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Rising from the darkness

Today has been a day to recenter myself. I needed to.

And here is where I get a little personal today, and talk about some of the personal things that effect me.

I haven’t had issues with depression in years. Maybe a day here and there where I feel down, need to lay in bed and cry then get up and get back to the grind stone. Not like before. Not like the days when I use to sit in my bathtub praying to a god that wasn’t there that he would just let me die. That sort of desperation, that utter lost feeling that the world was closing in on me and I could not escape it, that I haven’t had in almost a decade. Thankfully.

But I do occasionally have those days where I wake up and it’s just so hard to get out of bed. So hard to turn a light on, or find my clothes. So hard to find that desire to just…move. It would be easy to never leave the house, just be a hermit and never speak to another person outside my home. But I know I’d eventually spiral down into that pit of despair, and drown again.

So when I do have those days now I force myself to get up. Force myself to tell Gregg that I’m having a problem. And like today, I take a mental health break and surround myself with people I love, who love me, and who support me in my dreams. I also missed my girls and spent some time just walking around the mall with them. By the time I got home I was exhausted, but so happy.

This wasn’t an option all those years ago in the bathtub. It wasn’t possible to draw my family to me and focus on their love. I am so, SO, grateful that it is possible to do so today. My daughters are grown, and they understand the darkness that lurks inside of me. My boyfriend has had to deal with it himself, and also understands. I have friends that also have had to deal with it on occasion, and friends who love me regardless.

So if you’re in a dark place, and life is starting to weigh a bit heavy on your shoulders…reach out to someone. Talk to them. Tell them what’s going on inside you. You might not know what to say, the words might be hard to come out, but please…try. It does get better. And depression is a lying bastard.

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Posted by on August 29, 2017 in On Writing

 

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Everyone is talking about Robin Williams today,  and in a way his death has become yet another eye opener in a sea of tragedies that mental health is incredibly important and shouldn’t be taken lightly. His death, while a tragedy and a great lose for all of us, especially his family and close friends, will hopefully bring new awareness to those who have never faced depression of how bad it can really be, and for those who do suffer to stop suffering in silence.

The stigma of suicide and depression isn’t as prevalent as it use to be. We understand there are physiological as well as mental reasons behind it. We are more educated and hopefully more understanding of each other.

But is suicide selfish?

I can’t tell you what to think, and I don’t have a medical degree. I just have my own experience, so all I can tell you is what I was thinking, and what I was willing to do to make the pain stop.

That’s right, I suffered from depression and suicidal thoughts. I suffered for years without ever telling another person. I would sit in my bath tub looking at that razor blade thinking of my children and just wanting all the pain and hurry and hopelessness to go away.

Was it selfish? By the time I stood on the edge of the building looking down I had convinced myself that my death would actually be doing people a favor. I wasn’t doing it for purely selfish reasons, I wanted to stop hurting everyone around me. Too give my children a chance to have a good mommy that didn’t spend most of the day in bed crying. To give my husband a chance to find a good wife that didn’t constantly disappoint him.

Yes, there was a lot of “selfish” thought in it. I was hurting, and hadn’t been happy in years. I was thinking I was a bad mom, a bad wife, never good enough for anyone. I had no family or friends besides my three little kids, and they were to young to understand that mommy was broken. I thought the world would be better without me, and the pain would stop.

In my case the depression was caused by my husband’s mental and emotional abuse. Once I got out of that situation my depression started to go away, and now I rarely have to deal with it. Now I know what it is and how to weather it on the rare occasions that it does show up.

Is it any different than a terminal cancer patient that wants to cut their pain short? Because it is physical and not mental it is more real?

Not to the sufferer. To them the pain on the inside is a thousand times worse then the outside. That is why self harm is a thing. That is why I would dig my finger nails into my hands until they left big dents, or bite my arms and wrists until I had deep bite marks and bruises. That’s why there are cutters and hair pullers and everything else.

I was incredibly lucky that my depression had a definite cause and solution. Not everyone else is as lucky.

So is it selfish? I say it is selfish of those who suggest that it is. They think only of their own pain, not the pain the individual who took their life suffered with for years before that moment.

If you do think of harming yourself you aren’t alone. Reach out. Talk to someone. There are people who care.

Is suicide “selfish”?

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2014 in Commentary

 

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What is Love?

I’ve been thinking about writing a post for a while, but really I had nothing to say. The only thing circling around in my head lately is one question: what is love? And who want’s to listen to me blather on about love? But to hell with it, this is my blog and I can write what I want. Right?

The English language is woefully inadequate to describe love. There are so many different types, so many variables and changes. And love, when you do have it, can change over time as well.

One of the things I recall from bible study is that Greek has three words for love. According to wiki Hebrew has even more.

Agape is spiritual, or steadfast love. It never dies, nor changes. It is there whether or not it is returned. A love willing to sacrifice.
Eros is physical love. Sex. Passion. Desire. It is a flame that burns inside, and can consume.
Philia is mental, or friendship love. Denotes a love that has give and take. Respect, reciprocity, and loyalty.

All of these we, English speakers, lump into one feeling. Love. It makes little sense. The love I feel for my mother and father is nothing like the love I feel for a close friend, or the love I feel for a significant other. Oh yes we have other words. We have passion, and loyalty, and friendship. We have family, and sayings like “blood is thicker then water.” But what does it all mean in the grand scheme of things? What does it mean for me?

I’ve struggled with this question my entire life. When I was little I vied for my fathers attention. I’d clean the dishes, make him dinner, make sure my sisters did their chores, and happily wait for that affirmation that I did a good job. It never came.

