Proud As A Peacock


“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.”
Jane Austen 

I woke up this morning thinking about how proud I am of my children. My son came home last night with his official Grade 6 graduation picture and I immediately busted into tears. He told me to close my eyes as he took down the picture frame which holds every 8 x 10 school picture ever taken (including pre-school). Then, with pride, he told me to look on the wall, and there he was, all handsome in his cap, smiling, and holding a 2011/2012 elementary school diploma.  William put it right next to his sister’s who is holding her 2008/2009 parchment in her delicate hands.  Both my children are shining.

To see how far he has come since the kid who literally used to run away from Kindergarten, who was diagnosed with ADHD, who was bullied at school, who struggled with learning, his self-esteem, studying and math. To look at my daughter, who, didn’t have the struggles he had, but tried very hard to keep up because unfortunately, a lot of my attention was given to Wil and I think she felt the need to grasp at some straws for me to see her too!

I see her more clearly now:  full of life, excitement and she has this “no-nonsense” attitude which often grounds me.  She loves to be out, to explore, to push the boundaries of the world, always on the edge, yet not so much that she is too far from home, literally, and in her spirit.  She does things I would have never done, like longboarding, and riding the “sling-shot” at La Ronde amusement park.  Angela is the epitome of youth, and she truly inspires me.

These sudden surges of pride have come up a lot lately.  Not only in my children, but in myself.  If my children have succeeded this far, it is part and partial due to me!  (this is hard for me to write so bear with me)..

Being proud of oneself, is not something I am used to.  If you look at many blog posts and self-help books, one doesn’t see many references to “pride”.  The terms self-love, self-care, self-esteem are often used..

So what’s wrong with pride?

I began my research and stopped over at the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word pride comes along with ego, self-regard, self-respect, however, the antonyms are humbleness, humility and modesty.  Now, in most of the self-help books I have read the latter terms have come up OFTEN.  They are something, according to many of the books I have read, that we should strive for.  Which leads me to the question:

Is pride a negative or a positive thing to express?

Have we been programmed NOT to toot our own horn ?

For this post, I went through dozens and dozens of quotes on pride, and in fact, they are mostly speaking of “the sort of pride” which often gets us in trouble.  We often hear expressions “Her pride got in the way”  or “He’s too proud to admit he was wrong”.  Ahh.. so that is where it comes from.  Pride is often associated with the negative ego, so we don’t talk about it much.  Well at least the “negative” connotation.  Furthermore, in my research, I googled the words “when it is good to be proud” and to my discovery, many people are asking the question:

“Is it good to feel proud?”

I say YES!!  It is important to have pride in yourself, in your children, in your accomplishments.  I am at that point now. I am proud of the journey I have taken so far.  With all its wondrous moments and bad choices.  With all its chaos and moments of joy.  With all the drama and times of peace.  I have grown to take responsibility for my life and I AM PROUD OF ME!!

So yes, be proud, not proud enough to keep people out of your life, or to never say I am sorry when you’ve hurt someone, but proud of where you are right this moment. RIGHT NOW.. Go look at yourself in the mirror with the pride of a lion!

I am proud of the mother and woman I am, because that, reflects in my children’s eyes, and I am so proud of them!

Be proud as a peacock!  Proud as a lion!   Proud as an open flower waiting for butterflies! Proud as you are!

Speaking of my son, he is looking for sponsors to get him to camp this summer.  Summer camp is something William looks forward to every year and it is so good for his self-esteem.  This year I am on sick leave (due to my depression diagnosis), and being a single parent family, you can imagine I cannot put up the whole amount.  Anything you can give would be greatly appreciated.  I’ll even throw in a Dream Interpretation whenever you have a dream!!    Here is a link :

Camp Sponsorships

You can also email me if you want to send a money order at kim.larocque@sympatico.ca

Demystifying the Path of Depression


Walking the path of depression is probably the best gift Spirit has given me.  The opportunity for growth is extreme. However, not everyone goes through depression the same way.  It can take some longer than others to heal.  There is no magic pill anyone can take to rid themselves of this mental illness. You cannot “snap out of it” or “make it go away with positive thinking” and as my friend Mel Horrod cleverly said this week in a conversation about demystifying depression and it’s stigma:

Just pull your socks up’, was something I heard over and over again when I was ill. I couldn’t even get the socks into the washing machine, let alone put them on and pull them up!

