All I Know

This has taken me decades to learn, and I did not learn the easy way...

There is one thing of which I have become unwaveringly certain. When the Lord God is not the priority in our lives, it is impossible to find our purpose, and truth will forever evade us. Despite the illusions of life plans, both large and small, or our sense that we're in control, the truth is that we are wandering without sight, aimlessly meandering through the darkness, unaware that we have never seen ourselves or our surroundings in the light. Accustomed to seeing in the dark, we create an imaginary world from the shadows. Once the light of truth breaks through, we find that we are not where we thought we were, and the horror of what cast those shadows becomes abysmally clear.

Bright Black

I’ve often heard black described in less than flattering terms. After all, black is dark and scary things lurk in the darkness. Shadows are dark, unhappy moods are dark, monsters hide in dark closets and of course, it is always darkest before the dawn. At this moment, on the other hand, if I saw only a white light, seemingly at the end of a sort of tunnel, I think I’d head back to black. Back to life.

Colours, bright colours; cheerful, right? Springtime, after all, screams colour and with that colour new life abounds. Of course new life means that there was old life that had to perish, martyred for the rainbow of new.

What is black though, if not where all the humanly visible wavelengths of light commune? It is that special dimension where all rays are finally accepted for who they really are. By golly they deserve it too, because if one thing can be said for a WOL it’s that it does not conform. Might get into some hot water and bend the rules a little here and there, but never conforms. It stays true to who it is whether rejected, like red, by the angry apple, or just ignored and made to feel invisible by the color-blind. It is still it’s own wavelength. Black is acceptance. Black is not the absence of color, it is every color living in harmony.

White, cruel white. White rejects, reflects and exposes. Does the brightness of white not expose what lurks in the darkness? It does, but let’s hope that what lurks in the darkness is not you, and what’s exposed is not the author of your demise. Perhaps certain things are hiding in the blackness because they are private, and maybe the callous flick of the light switch without warning is assault worse than the violent rip of a bandaid from your hairy arm. White is bright, white is blinding, white hates colour.

So what about black then? Well the way I see it, unlike the darkness of white, where colour is not welcomed, black is where all colour lives in harmony. Black is light. In fact, black’s light is so bright that we go blind when we stare directly at it.

Grasping at Worlds

Grasping at Worlds

Wait, please wait
oh, where are you?
I see you as I look away
don’t leave so soon

I can all but just recall
a distant place
I know so well,
but not at all

Where am I there
familiar strange
Was it this life?
or dreams of day

For an instant
oddly home
a breeze, you’re here
and gone

Another world in just a dream?
or by my side
lost in my own

What are you
should I know?
forgotten scent of long ago

I look away
for better view
I just can’t place
this déjà vu

Beautiful Ugly

This is the most personal post I have written. It may sound sappy to some. I hope not, because I am putting myself out there right now. I’m hoping somebody will connect.

Beautiful isn’t pretty.

I don’t usually share this part of my life with anyone, well, ever. It is about addiction. This time I will because it is the only way I know how to share what followed. It took a long time and it is only by chance (or was it?) that I was given a glimpse of such beautiful ugly. I hope it will be for someone out there.

It was a long road for me. Many years battling serious addiction. Cocaine, Pills, Heroin, anything really, but those were my drugs of choice. I am not sure why I am still alive, my present existence is an unlikely outcome. I have been homeless, I have ruined careers, lost possessions, and many other great possibilities were sacrificed for the lifestyle I became caught up in. It seemed like an impossible cycle. I was very low for a long time. I don’t remember a time when my reality was bearable enough to not desperately seek any sort of self medication I could find. The substances described above were those that I settled into after many years of trying anything to soften my waking life. I hear there is a correlation between bipolar and addiction. In case anyone is wondering, I was diagnosed Bipolar before my life of drugs. I’m sure the drugs worsened my condition, but they didn’t cause it. Needless to say my self-image was not in line with what those who loved me saw. Don’t get me wrong, I appeared to be functioning well. I achieved multiple degrees in university, awards, started careers, but I was a master at hiding it. The internal agony on the other hand was like being given a day pass from hell to carry out the image of a normal life, knowing that I didn’t live here and I was still always a citizen of hell.

