Depression, Mental Health, Suicide, Uncategorized

Depression Has Won Another Fight

My heart is so very heavy right now. I just learned of the death of a dear friend.

It is sad to learn of anyone’s death, but to hear that depression is involved in that death makes it that much worse.  Why did it happen?  Was something missed?  Were there signs?  Could it have been prevented?  How did I not know?  How will the poor family get through it?  Those are all questions that we ask.  Sadly, many of those questions will never be answered.  

Clinical Depression — An illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and that affects the way a person eats, sleeps, feels about himself or herself, and thinks about things. Clinical depression is not the same as a passing blue mood. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be wished away. People with clinical depression cannot merely ‘pull themselves together’ and get better. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. Appropriate treatment, however, can help most people with clinical depression. The signs and symptoms of clinical depression include loss of interest in activities that were once interesting or enjoyable, including sex; loss of appetite, with weight loss, or overeating, with weight gain; loss of emotional expression (flat affect); a persistently sad, anxious, or empty mood; feelings of hopelessness, pessimism, guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness; social withdrawal; unusual fatigue, low energy level, a feeling of being slowed down; sleep disturbance and insomnia, early-morning awakening or oversleeping; trouble concentrating, remembering, or making decisions; unusual restlessness or irritability; persistent physical problems such as headaches, digestive disorders, or chronic pain that do not respond to treatment, and thoughts of death or suicide or suicide attempts. The principal types of depression are called major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar disease (manic-depressive disease).

Clinical depression is such an awful, debilitating thing to deal with. Those who suffer need to know that you care.  Please, people, reach out to those you know to be depressed.  Be gentle in the way you reach out, though.  You don’t need to go into “save them” mode and tell them to just think positively and or turn it over to God. Those remarks do not help someone struggling with depression. Clinically depressed people already try their best to think positively and if they are believers, they have most definitely turned it over to God and He is working on them. The problem is that the depressed person is so mired down in self-hate and despair that they cannot see past that. They don’t need or want your “I know how to fix it” comments. Those types of comments just make them feel that much more broken. The absolute BEST thing to say is that you are there and that you love them. And then, let it be. Pray for them during your own prayer time, but please don’t push the sufferer.

 I am sure that some of you are now thinking that my remarks are pretty curt and “know it all”. Maybe so. But, that’s because I’m speaking as someone who struggles with major clinical depression on not just a daily basis, but on an hourly basis. I speak as someone who has fought to not end it all. So far, I have won that battle. I speak as someone who “turns it over to God” on a daily basis and I know that He is working on me, but I am still depressed.  I speak as someone who has others tell me constantly that I just need to think positively. I speak as someone who is told that I have much to be thankful for.  I speak as someone who has others tell me constantly that I am depressed because I just don’t trust God. I speak as someone who is torn down just a little bit more each time I’m told those things. I speak as someone who knows in her head that I am worthy, but who feels none of that in her heart. I speak as someone whose heart is now breaking because another friend has lost the battle — that battle that “looks so very inviting”, but is so dangerous, that battle that would end the personal suffering, but would cause so much suffering for so many others. I speak as a depressed soul who struggles each and every day to be here and who is terribly sad when someone loses the fight.

I pray constantly that others will learn to understand the hell that a clinically depressed person lives with each and every day. This lack of understanding causes such a stigma about mental health problems.  If we look at the many problems in today’s world, we can easily see that we need to do more concerning mental health.

It’s not that we’re just sad. It’s not that we just don’t want to go out and play today. It’s that we can’t. We struggle each and every day to just get out of the bed. We struggle to just go to the corner store. We struggle each and every time we are forced to communicate with others. And we struggle with ourselves constantly because we don’t want to be this way. We don’t want others to fix us. We just want others to love us and not judge us. We want to be just like you, but don’t know how. We just want to love ourselves. But, we don’t.

Pray for those who suffer.  Let them know that you love them.  Be there.  Just be there.  

I will miss you, my friend.  I’m sorry I was not there for you.

