Throw a Little Chaos Into It

Beware to readers who may be depressed at the time you read this. My intention is not to make you more hopeless because I know a new moment is coming to enjoy life….it’s just not right now.

For months I have been struggling to find happiness and joy. Do I find things funny? Yes. I laugh, I smile, I’m my sarcastic self…….but I’m not myself. Deep down, there is a storm a-brewing. The nasty kind with clapping thunder and magnificent lightning.

I’ve never tried so hard to change my negative thoughts than I have the last couple….or has it been several….months. Pbbbt…it could be longer than that.

I am a fake, but an award worthy actress.

I live, but I’m not living.

Continuing to look for the blessings in life is still a minute by minute exercise. The feel of my grand puppy’s hair, the sunshine in the morning, visiting with family……

I exist.

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Posted in Depression | Tagged | 15 Comments

Travelling First Class in My Mind

Understanding what we think is what we become has been a long process for me. I’m really tired of feeling depressed, obsessed, sad…..

Ugh, I’m so tired of the questions of what thoughts are swirling in my mind right now?

Our daughter’s wedding is quickly approaching. She gave the the duties of finding a florist and I did with the obsessive zest I tend to lean toward. Yes, I got my hands slapped in the most tactful way. While I was dreaming of this and that, our daughter and her fiance reminded me they are simple people. They want to enjoy the company attending the wedding instead of stressing over details of decorations and fru-fru. They are having their wedding on a very beautiful farm in the foothills of Mount Baker, Washington, and that is more than enough fru-fru.

I’ve obsessively searched for the proper dress to wear. I’ve moved to shoes and rehearsal dinner apparel. Our daughter has asked us for our favorite songs to dance to and I have obsessively searched for songs. In fact, I created an entire playlist for her…..should she need it. However, we were asked to submit three.

Obsessive tendencies….that’s what my therapist has suggested I have. I suppose she’s correct because it leaves me little time for other activities.

Our youngest and Sensible Girlfriend are driving across the states to the wedding with their two Australian Shepherds…..one is still a puppy so that should be a challenge. For months they have planned this trip and are looking forward to visiting various beautiful places the United States holds. During their planning they decided to stay in the Seattle area.

A great big dose of Mom Yikes!

We will now have three kids in three different time zones. I have to admit I felt sorry for myself when our youngest informed us of their plans. Sensible Girlfriend is one of my peeps! However, moving doesn’t mean life ends for me as I know it. It begins a new adventure they have the opportunity to experience and I have a new opportunity to learn how to grow without crutches.

While asking myself why I keep putting my mind at the back of the plane and keep trying to advance, one row at a time, then being set back three rows, is exhausting. Again, I’m overthinking. Sometimes things are what they are. They aren’t always about me.

So, I will sit back and enjoy the beginnings of new lives for two of my kids.

At least I’ll try, but somebody better be serving me Bloody Mary’s as I watch the Premier.

 

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Sunday With April

We have had some changes to our little way of life. Our youngest moved out, along with his dogs. We are empty nesters again…for the first time in 30 years we are also dog free.

Could this be what has thrown me off kilter? Ugh, I believe I overthink too much.

The following made me smile this week:

  • a Google Chat (like Skype) call with our daughter
  • a phone call from our oldest
  • a long visit with our youngest and the grand puppies
  • 2 for the price of one sale on salsa….and most importantly, 2 for the price of one sale on bags of M&Ms
  • for weeks I have been hearing an odd sound. Thought for sure it was a frog stuck in the basement or hanging around the outside of our living room. I couldn’t pinpoint where it was coming from. When our youngest came to visit, I asked him to listen, within one second he said, “it’s coming from your blu-ray player or tv equipment”. Aha! It was the blu-ray player. Problem solved!
  • finding my way to adjust my sails in a different direction

I hope you find something to make you smile!

Posted in Grattitude | Tagged | 8 Comments

Sunday With April

This week, the following made me smile:

  • A deep breath of the scent of freshly cut grass (yes, I notice this often)
  • Pink blossoms on a Mimosa Tree (or Persian Silk Tree)
  • They rearranged the waiting area at our veterinarian’s office
  • My old lady cat (age 18) is free of the infection she was suffering from, and her kidneys are in good shape
  • The middle-child-cat’s blood work is good. We have been watching his liver enzymes and there is no sign of cancer.
  • A grandma holding her grandchild up in the air so that the child could smile at all the goodies hanging from above
  • Learning that the lady who dispenses the plethora of my medications is a neighbor (ha! can’t hide my crazy from my neighbors)

….and for a little snarky one….

