Depression, Mental Health

Undeserved Emotions

I’ve had an extremely hard time coming back to the blog since my last couple of posts.  I wonder if I spoke too much.  Was I too open in talking about the incidents that have compounded my depression?  Should I have just continued to deal with my feelings by myself?  I have been so confused.

And then……I reached out a couple of weeks ago to a prayer group that I’m a member of and asked for prayers for peace for my troubled mind.  I gave a brief testimony and the administrator of the group denied my post.  In talking with her later, she said that my prayer was “too big” for the group.  She said that many members of the group were “new in the Lord and might not be able to handle” my testimony and my request.   How can that be?  How can prayers be too big?  Is there a certain amount of time that you must wait before telling someone “who is new in the Lord” about a significant problem that you are having?  I guess I didn’t read that part of the “I love the Lord Handbook”.  I’m still at a loss over that.  I tried to not take it personally, but I just don’t get it.  How do you tell someone that their prayer is too big?  So, I decided to just sit back and do my talking directly to God.  And that’s where I’ve been for the past few weeks.  Stewing.  Simply stewing in emotions.  Those emotions are taking a toll on me.  My mind is in overdrive and it is so hard to focus.

Then, last week something happened in my hometown and I’m so confused about how I feel.  That’s not entirely true, though.  I know how I feel;  I am sad.  But deep-seated emotions keep rearing their ugly heads and are keeping me off balance.  There are so many things I want to say, but out of respect for others I can’t.  And that’s the tough part.  It’s almost as if my emotions are not valid.  But, how can that be?  Isn’t everyone entitled to their own feelings?  No matter what the circumstances, feelings — any feelings — are valid, aren’t they? I feel no anger.  I feel sadness.  And regrets.  And sorrow for those involved.  But I can’t speak of it.

Undeserving — that’s the word I used when speaking to a friend last night.  I was trying to explain my emotions and said that I feel as though any emotions I have are just plain underserving.  And I know that it’s not good for me to feel that way.  I’ve spent far too many years living with the assumption that my feelings don’t count and that they are underserving.  I have got to find some way to break this chain of thought.  I feel what I feel and I can’t help it.

