Color Color Everywhere!!!

I love Spring for three reasons. First, the sun is brighter and it stays out longer. Second, the temperatures are perfect. Three, color is everywhere.
When depression is at its worst, the only colors I see are black and grey. Everything is so dull. My senses, my emotions, and even my eyes only sees the darkest colors. Winters can be especially hard for those who battle depression. I tend to wear a lot of brown and grey during this time. They call it SAD: Seasonal Affect Disorder. It makes sense right? I bet most of you can relate. It is a very dark time.
Spring feels like coming out of a dark time. I love color. I wear a lot of pink. I have a pink wallet, pink in my skirts and of course pink exercise clothes!! Besides, “it’s one of my coluhs” as my mother would say:). Everything is bright and colorful. The brighter sun gives you the much needed vitamin D. People are friendlier. They smile more which makes you smile more. The weather is usually in the mid 70’s which is absolutely perfect to me. July and August are impossible. The heat and humidity are stifling and the pools feel like bath water. I tend to get a little down at that time as well.
If you are battling a dark time right now, try to take even a short walk around the block or just sit outside and let the sun shine on your face for a few minutes. Take advantage of all the color in the beautiful yards in this area. Buy something bright. Thank God for giving us this beautiful season. Honor him by enjoying the beauty.
I hope this helps explain depression a little bit more. It is a simple description, but the simpler the better sometimes, right?
I would like to apologize for something I wrote yesterday but did not have the full story. I still do not know the full story but I apologize just as well.
Enjoy this beautiful day and hug a friend or loved one:)
My pictures are on my old computer and I am having a hard time transferring them so I don’t have a good picture for today:)

Tragedy, Loss and Insensitivity

Yesterday, Birmingham lost another soul to a senseless tragedy. My heart goes out to his wife and children. My heart hurts for them profoundly.
I mentioned before, how could a “caveman” be depressed? He provides for his family. He has responsibilities to put them through school and pay for their activities. It is for those same reasons he can be despondent. This man lost his job. How was he supposed to take care of everybody? I am afraid he expected it and had planned this. I cannot say for sure because I am not him. But statistics show that some thought goes into it and a particular instance causes a person to act on it.
What truly broke my heart about this was the insensitivity of certain people who chose to post this on facebook. One who claimed to be a friend posted a picture of the parking deck yesterday morning. I was stunned. They noted they were close to the family but couldn’t say who it was because not all family had been notified. Why put it up there at all? It was already posted all over the news as some gunman out to harm others. We talk about sensationalizing suicide as being harmful. This was harmful: to the family and friends of this troubled man.
I am so sad about this tragedy.
It hurts deep in my soul because I understand the despair this man suffered. I also know it could have been stopped. Not by his wife who was almost too close to the situation. It could have been stopped because more could have been done about information being put out their about depression and suicide. This is precisely why AWARE was created. We want to erase the stigma about depression. We want to notify the community of ways to battle it and survive. We want to discuss the reasons why people turn to drugs and alcohol to mask their depression. It also gives them courage to attempt to take their lives. We want every one to be AWARE of the signs and symptoms of depression and other mental illnesses and challenges people face that cause them to see the only option is to take their life.
Their is a questionnaire on villageliving.com about what you as a community want to know about these issues. Please take the time to fill it out. Let us know your concerns. Help save a life. NOT ONE MORE is our “motto”. Let us keep our friends and family members alive by being AWARE of what is going on in our community.

Melancholy Madness

Monday we had our first AWARE planning group meeting. It was highly enlightening. We had about 11 of us there and we all shared our reasons why we were there. They were all valid and we all share a common goal to get the word across that depression, suicide, etc is a problem and we can be a resource to help. You may have seen on FB posts the poll we have on Village Living. Please take a moment to fill it out. It will help us immensely in our goals to help the community with what you need us to do.
When I shared my reasons, I state that my goal was to make the public aware of what goes through the mind of someone with so much despair in their hearts that they feel they have no option but to end it all. That is so not the answer. I am going to share with you a poem I wrote years ago when I was in the depths of despair. Take into account this is not where I am now. Adele, if you read this, I am doing well emotionally right now:) This is part of my job in this blog to make you AWARE of the feelings your loved one may be going through. If you do not battle depression, it is so hard to understand. I hope this will help.
Melancholy Madness

Loosen your grip on her soul
Let the light shine in again
Let the warmth flow in and thaw
The hardness away

Bring back that funny little girl
Whose laughter spreads to all she knows
Her smile can radiate to all
Who want to be within her reach

Melancholy Madness disappear
Release the beauty we hold so dear
You suppress her soul from all of us
Who know the truth and dare to care

She desires the strength and will to climb
Out of the mud thick hole she finds herself in
Just one step at a time..
The thought is even overwhelming to her

She is so lost, alone and wants to give up
Her friends say otherwise, but
That Melancholy Madness beats
Her down overpowering her allies

Melancholy Madness disappear
Release the beauty we hold so dear
You suppress her soul from all of us
Who know the truth and dare to care

She prays to God to heal her spirit.
Faith, she is told, the only way out of this sinking ship
She prays so hard only to feel
The tears of helplessness flowing down her cheeks.

