No Spotlight Sunday post this week, but Happy Father’s Day!
No Spotlight Sunday post this week, but Happy Father’s Day!
The Slump has hit
It always does when I least expect it
Things are going fine
Not much to complain about
But Depression doesn’t get the memo.
It’s times like these
When I remember the past
Back when the slump was more permanent
People would ask, “What’s wrong?”
And I never had an answer
They never understood how I didn’t know
But I was telling the truth
Or at least the truth as I knew it.
How can I possibly explain to you what’s wrong
When I don’t even know myself?!
Don’t you realize I scream and berate myself constantly
About why I’m sad when there’s no reason to be?
Don’t you think I’m my own worst enemy right now?
How do you, who have never suffered depression,
Possibly expect to understand me?
How can YOU possibly GET me?!
Everything is NOT black and white
Everything does NOT have an answer
You can’t figure me out
You might as well stop trying.
When something is funny and I burst out into tears
That transcend from my laughter
I am as utterly confused
And in disbelief as you.
There’s no method to my madness
This isn’t an act
It’s the downs of depression
The bottom of my barrel.
Then there are those who try to offer solutions
Like what you suggest hasn’t already been tried before
Are you some magician
With a cure I haven’t heard?
Do you hold the power
I have long hoped for?
Or maybe you’re the naysayer
Who believes Depression isn’t real
How I envy you
For not having to feel what I feel.
You have no idea how lucky you are
I almost wish you were cursed with my slump
But then I wouldn’t wish it truly
On my worst enemy.
Is when NOTHING
Can cheer you up
Your only wish is to be alone
And away from everyone,
Even those you love.
You go through life in a constant haze
Praying that no one
Will ask you
How your day
~Sharon Hughes, 6/8/13
There’s something that’s been floating around in my head these past few days and it’s about couples that exemplify marriage in one way or the other. Whenever I think about friends and family and their marriages, it seems like a majority of them fit within two different extremes.
Of course, this is coming from the female side….but I’ve noticed that women either tell ALL the bad about their spouse, and seem to leave nothing out, to the point of TMI or they just emphasize the good and not really bring up the bad at all to the point where you think they must have the perfect marriage. Notice I said a majority, cause I’m sure someone will point out knowing people who fit neither of these. I just really think there’s not many people out there that show the middle of these two extremes.
I’m sure we all know women who bash about their men publicly all the time and are always talking about what their man did now. Then I’ll see the comments from others not giving advice as must as suggesting they leave their man. This has pretty much taught me that you probably don’t want to air ALL your grievances in marriage publicly, because it seems like a lot of people think the cure for ALL marital problems is automatically divorce. Not that I’m Anti-Divorce cause there are a lot of reasons why I think it’s needed, but I don’t think it’s needed in every situation.
Then there are the women who are always posting about the sweet things their man does and you NEVER see anything negative about their marriage posted. Some would say that’s a good thing because it should be kept private while at the same time, other women tend to either wrongly idolize that person’s marriage as perfect(when I can pretty much guarantee it’s NOT always) or they feel jealous and wonder why their husband’s not like that….which is kind of holding him up to a possibly false ideal? I mean, just cause someone posts only the good doesn’t mean there is never any bad, right?
The problem comes in when you look at the two extremes and wonder where’s the example out there that speaks the truth?
Unless you’re in an abusive relationship, I would like to truly believe that no marriage is either ALL bad or ALL good, but when you see people seeming to just point out one side or the other, you almost start to see YOUR marriage as kind of an oddball.
This is how I feel, honestly. Especially since I’m married to a Bipolar man and I suffer from Depression myself. I feel like a liar if I point out only good, because I openly blog about this and how will other women newly married to a bipolar spouse feel if I act like it’s all roses? Will they think that their husband doesn’t HAVE to have his mood swings at times? Will they think their spouse acts the way he does ONLY because of them and not because of their disorder? Will they falsely believe that someone who is Bipolar can seriously go through life as a perfect man when guys that AREN’T can’t? I feel like it’s being fake to pretend that being married to my husband isn’t hard at times. As it is, I feel like I don’t really have anyone in my exact position to talk to about things and feel like I’m not the only one in my position.
