another dark day

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another dark day

I live in Michigan where can go for more than a week without sunshine.  Sometimes we get a glimpse for a few hours but then it turns dark again. When that happens, I like to “spiritualize” it a little.  I remind myself that “C’est la vie” such is life. No matter how gray are my personal clouds, the sun eventually shines through. I just have to tread water till it does.

Let me share what happened the other day.  I was ready to quit blogging and I love blogging.  I love the thought that someone might be helped by what I write.  If I could help people battle through their depression and come out on the other side, it will be worth it. But at the same time, I’m just ego-centered enough, to want a goodly number of followers. (I hope that doesn’t make me shallow-just human.) Anyway, back to the story.

So three days ago, I said, “That’s it.  I’m done.”  I decided that while I would continue my blogging, it was going to be put on the back burner. It had become a natural extension of my morning routine.  Coffee (two cups), a little tv news, get dressed, have my”quiet time” with God, blog, and start my day. I would seriously miss it.

I went to my computer.  Then, whoa, “what to my wandering eyes should appear?” Two new followers. Not that impressive, right?  Except one of them is a Psychiatrist from Germany. I figured he was probably some wacko (I seem to attract them). I checked him out. Not only did he have great credentials and a great blog here,our views were very compatible.  I read one of his posts and felt so validated.  I let him know what an encouragement his “following” means.

It has been months since I started this blog and the learning curve has been so steep, I’ve wanted to sit down and cry at times. But I preserved and now I can talk “blogging”. Depression is so like that.  It’s a long-distance run not a sprint. That’s what makes it so difficult.

Yesterday, I decided to enter the word “depression” in my computer’s browser.  I scrolled down a few headings and what shows up (be still my heart) but a heading from WordPress that says something like “depression’s gift-A Great WordPress blog“. I yelled for my husband. He thought something was wrong. ( By the way, I saved the page on my computer. If I could frame it, I would.) Remember, this has been months of learning, writing, thinking, pulling my hair out, etc. and finally, the much over-used  “light at the end of the tunnel.”

Don’t give up no matter what you are struggling with today. PLEASE! You have had glimpses of hope. There has been something, someone, some circumstance, something that has been an encouragement in your struggle, no matter how small.  You need to look for it. Even in my darkest moments, there were little snippets of hope that came my way. I see it now. I didn’t then; I didn’t want to.

I had become to accustomed to my depression.

I hope you have a good day. I am thinking of all of you who are having a “dark” time. I remember my own struggles all too well.

 

an explanation

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Some things I need to explain.  I realized (should have sooner) that the title of this blog isn’t working.  I mean, really, who “googles” worms, unless you’re into nature, fishing or some other science field?

So, I started another blog called “depressionsgift.com”.  Already, it has taken off because the title is appropriate to the content.  While I will continue to post to this blog, it will probably be evolving and become more of a site for DIY projects and various other subjects as I develop it more.  I will eventually change its name although I really, really, like it.  It says so much about life and depression.  Oh, well……live and learn.

So if you started following this blog because it focused on depression, you will want to follow “depressionsgift.com”.  Hope to see you there.

(I hope I’m not the only blogger out in blogland that has had a false start.  Stay with me.)

 

avoidance

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avoidance

A lot of people don’t like visiting hospitals, nursing homes, funeral homes, or other people’s pain. Why is that? I think the answer is fairly obvious and important when discussing depression.

We don’t want to be faced with what we worry will be our future or what has been our past. We feel vulnerable and at risk.  We’d  rather avoid it. The same is true of reading posts that are full of darkness and heartbreak. The post I’m linking to here is one such post. It’s hard to read about another’s pain. I find it hard myself. Heck, I don’t even like to read my own journal entries from that period of my life. And the post I referenced here is milder than most.  There are times, though, when avoiding  pain is perfectly acceptable. But too many people use it as an excuse to avoid doing what they know is the right thing to do.

Like visiting those in the hospital, nursing homes, those who have suffered a loss. Like listening to someone share their story. It’s actually a healthy thing to do and it’s selfish not to.  It’s even counterproductive to one’s own emotional state.

