Depression, Mental Health

One Moment So Free……..

When I write that my goal for this blog is to let others know that they are not alone, I am being very honest.  That is my goal.  However, it has also been my lesson.  I learn a little more each time I read a message from someone.  I treasure those messages that tell me I am not alone, that you, too, struggle.  I don’t treasure them because I WANT someone else to suffer, but treasure them because I often feel that I am, indeed, the only one who does. And these messages assure me that I am not alone.  It is vital for each of us to know that we are not alone.

I received a message this morning from a dear friend in which she talked about her journey through depression. She wrote such a powerful statement, one that I feel so very often.  She wrote, “I am going through the “these are the seminal moments in my life that caused shame” in therapy.  And it is so liberating but so damned hard.  One moment so free. And the next plunged back into darkness.”  Oh, how I relate to that statement!

One of the most frustrating things (and there are many) about my depression is that there is just so much about its anatomy that I don’t understand.  I don’t understand how someone can be intelligent enough to realize that our thoughts are merely in our heads and that we can change these thoughts at a moment’s notice, but that I cannot do that. There are many people who have mastered this technique.  My friend, Luann, knew how to do this.  I don’t.  She was so very good about cleaning out her thought closet.  I try. Lord, how I try.  But, the moment that I stop actively trying, the dark thought is back there again. And it is gnawing at my soul.  I hear this thought spoken in my head that says, “You are unworthy” and I agree with it.  Then, I stop and tell myself “Betty, that is so untrue. You are a good person.  You have a loving heart.  You have worked hard and been productive.  You have raised three beautiful, intelligent, hard-working children. You have wonderful friends who care for you.  You have done good things in your life.”  And I do believe all those things — so for a fleeting moment, I feel better about myself.  But THEN, that thought comes back that says, “Ahhhh, those things may be true, BUT you are still unworthy.”  And I immediately believe that message again.  What is it, exactly, that I must do to become worthy?  To myself?  In my own head and heart?  So that I can actually believe it?  I can easily justify the reasons that the voice is wrong.  But, I just can’t believe that it is wrong.  If something has been drilled into your head for years and years and years, is there ever a way in which to believe that it is wrong?  It can become such a vicious cycle in which I constantly fight those voices and I have yet to learn how to stop the cycle. As my friend said in her message, “One moment so free. And the next plunged back into darkness.”  That, to me, is the worst part about depression. I can feel so good one moment, and the next, be plunged back into that darkness.  I pray that I will learn how to stop the darkness.  It is hell.

~~~ 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

Trying Is Just So Darn Hard

“I’d rather be a could-be if I cannot be an are; because a could-be is a maybe who is reaching for a star, I’d rather be a has-been than a might-have-been, by far; for a might have-been has never been, but a has-been was once an are.” ~ Milton Berle, American Comedian and Actor

Are you an “are”?  Sometimes I don’t think I am.  But, that’s part of my illness.  In my head, I know I’m an “are”.  I know that I’m important in the lives of some.  I know that I have been a “could-be” and I have been a “maybe” who has reached for that star.  I have caught a few stars in my lifetime and they were bright and beautiful stars.  But, I tend to forget those stars at times.  I tend to reach a point where I forget that there are still stars out there.  They are mine for the picking.  I just need to try a little harder.  It just becomes so tiresome to always have to be the one reaching.  I long for someone to bring me a darn star every once in a while.  That would be nice.

For those who battle depression, the fear of “trying” is sometimes overwhelming.  Rather than step out of our superman cape and take off our mask, we will stay covered up, for we are sure that’s the safest thing for us to do.  Safety is paramount for us.  Constantly “trying” is just too risky.  But what if we try?  What harm can come to us?  Will we be ridiculed?  Will we be blamed?  Will we be put down?  The truth is – maybe we will be.  But, maybe we won’t be.  Maybe we will succeed.  Maybe we will be good at it.  Maybe it will be fun.  But, “trying” means that we have to step out of our own heads, take off our masks, remove our superman capes, and we have to get out there.  That is the hard part – getting out there.