 

Depression, Mental Health, Uncategorized

I Truly Don’t Want You To Try to Fix Me

I ran across an excellent video on Depression with so many valid points.  As J.S. points out, there are so many people out there who just don’t understand depression and the leading “fixes” seem to be the God angle or the Be Positive angle.  Neither of these, by themselves, can fix depression.  It is vitally important for others to understand the many intricacies of this disease and how to help.  I totally agree that just allowing a depressed person to “be” is of utmost importance.

Dealing with Depression — A New Look at It.

Uncategorized

An Interview About Depression, Its Myths and Misunderstandings, When Faith Fails, and Talking It Out

I truly need to get this book. I have recently decided to stop seeing my therapist, mainly because the idea of constantly talking about why I feel like crap makes me feel like crap even more. It seems as though I’ve talked for seven years and my thoughts and feelings haven’t changed. I understand myself a bit more, but I still feel the same.

I’ve also dealt with the “just pray about it” and the “turn it over to God”. I’ve prayed and prayed and prayed about it. And, I’ve turned it over to God (or so I thought) and it’s still there. All the feelings of doubt, of self-defeat, of not caring, of feeling unworthy — those feelings (and many more) are still there.

So, I decided to just take a break. I’m not saying that I won’t go back to therapy at some point, but it’s been like a constant dread lately just knowing that I have to go talk about it some more.

As J.S. stated above, “It helped, but there were times I knew I had to step away because it wasn’t helping. I’d imagine it’s like someone investigating a crime in their own family—it’s cathartic, but it’s also dangerously close.” I just need to step away from it for a while. Maybe by not concentrating on my feelings of not caring for a while, I will somehow be able to care again. He makes some really valid points in this interview and I am sure that there is much more in the book itself. We shall see.

J.S. Park: Hospital Chaplain, Skeptical Christian

– Suzanne of biblesteps recently interviewed me about my book on depression. Her post is here. The entire interview is below. You can find my book on fighting depression here. –

Given that depression can be a fragile and, at times, controversial topic, what made you decide to write a book about it?

Depression can feel like a solo sport. There’s no team backing you up. It’s like swimming or gymnastics; once you get going, it’s up to you to make it to the other end of the pool or the mat. (I was told this is why writers get depressed, because writing isn’t really a team effort).

Most of the resources I found on depression began with the “solo” premise: It’s up to you, go get help, here’s this method, try this and this. But that sort of individualized isolation was very vacuum-ish to me. Life doesn’t…

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A New Family is out there!!

It’s been an exciting 24 hours!! My newly found niece and I have been chatting this morning and I’ve made contact with another niece and have sent an email to my half-sister, Joan. Hopefully, once I get back home we will be able to correspond much more easily. My friends know how chatty I am and without my computer, I’m having to do everything through my phone which means “one finger” correspondence. Since my brain works much faster than my one finger can peck, I’m at a real loss. Can’t wait to get home and be in contact. Oh, how I wish Sandra were still with us–she would be so excited about this!!!!!!

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Amazing

I have spent Thanksgiving with my son and just crawled into bed. Something told me to check Facebook before going to sleep. I saw a message from someone, not familiar with the name, and almost overlooked it.

Come to find out, it is from a niece on my mom’s side. I had written about mom having had a daughter who she had lost in a court case of some type. Well, Joan Edith’s daughter has somehow found me on FB and we have connected somewhat. Mind you, this has been done with me totally in the dark, tapping on my phone with one finger. LOL. So, no telling what will pop up.

I just couldn’t wait to share the news. While it’s not quite the message I have been hoping to receive, it is an amazing message just the same. I now have a sister and a niece and who knows who else to get to know. Quite a Thanksgiving, if I say so myself.

Depression, Uncategorized

I Am Not Perfect

Well, I’ve been MIA for a while.  Needed to get through the holidays.  I don’t do holidays well and this holiday season has been especially tough.  But, I’m back and am ready to get back to blogging.