  • All three of my cats now have the sneezies. They are so kind to share their respiratory ailments with each other, I love their kindness to each other.

I hope you find something to make you smile today.

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The Cracks Will Eventually Fade

This is one of my metaphoric posts. I think if I visualize something I can make it stick in my mind.

That little house in Nowhere, Missouri has really been a type of thorn in my side. Years ago…two? three? When we inherited it from my husband’s dad, I saw the connection that my husband had with his dad while we were discussing what to do with the house. The house his dad built.

I know how attached I am to items built by my dad, so we kicked around the idea of slowing down life and moving to the little house. The light in my husband’s eyes made my heart warm. He has sacrificed, and worked so hard for our family for many years which enabled me to be a stay-at-home mom. It’s his turn to enjoy life, feeling close to his dad’s spirit.

As most houses do, the house settled. Well, actually, one of the foundation walls was in a precarious state. We had someone fix that for us as well and replace the roof and perform all the home inspections.

Some of you know my father-in-law was a heavy smoker. I couldn’t breathe in the house, I had to have my rescue inhaler with me at all times. Masks have helped a lot and I believe we have reduced the smell to an almost liveable level. However, the house makes me cough….a lot. There is still work to do.

Anyway, as I’ve whined about before, there are so many cracks in the walls and ceiling. Each and every seam is cracked. Oh! I forgot about the walls with wallpaper or a wallpaper border that had to come down. My wish was to tear everything down to the studs and begin again. My husband was the practical one….that type of thing takes money we just don’t have. So we do what we can, when we can, with the money we have saved.

We have removed wallpaper piece by piece, scrubbed the surfaces of everything multiple times, and I have used my very amateurish skill repairing the cracks.

All the cracks.

It’s a process that can’t be rushed. If the desired look is to be acceptable to my little perfectionistic mind, it takes a very long time. I found the hard way that one can’t just slap some joint compound over the cracks and call it good. It’s a process of retaping the seams and covering with the proper layers of joint compound—feathering out each layer and sanding between. Hopefully, in the end, the cracks will never be noticeable to my eyes.

I’ll know they are there but I worked hard to repair them. I did it with raw determination, lots of do-overs, a ton of sanding (thank you, facemasks), and more wiping of dust.

One room is complete. Well, I think I need to go over some areas that I’m not happy with and feather out some flaws, but I know I can do it.

Rebuilding is being accomplished, one little step at a time. Just as my mind. One step at a time. One little piece of the puzzle placed with love and caring for myself.

In the back of my mind I wonder how limited my life may be…..will cancer return? I don’t know. All I have is today. This moment. I deserve to enjoy this moment. A moment spent sipping on a cup of coffee, looking at the leaves on the trees, listening to the birds sing, marvelling at the very blue sky, the softness of the clouds as they pass.

The moment I have to repair a crack in my mind.

None of us know how much time we will have, I certainly don’t know what my next moment will bring, I simply know that this very moment I have a chance to improve the moment.

It can be done, I know. It simply takes time. If a moment is passed without recognition, it’s a moment one can never get back. It’s never too late to pull up your bootstraps and make an inch of progress. It’s one inch further than you were yesterday, this morning, last hour, the minute that just passed.

……and for the rah, rah moment……go ahead, patch those cracks! You can do it, you just have to be a little patient.

Posted in Depression | Tagged | 19 Comments

Learning to be Helpless? Aw, c’mon

My husband has been taking a class, “Psychology for Living”. He has shared varying topics he has learned. He shares, I nod. Yes, I know about all that. I live that.

The other day, he started describing, Learned Helplessness. Hmmm. He went on to say how it is believed to be the root of some depression. I instantly had tears in my eyes. Could I have learned to put myself through this kind of mind torture? How do I unlearn it? I want to do that now!

So, I went to my source of all sources, Google. Sure enough, there was a topic I hadn’t explored yet. I started reading but didn’t get very far. I didn’t like what I was seeing in myself. To top it off, I returned way back to the cobweb infested part of my brain to dig up the old taunts from childhood friends and the feelings of isolation. All the beliefs created by a young growing mind.