Humor aside, many, including me (at one time) have judged another suffering from this, at times, debilitating mental illness, and made assumptions on how they are not doing enough to heal themselves.  Well today, I know this is bullshit!

Even as I continue the healing process myself, with my meds and therapy, there are still others who think they have the “magical cure” and now I am speaking up.  Don’t get me wrong, when others offer advice, I know it doesn’t come from dark place, comments and advice are often well intended in order to help the person with clinical depression, and even though their words are coming from a place of love, sometimes, words, just make it worse.

Now, let me reiterate, that there is a HUGE difference between being depressed, and actually having a diagnosis of clinical depression. When I google:  define depressed this is what comes up:

de·pressed/diˈprest/

Adjective:
  1. (of a person) In a state of general unhappiness or despondency.
  2. (of a person) Suffering from clinical depression.

  Don’t let depression define you!

   Know the difference!

Synonyms: dejected – sad – despondent – low-spirited – downcast

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Courtesy of taram.carbonmade.com

Everyone gets “depressed” every once and awhile, however, not everyone suffers from clinical depression, bipolar disorder, or any other disorder in the mental illness spectrum.  It is important to know the difference and act accordingly.  No one wants to suffer alone in silence!   Yet, the pains, aches, and overwhelming thoughts can be very scary.  One wants to chase them away…

Yet, in order to heal the pain, you must feel the pain!

So, read as many self-help books you want, post 1000 post it notes in your house with positive affirmations, listen to up-beat music, however, this is not the cure for depression, and this is where many of us get frustrated.  Sure these are all tools, and I use them all the time, but, there are times, when all I want to do is cry!

Why can’t I be happy like everyone else?  ITS NOT FAIR!

Because, you cannot will yourself to be happy when clinically depressed.  It just doesn’t work!  Oh.. yes, on some days it can, but others, one just has to wrap themselves up in a cosy blanket with all their favorite books, journals, music and maybe even a stuffy or your trusty cat or dog, and just be.  Feeling those emotions are painful, yes, letting them well up without pushing them away is the most challenging part.. You’d think it is torture!! Yet, this is the best way to heal.

Surround yourself with cheerleaders

Take clinical depression seriously.  Have tons of cheerleaders, those who have been through it, or those who really want to listen without telling you what to do.  Also, have a therapist you can trust, yes I know they cost money, but if you cannot afford one, keep calling help centers or community centers near you until someone listens!! Do not take NO for an answer.. and if you are too weak to do so, ask your “go to” person to help!

The dreaded “pill” 

Medication is an option only you can decide.  I was totally against medication for years.  I have a son who has ADHD, and trust me, I tried everything before resorting to giving him meds, now he takes his dose of Concerta every day, but only when he is in school.  For me, the meds came when I found this most amazing Therapist, she eased me into the idea for weeks, without giving me an ultimatum.  The decision had to come from me and me only.  I was very afraid of medication since I had a bag experience with Paxil 11 years ago, and I was afraid of negative side effects.  So I started taking low doses gradually increasing month after month.  Right now I am on 15mg of Celexa, and its working just fine.  I have no idea if I will have to take the pills for 1 year, 2 years or all my life, what I know for sure is, the pills have created a bridge between the darkness and the light, and I see the benefits now.

The journey is your own, and yours only.  No one can tell you what is best for you only you know in the deepest part of your spirit.  Listen to that, and if depression is numbing that part of you, and you cannot hear what it is saying… be still.. it too shall pass.  I am not saying to only hear what you want to hear, there are times when one needs to be shaken’ up a little!  Yet for this, there is a time and place.