When things were almost at their worst, I had spent everything on heroin and cocaine. While my fiancé worked away, I spent. When he came back and reality set in that there was no money, it was one of the worse days of my life. I thought, “We’ve been through hell and back together, but this is the limit, and I cruised past that line with the top down, leaving nothing but a trail of dust.” As he stood there, left with nothing but a tumbleweed bouncing in my tailwind, he found the strength, and had the vision and optimism to forgive me, once I admitted what I had done. He didn’t hold it against me and continued to discuss what we were going to do and how we would deal with it. I had a new appreciation and confidence in the depth of his love for me, which he always expressed, but I couldn’t truly absorb. This is another one of the situations that we survived as a couple, but it gets worse. There was a new bottom to come.

Now I see. I first see the ugly, but now I am not fooled. The ugly, the illusion, is not the person, it is the manifestation of their pain.

Amy

My world started crumbling down. Partly because of the drugs, the illness, and many months of extreme stress. Each making the other worse. At my worst I was using heavily every day, doing enough heroin and cocaine to kill a horse. I always mixed heroin, cocaine, benzos, not to mention all my psychotropic medication. My fiancé told me that he thought I wasn’t going to wake up. He could never sleep because he kept getting up to make sure I was still breathing. My breathing would get so shallow from the heroin especially with the benzos. I never knew he did this. He said that he thought he would have to leave so many times, even though it would devastate him. He calls me his heart. His life. And he means it.

Things had become almost 100% better, thanks to quality medical and psychological care, including drug counselling and addiction professionals. However, one thing that I still hadn’t learned was how to love myself. I still didn’t have the tools to put that into action. I understood the concept, but was missing an essential component. I wasn’t sure what that was until recently, and that is the reason for this lengthy sharing. It is almost easy to lose sight of the depth of meaning when describing the beauty and wonder of life. It isn’t that anybody doesn’t believe it, or mean it, it is just easy to forget the unfathomable wonder and beauty that is being described. I thought I got it, and I did on a certain level. I even agreed. What I didn’t realize, though, was that beauty does not mean pretty. In fact, I have come to see that the true beauty in life is not pretty. Let me explain.

Something happened recently that allowed me the honor of a glimpse of life’s elusive beauty. Perhaps it is not elusive, just really hard to see clearly through our personal shit storms.


Just to fill you in, my fiancé calls me his heart, baby bird, squirrely bird, his life, tons of sappy pet names. (Don’t gag – it’s just so you will get the significance of something coming.)

 He and I were shopping a few days ago. Nothing special, just an average day, then a song came on. I had heard it before and liked it, but I didn’t personalize it. I had only heard it a couple of times. Then my partner walked up to me and said, “This is the song that I would always sing in my head when I thought of you when you were really bad.”

“What do you mean?” I asked. He answered…

“When I thought you were going to die, or that I was going to have to leave you to save you. I would never sleep, I checked your breathing every couple of hours I was so scared that you weren’t going to wake up. I really thought you were going to die. I would see you nodding off and losing consciousness while watching TV, or at the computer. I was getting ready to lose you. This is the song that played constantly in my head, and when I hear it now I remember that time and how lucky we are to still have each other. I would have died without my heart. You are my life, my heart, I love you more than you will ever know. How could I live without my Baby Bird? I felt so sad for you, a sadness I have never felt before.”


 

The Song

 

 
 
 

I almost cried in the store thinking about what he was going through during that time. I had no idea. I was seeing things through my eyes. Never truly knowing how to feel loved by myself or anybody else. I was so lonely.

I lived what he was talking about, I was there, but as myself. Even though it wasn’t his intention, he gave me the rare gift of really seeing myself through the eyes of someone who truly, selflessly, loves and adores me. I haven’t thought about myself the same way since. I felt sadness for myself in a way that you can only feel out of love for someone. It is no news to anyone that knows me that I have never held myself in high esteem. Trying to understand how to love myself was entirely lost on me. I didn’t know how.  His telling me about what that song meant to him showed me beauty. Beauty exists in love, and pain, true and selfless pain, exists only in love. My eyes opened to one of life’s moments of true beauty, and it was too beautiful to be pretty.

Soon things started to change before my eyes.

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My rare glimpse of beauty began to show me not only myself through the eyes of love, but I saw others through eyes of love in a way I never have. Could this be what it means to not be able to love others until you love yourself? I was shown the beauty that existed out of my ugly. Beauty that could have only come into existence because of my ugly. I consider this one of the defining moments in my life’s journey. Now, where I would have only ever seen ugly. The ugly of the person I only knew how to hate and blame. The ugly that I took personally, resented, hated, cursed, and worst of all, the ugly for which I had no ability to see with sympathy, empathy or love. Now I see. I first see the ugly, but now I am not fooled. The ugly, the illusion, is not the person, it is the manifestation of their pain. To see through the ugly, to the pain is where lies the window to the true person, to true beauty.