I had a rather interesting event to happen yesterday.  While browsing though my Facebook News Feed, I came upon a post made by an acquaintance.  It was about people you could count on.  Reading it made me think of a friend I lost during the political season.  We have been friends for many, many years and met when we were both Stampin’ Up! demonstrators.  While we have never met in person, I considered her a close friend.  I won’t go into details, but she and I differ greatly in our political beliefs and after making a rather simple comment to a post of hers one day, she actually told me to “STFU already”.  And she did so publicly.  I had reached the breaking point — tired of being called names and being told that I was stupid, so I finally unfriended her.  And it has bothered me ever since.  But, back to my original thought.  His post reminded me of losing my friend and I commented that I wish I had seen that post a couple of years earlier (thinking of the times in the future that I might be put down by her for my political beliefs.)  Next thing I knew, this friend was calling me out and accusing me of posting about HIM.  Far from the truth. However, after the fit he had, I tend to  believe that perhaps the bit dog was hollering (as we tend to say in the South).   After a couple of back-and-forth responses, he sent a private message apologizing and saying I had been right in saying that he had taken my comment out of context.  And then — he removed his comment from Facebook where he had accused me of talking about him,  leaving my response which made me look like a loon, talking to myself.  (I hate when people do that.  Grow a pair and stand behind your comments.  If you’re not going to do that, then you ought not to be making them in my opinion.)  But, that’s ok.  Some people can’t or won’t stand behind whatever they say.

And of course I thought about it all night.  Who would expect anything less?

In thinking it over, there is one thing that I have learned from this, for sure —– I am too damn old for this sort of nonsense.  And that’s exactly what it is — nonsense.  At one point, this person meant a LOT to me.  About two years ago, I realized that he was not the person I had thought he was and we decided to just remain friends.  It’s been a struggle to do so, but I’ve tried.  When he gets lonely or when he wants some information about someone, he’ll call or contact me.  He knows all the right lines to feed me to make me think he’s sincere and like some darn 16-year old girl, I believe him.  Then, the next day, he’s back to the same old crap.  It’s been a real roller-coaster and my emotions have been all over the place.  Get smart, Betty.  He’s a user.  He’s a schemer.  He is toxic.

Well, one thing led to another and the following comments are what I posted earlier today on Facebook, not only about the incident, but about me and my thoughts in general.

I am not perfect. I never have been perfect and I never will be perfect. I dare not claim to be perfect in any way, shape, form, or fashion. In reality, I am so far from perfect that it’s sad. BUT………….I try.  Lord, do I try and it’s killing me.

I am opinionated. I speak my mind. I stick up for myself. I wasn’t always this way, though. There was a huge part of my life where I was a people-pleaser. I would do anything necessary to prevent any type of disagreement. If I knew I was right, but if stating that meant there was going to be a disagreement, I would cower in the corner and just agree with you.  I would eat my feelings and convince myself that those feelings were not true feelings.  But, no more.

I no longer cower in a corner and agree with something that I don’t believe. And, at times, that causes problems. But, that’s ok, because I’m a big girl now. I have discovered the aisle at Wal-Mart that sells those big-girl panties and am quite adept at pulling those suckers up and moving on. I will no longer let anyone walk over me. I will no longer let anyone accuse me of something that I have not done without speaking up for myself. You may not like it. You may not be man or woman enough to admit that you were in the wrong, but that’s Tough. I will not purposefully do anything to hurt you, but I will not let you walk over me. That’s just the way it is. I have learned to expect and accept consequences when I am wrong. I have learned to admit when I am wrong.

If I comment on something on Facebook, you can rest assured that the comment comes from my head and my heart. I do my own research. I think before I speak (99% of the time). I very seldom (hardly ever) rely on someone else’s meme or post to allow someone to believe that I feel a certain way. If I do use a meme, I will add my own thoughts to it. I am not a puppet. I love words and I know how and when to use them. There were many years when I was not allowed to have an opinion and using my words in any way would result in a physical fight. For that reason, I just didn’t use them.   I am regaining my words and use them freely now.  I always speak from my heart and my thoughts can be believed. They may not always be right. They may not always coincide with your thoughts. But, you should always believe that words spoken by me are words that I believe.

