Accepting Change – That Stinkin’ Thorn in My Side

My favorite flower is a native to the southeast of the United States. It has a fancy-schmanzy botanical name, but is commonly called the Southern Magnolia. I wonder how “they” arrived at that name ;)

I pass by a magnolia tree when I must leave the house, but it’s in a blind spot on a curve in the road. It would be hard to photograph without trespassing, or to be run over by a car.

Ha! That’s partially untrue. I have not felt the photography bug lately. One of the byproducts of depression and/or the medications to manage it. However, I am fighting to move through the thievery of what I enjoy.

I can only do so much, and I’m trying to take it one step at a time in order to avoid the frustration, and choosing to give up–because giving up is an easier route.

The trespassing and the safety issues from the road, are true.

Anyway, this is one of the flowers I can honestly say is my favorite. Against the dark green color of the leaves, the creamy white blossoms are a vision to behold.

I said I would not write about my depression, but yeah, there are some things to share with the “normals”. Perhaps it will help someone understand what a friend or loved one may be experiencing. I am neither writing for encouragement, pity, or praise. This is simply an example–dear weedhoppers. :D

Most likely, more than a few people enjoy the changes of the seasons. Changes in seasons are spectacular. The beautiful colors of Autumn leaves. The quietness of newly fallen Winter snow. The Spring regeneration of life. The warmth of Summer heat. Maybe some of us only have a difference between hot and not-so-hot, or rainy and not-so-rainy, but they are seasons?

To a person suffering from any sort of mental illness/disease, change is difficult. In my experience, routine is soothing. But then I have perfectionist traits, and change screws with my visions of what I expect to be perfect. Add to that, attention deficit disorder, and I have the makings of a perfect storm.

Changes come from all directions at times. I experienced too many major life changes, loss of loved ones, and a change in health–within too short of a time frame. An extreme abundance of change before I could catch my breath and rebound from each one.

I reached a point of major defeat. Due to my predisposition to depression and anxiety, my mind wanted to escape in any way I could find. I gave in to the darkness of depression because I was too tired to continue the fight.

I know–get knocked down over and over, but we should continue to get back up. That isn’t possible to a person suffering from a mental illness. Standing back up doesn’t mean our minds are immediately transformed into a positive mind state. We are fighting inside, and all the positive thoughts in the world will not change a depressive mind state.

Setbacks are a different story. Deep depression, no. Positive thinking cannot bring a person out of depression. I haven’t found it possible.

If someone has had a clinical diagnosis of depression (not just sadness for a couple of days), experienced an episode, and “thought” their way out of it, I would seriously be interested in the technique used. I tried VERY hard to bring myself up with positive affirmations. I looked in the mirror and said them. I read them. I listened to tapes of affirmations (ooops, had to edit here because I am dating myself….I listened to CD’s, or recordings). Nothing worked for me until I sought professional help and the proper medications. (okay, I’m regurgitating words)

Moving along…

Running is useless–whatever we are running from will, no doubt, finally catch up. Eventually, we grow up and have to face life head-on because with adulthood comes responsibilities.

Logically, I know that without change and diversity, life would become extremely boring. Emotionally, change attacks my mental strength. Adjusting is a fight–even when I know it’s coming and I look forward to it. My mind spins, and I feel physically ill.

I have chosen to continue the fight because I know I will be successful. I have to take care of myself because I know that I have a funky tormentor lurking in the back of my mind, waiting for a weak spot in my defenses. While change diverts my attention, my focus is still on recovery.

Giving up is not an option for me.

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There Was a Time…

My dad gave my husband some advice when we were newly married. He said that we should buy a one bedroom house. When we had a child, add a second bedroom, when we had another child, add another bedroom….and so on. When one child grows up and moves, tear down the bedroom…and–well, you can guess the rest. My dad was a smart feller.

Did you know, that 2 out of 3 children will boomerang back home? Yes! It’s true! A statistic I made up, and happens to be a subject I’m rather familiar with.