In the Arms of the Angels

If I had only one wish when everything was dark, and I felt alone in the world, and sometimes I even feel this today. I would have wished for a loved one to come, sit, read a book and NOT say a word when my tears started to flow.  I would have loved a hug, a snuggle or a pat on the back… The presence of the person, not the “advice” is what I would have needed at the time, and there are days, like yesterday, when I felt that too.  Yet, I am so blessed to have those friends, who in spirit, came to me every day, and offered me love and support.  I have a mom who still calls me every night a 7!  A dad who comes when I call, and I don’t call him enough.

I have my angels! My guides and my spirits!

I felt those loving warm arms of my late grandmother, and the warmth of my spirit guides whispering in my ears.

Love, in fact, is what held me tight… without love there would have been no light… Just like today, when I saw a glimpse of the sun, after days and days for rain and cloud, giving me just a tad of rays to brighten my day before the clouds rolled over it again, the love I received, even in small doses, the self-love and care I gave myself, I know there is more to come.

There will be sun, but there will be rain, and there will be storms, tornadoes and rainbows!  Just that when depression hits, it is the storms that envelop us, so please, just be there .. just be.  No need to cheer me up.. no need to “fix” me.. just tell me “I love you” and all is well.

Because, in fact, I love you too, and if someone you love is depressed, now you know how you can help.  Read them a story, offer to wash their hair, get them flowers, cook them a dinner, or just curl up with a book and watch them sleep..  Its is the most loving thing you will ever do!!

Wishing you love and light today!! 

Kim

Time to Take OUT the Garbage!


Open your mind, allow your feelings to be expressed, to be pushed out, and your heart will neither break nor burst, but be a free-flowing channel of the life energy in your soul.

°~Neale Donald Walsch

I must admit, once upon a time, I was a borderline hoarder. In my 20’s I would keep piles and piles of dishes on the counter of my sink. Hundreds of old newspapers waiting to be recycled, would line up in my hallway. My room was rarely clean, and I always had a storage room full to the brim.

Then, in my 30’s, when my children came along, I decided it was important to rid myself of clutter. This would happen every time I move, and I moved often, and more and more things would finally disappear from my life. I was never ever good a housecleaning though. Cleaning was always a challenge, and I always found something better to do.

When spring sprang out of nowhere, and the sun sparkled on all my belongings, I noticed the dust and grime left over from a deep dark winter and felt quite overwhelmed. My soul cried out for order.   Out came the Pledge, the Windex and rolls of paper towels. I would finally clean a 6 month’s worth of dirt and grime.

God this is taking FOREVER!

As I went through this process every year, I started asking myself, why do I  let things go so far? Why do I create so much work for myself? Instead of cleaning on a regular basis, I left, for example,  the leftovers in the fridge go until new breeds of mushrooms were born! I had no choice but to clean these awful things out, and as I opened each container  (or just throw a perfectly good Tupperware out entirely) of “whateverthisgreenstuffis” I would gag and cough as I chucked the obnoxiousness out.

WHY DO I PUT MYSELF THROUGH THIS?

Cleaning time for me, is when I had company coming over. This was rare, however, I did have get-togethers with family or sometimes friends. This is when I frantically run all over the house making it look and smell like it was clean all along. I was so tired by the time everyone got to my place, that I had to put on the mask of hostess on and pretend I was happy.

AHA! Pretend I was happy! What a statement!

Fast forward to 2012. I am in my new place, I am committed to making this a “no clutter zone” and I am doing terrific at it. I clean regularly, no I am not perfect, but I will not feel uncomfortable now if you just popped in (although I would probably say: don’t mind the dishes, as they are STILL sitting on the counter.)