I have a heart. That heart has known great love. That heart has also known great sorrow. That heart has been stomped on, misused, taken for granted, and pure lied to. It has had knives plunged into it and twisted. It has always given second, third, and fourth chances. This heart has finally learned that it must be closed to some people once it has become convinced that they are toxic to it. It weeps when it is taken for granted. It longs for the way things “used to be” or for the way “it ought to be”.

I have always tried my best to be loyal. If I say I’m your friend, then I’m your friend. I will do anything I can to help you. I will always have your back. I will not let someone speak badly of you without being told they are doing so. I will try to be encouraging. I will always try to help you see the good in you when you cannot see it in yourself. I will listen. I will love you. My biggest problem has been that I am not a loyal friend to myself. I am trying my best to change that.

There was a time when I trusted no one. I have worked hard to learn to trust again, sometimes to the detriment of my mental health. You taught me how to trust and then you pulled the rug out from under me and showed me why I should not blindly trust you.  I still struggle with things my head “knows” and things my heart “feels”. I am getting better at seeing and believing myself when I feel that the trust I have in you is misguided. I struggle with giving up. I always feel that you deserve one more chance and I have finally learned that there must be a cutting off point. Those times are hard because my heart says “just one more chance” and my head says “girl, you better get the hell out of here”. However, if I am your friend and lose trust in you, it is very, very, very hard for that trust to ever be regained. I can remain civil when I see you. I can be friendly if needed, but I will not trust you. It’s that simple.  I just won’t trust you.  And to me, without trust, true friendship is impossible.

There was a time when I was furious with God. I did not trust Him at all. I blamed Him for things that were not of His making. I had forgotten who He was. I had forgotten that He loved me, no matter what I did, said, or thought. I am slowly reuniting with God. I am learning to trust Him again. I am feeling loved by Him. And, THAT is a good thing.

While my past has not been an easy one, I realize that there are millions of others out there who have also not had an easy past. I am nothing special. I deserve no sympathy. I deserve no pats on the back for “being strong”. I am far from being strong. I do what I must do to get through each day. Sometimes, I make the right choices. Sometimes, I don’t. But, so far, I haven’t given up totally. I’ve been close. Oh, I’ve been so close. There was a time when it would not have mattered to me one bit if I had just gone to sleep and not awoken. I no longer feel that way, but if I’m totally truthful, it’s always in the back of my mind.

I have demons. Sometimes, those demons come out and truly haunt me. At those times, I have learned that I must forgive myself. There are things I cannot change and I can no longer torture myself over those things. I cannot forget them because they are such an integral part of me, but I simply cannot let them rule my life. If those things that haunt me can somehow come to a resolution, that would be wonderful, but that has to be put into God’s hands.

I have a wonderful family. My children and my grandchildren are true gifts from God. I have a sister I truly love. My extended family is a blessing to me. I have marvelous, loyal friends. My church family is a blessing. My “Hens” are what keep me together many times. I know how to laugh. I know how to have fun. I know how to love. But, most importantly, I have learned to stick up for myself. It know that it is up to Betty to take care of Betty. Trying to do that is quite a chore at times, but I believe I can do it. My head tells me that I am worth it.  My heart yearns to believe it.

I am who I am and that is all that I am. Take me for what I am or don’t. That is your choice. You cannot change me. You cannot misuse me. You cannot abuse me. You will no longer be allowed to lie to me.  No, I am not perfect. But I understand what love is and I’m learning about trust.  And trusting you is something I no longer do.  It’s that simple.

 

Uncategorized

There are flowers

I ran across this poem this morning on another blog and it really gave me hope. Just like the flowers that bloom after the fire (pain), I still have time to bloom.

Featured Image -- 402

Fade Into Oblivion

There are flowers
In this world
That only grow
After the ground
Above them burns.

Scientists say
That the fire sets
The earth aflame
With the birth of these
Special flowers which
Wouldn’t grow otherwise,
That even though the fire
Seems to destroy
Everything it touches
It can also bring
New colours into this world.

What I’m trying to say
Is that healing hurts
But so does forgiveness,
And sometimes it is worth it
To see yourself bloom.

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