Journaling

It’s your life, how much do you know about it?  In your latter years will you think back on what must have been your golden era and wonder how you filled your days?  What were your priorities?  Who was important in your life past, and what about those thoughts that occupied your waking mind?

Journaling has been a therapeutic outlet for depression sufferers since the 1960s because the written word, the expression of those ideas that may not have fully formed, when penned to paper they take shape and are memorialized for your own thought, reflection, and action planning.  Journals have been steamy diaries, the hiding places where secret wishes, unexpressed passions, and the final resting place for the “if only” bucket list of a phase of life is waiting.

Today it seems with social media, modern day people are much more visible to the cosmos, expressing snippets of thoughts, favorite memes, or whole diatribes about injustices, rants, and opinions.  The blog, a view into the life of the author, is like a personal FaceBook journal, a place where your cordoned off piece of the internet is like a comfortable kitchen space or perhaps a man cave in the home.  The artwork, the furniture, all reflecting the tastes of the author, but formatted expressly to be seen, evaluated, and publicized for sharing with others.

Sharing for mental health

I began blogging a month ago like someone begins a road trip with just the idea of heading south, or west.  No GPS, timeline, no schedule, just the idea I’d like to go somewhere, and I don’t feel like going by myself.  With the driving idea that I had a message to share about near death, walking dead depression, I felt as though some of my experience might map or resonate with others.  The altruistic hope was to prevent other people from losing their grasp with natural gifts like sleep, the emotional unavailability for family, and functional sanity, things I have lost sight of periodically over the past 10 years. Nobility is not my best quality, but as I explained in a former post, it turns out that humans are wired to be social, and to care about others.   I share for mental health reasons, both for my own and for others to evaluate, possibly enjoy, or maybe to ponder.

I wonder how many people glance at these entries do have some thoughts, but end up stifling their urge to offer an opinion.  Missed opportunities, the chance to form a bond, receive feedback, or to see another person’s perspective are priceless compensation for a blogger.  Assessing one’s potential value, or in business terms “final results” of your cordoned off piece of the cosmos is important and provides meaning or purpose.

I would enjoy having some connection to those of you making the journey with similar or even complementary experiences to those I’ve shared with you here. If you have comments, an idea, a perspective, affirming or constructive, please do share it.  Imagine how good you’ll feel enriching the understanding of others, and putting your mark on what could turn out to be an original work of art.

 

Ridding the soul of hate

“Hate begets hate,” a central theme in a great movie “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” is a great cinematic message for the world.  Celebrated at the Golden Globes and a box office hit, this movie was a great wakeup call on many levels.   If you’ve read my posts, you know I enjoy great films, and this one is destined for a place in cinematic history.  I promise not to spoil the film for anyone, but one of its  many messages is about hate being like a cancer, and ridding the soul, replacing hate with love will lead to renewal, achieving life goals, and by extrapolation leads to a lightened depressed state, and reclaiming precious energy.

Many times in my most depressed moods I’ve beaten myself up for allowing my life to pass me by, dropping out of sight of beloved people, being emotionally unavailable, and for feeling so helpless about how this took place.  All whilst I schlogged through wet concrete trying to function and hiding my battle.

Hate of oneself or hate of your situation can happen at different junctures in your life, or at least it has in my life.  Resilience is that coveted ability to bounce back from setbacks, something that we depressed, anxious people wish we could do. Resilience is a learned skill.  Do you ever stop and think about resilience role models you’ve known?  Have you gained resilience by watching the example of others?  When you receive a setback in life, whether it’s a flat tire on a workday morning, a medical diagnosis like high blood pressure, or being laid off your job,   these events require our mindfulness, our concentration, and some degree of resilience in order to function.

As I look back at my life, the largest portion which is behind me, I cannot ever remember myself as being someone who is effortlessly resilient, able to recover quickly from setbacks and dust my butt off to get right back into the game.   Nope, rather than bounce or spring back like an employer might expect, instead I choose to re-think the event, brood, fret, lash out behind closed doors, blame & curse others.  Only after this cycle is complete, it is then that I feel myself begin to plot my return.  The loss of perspective is my depression.  The period of time I need in order to process the setback is the refractory period, the gathering of great resilience.

