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We are rapidly approaching the 13th anniversary of the day I started this blog with some of my dearest friends. I was a 21 year old bible college student. I don't really know what to do with this space anymore but I know it needs to stay here. It's one of my comforts, being able to type it in and see all that history. I figured something I could do since I have the time is reflect on some of those moments. Here we go.
10 years ago:
In the end, this is a deeply personal blog. It was started nearly three years ago by me and five of my best friends (Henry, Smiles, Gringo, Jeri, and Eric (who never got his own subdomain off the ground). I barely knew what a blog was but I knew it was something I could do well and it was a great way to interact with my friends. Then we grew. And grew some more. And it's awesome. Three years later and here I am sitting in an internet cafe in Chiang Mai, Thailand and I still feel just as close to my friends thanks to this blog, this community.
So that being said, I want to keep that spirit alive by being open and honest with you guys. I've been holding stuff from pretty much everyone for awhile. Most of you know I struggle with depression. I learned this past year that going to a foreign country doesn't take away your problems. It almost always magnifies them. But I was too proud and too scared to seek some help. This kind of made things worse. I went through some really dark times in Harbin. But thankfully we have a God who really does love us and is bigger than all that. He has shown me a lot of stuff these past couple weeks and has given me the strength to finally admit I can't do this on my own. Thankfully the organization I work for provided a counselor for me to talk to and he suggested something I've been hearing for awhile. I'm going back on medication. But that is just the beginning. I'm going to be make some serious lifestyle changes with the help of my teammates and hopefully with the help of you guys.
10 years ago yesterday I wrote a pretty heart felt post from an internet cafe in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I was still trying to make the China thing work. I was really trying to still make the God thing work. What I failed to mention in this post is that before I left Harbin in January I had tried to kill myself. I don't think I was ready to acknowledge that, let alone process it. I had seen a counselor in Thailand but I gave him some vague answers about being depressed. He recommended I go back on medication. It was my first time on Paxil and when I got back from Thailand I started having panic attacks and more suicidal thoughts. A month later, I was on a plane back to the States. My final destination was a treatment facility in Fresno.
Yeah, in case you didn't know I spent a few months at a residential mental health treatment center. It was for people like me who had done missions work in foreign countries and had experienced mental health problems due to this work. I met with both a psychologist and a spiritual counselor every day as well as group therapy sessions. I wasn't locked up or anything. I had a studio apartment on the property and I could come and go as I pleased. I stayed there for a few months while I got my meds figured out and talked through some problems. I still wasn't ready to talk about the deeper issues that were troubling me though. I was still clinging to the last shreds of faith that I had left. I absolutely don't regret agreeing to go to that place, though. It was much needed and it helped me along the path that would lead me to the person I am now.
At first when I think about 10 years ago, it doesn't seem like it's been that long. Then I think about everything that has happened in the last ten years and it is absolutely overwhelming. And I am so thankful for all of it. Most of the time.
In geeky fun things, Danny posted about the debut of Google Maps. The fact that brendoman.com is older than Google Maps is strange and awesome.
13 frickin’ years…
i’m superglad you’ve kept this place in existence.
I just watched half an hour of one of your popsickles podcasts…it was pretty awesome.
Hit me up next time you’re in MO and we can haaaaaang.
Crazy, right? I definitely need to make a trip out to MO at some point.
Love you, Brendo! I’m so glad you’re still here. Thanks for sharing. And if you ever need an ear during a dark time, I’m here. Also.. I’m here for all the other times too. We need some time together!