An Experiment In Fantasy Football…

I had once tried Fantasy Football,  but didn’t really know what I was doing and all of my picks were selected by the computer. I never set my line-ups because I didn’t know how.

Last year, I did it again. I went in with a little research, some understanding of the leagues best players and a heavy New England Patriots bench. I set my line-ups each week largely based on who was projected to score the most points.

I wound up winning and taking home the cash prize…around $120.

This year I’m back at it, with 8, yes 8 different teams.
I actually didn’t mean to do that many, I ran into a couple of tech glitches and wound up with 2 I didn’t plan on.

My primary one is fittingly called Jedi Patriots.
I carefully selected my team after some considerable research across many sites.
The only thing I did that was against “advice” was picking the amazing Tom Brady.

With the variables of the random drafting process, not getting the players you want, injuries, overall player performance, suspensions and weather I’m wondering how much the research, ratings and projected points help achieve a victory.

While technically Thursday was the “official” start to the season, today is when everyone’s FF teams are going to start putting points up, and my experiment begins. Each week, I’ll do a re-cap on how my teams did and try and offer a little insight on what I saw. Let’s kick off week 1 with a look at my teams, how they were built, my Week 1 match-ups and projections. Happy Football Sunday!!!

Jedi Patriots
Yahoo Fantasy Football
Selection Method: Researched and carefully picked


Statistical Victory
Yahoo Fantasy Football
Selection Method: Picks done based on highest rated player available at the time


Yahoo Fantasy Football
Selection Method: Attempting to pick my line-up again in another draft


Yahoo Fantasy Football
Selection Method: Accidental auto-pick

Yahoo Fantasy Football
Selection Method: Accidental auto-pick to start, top rated after I found out draft was in progress

Jedi Patriots
NFL Fantasy Football
Selection Method: Researched and carefully picked line-up

Statistical Victory
NFL Fantasy Football
Selection Method: Picks done based on highest rated player available at the time

Nothing But Points
NFL Fantasy Football
Selection Method: Picks done based on available player with
highest projected points for 2016



Things I’ve Learned From Working For MY Church…

Things I’ve Learned From Working For MY Church…

If you went back in time 10 years ago and told me I’d be working for a Church today, let alone a Church I love, I would have laughed in your face. I thought God was an entity that punished you for not following His rules. I wanted to do what I wanted to do, and that revolved around making a lot of money and climbing the corporate ladder. Excessive Pride & Money…the very things that lead to a less fulfilling life.

Today I wish I had embarked on that path a long time ago.

God is like that though.

First, He wants you to want to go on the path. He will never force you, and He will never love you less for not doing it sooner. Like any good parent.

Second, depending on how far you went down the wrong road, you have to make the trek back onto His path. There’s no Chutes and Ladders shortcut. I’ve found it usually takes a lot longer than I wish it would be, but every single time it was all perfectly timed. You find out there was work you had to do on yourself and He had to do on you all along that path.

I could write a whole book on how He got me here…but that’s for another time.

So after 4 months of working for Saddleback Church as a Project Manager for the Creative Services team, I felt it was a good time to talk about what I’ve learned.

Let’s get the negative out-of-the-way real quick…

The enemy CONSTANTLY attacks every member of our Church team. Physically, mentally and emotionally. He knows we’re doing great work and he hates every bit of it. This has been a very emotionally draining job because the enemy tries to frequently convince me that because of my past mistakes, I don’t deserve to work at Saddleback Church. I wasn’t sure what people meant by this during the interview process, but I get it now. Working for the Church is NOT for the faint of heart/soul. The enemy will never win though, not with God on my/our side.

With that done, let’s look at the positives of it all and why I wish I had gotten here a lot sooner.

