Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Roller Coaster Ride

The roller coaster that I ride is so very frustrating.  One day I’m doing great, enjoying my life.  I reach the top of the climb and start to fall.  Some days are good; I’m not climbing upward or falling down, steady like the tortoise in the race.  Today is not one of those days.  I am falling, and falling hard. 

There’s absolutely nothing to be down about.  My marriage is going well.  My kids are doing the best they can. I have a good job, a roof over my head, plenty of food.  It’s just this simple little chemical that I cannot seem to control.  

Think positive is what I tell myself, but all I want to do is curl up in a ball, in a corner and cry.  These emotions are so overwhelming sometimes.  What do I do instead?

Stuff it inside, hide it away so that only when I’m alone do I feel.  Then it’s an even stronger feeling.  Unfortunately, the “someday” is today.  I want to be away from people.  I want to cry uncontrollably. 

I want to feel special but not sure why I don’t.  I have a husband that does everything he is capable of doing for me and loves me deeply.  I don’t understand why these feelings of insignificance and unimportance ripple through me. Why do I feel as though I do not matter in this huge world?

The ant is such a tiny insect, what makes one ant different than the rest?  What makes me different than others?  I guess I need to sit and write a grateful and positive list, but that list is so difficult to start when I’m falling.  

I hope the fall is quick.  I know I’ll still hit hard but the quicker the fall the quicker the climb is out of the pit.  It’s dark there. There are whispers of pain and anguish.  The air is thick and difficult to breathe in.  The darkness makes exhaustion more prominent and creating the lack of inspiration and energy. 

Wondering where to go from here. Will I continue to fall or stop where I am for a few days?  How long will it last this time?  I dread the outcome.  Self-control will be the top priority.  There will be no self-inflicted physical injuries; there will be focus on something positive.

“if God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31; “consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” James 1:2 

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”  Romans 5:1-5

So, this is where I stand; in hope. Hoping that this won’t last as long.  Knowing this is the journey that was created for me to live out.  Knowing that even though I struggle with the negative whispers of depression, the end result is what counts.  Get through it. I will get through today to start another day, whether it’s going up or falling down the roller coaster is unknown at the moment.  I will remember that God is always here for me.  That He is what makes me strong and will get me through unharmed and even more grateful for who I am.  I hope to continue to help others that deal with the depths of depression and how difficult it is some days.
As of right now, I’ve gotten through a rough hour by writing this up.  This is how I get through.  Words written on fake paper in MS Word to be given to a friend or two to encourage them.  To let those friends know how much I appreciate them allowing me to share this with them and the fact that they stay my friends.  I’ve lost many friends over the years because my friends didn’t know how to react.  There’s no need to react or worry.  I am to the point now that I will be safe in the comfort of God’s arms to get me through, even if I lose more friends due to my emotional garbage, I will survive.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Day "who cares" - Lifeboat

September 4, 2015

So, I was depressed for most of August and part of July. I finally started creeping out of it near the end of August.  What did it feel like during this time?  

Imagine sitting in a small 12' flat bottom fishing boat (which is usually used for creeks, rivers and stream fishing). There's no motor attached, not even a tiller motor, which has the motor about the size of weed whacker or string line trimmer.  The only things in the boat with you are one gallon of water and 4 protein bars.

You look out around you to get a grasp on what is happening.  For as far as you can see there is water and blue sky, with the sun shinning bright above you.  No where is there land to be found. You look back at your supplies, a gallon of water and four protein bars.  

OK, you know you have to seriously look at how you will have to ration your supplies.  You don't know how long it will be before someone can find you. 

The first day you are optimistic that someone will find you.  You figure it's OK to eat half of one of the bars and you sip the water slowly. You think you have enough supplies for a week, sure you'll need medical attention if it really takes that long for them to find you, but it's not going to be that long.

After a couple days have gone by your optimism begins to fade.  You've seen planes fly over continually and have even seen a few boats off in the distance. Why couldn't they see you?  You were even able to stand up and wave your arms, yet still nothing.

You realize you've been stranded now for what must be a week and you've run out of your supplies.  You're in luck though, off in the distance you see something.  It's floating on the water.  Something new in sight has given you a burst of excitement and renewed energy.  You just have to find out what is floating near you. You pull together your strength and gently lean over and try to paddle your way over.  For what seems like hours, you have finally moved your boat to the object.