The idea of stepping out for someone with depression is not something we do easily.  For many people, stepping out may mean going zip-gliding or parachuting from an airplane.  Stepping out for us may mean something as simple as going to a baby shower for a family member.  My goodness, there are going to be people there who we don’t know.  What if they can just look at us and see that we are not like them?  What if we say something wrong?  What if we find a seat and just not interact with others?  Will they know that we are terrified of them?  What if we start thinking about how we were happy once upon a time – back when we had our first baby?  If we do that, we may start crying.  What will people think of us then?  What if the mom-to-be doesn’t like our gift?  What if everyone there is prettier than we are?  What if there is a family member there who has done something to hurt us in the past?  Will we be able to be polite to that person?  What if they say something to us to hurt our feelings again?  What if we decide we just can’t do it?  Will our family members be mad?  What if…what if…what if?  Our mind is full of what ifs!  By the time it’s time for the shower, we have worked ourselves into such a tizzy, it’s almost impossible to go.  Sadly, for many of us, the temptation to stay home wins out in the end.  We once again choose to not go to another function.  Our lives are full of functions that we have not attended because of our fears.  We have, once again, denied ourselves the possibility of having fun because of the fears that swirl in our heads.  And that, my friends, is a shame.  And we know it.  But, we stay home anyway.

So, how do we solve this problem?  Honestly, I don’t know yet.  There are many functions I don’t attend because of these fears.  For those functions that I just can’t avoid, I dig out a mask, suffer through the panic attack, and then go.  I do the best I can while there and then collapse upon returning home.

My biggest fear is in going back to the town where I lived for 25 years, where my children were raised and where one of my children still lives.  For years, the thought of going there would bring forth huge panic attacks – shaking hands, racing heart, and even having to pull over to throw up before I reached the county line.  It’s not that bad now, but I still have those thoughts running through my head with the mere mention of going there.  And that is so unfair to my grandchildren who live there.  And I know it.  And I can’t get over the fear.  And I hate it.  Hate it.  Hate it.  Someone asked me once what I was afraid would happen if I went there.  I’m not afraid that anything will happen TO me.  I think I’m afraid that all those terrible feelings and thoughts will come back to me and I don’t think I’m strong enough to fight those thoughts again.  I truly believe that a person is allowed just so many fights in their lifetime and I’m afraid that my fight quota is real close to its limit.  My daughter and I spoke about this fear a couple of weeks ago.  She hears my fears, but I know that she is hurt by my inability to visit often and that saddens me.  I so want this to change.

I do know that being retired and living alone makes things harder.  If you are not around a lot of people, you become used to isolation.  I was just thinking, “here it is, 3:33 pm, and I have not used my voice today.”  Sometimes, I long to just hear someone else’s voice.  And, yes, I know that my telephone works both ways.  I can always call one of my children or my granddaughter to talk.  But, I always worry that they are busy and don’t really have time to talk, so I wait for them to call me.  I just wish there was someone “here” to talk to.  But, that’s not true, either.  I cringe at the thought of being around someone all the time.  I guess I just want someone when I want someone.  Kind of greedy, huh?  Oh, well, that’s me.  I guess I’ll go talk to my dog now just to hear my voice.

One day, I will have the nerve or desire to get back out there.  I wish it would hurry up and come.  I hear there are some stars that need catching.

THOUGHTS ABOUT MY THOUGHTS:  Thinking about my wants, desires, and fears makes me feel extremely vulnerable.  Thinking about isolation makes me feel safe.  Sharing with others about my vulnerability and fears is such a strange thing to me.  I am still having a hard time sharing.

TODAY’S FEELINGS BAROMETER:   Headache is back.  Feeling crappy, both physically and emotionally.

~~~ Betty