  1. The corporate ladder is GONE…
    Your focus is on using your God-given talents to do great work. Gone for me are the days of trying to do something to stand out from the crowd to be recognized so I can go another rung up. Everything I do is to either help spread God’s love, or help my team out. I still get recognition which is nice, but it’s for personal satisfaction not advancement.
  2. Grace is practiced daily…
    It’s practiced by every single person, myself included. We all make lives challenging for our co-workers, but in most corporate environments your trespasses and those of others are noted on some mental note-board. Those trespasses are used later either to climb another rung, or to manipulate you later. In my Church the initial frustration is expressed, but then you work together to work better together as you move forward. It took me awhile to get used to mistakes not being career landmines, but once I did my stress level was significantly reduced.
  3. Humility is seen as a strength, not a weakness…
    Make a mistake in corporate America and admit to it? You’re typically seen as weak. Make a mistake in your work for the Church? Our Pastor Rick Warren wants us to! He has publicly stated that he encourages us to make one mistake a week.  The only caveat is that we have to learn from them and not make them again. I’ve owned up to every mistake I’ve made and each time my co-workers/managers have looked at me as a stronger person, they show me grace & forgiveness, then we move on.
  4. It’s about RELATIONSHIPS…
    There’s always work to be done, and you do need to make sure you get done what needs to get done. They don’t want your head down and focused on work the whole time though. At Saddleback, talking to your co-workers in and out of your department is strongly encouraged. I don’t have just the typical water cooler chit-chat. I’ve had some amazingly deep conversations with others. Souls have been bared and love is extended each and every time. I’ve prayed with them, they’ve prayed over me. My team (some of them in the pic) have become my second family. God help the person who tries to mess with/hurt them.
  5. It’s about faith in Him to get things done…
    On average every week we get about 35-40 requests for some creative services piece. This is on top of cranking out a bulletin that gets customized for all 12 of our California campuses. There are Mondays I look at our production board and wonder how we’re going to get it all done. That’s when our team turns to God and says “Your Will Be Done”. For a couple of hectic weeks I added God as a member of every project and a label that said “God’s Will Be Done”. Every single thing  that needed to get done for Him, got done. The only way it happened was because of Him.
  6. It’s about who God is molding you to become…
    We recognize that God has us where we are for a reason because He is using us in some way shape or form at that time to serve Him. We have talents that make us as individuals and a team better. Our leadership believes this strongly and provides us the guidance we need (through His direction) to help God mold us into what He wants us to become.
  7. Prayer and talking about God is an everyday part of work life…
    You’re probably going #duh of course you do that in a Church. After 20 years in corporate America, it’s different for me and provides daily refreshment. In today’s society talking about God or praying together in the corporate environment is often seen as weird, or oddly enough even a weakness. It’s nice to openly talk about Him and the good work He is doing. Now we don’t all go around constantly blessing each other, quoting scripture, singing worship songs through the halls (although the Worship team appropriately does sing in the cubicles on the other side of us), and praying at set times throughout the day. All of it is done when the spirit moves us or when we need to draw on His strength.
  8. A paycheck is an honor, not an expectation…
    A paycheck used to be something I would expect to get as a representation of the hard work I put in. Like many others there were times where I felt like it wasn’t enough. Today it’s become a blessing and the icing on the cake. I love my work so much, it’s a bonus to get paid to do what I do.
  9. No matter what it is you are doing as part of your work, it ALL has meaning…
    My work used to revolve around the goal of helping either the company  I worked for or others to make more money. Today my work is used to reach out to others who are trying to get through today’s world on their own strength, instead of leaning on God. It’s used to encourage those that do believe in Him, to keep leaning on and learning from Him. IT IS THE MOST FULFILLING WORK I HAVE EVERY DONE. When things get challenging at work, it’s awesome to think about God being proud of my work. It’s feels great to think of the others who will be with me in Heaven because I helped get a flyer printed, or a sign put out for an event. Because of the work that my team, my Church and I do every day, lives are literally saved.
  10. I am loved for who I am, by EVERYONE…
    I have had the fortune to work with many great people, and on many great teams. I have been cared for, loved on and supported by so many in my career. There were many times though where I felt like others thought I was odd, or just didn’t get me. I so often felt like a obtuse peg trying to be fit into a round hole. It made for really uncomfortable work environments. I finally feel like I found my obtuse hole. While I’m sure my quirks, personality and humor may not always be loved, I as a person truly feel loved and wanted by all.

Yeah, that’s a lot from just 4 months. It’s pretty exciting to think about what could come from the next 4 months.

To my team I say thank you. Thank you for your love, support, encouragement and friendship. I love you all more than you’ll ever know. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us. #TEAMMARCOMCSFORLIFE

A Simple Cup Of Water

A Simple Cup Of Water

As I was on my run through Mission Viejo, I came upon a man on the corner with a cardboard sign that said “PLEASE HELP”.  He was also wearing a shirt that said he was homeless.