I’ve always known that what lurks inside of ourselves, often manifests on the outside. Meaning, our immediate environment. That our “home” is a reflection of our soul. Since our soul is our home, it makes total sense no? So, as this process continues with me, I noticed this week, that although in therapy I am now healing a lifetime of soul clutter, there was still one more thing I needed to deal with. The garbage!!! The ugly, stinking, piling up garbage.

Peeling away the layers comes with going deep, and sometimes going deep stinks! As I go to where no Kim has gone before, I noticed one thing in my apartment that was truly bugging me. The garbage pails are all full! I would go to the bathroom and stuff that kleenex in the waste basket until garbage was overflowing. I would curse at the kitchen garbage, because when it did come time to “take it out” it was so full I couldn’t tie it. Then there’s the balcony. I had kept garbage on the balcony all winter, and it finally dawned on me: Why the heck do I do this to myself? STILL!!

Speaking with my good friend Sylvia, we came up with: You keep the garbage to keep people out! You keep the garbage to keep your truth from exploding! You keep the garbage because what is coming up inside you is old garbage which needs healing. So, in one swoop of the wrist, I took all the garbage, filled 2 bags, and brought it to my front door in such a fury, like the power of a lioness. I marched downstairs to the dumpster, and threw the bags in so hard and yelled “F YOU!!

Eff you effing garbage get out of my LIFE!”

The picture below relates to the poem Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would not take the garbage out.  by Shel Silverstein Go take a read and come back! 

Now I hope the neighbors were not watching, because they would probably think I just fell of my rocker. In a sense, I did lose it, however, it was for a really good cause: – me!  The rage had to come up, in order for me to release it. I needed to tell off the the stinking mess. I am so sick and tired of CREATING trash!

The next trip to my therapist came the next day, and guess what? Yep, stuff, feelings, experiences, that I didn’t even know where bothering me came up so strong I cried for 5 minutes in my chair. I discovered, that I was carrying trash in myself that needed disposing.

I discovered, that I was in love with everyone else’s potential and not mine. I discovered that I can trust myself again, but in the past I didn’t and I discovered that the garbage in my apartment and the garbage in my soul was a way to keep people OUT! I built walls I didn’t even know where there.

So now, I can slowly start dismantling them, one at a time, so that I can eventually create friendships, and relationships that matter.

Now Mr Glad .. I’m kicking the garbage to the curb! I’m getting mad so I can get glad!

Time to let love in!

Love your trash and set it free!

You can read the follow up to this post:

HERE:  Spring Of Life

Kim 

Going Back to Move Forward


Less than two days left in this old year! Astrologically speaking, that is. On Tuesday, March 20, at 1:14 am EST, the Sun moves into Aries, starting a brand new Zodiac year. This also marks the Vernal Equinox and the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.  

~Jennifer Shelton FemCentral

In her post today, My year in review and why you should do it too,  Jennifer Shelton writes about the importance of this review.  She states:  ” its  another way to be mindfully aware of what we are doing, so that we are not “sleep walking” through life. Major changes can result with little effort, if we bring awareness to our actions and choices.”

So, in the spirit of being mindful, and wanting to really SEE how far I have come in the past year, here is my review!
In this post, I am already questioning my love for teaching.  Back then, I suspected I was overwhelmed, and probably already suffering from depression.  Feeling overwhelmed I write:
Now I am at a crossroads. I need to bring income into my home, I need to work, however, I do not have the stamina to get into a room of 27 students and babysit them all day. Children today are not the same with subs, and even worse with subs who are not feeling well. They sense it!! and they kill me!!
I can see now, from this blog post, I am starting to see a transformation coming on.  I feel, when I reread this post, that I was preparing myself for TODAY.  In an excerpt I state:
Embarking on a new adventure is always scary. I can stay in the same old rut because it seems to feel safe, however; a rut is not comforting at all! Soon becomes so stale it stinks and I want to be free, which, in turn, begins to cause me great anxiety.

