I do often sit and wonder how I ended up where I am today. You may ask yourself, “Hmm, what is he talking about, where did he end up?” Well, I’ll tell you. Today I own a few small businesses, I live in the wine country of Paso Robles, CA., I have absolutely amazing friends, the family I’m close with is great, I’m healthy, and I’m married to a really incredible person that is patient, capable, hard working, loving, and creative. Even typing this out makes me wonder how in the world I, of all people, am so fortunate to be this happy!
Because I never had any real direction, I grew up in not so ideal family situations, I’m not close with certain family members that everyone should be, I’ve had my issues with self sabotage and self destruction, I spent 10 to 15 years hating myself and thinking I was worthless, and the past ten years trying to climb out of all that and the abyss of some form of depression that apparently ran/ runs in parts of my family.
Don’t get me wrong, I am writing about this because I know each and every one of us has stuff we deal with that we do not like to say out loud…maybe we’re embarrassed or ashamed, maybe we don’t want to burden others…whatever that reason, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that we each go through things in this life, but it isn’t about those things, it’s about how we recover from those things.
I really don’t want to freak anyone out, but I know we live in a different world…as you are reading this you have not fully invested yourself into my words yet. So I feel obligated to get you to dive into this with me, and the only way I know how to do that is to tell you something about me that almost nobody knows and that will punch you in the brain. This may or may not be my worst moment, but I just wanted to put something on the table so you can get eye to eye with me right now.
Twice in my life I have had a loaded gun in my mouth, both instances took place about 10 years ago (or more) and I have not felt that way since then. And after reading this you either feel uncomfortable or more connected, hopefully more curious. Am I embarrassed? No. Am I ashamed? No. It is part of my life and has helped shape me into the person that I am proud to be today. I think we would all be surprised at how many people have had feelings like that or have taken a step to do something to themselves…not to mention the actual numbers of suicides that have taken place. Astonishing numbers all the way around.
The point in bringing any of this up is this…we each have a unique life experience that we learn from and gather certain knowledge from; I firmly believe each one of us can help someone…but the only way for that to happen is to talk about things. Just as I spoke candidly in a prior post about my wife and I having a miscarriage, I am speaking openly here now, about another issue…depression. Although, this isn’t just about depression, it’s about helping people and motivating people.
Just as in a marriage, I think there always has to be someone capable of carrying the weight when the other one is not up to par. I think this goes for society in general…especially in the communities we each build (be it online or off line) and live in on a day to day basis…otherwise referred to as our circle.
The purpose of the post was to put another personal nugget of info out there for you to chew on. If my words are helpful fantastic, if I made you think about the issue great, or if you trust me more now after hearing this that too is fine.
When you’re going about your day, try to be nice. I fail at this from time to time…I get the road rage thing and whatever, but I always try to catch myself and realize that I have not walked a mile in that dudes Nike’s, and until I do I really should give him some good old fashion patience. Each one of us has the power and the ability to put this small action into play. Kindness, courage, understanding, and patience will get you farther in life than frustration, anger, and self hate…this I promise you.
So do me, you, and the rest of the world a big favor…be a little easier on those people you come into contact with in the world, and more importantly, be a little easier on yourself!
P.S. I have been fortunate the last ten years to have chosen to take the journey into why and what goes on with me, I advise everyone to do so. Through conversation, reading, discovering, and writing I have been able to deal with my personal issues with the world. I did not want to take the route of using medication, so I fought that much harder to find my own techniques to cope…it has honestly been the most amazing (and painful) journey, I would not change it for anything.
That journey has made me someone that reflects, thinks, and wants to motivate myself and you to do something bigger and better. I have my bad moments now and again, but my lows now are a thousand times less low then they use to be…and the really cool thing is that my highs are so much higher. As I have said before, life is good when we get out of the way and let it be! Cheers!