To your excitement it is a boat oar. You reach for the oar slowly, trying not to tip the boat. Every muscle in your body aches from your paddling workout causing you to shake uncontrollably.  You know that without this oar to help you move you could be stranded in the boat for whatever remains of your life. Cautiously, you finally touch the oar, but even your gentle touch moves it farther from you.

Paddling a little more, that's what you must do.  So, that's what you do.  This time the oar comes right up to the edge of the boat.  Excitedly, you grab the oar removing it from the never-ending surrounding water.

Exhausted, you clutch the oar and lean back in the boat. Quickly you remember there is nothing for you to lean on behind you.  Jerking forward the boat rocks violently.  Slowly, you regain balance in the boat.  You'd never thought about how difficult it was to move around in a boat before without tipping it over. 

The energy you expressed to gain the paddle left you spent.  Carefully, you lower yourself from the seat to the bottom of the boat.  Still clutching the oar in your arms you lay down for some rest.  Without food and water your body is now using every bit of excess energy it has consumed over the years.  You can tell you've lost weight and the hunger pangs have left you.  You are now feeling hollow inside, just waiting for a little energy to use the paddle you're just acquired. 

You sleep. 

September 15, 2015

Part 2 

The weight of your eyelids seemed to have increased while you were sleeping.  Trying to open them is difficult and painful. You can't remember when you ate last but are weakly still clutching the oar. Laying in the bottom of the boat, you look up at the sky.  You've never seen the stars like this.  During your time stranded on the boat you've had plenty of time to think about everything in your life.  The stars have been one such thing.  How could you have lived and not realize how many there really are in the black sky above.  How beautiful they were your first night on the boat and how lonely they are now.

Sitting up in the bottom of the boat you cry uncontrollably as you realize how alone you are.  You don't remember the last time you spoke with someone or even when you saw another person. Surrounded by the never-ending water and sky, you think about how easy it is to give up.  It really wouldn't be very difficult at this point.  You're sure if someone ever found you, they would understand that you just couldn't take this any longer.  The emptiness inside is so overwhelming that you seriously think that all you need do to is climb over the edge of your little boat. 

You wonder if anyone has realized you're missing.  Has anyone noticed you weren't there the other day?  Do they really care?

As you sit pondering the value of your life the sky begins to lighten and the stars fade away. The sun slowly enters the horizon behind you.  The black sky changes before your eyes. The beauty of the new day's colors capture your mind for a moment.

As the progression of the sunrise increases a burning sensation overcomes you.  At this point you've realized you are completely sunburned.  The salt water spraying up off the small splashing on the boat stings as if someone was pouring alcohol all over you.  

It's time to try again.  Now that you have an oar, maybe you can find someone to help you, or land, just some way out of this pit of emptiness in the middle of this never-ending ocean.

One small stroke at a time you hope that you're actually moving.  You cannot tell if you're really making any progress since there is nothing to base your location on, but you keep going; one small, weak, what you feel is a pathetic stroke of the oar at a time.

November 5, 2015

Part 3

You slowly paddle for what seems like hours. Never knowing if your going anywhere.  How could this have happened to you?  What did you ever do to deserve this? Questions run through your mind as you try to figure out what to do next.  Is this real?  Maybe it's just a bad dream. 

Stroke after stroke you try to be hopeful.  Could there be land somewhere near you?  All you can still see is water and sky.  

You begin to wonder how many days it has been now.  Your days are blurred together.  After paddling for what seems like hours you take a break.  You know it hasn't been very long, but you're exhausted. Remembering what happened before you slowly shift yourself to the bottom of the boat.  You have no energy left to fight, or paddle.  Curling up, you close your eyes and drift off to sleep.

Time has no reality in your world.  What seems like minutes could be hours, or what seems like hours could be minutes.  When you open your eyes you think you hear something. Could it be someone?  Peeking your eyes over the edge of the boat you hope to see land. 
To your surprise, you see your friend in a boat next to you.

"How did you get here?" you ask.  Were they in a boating accident? 

"We had plans, don't you remember?" She's dressed and ready to go out with a confused look on her face. 

"Plans, what plans?" 

"We're supposed to go see a movie, remember?"

"Do you see where we are?"

"Uh, yeah.  So get up and lets go." She stands up in her boat and looks prepared to leave. 

"I can't go out.  We're suck in the middle of nowhere.  Can't you see that?"

"It's all in your head, you're fine."

"It's not in my head.  We're stranded in the middle of some ocean.  There's no where to go."

"If you're not going, I'll go without you." She turns away from you and steps off the boat, disappearing. 

