Depression hits.. Now what? Love yourself!


Until you’ve found pain, you won’t reach the cure

Until you’ve given up life, you won’t unite with the supreme soul

Until you’ve found fire inside yourself, like the Friend,

You won’t reach the spring of life.

Rumi ♥

hhhhhhh

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Last week I came out of the closet with my post: Let The Truth be Known:  I Suffer from Depression  I acknowledge the myths about depression seeking to help those who do not suffer from this mental illness understand just a bit more, and to furthermore relate to those who do.  The same day, I noticed this post opened doors to many of you who have had depression or are still fighting it.. writing letters and comments which warmed my heart. To you I say thanks!

This week I want to talk about the beacon which keeps me on top of things. The little light inside me which flickers the fire to stay focused on my healing. It is not easy, at times, when I wake up at 4am in sheer panic, like I did this week, wondering what the hell is happening? The wheels of life start turning so fast in my brain that I cannot fall back to sleep… It is quite scary.

However, I am reminded of how a mother loves her child. Being so close to my mother and my children, I realized this week, if only I can love myself like mom loves me, or how I love my children. So I set out to find words of comfort when I feel like the world is spinning. I ask myself “What would my mom say to me now?” or “What would I be telling my children?”

While researching this post, I found an article online: Self-Compassion: Treating Yourself As You’d Treat a Good Friend by Kristen Neff. She defines self compassion (after studying Buddhist writings) as: kindness, common humanity and mindfulness.

She writes:

  • Self-kindness refers to the tendency to be supportive and understanding with ourselves rather than harshly critical or judgmental. Instead of tearing ourselves to shreds when we fail or make a mistake, we soothe and comfort ourselves, providing the caring concern needed to try again.
  • Common humanity involves recognizing that all humans are imperfect. It allows us to connect our own flawed condition to the shared human condition so that we can have a greater perspective on our personal shortcomings and difficulties.
  • Mindfulness can be defined as the clear seeing and acceptance of what is occurring in the present moment. It involves being aware of one’s painful feelings in a balanced manner so that one neither ignores nor exaggerates personal suffering.

These 3 self-care tools are what I have implemented in my healing, along with therapy, medication and support.

These things often shed light on the situation I am going through and help me stay grounded in my personal space. So when I am having a panic attack, instead of trying to run away from it, which is often the case during panic attacks, I first drink a very tall cold glass of water (something my mom would tell me to do), then I speak to myself in ways that are soothing: ie:  “You’re ok!! This too shall pass”. I may also reach out on the phone or online to seek support during the crisis, and then stay grounded by following mindfulness techniques like meditating on my feet!! Feeling my feet on the ground, really helps me regain consciousness during an attack!

I have plenty of self-care tools to run too, thus I think its important for those suffering from depression to seek out those beacons of light to help in the healing process. We are not alone!

Concluding today’s post, Kristen Neff writes:

“…the more you’re able to admit the pain of being a limited human being and accept this fact with kindness and equanimity, the more you’ll be able to heal your pain. By soothing and comforting yourself, just as a caring mother soothes and comforts her child when he or she is hurt, you will be able to rebound from setbacks more quickly. You will have the emotional resources needed to take on new challenges and reach your full potential. Beating yourself up doesn’t help anyone — least of all yourself.”

I totally agree! This is new for me too.. so the next time you are so bummed out your body is riddled with fear? What mothering technique could you do to self-comfort in a loving way?

Note: You can find more information on the writings of Kristen Neff by following the link to her site: www.self-compassion.org she has written a book entitled: Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind

Blessings of love,

ooo

Let The Truth Be Known: I am clinically depressed


As the darkness started overshadowing the light.. I knew it was time to admit there was something wrong.. something very very wrong…  Kim 

2 years ago, I fell to my knees.. I was in the shower getting ready for work and for a moment everything stopped .. I couldn’t hold on any longer..  I dropped in fear.. calling my partner for help. This was the beginning of a long rollercoaster ride to myself… and I am still riding!

I am writing this post today because I think the world needs a crash course in depression. It affects many of us, men, women, children and teens.. yet I feel there is still a stigma attached to it. Those who have never experienced depression, cannot understand the challenges our minds and bodies experience. Not all people share the same symptoms of depression, and to the eyes of some, a depressed person can be judged as lazy or just fearful. This is not truth. The truth is, depression is an illness and there are several symptoms attached to it.