Many of my friends, without my reaching out to them, have contacted me to relay their thoughts and prayers.  And that has meant the world to me.  They know, all too well, the conflict that is running rampant in my head and heart.   I just need a way to address these feelings.  Isolation isn’t working.  Sleeping isn’t working.  Pouring my heart out to God isn’t working.  I guess I just must be patient.  God is going to speak to me.  He is going to guide me in the right direction.  I do know this to be true.  But, in the meantime, I am struggling.  And it is so not fun.

~~~Betty 

Depression, Mental Health

Today’s My Anniversary

The following post comes from a Facebook posting of a year ago.  As I read it today, I stopped to think about how, and if, I have changed in the last year.  Sometimes I think that I am continuing to make progress in my mental health journey and other times, I see no progression at all.  As I read through the 80 comments that had been made, I saw a couple of recurring themes —  strength, courage, and determination.  I had to smile as I read some of the comments because I can’t help but think to myself that these people have no clue.  While many people call me strong, I see very little strength in me.  Most days I still feel like a blob of jello.  (And, I hate the word strong, by the way.)  While they talk of my courage, I tend to mostly agree, but only because I know that in order to talk about my illness, it most definitely takes courage. There were so many years when I never admitted to anyone that I struggled with self-loathing, guilt, and depression and I certainly never had the courage to tell them why.   Through my postings on Facebook and since I’ve started this blog, I have had a few people to message me to say that I shouldn’t be talking about these things because I’ll embarrass my family, or that these things should be kept private, or even that these things may make others feel badly. Some of those comments have struck a few nerves, some have made me wonder if I really shouldn’t talk about this, some have been really hurtful, and some have made me think that perhaps they are right, But, I had made the decision that I needed and wanted to talk about my mental illness and their comments are not going to stop me.  I can speak of this much more easily now and readily credit my ongoing therapy in the ability to speak openly now. Through my therapy, I have come to learn that I am not at fault. (Even though I know this in my head, there are still those times when I will claim the fault in my heart.)  And while others talk about my determination, I struggle.  I don’t feel as though I am “determined” as much as I am just “accepting”.  I have accepted the fact that I will most likely feel this way for the rest of my life. There will be times of happiness, however fleeting those times may be. But, there will also be times of not caring and just accepting that “this is the way it’s going to be.”

I don’t really mention in my post what the medical emergency had been.  I had over two dozen clots in my lungs as well as a “Saddleback clot” that had blocked over 80% of the oxygen going to my lungs.  My granddaughter had found me and notified her mother and a quick trip in the ambulance had landed me at our local hospital.  While I don’t remember this incident, nor do I remember the first 3 or 4 days in the hospital, I certainly remember what happened afterward.  Here’s my Facebook post.

August 6, 2016 — Well, today has been an interesting day. When I got up this morning and saw that it was August 6th, I couldn’t figure out why that day kept sticking in my mind. I went through the names of my friends to see whose birthday it was and still couldn’t figure out why today’s date kept twirling around in my brain It finally came to me — Seven years ago today (or was it six, I can’t remember), I was supposed to have died. At least that’s what the doctors told my children. “She shouldn’t have made it to the hospital. We are not sure she will make it Macon, but that’s where we’re sending her”, said the doctors. Someone also worked their magic and got Darrell home from Iraq in 3 days. Although I still don’t remember anything about the first several days, I do remember finally waking up and being told what had happened. And I was mad. Pure mad. I don’t think I’d ever been that mad before. I had struggled all summer being in the bottom of a deep, dark pit of depression and anger and self-loathing and I so wanted to leave this world. But, for some reason, I hadn’t. All I could think was, “God, you know what I have prayed for all summer. You had your chance, and dad-gum it, you didn’t let me go. Why in the world are you making me stay here when you know I don’t want to be here?” Garth Brooks’ song “Unanswered Prayers” kept running through my mind and Garth kept saying that they are good things. I could have, and would have, slapped Garth if he’d just shown up next to my hospital bed. What the heck did Garth know?

Once my children realized that I WAS going to make it, they decided it was time for what they called a Family Conference, but in reality it was an intervention (and Dr. Phil was nowhere to be found). After a long and painful discussion with a lot of crying and a lot of being treated as though I was the child and they were the parents, I was told that I was not going home. I was going to Atlanta to a Mental Health hospital to get my head screwed back on right. No choice. Period. That was the way it was going to be and I needed to just accept it. They had already made all the necessary preparations; we just needed to call and tell them when I was being dismissed. I was mad, discouraged, afraid, embarrassed, afraid, and had no idea how I was going to do that. Did I mention that I was afraid? I had spent my entire life wearing a series of masks so that no one would see the real Betty. How in the world could I strip off those masks? How in the world could I actually talk about how I felt about life, myself, my past, or my future? In my mind, the only good thing I had ever done was to have my three wonderful, loving, accomplished children and through them, I had been given six wonderful grandchildren. I could hide everything else by choosing a new mask for each day. It was only when I got home and was alone that the mask would come off. At that point, all the fear, self-hatred, and depression would be there full force. But, masks were no longer going to be allowed. Oh, Lord, I am so afraid. Why have you done this?