The rarest, most breathtaking beauty is that which is seen through the ugly. When you are loved at your worst. When you hate yourself. When someone loves unconditionally, never losing sight of your beauty. To experience that dimension and depth of love, and to be given a glimpse of yourself through the eyes of someone who sees only your beauty, when it is almost impossible to see anything but the ugly, is a gift. Those loving eyes cannot see the ugly as being a part of you, of who you are. Love sees through the ugly, understands it is the disguise of pain, and sees through to the true beauty behind. It is a special love to see that authentic, beautiful ugly. The long-suffering and devotion of one who loves another through those open eyes, comes from the inability to give up hope that the one they love will one day get a glimpse of themselves through open eyes. To see their beautiful self the way they have always looked to the one who loves them unconditionally.

I will never forget the first time I got a glimpse of myself through such loving eyes. I don’t think it is something you can give yourself, I think it has to be given. Stay aware lest the moment pass before your eyes, because if you are given a glimpse, life stops and you get lost in a beautiful moment of the infinite now.

Smile? Not for 8 bucks an hour I won’t!

It was happening, it was one of those days, one of those moods. I began to get hot, things were ringing up as wrong prices, people were waiting while I tried to get things worked out, waiting for managers to fix the system. Customers getting impatient in line, staring at me work. I started to sweat, I was seething inside. I was not blatantly rude to anybody, but I certainly was not overly friendly, and I most definitely couldn’t muster up a smile. It was taking all my energy not to flip the cash machine over, walk away and say “to hell with it!”.

Little did I know, a similar scene was soon to unfold…

A Story About An Un-medicated, Undiagnosed Bipolar Cashier

I have been on mood stabilizing medication for several years now. Sometimes I think I am fine and wonder why I need any medication at all. Then I remember back to when I was not medicated. I remember the unbearable irritability, the profound anger and rage of a volatile and explosive mind. I was so irritable that I couldn’t even stand myself, I was literally getting in my own way and on my own nerves. I thank god often that I didn’t actually murder someone in a fit of rage. This kind of irritability and anger could result from just dropping a pencil or stubbing a toe. I’m not even going to talk about driving… Well… maybe just a little. The only way I could manage to not rip off my own head to relieve the anger was to imagine my car having undetectable go-go-gadget weapons that would just disintegrate any driver that would send me into a fit of road rage, which was almost any driver. I can’t even go into the things I imagined doing to people who honked their horns at me. Needless to say, after thinking back at how unstable my moods were I remember why I am on my medication and all is well with the world (for the most part anyway).

I am telling you this because I was thinking of an incident from back in the days of my unmedicated madness and thought I would share. At the time I am surprised that I did not spontaneously erupt into a ball of flame and combust from the heat of my own rage. It took place in a store where I worked customer service, which is quite possibly the worst job I could have in my unmedicated days, heck, even medicated.

It was around Christmas time…

I was working at a store that I would describe as a small version of Ikea. It wasn’t all that bad for the most part. I mostly worked organizing shelves and stocking merchandise, things I enjoy doing anyway. It is not that I am not a people person, but I do not do well with a large number of small, superficial interactions, especially if I am in the middle of doing something and am focused on it. I also hate being interrupted and having to drop what I am doing just because someone needs to ask me a question. If I am in the mood for it, I am great at it, but if not (and I am usually not) I loathe it. I’m pretty sure I did a terrible job hiding my complete and utter irritation with the customers. Especially when they were asking me how much something was when the price was plainly posted no more than 2 millimetres below the item on a bright yellow tag. Just like on every single other item in the store. Either way, I was completely out of line. It was never the customers fault, I just quite simply was not cut out for dealing with people and had a bad attitude and an un-medicated mood disorder. Some days I was fine but others, when my mood was off, I could be pretty bitchy. Typically I wasn’t put on as a cashier and worked as much as possible on the floor, left alone to organize and arrange just as I liked it. Besides, that was what I was really good at anyway. I didn’t mind just filling in on cash for someone to break or something like that, but I hated being assigned there for my shift. I would rather eat glass.

