Anxiety, Depression, Grief and loss, Mental health

Gathering hope, one more try

I have overcome many obstacles in my life that I thought at the time would break me. Ten years ago, while I was still married, I lost my house in the housing crash of 2008. Even today I still struggle putting that experience into words that accurately portray how that felt. In the three years following that catastrophic event I endured a few more deep losses, the horrible death of my beloved cat, having to give away my dogs followed by my divorce that ultimately broke my relationship with my boys. Shouldering the blame for it all, now I realize just how naive I was to the pain and sadness I was truly feeling. I had to make some tough decisions in order to survive. The financial ruin is still something I haven’t fully recovered from. In true C-PTSD fashion, it has taken me years to heal from grief. At the time I wasn’t hopeful God had opened a window in response to the many doors that had been slammed in my face.

Today however, it is these experiences that have reshaped me. I had to construct an overhaul of my thinking in order to get out of bed everyday. The heavy seriousness of such stark change was absolutely suffocating at times. I attempted to stuff and swallow it all by drinking to excess, over exercising and restricting my food intake. I have a terrible knack for kicking my own butt and punishing myself when things go wrong in my life. My resistance to accept what was going on around me proved completely futile. Something had to change and the only thing I had control over was myself and my responses to the lemons I was receiving. I learned how to make lemonade by redirecting my thoughts and gathering hope where I could find it.

Throughout all the heartache, my faith in humanity was tested. I have some wonderful lifelong friends that put their arms of support around me and guided me back into the light. I’m someone that prides myself on being there for others and I don’t ask for help often. During these years my priorities shifted when I made the decision to wave the white flag of surrender. Swallowing that pride was one of the hardest and most fruitful choices I made.

There are many misconceived notions about what it means to be strong versus weak. We all go through dark times and our ego’s will lie to us by telling us, “I have got this.” I was forced to realize that I most definitely didn’t “have it” and I needed help. My friends uplifted,  guided and at times carried me through a time I was sure would destroy me completely.

People tell me often how strong I am. Most days I am proud of where I have come from and what I have achieved. Understanding what is truly important, what I need instead of what I want. My route to these realizations was a hard lesson to learn.

In the United States, we live in an over consumption culture fueled by the myth of the more you have the happier you are. In reality, I have learned this is false. Bigger, better, faster, more of everything is a sure fire way to disappointment because the emptiness we try to fill with those things provides a false sense of security. The depressing reality of materialism causes one to feel secluded, lowers human interaction and socialization. We must work more and spend less time with family and friends in order to maintain what we think we “need”. I believe this driving cycle is a self fulfilling  prophecy. We gain real happiness from our connection with others which is not something that can be bought.

Today, I don’t have many possessions and I live more of a minimalist lifestyle. The things I have lost can never break me because I choose to invest in relationships with the ones I love. I now understand that if I hadn’t experienced loss, I wouldn’t have gained hope and faith. It is the people around me that continue to support me, proving to me that as long as I keep trying and never give up the sky’s the limit. My dreams can become reality and I definitely have more than one try left in me.

image-55719301915260892.png

Depression, Mental health

Tales of the heart

Love is such a complicated emotion. There is scientific evidence that it makes our minds go insane. Two very distinct and conflicting instincts take place within us. One is our desire to merge our life with another person and the other is for us to remain an individual. I believe both are equally terrifying and with that comes positive and negative consequences. For me, I have always been a lover of love. I am a companion type of person and I feel more myself with someone else as my partner in life. Perhaps it’s because I’m a middle child and I have always had other people around me. My upbringing conditioned me to always consider those other people’s emotions and care deeply for them. I have always been the peacemaker in my family and I play that role amongst my friends as well. I believe being an empath and a natural healing person by nature, that makes me a consummate companion. It’s one of my strong characteristics, I’m a team player all the way.

Something I didn’t fully comprehend until about six years ago is the meaning of  unconditional love. I definitely wasn’t raised with it and I never felt the secure feeling unconditional love provides. The very first time I experienced that wonderful feeling was from a woman who was mentoring me during my recovery. I am so blessed to have encountered so many kindered spirits along my journey of self growth. She taught me so much that I didn’t realize I had been missing in all my relationships. For me, love always came with conditions and requirements.

