” You know what I mean. “Why can’t you be more positive like so-and-so over there, always smiling and chippy? Why do you have to be so pessimistic?” And then, sure enough, my excuse rolodex whirrs to the rescue. “Oh, well, so-and-so must have had a happier childhood then me. That’s why she’s so happy and cheerful.” Except not. I find so-and-so was raped by her uncle as a child and went to therapy for years. She could have made excuses, but she made choices.

Choices not excuses.

I am telling you, brother, there is no excuse out there that is real. All of them are mirages. They are all fake, sweet-smelling strings of smoke that make us feel good for the while but then evaporate into nothingness while we stay pushed deeper into our our pile of crap.

Join me now.  From now on, for us: It’s choices not excuses. Choices like getting up early. Working out. Socializing when it’s HARD. Smiling when it’s HARD. Being kind when it’s HARD. Doing work when it’s HARD. Gritting our teeth when we are about to blow a fuse and it’s HARD. Saying “hello” to shitty people and “I love you” to ourselves in the mirror when it’s HARD. Doing anything that’s HARD.

Because there will always be excuses, but the choices we make will transcend the comfort the excuses provide because the choices we make? The choices lead to our happiness.

With love as always.


Success is a tale of obstacles ovecome Brault