Then I read things talking about how a married couple should never yell at each other and I think that’s completely ludicrous! In that case, a lot of people should split up right?! Who doesn’t EVER yell at the other at least once in their marriage when arguing? And in the case of being Bipolar, it’s unrealistic. It’s like saying Bipolar people or Depressed people should never marry….Why? Don’t people with Mental Health Disorders deserve love too? Yes, yes, they do. Not everyone can handle living with someone that has one. I have definitely figured that out….I have been asked before how I can handle the outbursts. Well, it’s not easy but it helps to actually spend time LEARNING about Bipolar Disorder and how it works. You have to understand how it effects people and I think you figure out what love really is. I do not think a marriage with one or both people that suffered from a mental health disorder can ever work if both people aren’t truly in love. Not puppy love, but completely 100% unconditional love.
Which is why more people, not just people in my type of marriage, need to maybe be a little more honest. I’m not saying to let the other person’s every crime out in public, but be more honest about what marriage REALLY is like. The honesty of my marriage is that my husband can get mad about little things and yell about them, he can say things he doesn’t mean when he gets upset, he tells inanimate objects that he wants to kill them, he swears far more than I would like, he smokes as a stress reliever, and he can act like a 2 yr. old at times. I’m just being honest…..but the good side is he has never laid a hand on me, he always apologizes, he hardly ever truly means anything bad he says, others say he says ONLY says wonderful things about me to them, he puts up with my hatred of cooking and my overemotional side, he gives great teddy bear hugs and I have NEVER felt at one moment in my marriage that he would EVER really leave me. I have never felt more confident in a man’s love for me than I do with him.
The marriages out there where the couple supposedly fights…I’m not jealous of that. I actually feel bad because I think it’s not real. I think every couple needs to argue at times, in the healthiest way possible, but they need to. Pretending that everything is always perfect and never disagreeing is only going to end up bad, if you ask me.
My marriage with a Bipolar man in which we do have arguments but we still say “I love you” 100 times a day…..I really think MY marriage is something to want and cherish. Not that you should go out and look for someone with Bipolar Disorder or Depression, but I mean, as far as the example of really and truly loving the other person for who they are, 100%, the good and bad, happy and sad, getting through the hard stuff and you’re still standing strong, in love as much as ever. I think the fact that me and him have been married for almost 4 years and together for over 5 and haven’t killed each other is a great example of true, unconditional love.
So here’s to people who are more honest about their marriage!
I’ve taken physical therapy twice in my life. Once for a torn ligament and another after surgery and 3 months rest after breaking my fibula and detaching my deltoid ligament. The first time came from falling down almost a full staircase when no one else was home, the second from falling down about two or three steps out of a trailer and onto the ground. Both happened on the right foot/leg. Those weren’t the only times I fell down stairs, by the way. I fell down the stairs at my old house tons of times and I fell up them a couple, but only once did it end up in something more than bruises and hurt pride. After that second fall, I had to have surgery or a mere trip over something would have caused the break to come back. I still remember after my surgery, laying in the hospital bed, and feeling intense pain all through my foot. It felt like my skin was being stretched, torn, ripped apart and sewn back together inside the cast. Next to me was a Morphine drip with a button I could push for relief. It would only work once every 15 minutes, but it seemed like forever as I was stabbing that button every few seconds. You would think sleep would help, but even when the nurses weren’t in and out and I finally drifting off, I would still awake and jump out on the bed scared to death. Every time I fell asleep, I dreamed of stairs. I dreamed of walking down stairs and falling and as I fell, I would jump awake. My mom was there and she would ask me what was wrong and I told her that I was having nightmares of falling down stairs over and over and then I would awake to the intense shooting pain of it all….over and over again. The nightmares eventually went away but my fear of falling down stairs, ANY stairs, never did.
They gave me physical therapy but there was never any mental or emotional therapy for the trauma. Every time I get scared when I see a bunch of steps with no railings, people look at me like I’m crazy because I will just avoid them or ask for someone’s hand to help. It’s like a mental block when I stand before the steps and realize there’s nothing to hold on to. All of a sudden, my whole body just completely freezes and I start to step, but then back away. My mind says I can’t do it; it tells me I am no longer able to. If steps HAVE a railing, I can walk up them and barely hold on or just keep my hand right above so people don’t GET why I can’t just do it without. Well, it’s just having a railing there…it’s like a reassurance that there’s something there if I NEED it. I can physically walk up or down them if I COULD get my mind to obey but I have to have faith that I lost. What if I start to fall again? Will I be able to catch myself or stop myself? Without something or someone there to help, I risk reliving the pain all over again. I have a fear of falling down stairs. To others, it’s as silly as a fear of clowns, but to those who have THAT fear, it’s for real and no joke.