"NO!" yelling as you reach to try to stop her. Bracing yourself you look again at her boat.  It's gone. How could it be gone?  The boat is gone, your friend is gone, was it real? 

You have come to the conclusion that this must have been a hallucination. What is real? 

The time that you have spent in the boat has exhausted every part of your being. Still sitting on the bottom of the boat, you position yourself once again, as to not tip it while you rest.  Your mind starts to wander once again.      

You think back to when this all began.  Trying to remember how you got into this situation, you pull memories from the past few days. There are questions that have not been answered.  Your memories are blurred together with what your life was before this.  You still have no recollection of how you ended up stranded in this boat.

It becomes apparent to you that these things no longer matter.  How could they?  It won't change the situation.  You are done trying.  Laying on the bottom of the boat you stare at the oar.  Why did you even find this if it wouldn't get you anywhere?

Anger fills your entire being as you realize you spent all your energy using it, trying to get somewhere, to no avail. 

"Forget it!" you tell yourself, "it's not worth it!"

You close your eyes hoping and praying that this is all a bad dream.

Something new happens.  You wake to a noise.  Is that another boat you hear?  You've been dreaming, maybe it was just part of a vivid dream.  Pulling what strength you have left you open your eyes.  The sunlight burns so you squint to try to focus on the boat you now call home.  You're sure it was nothing, the noise was in your dream.

Then you hear it again.  It's a motor.  You're almost positive it's all in your head, this isn't real.  You've been stuck in this boat for what seems like eternity, no one will ever find you.  Sitting up you realize you're wrong.  You see a large white yacht next to your boat.  Surprised, you lead to touch it to make sure it's real.

Yes, it is real.  Someone is yelling something to you from above. You haven't heard another voice for days.

"What are you doing down there?"  the voice yells.

You no longer have a voice, other than the one in your head, so you cannot reply.  You begin to wave frantically, hoping someone would get you off the boat.  

Sitting in the cabin of the yacht, the man hands you a bottle of water. It's been days since you've had anything drinkable. The stinging of the water reminds you that you're alive as you swallow your first drink. 

"How long have you been out here?" he asks. 

"I don't know," you reply shrugging your shoulders.  

"Why didn't you just use the oar and paddle your way to shore?  It's not even half a mile away." 

"I tried."

"You should have tried harder."  

Thinking about what you've just been through you cannot imagine why he was treating you like this.  It wasn't like you weren't trying to find land, you were.  Tears well up in your eyes as you realize that it seemed so easy to him that you could find your way to land, to get home, but it wasn't.  It took everything you had just to get through each day.  


Depression is much like this story.  Some days you feel like your stranded in the middle of an ocean without an oar.  Some days you are trying to get better.  Then some days you just get through the day, one hour at a time.  These days are frustrating and confusing not for just the person with the depression, but for those around that do not understand it's not a choice.  For those of us that have dealt with depression for years, and years, we know it's not easy to get back on land.  Sometimes it can take days or weeks to find our way back to a good place.  

I originally started this story on September 4, it's now two months later November 5 and I've finally been able to finish.  I've removed it from my blog and put the three parts together because I feel it would be a better read for someone since the blogs go backwards in dated posts.  

If someone you know has depression, please don't think you need to remind them to think positive or smile and pretend you're happy then everything will be fine.  It's not always a matter of pretending you're happy to be happy.  Faking it sometimes makes it last longer for me.  Let me get through the depression I'm in so I can have a better "good" day.  

Monday, August 24, 2015

Day 15 - 2015 SGCHI

2015 SGCHI

This past weekend (Aug 14-16) was completely amazing with fun and laughter.  So, every year Creation Entertainment holds a Stargate Convention in August.  They invite different actors that have appeared in Stargate SG1, Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe.  The guest list this year was really great.  Unfortunately, Amanda Tapping and Ben Browder had to cancel, but maybe next year.

It began on Friday, but I was not able to attend on Friday.  I started my Stargate weekend on Saturday, bright and early.  I joined 9 other people in a meet and greet breakfast with Dan Payne and Alex Zahara.  Unfortunately, Alex had missed his flight Friday and wouldn’t make the breakfast.  It was just Dan and the rest of us. It was great getting to know other fans and Dan.  I went into the weekend having only met Dan and Alex at the 2013 convention, and never meeting anyone else.

So, the breakfast was a great way to start the day!  It was full of laughter and stories about bears.

