Inspire ME - R.I.P. Robin Williams... Depression it's an internal war!
In light of the latest news of the apparent suicide of Robin Williams, I find myself blogging. Not of him entirely but of the sickness that took his life. Notice how I wrote 'took'.
I have seen comments all over news, social media and even email using the words coward, selfish and/or inconsiderate. That could not be further from the truth and Robin Williams is the best example of that. May he rest in peace... finally in peace.
Depression by definition is a severe despondency and dejection, typically felt over a period of time and accompanied by feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy.
Depression by realistic definition is the feeling of doom and gloom. Even on the sunniest days what you see and feel are clouds and pending storm. You don't want to feel that way, you can't control it. If you are lucky it will pass quickly. Luck rarely cares. Even moving seems futile.
Robin Willams was described as a force of nature, joyful, generous and loved by many. He was the one that made Christopher Reeves laugh after his injury. He was the man that gave the best interviews and brought humor along like a well worn coat. That is not the description of a coward. To fight, I mean seriously do emotional battle for decades... that takes courage.
I know depression well, we are fr-enemies. Actually depression is my enemy but depression sees me as a friend. My commute along with personal and professional trials and tribulations left no room for fighting depression. I had not felt it before and it is a fight for the last seven years. The last 3 have been pretty good and it wasn't a single thing that helped but many.
Depression is sneaky, it hides. It is always lurking and just when you think it is gone, poof... it makes an appearance.
The worst of it were the following types of thinking. Those that would say things like
Don't think about it
Find out what is bothering you and fix the problem and the 'sadness' will go away
It's all in your head
Why didn't you call me? (Usually these people will lose patience if you do call)
Get medicated my (pick a family member) takes (pick an antidepressant) and it works
Oh, she has so much drama
She's just negative
She can't handle life
Into the second year of it I began to wake up and feel like waking was such a waste. Most especially during the week when trapped in one of 3 trains to get to work. One particular morning I was livid that I didn't die in my sleep. At that point I had no choice but admit to myself I had a serious problem. I did not self diagnose depression, I self diagnosed bat-shit-crazy. I went to the Dr. and said as much. Doc I'm going bat-shit-crazy. The tears flowing ever so quickly and without stopping.
He sat on the small rolling chair, rolled closer and grabbed both my hands. He said, tell me exactly when this started and exactly how you feel. Once I did his words crushed me. You are chronically depressed, we will need to medicate and monitor you.
Me??? The one that laughs like a hyena? The person that reads, writes and repeats positive inspiration? I went for a second opinion. Same results.
I hated taking the medications, at first I was a walking zombie. But with time and patience I was able to not only get a grip but to actually feel and see when the depression was coming. The meds slowed me down enough to realize that I needed to slow down. As if all of that was not enough I had to hide it. Put on a facade at work, with family and friends. More exhaustion! The meds slowed me down enough to realize that I needed to slow down.
I haven't been on the medications for a long while but I have them handy nonetheless. I have battled and won the fight with cancer, domestic abuse and many other life or emotional turmoil but only depression made me want to give up. I mean how can you fight what you don't see?
Here is a better way to put it. You don't want to die, you want to make it stop and sometimes you begin to think the only way is to die. That's not cowardice that's an internal war. You can't think about anything else but fighting depression away.
What internal war do you fight that puts your very life in danger?
I read somewhere how he must not have had people helping or supporting him. People can't help you with your depression. It is an internal fight that your brain has and leaves the rest of you exhausted and feeling depleted. Distractions are only temporary you will eventually have to face it and fight.
For crying out-loud, if depression can beat a man that made millions laugh, gave from his heart and soul then that in and of itself should be clear what an internal battle this really is.
I am thankful for:
The medications even though I hate them
The man on FB in Ireland who DJ's in a gospel radio station
The co-workers that make me laugh in spite of how I feel, those from the past and present
My best friend... always know when to hug, be silent and love
My very selective social media friends who don't even know how their posts inspire me
My Uncle and Aunt - Serenity
My sister and her kids
My son and his girlfriend
Some of which didn't even know.