Just as you have finally finished crying yourself to sleep every night, and learned that they will survive without you and all will be fine…

Just as you started accepting that this is life—you did your part, now it’s time for them to show you their flying skills, and how much attention they were paying to your guidance….

Just as you adjusted to a new normal…

They will return.

With newly acquired, undesirable habits. Routines requiring another change in your new routine. The routine will never be as it was when they were children or teens, it becomes one in which you are merely an observer. Flashbacks will float through your mind of little child faces—oh, how they’ve grown.

Yes, they will return, with all the crappy 20-something year old furniture you thought you’d seen the last of, and no place to store it.

They will do their laundry, but leave a load in the dryer and one in the washer. In order to do your laundry, you must finish theirs? Um. No.

You will find dishes begin to dwindle until you have one fork and a bowl left in the kitchen. They were taught to eat at the table, and that dishes stayed in the kitchen. Apparently, those are the first rules broken when they first move out on their own.

Noses will return, and continue to be turned up at dinnertime over the food they don’t care for. The dinner you so kindly prepared for them. Food! That they don’t have to prepare!

They will cook for themselves, but it may be at 3 am. The smells of their concoctions wafting through your dreams, waking you up to wonder if the house is on fire.

They have decided to go organic, which requires over an hour drive–round trip–to purchase the “right” organics. A trip that is expected of you. Instead, you shop at the local grocer and they become food critics over your choices–your bad, unhealthy choices.

Did you know there is only “one” perfect rice? Yes, it’s obtained from a Korean market even further from your house. The Minute Rice is no longer fit for human consumption. Even changing to the brown rice the local grocer has to offer, is something to sniff a nose at. I do have to admit that I like their rice better, but it isn’t worth the cost in gasoline or my level of anxiety to drive to the city.

The massive pile of shoes will build up at the front door again.

With friends and girlfriends, musical cars will become a daily dance in the driveway.

But you will be happy.

They will be home and safe.

You will love them.

And you will anxiously await the moment they declare their independence once more.

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I Wish My Arms Were Big Enough

This morning, I perused Facebook and was met with the usual narrow-minded political crap, I rolled my eyes and chose to accept their ignorance, bless their little hearts. Then, I came across a short clip a friend posted of a speech from a movie that Robin Williams acted in. I’m paraphrasing–I suppose that’s what one would call it–I didn’t change much of the wording, I simply left out words because this is what I took from the speech the character made.

Throughout life, we find ourselves trying to remember the good times and trying to forget the bad times, and we find ourselves thinking about the future. We start to worry, thinking, “What am I going to do?” Please, don’t worry so much. Because in the end, none of us have very long on this earth. Make your life spectacular.

Hmmmm…..

I know that I can’t change the minds of others, but I wish that they could open their minds to a different thought.

I would like to scoop up all the people and animals in the world, who are suffering in one way or another, and help them.

To a mind that works as mine does, that is one tall order that overwhelms me. Logically, I know that one person can only do so much. Emotionally, I don’t feel I do enough.

And while my brain wants to wander to the grandiose ideas of fixing the world, I know that, in the end, I made my life spectacular because I chose to seek the help I needed–more like I was “gently nudged”–and I was successful in making a difference in the lives of others.

My family’s.

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Another visit to the bag of spice drops

I’m trying hard — well obviously not trying that hard, or I wouldn’t do it anymore — I’m trying to avoid buying unhealthy foods. More to the point, bags of spice drops.

This morning, as I was eating my breakfast of coffee, spice drops, and a banana, I kept having to shake the bag to find the drops that weren’t purple. (yes, as I wrote before, the yucky ones)

My life is kind of like the bag of spice drops. I have to shake it up here and there to reach the bottom for the tasty ones, maneuvering through all the purple ones.