So, after almost three weeks in Macon, I went to Atlanta. And I must say that those next five weeks were the best five weeks of my life. The first two weeks while I was in the actual hospital, (and no, it’s not like a mental hospital you see on tv — we didn’t shuffle around the halls in our bathrobes with stringy hair) things were pretty tough. Long sessions with the psychiatrist were so draining. And of course because of my recent health scare, I was seeing the medical doctor on a daily basis. We had group sessions in the hospital, but I was pretty quiet in most of them. I still could not figure out how to talk about my feelings. After all, I had kept them bottled up for 60 years and had to learn how to talk. The kids and Sandra had to come up for a family session and that was Hell — pure Hell. Once I moved to the group house, I pretty much didn’t have a choice to not talk. We stayed in group sessions, group therapy, and individual therapy sessions from 8 until 12 each day and then again from 1 – 5. Dinner at 6 and then from 7 – 9 each night we had to attend either an AA, NA, or an EA (Emotions Anonymous) meeting. Since they had AA meetings 5 times a day, I seemed to gravitate to them. Although at one meeting, I had to confess that I felt guilty feeling so at home there since I really didn’t drink nearly enough to qualify to attend. (I had finally gotten a bit of my humor back, I guess.) Although those were the hardest 5 weeks of my life — full of introspection — those five weeks literally saved me; they gave me a life worth living or at least a roadmap I could follow to find that life. Upon returning home, I was introduced to my miracle worker, Roz. I have spent all these years since leaving Atlanta going to Macon to meet with Roz, talking, crying, cussing, praying, crying some more, and talking some more. In the beginning, I saw her 3 days a week then weaned off and last summer I decided I didn’t need Roz any more. (BIG Mistake) I was able to deal with life and with Betty. Or so I thought. There had been many times during these years when I had fallen back in the hole, when I wanted nothing other than to isolate. Thankfully, Roz understood and talked me out of the hole each time. Sometimes, it took a while to do so, but I finally reached a point where I could see the hole for myself and could avoid it, but, if I wasn’t careful, I’d be looking the other way and fall back in it. I am now always aware that those holes are out there and they are ready to gobble me up if I’m not careful. Thankfully, God knew what he was doing when he made “my Roz”.

Sandra’s death on New Year’s Eve drove me back to Roz. While I guess we all expected it at some point, to me it was just so sudden. There were so many things I still wanted her to know and she was just GONE. How could that be? Losing my younger sister, Sonja, had been Hell, but her death was not drawn out like Sandra’s. I just couldn’t handle it. What in the world was I going to do without Sandra? I know I still have KaKa and am so thankful for that. But Sandra was here in Eatonton and when I’d get down, I knew she was just down the street. After her death, I once again retreated to my deep, dark hole for quite some time. I would try to venture out, only to have panic attacks and become an emotional wreck. Most of the time when I talked to my kids, I would grab that “everything is fine” mask. I didn’t want them to know that I was slipping back into that “I’m just tired of it all and really don’t want to be here” emotional roller-coaster again. I promised myself when I left Atlanta that I would never cause them that pain and embarrassment again and I never wanted to disappoint them again. I knew that if they knew the state I was in, they would be hurt and disappointed. Thank the good Lord for Ash. Not sure why, but she made it a point to come to Eatonton at least once a week for lunch. She was my lifeline and was my cover. I always made sure that I had on the “good Grams” mask so that she could report back to her mom that I was ok. There were several weeks that those lunch dates with Ash were the only times I left the house and pretty much the only time I had any verbal contact with anyone besides Roz. (Poor Roz has certainly earned her pay these first 6 months of 2016.) Of course I still had Bella and that poor little dog has pretty much heard it all. (I guess that’s why I spoil her with a weekly Zaxby’s salad.) I have always been extremely good at the art of isolation and I was isolating, big time. My sweet friends, Dru, Mary Helen, and Gail made sure I checked in with them daily on good old Facebook, but I had no desire to see or talk to anyone. Finally, after a killer session with Roz, I reached the top of the hole and could at least see out of it. It’s been hard, very hard, but I’m slowly digging my way out of the hole again and think that I finally see some sunshine.

When I first came home from Atlanta and started seeing Roz, I was still embarrassed about having been in a mental hospital (that just has such a negative sound and we must do something about that) and for all the suffering I had caused myself and my family. I didn’t know what to say to people when they asked where I’d been — it was so hard to admit that I had some real problems. There were some people who knew where I’d been and they were quick to tell me to keep it a secret. I tried that for a while, but finally reached the point where it was important to me to be truthful about where I’d been and why I’d been there. Through my therapy, I have learned that there is no need to be embarrassed. You know that old saying that people are quick to throw out there — if you had a physical disease, you wouldn’t be ashamed to get medical treatment for it, would you? I’m sick of that saying, but I guess it’s true. I have even become proud of the fact that I have “fixed” myself (even though I had not begun the fix willingly and I really wasn’t “fixed”.) But, I reached a point where I could somewhat talk about what an absolute living Hell depression causes and how dangerous self-loathing is and can proudly say that I am truly a work in progress. Hopefully, this post will help others see that there is a light at the top of the hole and it’s worth the effort to get to the light.