But most of all I am thankful for the strength I have to fight. I know all too well how many times I did not have it and needed a combination of the above to get some. Now I don't hide it, I rather inform people. My new battle... beating ignorance. There are no meds for that.
Don't be so judgmental. Be informed. Stop saying 'I don't believe in that' or 'in my day we didn't have that'. Guess what? You did, you just didn't know it had a name. It wasn't all 'crazy'.
Thank you, Robin Williams for all the courageous years you gave us with a laugh in tow. How I wish you could have won the fight.
It's my lot in life..... OH HELL NO!
It's my lot in life. I hadn't realized how much I would say this on a daily basis. Until I began a journey to find a way to stop some horrible nightmares.
The nightmares were consistent and so bad that I began not only sleeping with the lights on but lighting candles as well. I would take a double dose of Melatonin and sometimes even a shot of scotch. I felt alone, terrified and as though even my spirit had left me. It was time... after a couple of decades it was just time to go home. To the place where the incense would make me tranquil, the echo that is heard when one walked, whispered or even remained silent. It was time to go to church.
The religion did not matter, I just wanted... no needed to go home, to sit in peace and be one with God. I chose Catholic church because my happiest times in life when as a child was when I walked to Church. St. Mary's in Hoboken. I miss that church but I was not traveling to Hoboken and stressing while getting to a church.
In those visits I would go early before the mass would start and just sit in the silence, most times the church was empty and parishioners would start coming in just a few minutes before the scheduled mass. I needed that time to empty my mind of chaos, intolerance, impatience and worry. I would listen to the sermons feeling as though each one was meant for me. At times I would listen to Joel Osteen and the combination gave me some lessons of myself.
I learned a few things
- I really believed what was going on in my life was my lot in life
- I was not only letting the negativity surrounding me seep in, I was floating on it as if I could survive it
- I really had reached an all time high of intolerance
- I am not just existing I am doing so like Ground Hog Day movie
- I had become a recluse and did not even realize it
- I knew deep inside this was not the real me and I didn't like who I had become
- I had to change and I had to do it PRONTO!
I had gotten into a situation that was totally against my character, against my very grain and even though I got out of it, the fact I did it still tormented me. It was nothing illegal, just something I would never think of myself as being the person to do.
I had realized that I was now 7 years in a commute that had deteriorated my health, energy, frame of mind and even peace of heart. I had accepted that as my lot in life.
I was truly alone. Not just lonely but alone. I had accepted that as my lot in life as well.
The nightmares subsided, I began to to take stock of myself. The first thing I did was STOP saying this is my lot in life.
This is NOT my lot in life, this is but a phase no matter the length, it is a phase and I am almost at the end of it. There is not only a light at the end of the tunnel but it is sunlight and I can smell the fresh air and feel the summer breeze which tells me I am close.
I am not unlucky, I am filled with luck. No matter how many times I have fallen and sprained something this past few years... I have gotten up and healed. On my hungriest days where even a dollar is hard to come by somehow, someway luck happens and I am not hungry, well fed and able to pay the bills.
If I keep lingering on the bad things I tend to forget that they pass. That I survived. That I am filled with a blessing of luck, prosperity, health and peace of mind.
It is incredible how when you find peace in your heart the very people that surround you want to diminish it. That is not my lot in life either. That is THEIR lot in life. I will continue to seek peace, whether it be a return trip home, a peaceful walk in a park or writing a letter to an old friend or acquaintance to share a thought.
I was meant for greater things and while I am still able to walk this earth, I shall continue to strive to achieve them.
In a short while I shall go to another home, upstate, where tranquility seeps in and love surrounds me. I am so lucky!!!!
Bringing Faith home
Chaos no more
Since June I have done just that. I took a huge step back and just stood there so to speak. I looked at my life as if I were outside looking in. I took the time, the little time I have to myself and used it to read, think and at times just be.