After it ended it was time to actually start the rest of the activities.  The way things are scheduled throughout the weekend can be a bit ragged for the actors.  There are panels for everyone, sometimes it’s more than one person on stage at a time. While the person is on stage there is usually a Q&A time where the fans can line up and ask questions. Each actor has a time scheduled for photo ops, where you can get a photo taken with the actor, then there are autographs as well.  The more popular actors have scheduled autograph times, the rest have tables set up in the halls for autographs. 

I was there mainly meet Rainbow Sun Francks, which of course I did.  I’ve known him online through Console Creatures for 3 ½ years now.  His autograph table was in the hall.  I waited until the line was down to almost no one, which took a while.  Yes, I got autographs. I actually got a couple because I was getting one for a friend as well. Later in the afternoon I had my picture taken with him as well. 

My other photo op for the weekend was with Dan and Alex.  The day was busy with different panels and being able to meet everyone there. I also met some great people who are fans.  There were several that I kept running into and we’d chat a little then go onto what we were headed to.

At the end of Saturday Rainbow had to wait for Paul McGillion to finish his autograph session. It was really nice actually.  I hung out with Rainbow at his table while he waited.  A few fans would stop by and chat with us and he would say that we’re old friends.  It was really nice to just hang out in person instead of just online.

Sunday was a second meet and greet breakfast for Dan and Alex.  This time Alex was there.  It was a lot of fun.  I got to step out of my box for a little while, which I’m sure it did me some good. This was mostly a day for the panels.  I got a couple more autographs, one for the same friend.  It was a surprise.  Yes, she was thrilled when she got it the other day.

Now, the emotional issue – I have social anxiety issues… aka I hate crowds.  I was also starting my weekend knowing I was already depressed.  It was very difficult to get out of this funk, still working on it.  I was very stressed both days.  There really is a lot more to this side of the story, but I’d rather leave it on a good note – some amazing people met, photos taken and autographs acquired.  

I’m already looking forward to next year.  I’m hoping that it’s an even better time than this year.  I really want to go all three days and even stay at the hotel.  2016 is supposed to be the last Stargate Convention, which is very sad.  Stargate has some great actors within its walls.  So sad that they’re going to shut it down. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Day 14 - Over or Under, the TP issue

There is a battle going on in the office where I work.  It's a very quiet battle, one that only the ladies in the office are aware of.  We have 4 ladies that work in the office with one designated ladies room. This battle has never been won and never will be.  It's been going on for decades all over the world.  

Should the toilet paper roll over or under?

I think it's quite funny that each time I use the ladies room the toilet paper is switched.  Yes, switched.  Who really cares which way the toilet paper rolls as long as there's toilet paper in there?  I do think it's funny though.  

Do you have a preference?  Is there a battle like this going on where you work?  It's become a quiet battle that I believe will become a joke in this office.  At least it is for the two of us that are not swapping it around. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Day 13 - TWLOHA

Over the past several days my attention has been brought to TWLOHA - To Write Love on Her Arms.  I'm still learning more about this.  One; it's a movie, which I have yet to watch, about the struggles of one girl living with bipolar, which has turned into a new movement. It looks like an extremely emotional movie.  Two, who brought this to my attention? Jared Padelecki.  He is the actor who portrays Sam Winchester on Supernatural, yes, one of my top 5 favorite shows.  He finally got himself onto Facebook due to the death of a friend.  His friend committed suicide recently.  He has created a new journey for himself.  The death of his friend hurt him so deeply that he decided to step up and help others, with the profits from the sale of the line of shirts going to TWLOHA.  He had a few contests this week as well; autographed shirt & phone conversation with him - for example, both of which any fan of Supernatural would LOVE!

Well, he posted a couple videos from himself to the fandom world on FB.  The responses are amazing.  There are thousands of responses for each video and post he's made this week. Aside from condolences there are personal stories people are openly sharing for the world to see.  This is so wonderful to see.  It's also heart-wrenching to read some of them.

That's where I am right now.  My mind has become obsessed about all these people that suffer from depression, anxiety, self harm, self destruction and suicidal thoughts.  I've been on both sides of this.  I've been the one with the tendencies mentioned above, but also on the flip side - seeing someone in such inner agony that I just want to wrap my arms around them and make it all go away.

My perception of one side; the person going through the emotional pain.  One cannot fully comprehend what it's like to feel this  unless you've gone through it yourself.  