Moving back home to Eatonton was a huge part of my recovery. I had spent 25 years or longer scared to death of Eatonton and all the terrible memories that hid behind every tree here. I had been told by someone close to me that I would never be welcomed back in Eatonton and I believed it. I believed it with every fiber of my being. Moving here was the most frightening thing I had ever done. But, you know what? Eatonton is not that scary. I was welcomed with open arms and have reconnected with friends, made new friends, and have been happy here for the most part. There are still days when I go digging through my closet for my old trusty masks — I feel so safe hiding behind them. “Hello. My name is Betty and I am addicted to masks.” But, I know those masks are not good for me. Some people are addicted to drugs or alcohol. I am addicted to my masks and have become so proficient at wearing them, I can fool people so that they have no idea that the mask is on. Sometimes it’s torture to take it off, but I know I must. I cannot go back to that life of hiding behind them.

Now, I’m sure that some of you are saying, “But, Betty, why didn’t you just trust God? Why didn’t you turn to Him when things got tough?” Believe me, I tried. I tried so many times. But, just as many people claim that they had been let down by the “church”, I used that as an excuse also. I spent many years being scared of God. I had trusted Him and had still lived a life of Hell. Why did He let me live that life? I don’t know the answer to that. But my sweet friend, Luann, sat me down one day and told me to trust her if I couldn’t trust God. “Come to bible study with me, Betty. I won’t let anyone hurt you.” It was hard. Oh, Lord was it hard! But, I slowly began to hear the whispers of God telling me to trust Him. Then, Elaine C. and Rudy H. invited me to come to Liberty Chapel. I remember telling Rudy one time that I didn’t know if I could actually go back into a church and his response was, “Betty, you will receive nothing except LOVE at Liberty Chapel.” And Elaine wouldn’t give up. She constantly texted me, inviting me to come to church. I am so thankful that I finally listened to them and gave it a try. And they were right. I have never received anything except Love. And that has been such a blessing. It is good to have God back in my life and I realize that the hurt I received in the past from the church was their problem, not mine.

One of my biggest problems has always been that I don’t know how to handle it when people are “nice” to me. I’ve never felt that I deserved anyone’s kindness. Isn’t that silly? But, I had spent the first 18 years of my life being told that I was not worthy and I believed it. (I won’t tell you what Roz says to me when I say something like that, but some of you are probably saying the same thing.) I won’t talk about my marriage out of respect for my children, but those 25 years did nothing to break the spell that Dad had cast upon me. Most people yearn for niceness and I try my best to steer clear of it. I’m scared to death of it, to be truthful. I become an emotional wreck and have no idea what to do at that point. I’ve always felt that if someone is nice, they are just faking it until they can figure out how to hurt me. And, yes, I know in my head that all people are not like that, but knowing something in my head and feeling it in my heart don’t always jive. I am trying to overcome those feelings and most of the time, I can talk myself out of the distrust. Hopefully, I will soon reach a point where I can give love and also receive it.

I think my biggest desire is to be able to freely GIVE love without being afraid that I will have to pay the price for it. To me, being able to give love is more important that actually receiving it. I know that even at my lowest point, when I couldn’t even stand myself, there were people out there who loved me. I have loving children and grandchildren who think that the sun rises and sets in their Grams. I have dear, dear friends who have loved me through the bad times. I have a church family who, I believe with all my heart, loves me. The problem is that I don’t love me and because of that, I find it hard to believe that the love I give to others is accepted by them. Maybe once I learn how to give it, I will also receive it with gratitude. I pray for that constantly. I so want to be the real Betty. But, in reality, after all these years, there may not even be a real Betty. I may have to build a new Betty.

I have always yearned for love and acceptance and realize now that one of the reasons that God did not let me die all those years ago was because He wanted me to actually experience it. I can now thank Him for that. I’m not mad at you anymore, God.

Back to the present — I have finally reached a point where I can get back out there again, but it’s hard.  It’s really hard.  There are more times of sunshine and happiness, but they don’t last.  There are times of real clarity when I can see the weaknesses and can see the solutions.  But, those times don’t last either.  I know I told Roz once that it seems as though the bad times are much worse now but I think it’s because I can see how good the good times are.  Back in the day when there was nothing but depression, I was no longer aware of “good” so it fooled me into believing that the “bad” wasn’t really that bad.  That probably makes no sense to any of you, but it makes perfect sense to me.  If I could show it in a graph, you would see many “good” spikes way up there in the 70% – 90% range and then comes along a “bad” dip way down at the 10% – 40% range.  The way down to that dip is just so damn far and it’s so hard to make that climb back up to the good spike.  If you live in either place — the spike or the dip — after a while, it just becomes natural and it is only when you fall again into the bottom of the dip that you realize how absolutely terrible that dip is.  Thankfully, I haven’t hit that 10% dip in many a year, but I always know it’s there and I’m always afraid of it.  I also don’t think I’ve made it above the 90% range either because I’ve never learned to fully trust — be it life, or people, or myself.

A couple of weeks ago, I visited with my Pastor and had a long talk.  I must say that he and his sweet wife were able to set my heart at ease about some of the things that have truly bothered me for so many years.  I don’t think that I’m fully at peace with myself yet, but I do know that my past is not my fault and that God loves me, no matter what.  And that knowledge brings me peace.

So, while it’s been 7 years since I was supposed to have died, I’m still here. I’m aware of the progress that has been made.  I’m aware of the fact that the hole is still there.  I’ve visited the hole several times, but I’ve climbed out each of those times.  I’ve learned a lot. I’ve loved a lot.  I’ve been loved a lot.  I’ve trusted some.  I’ve learned what not to trust.  I’ve still been hurt by others and I’ve been hurt by me.  But, I’m here.  I’m still learning and I’m still trying.  I guess, in the end, that’s what’s important. So, Happy Anniversary to ME.