Here are some of my symptoms:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty doing ordinary things like: showering, getting out the door to do groceries, reading, focusing, even doing the dishes can be a HUGE mountain to me.
  • Anxiety and panic (borderline agoraphobic)
  • Ruminating and worrying (a gazillion things go through my mind)
  • Crying, hyperventilating
  • Not recognizing myself in the mirror (self-image)

According to Deborah Grey, in her article, Top 10 Depression Myths Debunked, she states: “For all the misconceptions about clinical depression, it seems that there’s a depression myth for every truth — and this makes it difficult to get a real sense of the illness and its capacity to be treated.

Perhaps part of the problem stems from our vocabulary for moods and mental illness: We use “depression” to describe so many ranges of experience that the meaning of clinical depression can get lost in the mix. Furthermore, because simple bad moods are a universal experience, many people think if they’ve had the blues, they know all about depression.”

Judge of your natural character by what you do in your dreams. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

In the past couple of months I’ve been judging myself! These are the old tapes which run through my mind trying to tell me I am lazy (for not working) I am slow, and if I could just “snap out of it” all will be ok. However, depression doesn’t work that way. Lately (due to the onset of the meds) I’ve been reading EAT, PRAY, LOVE by Elizabeth Gilbert, I really love the way she explains her depression, and I want to share a few excerpts here.

“When you are lost in the woods, it sometimes takes you a while to realize that you are lost. For the longest time, you can convince yourself that you’ve just wandered a few feet off the path, that you’ll find your way back to the trailhead any moment now. Then night falls again and again, and you still have no idea where you are, and it’s time to admit that you have bewildered yourself so far off the path that you don’t even know from which direction the sun rises anymore…. “

She continues:

“I took on my depression like it was the fight of my life, which, of course, it was. I became a student of my own depressed experience, trying to unthread its causes…. …. What a large number of factors constitute a single human being! How very many layers we operate on, and how very many influences we receive from our minds, our bodies, our histories, our families, our cities, our souls and our lunches!! I came to feel that my depression was probably some ever shifting assortment of all those factors, and probably also included some stuff I couldn’t name or claim. So I faced the fight at every level.

And here is where I am at: (same time frame: 2 years)

“The last thing I tried, after about two years of fighting this sorrow, was medication. If I may impose my opinions here, I think it should always be the last thing you try..” she continues “Those drugs were part of my bridge to the other side, there’s no question about it, but I wanted to be off them as soon as possible.”

The part can never be well unless the whole is well.  ~Plato

I could excerpt more, because I totally identify with this whole discussion on depression in this book! I felt as if I was her. The truth is, this part of the book, confirmed I did the right thing by starting on the meds. I want to Attraversiamo (Lets cross over) to the other side of the bridge!

So as much as I would like to say to my friends and family: Please be patient with me… What I really need is to be patient with myself. I need to give myself as much love, compassion and gentleness at this time.. because frankly, depression sucks!!! I wish it would just disappear, and I can continue to move forward better, stronger and faster! Yet, it is not the will of God right now. My choices may have led me to here (but I know there are medical factors involved too) and I must make myself no 1 right now. Moving forward, always, today getting out the door to go shopping is moving forward.. cooking dinner = moving forward, taking a bath = moving forward, writing a blog post = moving forward. This is NOW! My now.

Thus I am

Kim

Continue reading here:

Getting naked!


God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose.

Take which you please – you can never have both.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

It’s not easy to speak the truth.  When you are having a very bad day and someone, an acquaintance, asks:  “Hey, how are you doing?” Your first instinct would be to reply “Fine thanks. You?”  At that moment your mind starts to think for itself.  “You are not fine, darn it, you feel like crap!”  Why do we ever speak the truth when someone asks “Are you ok?”  Instead of replying fine, why don’t we say “Hey, NO, I’m not ok, I feel like shit and I want to crawl under a rock”?  Wouldn’t that be more authentic?

Obviously in society, we are conditioned to save those crappy moments in our lives for our loved ones.  We obviously do not want to look like “the drama queen of the office” or come off as “negative”, but sometimes I think if we really acknowledged how we felt.. Wouldn’t speaking the truth be cleansing?

Since this summer,  my theme is truth.  I’ve been walking around with my truth stone (Yes! I have a truth stone like the one in the picture above)  to remind me to tell myself the truth and not hide so much under a mask.  No no.. I do not go around town telling the milkman of my recent separation etc.. but I did catch myself telling the school’s crossing guard!!

The conversation looked like this:

Crossing guard:  “Hi, how are you?  Did you move?  I notice you come from the opposite direction now.”

Me:  “Yes, I moved down towards 20th avenue.  I’m separated. Back to being a single mom again!”