I will just give a little background note here: Around the time of the incident myself and some of the staff who had been there for years had recently found out that a girl who barely graduated high school, had no education, hadn’t worked in four years and had no experience was hired as a cashier for 75 cents more per hour than the rest of us. More than people with university degrees who ran their own sections, and had worked there for years. So there was a little bit on animosity brewing anyway…

So, on a busy day during the Christmas rush my manager decides I should spend my shift on cash. I requested that I please work the floor, but it wasn’t happening. A bitterness seed sprouts open in my gut, uh oh, that familiar feeling is brewing. So, swallowing my contempt I slowly moped to the cash. I kept up appearances but inside I knew I wasn’t going to be able to hide my absolute disdain for the hundreds of meaningless interactions I was about to endure. People started to enter, the store became more and more busy. It was the Christmas rush. I wasn’t even that experienced on the cash anyway so I’m not sure why he would put me there at the busiest time of the year. It was happening, it was one of those days, one of those moods. I began to get hot, things were ringing up as wrong prices, people were waiting while I tried to get things worked out, waiting for managers to fix the system. Customers getting impatient in line, staring at me work. I started to sweat, I was seething inside. I was not blatantly rude to anybody, but I certainly was not overly friendly, and I certainly couldn’t muster up a smile. It was taking all my energy not to flip the cash machine over, walk away and say “to hell with it!”.

Little did I know, a similar scene was soon to unfold.

I was barely holding myself together, but I was managing to keep things civil, ringing up the items and saying “have a nice day!”. You know, the basics at least. Then they came. The curtain guys. I will never forget those damn curtains. The first gentleman said hello, I responded the same and took the package of curtains to scan them. I didn’t engage in conversation and certainly didn’t give them a friendly smile, full of Christmas cheer, but I wasn’t directly rude to them either. Not good enough. The second man, with his smug face, his half smirk and is condescending attitude snidely remarked,”Uh, you could smile you know.”

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I’m not sure where it came from, but before I knew what was happening my mouth was moving and I could hear my voice say, “Not for 8 bucks an hour I won’t.”. (Maybe some lingering bitterness about the 8.75 the unskilled labour was getting at the cash next to me?)

 Oh shit, oops.

He glared at me and snottily said, “You’re a little bitch.” “I want to see your manager!”


Silence

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Much of what happened next is a blur. I froze. It was as though every negative emotion hit me at once not allowing any of them to break through. The silence was palpable. There was a line up extending to the back wall of the store and only two cashiers.  I glared at the men for a moment, then without a word I slid their curtains back to them without completing the transaction, left the cashier station, walked to the managers office and calmly said, “I need to speak with you right now.”

imagesI was regaining my voice, emotions were starting to emerge.

My poor, clueless manager.

Trying not to lose it completely I informed him , my voice quivering from restrained rage, “They are pissed and want to speak to my manager, I really pissd them off.” Then it burst through and I snarled “But you can tell them that you are not my manager any more and I’ll be waiting for them outside of the store!”

By now I was livid, all the anger about the unfair wages amongst other issues I had with the staffing, hours and all the bullshit at the job bubbled up and as I gathered my things I proceeded to inform him that we all know about the new girl’s wage and all the other things that pissed me off about the store. Finally I said, “I told you not to put me on cash today.” and I stormed out the back door in a blaze of glory. Then, as promised, I awaited the men outside of the store. I watched them walk to their car. They looked back several times in fear.

“What are you doing?” “Are you following us?” “We are going to call the police!” they shouted in worried voices.

“And tell them what?”, I yelled. “That a 20 year old girl is going to attack two 40 year old men?”

I’m really not sure what I was planning to do, but I finally backed off and watched them until they were out of site. I’m pretty sure they were terrified.

Needless to say, I never returned to that store again. I hated working customer service anyway and it was worth giving up 8 measly bucks an hour to steal any ounce of pleasure they would have had complaining to my manager. It mustn’t have been very satisfying complaining to a manager about an employee who no longer works at the store.

Long story short, I no longer work customer service and I continue to take my medication regularly.

I am not proud of my behavior, but at the same time the emotions were so strong and so unbearable and overwhelming I couldn’t control them. If only I had known that I had a mental illness that was causing these powerful episodes. It was so difficult to live with.

Since being diagnosed and treated I live a relatively normal life. Of course I have up and down episodes but I know how to recognize them in time and I understand what is happening and what to do about it. I am so grateful to haver been diagnosed and been given a chance at a more balanced life.

It has been so long since I have been in such an unstable state that I sometimes forget what it feels like and how detrimental it is to myself and those around me. That is why, when I start to wonder if I really need my mood stabilizing medications, I think back and remind myself of the alternative, then swallow the pills.