I won’t lie, I found that a bit odd. I kept on running.

Then it hit me. God whispered in my heart to help the man.

It didn’t matter what my perceptions were, my fellow brother in Christ needed help.

I was reminded of words spoken by Jesus himself.

“If anyone gives you even a cup of water because you belong to the Messiah, I tell you the truth, that person will surely be rewarded” – Mark 9:41 NLT

All I had was two fives. It was money I was using to stop at the store later to pick up some groceries on the way back. Most people tend to give homeless people just a few dollar bills. If we don’t have ones, we don’t give them anything.

I turned around, pulled out one of the fives and very happily gave it to the man.

I saw the face of an older man. A man who has lived a long life and was struggling. This wasn’t some younger person with their full physical abilities. This is someone much further along in their life.

His face lit up. He thanked me profusely. He told me he’d pray for my family and I. I told him God loves him and to take care.

With that I continued on my run.

Then I felt guilty. I felt like I should have given him all of my money. After all I was going to be headed home to a house. I’d be eating a good dinner and sleeping in a comfortable bed with my family all under the same roof.

After turning around to head back home, I decided I’d offer to go buy him some food at the store. I’d make sure he was nourished.

As I came back up to him, he saw me and smiled. He thanked me again. I asked him his name, and found out it was Henry. We placed our hands on each others shoulders. I talked to him and asked if I could buy him some food. I told him I wanted to make sure that he was eating and taking good care of himself. He said thank you, but he was fine. He pointed to his bag where I saw he had some food given by other people. I checked again,”Are you sure there’s nothing I can get you?”. He said he was fine and then told me again that he would pray for me and my family.

I told him again to take care, told him God loved him, put my headphones back in my ears and went to go cross the street.

Then I felt him touch my shoulder. I turned around, took out my headphones and with him staring into my eyes he said.

“Jesus loves you. I will pray that He will give you and your family double.”

I started to tear up.

I thanked Henry before I became a sobbing mess on the side of the road.

How did this man know my struggles? How could he imagine to say something that I so badly needed to hear at that moment?

When you’re un-employed, financially stressed out and anxious to get back to work, those words just dive deep into your soul.

While my faith is strong, when your stress limits are pushed to the edge you begin to wonder how much God loves you. After all, if He did wouldn’t He want to make things better? Despite the most intense levels of perseverance, you just want the pain over with.

At that moment, I felt like God was talking to me through this man. As if God found a way to remind me in an audible way that He does in fact love me and that help was coming.

Henry had just blessed me more than any amount of cash could possibly bless him.

As I recounted the story for my wife later that evening I did break into tears. As I write this I find myself tearing up.

My family and I prayed for him later that evening, and I kindly ask that you do the same in your prayers.

While I know I did a good thing for Henry, in the end I realize I was the one who got the biggest blessing. The greatest gift. The greatest help. It’s a moment in my life I will remember until the day I die and will forever give thanks for.



Hard times. Troubles. Challenges. Trials.

We hate those words.

Those words scare us.

No one in their heart of hearts ever desires to really go through them.

No matter your age, gender, nationality or wealth you get to experience them multiple times throughout your life.

Sometimes we deal with multiple challenges and trials at the same time. I really hate that!

Like myself, you might be dealing with them right now.

What’s interesting is that as a society, despite the fact that we hate these struggles, challenges and trials we enjoy movies, books, TV shows, and music that tackle these words head on. For me, it’s always been movies that mean the most. It’s the medium I connect with and speaks to my heart and soul.

“Apollo 13” and “The Martian” are two movies that stand out amongst the crowd.
Apollo 13 is perhaps the most meaningful because it actually happened.

Here you have three men in space, and hundreds on Earth who have trained and prepared for what is to date still one of the most daunting voyages ever undertaken. The crew of Apollo 13 flung themselves into the cosmos, knowing there were so many things they couldn’t predict or anticipate. It required a huge level of faith.

Then so many things went wrong, none of which they were ever prepared for.

While it’s amazing that they overcame everything, what’s more amazing is their perseverance. They kept “working the problem” no matter how tired, hungry or afraid of death they were.