Seriously, I thought I’d moved beyond that. I truly believe the past does not equal the future. We create our destiny with information we have retained through our experiences and interpretations thereof. It’s an ongoing process of receiving information, processing the information based upon what we know to be true, and creating our reality.

As I skimmed one article regarding “unlearning” helplessness I came across something that I already do. It’s known as gratitude, counting your blessings, being thankful. I’m actually doing something to teach myself to correct what I see as flaws in myself. I know I have much more to learn but at least I’m going the right direction.

For some time, I have been trying to regain my confidence. I don’t know why or how, but I lost the warrior inside me. I gave in to helplessness. The notion that if one action didn’t work out, try another, or another, or another, until I attained the desired results….poof….gone….lost in my mind of learned helplessness.

What do I have to be grateful today? I have passed the 6-year mark of my cancer surgery. I’m still alive and cancer free. That should be enough, however I sometimes wish I didn’t live the life inside my mind.

So…..I will continue to learn…..or unlearn, whatever the case may be.

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A Dirty Little Secret

Some of you know that I, like many suffering from some sort of mental disorder, take a handful of pills. Some are vitamins and some are prescriptions. Dr.-Wacky-Pants-Pill-Pusher has thrown another one at me and this one took me way, way off the path.

Before and after starting this medication, I would tick off the hours until dinner time so that I could have a drink, or two, or three. I wanted some way to escape my thoughts, and alcohol was a means to disrupt the obsessive thinking. Meditating wasn’t working because I was having trouble quieting the monkeys.

Did I get drunk? nah….it seemed that alcohol had little affect except add pounds to my already overweight body. The secret…..I didn’t tell my doctor.

There is a reason for the warning to avoid alcohol while on antidepressants. In fact, there are many reasons to avoid mixing the two. The one I believe I’m struggling with is that alcohol is making my medications ineffective.

I’ve been living in a torturous cycle, striving to fight my damndest to crawl out and breathe in some positivity.

I don’t know if it is unfortunate or not but I have a tendency to lead myself to obsessive actions. Knitting, adult coloring, binge (really binge) watch television, over thinking. I have been obsessively thinking about being depressed…..am I depressed because I think I am, therefore I’m depressed? Around and around I go. Do I even make sense?

The drinking has stopped. The physical exercise is going to begin. I can’t put it off any longer…..it’s too painful.

We recently made a trip to the rural house my husband inherited from his dad, to continue with the piecemeal tasks to prepare it for retirement or to be sold. One of my obsessive thoughts has been being a square peg in a round hole. How do I fit in? How do I accept myself?

I haven’t shared a picture here for a long time, but there it was….my answer…contained in a paper towel holder my father-in-law crafted.

I must soften my edges.

p.s. what the heck happened to WP while I was having obsessive thoughts turned inside instead of looking outside for happiness and positivity?

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each day

Apparently, I have hoisted myself out of bed the last several mornings. Saturday morning I hid under the covers for a brief time but I did get up.

Anyway, life hasn’t been all doom and gloom. I would rather write about how I’m managing to live in spite of depression than to whine about all the chains keeping me bound.

I’m about to finish the dental process of filling the tooth hole I’ve had since before Christmas. I suppose it’s taking so long because I’ve had to have a bone graft. Exciting stuff, I tell you!

We’re making more progress on the deck. The railing has been installed around the top deck. I’ll post before and after photos when we’re done. The reason why that has taken so long? Probably depression, weather, hunting season, the all so annoying need to torture myself with the presidential election and its aftermath. We’re finally gettin’ ‘er done.

I waited patiently for April The Giraffe to have her baby. Now I’m in love with giraffes but have nothing to watch until football season starts up. Maybe Jerry Springer would be a distraction from our political climate……hmmmm…..yeah, I don’t think so.

We actually had a Spring season this year. It was otherwise known as Winter but it never got really cold here. Now it’s Summer or, as I like to call it, Sprummer.

We’re empty nesters again. Now I have more time to make myself miserable. Too much time with myself hasn’t really been helpful. Isolating myself has only added to the struggle.