~~~

THOUGHTS ABOUT MY THOUGHTS:  I dread this day each year because I know it is a day of introspection and that’s always tough.

TODAY’S FEELINGS BAROMETER:  Still dealing with a terrible ear infection or something, but will be seeing my doctor tomorrow so am looking forward to some relief.  The biggest problem (besides the bleeding and the pain) is that I can hear almost nothing.  The roaring and clashing and banging in that ear is driving me pure mad.

~~~ Betty

Depression, Mental Health

And That, My Friends, Is The $64,000 Question…..

Do you remember when you were a child and did something that got you in trouble? Maybe you were chasing your sister through the house and hit a table and knocked off the lamp. As soon as you heard it hit the floor, you knew you were in trouble — big trouble. Your mom or dad would come after you and ask that ridiculous question — “So, young lady, just how many times do I need to tell you not to run in the house?” And they’d stand there and wait for you to answer them. Good gracious. How do you answer a question like that? Do you just stand there and say, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to knock over the lamp.” (I tried that many times and it never went over well.) Or do you get brave like I remember getting one time when dad was raging and answer, “Seven times”?  Let me tell you now that that was not the answer he was wanting. Maybe I should have said, “More than a thousand times” because evidently that’s how many times he had said it to me already and I was still running in the house. I guess I was a slow learner.

Anyway, I finally made it to Macon to see my therapist this week after three long months of not seeing her. It wasn’t that I was staying away on purpose — I was sick and then I got busy with the class reunion stuff and then I spent a week of medical testing and appointments and I just couldn’t get over there. But, whatever the reason, I was finally there. And I was lamenting about the fact that I am still screwed up. I was talking about how I couldn’t forgive myself for being such a screw-up as a kid and then a screw-up as a wife and now I’m just a plain screw-up. Period. After a few minutes, she took a deep breath, looked at me, and said, “Betty, just how long are you going to let your father run your life? When are you going to take your life back? When are you going to forgive yourself and go live the life that you know you should be living?” Well, damn. What was I supposed to say? Do I (as I did) just look at her and say, “I know. I need to let it go.” Or do I look at her as I looked at dad all those years ago and say, “I’m going to do that next Thursday. Or next month. Or in three weeks. Or evidently, never.”

How do you answer that question? That question, to me, is what we used to call the “$64,000 Question.” It’s one of those questions that I have no clue how to answer. How do you decide when enough is enough? I’ve made that decision many times. I’ve decided that enough is enough. I’ve told myself that I didn’t deserve all the crap I got from him and that I was going to let it go. I’ve even said out loud, “This is enough, Betty. Let it go.” And maybe I would for a bit. And then, something else would happen or I’d have a nightmare and wake up remembering it all over again. And, Wham! It’s back! All the feelings of worthlessness. All the pain. All the anger. All the guilt. All the hatred. And I’d have to start over again.  I am so very, very tired of starting over.

She says we are going to work on that question at our next session. That ought to be a fun time, huh? If any of you have any answers for me, please clue me in. How do I let it go? How do I convince my heart that what my head knows (I don’t deserve the pain; it wasn’t my fault; It’s nothing that I did to make him not love me) is correct? How do I make it stick? How do I really and truly forgive — not only him, but myself, also? If any of you have the working answer to that question, I’ll scrounge up the $64,000 for you. You will deserve it!
~~~

THOUGHTS ABOUT MY THOUGHTS:  I so wish I could just go buy a book from Amazon that has the answer to my question.