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Things You Didn’t Know You Needed Thursdays

This one only applies to the rude people who let their dogs run willy nilly and poop where they wish. This is actually an item that dog owners seriously need.71yuwvbSp9L._SL1500_

I like the humor because that is what I call my dogs. I think my kids believed that our dogs’ real names were Damn. (a little guilt confession proving that the perfect mom didn’t exist in me)

If you wish to purchase one of these for your neighbors, you can find them…..on Amazon.

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No, Little Ms. Happy Pants Doesn’t Live Here

Okay, I think I have to reverse the direction of my blog.

When I write about my experience with depression, my hope is that I’m not making someone sad, but that I’m giving someone like me–hope. Maybe encouragement to seek help without shame, and to fight for themselves. I also hoped that by writing about depression, the non-depressed might understand the disease. I wanted to share with others that life can go on in spite of the disease. However, I can’t do it it anymore. I have no words to explain what it  feels  like–or the lack of feeling which accompanies depression.

I’m not as open as I would like to think. Unless I wore a sign around my neck, the average person on the street would never guess I have cancer and it’s in remission, and that I have been diagnosed with Bipolar II and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I have circles of friends who don’t know.

I don’t carry that sign around my neck, and it isn’t my number one topic of choice if I’m shooting photos with a group of friends, or knitting dishcloths with another group…

…because I am not my defined by my depression. I am not defined by my cancer status.

Due to both of these diseases, I am who I am—along with other life experiences—good and bad.

I am.

April.

No definition required.

I will return to the original theme of my blog, because a lot of what I have been writing no longer has a purpose–if it ever did. My decision isn’t based on any comments or blogs I’ve read. I’m simply stuck on a hamster wheel dragging myself down, and regurgitating the same words. My intent has been lost.

I can find something beautiful on even the darkest of days. It’s what I believe, it’s what keeps me alive.

No…every day isn’t full of Little Ms Happy Pants, but she can find something in each day that makes it worth the fight.

Today, I discovered music to be a better choice than silence while performing a monotonous chore such as painting walls. In particular, Elton John–his early stuff.

I’m thankful that I’m physically feeling better than I did yesterday. My new “haz-mat” respirator is a wonderful addition to my lovely painting attire. I knew all the words to the songs, and I sang–Darth Vader style. The respirator appears to be helping control my asthma which is triggered by the fumes.

I hope you find something today to make you smile.

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When the Laughing Stops

Again, we have lost another celebrity to the hopelessness that is a part of depression. The torture that a person lives with, and believes that suicide is the only option left to escape the pain their brain is held captive.

There will probably be “experts”, and a call for the stigmatization of mental illness to end.

And then we will carry on.

My husband was watching a show about prisons this past weekend. I half listen, and pick up statistics and comments here and there. Of course, the statistics go right through my mind, stopping for a brief moment, and then they’re gone.

The program was talking about solitary confinement and what it can do to the mind. They discussed the mentally ill who commit crimes. The percentage of mentally ill people in the prison system kind of shocked me. A comment was made about prisons becoming the new mental asylums. Sad. The prison employees aren’t trained to help a person with mental illness.

To be quite honest, many years ago, I mistakenly believed that most suicides were committed by people who could not afford help. No, mental illness doesn’t pick and choose who it wants to destroy, rich or poor.

As a young woman, a huge fear of mine was that my boss would find out that I had filled a prescription for antidepressants. Somehow, I believed my insurance company shared information with the company I worked for.

The entertainment created by Robin Williams has been a part of my adult life. We would laugh over the show, Mork and Mindy, and the quirkiness of Mr. Williams. My roommate had a cat named Orkan. There was a night my sister was watching one of his stand-up comedy shows, and I sat to watch it with her. We laughed until we were crying and snorting. I will never forget his gig about Mr. Happy–also, it’s a memory of my sister’s life that I cherish. My husband resembles Robin Williams–he is told that all the time. I suppose, one could call him his doppelganger.

