Mental Health

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Bram
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Post by Bram »

Thanks for the response! Never heard of cluster B, some of these symptoms sound spot on.

Have stuck with being a friend — let’s surf! come by and watch a movie! — and encouraging therapy, but could gently nudge more.

On the positive side, he’s working four days a week instead of six with no more hellish commutes to L.A.. On the negative side, his personality is noticeably altered, he’s now clearly depressed, and he sometimes shakes uncontrollably.

A few more friends recently revealed their own mental health challenges. I can’t honestly say I know anyone close who isn’t struggling.

And yet I’m decently happy, which seems almost dysfunctional to say.

I’ll check out that Atlantic article!
"Mediocrity is not about failing, and it's the opposite of doing. Mediocrity, in other words, is about not trying." — Georges St. Pierre

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Post by Bram »

I looked over my own comments, and I don’t know that I’m adding something new here….

I have three best friends in San Diego, and all three are depressed.

I feel like I’m at a crossroads. Do I keep pushing them to meet up, do stuff, or show up randomly at their door? Or do I look for other people to spend time with?

The last couple weeks I’ve reached out to people I don’t know well and had a lot of fun with them — we’re actually doing shit, and having good conversations. And I’ve felt kinda guilty about it.
"Mediocrity is not about failing, and it's the opposite of doing. Mediocrity, in other words, is about not trying." — Georges St. Pierre

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Post by Ronald RayGun »

As a guy with a rather severe mental illness, I can tell you straight up that the only way to deal with it is to wake up every day ready for war and be happy to do it. Your mental health falls on you. As such, I take my meds without fail, eat healthy, exercise sometimes and make any move I need to to improve my rather unfortunate condition. Are your depressed homies attacking the shit out of the issue? Because if they aren't, that's not something that YOU should ever take to heart or feel guilty for. Everyone has their own shit. It's all about the approach.
"Sorry I didn't save the world, my friend. I was too busy building mine again" - Kendrick Lamar

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Post by Bram »

They’re not in total war mode.

And you’re right, that’s not my fault.

I know some people with self-imposed physical problems. They’re overweight, have high-calorie/high-alcohol diets, and don’t exercise….and I accept these choices.

I hangout with them, never bring it up, and enjoy their company. Sometimes they tease me for eating healthy or exercising, but I don’t mind, I do those things for myself.

Dunno why the mental stuff — the tech addiction, the self-isolation, the quitting what used to make them happy — triggers me to try to intervene. Maybe my battles with those things haven’t been successful enough, and I’m projecting? I’ll think about it.

Appreciate your honesty with sharing your perspective. And for taking the time to read and respond. It’s nice to be heard on this one :)
"Mediocrity is not about failing, and it's the opposite of doing. Mediocrity, in other words, is about not trying." — Georges St. Pierre

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Post by Turdacious »

Bram wrote: Fri Jan 27, 2023 8:28 pm I looked over my own comments, and I don’t know that I’m adding something new here….

I have three best friends in San Diego, and all three are depressed.

I feel like I’m at a crossroads. Do I keep pushing them to meet up, do stuff, or show up randomly at their door? Or do I look for other people to spend time with?

The last couple weeks I’ve reached out to people I don’t know well and had a lot of fun with them — we’re actually doing shit, and having good conversations. And I’ve felt kinda guilty about it.
You shouldn’t. Most of your friend should be healthy and going positive places. If all your friends tend to have issues that suggests you have something in you that you need to work on.
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Post by motherjuggs&speed »

Turdacious wrote: Sat Jan 28, 2023 2:27 am If all your friends tend to have issues that suggests you have something in you that you need to work on.

It took a while for me to realize this about myself and the people in my life. Buck Brannaman said that your horse is a mirror and you might not like what you see in the mirror. I've had a lot of bad people in my life and I just accepted that as the reality instead of getting them out of my life and also taking a hard look at why I didn't attract or seek out better people. And why I didn't keep the good people around.


