No Xanax required

When I make a snafu, I enjoy the big ones. After the phase of beating myself up for being such an idiot, there is time for laughter.

I’m actually flying. Through the air—in a tin tube!

I had a queasy stomach but forced myself to breathe through it. Turbulence doesn’t help much, but I’m flying right now!

Anyway, long story short, I thought I booked our flights for Wednesday–tomorrow.  My husband was responsible for the car rental and a night in a motel.

To the shock of all of us, I booked the flight one day early. We found this tidbit of information at 11:30ish last night. We had to be at the airport at 6:30 am or there about.

So the rush to pack was on. We logged 4 hours sleep. Which could explain how I am not in a total panic, I’m still mostly asleep.

Thankfully our flight is short, and I thought it would be great exposure therapy.  To expose myself even more, I’m forcing myself to keep the shade up and look out the window. I even took some photos, which I will share when we get back.

Am I totally comfortable? Ohmygosh no! But just as I survived my trip driving to the city and back, acknowledging that nothing catastrophic happened, I will continue to chip away at this fear.

I still have the landing to go, but I know I will survive this panic/anxiety/phobia.

Luckily, my husband is next to me. If I have a major meltdown he can knock me out. :D Seriously kidding!

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courage is that little voice

When I have moments which transport me to an exact feeling I had as a child, they intrigue me. Not the happy memories, but the moments I felt my stomach drop, my heart break, ugly, or stupid. How can something that happened so long ago be repeated under different circumstances?

A child sees and interprets events at the emotional level of a child lacking a lifetime of lessons and experiences. To have something happen as an adult, which zips me right back to that little girl, is sad, yet I know that living there–in the past–isn’t where I belong. Yet that physical feeling is experienced nonetheless.

Do we have to relive related experiences, producing the same physical responses the remainder of our lives? Meh, I don’t know.

I’m just happy to know that I can let the feelings move through me more rapidly than I used to.

I faced those bullies a long time ago, and I was the victor. I’m who I am because of what I had to do to survive. Not that it was fun, but here I am. Victorious.

My only preference is that I wish that similar experiences didn’t continue to hurt me. I may have been victorious, but I’m still human. Unfortunately, a little bit insecure at times.

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow. ~ Mary Ann Radmacher

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A retaining wall of expectations

Expectations are right up there with change when it comes to screwing with my emotional state.

I would bet that a majority of people have vivid memories. Something that happened many years ago, last week, or yesterday, play through our minds like a movie. Sometimes a good movie, sometimes a bad one.

Expectations.

Here’s a sampling of mine. Letting go of some of them has been extremely liberating.

Expectation of being the PERFECT mother. Does that even exist? What is the definition of a perfect mother?

Expectation of always saying the correct thing at just the right time.    ?

Expectation of having zero anxiety. Anxiety to some extent is normal. What’s abnormal is when the irrational fear of the what ifs consume us, crippling us from living.

Expectation of being perfect–whatever my definition of perfection is, unfortunately, I never seem to reach it. In the end, I finally realize that the results were my best effort—even if it took five tries, and the results remain unsatisfactory.

Of the many vivid memories I hold in my brain’s storage room, my fondest is of a moment about eight years ago.

My husband and I were working on a stone retaining wall in our backyard. It was grueling work, and I can still remember the pain in my joints. The feel of the tendon in my arm that was aggravated so badly while chiseling bricks, that I couldn’t lift anything heavier than a pen for quite a while after the wall was complete.

But that’s not what I play in my mind.

There was a moment I sat on the edge of the wall we were building, took a deep breath, closed my eyes—and there it was—contentment. Maybe it was that moment of being.

I remember the feel of the gentle too-warm-breeze, the smell of the stinky Georgia clay, the color of the leaves, the texture of the bark on the old oaks, my husband placing a shovel into the dirt. The moment I accepted the fact that we had to make a new home so far from where we came from.

That one single moment of contentment.

I haven’t felt it since, and I have no other memory of ever feeling that way.

I expect to have more than that lone memory.

 

 

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I tied a knot at the end of my rope, and I’m swinging

I’m making this a no comment post because it seemed like a post comments are not necessary.

I have been having such a build up of frustrations, self doubt, and trying to keep my pie hole shut.

To really release what I’m holding in would take quite a bit of time. Time that would be wasted. Instead of letting my troubles build, I need to work on solutions.

However, there are no solutions. Eventually, I will break. There’s a hole in the dike, and my finger hurts.

I have been pulling on my inner warrior, but she has taken a vacation of sorts.

