Tuesday, December 20, 2005

W.E.D. - the magic of dreams come true.......

Tonight I had the opportunity to watch a "documentary" if you will, of one of my favorite parks - Disneyland. This is the original park that stemmed from the creative mind of one of my heroes/idols, Mr. Walter Elias Disney.

Walt's ingenuity to provide a park where families could come together - a void that up until 1955 (the year Disneyland opened in Anaheim, California) was not filled.

However, Mr. Disney took on a HUGE risk with this park. If you didn't know, Walt made his name in the movies - not as an actor, but as a cartoonist. He started during World War I, when he drew cartoons for the troops - to keep their spirits up. His talent and creative genious continued when about 10 years after the end of World War I, his first "movie" - which was actually a small pre-show to a feature length movie, came to theatres.

That movie was "Steamboat Willie," which was a short and silent black-and-white film featuring my favorite mouse and Disney character, Mickey.

Regardless, Mr. Disney's passion for making these short films continued and continued, as he labored on and along with "hired hands" wound up making a number of these short films and eventually hitting the "big time" with his own feature length films. The Disney Movies would eventually earn Walt numerous awards, Oscars, etc.

Now, following that brief "detour" - let's get back to our main reason for today's "blog." Mr. Disney saw that his movies brought joy to people of all ages, young and old - and saw that his passion for seeing people happy would continue to where he purchased several acres of land in Anaheim and eventually developed it in 1955 into the park that today we know and love.

However, before all the happiness and joy of the grand success that the Disneyland Park has had; came A LOT of frustration. Walt and his partner, and brother Roy - went bankrupt SEVEN different times during their years leading the Walt Disney Company. SEVEN times. Not once; not twice; not three times - but SEVEN.

It really takes me to thinking about the old saying, "If at first you don't succeed, then try, try again." Well, in Walt and Roy's case, it's more like, "If at first, or second, or third........or even seventh attempt; try, try, try, try, try, try, try again." And try they did. And succeed they did.

When you really think about it; had Walt Disney been most people - no one would even know who Walt Disney or Disneyland/Disneyworld is/was. Would anyone even care? Because in all seriousness, one must admire the belief in oneself that Walt and Roy had in themselves. Most people - I even wonder if I would be one to quit after failing so many times - would probably have thrown in the towel. But not these individuals.

Their belief in themselves was solid and could not be shaken. They had a goal in mind; an end result, and were not going to give up on that dream, until it did come true; until it was reality; until their vision was what everyone could see and physically touch.

I believe that all of us have a bit of Walt and Roy's belief in ourselves in all of us. It may not be to create a theme park for all families to enjoy; but it may be something else - something just as important, if not moreso - something just as special; if not to others - than to you. Because that's what passion is all about - believing in accomplishing a goal/dream so much that you will do anything to accomplish it.

Napolean Bonaparte, who like me, supposedly suffered from epilepsy AND suffered from depression, has a quote that I admire greatly. It goes, " 'Impossible' is a word found only in the dictionary/vocabulary of fools." His passion to achieve, to conquer, to essentially believe in himself, was astounding.

Robert Kennedy (aka "Bobby") is quoted with what I consider to be my favorite quote. It reads, "Some people see things as they are and ask, 'Why?' I dream things that never were and ask, 'Why not?' " LOVE that quote!!! Why? Because it epitomizes 'thinking outside of the box.' Don't see what's only tangible and right in front of you; but look at what you aspire to do to improve this world. Yes, look at what has been done that has worked, but also look at what has been done that did not. Find out why it didn't work and try it a different way. Even better; think about a way that has never been attempted and MAKE it work. Be unique in your thoughts and actions; "dance to the beat of a different drummer." Make people WANT to be around you.

Trust me my friends; I know from my own experience that no one likes to be around someone who is grumpy. Someone who is nagging; someone who is needy; someone who isn't happy. Heck, I used to be like that, and not many people wanted to be around me. You wonder why, eh?

Now, as I grew older - advancing from my college years into my mid-20s and further into my late 20s - I "bloomed." Yes, I am/was what is considered a "late bloomer." Take a look at pictures of me when I graduated from college and the next couple of years after that - and you'd see a 5'9" guy weighing about 200-210 pounds; and A LOT of it was "gut." Harder to feel good about yourself when you are overweight and don't have as much going for you.

Now as I advanced - and even pre-depression (maybe about 25-26 years of age); I finally took the bull by the horns and started to lose weight. I ran a little bit; but not like I do now. Marathons were still only for people who had a screw loose or who were a few sandwiches short of a picnic.