- Behind The Smiles…Life (matthewliberty.com)
Phil Anderson says
Very honest, thank you. For whatever reason, I have been given a personality that would do anything before taking my own life. I don’t know why and I am grateful for that. For some reason, I have this perserverance trait. The problem is, I’m ALWAYS having to use that as my successes and positive results are not what I’d like them to be. So, we’re about to lose our house (still fighting to keep it) and I struggle with pulling in good money. I have a number of projects out there, my newest one Anderson Social Media Solutions, which I’m quite excited about. I do my daily affirmations, try to surround myself with positive people (with the exception of whom I’m living with) and generally try and say and do the right thing ALL of the time. I even play the piano on our church worship team with some amazing musicians! The only time I seem to get cranky with people is when they’re lazy or inconsiderate.
And yes, Matt, I love wine. It might be my greatest joy at this point in my life. The experience of opening a bottle of wine, pouring that first glass, clinking a toast and taking the bottle in, thinking of how the wine was made, who was involved (sounds like Sideways, huh?), all of that is so enjoyable.
So, I wanted to say congratulations on not pulling the trigger. The world is a better place because of it. I wouldn’t have had that great conversation with you during the world series on October 27th if you had pulled the trigger. I would not have had the joy of seeing you write, “…and after high school they turn into babies. Look at the economy…look at housing…it’s because pitchers don’t bat!” That was SO funny!
So I am very happy that you are in a place you want to be. I’m still working on it, although, I understand we’re all where we’re supposed to be right now. I just need to figure out how to get where I WANT to be, which is no more stress about finances and relationships and where I’m going to live.
I suspect you’ll get more comments like this.
206 218 3647
Phil…I’m sincerely impressed with your response, still taking it all in.
First I will say thank you for the kind words and recalling the conversation we shared…that means a lot. I also appreciate that you said the world is better because I am still here.
Regarding the other things you wrote about…money, living situation, etc. Those times I had that gun were around the time I was ending my first marriage…money was an issue, the relationship was done, I was losing a step son I raised for ten years, I was moving back to California from Kentucky, etc., etc. I have always had the personality type to worry about money and all that…funny now, I don’t worry about money much at all, if ever.
I have come to this place in life where I know I will be okay, no matter what, because I am surrounded by amazing people, I have an awesome wife, but most importantly….I trust and have faith in who I am and the abilities I have to participate in this world. I don’t worry about money, I don’t worry about where I live…my thoughts today focus around my wife and I, and making the world a better place in whatever way I can.
I wish you nothing bu the best on your journey…but I think all those answers are inside, that’s where I found mine Phil…as dumb as that sounds. Thank you again!
Monica Prunk says
We have more in common than you know.
Cheerz to LIFE, at any level.
Thanks Mo…cheers to you, life IS good!!
sumner musolf says
Keep on keepin’ on, Mr. Liberty. The adventure only reinforces the middle name.
And: profoundly… sincerely… humbly… thank you. For sharing.
OK, this is intense and I dearly wish we were together for a group hug and a bottle or two of wine. But that not being the case, first of all, Phil, I feel your pain. We did lose our house and have been living a financial nightmare. When questioned by a friend lately on why I didn’t tell them, I had to think first. And I guess it’s because, while I hurt deeply over many things, ultimately I feel that it is how I handle all this that really counts. So I, too, try to focus on all the great things in my life…my family, husband, and the amazing group of friends who have shared this journey with me. While I often feel wounded, I more often feel that I am more viable and valuable than ever. Matt, you do make an impact on lives every time you reach out via your writings and your presence. I am so very glad to know you. Phil, you’re on the right track – hang in there. Cheers to us all for trying to play the game of life a little better every day!
You and I had a good call yesterday. Always enjoying talking with you and connecting with you… And now you go breaking my heart in another way. Not bad, as Oscar Wilde says “The heart was made to be broken”. In this case you break down a wall, a barrier, and get a little deeper inside/connected. Your story reminds me of Pink’s song “Fuckin Perfect”… Ask Mila, I love this song…
And you are so right. We have to talk it out. And we have to find safe people who care about us and can help us along. You said ” I firmly believe each one of us can help someone…but the only way for that to happen is to talk about things”. You are a brave man Matthew. I applaud you for broaching this topic. For making it more permissible to speak unspoken things. Thank you for speaking. For letting us know we can turn to you for help, understanding, support…
#Mattman now has new powers… Brother. You had us a hello. We all love you as you are for who you are. You are special and precious to us. In fact, you’re Fucking Perfect to me…
— Love Josepf
Pretty, pretty please
Don’t you ever, ever feel
Like your less than
Pretty, pretty please
If you ever, ever feel
Like your nothing
You’re fuckin’ perfect to me
Sumner…much appreciated my Minnesota brother!! Let’s roll!!