How much more of this can he take?
This Melancholy Madness getting to him too.
He wants to yell into her face.
Snap out of it…you have things to do.

Melancholy Madness disappear
Release the beauty we hold so dear
You suppress her soul from all of us
Who know the truth and dare to care

Life would be so much easier, she tells herself
The burdens of her despair not casting a dark
Shadow over everyone she loves
The pull of a trigger is all she needs

But, its that ounce of love that keeps her alive
Away from the dangers of death that lurk so near
Calling her name like a Siren

Melancholy Madness disappear
Release the beauty we hold so dear
You suppress her soul from all of us
Who know the truth and dare to care.

It’s an uphill battle everyday
That Melancholy Madness lurks around every corner
Waiting for that perfect moment
When vulnerability perseveres

She has so much to live for
She knows that fast and true
So she will fight with every ounce of strength
The battle won for now but the war rages on.

Melancholy Madness disappear
Release the beauty we hold so dear
You suppress her soul from all of us
Who know the truth and dare to care.blog pic

Where is God in the Darkness?

Did you know David in the Bible battled severe depression? “How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all day long?” Ps 13:2. He knew the darkness and hopelessness we feel. He questioned God often why he left him alone: “Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do yo hide yourself in times of trouble?” Ps 10:1.
Those of us who battle depression, often ask why we feel so alone. Not only physically but spiritually as well. We see people so full of joy for God. All we feel is abandoned and angry. Why me God?
Well, why not me? Yesterday I talked about the beauty of depression/bipolar disorder. “But you do see! Indeed you note trouble and grief, that yo may take it into your hands; the helpless commit to you; you have been the helper of the orphan.” Ps 10:14. He is there for you. He gave you this gift because He loves you and knew that you were special enough to handle it.
That just popped in my brain:) I am not a Bible scholar or a priest. I am just a survivor who is looking for answers and comfort from God. Honestly? I don’t always find comfort from God. I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t question Him sometimes. But, ultimately, I always come back to Him and His words for comfort. “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.” Ps 42:11.
I love the Psalms. They put God’s word in simple terms that give me hope.
“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm to give you a future with hope.” Jeremiah 29:17. When my mind is racing a mile a minute and I cannot control my thoughts and moods, I have to try hard and remind myself of this. This is God’s plan for me. In my mini-manic state is when I am most creative as well. I try to take advantage of those times and write down the turmoil which consumes me.
God’s plan for me at this season in my life is to relate to you what a mind like mine is like. In words, I am trying to get you to understand a loved one or even yourself.
I am well right now. I am thinking clearly and I see a light at the end of the tunnel. I am doing all the right things that make me healthy. I take a day at a time and measure my emotions.
I have colitis. It is chronic. I will always have to take medicine for it. I am in remission. Clinical depression and Bipolar Disorder are pretty much chronic. With Bipolar, I will always have to take medicines. With the right meds and structured days, I can live a healthy, happy life.
God has given me a gift, but with this gift comes responsibility. I have to take care of myself in honor of God and my family and friends. Take care of your gift and take care of yourself.

THE BEAUTIFUL SIDE OF DEPRESSION/BIPOLAR DISORDER

Just like any illness, their is remission and recovery from depression and bipolar disorder. If you follow your doctor’s orders, and work hard, you can live a beautiful life.
People who battle severe clinical depression/ bipolar disorder see the world in a whole different light. I am going to try my best to describe what I see. It is a beautiful sight.
I feel things stronger. When I hurt for someone, I can almost feel the pain. When something good happens, you want to shout from the mountain tops, your heart feels like it could burst. You are probably saying to yourself you feel that way as well. Multiply that by 10. But you cannot quite express these in words so they stay built up inside you and it can bring you down. Learning to express these emotions in some way can help. I write, others paint, etc.
I see God’s creations and want to cry they are so beautiful. I remember going to the country hospital where my father moonlighted and peeking into the nursery. There were all these cone headed babies and I thought it was the most incredible sight I have ever seen. It is why I cry when I go to church. I just “feel” so much stronger than others. Sights and sounds can overwhelm me.
If you can relate, then you are not alone. I know that some of you are saying “yes, that is so right!”. Instead of being mired by the feelings that overwhelm you, think of them as a gift from God. He picked you out as someone who could understand humanity at it’s fullest. He picked you out as one who appreciates the beauty of this world to an extent that can be beyond words. He also gave you the gift to express it. Maybe you have not found that outlet yet. Keep trying.
As with any disease, God gives you a silver lining. If you battle like I do, get on your knees and thank God for the gift of seeing the world in a different light. Ask Him to show you how to express the feelings that overwhelm you and bring you down. God gave you this gift but if you don’t take care of it, it can be a curse. There is a cure and you can go into remission. Take the sense that God gave you and fight for yourself.
I hope I have made sense. I hope you can understand a little better what goes through the mind of someone you love. Be patient and listen as they try to explain the beauty and pain they see and feel on a different level. Don’t try and fix them, just be a sounding board. Pray. Pray for them and pray for yourself to be strong to handle the ups and downs.
We are a special breed. We have to fight hard like anyone who is battling a demon. But the reward is a beautiful life filled with God’s beauty, daffodils and an unopened jar of peanut butter:)

Our Babies

I just read Kay Warren’s post on Face Book.  She speaks of the grief she is still experiencing for the loss of her child.  She also tells what and what not to say to a parent who has lost a child.  I cannot even fathom what she and my other friends have gone through after the loss of a child.  I know that I pray for a little bit of peace to flow through them at least a little each day.