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Post by motherjuggs&speed »

Sometimes people feel like the effort is too much but they don't understand that it will be harder and more unpleasant to fail. I do this daily, doing about 10 or maybe 20 percent of what I have to do, and often zero percent or making it worse. I think people who aren't making a strong effort aren't worth knowing. I was about to say some effort but that's wrong. Some effort isn't enough. Maximum sustainable effort is what's called for if you have a serious issue.

To use myself as an example, I've worked on getting my med/supps stack dialed in, made changes in my diet to try to improve my mental state, and I do some of what I have to do. But I still neglect things, waste time, and make myself worse in several ways. If people are like that, they're still failing. You're either making it, or you're trying really hard to make it, or you're content to be where you are. Those people, myself included, are really unhappy but they're still content to be what they are. You can't make people care more than they do, and if there's a more serious underlying issue then you can't fix that either.


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Post by lenny »

I recently had to cut a close friend out of my life I've known for over 40 years. He lives in America and I haven't seen him in 15 years. We talked a lot on the phone and communicated via emails. I sent him literally thousands of dollars of what would be termed mobility work over the internet for free the last year. I sent him a flash drive a few months ago of probably a thousand hours of music he likes. I offered to help him with a fitness program. We started, and he stopped when he broke his hand in a fist fight with a guy I told him to stay away from. He had a number of injuries that required maybe 75 minutes a day of rehab that he couldn’t get himself to do. The last time we spoke he said he lays in bed most of the day reading.

He's 65, depressed, microdoses LSD, and takes other recreational drugs. He needs to go back on psychiatric medicine and see a therapist in my opinion. When I met him over 40 years ago, he was a really nice guy. Apparently, he turned into a monster in a lot of ways. He was a consultant for different companies, and told me he would make employees cry. The last time I saw him we went to a restaurant, and he tried to get the waitress fired for no valid reason. I couldn't believe it. I apologized to her, saying, "I'm really sorry. I haven't seen him in over ten years, and he was never like this." I went out to the street, where he was smoking a cigarette, which he never used to do and blamed the waitress and how service people are so terrible. His girlfriend, who he later punched out and left him, said, "He's been like this a lot recently."

I really tried to help him with different problems he had the last few years. I suffer mental health problems since childhood. He really hurt me very badly in a conversation and in some emails a few weeks ago. I'm not blameless. I let a conversation go on way too long when I was in a very agitated state and should have stopped before he said something that really hurt me. Then, I told him to fuck off and hung up. I learned not to call anybody when I’m so agitated. I wrote him I was sorry. He replied that friends should forgive each other, and he did when I told him to commit suicide 12 years ago. I couldn’t believe it. I have never told anyone that and never would. When my best friend was dying in the hospital of cancer five years ago, if he had asked me, “Should I kill myself?” I would have said, “I can’t tell you what to do. You have to decide.”

I don't have the mental health to deal with him anymore. It hurts a lot. He has 3 brothers, a father who sounds like he's dying or close to it, and a son who barely talk to him or refuse to. Now, I understand why. He knows how to aggravate people very badly and won't take responsibility for his behavior. I still love him, but I can't let him tear up my mental health. He has a rare blood cancer. Exactly how that happened he doesn't know. It didn't help that he stole someone's wife who had a child. When their relationship ended he said he tried to drink himself to death. I only heard about it via email.

I learned over the years there's only so much I or anyone can do to help another person. They have to take responsibility, and some just can not do so. Sometimes, it’s not their fault, but sometimes it is. It’s a very painful realization I’ve come to recently, but that’s life.

I view my mental health as a process. I don't give up trying to get more stable, less emotionally reactive, less enraged. I work at it. I started to visualize how to deal with rage and calm down. It doesn't always work. Nothing does. I can't always do it, but I've been progressing.