I think he’s like, bipolar or something…

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I wanted to write this evening about something that has stuck in my mind for a long time. There were two incidences, several years apart, but they are very similar. They are both examples of stigma and how uninformed many people are about mental illness. Both occurred where I was working at the time, and both involved a discussion between co-workers (myself included). In each scenario several of my co-workers were talking about a regular customer, an acquaintance (more of mine than anyone’s). Each customer was a regular at each place I worked. Most of us had close to daily interactions with them, mind you they were the typical superficial interactions that a coffee shop regular would have with a seasoned barista. The customers were regular enough that we had plenty of time to observe each of them, their mannerisms and their perceived characteristics.

"He was different, very quiet. He kept to himself a lot."
“He was different, very quiet. He kept to himself a lot.”

In the first workplace, I actually had a chance to sit and chat several times with the gentleman and I happened to really like him. I could see how he could come across different or even a little strange, but he was actually quite interesting and very nice. He was just really quiet and kept to himself. He always walked to and from the shop and dressed like someone who might live a simple, natural life in a cottage by a lake. I could see why they found him to appear out of place.

In the second workplace, I had never personally met the individual, but I was listening to the conversation of a couple of my co-workers and immediately got the impression that he was not a nice guy. He clearly had some issues and they seemed to find it quite acceptable to make it clear that he was screwed up and most certainly not a good person. He had major issues, in their opinions.

In both situations, the conversations drifted to an end with exactly the same conclusion. Not one that was based on any previous training or understanding of the “diagnosis”, mind you. Nevertheless, it wawomen-gossip-at-work-e1359396952867s clear to them. The first pair, about a man that they had never actually spoken to, agreed that “Yeah, he’s bipolar. He creeps me out so much.” The second pair, the two that I was considering sharing that I have bipolar, quite simply stated, “I’m pretty sure he is like, bipolar or something.”

“I’m pretty sure he’s like, bipolar or something.”

This sentence has silenced me for far too long. Those conversations still paralyse me.

These people had no idea what qualifies as bipolar disorder. They didn’t know that I was bipolar. I am quite certain that neither of those men were bipolar. Those two scenarios pop into my mind often. I have not come out about my bipolar disorder to many people, and it is situations like that that keep me silent. It is my impression that bipolar disorder is perceived to be an illness whose sufferers are plagued with unsavoury characters, that they are selfish, dangerous or miserable. They are strange and not to be trusted. That is my experience of how those who do not know anybody personally (that they know of) who has bipolar disorder perceive a person with bipolar disorder to be. It scares me frankly. It makes me worry that suddenly those who I have been close to will immediately question every moment that we have spent together, that they will suddenly see me as something else. Someone that is not safe, that needs to be kept at a distance. This is stigma. This is what it does and how it feels.

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Sometimes I imagine what would happen if all of us with bipolar disorder were to come out and tell the world at the same time. At least there would be an accurate representation of what bipolar disorder looks like, acts like, is. They are people that they like, love and have known as friends for many years. That is what bipolar looks like. Just like the person they are sitting next to, sharing another story about the strange guy who just came in for coffee again.

The Liebster Award!

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I would like to sincerely thank kbailey374 of AFTER MIDNIGHT: A Christian Bipolar for nominating me for The Liebster Award! Please visit AFTER MIDNIGHT: A Christian Bipolar Blog for some great reading!

You can find more information about The Liebster Award at the blog, WORDINGWELL. Please pay her a visit, great blog!

For the official rules* to The Liebster Award, I visited the above link to the WORDINGWELL blog and have attached them at the end of this post.


 

11 Questions provided to me by none other than AFTER MIDNIGHT: A Christian Bipolar. Thank you again, I am tickled pink about this award!

1. If you could be something today, something to make you proud, what would you be?

I am going to answer this as though it were a question about my character and personal qualities rather than occupation or something that I do. I believe that it is an open question in this regard.

I would be a mature, proud and confident woman who understands that there is value in all of life’s perceived failures. That failure is an illusion and drives us to a place of fear and regret. I want to love myself so I can love others, learn from my experiences past, present and future and live in each moment, not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. I would be someone who helps and guides others who are struggling with some of the things I have lived through and offer comfort in sharing my experiences so that they know they are not alone. This is what I strive to be and what would, and does give me pride.

2.Why you started blogging?

I had thought about blogging for a long time but just didn’t know where to start or what to focus on. Finally, I just decided to start writing. Sharing my experiences past and present. It became a way for me to work through past issues and deal with daily life. It helps to keep me on track and keep my mind clear. It has also had the unexpected result of finding a supportive and caring community of bloggers who share some of the same experiences and who are able to help each other through tough times and celebrate the good times and large or small accomplishments.