I’ve shed more than a few tears over the disappointment I’m causing to the one person who has always been there for me. Maybe it’s all in my mind, but there is another hole in the dike on his side, and I’m starting to see little trickles of water slipping past his finger.

I think I’ve lost a friend or two, but I’m not sure if I’m simply exhausting them, or because I’m keeping so much inside, I’m just not me. I kind of feel like the person waiting for the anticipated call that will never come, and I’m not sure what I did.

I’m tired of fighting so much.

Tomorrow will be a new day. Maybe it’s the day the solutions are found.

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A horse and a dog

Yesterday, as I was on a trek from here to there, I took the direction which takes me past a pasture. It’s one of my favorite roads near our home. The road is like a little gem of country tucked in between the road filled with cars racing through life.

I’m not really a horse person, but I love looking at them milling about the pasture, doing what horses do.

It was a beautiful day yesterday. In Seattle, we would call it a summer-like day as the temperatures were in the 70’s. Here, it’s cold to the natives. I actually saw two ladies wearing sweaters, and one wearing a winter-type vest–no parkas yet, but they’re just around the corner.

The leaves have just begun to show a tiny bit of color, and the sky was very blue.

A lady was walking her largish dog along the side of the road the pasture is on. There were three horses in the middle of the pasture munching. One of the horses noticed the lady and her dog, and began to trot over to the fence.

Of course, that caught the attention of the dog, but it appeared that the dog’s owner wanted to continue on.

I went around the curve, and could no longer see what happened next.

It was such a sweet moment. It made me smile as I went about my day.

I hope you find something beautiful today.

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I had the winning lottery ticket for depression

sigh …and one more annoying viewpoint from a person diagnosed with a mental illness.

Mental illness doesn’t go away.

No!

It doesn’t!

It cannot be thought, ignored, denied, medicated, or talked away. If you have a diagnosed mental illness, learning how to live with it is how to survive. The manner in which we do this is personal, and will be different for each person.

Many depressed people understand that the past is just that. We learn–we move on. There are some who remain stuck in the past. They had hard lives and end up with such poor self-esteem, confidence, or worthlessness, that they become depressed. Maybe they simply have brains that don’t function properly.

There are also many who have had hard lives, who move on and thrive–with no mental illness diagnosis.

My parents had 4 kids. My brother was the oldest, and I was the oldest of the girls. My brother, and the sister who was three years younger than I, lived with Type I Juvenile Diabetes. That means they had it as pre-teens. As much as they would have liked to choose to live free of diabetes, they were denied that choice.

My youngest sister has been living with primary-progressive multiple sclerosis for over 30 years. She had thyroid cancer, and has been in remission for over 15 years. I’m sure if she had a choice, this is not what she would have chosen. She can’t simply think positive thoughts and all the damaged nerve endings will magically heal.

Both of my sisters lived through the same family losses that I did. My youngest sister has moved various places when her husband was in the Coast Guard. She moved from coast to coast and back. They adjusted. My other sister remained in the area we grew up.

The only difference – or rather experience – my youngest sister and I have lived through that my other two siblings didn’t, is the loss of our sister.

We all grew up in the same environment, with the same parents. Three of us were normal, one of us was not.

My brother and sister didn’t have any outward evidence of type 1 diabetes. Nope, they laughed and lived. Neither of them suffered from depression.

My youngest sister can no longer hide her MS, because it is one of those nasty neurological diseases which are hard to hide. She laughs and lives. She doesn’t suffer from depression. Don’t get me wrong–just as any normal, she has rough days of mental struggle due to constant pain and frustration.

The bullying I received as a kid, the family losses, the major life changes, the cancer diagnosis—didn’t cause my depression. The events didn’t help any, but even if I hadn’t had so much happen in such a relatively short period of time, I would still have a diagnosis of mental illness. The difficulty I encountered in the last year or so, was comprehending all of it before I crashed once again.

If my dad, sister, brother, grandparents, a couple of furkids were alive, I would still suffer from depression.

If we hadn’t moved from the Pacific Northwest to the Southern States, I would still suffer from depression.

If I had never been diagnosed with cancer, I would still suffer from depression.

When participating in a group photography seminar or photo walk, not a single person knows I suffer from a mental illness. I can knit with some friends, and not a single one of them knows I suffer from a mental illness.

It does make it harder to have close friends, because the person would have to know about my disease, as well as accept me in spite of it. Creating excuses other than I just don’t feel like it, can make things rather difficult during developing friendships.

I laugh, smile, pretend, and tell jokes. I move around a so-so portion of the time, and hide my disease because it isn’t noticeable on the outside.