“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be more mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:4

That perseverance taught all of NASA, and the world not just how to solve those problems. It taught them how to deal with, or avoid future problems.

Perseverance isn’t easy. It’s the part we hate the most about our trials. We want to pray away, wish away, or pay away the problem. We just want it to go away, get our lesson and move on.

While that may work, it’s a band-aid. You aren’t taking care of the root issue and you aren’t really preparing for what’s coming down the line.

Your perseverance may be required for days, months or years. There may even be times where you think you’re done, but you’re really still in the middle of it. It’s the center of the storm, and you still have a dark, overwhelming journey ahead of you. That right there is so scary to realize and accept. It gives me chills just writing it.

Even scarier is that you may have to deal with something that requires perseverance for the rest of your life. That’s really hard to admit and write.

Being out of work for the last 4 months after 16 years straight of employment, I have struggled with perseverance every single day.

Getting out of bed realizing I still don’t have a job.  Trying to find a job. Trying to get interviews. Trying to not let the disappointment crawl into my head and affect my moods, or impact the people around me. I want to snap my fingers and make it all go away, I want God to make a job immediately appear.

Some might say “If God loves you so much, then why doesn’t He make it all better?”.

Could He? Yup.

Do I wish He would? Every day.

God is not a vending machine.
God is not a genie.
God is not Amazon with next day delivery.

He wants to help us with our problems, but He’s not interested in immediately solving all of them. He wants us to learn perseverance. He wants us to put faith in Him at a level that some find a bit illogical.  As the passage in James 1 continues…

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” James 1:5-8 NIV

I have learned that while I lean on Him for guidance, strength and wisdom He is refining me like a goldsmith. He is keeping me strong through the fires so that what comes out on the other end is an even stronger person.

“Then I will test those survivors by giving them many troubles. The troubles will be like the fire a person uses to prove silver is pure. I will test them the way a person tests gold. Then they will call to me for help, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘You are my people.’ And they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’” – Zechariah 13:9 ERV

What’s comforting is that He’s promised that if we stick through it. If we persevere. If we stay close to Him that HE WILL deliver us. HE WILL make life better. HE WILL prepare us for the next challenges that we encounter.

It’s hard. It’s painful. It’s frustrating.

He will NEVER forsake us and NEVER break a single promise.

While my trials aren’t over by far, I am stronger and getting stronger every day.

I know this because…

He’s brought me through the challenges of the past.
He’s bringing me through the challenges I’m going through now
He’s going to bring me through the challenges in the future.

It just requires perseverance and putting absolute FAITH and TRUST in Him. 

In the end He will make us like a precious and strong metal with a value that can never be measured. We will then proudly proclaim Him as our great God. The provider of all providers. The father that loves and supports us 24-7, 365.

For those who are fighting the fight, or multiple fights. Know that you are not alone. Keep persevering. Keep praying. Know that He is in your corner.  He is fighting for you. He is with you. Yes, even those that don’t believe in Him.

For those that have fought the fight, or are in a calm spot. Keep praising His name. Keep leaning on Him. Keep the perseverance alive. Help your fellow brother and sister through their fight. Remind them that they too will make it through. Remind them that they’ll be better than when they first started. Pray for and with them, especially those that haven’t given their life to Christ.

God has got this.
God has got you.

From Pain Comes Joy…A Letter To My Seven Year Old Self…

Hey there Chris, it’s me, well really it’s you, but like 36 years in the future. No, dude, it’s not that old.

I know right now you’re going through a lot of pain. Mom and Dad are getting divorced, and your life is turned upside down.

So since I know how you like news delivered, first I’m going to tell you the bad news.

Before I do, you need to know NONE OF THIS is your fault.

You didn’t do anything wrong. You are a great kid and this is all Mom and Dad’s fault.

So the bad news…this is all going to be long, hard and drawn out. You won’t know what to do and there won’t be much help you get dealing with your pain and frustration. You are going to be unique among your friends in that you’ll have divorced parents. Fortunately, or unfortunately you won’t be alone in that boat for much longer.

Mom and Dad are going to keep fighting. A lot.

They’re going to hate each other and send really bad messages to each other using you as the messenger.