Notice how I threw in “I’m separated” and “single mom” in that answer! I’m sure you did!! I could have left it at 20th avenue.  Yet I have this tendency to want to gain sympathy I guess?  If I am speaking the truth here… isn’t that what I am doing by throwing in “I’m separated” into the conversation.  Maybe, maybe not. It really doesn’t matter.  What matters is that I am aware of this and that I know that its ok to need sympathy now, however, maybe not from the milkman himself! In my defence, I’ve known this crossing guard for at least 9 years. She helped my children cross the street every day when we lived on 14th, so openly declaring my recent separation, to me, means that I trust her and she is familiar.  Thus, I admit, I probably did need an acknowledgement, a tap on the shoulder, or a “its ok, you are strong!” kind of response.

Speaking the truth, removing the mask, taking off all my clothes (not literally phewf!)  leaves me feeling vulnerable, very vulnerable.  However, if I keep the mask on, I will be doing exact thing I cannot stand (Scorpio me):    Saying: “I’m fine” when obviously (I can tell right away ) you are feeling quite sad or angry!   It is hard for me to ignore when someone is feeling low.  Yet I have learned over the years, to let the person be once I have asked once “Are you ok”.  I am not a pro at it yet.  I sometimes drive my daughter crazy with this.  She tells me “Its ok mom” and I return and say: “Are you sure?”.   By then I have received the “teenage glare” that no mom can ignore.

I tore myself away from the safe comfort of certainties through my love for truth– and truth rewarded me. ~Simone de Beauvoir

Truthfully speaking, am I ok?  No, not always.  I’m I going to be ok?  Yes, eventually.  There are times when I am perfectly ok.  I am ok with my apartment, I am ok with my children, I am ok with my hair (on some days) I am ok with my goals… and yes, sometimes I still find joy in the little things and I still can laugh!  However, there are just some things I need to accept.  That will come in time.

If there is one thing I have learned from this process I am working on, which is:  breaking a lifetime of old habits, is that it is painful, it is a challenge, it is like digging a deep hole to go find some archeological relic which will eventually open my eyes to my past.  I can choose to dust off this piece and carefully look at it, appraise it and see its worth, or I can leave it where it came from and move on to the next piece.  I may also discover a whole new historical world there, which may be the discovery of the century!!

What I know for sure is:  delving into my history to find the “truth” and break the cycle of abuse will be the most loving, compassionate, caring, amazing thing I can do for myself right now. 

Truthfully!!!

21 days


They say (and I really never found out who “they” are) it takes 21 days to create a new habit.  It takes 3 weeks to settle into a new way, a change, a transformation of sorts.  A couple of months ago, I blogged about my truth, that I was looking for my new place in order to begin a new adventure.

When the time came to move out of my life and into this new one.  I was so excited.  I was counting down the days to freedom, and boy oh boy I couldn’t wait!  I would finally be free!! … I had no clue what I was going to face once in my new place, yet I was so sure it would be much much better than where I was..  Yet, to my surprise I was faced with something even more scary:  Myself!!!

Don’t get me wrong, my new place is great!  It’s clean, fresh, and full of light.  We established our space, the children and I, and finally got to the point that YES, this feels like home.  Yet, something inside of me was screaming!  With no internet, limited cell phone use, and no cable tv.  I had no place to escape from what was going on inside me.  My support system online was gone, and my family and friends had limited time for me.  My adult mind understood that, however, inside of me I was angry, hurt and felt so alone.

I tried different ways to ease the discomfort I was feeling.  For one,  I started buying the newspaper (something I haven‘t done for many years) but I couldn’t sit still long enough to read it or do the crosswords (although the crosswords did become a good distraction week 1 and 2).  My stomach was in knots from the moment I woke up until I went to sleep.  The movement in me felt dark and cold and I thought I was going crazy.  Literally!

Speak the truth to yourself about what you feel, about what you need, about what you see, about what you want. So many of us don’t tell ourselves the truth. We don’t speak the truth into our spirits. And then we can’t understand why there’s so many dishonorable things going on in our lives. This is about you and your voice and your truth.  Iyanla Vanzant

One day, after calling a local health center for help, I was put on a waiting list for therapy, yet thought to myself:   “How can I wait 2 and a half months when I need help NOW?!!!”  I was determined not to take “wait” for an answer.  So, the next morning I followed an instinct I had previously to go to the community center.  I put my coat on and walked across the street, opened their door and walked right in.  I was in tears when Sylvia (a kind woman) greeted me and she asked how she could help.  I wanted to know if there were any support groups for separated/divorced people.  She led me into her office and listened with a gentle ear.  I felt welcomed, I knew right there and then I walked into the right place.