Here I am on an emotional roller coaster.  I feel its time to change my life around, yet, looking back, I was too scared  to do so.  I write:

For some sadness is pain, but to me there is something bigger hiding inside. You know the hurt you feel in your chest? I have to feel it and ride it out, because these past couple of years I’ve been trying to suppress that pain, which in turn has causes me grief. I get panic, anxiety, digestion problems…etc.. All that craziness for blocking the true feelings that live within my soul. 

A turning point!  I find myself searching for this light, that I KNOW is there!  After this post, many of the truths I needed to tell myself came up!  I decided it was time to change my life and jump!

Therefore, this is where I’m at. I’m at the point of renewal. I’ve seen this in my horoscope, on friends FB pages, on twitter.. The message is loud and clear! It is that time for me again. Time to shed my snake skin.

THIS!! Is where I totally started to break free!  After receiving a Tarot Reading from my friend  Sylvia van Bruggen she wrote an intuitive short story for me.  This story resonated with me in more ways than you can imagine. I decided to shed my relationship, this, was a HUGE step for me.  I even had an AHA moment recently.  Here is an excerpt:

….She enjoyed life so much, she played with the birds, danced with the butterflies and giggled at the rabbits as they raced ahead of her on the path. Then she found some stones along her path, and without realizing why, she put those stones in her back pack. Before long the back pack became so heavy her shoulders began to ache and she no longer saw the rabbits, the birds and the butterflies. All she knew was that she had to walk on, with her heavy bag…

August 2011:  Lily Pad

In August of 2011, my dream interpretations started going live!  My first post was Zakaphorian Dreams.  I was also desperately looking for a new place to live with my children.  So much happened that month, good and challenging.  Here is a quote from Maya Angelou which I attached to the poem I wrote.  I wanted to go home.

The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned. 
Maya Angelou

As my depression grew deeper and deeper, I was constantly trying to find ways to boost my self-esteem.  I truly believe in what I wrote in this post, however, it was a time of great reflection. No excerpts needed, feel free to check out the post.

This post came after being unplugged for 21 days.  The kids and I had moved into our NEW apartment, our home, in the beginning of the month.  This is when everything HIT me and I was truly exhausted.  I write:

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 better than where I was..  Yet, to my surprise I was faced with something even more scary:  Myself!!!

Nov. 2011:  Getting Naked

In November, I am really feeling it!  I’m lost, I’m afraid, and I have no clue what is going on with my life.  Work is killing me, I am crying every day.  This is the month I walk into a clinic and get help! HELP ME!! So grateful I did, because now I have an amazing therapist who really “gets me”!

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?

Dec. 2011:  Autentica

December!! Oh great December!  I remember this time, trying to keep face to have a happy Christmas with the children.  The worry, the anxiety, yet finding joy in decorations and baking.  I also decided to stop working, and to take care of ME!

As 2011 ends and 2012 begins… The passage will not be felt, but the continuous movement towards my wise self will followed by light, forwarded by love and entered with faith so strong nothing will stop who I have become.

This post came out for many reasons.  First, I started feeling “judged” for having clinical depression.  Plus, the Bell Canada Let’s Talk campaign was advertizing for Feb 8th, where people around Canada were going to openly talk about depression.  This is one of my most popular posts!

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.

Feb. 2012:  February a Time for Love – Self-Love

I truly believe this is the month I WOKE UP!! A slow wake up, however, I truly discovered and melted into who I really am.. and it was the beginning of the love story between me and me!

…I will sing myself a love song, write myself a love letter and maybe even share some of this new-found love with my children and all of you.. Actually I know I will share all this love I have inside.. because it is there.. waiting to be shared.. but first I need to stash away just a little for me…

Doing this review, allowed me to see how far I have come in the past year.  What I have accomplished is amazing.  The most important thing about this year is staying TRUE to who I am, and not letting others dictate to me what I should or should not do.. most importantly, not letting others DEFINE who I am.  