TODAY’S FEELINGS BAROMETER:  Been a pretty good day.  Talked to my friend, Dennis, tonight and he said I sounded like I was in a better place.  I had to admit that I just had some new, better drugs.  Ain’t that a kick in the rear?

~~~ Betty 

Depression, Family, Mental Health

A Better Man……..A Better Woman

I’m got up this morning already down.  I woke up during the night with an awful, awful headache, finally gave up and got out of bed.  Sat around in a stupor for a while and then I forgot what today was and opened Facebook to a frillion Father’s Day wishes and tributes to all the good fathers out there and dove even deeper into that dreaded hole.  I always feel this way on Father’s Day. I search my heart and try to find a reason to post my own tribute to my father and no matter how hard I try, there just is no reason that I can find. And I always feel guilty for not being able to find a reason.

As I sat here scrolling through the posts, I turned on iTunes and the first song that came up was “A Better Man” by Little Big Town.  While that song is a love song, I find much of it relates to my feelings about my father.  Oh, how I wish he had been a better man.  I wish he had been a man who had not had an addiction to alcohol.  I wish he had been a man who had had the ability to love unconditionally.  I wish he had been a man who had not had the propensity to hit and yell and demean and make me feel as though everything had been my fault.  I wish he had been a man who had realized that all I wanted out of life was for him to love me.  But, he wasn’t that man.

And then, my thoughts turn to my ex.  Although I know that this is a dangerous subject to breach, my thoughts go there anyway.  Oh, how I wish he had been a better man.  I wish he had been a man who had had the ability to love unconditionally.  I wish he had been a man who had not had the propensity to hit and yell and demean and make me feel as though everything had been my fault.  I wish he had been a man who had realized that all I wanted out of life was for him to love me and love all of our children and all of our grandchildren. But, he wasn’t that man.

I know I’m probably better off on my own
Than loving a man who
Didn’t know what he had when he had it
And I see the permanent damage you did to me
Never again, I just
Wish I could forget when it was magic
I wish it wasn’t 4 AM, standing in the mirror
Saying to myself, you know you had to do it
I know, the bravest thing I ever did was RunSometimes, in the middle of the night, I can feel you again
But I just miss you, and I just wish you were a better man
And I know why we had to say goodbye like the back of my hand
And I just miss you, and I just wish you were a better man
A better man

I know I’m probably better off all alone
Than needing a man who could
Change his mind at any given minute
And it’s always on your terms
I’m hanging on every careless word
Hoping it might turn sweet again
Like it was in the beginning

I hold onto this pride because these days it’s all I have
And I gave to you my best and we both know you can’t say that
You can’t say that

Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I can feel you again
And I just miss you when I just wish you were a better man
And I know why we had to say goodbye like the back of my hand
And I just miss you, and I just wish you were a better man

And I wish these things knowing full well that I should have been a better daughter and a better wife.  I was far from perfect in both instances.  My thoughts in both instances had been angry, debilitating thoughts which became angry, debilitating actions.  I wanted so much out of both relationships and worked very hard for many years to make those things come true, but always knew in the back of my mind that both were toxic and finally gave up.  Maybe I should have fought harder in both instances. Maybe I was wrong for giving up on each.  But, maybe I was right in giving up.  Maybe I was right in running from both.

So, for my father and for my ex — Since I know that there is nothing I could have done to have made either of you better men, I must work on making myself a better woman — a woman who always loves unconditionally, a woman who always speaks with love in her tone and in her heart, a woman who never purposefully tries to hurt anyone, a woman who always makes sure that you know how much I love you.  If I can do that, I will be a better woman.  Maybe then, it won’t matter that neither of you were better men.

~~~

THOUGHTS ABOUT MY THOUGHTS:  I despise Father’s Day.