Xochitl…awesome comment, and I actually really really really appreciate you reaching out and communicating with Phil. You two should connect on facebook if you aren’t already!
I appreciate your feedback and your kind words…I certainly hope I am able to empower or help at least one person in this journey of mine. Hope to see you soon for that hug and wine!!
Wow Josepf…a truly amazing comment, not even sure where to start. You know I have tons of respect for you as a “mentor like” human being, but I have always felt connected to you in a great friendship way as well.
Beyond that, I am really kind of speechless about your words my man…truly, very much appreciated…to the heart. Thanks J!!
Merlin U Ward says
Thank you so much for this post, Matt! We don’t know one another as well as some of the people in these comments, but I certainly feel more connected with you after reading this. You’ve always shined to me as a strong person, and now I have a little better understanding of why.
This post is a great reminder to me that we need to face our challenges to feel the most fulfilled in life. Ending it or medicating our problems will only leave someone unfulfilled. I’ve had my share of problems – none as dark as I feel you have shared today – and with those problems I’ve done my share of running away as well. The principle is still the same; face your challenges and share your experiences. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how long the tunnel.
You’ve touch a lot of people because you stuck around. I look forward to connecting more with you.
Merlin U Ward
Merlin..I truly appreciate your words man. It’s strange, we all have our issues and problems that we typically try to hide…but I feel if everyone would just be open and honest that would lead to someone else being able to step in and help. But, as we know, fear is strong and unfortunately we also know that fear can kill us…literally and figuratively.
Thank you again Merlin, I appreciate the feedback; as I said before the feedback lets me know I am headed in the right direction and that be open about these things in an attempt to be helpful is a good thing. Cheers!
Thank you for writing one of the most honest and touching posts I have had the privilege of reading and sharing. Yes, we have all danced in the gray areas where there is no rhythm or rhyme. Sometimes we get to the point where we fell like there is no other way. Some take that plunge. Some step back off the curb and move on.
I’m glad you stepped back on to the curb. I can’t imagine my social media experience without you in the world. One of these days we will share that glass of wine and toast life.
It’s such a wonderful thing to toast to.
Blessings and thank you for being being born sir.
Ty…I continue to be surprised and grateful for the online community that I swim in…I appreciate your comment greatly and I absolutely do hope we have the opportunity at some point to toast life and all the good in it!!
Thank you Ty!!
Cynthia Schames says
Matt, this took serious guts. Thank you.
I’m proud to say I know you–but even happier that you’re with us today, sharing your wit, wisdom, energy and laughter with us.
Super sweet of you Cynthia…I appreciate that you, and others, are appreciating this. Not to pat my own back but it does take guts to write about things like this in your own life because you worry people will shun you…I’ve just learned that it’s okay to be shunned. Thank you so much, cheers to you!!
Mimi Ortega says
Hi my dear friend #greatimer : )
Thank you for sharing your story. I knew there was something about you… I just knew it.
I had a terrible accident a year and a half ago…. I was driving, my best friend since I was 2 years old and a client died, that terrible night. A part of me, also died that night… and it got worst! crazy thoughts, depression, pills.. yes, everything you can imagine. Thank God I am here, even If sometimes I feel like I don’t deserve to, but for some reason I am… still smiling, giving love, support and meeting amazing people like you.
I love you and appreciate you more every day! : )
You just put into words, exactly how I feel… and I need to quote this:
“That journey has made me someone that reflects, thinks, and wants to motivate myself and you to do something bigger and better. I have my bad moments now and again, but my lows now are a thousand times less low then they use to be…and the really cool thing is that my highs are so much higher”
Te quiero mucho my friend : )
I’m 46 now and many, many times during those 46 years I’ve felt like giving up. Life has really been a roller coaster, save the last 6 or 7 years where stability has reigned. There were incredible highs where I was at the top of the game and incredible lows where I literally lived out of my car. Always seeking the approval of others was too great a burden at times.