I am a giver and I choose to love even when people in my life may not be deserving of it. We may not like everybody that crosses our path but we all need to be loved. Many people in our society who display objectionable behavior are in desperate need of love. It’s a core need along with shelter, food and the ability to financially support oneself. The World Health Organization sites rates of depression rising as a result of modernity and individualism in our culture today. People may joke around by saying, “do you need a hug” in a flippant way when in actuality that answer is YES!!! Humans need physical affection and touch is hardwired in our DNA.

After my divorce and the abuse from the domestic violence I endured at the hands of an ex-boyfriend, I wasn’t looking for a relationship. When I agreed to go out with some friends one day for coffee I certainly didn’t think I would be meeting my future husband. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed myself that day and felt some chemistry between us I refused to call him when he gave me his number. We ran into each other a few weeks after that initial meeting and he asked me why I hadn’t called. I don’t remember what my answer was but I’m sure I blew him off. He and I went out on another group date before I agreed to go out with him alone. After that date I was absolutely smitten and knew he was someone special. Over these last five years I can say that I have never felt more acceptance and unconditional love from another person than what my fiance shows me. Our love is so deep for one another, the more time goes by the more I learn about it and the closer we become. He is my best friend. He is the person I feel closet to and value our companionship intensely. His laughter is the greatest sound and my favorite quality of his character. All of my feelings for him are expressed in this poem.

Image-5009487

 

Anxiety, Depression, Mental health, Spirituality

Touched

I have always believed in something greater than myself, a higher more powerful force. I choose to call it God. I was raised in a strict Catholic home. I attended Catholic elementary school for grades first and second. My family was always at our church. I’m the only one of my six siblings that didn’t go through confirmation. My parents allowed me to investigate and study different religions once I became a teenager. I no longer was required to attend Catholic mass. Since that time, I’d estimate twenty-five years or so, I have been reading about religion and spirituality. I have attended different kinds of ceremonies in my search for what feels closest to my own truths for what symbolizes my God. I have determined it is more nature based and universal. I haven’t determined whether this force is male or female. I do however believe that this force is our creator. God indeed for each of his creations to love one another yet there will always be light and darkness within each of us. That’s the natural balance of everything, one can’t exist without the other. We also have free will and with that comes choices. I always tell my boys that they may not like everyone or everything they encounter in life but they must learn to show and practice love. I believe love is our original purpose. We can make different choices along our path to move closer to light and love or darkness and hate. This poem was inspired by those concepts.

image-52537902123957399.png

Anxiety, Depression, Domestic violence, Mental health, Uncategorized

Aftershocks

I have been through so many ups and downs on my life’s journey. Maintaining my patience has yielded me progress. I’m nothing if not a survivor. I’ve morphed into an emotional warrior. I have battle scars across my heart. My children have told me, Mom…you are so unlucky. I tell them nah, God just trusts me a heck of a lot. He knows I will be able to figure out whatever comes my way. I’m unbreakable, like Tephlon strong. Processing all that has transpired these last seven years inspired me to write this.

Anxiety, Depression, Grief and loss, Mental health, Uncategorized

What if

It has been raining here for days without end. I have been laying low because that’s what my mood dictates. Searching through an app I have that streams the latest movies and television shows, I stumbled upon the series “Forever”. Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen play a married couple caught in a prediticable marriage when they suddenly find themselves in an unexpected situation. I can relate because in many ways my marriage was similar. What happens when we get into routines and for me with my children that became our pattern. The ninth episode focuses on the afterlife. The couple find themselves pushing past their personalities, boundaries and expectations from when they were alive. The characters in their own way start acting out in more fearless and truthful ways. It got me thinking about how confined we can get within ourselves in life. As an empath, it’s easy for me to put myself in others shoes, whether real or imagined. All these questions sprang to mind and I wrote this poem.

image-5308294615927223.png