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Feelings are sometimes wrong

Tonight I’m feeling useless. It’s a feeling I have all too often, and one that I know is wrong. I’m not useless. I’m actually quite helpful. But all those days of productivity and help don’t always matter. Sometimes you feel useless even when you’re not.

I was talking to someone the other day about feelings, and they said feelings don’t lie. I disagree, I find my feelings lying to me all the time. It’s like the dog that was trained to expect food any time he heard a bell. His mouth would water even if there was no food. My brain does that to me. Sometimes everything will be going perfectly fine but inside I feel like something bad is about to happen. My anxiety gets the better of me, tells me to run, hide, escape. But I’m just sitting in a theater watching a movie and nothings wrong.

I’ve had people tell me that those feelings are valid. That doesn’t help me. In fact that makes the problem worse.

If I validate that feeling of anxiety and say it is normal and natural I am less likely to confront it and try to move past it. I want to be able to go into theaters, concerts, conventions and other places crowded with people without having an anxiety attack. I will never be able to do that if I say my feelings are valid.

Instead I tell myself the truth. My feelings are lying to me. What they are saying has nothing to do with reality. I am safe. I am confident. I am going to be okay. And I’ve even begun to accept this truth.

It’s taken years but just this February I was able to speak on panels at a convention, and I only wanted to run away once. That was an accomplishment. I never would have gotten this far if I had been telling myself my feelings were valid.

When I went to the doctors office the other day they drew my blood, and I have a huge phobia of needles. There is nothing logical about my phobia but I found myself shrinking away, and on the edge of tears because of a normal thing many people do every day. The nurse started telling me my feelings were valid and it started making the fear worse.

I wanted to tell her she was wrong. My fear wasn’t valid. A phobia isn’t usually based on something that can hurt you. The needle doesn’t hurt that much, and because I tense up so much because of the fear it even makes it hurt worse. My fear is causing more problems than it helps.

But I guess this is the new psychology today? Everyone’s feelings are valid? What if I feel deep hatred for a person just because of x, y or z? Is that valid? What if I’m afraid of a big burly man just because he’s a man?

Maybe our feelings should be examined. Maybe we should find out what is causing the feeling, like that bell making the dogs mouth water, instead of just giving into the feelings. Maybe sometimes they are wrong.

I know years ago I use to feel so lost and alone that I wanted to die. I would sit in the bathtub praying that I could just die because living hurt so much. Was that valid? I don’t think so. I think depression is a lying bastard and if someone had said to me “your feelings are valid” I might have done something worse.

Your feelings are how you feel, but that doesn’t mean they are the truth. Your feelings are based on partial information, part experiences, hormones, memories, and so many other things. And sometimes your feelings get muddled up in all the hurts and abuses you’ve had that they can’t see the truth; you are loved, you are wanted, you are helpful, and you will be missed.

Depression is a lying bastard. Yes, your feelings are there, but they aren’t always right. Try to find out why you feel that way. That might be the start of healing. It was for me.

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Posted by on June 30, 2018 in social issues

 

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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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Some days you’re the bug

LiesThere’s a song I use to listen to when I was younger… Some day’s your the windshield, someday’s your the bug. That’s how I’m feeling tonight.

Depression is this weird thing that we all know about. We just don’t talk about it. It’s anathema. Are we afraid we’ll catch it if we acnoledge it? It’s like we’re afraid that if we are broken then we can never be fixed again and no one will ever love us. But it’s mostly that way for mental illness. If you break a bone, or cut your arm, no one bats an eye. You get a cast, and people sign it. You tell awesome stories about how you rolled  your bike down a hill and had this awesome, amazing adventure.

But depression doesn’t have amazing stories. It has heart wrenching hurt filled stories. Sometimes it has no stories at all, it’s just there. Then it whispers in your ear and tells you how worthless and useless you are. It circles around your, slowly squeezing out all rays of light and leaving you in a dark passage trying to find your way.

I’ve struggled with depression for most of my life. It started when I was a teenager unable to find that basic thing we are all looking for: love. I wasn’t battered or beaten. I wasn’t called horrible names very often. Mostly our parents just left us alone to fend for ourselves. No matter how good I was I could never get their attention. Not even after I moved away and got married. They just weren’t that interested in me.

That crushing burden of being alone, it eats into you. Add to it the lack of friends, the complete awkwardness of a general teenage girl, the fact that I always wore hand me downs and no one ever noticed me except when they teased me. You’re set adrift in the world, lost, and no one to catch you.

Just before my divorce I hit rock bottom. I lost everything, including my children, and I almost jumped off a building. Oh I thought about suicide lots of times. The earliest I can remember was 14 drawing pictures of myself falling off a cliff onto rocky outcroppings. Then during my marriage to a husband who treated me as an inconvenience most of the time and liked to remind me constantly of how useless and worthless I was it just got worse.

Getting divorced saved me. I was able to get out of the depression, and the suicidal thoughts left. I had hope. Hope was all I ever needed. Being alone was a blessing after that marriage.

But now and then the depression creeps back in, whispers in my ear, and reminds me how worthless and useless I am. It’s been whispering for a few weeks now. That I never finish anything, that I never get anywhere. That I’ll never be good enough or concomitant enough. That no matter how hard I try no one will ever respect me or care about me.

I hate those whispers. I usually curl up in Gregg’s lap and he reminds me how much I am loved and wanted, but he isn’t home right now so I am writing a blog post and I am reminding myself. Depression is a lying bastard! I am worthwhile. I am creative. I am a wonderful person. And it might take a while, but by damn someone is going to love my books.

If you’re in that spot now I hope you know… Depression lies. Whatever it’s whispering to you in the dark, it isn’t true. Tell someone, let them know what it’s saying and they will tell you the truth.

It’s hard to feel worth while when everything is falling down around you. It’s hard to believe in yourself when life has been so hard. I know. I’ve been there. Life has kicked me and punched me and left me lying on the ground bleeding. All we can do is get back up, and say Depression Lies.

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2015 in Commentary

 

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Quote

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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