Lately, I’ve realized that I do not need anyone’s approval other than mine to do anything as long as I think it is right for me. Since then my happiness has been immense and you know what? Those people whose approval I was desperately seeking now see what I have done and can do and are all in on me. They ask about me, what I am up to and what I have planned. They really do care and they care more because they see what I am doing and want to be a part of it. In turn, I am more interested in them as well and often come to help out and give support when needed. Our relationships are closer and we are all happier.
I rarely give advice but if I can I say do what makes you happy. Go with your gut and don’t over think it. Do not worry about what others will think of you. When you do something you know is right for you, those that matter will flock to you. The others that deride you or talk ill of you were not your friends to begin with so losing them is no loss to you.
Wow, thank you so much for letting us glimpse beyond the twitter and Facebook posts into something so real and personal. We have all seen the tragic results of depression in the past year or so with some pretty public people on social media. I am very glad you didn’t take that step and that you worked/continue to work to understand why you were in that place, etc. I am certain that speaking so publically about this topic can only help others by making it something that it’s OK to speak about. Kudos to you!
Mimi…you my friend…ROCK!! I’ve been there with the pill thing too…it’s one crazy life, but it can be a crazy fun and exciting life so long as we have good people around us and are willing to talk about things.
I appreciate you filling me in on some of your past “stuff” too…it definitely creates a bond knowing these things. Cheers Mimi, and thank you for being on the journey with me!!
Amen Mack…great comment!! It sounds like we have had some similar aspects on our journeys, and I must say…I am extremely happy and forward thinking now at 35. I worry less and less what people will think, because we are all equal, and I have just as much right as anyone else to voice my thoughts and opinions because they are just as valuable!!
Cheers Mack, and thank you again!!
Indeed Beth…when I sat down and wrote this I thought about Trey, and several others I know…it’s sad. Part of me wrote about it because the writing process has always been very helpful to me and the other reason was that I almost felt it was my duty to do so in an attempt to help others!! I greatly appreciate your feedback…cheers to you Beth!
john feskorn (@johnfeskorn) says
This little truth does nothing but make me feel More comfortable with and about you!
Personally, I have spent the past several years seeking out blogs and posts about suicide and depression. My wife is bipolar and suffers from severe clinical depression. The stigma attached to mental disorders is very unfortunate and leaves those afflicted feeling so alone and isolated.
Your courageous post, along with many others that I’ve read can only help those people who are going through or have gone through difficult times.
My comment on others’ blogs went pretty much like this…”While my wife was going through a depression I would lay with her, hold her and help her through these difficult times.” What I left out (until now) were the times I would lay with her hold her and gently remove the knife she had pressed against her wrist. This happened a few times, and after a long night without sleep, the sun would rise, the birds would chirp and a new day would dawn…she would assure me that she was fine…I believed, but deep down I knew we needed help (but I kept my head in the sand). Until one day, when I found her in bed, not moving, with an empty bottle of her meds next to her…
She spent the next couple of days in the hospital and next several weeks in an institution. This is all very personal and she knows that I share, but never again will I believe without action, that “everything is going to be okay”. We need to reach out when things aren’t going quite right and we need to reach out when we see that in others too. That’s why I love what you’ve said here…Be kind, everyone has a story (or two 🙂
All my best, John
Jeannette Baer says
Wow Matt, what can I say that hasn’t already been said! So many things rushing through my mind right now…
•my heart aches to know you experienced something like this…
•I am shocked because I know you to be confident, caring, carefree, happy, loving and somehow it’s surprising to know that you have been through a stage in your life that was totally the opposite.
Once again, I say; the attraction to #usguys is not the hashtag! It’s always been about the people we have bonded with. We have all found a group of #usguys that we feel more connected with, stronger bonds, ….you know who you are! We get each other jokes! And we feel deeply their sorrows.
I feel you are one of those people to ALL of us: We care deeply for you and reading something like this, only leaves us with the urge of holding you tight and letting you know: WE CARE, BECAUSE YOU MATTER!