My mother, on the other hand, freely said she loved me. She gave me hugs, and kisses, and never faltered in letting me know that I did a good job. When she was home. Then I got married and moved away and all of that stopped. I learned that her love had a condition. I had to be there. I had to be giving her attention, listening to her stories, and being her sounding board. Once I left I wasn’t those things for her. She didn’t call. She didn’t write. When I called it was all about her, or what my sister was doing. The one joy I shared with her was the birth of my first child, but even that was subtly about her.

I grew up and moved out, and thought love meant doing things for my SO to get him to appreciate me. I thought it meant being there for him no matter what, even if he wasn’t there for me. And while I came to grips with letting go of my parents it took me a while to see that I had married into this same situation and needed to divorce myself from it as well. Love can be self destructive.

When you are raised without knowing what love is, how do you translate that into a healthy and happy relationship? Is it any wonder I couldn’t? I failed, over and over again. I mistook “eros” for “agape” and kept trying to make it work. I mistook passion for loyalty and was hit by the hard reality. I mistook companionship and friendship for something greater, and again fell.

What is love? It is many things, in many situations. I love my parents but I have no relationship with them. It is a distant love of gratitude for giving me life, and raising me to adulthood. On the other hand, I love my children with a furious passion burning in loyalty, and would sacrifice every happiness I myself could have just to see them happy. I have love for friends who have been there for me when the chips were down and would give them the shirt off my back if I could. And I have love for others that would be more personal, with hints of ‘eros’ and ‘philia’.

What I do know now, that I wish I had known when I was younger, is that love isn’t enough to make a relationship. Love is so many different things in so many different situations that love will not keep a relationship going. In fact sometimes that love is exactly the wrong thing to build a relationship on, especially if it is not reciprocated, or not grounded in reality.

Someone once told me there are three kinds of love. One a passion that burns bright, then quickly dies. One a steady stream that may lack passion, but it will last for a life time. You can build a relationship on this second kind of love, and it may be a good long relationship. It is comfortable, and stable. But the last, and the greatest, is when you have both. That kind of love feeds upon itself, burns brightly, and does not die easily.

I don’t know if that is “the greatest” kind of love. That, I think, depends on the two people involved. I’ve met couples who are quite happy going down in a blaze of glory, their passions burning brighter and brighter with each touch. I’ve known others who are quite content in their settled lives together. I have very rarely seen that third kind of  love where two people are so compatible that they would seem incomplete without the other, and their passions are simmering just under the surface. Perhaps it is because it is so rare that it looks so beautiful when you see it.

I guess the only real answer is… I’m still trying to figure it out.

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2014 in Commentary

 

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Things that didn’t happen

Life is filled with firsts. The first kiss, first time riding a bike, first date, first time driving a car. It’s really easy to see those firsts, look back on them and remember them with joy, and sometimes pain.

As I get older I realize there is another part of life. The things we never did, and can never do. Time has passed us by and there is no longer a chance for those things to happen.

Our culture has grown insistent with the idea that “it’s never too late.” And, in a way, they are right. People get married and have children later in life. People start new careers, get collage degrees, or write novels well into their 50’s. For a lot of people there is still time. But that isn’t the case for everyone.

I will never have a picture perfect family consisting of husband, wife, and 2.5 kids living in a little house with a white picket fence, a dog, and a garden out back. It just isn’t in the cards. I had my marriage, I had my children, and I love my children dearly, but that idea of a picture perfect home just wasn’t in the cards for me. My children will never have the dad that comes home from work, gives them piggy back rides, and rough houses on the floor. My children are starting to move out.

Realizing certain things are out of reach for you isn’t a bad thing. Maybe at first it was a little sad for me, and I tried really hard to make up for it. To make my own version of the perfect little family in my own home. For a time I even found something really close, but it wasn’t to be.

With realization came acceptance. And finally it was time to make new dreams. New goals. New achievements in life that I could complete.

Life isn’t a video game. You can’t reload your previous save and try to complete that achievement again. Life is a story unfolding before you, and sometimes paths will break off, and sometimes they will end. Sometimes they will be so far out of your reach that you never even saw the glimmer of hope to achieve them. That just means it’s time to find a new path. A new goal. And strive for something more.

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2014 in Commentary

 

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The Internet is Weird

Over the last year I have made some new, wonderful friends. People who have helped, and encouraged me. People I have laughed with, made fun of, and in general caused mayhem.

People I have never actually met in real life.

I don’t know a great deal about these men and women on the internet. But I like them. They tell great stories. We have similar senses of humor, and love writing, and reading, and share a lot of similar goals.

I count them as friends.

I suppose this isn’t quite as unusual as it would have been just ten years ago. Many of us now have friends that we’ve never actually seen face to face. Never had a cup of coffee with. Never hugged, or shook hands. But the people on the other side of that google hang out are just as wonderful, and I would miss them just as much, as any other of my friends. (Especially Cyndi 😉 )

I am unsure if this development in our culture is good, or bad. It has allowed me, a person who is uncomfortable in crowds and often socially inept, the safety of a computer screen to feel completely at peace with chatting with more then two people at once. And has even bled over into my physical life.

On the other hand, there is still a distance. If something were to happen to one of my friends that live down the street I would know within a matter of days, if not hours. If something were to happen to one of my internet friends… would I ever know?

I suppose it is no different then if I had a pen pal back in ye old Victorian days, and the letters simply stopped coming. This is probably also why living wills and wills now sometimes include passwords, or other information to inform those who might be interested.

In a world that is increasingly becoming connected, and at the same time disconnecting from one another, we are adjusting to technology, and the idea that boarders, and distance rarely matter.

Perhaps there is a story in this idea… one in which a boy, smitten by a girl in a city far away, suddenly loses contact, and travels across the country, or the world, to find her.

Perhaps it’s just a reminder that life is fragile, and precious, and we should all take the time to appreciate our friends weather they live down the block, or on the other side of the world.

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2013 in Commentary

 

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