One of my teachers said certain kinds of improvements in life are not straight upward progress. Sometimes it's 2 steps forward and one step backward. I've found it doesn't even work that way all the time. I never believed I’d get so depressed I’d sleep 11 hours a night and basically lay on the floor most of the day listening to podcasts for a year and a half. Psychiatric medicine didn’t help. I finally had enough and forced myself to exercise and flipped into a manic state, which had never happened. I don’t want to get depressed again like that, but there’s no guarantee.

I’ll be 74 this year. In my 20s, death seemed romantic. It doesn’t any more. I can’t believe how fast life has gone by. My best friends are dead. Other friends my age with one exception have serious health problems. It will be a miracle if we’re all alive in five years.

I learned a lot over the years the hard way. Nobody’s perfect. What seemed great at the time, might feel like a disaster decades later and the opposite. A heartbreak when my college girl friend decided she wouldn’t marry me that left me with what felt like a hole in my chest for a year is now hysterically funny. How could I have been so broken up over her?

A lot of life is very simple but not always easy. Take care of yourself. Try to be a good person. Hillel who lived over 2,000 years ago said it the best, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself what am I? If not now when?”

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Post by Bram »

Turdacious wrote: Sat Jan 28, 2023 2:27 am You shouldn’t. Most of your friends should be healthy and going positive places. If all your friends tend to have issues that suggests you have something in you that you need to work on.
I think you raise a good question. Am I picking healthy, positive people to be friends with?

My three best friends are all funny and kind-hearted. Our friendships were built on shared activities: surfing, working out, Dungeons and Dragons, video games, cooking. But I wouldn’t label them as healthy and positive.

Thinking about it, I’m not sure I know anyone — male, female, relative, friend, acquaintance — who I’d label as being both healthy and positive. I’d say I’m close to that label, but not there myself.

My definition of healthy would be “consistently making good choices.” This could be financial, cleanliness, diet, sleep, exercise…or the people you choose to surround yourself with.

I’m not sure exactly how I’d define positive. I guess it’s an attitude of enjoying the wins, and on the lookout for opportunities to do good things, instead of focusing on the losses and failures.

Maybe this is what I really need to be focused on — shoring up my own shit.
Last edited by Bram on Sat Jan 28, 2023 8:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Mediocrity is not about failing, and it's the opposite of doing. Mediocrity, in other words, is about not trying." — Georges St. Pierre

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Post by Bram »

MJ&S, in regards to your second post and self-control….

I’m reading a really good book — Stolen Focus by Johann Hari — that addresses our modern attention crisis.

He relates people’s tech addictions to the obesity crisis. I’m going to extrapolate his analogy to mental health in general.

Decades of diet books and blaming the individual has resulted in a US culture where 95% of diets fail in 1-5 years. But in some countries that tax junk food, ban junk food ads targeting kids, and design cities that are bike and pedestrian friendly — places like the Netherlands — you end up with much lower obesity rates.

I truly think we have a systemic issue at work here. At best, we are swimming against a strong current to live a life of meaning and happiness.

I’m happy for your positive changes and I hope you keep them up and can continue to build momentum 💪🏼
"Mediocrity is not about failing, and it's the opposite of doing. Mediocrity, in other words, is about not trying." — Georges St. Pierre

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Post by Bram »

Lenny, your friend sounds like a huge piece of shit. I’m happy he’s out of your life!

As for your own struggles.… You exercise and consistently show a thoughtful, kind heart in your posts. That’s worth a lot!

When my clients complain about being old or non-athletic or whatever, I ask them if saying that is helping them in any way. The answer is always no. So I ask them to focus on the goals they want to achieve instead.
"Mediocrity is not about failing, and it's the opposite of doing. Mediocrity, in other words, is about not trying." — Georges St. Pierre

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Post by Bram »

Thought about, and talked about, this subject a lot over the past few days.

Finally, I asked, “What does each friend need, more than anything else, that I can provide?”

