Tag Archive | being present

Laughing to Cope

Image Credit: dailymail.co.uk Huu Hung Truong: 2013 Sony World Photography Awards


A-HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

…ahhh

LMAO!


I connected with a wonderfully bubbly woman when I was at one of my lowest lows.  We met quite by chance and immediately clicked like we were life-long friends.  We were in the same boat, she and I, both at extreme low points in our lives, both under the influence of uncontrollable tears, fears and the urge to hurt ourselves and end our lives.

But we laughed.  I didn’t understand it, and I really didn’t care, but oh boy, we laughed.

We laughed at everything, funny things, stupid things, serious things and of course, we laughed at ourselves.

Of everything that I have experienced, laughing with this woman was the most healing during a very dark and difficult time.

Laughing kept me from crying.

Laughing kept me from thinking.

Laughing shook my body and kept me present because I was feeling and experiencing.

Laughing made it easier to cope when I felt that I had nothing left in me for another day.

Laughing relieved some my pain inside, releasing it through positive emotions rather than through tears.

Thankfully, my brain functions normally in releasing feel good endorphins when stimulated by laughter.  I felt good even though I felt like dying.

People looked at us and shook their heads.  They couldn’t understand how we could still laugh, knowing the condition of our mental state.

Did we disturb others with our ruckus?

We probably did, but it helped us to cope, and it helped us to get through.

Laughing Buddha

This holiday season give yourself the gift of laughter.

Wouldn’t it be great to go see a comedy show?  Is there a comedy club near you?

Maybe go see a comedy play or movie.

Have no one to go with?  Don’t let that stop you.  Go anyway.  It might do you good!

It’s always better to get out, but if you can’t, than treat yourself with a movie rental, make some popcorn and enjoy it at home.

Pursue that good hard belly laugh!

Go ahead!  It’ll be good!

Or do it if only to prove me wrong and be sure to let me know about it!

Cheers!

“Making Your Way In The World Today Takes Everything You Got”


Making your way in the world today takes everything you got;

Taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot.

Wouldn’t you like to get away?”

Theme song lyrics from “Cheers”, American Television Sitcom 1982-1993


For some of us, there is no taking a break from all our worries, because the worries are inside us, inside our heads, wreaking havoc inside our minds.

A reader asked me recently if I carry on in the hope that the Depression lifts.

I can only reply that I can only do my best on any given day.

I carry on, not in the hope that the depressions lifts.  I carry on for the exquisite rays of light that occasionally pierces through the darkness, and for the moments of love and happiness that brighten my world now and then.  I have seen the splendour and magnificence of beauty and joy.  That is what keeps me going.

Is that enough?

Who knows what’s on the other side life?  Maybe we take the pain with us if we die while in the grips of despair.   Wouldn’t that be the ultimate irony, committing suicide because of the need to stop the pain, only to writh in that pain into perpetuity?

Everyone has ups and downs.  No one is in perpetual bliss.  Even the brightest flames diminish in the dampening rain.

For people with Depression however, the downs are much deeper and darker than for others.  The rain becomes a torrential hurricane complete with tsunami tidal wave.

I have learned to ride the emotional coaster better, by being aware of the pattern of ups and downs.  It helps to have an arsenal of coping tools in my self-management toolbox to help me get through the lowest times; everything from spiritual healing to comedy relief and everything in between.  I have also learned that it’s O.K. reach out and ask for help.

I used to question what it was all for, the constant struggle that is life.

Survival?

But why?

Procreation?

I have procreated.  Does that mean I am done?

What’s the point?

According to Oprah Winfrey;


“The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you were intended to be.”


For me, for now, I am the person that I am; faulty, flawed and imperfect, trying to embrace with gratitude every small moment of joy I am given, before I am drawn under again by the next wave of darkness that hits.

I don’t make excuses for the way that I am anymore, and I don’t apologize either, for the sudden tears, or the occasional need for a small retreat from the world.  I don’t make excuses for needing to take medications to stabilize my mental health.  I don’t make excuses for needing support to get me through sinkholes in the road.

Do I want to evolve into the “complete person” I was intended to be? photo 3 (7)

What does that even mean?

Or maybe I have evolved, and this is the complete person I am intended to be this go round.  Imperfectly perfect.

I can accept that, or, I can continue searching, discontent in mind, body and spirit, straining and craving to change into some intangible “complete” entity I am told I should aspire to.

There is only one answer that makes sense right now.

“… grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time…”

~Reinhold Niebuhr

“You’d Also Be An Anchor To Her”

My Response to A Reader Comment

I would like to take this opportunity to respond to a reader, by the name of “James”, who made a comment on the previous blog article, A Mom Soldiers On,  October 19, 2014;

“You’d also be an anchor for her if you can’t provide for her.” ~James

I felt that this comment warranted a comprehensive response, and deserving of a dedicated post.

This comment would be true enough if you are referring to financial provisions.  I can say with confidence and gratitude that we are blessed to be financially stable.  She has everything she needs for food, education, shelter, and material goods.  Her physical and financial welfare will never be in jeopardy.

The point of A Mom Soldiers On is about the challenge of motherhood while living with the daily struggles of chronic depression.  It is about the psychological and emotional impact that this condition has on me and my children.