Kim

In the Spirit of Depression


In Part IV in my series on depression. I thought it important not only to share my truth, but to continue the conversation about mental illness, thus helping one another find tools and ways to ride the waves every single day so none of us, whether you are depressed or living with someone who is, feels alone.

*note Part I in series starts here

I discovered, throughout this whole ordeal: my separation, my move, my past relationships with friends and family, that I had to learn to be my own best friend. Most importantly, I also had to deepen my relationship with the divine:  The divine in me, the divine in you, and  the divine in the Universe. This, is a task of great importance for me. To rely on something bigger than I, to surrender, to KNOW that I am not alone in this world. You and I, together, can find solace in knowing we are loved and supported.

Finding some sort of Spirituality doesn’t make depression go away. It does however, give you a chair so you can sit down and be with it while it is there.

– Mel Horrod

In the past, from a very young age I was always longing for someone to constantly be here to comfort me.. to be my security blanket… Where this feeling of incessant insecurity came from, I do not know.. Was it my parents separation, my father not always “being there”, the bullying at school, the feeling of being ostracized and not being part of the “in crowd”? This lead to bad eating habits and the constant urge to want lose weight over and over. Whatever brought me to today… whatever caused this person, who I am now falling in love with, to hate herself to the point of not even wanting to look in the mirror… is not of utmost importance (healing the roots are), yet, acknowledging that the path I have taken has led me to today has fired my critical urge to want wellness.

What I know for sure, is that I am a worthy and loveable human being. I know this!! right? But do I 100% feel this in the core of my being. I do not feel I am there yet.. and this is where I am going.

Which brings me to the subject of Spirituality. My spirituality has been there since the age of 4 (that is the earliest I remember). I believe 100% (this is my truth) that without the belief in God (this is my term I use to describe this amazing unlimited source I can tap into) I would be dead! Without my belief that there is spirits, Angels, sprites, light, Gods and Goddesses watching over me, I would not be of this earth. It is this belief that I am not alone which carries me through these troubled waters.

I also believe the divine works through people. Real people! I have surrounded myself with those you support 100% my well-being and detached myself from those who don’t. This is part of my spiritual path towards wellness, which also includes medication and therapy. Spirituality alone will not cure me, however, it has taught me to be aware and be there for myself in such a loving way.

In their book, The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Fourself from Chronic Unhapiness, the authors state in their introduction:

“Depression Hurts: It’s the “Black Dog” of the night that robs you of joy, the unquiet mind that keeps your awake. It’s a noonday demon that only you can see, the darkness visible only to you”. (p. 1 Williams, Teasdale, Segal and Kabat-Zinn)

Part of my spiritual path is to practice Mindfulness: The authors describe Mindfulness as:

“The awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally to things as they are.”

To me, this could mean during a panic attack to stop and focus on my feet touching the ground until the wave passes. Being mindful and grounded, instead of trying to “fight” the panic away is a tool I used often, which is, in fact, surrender and acceptance.

“Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment.”

Lao-tzu

To sum up, my faith in God has been, and still is, a major part in my recovery. My understanding of the God in me, has brought me to here and carried me during the very painful times. My gratitude, for all that is and all that will be, creates a bridge for me to cross when times are tough. I am happy and grateful for this gift of depression, because it allows me to go inward instead of searching outside myself thinking I need to be fixed (no need to fix something which isn’t broken).

Even though I am battling depression now, I still choose happiness every day. Do I feel happy every day? NO! Do I feel happy in some moments of my day? YES! because I choose it.. because I know it is there, and I accept when it is not.

Remember we cannot chase away the blues when one is clinically depressed, however, we can use all the tools available: Medication, therapy, friendship, diary writing, mindfulness, and yes God whomever you wish him or her to be!