One has a drinking problem, so I told him I’m gonna do a dry February to support him.

One can’t seem to do more than eat a meal together — attempts at things from frisbee golf to mini golf to running to rock climbing have fallen flat — so I asked if he’d like to make dinner this week.

One just needs a friend, so I’m drawing a comic strip that we’ve joked about creating for the past five years.

I don’t need to save or fix anyone, but I do want to support my friends. If I can think of what I’ve done to support them, and smile about whatever that was, that’ll be enough.
"Mediocrity is not about failing, and it's the opposite of doing. Mediocrity, in other words, is about not trying." — Georges St. Pierre

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Post by Ronald RayGun »

That's all you can do, man.
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Post by Bram »

Ronald RayGun wrote: Mon Jan 30, 2023 8:21 pm That's all you can do, man.
Yeah…

When I told my buddy with the (self-identified) drinking issue I was gonna do a sober February to support him, he said he’d join me.

Making dinner with friend #2 this week, and friend #3 was stoked on the comic strip.

Finally feel like I’m on the right path with this stuff.
"Mediocrity is not about failing, and it's the opposite of doing. Mediocrity, in other words, is about not trying." — Georges St. Pierre

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Post by Turdacious »

Bram wrote: Tue Jan 31, 2023 12:03 am
Ronald RayGun wrote: Mon Jan 30, 2023 8:21 pm That's all you can do, man.


When I told my buddy with the (self-identified) drinking issue I was gonna do a sober February to support him, he said he’d join me.

Making dinner with friend #2 this week, and friend #3 was stoked on the comic strip.

Finally feel like I’m on the right path with this stuff.
Yeah…ok but missing the larger point. A guy who attracts problems isn’t necessarily the guy who is the path to solving them. Fix yo shit first.
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Post by Bram »

Turdacious wrote: Tue Jan 31, 2023 5:23 am Yeah…ok but missing the larger point. A guy who attracts problems isn’t necessarily the guy who is the path to solving them. Fix yo shit first.
I appreciate you pushing this point!

Set February goals yesterday: get a good night’s sleep (electronics off at 930, lights out at 10); get back to a whole foods diet; and no alcohol.

While this is not addressing the deeper issue of being attracted to people with drama, it is three steps in a healthier direction. Maybe with a fuller gas tank, I’ll have more focus to tackle those harder problems.

Feel free to call bullshit. Again, it’s welcome criticism!

Edit: realized I AM dodging what you’re talking about. Left a voicemail with a therapist I worked with seventeen years ago to discuss this stuff. Thanks!
"Mediocrity is not about failing, and it's the opposite of doing. Mediocrity, in other words, is about not trying." — Georges St. Pierre


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Post by lenny »

Bram
I think it's great you're being supportive of your friends. Try not to take on too much and get drained. It’s a good idea to watch your energy and realize when you’re taking on too much and cut back. Your February goals are excellent in my opinion. Three major goals are probably as much as anyone can take on at once.

I suggest you keep a journal about how you're doing with the goals. It could take a few minutes to record how you’re doing with them and any other information that’s important. Make sure you date the entries. You don't have to write every day. I suggest at least 3 times a week. Read over the journal periodically, possibly every week, every few weeks, or every month and evaluate your progress.

You can perceive patterns where you succeeded or failed. If you failed, try to learn what happened and devise a strategy to deal with it in the future. That strategy may or may not work. If it doesn’t, don’t get discouraged, try another strategy. You may need more than one or two. It can be very helpful in progressing toward your goals. Otherwise, it's very easy to forget exactly what happened.

As I wrote previously, it could very well be 2 steps forward and one backwards. As long as you're trying and being honest about your willingness to work on those goals that's great. Try not to get discouraged or berate yourself for lack of progress and appreciate what you are doing.