I am so glad to know you are in a better place now in your life. Funny how sometimes we question so much our luck or the things we are currently experiencing and we feel we might never know the answers to those questions….but it’s not until your “turn the corner” that things start to make sense.
People and things come and go in your life for a reason…had you NOT experience divorce you would have never had Annie!! She is your balance…your soul mate.
My heart aches when people make “permanent decisions to temporary problems” (because I truly believe all things must pass)
We are honored that you have cross our path! And while we don’t know the reason yet; please know we are here for you always, because you matter!
Elizabeth In SLO says
Thank you for your candid honesty, Matt. A friend of mine (who is not forgotten) took his own life almost 2 decades ago. Although I cannot imagine what he was going through when he made his decision, still I harbor a bit of resentment (for lack of a better word) with his choice, and as I read your post it made me think of him and wonder where he would be now and what he would be doing if he was still here. But his choice was final. You made the choice not to pull the trigger and so your story and evolution continued. As does the journey and mystery of life.
beverley abbey says
Your story is an inspiration to us all Matt, knowledge, compassion and possible understanding to those that have not felt your pain and emptiness, and a knowing confirmation of having been there to those, like me, with a hx. of major depression. My story is long and traumatic and I finally crashed in 2002. Life seemed hopeless and it was a major effort to get thru each day. Many thoughts of suicide, but knew I could never do this to my daughter. Had years of therapy/medications and sharing with my wonderful friends. Slowly and with a change in career life became better. I tried to live one day at a time and give gratitude for all I had in my life. Yoga, meditation and intentional living help, but I daily have to remind myself to remember the journey is the gift! You are a CHAMPION with your revealing introspection and remember that those who fall to the wayside are often fearful of their own secrets and not friends who will offer true support. Thankyou again, Beverley
John…I absolutely tear up at your story…and I appreciate your honesty. I have been there, with a pill addiction that often led to me hoping my heart would stop…but I am here. And more importantly, I have a message. This stuff needs to be discussed.
We live in a world where we worry more about money and status than we do about well being. Unfortunate, but those of us that have compassions to these issues really need to speak up and offer ourselves to others as mentors trhough the situations.
Thanks you John, I really, sincerely appreciate your comments and I understand completely what you, and your wife, go through. Chat with me anytime my friend!! Cheers!
Jeannette…your words, for some reason, strike a cord with me from a somewhat strange place. They hit me like words a mother would say to their child, and not having had the best of childhoods it comforts me to hear from you. I agree with everything you said, and trust me when I say to you that your support through pregnancy, miscarriage, and now hearing this post from me…is amazing in how supportive and loving you have been. Thank you is all I know how to say!
Elizabeth, I too know people that have “pulled the trigger”…which, to be honest, makes me wonder how or why I did not if it was so easy. I’m not sure where that fine line/ dividing line is for different people. I am beyond happy to still be here and beyond happy with the life I now have. It took massive amounts of work and reflection, often times to the point where you end up crying in a dark room for hours, alone…but I came out the next day stronger for it. I am not ashamed…nor do I feel anybody owes me as well, I do not owe anyone. This is my journey, and I am just feeling all this emotion from you, and all the others, that have posted something with personal stories attached…I am beyond appreciative and hope that if anyone needs to talk about this kind of crap ever, know that I am available. Thank you very much!
Beverley, the first thing I would say is that if you ever need to chat please let me know…I am more than happy to help where I can.
Beyond that, I can completely appreciate your story. Mine was a daily reminder for a very long time…I don’t need the daily reminder as often because I have been fortunate to build a community of people that is so amazingly kind, loving, caring, and willing to hug it all out. Life is amazing, don’t ever give up on that!! Cheers, and again, contact me if you feel the need…anytime!!
Lily Zajc says
Matt, I just wanted to thank you for the honesty and emotion of your post. Through all the cheeriness of your tweets, you struck me as an eternal optimist with a complete, enjoyable life. No one could have guessed at the journey you took to get to the place you are now.
You have given me some hope and motivation on how I can change my attitude about certain hardships in my life right now. I’ll drink a toast to you!