She reminded me today that we cannot push depression under the rug.  We have to keep it in the forefront.  We must push the schools to talk about it to the teachers and the children.  The signs and symptoms of depression need to be explained often, not just suicide signs and symptoms.

Depressed people do withdraw.  They also can become more irritable and have angry outbursts.  They may gain weight or lose weight.  Their eating habits will change remarkably.  Their grades will probably drop but not always.  They can hide it well though.  They can smile and fake it like the best of them.  If your gut tells you something is wrong, listen to it.  That mother’s tuition is usually spot on.

Let’s put life back into perspective.  Enjoy your child’s rec league game, win or lose.  Laugh with the parent’s in the bleachers.  Let the kids make mistakes and learn from them.  These kids will be playing on the same team not long from now.  Encourage the kids to have fun in the dugouts.  If you are on my son’s team, odds are you have a cool new hand shake or you have learned the “Booty” song (thank you Rob Lukens).  Let the school coaches put the stress on them.  

As a parent who battles depression, some days are so hard to put life in perspective.  You see nothing but darkness.  You try to make it through the day until you can fall in bed at a decent hour.  You have to “fake it ’til you make it” in front of your kids.  You have the right to tell your child you are not having a very good day and you need to lay down for a minute to regroup.  Maybe you can sit outside for a few minutes and get some fresh air and vitamin D.  A walk around the block can be enough to get some endorphins going to recharge.  Easier said than done right?  I am preaching to the choir because I have had one of those days.

Depressed people tend to ruminate over one negative event.  I have been doing that all day.  Someone commented on my child’s batting last night.  The mama bear came out in me.  I had to walk away.  All day long I have been coming up with what I would have said.  I am glad I walked away.  Then I read Ann’s post and I decided some things were more important but the mama bear will always come out when you say something I don’t like about my children:)

Birthdays and Such

Happy Birthday to me!!!! It was a good morning. I didn’t see roots and I got breakfast in bed. Then I got to sleep another hour and a half. I woke up to Armageddon in the kitchen and many baskets of clothes to fold. Now, this is my own fault because I am a procrastinator. Also, I forgot to buy dishwasher detergent on my last two trips to the grocery store. Oh well.
I would like to thank Perry Shuttlesworth for this awesome new computer. It is a Mac. Happy Birthday to me.
Now, I am 47. What kind of number is that? Now 50 is good. I look forward to turning 50. I loved 40 and 45. It is those numbers between 35 and 40 and 45 to 50 that stump me. They are so boring.
After yesterday’s post I got a call from the powers that be. They were a little upset that I was not exactly factual. Yes, they are not using that film. But they are taking steps. Their argument is it is not up to the schools to raise their children. I agree. It is our job to teach them right and wrong. But when they get to school, the educators see them more than we do. Their coaches see them more. By the time we see our kids it is bed time for us parents and study time for the kids. The counselors are trained to look for these signs. Unfortunately, we have three counselors for 1,000 students. Many of these kids will slip through the cracks.
Sue Wygul Martin, who attempted suicide and survived, is a big advocate for education. She wants us to think about those kids who attempt but aren’t successful but no one knows about them.
Educating the public and the kids about depression is vital in this community. Teaching both parents and kids what to look for might just save a few lives. The Jr High has a special period set aside every week for education like this. They are getting bombarded with bullying and drugs and alcohol speeches. The kids are tuning these people out now. They have not had one speaker on depression.
Depression is hard to talk about. We have got to get it out in the open. We need to open this community’s eyes. They need to hear from real people who battle this disease. They need to understand what goes through their minds. The synapses in our brains don’t work right. Our thought processes are skewed.
These kids need someone to come talk to them who has gone through what they are. They need to be told they are not alone by someone who felt alone like me. I wish to God someone had come to our classrooms and talked openly about it. Maybe I would not have felt so alone and crazy.
These alcohol and drug sessions are important. These kids are using drugs and alcohol to numb the pain. Depression and Alcohol go hand in hand. Ask anyone in AA. These conversations need to go hand in hand.
I urge you once again to talk to the school board and principals and ask them to get real people in front of these children. It is like having a wrecked car in front of the school for texting/drinking and driving.
Again, get these kids involved with a walk or a street party. Let them take ownership and save the life of their friends.
Thank you for all the birthday wishes. I am about to eat hamburgers, cake and ice cream and go to another baseball game.