In “Three Billboards,” the main character Mildred Hayes has endured months of unimaginable angst awaiting her small town police department to locate the culprit who brutally murdered Mildred’s daughter.  Horrific circumstances that would shake the mettle of the strongest soldier, but Mildred reflects, she broods, and then one day she summons the strength and the resources to take effective action.  The movie is too real for many of us–we feel like we’ve been in Mildred’s shoes, hopefully in much smaller bursts of bad times.  We see her life backward and forward in time, dealing with phase-of-life circumstances like divorce, physical abuse, single parenting teenage children, alcoholism, all amid a backdrop small town of people who are also dealing with their own set of life circumstances.

Finding resilience through mindfulness

I’ve been so fortunate in my life to have known strong, selfless, mindful people.  I have a faith that tells me it’s no accident that I have crossed paths with great, principled role model people because we were supposed to teach each other, or learn from each other in order to get through this life mostly intact, and without a feeling of being totally alone in our struggles.  Lost perspective is regained when we step out of our own grudges, setbacks, and bruised feelings of being slighted. We need to pause the DVR of life and make certain our energy is properly focused, our efforts carefully prioritized.  We have to be number one in our own list of priorities before we can teach, coach, or be a help to others. How do you amass resilience?  Do you take time for reflection, mindfulness, and getting back to functioning again?

 

Renewal

Isn’t it beautiful to watch healing take place?  The renewal of human spirit, the strength and courage it must’ve taken for students at Stoneman Douglas High School to enter that compound and try to continue the school year in the shadows of 17 deaths, and countless telecast interviews from politicians who never had the fear for their lives speaking about weak and reticent concessions, ridiculous suggestions that bonuses will convince a teacher to become an armed services adjunct. Many very determined, young and well spoken future voters who were in the line of fire a short 2 weeks ago are leading the charge for better gun control and reduction in power of the NRA.  The National Rifle Association, with spokes Doberman Dana Loesch brazenly defending an indefensible and powerfully backed enemy of public safety, the gun manufacturers.

If ever the power and the optimism of youth were present in the minds of Americans, today and the weeks past have been that time.

What do you expect from our elected legislators?  Do they owe these future voters an audience to hear about their horrific experiences? Will the beneficiaries of NRA donations, some in the millions of dollars like senator Marco Rubio, will they be forced to give back this tainted money?

I want these students to be heard, and to be respected as survivors of a domestic terrorist attack in a place where guns belong only in the hands of school resource officers.

What do you think?

 

 

 

r o

Where are the heroes?

I’ve been away for a few days, not feeling very good, a bit blue and pensive. Struggling hard to process the Parkland, Florida shooting deaths.   It is taking a few more days and my best coping skills to shake some of it off this time, though today was a great Tuesday night at the movies watching “The Shape of Water.”  This movie was celebrated at The Golden Globes, and I would not be surprised to see Oscar nominations forthcoming.

I will not spoil any of the movie, but I will comment on what beautiful messages are contained within it.  Most notable for me was the value of having a hero.

Never before in my life have I felt such absence of good leadership, trust, ready role models, and good guys.  I’m reminded of the feeling of an overwhelming aloneness, a cold wave of emotions as though I’d lost the perspective of having wonderfully loving family, supportive friends, health, etc.

I feel like Americans are looking for, and are in need of a hero very badly.  We’re witnessing the daily demolition of social tolerance, compassion for the sick and the elderly, veterans, and overall loss of manners.  We’ve all been subjected to watch the abuse and subjugation of women, the lawlessness of privileged politicians spending mega millions on golf trips, onslaught of unending scandals for spousal abuse, scoffing at security clearances for White House staff, first class airline travel, while the rest of the US tightens an already uncomfortably tight belt, wondering how long it will be so very uncomfortable.

If you’re like me, and in need of a boost in morale, take just a minute and watch young children at play.  Watch the smiles and love in their eyes as they are held and hugged by a parent.  I’m doing my best to remember how that felt. I know at my age it’s a little foolish to wish for a hero, or a hug from Dad.  Maybe being a hero for someone else might be a welcome distraction, even if that means doing so when you don’t feel very heroic yourself; maybe that selfless act will take away my blues for awhile.  Wish me luck….  I need it today.

 

 

 

Getting knocked down

Many times a setback feels like a direct blow to the head. Watching the TV news, listening to the horrific details and watching the very anguished look on the faces of parents and grieving friends. 17 people in Parkland, Florida were killed by an angry and confused 20 year old man. In the state of Florida, he can buy an assault rifle legally, along with smoke bombs and multiple magazines for his AR 15 rifle.