TODAY’S FEELINGS BAROMETER:  Yuk.  Hurry up and get here tomorrow.

~~~ Betty 

 

 

Depression, Family, Mental Health

It Was A Very Good Day

I was able to spend a good part of yesterday with my baby sister, Karen, known to me as KaKa.  It’s been a while since we spent a lot of time with each other and I don’t like that.  I promise to do better.  Anyway, she had to go out to my local hospital for some tests and I met her there.  When she was finished, we decided to go out to the lake for lunch at a Mexican restaurant.  We laughed for a while about what I was supposed to do with the lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream that they had put in a really neat little circle in the middle of my already-cut Quesadillas (I never know what you are supposed to do with that – it’s not a salad and you can’t open the Quesadillas up to put it in them, it’s hard to just pile it on top of the individual slices so, do you just eat it?  I never know how to treat that pile of stuff so I usually just move it around a bit so the server will think that I ate it.).  I know this is far from being politically correct, but I told KaKa I needed to watch one of the Mexicans who worked there eat some so I would understand what to do with it.  After KaKa “ate at” her Chimichangas, we just sat and talked — mostly about  our childhoods.

KaKa is eight years younger than I am and, unfortunately, she doesn’t remember a lot of her childhood.  I left home at the end of my junior year when I was only sixteen which means she was eight and was living an entirely different life than I was living.  She was still a kid, enjoying life and playing with her friends, while I was deep in a raging battle with my father.  I learned that she really had no clue what was going on with us, and for that I am glad.  In a way.  But, of course, I also wish that she could remember the terrible battles in order to validate my memories and my feelings.  For some reason, that validation is still important to me.  I was told so many times by Dad that I didn’t know what I was talking about so I sometimes wonder if he was right.  Did all that really happen to me?  Why did I let it happen?  Why did he let it happen?  Or, more importantly, why did he make it happen?  The more I think about those times, the more confused I become.

The most important thing that happened at that lunch was that KaKa did not judge me. She just listened to me.  And that was what I needed.  In looking at our lunch and the way KaKa just listened, I got a bit of deja-vu.  You see, early yesterday morning, my dear friend, Deanna, posted a poem on Facebook about listening and its importance.  I’m sure you’ve probably read it before, but it’s worth reading again.  Listening is something that is extremely important to all, but is vital to someone filled with doubt, guilt, and with that terrible thing called self-condemnation.

“When I ask you to listen to me
and you start giving me advice,
you have not done what I asked.

When I ask you to listen to me
and you begin to tell me why I shouldn’t feel that way,
you are trampling on my feelings.

When I ask you to listen to me
and you feel you have to do something
to solve my problem, you have failed me,
strange as that may seem.

Listen!
All I ask is that you listen.
Don’t talk or do – just hear me.
Advice is cheap – 20 cents will get you both
Dear Abby and Billy Graham in the same newspaper.
And I can do for myself; I am not helpless.
Maybe discouraged and faltering, but not helpless.

When you do something for me that I can
and need to do for myself,
you contribute to my fear and inadequacy.
But when you accept as a simple fact
that I feel what I feel, no matter how irrational,
then I can stop trying to convince you
and get about this business of understanding
what’s behind this irrational feeling.
And when that’s clear, the answers are obvious
and I don’t need advice.
Irrational feelings make sense
when we understand what’s behind them.

Perhaps that’s why prayer works sometimes
for some people, because God is mute
and He doesn’t give advice or try to fix things.
God just listens and lets you work it out for yourself.

So please listen, and just hear me.
And if you want to talk,
wait a minute for your turn,
and I will listen to you.”

“Listen.” ~~~Anonymous.

Isn’t that what it’s all about?  Listening to others.  Not telling them what to do.  Not telling them how to feel.  Not fixing their problems.  Just be there.  Listen to what they say.  Love them no matter how they feel or no matter what they say.  Just listen.

Kaka did an excellent job yesterday of just listening.  Thank you, little sister, for listening to me.  I love you.

~~~~~

THOUGHTS ABOUT MY THOUGHTS:  The lunch with KaKa was just what I needed.  And the fact that Deanna had posted that poem that very morning was another one of those “signs” that remind me I’m on the right track.