The first thing I noticed was that faith in its entirety was missing. I noticed I replaced it for the security of false friendships, love and the mere fact that I was just existing. The fact that I haven't updated my personal website of stories and poetry says it all.
I noticed I wrapped the little energy and time I had to please others. Even though I had things that needed to get done or rest that my body longed for, I would travel and visit people. I would push myself to do things and slowly then rapidly my mind, body and soul just gave up.
It took a very disastrous night of Pinot Grigio, green grapes and cookies for me to literally wake up. I woke the following morning with a purpose so mightily I didn't look back.
A Texan with inspiration and a positive note
You see, I would see this man on TV and mock him. I would hear a word here or there of him and sneer.
I tell people all the time that God has a sense of humor and sometimes it's a bit sick. I appreciate that for two reasons. 1. He made me the same way. 2. Sometimes humor is the only way to get through to me.
It didn't really begin with Joel, it began with a Monk and his book Anger (Thich Naht Hahn). I read that book which caused me to pause further and accept the fact that I needed to just be in the moment. Soon after I was home feeling very sick and I had left the TV on for sound. Joel Osteen was on, I hadn't the energy to change the channel.
He spoke of seasons, saying so and much more. I listened. I understood. I had a purpose and it was called Inspire ME. I lacked inspiration. I even lacked the faith to have inspiration.
I went online and purchased his book #BREAKOUT I downloaded it to my phone as part of my music list. Every few songs I would be surprised to hear him come on and give a sermon. I would listen intently and I found myself...... praying. Something I had stopped doing as well.
I looked in the mirror one morning and said 2013 is MY YEAR. Within a week I had cut my hair, changed the color and began looking at my past. Not in scrutiny rather in victory. In order to get past what I was going through I had to remind myself all the things I had overcome. That Joel guy, he speaks plain and simple, I needed that basic language.
I wasn't looking for a new me. I actually love me. I just felt tired of not being the me that loved change, progress and motivation. A lengthy commute can suck the life out of you. It's time to struggle with that straw and get my life back. AHORA!
Cleaning the closet
I learned that the 'friends' I had really didn't care. They gave the politically correct momentary words of condolences but it stopped there. As a matter of fact, they were for the most part impatient that weeks or a couple of months later I was still devastated. I took a long hard look into my closet of friends. Spring cleaning was in order and it just happened to be spring.
By the time I was done with the closet, there were many, many empty hangers. There was one friend, one pen pal and one confidant. It was a very long and lonely time thereafter. But it taught even to this day to be careful of who to call a friend. The word friend is used much too casually.
Recently, this past summer actually, I found myself in the same spot. I had not learned my lesson after all. Although the closet was not as full as the first time, it definitely had some outdated, selfish and manipulative friends hanging about. The cleaning for the most part was smooth save for one. For the person was my best friend as well. That one still hurts, not as badly today but still.
STOP in the name of love
Negative me, GET OUT! Faithless me, GET OUT! Naysayer me, GET OUT! Settle for less me, GET OUT! Doormat me, GET OUT! As Joel's sermon said, I'm ready to #BREAKOUT.
I became so strong, so positive so faithful that when a pretty horrible event came about recently. For the most part, I was calm. I was reasonable. I am dealing. I chose one friend to cry on the shoulder of and that friend did not disappoint. There was no judgement, no opinion, no advice. Just a shoulder. It was all I needed, well and a tissue.
I chose one friend to write it all out to. The venting session. It was a few days later when I re-read what I sent, that it hit me. I was still faithless.
I don't just believe that it will all work out, I am already thankful that it will.
As I wrote to past acquaintance a while ago, who would have thought a Buddhist would heal me? I also, would now add, who would have thought a Texan Pastor would give me the map to find my own faith?
I spent the summer inspiring ME for a change. I am now well prepared to inspire YOU.