However, I did lose weight and I did start to feel better about myself (self-esteemwise). I lost about 40-50 pounds (yes, that's right - and no, I wont show you the before pictures! *winks*) and started to feel better about my physical health. Ironically enough; it wasn't until after I overcame my battle with my mental health, that I started to really "live" and realize that we must not just dream - but live to accomplish those dreams.

Our life here is short my friends. In all reality, we are only on earth a VERY VERY VERY VERY short period of time. Is it long enough? I guess it depends on who you ask. Apparently God thinks so, so I'm not going to disagree with Him. He put me into this world and I don't want Him taking me out THAT early!!! (not that He would).

The thing is, we do only live once; and once is enough if you live your life right. Believe in yourself; believe that God put you here for a purpose - and you will find that purpose in your heart. Find what moves you; what makes you want to get up in the morning. Persue that passion.

I know for me, that passion has become to God-willingly give hope to people who may be suffering/may have suffered from depression. When I really come to think about it; it's almost a miracle for me to be here right now as I type this. I can't even tell you how many times I didn't want to live simply because the minutes seemed like hours; the hours like days, the days, like months. It took little to set me over the edge; to yell, to scream; to be disgruntled. Life sucked.

The thing for me is this - to be a person who could not even gather the power to get out of bed in the morning. Literally just setting one foot on the ground took hours - if I was lucky. I saw no reason to get up because what was I going to accomplish? Nothing.

Well to go from that person who sat in bed and wouldn't get up; crying for no apparent reason - to a person who in all reality just two years later completed a marathon of 26.2 miles. It seriously brings tears to my eyes. It's literally surreal, but at times I can't believe that it has happened.

And now, and you guys may call me crazy and I will once again say that I am crazy (crazy in love with living!) - to have run two marathons within six weeks and a half-marathon (on top of the two marathons) within an eight week period - I can't even tell you how I feel. Because to do so, would limit the value of the feelings. It's honestly a miracle I tell you.

But the beauty of this miracle is this; the reason that I am still here is because of the support that I had when I was at hell's doors. That's what depression feels like guys; a slow crawl through hell. For 100 days that's how I felt, and the reason that I'm typing this is because I NEVER want you, the person who obviously cares enough about me to read this - to have to feel that way............EVER!

Regardless, it is the support that I received. Support from family and friends - not a lot of them, because I gotta be honest; I was ashamed to admit that I had depression. It's not exactly something that you add in a pick-up line to "impress" someone of the opposite sex. "Hi, my name's Jim and I have depression." I don't think that would work. However, you know what does? Overcoming depression - and you can overcome it. It's a matter of wanting to. You have to have faith in yourself and that God will not give you more than you can take. He will pick you up and carry you when you need to be - He does that through the people who show you support during these toughest times. Your parents, grandparents, siblings, good friends. He also does through the doctors and counselers who you meet with who are trained and care about seeing you get better. God is in all of those people.

If you don't get support - because unfortunately not everyone is supportive; there are groups that will show you support. My local hospital has a depression/mental illness support group that meets two Wednesday's/month. There are other "drop-in" support groups where people can talk about their boughts with depression or other mental illnesses. Find a good doctor; because I was lucky - mine was an angel. I couldn't ask for a better doctor. Same goes for my counseler. She may not have told me what I wanted to hear; but she told me what I needed to hear - and I'm forever indebted to them for that care.

If you live alone or don't get as much support as you think you need - get a dog. In particular a Golden Retriever. I can't even tell you how much my brother's dog - who while he lived here, essentially was "my" dog; since the dog slept on my bed (yes I did say ON my bed). Pets, but in my case I'm particularly fond of dogs - show you something that every person going through a challenging time in your life needs...........and that is unconditional love. I will tell you what; my "buddy" as I call him, would lick my face, or just sit there smiling at me - or he would just get animated and want to play - it's almost like he had a sixth sense of sorts. A depression sense that when I needed MORE unconditional love, he'd give it to me. It's no coincidence my friends.

And that's where I'll leave you for now, because my next blog goes into just that - how no man is a failure who has friends............

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Blogger Kari said...

I stumbled across your website on accident and thought I would say I am impressed with your website. I too suffered from severe depression and I can understand how it brings tears to your eyes to write about it. And now, 7 years since I've been clinically depressed, I'm on marathon number 4 and even did an Ironman. A friend thought I was being flippant when I said I run because it keeps grounded and off medication. Thanks for the reminder that there are others out there like me.

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