TODAY’S FEELINGS BAROMETER:  I’m tired.  Go figure.  That’s nothing new.  Tired, but optimistic.  Looking forward to church tomorrow and to our local Memorial Day service on Monday.  A dear, dear friend of mine will be making an address and I’m so very proud of him.  We have many things to be thankful for in our country, and our military is right up there near the very top of my list.  Monday will be a day for us to remember those who gave their all.  May they Rest in Peace as we salute their service.

~~~Betty

Depression, Mental Health

A Video That Totally Blew Me Away

Let me first say that I LOVE YouTube.  You can find anything and everything on YouTube.  It started out where I just watched music videos.  Then I moved on to videos about sewing and crocheting.  And then, cooking (as if I still did that –haha).  Then I got hooked on watching court trials — man, there are some good ones on there!  Then, last week a couple of friends and I got to talking about those folded football things that kids used to use in school to write notes on.  I asked them if they remembered how to fold them and nobody did.  Then, it hit me — I was sure that I could find a video on YouTube that showed you how to do it and sure enough, I can now fold paper into those football things.  My life is complete.  HaHa

As I was browsing around one of the channels of a lady, Darlene, who I love to watch sew, I found one of her videos about the anger she had felt when reading some posts about her videos and in receiving mail.  I thought, “What the heck” and began watching.  The beginning of the video was pretty much what I expected, and then — wham, she was talking about ME! Not that I had left a response to her videos, but her feelings about life pretty much were my own feelings.  By the time the video was over, my heart was breaking for her.  I was so sad that she felt the way she does and then I began to wonder why I felt so badly for her, but just thought it was a way of life for me.  That really got me to thinking.

In her video, which is rather long, but so worth watching, she talks about how it’s hard for her to accept the fact that people are nice to her.  Oh boy, did that hit a nerve.  One of the hardest things for me to accept is people being nice to me.  I’ve tried to explain it before to some people and they just look at me like I’m crazy.  I think I’m always waiting for the next shoe to drop and the mean come out.  I usually never see the mean, but I expect it, just the same.  Darlene also talks about how she has been led to believe her entire life that she’s not good enough, that she doesn’t try hard enough, and that her feelings are not real.  Each of those feelings hit home with me, also.  As I’ve said before, I know in my heart that I am good enough, but in my head, there is always that feeling that I’m not.  And my head NEVER turns off.  After years and years of being told that I was not good enough, I sadly came to believe it.

It would take forever for me to explain all the parts of her video that touched me so I won’t try.  Just watch it when you have some time and perhaps it will help you understand why some people are the way they are.  Or at least why I am the way I am.

There are many of us out there who want nothing more than to be accepted just as we are.

~~~~~~~~

Thoughts about my thoughts: I knew as soon as I saw this video that I wanted to share it.  Darlene does an excellent job in explaining how hard it is for some of us to “do” things.

~~~Betty

Depression, Mental Health

Don’t Settle for Scraps!

I ran across a video on Facebook yesterday that really spoke to me.  Many of you may already know of Melissa Radke; I had never heard of her until the video showed up on my newsfeed.  She is a singer, writer, blogger, public speaker, and serves as the Worship Pastor at Lufkin First Assembly in Lufkin, TX.  And she is awesome.

In this video, Melissa speaks of a Bible Study that she is teaching — “Uninvited” by Lysa TerKeurst.  I’m slowly working my way through this online bible study that deals with depression, self-worth, feeling unloved, and rejection.  I’ll admit, I haven’t been working in the book for the past couple of weeks but I think seeing this video is another one of those “God Conspiracies” that have been popping up in my life recently.  I think it’s time to get the book back out and finish it.

If you think you may be interested in this, here’s the link to Proverbs31 Ministries where you will find the products.  Here is what Lysa says about her book, “Uninvited“.

uninvited_cover_front_large

“Rejection steals the best of who I am by reinforcing the worst of what’s been said to me.”

In Uninvited, Lysa leans in to honestly examine the roots of rejection, as well as rejection’s ability to poison relationships from the inside out, including our relationship with God.

With biblical depth, gut-honest vulnerability, and refreshing wit, Lysa will help you:

  • Stop feeling left out by believing that even when you are overlooked by others you are handpicked by God.
  • Change your tendency to either fall apart or control the actions of others by embracing God-honoring ways to process your hurt.
  • Overcome the two core fears that feed your insecurities by understanding the secret of belonging.

Uninvited reminds us we are destined for a love that can never be diminished, tarnished, shaken, or taken—a love that does not reject or uninvite.

If you are battling depression and rejection, and if you have been known to settle for scraps (I have been known to be guilty of this), this is a fabulous video and bible study.

Click the link below to see Melissa’s video about “Uninvited.”  Melissa is down-to-earth, funny, and certainly seems to be filled with the love of God.

Melissa Radke – Don’t Settle for Scraps

 

THOUGHTS ABOUT MY THOUGHTS:  How excited I was to run across this video! It truly spoke to my heart.  Please take the time to watch it.  It can do nothing but fill your heart.

TODAY’S FEELINGS BAROMETER:  Been a lazy day.  Still trying to get my neck and arm to work properly for me.  Seeing the neurologist on Friday so I’m hoping for an easy fix (and that’s plumb funny because after having two fusions already, I know what the answer is, but with enough prayer, maybe I’ll be wrong.) Also have an appointment set up with ENT for Monday.  Who knows?  Within a week, I may be a moving, hearing woman again!  Woo Hoo!  For all you young chicks and guys out there, be proud that everything still works for you.  Old age ain’t for sissies!

~~~Betty