I've been keeping a journal since May. I started writing it longhand and then switched to the computer. It goes on for pages. I finally started reading it yesterday and was amazed that one issue that had plagued me since early childhood, getting approval from my mentally ill extremely destructive mother, who died at the age of 95, five years ago, rarely is a problem anymore but was in May. I couldn’t believe it and wouldn’t have realized it without reading it.

Over forty years ago, I read a book called At a Journal Workshop by Ira Progoff, a student of the famous psychiatrist Carl Jung.


Progoff's journal includes what is considered a diary along with 25 or so other sections. It's meant to get you in touch with the subconscious and inner wisdom such as wisdom of the body. I learned a lot from it and taught it to different groups. It's a very poorly written book unfortunately. One should be very relaxed and free from censorship or judgements about what comes up so that the subconscious can surface and provide information hidden from the conscious mind. Then it’s recorded by the reader.

The problem with the book is that Progoff continually interrupts the instructions of how the subconscious can communicate so that the participant can record it on paper (in those days) with pages of extraneous theoretical material. I couldn’t understand why it was so hard for me to use, until I taught it to a girlfriend and had to search a few pages forward for the next set of instructions on communication from the subconscious. I learned to use hypnosis and taught stress management in several medical clinics and privately where I used a lot of relaxation techniques. I did that with my girlfriend while teaching her the journal and expected her to come back to her normal waking state while I paged forward. Fortunately, that didn’t happen, or I probably would have to start over from the first set of instructions.

I took extensive notes from the book, so I could teach what was important without all the interruptions. I wrote Progoff a very detailed lengthy letter describing the difficulties with his book and gave several examples. I told him he should separate the theoretical material from the experimental material and put them into two sections in each chapter. Of course, he never replied.

Progoff also wrote a book called The Practice of Process Meditation, which is more directed to spiritual life.



I taught from both books which took me 28 hours total. It was spread over 7 four hour evenings of a few weeks. I combined the two books into a one day seminar. That was enough to get people started.

I eventually took a weekend seminar from an official Progoff instructor. At that point, I didn’t yet have an MA in psychology which was needed to officially teach his method. Our teacher was pretty terrible. She used no relaxation inductions, which I think is absolutely necessary to bypass the conscious mind and allow the subconscious to surface and be recorded.

I just checked and even though Progoff died in 1998, there’s an organization that carries on his work.
https://www.intensivejournal.org/

You might want to check it out. There could be something worthwhile for you or people reading. One guy I taught the journal to made some significant life changes. He was unemployed and floundering at the time and had a lot of difficulties. I didn’t know him, but a friend of mine did. He told me the guy got a job and got married. I don’t know what happened to him.

Progoff’s thesis is that every life has a major goal, but we may be completely out of touch with it because of societal and parental influences. His claim was that the journal could allow the subconscious to surface and and thereby redirect one’s life significantly for the better. Unfortunately, after hundreds of hours over the space of a year and a half using the methods in his journal, that didn’t happen for me. When I took one issue and worked with it, I made progress.

I did gestalt therapy for a year in my early 20s long before I used a journal. It was a similar claim that with enough awareness, one’s life would improve significantly. Every week, I dealt with whatever was bothering me at the moment. I was extremely naive about psychotherapy despite having had two psychiatrists in university, one of whom said about 2 words to me in the six sessions I saw him, before I left Columbia University in 1968. I learned a lot from gestalt therapy about myself, but my life didn’t improve at all. Two other people, including a girl friend, I was sure I’d marry, also did gestalt therapy for a number of years. It didn’t help them in the least with their problems, although my girl friend was sure it did. It helped her so well that she lived with at least 8 or 9 guys (I was probably number 5) and she admitted to me that she sabotaged all her relationships with men.