There’s going to be court stuff that goes on, that stresses Mom out and you’re going to try and be helpful and help her out and get involved. You really shouldn’t, but I know us. You’re going to anyways.


I wish I could say, that’s it. It’s not.
I’m sorry, but you need to know.

Dad is going to get re-married. You’re going to get a step-mom, a step-brother and eventually a half-brother. You’re going to hurt a lot as you watch Dad give them more love and attention than he seems to give you. There are happy times there, but it’ll seem more hurtful than happy.

I know you’re thinking, I’m never going to get a divorce. I won’t make my kids go through this, but I’m sorry to say it’s going to happen to you too. It’s going to be painful, expensive and stressful.

Your mind has got to be racing right now, trying to think of ways to avoid all of the pain that lays ahead of you. I know this is a lot to ask a 7 year old, but I need you to be strong.

Right now you see God as someone to be afraid of. Someone that won’t let you into heaven unless you do EVERYTHING right.

So here’s the first of the good news.

He’s not like that at all! God is an amazing being and He’s watching over you, even when you turn away from Him. You’re going to come to know Him and find strength from Him in so many different ways. Think of God like “The Force”, just without the ability to do Jedi mind tricks or wield a lightsaber.

I want you to remember this scripture, because it’s going to help you through days when you’re not sure you’re going to make it through.

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Romans 5:3-4 NIV)

Want more good news?

You’re going to have a great kid named Josh. He’s incredibly smart, loving and is into Legos. He’ll even enjoy Star Wars with you. He is going to make you so proud.

There’s more.

You’re going to meet and marry an amazing woman named Jennifer.

No, it’s not the Jennifer you live next to right now. It’s a different Jennifer. But it’s kind’ve cool because you’re going to have your first kiss with Jennifer next door and your last first kiss will be with a Jennifer.

She’s going to have a daughter named Kaylin who you’re going to love. She’s going to be the daughter that you always wanted.

She will slowly but surely get into Star Wars as well, she’s even going to get to the point where she knows more about some of the characters than you do. Crazy ehh?

Wanna hear something even cooler and you might even think I’m nuts?

You’re going to become amazing friends with Kaylin’s Dad Rommel and Step-Mom Lisa.

You’re going to become such good friends that you’ll wind up greeting each other with genuine hugs. You’re going to enjoy spending time with them and talking with them. You’ll even play around with Kaylin’s little half-sister Madelyn.

This is actually all of you together celebrating Kaylin’s birthday…


You’re all going to take Kaylin to a Divorced Kids Care class at Saddleback Church and you’re going to see how kids that are in your situation get the help they need. I wish I could bring you from the past to take this class, but we still can’t travel through time.

Wanna hear something even crazier? Rommel is going to support you getting a job at Saddleback Church. Yes, you will be that close.

You’re going to be part of this amazing Step-Family Small Group and meet Paul, Michelle, Tiffany, Aaron, Paddy, and Christina. They will be friends who are there to support you and your wife through the challenges you’ll go through together. You’re going to be there for them too and it’ll make life that much sweeter.

And that’s when all of the horrible stuff that you’re going through right now will make sense. You’ll come to understand what that scripture means.

You may wonder why God doesn’t just stop it all, but there is the beauty, He gives us all free will. We can do what we want, He doesn’t try and control us. He provides guidance, but it’s up to us to take it. Mom and Dad have been oferred it, but they’re not taking it. He’s going to give it to you too and you won’t take it for awhile.

But He’s working on setting your path right to make up for the mistakes that Mom, Dad, you and others will make in your life. He’s going to give you the strength to make it through and He’s going to take everything and give you what we have today.

Your life WILL BE BETTER for having gone through it and you’re just going to have to trust me on that.

On top of that you’re going to be an inspiration to others. You’ll give other kids the hope that they can have a happy life after divorce and show other parents how divorced life doesn’t need to be a fight. To drop their selfishness and focus on making a better life for their kids.

I’m sorry for everything that you’re going through right now Chris. I wish I could take all the pain away, but we need it to get to where we are today and to make it through the challenges we’re going to face in life. I promise you it’s all totally worth it.

Just know, you’re an amazing kid. You are loved and you will make it through.