I started out this post to just tell about how blogging for me as a therapeutic release. Sometimes I just post things that aren’t that hard to talk about, but sometimes I delve in deep and discuss things that are hard for me. My depression, the sexual abuse I went through for three years as a kid, my struggle with my weight, the bullying I went through in school,my fear of falling down stairs, etc. These are all HARD things for me to talk about and honestly, I can’t afford to go talk them all through with a professional. Over time, these things either keep getting held inside where they pull me back into a depressed life of sleeping and eating and never living the house again OR I talk about them and they get a little easier each day. A lot of these topics are very hard for me to talk about out loud. Especially the sexual abuse…when I talk about it, I want to cry. But when I blog about them, it feels cathartic. It feels like I am releasing all the inner demons and throwing them out of my mind and into the universe. Little by little, my blogging becomes a means of therapy for me. Very cheap therapy that I won’t spend the rest of my life paying off!
I know I’m not the only one that blogs as a form of therapy. It’s obvious that I’m not the first to realize how good it is for you to write out your feelings and struggles; People have been doing it forever in diaries, right? The only difference in blogging versus writing is that there’s a wider audience. I think the audience thing has made it take longer for me to expose SOME of my struggles through blogging instead of just writing, but I feel like by talking about and speaking out on the HARD stuff, maybe, just maybe I will be able to reach the hearts of someone else who has been through what I have been through. Maybe by hearing my stories, they will find a kindred spirit in me. Maybe they will start speaking out, too and stop being afraid. Maybe they will realize they’re not alone. If I can help ONE person in this world that has gone or IS going through what I HAVE, I think that would be the best therapy of all. It would be the ultimate reward for spilling my heart out on typed page.
I say writing board, because I can NOT draw to save myself. Seriously, give a newborn a crayon and a piece of paper and whatever they manage to scribble out would beat what I can draw!
But anyways, I am BACK! I know I have been away from my blog for way too long and I do miss it. I am still working on my 12 in ’12 journey and as you will soon read, my 3rd month goal should help me get back into the swing of things around here. But first, an update on months 1 and 2!
Month 1′s goal was to drink more water. I can say that I have been doing VERY well with this. At the most I will drink about 2 sodas a day, but mainly I have been sticking to just one and the rest of the day I just drink water. I want to stick with this because I think it’s a lot better for me and hey, it would be nice if filling myself with water could benefit my hunger pangs, ya know? I had a virus a couple weeks ago and it just lingered on forever and ever, not sure if it was the sickness or just my drinking more water, but at my doctor’s visit for the virus, I had dropped 4 pounds out of nowhere. Not sure if that number has gone down anymore or stayed, but I was happy to see it. Now if only it can KEEP going down!
Month 2′s goal was working on my depression and I HAVE been, but honestly, the path has been really rough, because LIFE and sickness got in the way and made it harder to focus on things I needed to. I have been working on trying to be more positive, but I think Month 3′s goal will help more.
For this month, I want to get back into blogging regularly, like I did all last year. Yea, OK, maybe that’s not very original, but I have noticed that getting away from blogging has taken away one of the biggest ways I cope with depression AND how I keep in contact with the people I care about. I miss using my blog as an outlet and reading other blogs. I think I have been kind of overwhelmed with getting back into reading them, because I am just SOOOO behind and I feel like it will take me a year to catch up. I think my best avenue will be to just start with the most recent posts of people I was following and get back into the routine and not worry so much about everything I missed. I would really love to read ALL I missed, but I think people will understand if that might not be an easy task to do.
So here I am, back in the blogging world. Next week I will restart my www wednesday letting everyone know what all I have read since the last one. I will return to doing Five Question Fridays and then blogging whatever comes out in between those times. I still plan to do posts like Mirthful Monday was but they may just be on whatever days I feel like posting them instead of just on Monday’s. Sorry I have been gone for so long and I hope my readers are still out there and I’m not just posting to the crickets!
Have a great weekend,
I realized something the other day at the doctor’s office when he calmly and nicely talked to me about my depression. He asked me what I did to cope with my depression and my mind went blank for a space of time. After a couple minutes and him offering ideas of what I might do, I said, “I blog”. This response was well liked by my new doctor, but he told me a lot of conquering depression is learning good old fashioned coping skills.
The thing is, I had never really stopped and thought of how I DO cope with depression. It kind of shocked me that I wasn’t able to quickly rattle off ways I cope as easy as I think a lot of people not going through depression might be able to. I mean, there are lots of things I like to do, but things I DO to deal with my depression….that’s another story altogether. In fact, if I really search deep within myself and be honest, the fact that I have survived depression for over a decade MEANS I HAVE coped somehow, right?