I’ve just been stuck in a nasty mood, funked up by seeing smiling president trump taking photo op pictures with first responders, and even one of the victims in her hospital bed. I’m very sorry for anyone still left with feelings that this dreadful human is concerned for anyone other than himself. He’s a constant embarrassment to the United States, most notably one year ago by signing proudly an executive order making it legal for mentally ill buyers to purchase weapons of mass destruction. In the cover of aftermath of new violent chaos, his administration announced the stripping of funds for the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), and an accounting for the $107 Million dollar budget for his poorly attended inauguration. All of the funds are gone, $26 Million awarded to a no bid contract to Melania trump’s friend.

I know this blog better serves depression, anxiety, and panic, however in my dreams last night, my home was beset by millions of red ants which later morphed into wasps. We live in very tumultuous times. The US is divided by their leader, and our democracy is being sold in Rubles. It fuels my depression to watch the many assaults to my country, and to feel as though I wanna can do nothing about it.

I meditate, I pray that we will soon see the complex and fraudulent dynasty of the trump family exposed for the excess and false royalty it portrays itself to be. In the meantime, if you have positive energy in abundance, please send it to those grieving families who must process huge loss, and accept that our nation values assault weapons over the lives of its citizens, even the young ones. If you’re a voter, please consider making stronger gun laws an issue to explore with your state’s leadership.

Evite: authors, send me your ideas

 

Thank you to those who have read my perspectives on insomnia, depression, and stress.  No one prepares you how to interpret the response or the lack of responses and discourse on works shared via this kind of blog, therefore I’m going to ask.

If you don’t have your own blog but would like to be a guest author here, please send me your thoughts via this website.  I will publish those insights that are in keeping with internet etiquette and the goal of helping others to shorten episodes of depression. Dissenting perspectives are also encouraged and invited.

But if there’s no interest, then I’ll end the site with thanks again to those who followed but offered no commentary.  All the best.

Receiving help

During your life you will likely spend the majority of your healthy years offering help and your energy to others. You’ll have lived through adolescence, you’ll know with years of experience what it feels like to depend on someone to provide for you. But what evolution, growth, and acceptance should evolve inside us as we begin to need help ourselves, and ask for it as adults? Do we know how to accept it? Will our ego allow it?

If anyone wants to understand the depressed mind, know that there is already great guilt associated with a depressed person dragging someone else down. Depression makes even simple favors difficult requests to ask. Depressed people purposefully create distance because many times they prefer to insulate themselves from happy people in the hope that whatever is bothering them, whatever has triggered a new and fresh piece of hell to erupt inside them, will pass quickly. To the depressed, there is a feeling that time slows down. I’ve described onset depression as trying to walk in chest-deep, wet cement, or very thick liquid. Along comes a friend or loved one able and willing to give you some help, and we may want to shoo them away temporarily. They think we’re just moody, and we’re certain we are doing them a favor.

Do you accept help well?

The writing of this question stuck in my throat. It’s so deeply ingrained in my makeup that I don’t know how to ask for help, hence accepting the offers of well-intended friends is also a challenge. When someone offers to help me it’s because I’ve been discovered. They’ve missed my annoying FaceBook posts, or they’ve detected a reduced number of calls, emails, or texts. These caring, terrific humans want to reach out, and I was never shown, nor did I learn well how to accept help on my own, with my dignity still left intact. Why is that? I’ve seen great movies. Anyone who has read just a few of my blog posts know that I enjoy good movies. So why aren’t contrived scenes of precisely measured offers of help enough to let me mimic the actor’s scripted and graceful receipt of help when it has been offered?

One friend suffers such anxiety that even trying to set a day and time to meet for lunch causes him to freeze up. Imagine for him, how tough it would be to allow someone inside his world long and fully enough to explain what would be helpful. These people believe it’s easier in every sense of the word just to do everything yourself, not explaining yourself, and keeping closed the door to the real darkness with which they must coexist. It’s like asking someone on a date for the first time over, and over, never gaining confidence, never gaining acceptance that your friends may want to bring you out of a tough hole if they could.

Friends who are worthy, family that really care… they don’t keep score, and they don’t count the cost. There are loving ways in which they seek a bond with you to demonstrate their entanglement. The entanglement we know is Quantum Mechanics, the proof that humans are interconnected and wired to care about each other. I’m grateful every day for my entanglements, and even for the tough ones, those people who are seemingly cold, or calloused, insulating themselves from my intentions. A long time friend, someone who has been a role model for me once told me the cold ones hardest to love are the ones who need to be shown love the most.

In our lives there may come the day that we can no longer do things for ourselves, independently and with precision. Doesn’t it make sense then to develop some skills around accepting help with grace?