Your Future Self

P.S. Empire Strikes Back is going to ROCK! It’ll actually become your favorite and there’s this awesome moment you won’t see coming. There are also  5 more Star Wars movies that are going to come out between then and now. Star Wars will go on for a very long time and you’re going to find a lot of hope and inspiration in it.

Love and Marriage vs. Life Challenges


Three years ago I committed my life to this beautiful woman and our life together as husband and wife started off in the best possible way. We were in love. Our kids loved each other. We had good paying jobs. We had an amazing wedding surrounded by our family and friends, and then headed off on a dream honeymoon.

Anyone with half a brain knows that life will throw challenges at you and your marriage. But despite that, there is nothing that can really prepare you for those challenges or how to handle them when they occur. God knows, we didn’t fully realize what was ahead of us.

We’ve had a lot of AMAZING things happen to us and so many good memories that have been made. But challenges have come whether we liked them or not.

Over the past three years we’ve dealt with job losses (hers last year, mine this year), job changes (4 for her, 2 for me), credit card bills that got out of control, crazy rent increases, my autistic son moving in/starting college, and my depression rearing its ugly head once more. This is all on top of the regular challenges that affect every marriage.


But today as I reflect on the past 3 years as a married couple (4 years as a couple), I’m not reminded of the bad. I see the woman who has stuck by my side and continued to love me, truly for better or worse.

I know living with me is no cup of tea everyday, but she still chooses to do it.
She still does it with a smile on her face and love in her heart.

She does it when she makes silly faces or belts out some tune off-key.

She does it when she cleans dishes or makes a meal.

She does it when she holds me and says that everything is going to be alright, even thought it feels like the world is crumbling around us.

She has placed her absolute faith, trust and love in me and believes in me when I don’t even believe in myself.

Sometimes, I question why (because my mind is whack like that) but I just try and accept/appreciate the fact that she does, and hasn’t failed to in the 4 years we’ve been together.

8 years ago I saw the movie Juno and came to love the following line…

“Look, in my opinion, the best thing you can do is find a person who loves you for exactly what you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you, the right person is still going to think the sun shines out your ass. That’s the kind of person that’s worth sticking with.”

I had wondered if it was possible to find a person like that, or if it was another movie fairy tale.

Today I realize it’s no fairy tale and I’ve got that kind of person.

So today I say to the woman who is still just a beautiful today as she was 4 years ago. Thank you.

Thanks for choosing me to be your husband.
Thanks for loving me as much as you have and continue to.
Thanks for sticking by me and continuing to believe that the “sun still shines out my ass”.

Happy Anniversary Honey. Here’s to the rest of our life.

I love you Jennifer Lynn Tellez. Yesterday, Today and Always.

Depression…You Are Not Alone In This. You Are LOVED. You Are WANTED.

This last Saturday morning I was going through my computer cleaning up files.

What started with cleaning up unneeded music and videos led to me finding stuff that I had written up during what had been the darkest period of my life.

As I read it I felt like I was looking at someone else. I recognized them as things I had written but I couldn’t identify with the person who wrote them, or the sentiments behind them. My intention when I wrote them was either going to be something for me to look back at and see how far I had come, or it was going to be something that would explain to others where my head had been. Because depression is something that neither the person going through it or the people around them truly understand.

Yesterday the amazing Robin Williams took his life. An amazing man who made the world laugh lost his battle with depression. Today we wake up with the world being a little less funny, trying to make sense out of why someone so rich, famous and funny could be so depressed. With that in mind, and in the hopes of saving other lives I thought it was important to finally come forward with my story & my struggle.

Because as I went through those files some of them included suicidal plans and a portion of what would have been a suicide note.

To some of my family and friends this may come as a shock, but I share this because I want to help those who are battling depression and those around them that may not understand it.

I share it because I am a living example of someone who fought the hard fight and won. I want those who are dealing with it to know that there is an end to the darkness. There is a way to get out of that hole, to get out of the spiral of bad thoughts and feelings.

You too can get to the point where you’ll look back at what happened and see the victory you had, and feel as amazing as I did recognizing how far I’d come and then like me deleting those notes and plans because they’ll be something you will NEVER NEED.

I share it because it because it’s time we started talking about depression. From accepting that it’s a very real condition to helping those around us who suffer from it.