I was in the hospital recovering from surgery. I kept expecting a certain “friend” to come for a visit.  I learned after I got home and she had remained AWOL, that it was “too hard for her to come to the hospital because it brought back memories of her father’s death.”  Now, before you think I’m being unfair, let me tell you the rest of the story. Her father had died TEN YEARS EARLIER!  She still is, dying, that is.

She spent the rest of her life nursing her grief. I drive by her house (we’ve since moved to another city) every few years when we take an alternate route to our cabin and even her house reflects her sadness.  Her house looks “wounded”. Junk piled in the windows in front of the closed drapes. Clutter in the yard. In desperate need of paint. Weeds everywhere. Like it’s dying. It looks the same every time I happen to take that route. Her house has become a refuge where she hides from any pain the world might offer up.( In case you’re wondering where our friendship ended up, do you even have to ask? One of the things I’ve learned in overcoming my depression is that I don’t have to continue an unhealthy relationship.)

So what is this post about anyway? It’s just this. Don’t be afraid to expose yourself to pain (even your own). Pain isn’t the enemy. Fear and avoidance are. Our fear that if we read something really painful, listen to something really painful, meet someone in pain, we will somehow “catch” it.  We don’t “catch” death, cancer, depression, etc. If anything, facing it inoculates us in a way.

I mentioned in an earlier post here that I have a friend who lost her husband after a very short eight week battle with cancer. Eight weeks from diagnosis to death. here  We went to the visitation yesterday. (In the States, we visit the family of the deceased at a funeral home. The funeral is usually the next day. )  I woke up a little “down” this morning and I knew it was because I projected her situation to me–to my awareness that, but for the grace of God, I could be standing in her shoes. At the same time, it made me more grateful and more in love with my husband than ever as I realized how precious is every moment.  How death is no respecter of persons whether I choose to ignore it or not.

So the next time you have an opportunity to avoid  fear, in its ugly but redemptive face, don’t do it.  Fear never seems as ominous once we stare it down.

a blank canvas

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a blank canvas

(I noticed that there are two words, depression and continue, that are highlighted on this post.  I did not do this and I don’t know how it happened. Just wanted you to know.)

Today I “googled” best times of day to blog and frequency of days. Just when I was beginning to think it wasn’t  a good idea to post often, I learn that it really is. Plus, I was getting discouraged.  It’s really hard to get noticed when your main topic is depression and you’ve decided that Facebook is not a place you want to have your posts show up because  (1.) you’re afraid of what people (family, in particular) will think and (2)  you also figure knowing that there are people you know who are following you might impede your freedom.  Whew!  That was one long sentence.

But here I am, back again, trusting that if I’ve felt that inner prompting to blog, it must be right and I must be patient.

Today is a blank canvas.  I’ve had a cold the last couple of days and have laid on the couch like a potato.  Today, it’s “get moving” day.  The day stretches before me like a white blanket of snow with no tracks yet.  What kind of tracks am I going to make?  Are they going to be deep, the plodding, lumbering kind?  Or are they going to barely dent the snow as I skip on?  I’m determined that this blank canvas of mine is going to be filled by tonight with people I’ve connected with, things I’ve accomplished, and a heartfelt connection with God.

What kind of footprints are you going to leave today on your canvas?  Are you wondering if you can even get up off the couch?  I’m here to tell you:

You can. 

I didn’t conquer my depression by lying around thinking about it.  I was determined there was excellent mental health waiting for me if I faced my culpability and changed some things. That’s why two or three days of indulging a head cold can’t continue for me or it will lead to repeating the “couch” behavior over and over again-this time for no good reason.

It’s early (at least in time zone).  Don’t let this day go forward without leaving something positive behind. Don’t get to evening and realize your canvas is still blank.

Despite what you might think, you, and you alone, can determine what this day will look like.  No matter how you feel.  No matter your circumstances. Your canvas doesn’t have to remain blank.

 

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