Backtrack to sophomore year of high school.  I was 15 and 16 during the school year.  I know this is 30 years ago, but I remember parts of it so clearly.  The inner pangs of a teenager was in full motion with me.  This is when depression was just beginning to really be looked at as a chemical issue instead of being weak and situational.  The inner pain I felt came out in my body language, in the things I said, what I wrote and in self harm.  At my lowest points I just wanted to die.Whenever I talked about how I felt I would get similar responses; disbelief, being told it was dumb to feel that way, or I just scared the person off.  I had a couple friends though, that took that extra step and did something about it.  One contacted my parents and another contacted the school counselor.  I was lucky and grateful that someone stepped up to help me.  Yes, I got counseling and things improved for me.  Thirty years later I still struggle with depression.  I've been on several different antidepressants, but nothing really worked.  I've seen counselors, learned more about myself and got diagnosed with bipolar 2 disorder with depression and anxiety.

Finally a diagnosis that fits.  I'm currently on meds and deal with each day as it comes. I'm still on a roller coaster called Bipolar, but I've done research and learned more about my own patterns.  I know what my mania symptoms are and can tell when I start to crash into a depression.  I always pay attention to where my thoughts travel to and my mood.  I know that even though I feel like I'm in the bottom of a pit that I will come out of it.  It may take a week or so sitting in the pit, alone with my thoughts, but I know God will bring me out, every time.

I would love to know what it's like to live without bipolar, but I know that it's a gift that God gave me to carry so that maybe one day I can help someone else.  Hence, my blog.

Now flip this over.  My grandfather attempted suicide; he shot himself in the head.  Like I said, attempted.  He survived.  his body did but he was no longer the super hero I always thought he was.  He was unable to communicate, the amount of brain damage was catastrophic. A close friend of mine, a cousin and my best friend's nephew all lost their battles with depression.  Their deaths affected so many people that makes me wish they knew how much they were loved by others. 

Fast forward to today.  Yes, I'm in a downward slope right now.  I knew late last week that I was headed down.  But I also know there will be better days.

If you're reading this blog and you are struggling with depression or self worth, know you are NOT alone.  Try to step away from your thoughts for a moment.  I know it's horribly difficult.  Things can get better.  Today is one day, tomorrow is new.  Look at the short term if you can't look at the big picture.  I never thought about when I would be 20 or 30, let alone making it to 46! That was too far away.  Even today I just get through the day.  Please don't think of yourself as weak because you are going through this.  If you feel like inflicting self injury and choose not to, you have become even stronger.  Each and every day you get through creates a stronger person inside.  You can get through it all.  No matter what your situation is, it's up to you to decide how to respond.  Grow stronger each day, just by getting through it.  

As Jared's shirt says  "ALWAYS KEEP FIGHTING" 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Day 12 - Happy Goundhog Day

Happy Groundhog Day!

What a weekend!  Saturday was errand day, you know the joy of grocery shopping.  Being that Sunday was the Super Bowl I anticipated it being busy there, however, we were also in store for a snow storm.  So, the store was crazy!  Almost funny busy.  Luckily, I wasn't in any hurry so I just took it with stride.  

Saturday night the snow began, it finally stopped Sunday late.  I have no idea how much we got in our yard, but the highest totals were 19"! I'm pretty sure we have about 16". 

Sunday morning my I.T. Guy and I were supposed to be in the children's ministry to teach the kids, but we chose not to go since we felt the drive would not be safe.  Service ended up being cancelled anyway.  

Saturday the washing machine stopped draining.  My poor front-loader couldn't get rid of the water.  I spent a couple hours on Sunday fixing washer.  Yes, I fixed it.

Yeah, I sit here blabbering on about my weekend.  Who really cares what I did?  

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Day 11 - Decisions, decisions

Seriously, sometimes decisions are so difficult to make.  I cannot make decisions easily.  When I'm asked what I want or my opinion I always ask about the other person's wants or opinion first.  

I don't understand why I'm always worried about what people think or what they would prefer before I give my opinions or wants. I know I'm a people-pleaser, I just don't know why it's so difficult. 

Today is not a good day for me.  Been feeling really low, depressed for a few days now.  Today it's just not good.  I want to hide away from everyone.  But, I didn't completely do that today.  I went to dinner with my family to celebrate my birthday.  Yes, it was my birthday earlier this week.  

Anyway, back to decisions.  I don't want to make them.  

Sorry, I know this is short.  I can't write at the moment there are pieces falling off me and I need to try to clean up the mess.... yes, bad mood and depressed.

Welcome to my life.