Over the last several months I have been searching for the answer to why I’m struggling so much. I have always been a pretty high functioning depressed/anxiety ridden person…I just kept going. I was blaming it on my cancer diagnosis but I think I’ve pinpointed it to the death of my sister four years ago. I lost who I was and I kept bringing myself down because I wanted a logical reason as to where I went.

One recent Instagram quote has sparked an interest in other thoughts:

Sometimes we have to lose who we were, to find out who we are ~ @commanding life

In my personal experience I find depression to be so self centered. I spend the majority of my waking hours questioning everything I do or don’t do. Everything I say or don’t say. What if I do something or say something, how will it impact my emotions?

My therapist, along with a bunch of articles I’ve read about recovering from depression is to volunteer time. There is great reward in helping others, I know that. I did it for many, many years until burn out……or maybe I could no longer fight off depression. When I’m so wrapped up in my own pain, I seriously don’t care about anyone else. Well, I care but I don’t want to do anything about it.

I’ve also been reading some about self awareness. It’s very interesting. I’m learning that instead of observing how I represent myself, I worry about what others are thinking of me. I think there is a right time and place when we should care what others think (hear that mr. president?), but for the most part if we are loving and are aware of ourselves, no doubt, it will show in how we represent ourselves to others.

Thinking.

Thinking.

Thinking.

Posted in Depression | Tagged | 9 Comments

Get Back Up

Ha! I’m sure my titles really draw a reader in, but I blog to watch the progression of my thoughts.

I got up again this morning. I felt worse than yesterday. I deliberately repeated sayings in my mind to pull myself out of the pit again. I suppose if you repeat information long enough your mind will tend to believe it. Hey, it worked with my negative thoughts, I simply have to practice my positive thoughts.

As I’ve said, doing much of anything becomes extremely difficult during times of mild to major depression. Even though we know in our minds that we need to do something, the fight is meaningless. We don’t intend to do this, it happens. I fight against it and when I’m not successful I usually slip further into depression.

I read inspirational quotes posted on Instagram. I read them and sit with each one before I scroll to the next. I haven’t read anything lately….just bided time. As I have come to think of it, wasted time.

Anyway, a while back I read a message I tried to capture in my thoughts and hold it there. Obviously, it didn’t work. In fact, I had to scroll way back to find the message and read it again.

You’re so hard on yourself. Take a moment. Sit back. Marvel at your life: at the grief that softened you, at the heartache that made you wiser, at the suffering that strengthened you. Despite everything, you still grew. Be proud of this.

I don’t know the author of this and I had to change a phrase because the person used a word which is not a word. Something I like to do–makeup words–but in this case, since I was sharing, I thought I would correct it.

While scrolling, I came across another…

Don’t settle into the setback. ~ author unknown

Yes, so easy.

Am I making it harder on myself by settling into the setback?

I have come to accept that I have asthma, I’m a lung cancer survivor (of 6 years now), I’m ageing, I’m taller than I’ve ever wanted to be, my teeth aren’t perfect, I’m overweight (which I do have control of), and my hair has some gray in it now.

I have not totally accepted that I have to take medication to stabilize my emotions. I’m at the point now that I wonder if the pills are making me worse. What was I like before? I remember obsessive thoughts, grief, regret, and a sense of losing myself due to normal life changes. How did I get to where I am today?

Depression.

It’s a part of my life.

I will grow.

 

 

Posted in Depression | Tagged | 16 Comments

Losing Control

I truly feel there is a Sleep Fairy who enters my room and sprinkles me with a blanket of frustration. It brings about self-doubt, self-hate, and lots of vulnerability.

I have a morning routine before I place my feet on the floor. I stretch out all the kinks, I breathe deeply, I give thanks that I woke up, and I focus on the great day I have ahead of me, full of possibilities.

Some mornings this routine begins with the stretch and a flopping back against the pillow and I ask myself why I woke up. I search my brain for the positive peace that I find to tame my thoughts, but I feel numb…my brain is blank. All I feel is raw emotions.

It’s not like negative thoughts are moving through my mind, I just feel despair, hopelessness, and out of control. Where does it come from? Got me…..it has to be the stinkin’ Sleep Fairy.

I seriously don’t want to live this way and will continue to fight on. I wish that it didn’t have to be so hard at times and hit me from behind.

Groan.

Another day full of possibilities? Yes, I believe. Why do I stand in my way?

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