While some of his humor was lost on me, and he made me nervous watching his erratic behavior, he also had a serious side. But we all know that. Most of us know that he had a problem with substance abuse.

In my unprofessional opinion, I believe there is a connection between substance abuse and mental illness, however, I had no clue that Robin Williams suffered from depression. A man with money to get the proper help needed.

So, where did the system fail him? Was he like me and figured that a pill, or pouring out feelings to a therapist would be the cure? Did he not see the role he played in his recovery? Are we still in the dark ages in the understanding of mental illness? Will we ever understand how the human brain works so that we know what is going on in the mind that makes some of us crazy, and others left to scratch their head because they don’t understand?

Seriously, I believe that someone coming across my blog may think I’m creating a story about what I suffer through. I use humor to help me through most things. There are times it takes quite a bit of torture to live through, but eventually, there will be humor to be found.

How can a person who enjoys laughter be plagued with mental illness? Doesn’t that make them a happy, confident person?

Apparently not.

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Did You Forget Your Meds Today?

That wall.

That stinkin’ brick wall that everyone usually hits. Some climb over it, some find a way around it, some bust right through, and some sit against that wall expecting it to move on its own.

I’m falling into the latter category. I’m waiting.

For what?

I have been here before. Many times.

I’m at the point of my recovery from depression which I can only explain as, I’m up against a brick wall. I have to decide what I’m going to do about it.

This is usually the point I falsely believe the side effects of my medications are worse than being depressed. Or, I happen to know more than my doctor, and maybe I’ll just discontinue my medication regimen.

As I was trying to fight my feelings of being overwhelmed with the have-to-dos and the want-to-dos, I realized I wanted to wave the white flag. Give up. Simply let depression take over my mind again. After all, life is easier when I don’t care enough to fight for it.

I’m going to make up something here – I’m in an equilateral-psychological-triangle relationship. Kind of like a love triangle, but my triangle includes equal efforts of my therapist, psychologist, and me–minus the element of deceit–oh, or (whisper) sex. Without one of the equal angles and sides, it becomes an isosceles-psychological-triangle.

If my efforts aren’t equal, I will fall. Deep into the pit. Stagnating. Smelling. Giving up. Living the life of a couch lump–if I make it out of bed. Hoping I will disappear.

Yesterday, I came face to face with that wall. My hands are shaky due to a couple of the medications I’m on. If I stop, breathe deeply, and relax, I can minimize the shakiness.

I fell off a step stool–again. Dizziness is another side effect of one of my newest medications. I’m already predisposed to clumsiness, and this little pill is exacerbating my tendencies.

I sat against that wall.

My therapist didn’t give up on me.

My psychologist didn’t give up on me.

Why do I wish to give up?

It’s not in my best interest to allow my triangle to have only two equal angles and sides. I still have work to do.

Hard work.

My two doctors have given me an opportunity to see, feel, think.

So, I have decided to go through the wall. Nasty side effects and all.

I will do it.

One brick at a time.

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You Asked For It

Being the type of person completely opposite of the touchy-feely type, I tend to push most people away.

I have never been a great nurturer, but I tried. Thankfully, my kids weren’t sick that much. I don’t think I damaged them. Our daughter, at the age of 23, will still hold my hand at the store, and likes to be close when we are together. Our youngest always hugs us before he goes home. Our oldest will from time to time tell us he loves us–but it has been a while.

I’m afraid that I have so many plans, too many projects, so much to read, a paper hoard to conquer, photos to take, photos to edit…

I’m afraid I’ll die before I complete them all.

And this is the moment I wish I were touchy-feely, because that’s what I need.

More than words.

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Forgetful Friday – because I forgot Things You Didn’t Know You Needed Thursdays

Always looking for a way to lose weight without actually eating healthy and exercising, this little item looked interesting.

It’s a fat magnet…and all this time, I thought I was a fat magnet.

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I would like to see someone test it on a bowl of ice cream.

Hope you enjoyed your Thursday!

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