But just because I HAVE coped, doesn’t mean it was in healthy ways that helped me really CONTROL it. I think realizing this is what made me see that I HAVE to learn how to control my depression and I HAVE to do it now or nothing else positive is going to come into my life. My weight is a struggle for me, but I will never gain the willpower or motivation to fight against it if I don’t conquer my depression first.
So far, I have taken teensy weensy little steps and while I almost want to berate myself for this and force myself into bigger ones, taking it slow IS what I have to do to make it stick. I have started with doing some daily reading for inspiration and I am also putting little post it notes throughout my house with little inspiring sayings on them such as, “SMILE, it will make you look younger!” and one that reminds me to ask if my thoughts are helpful and affirmative or negative and critical?
I really think it’s important for me to keep that one question ALWAYS in my mind. Depression makes you think very negative and dark thoughts. If I can remind myself that my thoughts aren’t doing me or anyone else any good, then maybe I can learn to catch the thoughts like a dreamcatcher and switch them to positive.
I also discovered one bit of advice in this Life Management book I am reading that I think others might benefit from as well. It’s about changing from a “judger” to a “learner”. Instead of saying, “Why doesn’t she like me?” or “What’s wrong with me?”, learn to change your thoughts into ones like, “How could I have done this differently?” or “What could I do better next time?” So instead of judging YOURSELF or others in a situation, try to figure out what you can learn from it instead.
I KNOW I have a long way to go and I also know that self help books or any other kind of books will NOT help me on their own, which is why I am working up to the step of taking counseling. I know there are mixed opinions on that subject but I feel like sometimes it’s necessary to ask for help. There’s also the added benefit of being able to just confidentially spill out your heart and know the one listening can truly understand.
Month one’s goal was slow in getting started, but I am now happy to report that I have been drinking a LOT more water in the past week. I intend to keep it up and even increase it throughout the rest of this year.
I’ve been struggling to pick month two’s goal, but have finally decided on what it will be. This month I want to make a strong effort on working on my depression and coping skills. I think I have been putting this on the back burner and letting other things become much more important than my mental health and I want to make THIS my focus for the month instead of just something I worry about later. For me, this means actually scheduling some counseling, reading up on coping techniques and actively making it a point to relearn how I handle conflict and stress.
I don’t expect many others to probably share this specific goal with me, but I think learning to handle my depression in a mature and more effective way is what I have to do before I can work on other goals I have. It’s surprising what you are capable of doing if you can rise above your depression and not let it control you.
Here’s hoping I have good luck especially with this goal!
To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?
What are you currently reading? “Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair that Changed America” by Erik Larson-not very far in so not sure how much I like it yet
What did you recently finish reading? “Prozac Nation” by Elizabeth Wurtzel-I ended up really liking this book and relating more to this woman than I started out thinking I would. I feel bad for how long she had to wait before she was able to get medicine along with her therapy that would help her.
“The Uncommon Reader” by Alan Bennett-Short read, I literally read the whole book in an hour or a little over an hour. It’s a fiction novelette about the queen accidentally discovering the love of reading and becoming a voracious reader, making everyone else in the castle aggravated by it and kind of stirring things up. It ends with an interesting twist, I must say!
What do you think you’ll read next? I think it will probably be “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote unless they call and say the book I have on hold is in….it was due back two weeks ago by whoever had it first checked out and it’s only a 7 day book, so I don’t know what’s going on. They show it still checked out so just my luck, it will probably be never returned and I will have to wait to read the book. UGH!
Giving Thanks Day 16: Reading “Prozac Nation” gave me an insight into what life was like for someone with Depression, a lot like mine, BEFORE there was good medicine out there for it. Today, I am thankful that although I suffer from it, I am living in an age where there is more knowledge and acceptance for it, as well as better medicine available.
For those who are not frequent readers of this blog, I have been taking medicine for Depression for over 10 years. I had never been clinically diagnosed or seen a professional about it, but since my general physician said I was depressed, I took his word for it. This past year, I have noticed a significant change in my depression, though. I don’t blog about it a lot because I don’t want to have my blog be all about that or have my depression define or rule me. Even so, I HAVE voiced feelings towards wearing a mask at times because I am so silent on how it affects me. Over the past year or so, I have lost interest on most of the things I once loved. I don’t go out and do things as much and I tend to isolate myself a lot. I shy away from socializing in person or on the phone as much as possible. I have a hard time with decision making and there are times where I find it hard to blog on a certain day not because I can’t find a topic, but because my concentration won’t allow me to focus. Blogging has become a true godsend for me, because it’s the one thing in my life lately that keeps me going. No matter how I feel, I have this push to complete my blog challenge. But I want so much more for my life. I want to be able to take these ideas for my future and go forward and achieve them. I want to WANT to go places and do things like I once did. So, a few weeks ago, I took a huge step in changing things and set up an appointment to talk to a mental health professional about my depression and see what I could do. This morning was my appointment and I was incredibly nervous, but I went.