I can do that, and nobody knows what is going on inside my mind.

What I can’t choose is whether or not I will have another depressive episode. No matter how many beautiful birds I see and listen to their beautiful songs, no matter how many cat snuggles, bowls of ice cream, or sunny days—if depression is going to strike, I don’t have a choice.

I’m hoping to learn to recognize when I feel myself lose my mojo, and maybe find a possible way in which I can continue to function while pretending nothing is wrong with me. In other words, I will get up and live my life until I feel better.

I can choose to refrain from dwelling on my losses and the fear of what I fear, but I can’t choose to simply think away depression.

Again, if I HAD a choice—why in the heck would I choose to be depressed?.

How is it so hard to convey that the choice is denied us?

Let me turn it around for you normals—if we can choose to be positive, can we choose to be depressed? Clinically depressed?

Think.

Real hard.

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Thievery of the self is the worst

The most infuriating part of depression, for me, is the destruction of my memory.

I want to use some really strong, foul words to describe it.  But I’m going to keep those words inside my mind.

Just imagine living inside a tiny room, void of color and sounds. Walking around–or rather turning around–in that tiny room, in a mechanical manner. Nothing matters, no sounds are heard, no desire to speak.

Nothing.

Then one day, it lifts a bit, and the recognition of what has been missed while away, is showing itself—little by little.

Ha! You took a vacation and didn’t even know it. Well, you know you were away because you experienced it, and let me tell you, it’s hot in that vacation spot.

But you know what? This time, I’m not going to beat myself up for having to experience this type of altered state. It’s who I am. The more I berate myself, the more it brings me back down. Before long, I’ll be taking a vacation.

The next vacation I take will be real–with photos and memories.

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Just another little introvert

I have days that stink, and the cohabitants of my little village need to learn to let me hide under my rock for a few hours. I must have some down time. It has nothing to do with depression. It has to do with the little introvert in me.

_full_body_sweater

Maybe, I just need something like this–which appears to be a stretched out sweater. Unfortunately, with my current body girth, I would have to find one hurkin’ sweater.

Let me sit among you, ignore me, and I will emerge a bit more sane. Bahahaha!

By the way, I think this photo has been shared so much throughout the internet, I couldn’t find the original source. I don’t know who to give credit for the photo. It’s not my photo.

With a pair of socks, it could also keep me warm at the same time.

Maybe I’ll be left alone simply for the oddity of it all.

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Ha! It’s not you, it’s me—really!

I’m not sure if I will reach a person who lives with a person who suffers from a mental illness diagnosis. Maybe you’re a friend, or a co-worker who doesn’t recognize certain aspects of the disease.

I share posts with my husband. I think it helps him to understand the thoughts which appear irrational—but are completely real to our minds.

I’m really only speaking for myself because I don’t know if this is true for all suffering from a mental illness.

I push people away. I’m irritable, I sound extremely bitchy, it looks, or sounds like I’m being dismissive. I may be totally silent, and answer questions with one word.

Because I do this, I feel bad about myself. I’m ashamed of my actions, and all I want to do is to run from any interaction with a human. Even my beloved cats become annoying to me.

Yes, I want space, but it isn’t a conscious desire to withdraw—it’s part of the nature of the beast.

Please, don’t turn your back.

Don’t shut off communication.

Words aren’t always necessary, but a touch on the shoulder, a hug, or a smile could make a world of difference at that particular moment.

Also, I don’t know if I will ever get better, but I know I’m strong and I will learn to work around my diagnosis. Maybe I will eventually learn to control that part of me which creates more self-hate. It isn’t directed toward you—it’s me I’m fighting with.

 

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Things You Didn’t Know You Needed Thursdays

Just checking in to let you know that I haven’t gone off the edge of the world. I have found my sense of humor, but I had a discussion with my therapist, that perhaps I let my mind wander to thoughts of sad things—which lead to depression. Therefore, I am filling my brain with my perfectionist talents and becoming a little obsessive over some things in order to distract myself.

I will catch up on blog reading, but with the stinkin’ ADD, guess what? My mind wanders.

Anyway, New Neighbor continues to hire the bush whackers, and more and more of the privacy we receive in our backyard has been compromised.

hippopotamus-lawn-ornament-thumbMaybe this would help to scare, and let her know I’m keeping an eye on her and her destroyers of beautiful vegetation. Along with the Yeti, I should have all my bases covered. You can find this item, here, on Etsy. Because I’m being a spiteful neighbor–I’m just waiting until all our oak leaves fall and a big wind comes up and blows all our leaves into her yard—it happens every year.

Happy Thursday.

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