Lily, you are most certainly a rock star!! Most of us have a lot going on behind the curtain. I am in a very good place now…and I am enjoying the heck out of this journey!! Cheers to you Lily, and thank you for being my buddy!!
Ditto to all what the great folks above have said! WOW! Thank you for your honesty about your life! Yes this topic needs to be discussed; thinking that the majority of people have dealt with different degrees of depression at some point in their life! Including me after divorce many years ago. Keep on writing my friend, so enjoy how and what you choose to write!
Thank you Denise, I appreciate that. I will continue to write about those things that have impacted me and have impacted others. Depression, like many things, has affected so many people, more than we know. It is absolutely important to talk about…I appreciate that you took the time to read and comment, it means a lot to me!! Cheers!!
Marjorie Clayman says
Matt, I am very glad you are still here. Life sometimes gives us more than we feel we can handle – I’ve never liked that saying about never getting more than you can handle because I am not sure it’s true. But you stepped to the brink and here you are, and it turns out you could handle it after all. Hopefully that triumph is what other people need to hear who may be in dire straits right now.
Hi there Margie…thank you for that. I do agree with you on that too, that sometimes, some people do get more than they can handle. All that being said, I have always written about my life in a journal but never shared it…once I started sharing it I realized how impacted others are by what I am saying, which led me to believe I could hopefully help someone that is going through what I have been through. I also know that writing about stuff has always been a theraputic activity for me…so, although some of these topics might be uncomfortable for some, I feel discussing these things is a win-win! Thanks again Margie!! Hugs back atcha!
Matt, so many people battle this disease called depression every day. Over the past few months I’ve been saddened by some of the news of people taking their lives – people who, on the outside, seem like they have it all together. I am so sad that they didn’t feel like they had an opportunity to share themselves fully, get the support they need, and turn things around. We are all too often worried about how we are perceived, our personal “brand”, and portraying ourselves positively, especially in the world of social media and everything being public. Until we are able to be vulnerable and honest about who we are, it is difficult to get past the inner demons we are fighting. I have been lucky enough not to have to battle the terrible “D” disease, but I do occasionally have a bad day, and I’m so lucky to have a close support system of people who genuinely care about me, that I can go to and be open with and get through the bad shtuff… Thanks for sharing your story. I hope people read it and realize they’re not alone, and that they can get through this journey.
Steve Birkett says
Powerful honesty and a reminder to us all that there’s so much more going on beneath the surface of our social network relationships. Courage in sharing like this – something that takes far more bravery than you might know and which I’m not sure I possess – gives me pause for thought and the understanding that every little interaction, no matter how small a gesture, should be aimed at improving the lot of someone else.
Thanks for sharing your situation so openly and opening the window for others to do the same, Matt. I barely know you but that only makes it more exciting that there’s so much to learn in the year ahead. I look forward to it.
Well said Pam…it is terrible, but fixable. We HAVE to discuss these things in life. That’s why I talked about the miscarriage my wife and I went through…it’s nothing to be ashamed of, it IS life. So whether it is depression or miscarriage or whatever…it needs to be discussed and shared, we need to help each other…we need to listen…we need to be there. The power of people coming together is limitless! Cheers to you, and thank you very much!!
Steve, amen brother. I appreciate the kind words and again, my only hope is to reach out and try to help others. I am in a really good place and have been for some time, but so many are not. I too look forward to getting to know you more this coming year…let’s keep the conversation going and I wish you nothing but the best in Twenty12!!
Kelly Girl says
I too have spent time in that abyss of darkness. My life, like many others, has not been all wine and roses. I would never have chosen a different path for my journey in life though. Everything, good and bad, has brought me to where I’m at in my beautiful life today.
Depression is scary; and only those who have truly experienced it, can understand the despair and loneliness. I would not have survived without the help of medication and extensive counseling. Thank you for sharing.
Kelly Girl…I’m very thankful you shared, and I feel the same way…that I wouldn’t trade my path because I love where I am. Being surrounded by amazing friends like you is incredible, fotunate to have the support and motivation provided by some pretty amazing people.
Keep on keepin’ on…we’re in this thing together!!
Love ya back!!