I told them about what’s been going on and about my history. I cried a bit but I kept control and didn’t lose it. The diagnosis was Depressive Disorder or Depression, NOT Major Depressive Disorder as I feared. It was still great to hear validation from someone qualified to diagnose these things, though. For now, I will still be taking the medicine I have for years. To try a different kind, I guess I will be stuck asking my regular doctor. BUT it was suggested that I go to counseling and I was given some numbers of places to call for that. It’s going to be hard for me to call the places and continuing taking steps, but I think I am finally ready.
I’m tired of the way I feel inside. I see people who don’t have Clinical Depression that are so optimistic all the time and I hear their advice to just SMILE. Just think of all you have to be grateful for, think happy thoughts. Change your way of thinking. All along I have heard this and wondered why it has been so hard for me to actually apply that to my daily life…outside of just typing in my blog. Why can’t I just do it, for heaven’s sake? Well….Because someone who has been depressed since their teen years and never done anything but take medicine for it,can’t. I learned that today. People with Depressive Disorder tend to think negatively about everything. They tend to always envision the worst outcomes and have trouble thinking positively. When someone has gone so long thinking ONE way, it’s hard for them to know how to change things. This is where Counseling comes in handy. Counseling gives guidance on how to retrain your brain and give you skills that you missed out on. Like how to rethink the negativity and turn it into good. But it takes a lot of counseling and not just a couple sessions. It’s going to take a lot of work to retrain a brain that has been thinking negative for so long. It’s not my fault that I didn’t know how to change things. The medicine is there to stabilize your mood, but it doesn’t show you how to change your way of thinking. As an example, the counselor said it was like breaking a bone. When you break a bone, the doctor gives you medicine, but is that all you do to heal? No, you slowly do exercises to regain the strength and movement. You do rehabilitation to get the bone back in shape. What would happen if you just lay there and JUST took medicine for years? Well, your muscles would become stiff and eventually atrophy. Then when you finally decide to get up and move the area where you broke the bone, you would find it unwilling to do so. It would be so stuck in place, that it would now be inflexible, rigid and have forgotten how to do its job. Well, this is how Depression affects someone who has only taken medicine for over a decade and had no counseling. The medicine was making it easier to function better, but without the counseling to work on the issues surrounding the depression and the cause of it to begin with, your brain begins to atrophy in a way. It begins to get used to the depressive state and the negative way of thinking and you start to feel like it’s normal, but it’s not. It’s not normal at all and I feel stuck.
I still have to take the next step and start counseling, but I walked out of there actually truly happy for the first time in a long time. I feel like I finally have an answer to why I have been stuck; to the reason I have felt the way I have for so long. For once in my life, I also feel like I have a solution that will help me as well as resources to turn to.
I’m finally ready to help myself overcome depression once and for all and I’m starting the healing from the inside out.
My last post had a quote in it about chasing after inspiration. It said you can’t wait for it, you have to go after it with a club. Well….I have taken a club to it….a big frying pan, a hammer, and just about every household item I could find and lift. Suffice it to say, I have come to the conclusion that inspiration MUST have a very thick skull. OR it’s very stubborn because it seems to allude me no matter what.
I guess it COULD be a result of depression, though. I hate to fill a post about depression even though it’s a part of me and will always be. I’ve never be told I had Clinical Depression but I have been prescribed depression medicine for years now and without them, I usually find myself very down and dreary. I haven’t taken my depression medicine in over a week. I know, I know…such a stupid thing to do when I already KNOW the result. I ran out of medicine and due to lack of funds, I decided to wait until there WAS money. I could have and should have asked my mom for help. She has helped before and would gladly do it again and the medicine isn’t really expensive, but I just hate always asking for handouts, of any kind. I hate having to ask for help…not sure why I have such an issue with it. A lot of times I will even ask someone for suggestions and then once I have them, never actually do anything WITH the suggestions. What is with that? What is my problem?
UGH! So sorry to unload problems on readers of my blog. I try to keep my posts more upbeat, if I can. If only the answer to my issues were as simple as inspiring quotes or a “Snap out of it!” mentality. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple….
I just pray that this slump I’m in ends soon and Inspiration decides to finally start flowing freely again. I sure could use you, Inspiration!