Sylvia, referred me to a licenced life coach/psychotherapist, who called me that night to set up an appointment for the next day.  I was so relieved.  I went promptly the next morning and she greeted me with love.  We immediately set goals for myself, but most importantly, she listened to me, she valued me and acknowledged me.  That was exactly what I needed.  To be seen and heard!!!  She also urged me to keep contact with my online friends, however, I didn’t know how since I didn’t have access to internet very often. So I got creative and asked two of my online friends if they would be so kind as to keep my company through texting.  They accepted and I felt even more connected spiritually to them and the outside world.  Thanks Ladies!!

Being unplugged for 21 days was a gift in disguise, it helped me face the darkness I was experiencing to an intensity that I couldn’t handle, which led me to seek help (thus the reason it is important to seek help when your gut is telling you, mine told me years ago).   I am now taking responsibility for my life, and facing my truths.. YES ALL OF THEM! One at a time.

In order to do this, I must be kind and gentle with myself.  Right now I am reading In The Meantime by Iyanla Vanzant (for the 4th time) yet, every time I read it, I work on something even more deep.  This week I was reading this passage which is extremely powerful:

She writes:

“With the old you gone and the new you emerging:  when you find yourself in a situation similar to one you faced in the past, you can create a new response.  …. Love those who come to wallow in your stuff with you.  As you are loving them, you can fogive you.  FORGIVE YOU FOR MAKING IT SO DIFFICULT ON YOURSELF… Forgive you for having such bad feelings about the people who have been trying to help you.  Forgive you for asking and allowing other people to help you hurt yourself.  This is the ultimate demonstration of responsibility and just about all you will need to propel you up…” p 278

I cried at this point, because I know, I am the bully to myself.  That is the truth I was seeking.  From now on… no more bullying:  I am kind and gentle with me and that my friend is a promise I am making to myself.

Being back online is wonderful!  I do not think I want to go 21 days unplugged again.  I am a true believer support through spirit and even though my online friends come from everywhere around the world, they are my friends and I need them.  However, I will take more time offline to focus on things which I need to work on, and that is what I call balance!

So, if ever you are experiencing a life crisis, go unplugged for 21 days.. You would be surprised at what you will find.

Blessings!

8 Reasons Why I Believe in Myself


I believe in myself because I can make a stranger smile just by smiling at them.

I believe in myself because I can see the beauty in something withered and torn.

I believe in myself because I can cry, laugh and scream all at the same time.

I believe in myself because I can multi-task without even realising it.

I believe in myself because when lost I am able to follow my inner compass even through the forest.

I believe in myself because I have gifts.

I believe in myself because I can see far ahead, yet take myself to where I am at the moment.

I believe in myself because of my faith in the impossible… that is why, my friends, I believe in me!

Do you believe in yourself? Tell me why?

Love and light

.

.

How I made the world stop by creating a halt.


“If you want to reach a state of bliss, then go beyond your ego and the internal dialogue. Make a decision to relinquish the need to control, the need to be approved, and the need to judge. Those are the three things the ego is doing all the time. It’s very important to be aware of them every time they come up.” ~Deepak Chopra

 

Can everyone just be quiet?!

Almost 2 years ago, in November 2009, I felt the world seemingly crashing down on me. I had an episode in the shower, which led to other health issues I needed to sort out, I wasn’t well in my body, my spirit felt broken… I felt I needed an umbrella to protect me from the falling sky, yet with every gust of wind, my protection kept on flipping upside down.

Lets go back a couple of years. In 2008 things at home where not going as planned, my relationship was taking a turn for the worst, my son was bullied at school, and I had this huge sense of always feeling overwhelmed. What was keeping me going that year, was my work. I would literally escape there.. I loved the school I was in and the kids I was teaching. However, slowly I felt the trickling of wear and tear of my home life seeping in, as the tears would start to show up there too!

In 2009, I took “the teaching contract from hell”.   I was burning out. My excitement of starting in a new school took the wayside as every eraser, pen, pencil in class was being thrown at me. These kids were NOT like the kids I was used to and I felt like I was thrown in with the sharks! No wonder I was about to fall… somehow by constantly yelling at the Universe “STOP I want to get off this damn ride” I created an opportunity to do so.

How do I love thee? Let me count the stops…

Since, March 2010.. I have almost been at a complete halt. I was put on sick leave, for a few weeks (again after being on sick leave from December to January, and began 2010 as a substitute teacher. That was when I decided I was going to think of ME and take the calls I really needed to take and leave the rest. I decided that 2011 was the year to get well and be selfish. It was the year to STOP, get off, lay low, shoot the breeze.. You get the picture.