For those that are suffering from it….
My first recommendation is to GET HELP. There are so many amazing therapists out there to talk to who can help you work through all the feelings in your head, especially the ones you don’t understand. If you don’t like your first therapist, get a different one. Keep switching until you find one that gets you and you feel like you can open up to them. Once I found my therapist I saw him for a number of years. Even once I had battled the depression I still talked to him. It was great to have someone like that to get out everything with.

Find and take medication that works for you. YOU ARE NOT WEAK for taking medication. If anything it takes a ton of strength to accept that your body needs help. It’s no different than when you have a cold. Your body is not working right, and that’s OK. I found some great medication and it helped calm the thoughts and kept me thinking straight. It may be something you have to take for a short period of time. It may be something you have to take for a long time. There’s some amazing medication that can help you. Be open and honest with your doctor/therapist/psychologist about how it’s working/not working for you. Whatever you do, DON’T STOP IT COLD TURKEY! If you feel like you’re ready to phase it out work with your doctor/therapist/psychologist on how to do that.

TALK OUT YOUR FEELINGS. Talk to your family, talk to friends, talk to your therapist, talk to a Church leader, talk to a support group. Let them know you need help making sense out of things. That you need to get it out of your head. Only by talking out the thoughts in your head can you work things out and start making sense out of non-sense. Being honest and getting it all out was amazing for me. It’s only then where you see how you’re brain isn’t making sense.

DON’T LISTEN TO THE LIES YOUR BRAIN TELLS YOU. You may get to that incredibly low, low, low, low point. The point where you feel like your existence doesn’t matter and that the world would be a better place without you. If you do, please call the Suicide Prevention Hotline IMMEDIATELY at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). If you don’t want to talk to them, talk to a trusted family member, friend, Church leader or support group leader. Talk to someone, please. It saved my life. It can save yours too.

KNOW THAT YOU ARE LOVED AND YOU ARE WANTED. To those reading this that I don’t know and are going through the pain of depression. I love you. I care about you. You matter to me. You matter to this planet. You were put on this earth for a reason. You may not understand why until much later on, but YOU MATTER and this world WOULD NOT be a better place without you. YOU CAN MAKE IT THROUGH THIS!

For those that have loved ones that are suffering through depression…

BE THERE FOR THEM. Be there with a non-judgmental mind and just listen.
Understand that as much as what they may say may not make sense to you, it makes even less sense to them. Gently help them through their feelings. Don’t deny them or shoot them down. Accept them and help them figure out a productive way of dealing with them.

Understand that telling someone to “just cheer up”,  “life isn’t that bad” or anything else to that effect doesn’t help in any way, shape or form. Those suffering with depression can’t just think happy thoughts and be okay for the day. You’ve got to love on them. Support them. Let them know that you love them for everything they are and are not.

Accept that depression is an illness, not a choice of living. Mental illness is another one of the things that affect the human body.  You will have a hard time wrapping your head around it. There’s no logic to it. There’s no reason to it. There’s no sense in it. And that’s just it….when you’re affected by mental illness it doesn’t (and likely will ever) make sense.

ENCOURAGE AND SUPPORT others to get qualified medical help. You may have to push them to go to a therapist. You may have to push them to take medications. Do it lovingly and without authority. Tell them you care about them and it would mean a lot to you for them to do it. Tell them how important they are in your life and how much you want to help them.

If you notice them getting to a point where they’re really suffering, and they can no longer help themselves, GET HELP FOR THEM. Look up local resources. Reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline – Know that your help could mean the difference between life and death.

HANG IN THERE. Supporting and loving someone suffering from depression is incredibly hard. You are doing amazing work and despite the appearances that it might not be working. IT IS WORKING & IT DOES MATTER.

For those who aren’t going through it or know someone going through it…

You can actually help battle depression by SMILING AT PEOPLE MORE & BEING MORE FRIENDLY. Be aware of those around you and how they may be feeling.

Every person you meet or encounter in your day may be going through some struggle in their life.

It may be depression. It may be alcoholism. It may be drug addiction. It may be a divorce. It may be that they’re having the day from hell.

Sometimes that smile, or telling someone to have a great day can make all the difference in the world because someone recognized them as a human being and made them feel important if even just for 10 seconds.

We’re all in this life together and only by working together and supporting each other can WE ALL make it through.

Together we can fight depression. Together we can make a difference.