My conclusion is that if you want to improve something you have to work intelligently on the issue. Often that requires outside help. Looking back at my life, I didn’t even know I was an uneducated consumer of a number of systems I invested years in including psychotherapy, strength and conditioning systems, and spiritual paths.
I got very badly burnt a number of times by people I trusted. Thank God, I recovered. At least now, when investigating something I have no experience or knowledge of, I know that I don’t know anything about it.
I approach it a lot more cautiously than I used to and try to learn as much as I can before diving in and doing something stupid. Dan John, the famous strength and conditioning coach, says, “I know I have another injury, but do I have another recovery.” It goes for other areas of life besides physical training. I hope this has been helpful.

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Post by Bram »

Lenny, thanks for your words!

Based on your suggestion, I created a folder on my phone to track sleep and diet. And started logging.

I use my workout log here as my main personal journal. I love being able to notice something, write it down, and puzzle it out. I think everyone should journal, in a way that works for them.

Got a message back from my therapist. Hoping to begin addressing why I’m trying to be a fixer of others, as well as some other issues, shortly.
"Mediocrity is not about failing, and it's the opposite of doing. Mediocrity, in other words, is about not trying." — Georges St. Pierre

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Post by Grandpa's Spells »

Bram wrote: Tue Jan 31, 2023 6:45 pm
Turdacious wrote: Tue Jan 31, 2023 5:23 am Yeah…ok but missing the larger point. A guy who attracts problems isn’t necessarily the guy who is the path to solving them. Fix yo shit first.
While this is not addressing the deeper issue of being attracted to people with drama, it is three steps in a healthier direction. Maybe with a fuller gas tank, I’ll have more focus to tackle those harder problems.
Yeah I alluded to this before. You seem to frequently be in the position of helping people who have issues you didn't cause and can't fix. Even your career choice will have you bumping up against people like this with some regularity, so you want to make sure you aren't taking it home with you.

It's good you've got somebody to talk to about this stuff.
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Post by Bram »

I think the biggest cause is something that happened when I was a kid. I had a falling out in middle school with my entire friend group. I spent a few months totally alone, and when I turned to my dad for support — my mother having died of cancer a few years earlier — he turned his back on me too.

Eventually, I found other friends, and, eventually, I found other family that could offer what my dad could not. But having suffered alone, it’s hard to watch others do the same.

EDIT: hah! That’s like three major issues. Well, at least I have clear things to address.
"Mediocrity is not about failing, and it's the opposite of doing. Mediocrity, in other words, is about not trying." — Georges St. Pierre

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Post by Grandpa's Spells »

Sorry that happened. My stb ex-wife's dad handled the death of her mom very poorly and she carried a lot of that.

Glad you're dealing with it, many people don't.
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Post by Bram »

I appreciate you, MJ&S, Benny, Turdacious, Lenny, and anyone else I’m forgetting, for pushing me to figure this stuff out.

None of my offline friends have, but you guys did. Thank you :)
"Mediocrity is not about failing, and it's the opposite of doing. Mediocrity, in other words, is about not trying." — Georges St. Pierre

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Post by Bram »

Went for the first therapy session.

Addressed the things in this thread and a few other subjects. Will meet with her again in a few weeks.

She asked where my friends were at when I met them, which was between seven and seventeen years ago. All of them were in a good place. All of them are significantly worse off via the pandemic — more isolated, less physically healthy, more stressed.

She thought I was on the right track with being supportive, but not trying to fix or help them. And told me it was okay to back away and let them reach out when they wanted — this is something I’ve struggled with — and to strengthen other relationships that provide the good energy I’m looking for to be at my best.

She also suggested a few books:

Stop Walking on Eggshells
I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me
"Mediocrity is not about failing, and it's the opposite of doing. Mediocrity, in other words, is about not trying." — Georges St. Pierre

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Post by Grandpa's Spells »

Are you married?
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Post by Bram »

I’m not. All these guys have either wives or longtime girlfriends. My romantic affairs are where the therapist and I will pick up next time.
"Mediocrity is not about failing, and it's the opposite of doing. Mediocrity, in other words, is about not trying." — Georges St. Pierre

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