So I put everything on pause and said:

“Wait a effin’ minute here! I matter, I’m sick and about to explode so I am taking a break” “Whomever doesn’t like what I am doing can go….. Well can go FLUFF UP A GUM TREE!”

This morning…I was reading Jo Anna Rothman’s blog post: (for some reason WordPress will not let me link to Jo Anna’s blog.  I will add the link at the end of this post.. thanks)

How I fell in love with my life

She was saying how she began courting herself as she not longer wanted to feel crappy:  she created an opening…  she states:

“I paid attention to my needs. My wants. My desires.”

That is all we have to do right?  And so it is…

Well guess what? This summer I courted myself. At first, I felt guilty, lazy, dumb, selfish (in a bad way) and spoiled.. All the names you would call a couch potato. Although I would have preferred a spot beside a willow tree, I set up an office on my trusty couch; where I kept my journals, my online friendships, all here in my laptop, on my couch, in my office. I did my spiritual work, my blogging, my dream interpretations. I was (and still am) actually BUILDING something. The kids visit me here, and I close the lappy if they need my time and my attention.. Even my dogs joined in the fun!

Now, if you haven’t stopped reading because you think I’m a crackpot, let me explain. I still washed dishes, cooked dinner, cleaned house (sort of lol) took care of teen crises, loved, tucked in , laughed and played. However, most of the time the need to just be, to be quiet and alone was greater. The need to connect, to write, to draw, to listen, to read, to analyse, to discover, to reflect, to rest… was way more important than continuing the cycle I was on. The pendulum had to swing completely to the right from the left to come back in the middle.

This is where I am at NOW! Yesterday, for the first time in a long time, I felt good, and the feeling was almost foreign to me. I felt relaxed, uninterrupted by my mind, my thoughts or my fears. I held on being in that vortex for as long as I could. Today I feel the same…. Yet I am not going to JUMP off my couch and run the marathon. This time.. I am going to break out slowly. The amazing circle of friends I have met online, has really encouraged me to spend less time online. When I log back on, I know they are still there. I don’t feel like I’ve missed anything.. On the contrary, going back online hours later is filled with more discoveries. Also, I connect more with myself, I don’t delve into the internet to escape from what I am feeling.

My Life is My Creation

So even if my soon to be X was concerned all summer that I did absolutely nothing, and I am sure others were worried.. I did something important that not everyone will understand.. And that’s ok with me! I would be worried if I didn’t have the urge to get up anymore… but I do!! I needed this time desperately and finally I was able to listen to what my mind, my spirit and my body needed.

Now my body needs excercise and good healthy food. My mind needs for me to keep up on not taking it so seriously, my spirit needs to continue to fall in love with myself.

This time, I’ll know to take short breaks in between and not procrastinate when I hear my senses calling. I’ll know when to say “Yes I can” and be comfortable saying “No thanks I cannot”. I know when to stop and when to go.. When to laugh and when to cry.. And know when it rains its ok to get wet.. And when its sunny.. Sometimes you can get burned. The signs are there.. All in balance.. One baby step at a time.

Jo Anna’s blog could be found here:

http://www.receivingproject.com/how-i-fell-in-love-with-my-life

I Will Fix You


“Lights will guide you home, and ignite your bones, and I will try….. to fix you” – Cold Play

Watching someone you love in pain, is probably, to me, the most challenging event I can fathom.  Children, mothers, fathers, sisters brothers… observing the suffering of another is never easy.. and all one wants to do is fix it!  The thing is… you can’t.  We are not responsable for other’s choices, and when we love that person the most heartbreaking event is letting go. 

You see, last year a very close family member I will call Charles, has been diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder type II.  After a 10 year spill with alcohol and drugs, and disappearing for a week, Andy brought Charles to the Doctor (holding his hand with love) and Charles vowed to get well.. His intentions were grand.. he had a toddler to raise and a family to feed.  Yet, despite all the love, support and attention Charles was receiving.. his life was falling apart and to his eyes:  we all let him down…

His perception of what we were trying to do was discombobulated by guilt and shame, and he saw our “tough love” as unwelcoming love, and he shut down.  How does one convince someone suffering from depression that we are there for him?  Really there is no way… I’ve tried everything.. Letters, songs, support, phone calls, visits, and extending love from East to West .. North to South.. I HAD TO LET GO!!!!  literally let go. 

Today, I had to convince Andy to let go too.  His guilt far surpasses his will to do so, but he must.  I really do think once Andy lets go.. Charles will resurface and hopefully stronger than ever.

…but if he doesn’t we will know we did everything in our power to show Charles we love him unconditionally!