This blog Managing Depression is dedicated to the entire experience of chronic depression.  I express clearly, that this mental health condition is most definitely an anchor, in fact, it is a ginormous burden to my family, day in and day out.

Yes, I would be anchor for her, if all I did was wallow in self-pity. Yes, I would be an anchor to her if she had to take care of me, instead of me taking care of her.

Yes, I would be an anchor if I was never able to get out of my own head and be emotionally available and present when she comes home crying from teenage high school drama.

Yes, I would be an anchor if I did not get up or do anything that a mom does, like buy groceries, make nutritious meals, oversee homework, maintain the house, pay the bills, and the never-ever ending loads of laundry.

Yes I would be an anchor.

But that is what the article A Mom Soldiers on is about.

It is about NOT allowing the depression to be an anchor, despite having to drag along the enormous weight of chronic depression.

It’s about finding the strength and will to get up and do what a mother has to do, and be present as mother should be for her child.

My first reaction to James’ comment was hurt, and then I feared that it might be true, that I would be an anchor.  But after a few minutes of reflection, my valuable contributions as a mother came to mind, vivid and clear.

I have not allowed my chronic condition of Depression to anchor me.  Despite it, I have reared strong-willed, intelligent, conscientious, well adjusted, young ladies who are full of love and compassion for the world around them.  I am proud of the job I have done as a mother, and foresee myself continuing on the same road.

I have come a long way in recovery, in understanding the nuances of my emotional fluctuations, and the best methods of how to manage them.  Yes, my children have seen me down and they have seen me fall, but they have also seen me fight against it.  They have seen me get up, they have seen me show up, and they have seen me rise despite the darkness I tow.

Thank you James, for making this an opportunity for me to candidly remind us moms who cope daily with depression, that we are still able to make significant positive impacts, despite our demons.

We do what we do as mothers because we draw our strength from that special well deep inside us, fed by the eternal spring of divine love, a mother’s love.

my-little-love-wallpaper

Image courtesy: youwall.com

My Guardian Angels Wear Fur Coats

The first time my dogs saved my life, I knew I would forever need one in my life.

Suicide is always in my mind, a way out should my world gets too overwhelming, and my reasons to live just don’t make sense anymore.

Panda and Cubby

Panda and Cubby

On this one particular day, I was driving with both my dogs in the car; Cubby, a silver/gray poodle cross, and Panda, a lab collie cross. We were on our way home from somewhere, I don’t remember much from that day, the trigger, the reasons, or the people. The only things that stand out in my mind from that day were the intense feelings of despair and pain coursing through my body. They were so powerful, so fierce, I could barely drive, or see through my tears. I just wanted to stop the pain.

I knew there was a bridge ahead.  The urge to drive right off the bridge into the strong currents of the river raged strong. To sink into oblivion and leave everything behind, the fears, the pain, the hopelessness.

I imagined the scene; the car filling with water, my acceptance of taking water into my mouth, my nose, my lungs, and the peace I would have with my body sinking into depths of the murky river. The End.

I felt my puppy’s tongue lick at my teary cheek.  Then the image of my dogs flashed through my mind, of taking them into the water with me, drowning with me. Except they weren’t calm like me. They were terrified, struggling, pawing at anything they could get at to keep their little heads above the water.  Whining.  Yelping.  Their trusting eyes full of fear, begging me to help them, to get them out, to save them.  They didn’t want to die.

Oh My God!  What was I doing? These dogs were my beloved pets, adopted into my life, and loved as if they were my own children!

I pulled off the road and sat in the car, stunned at what had just happened in my head. It was real, the thoughts, the feelings, the impromptu scheme of drowning myself as I got closer to the bridge. It wasn’t the thought of dying that shook me. What shook me to my core was that I would kill my dogs. That I would inflict fear and death on them, as the last thing they would experience from me. How horrible to do so. I could never kill them. They deserved their life. They trusted me. They followed me. I am their mom, their alpha, they would go anywhere with me.

I could not lead them into suicide with me. I had to take them home.

“I am not drowning myself today. I am not killing my puppies. I love them too much to take them with me.” I said to myself over and over again.

I sat in the car for a long time, sobbing out my relief at what I didn’t do, what didn’t happen. They didn’t know why I was crying, or why I held them so tightly. They were content to just let me.

I took them home and we lived another day.

Thinking back to that day still brings chills up my spine. Even though it never actually occurred, the images of my dogs struggling for their lives as the car filled up with water are still vivid in my mind. I didn’t take my own life that day because I didn’t want to take their lives as collateral damage. They saved me that day, just as surely as if they had dragged me by the neck and doggy paddled me safely to shore.

HPIM8209

Panda 1995-2012

The two dogs from that day have since passed, and still I miss their presence by my side. But I am grateful for the time I had with them. They kept me present, gave their unconditional love and devotion in times when I felt like life was unbearable.  They stayed by my side when I was buried deep in the dark hole that is my bane in this life.  They kept me grounded by giving me their bodies to hold onto when I felt myself drowning.  Without intention or plan, they came into my life and became my therapy dogs.

Thank you, my girls, thank you.