I leave you with this video of Jim Carrey as he explains how sprituality has helped him with Depression and Bi-Polar disorder.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfWN5EW5eo4

Love and light

Kim

Go with the flow


Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions.  All life is an experiment.  The more experiments you make the better.  What if they are a little course, and you may get your coat soiled or torn?  What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice.  Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


Last week I posted: Depression hits. Now What? = Love Yourself! I discuss the importance of self-love and the ability to treat and love yourself like you would a child or your best friend. This week I want share some of the strategies which help me with coping with certain fears, thus, often removing the feeling of overwhelm when I begin a new task.  Overwhelm, really makes everything bigger in perspective, so I need to break down tasks into smaller steps.

Dealing with depression and anxiety has been a challenge and a huge awakening at the same time. (see:  Let The Truth Be Known:  I Suffer from Depression) I realize, after some great reflection that depression, anxiety and panic have been part of my life since my early 20’s, maybe even earlier (according to my therapist) However, with this latest onset, I have discovered self-loving ways to overcome some of the challenges I face. These self-loving ways are things I didn’t do in past recoveries.. I mean yes, I started, however, I never took them as serious as I do now. There is the little voice inside of me (which I call my higher self) which guides me through. This “voice” is beginning to replace the “negative voice” which ruled my life for 20 years. These following strategies helped me “unlearn” the old and experience new and loving ways to be gentle with myself.

The two (2) things I needed to work on (huge mountains) were: 1. Self-care (Taking care of my body and showering) and 2. Going out / socializing. These 2 things, if I didn’t pay attention to them, could send me into a deep downward spiral. Think about it.. Looking yucky would lead to more self-hate, and not seeking support or running errands would lead me to feel alone and my kids wouldn’t have food to eat. So, during my treatment, these two areas of my life need to have some sort of plan. A flexible plan.. but a plan.

Remember, if you’re headed in the wrong direction, God allows U-turns!  ~Allison Gappa Bottke

Plans help me shape my world. I for one, was never really good a making plans and sticking to them. Even with the post today, I had a plan to find some terrific article to back up my post, however, I cannot find a single thing which I find “inspiring”. Being too rigid does not work either. “Go with the flow within guidelines” is my new motto! If I were to stick strictly to adding “facts” from an outside source, it just wouldn’t work. This gives me some control over certain situations and help me feel safe. Just like one would devise an “escape plan” in case of fire, I devise an escape plan in certain situations. Take going out for example:

Lets say I must take a bus to go to an appointment. Taking the bus is quite scary, because this means I am going to be far away from “home base”. Home base, is my safe zone. So I usually devise a plan before I leave giving me a 100% right to change my mind at any time. Meaning, I give myself permission to return to home base.

The first thing I do is to make sure I have my cell phone on me. Then, I stash a $20.00 in my purse. This allows me to take a taxi home if ever panic really strikes. Then as I walk out of the house… I talk to myself. I give myself support throughout the journey. Last week, I had to do this and I told myself I had permission to get off at every stop. This permission allowed me to go all the way!! Get it! When I know I have a choice.. it eases my anxiety.

Choices, we all have. Giving ourselves the right to choose differently allows for freedom. So in the end, I always end up where I wanted to go, or do what I planned to do, because I had a choice! I didn’t feel like I was choking on “I must” or “I have to”.. I felt alleviated with “I can, but I can change my mind at any time”…

As for taking a shower, I now get in the bath! I prepare everything around me. I may even break out a few candles and some bubble bath. I wash my hair with clean water from the tap and rince. Giving myself this “motherly” love is exactly what I need!

You can Google “Anxiety busters” or Depression Strategies to find tons of strategies which will work for you.

Yet, the message here is. Give yourself choices. In most instances, you’ll stick to the plan. However, if one day you don’t, that is ok too.. since it is part of trusting yourself, you can take yourself back home. Just like a mom who promises her child she will pick him/her up right after the first day of school, keep those promises to yourself too! I know I did, and it makes things easier.

Its going out and taking a shower still difficult for me; OH YES! However, now that I have “escape plans” and “mothering techniques” these tasks are much more manageable..and will get even more manageable as my recovery continues.

Keep on moving and smile!

 

 

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

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