3. what would make you happy? 

In the material sense, increased finances would create less stress and allow more freedom in my life that I believe would lead to at least one pressure relieved and one consistent stressor eliminated. Although I know money is not a solution to happiness.

Philosophically and in my daily practice, I choose to be happy despite the pressures, including financial, and work on my spiritual well being. I try to live in the moment and to find joy in the little things. The more I practice this way of living the happier I am.

4. What is one thing that you can’t live without at the moment?

Quite practically my medication for my Bipolar Disorder. I would like to be more spiritual with my response, but limited to one, that is one this I absolutely need.

5. The book or the movie? The book (then the movie 😉 )

6. Do you have pets? If no, pick one would you would like to have.

I have two cats and four fish.

7. Share your favorite blog and describe in 3 words why?

The Straight Goods Political, Relevant, Truth

8. Describe yourself in 3 words.

Determined, humorous, honest

9. Mountain or sea/ocean?

Ocean

10. What you do to relax?

Guided meditation. It is amazing and has changed my life. I often listen to Guided Meditation by Lilian Eden and highly recommend trying it at least once, especially if you have bipolar disorder. It has helped to calm and stabilize my moods. If I begin to get stressed about something, hypomanic, depressed, I do an hour or so and come out of it so much more grounded. Here is Lilian’s YouTube Channel where you can find many of her guided meditations.

11. Favorite scent/perfume?

Nag Champa – It is so beautiful and calming. I usually use it as incense.


 

11 Random Facts About Myself

1. I both competed in, and taught snowboarding on and off for over 10 years.

2. I have basic firefighter training.

3. I have no children and do not plan on having any. I love them, but I just have never had the urge to have any of my own. I do wonder if I will regret not having had any once it is too late, but I don’t think that is a good enough reason to have one. I do have a new baby niece that seems to be filling the void.

4. I love cold, sunny winter days with fresh snow that sparkles like diamonds in the sun and that crunches under my feet. I love to see my breath in the air on a day like this. It makes me really happy.

5. I once lived at a truck stop on the Alaska highway with only 8 other people. We worked at a truck stop/RV hookup/bar/motel/restaurant combination. We worked for minimum wage plus room and board. It was one of the best times of my life. I loved the freedom and the endless daylight. The nearest communities were tiny villages at least 45 minutes either way on the Alaska Highway.

6. I come from the province that contains, and I have been to the most easterly point of North America.

7. I have touched a whale.

8. I know how to fix skateboards and snowboards.

9. I have a hand drawn map that leads to a stream where gold dust settles given to me from two old gold miners from my time on the Alaska highway. One day I will go back to find the gold. They said it was for “my eyes only.”

10. I have moved, by myself, during different manic whims to 7 communities in 4 different provinces and one territory all by myself just for the adventure of it. Leaving secure jobs, roommates, boyfriends and family behind.

11. I am thinking of someday writing a memoir. I have a lot of crazy stories.


 My 5 Blog Nominations for The Liebster Award!

1. darrenleewelsh

2. worrymesilly

3. JILLYPOPMUSIC

4. MARINARENA

5. ASHKAAY


11 questions for my Nominees

1. What led to your decision to start blogging?

2. At this stage of your life, what  is a major lesson that you have learned and how has it affected your life?

3. What do you like to do for fun?

4. What are you struggling with lately? 

5. What are you feeling good about these days?

6. Do you tend to remember each day that you only get one life and when you do remember, how does it change your state of mind?

7. Do you have children? If so, would you do it over again? If not, do you plan to (why/why not)?

8. Would you prefer to live in a year round mild climate with excessive rain in the winter months, or in a climate with a cold, sunny winter  that experiences the four season as clearly defined climates (intensity of each season is pronounced.)

9. Do you believe that having non-human friends in your home (dog/cat/etc) can have a healing effect emotionally? Why or why not?

10. Where have you visited that has had the most profound impact on you, positive, negative or for some other neutral reason.

11. What event or choice in your life have you once considered a mistake and for which you have experienced regret that you now accept as a lesson, and have freed yourself from regret and negative feelings about yourself because of it?


 

There you have it. If you chose to accept this award, here are the rules to pass it on to your favorite bloggers:

*The Official Rules Of The Liebster Award

If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you:

1. thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.

2. display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)

3. answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.

4. provide 11 random facts about yourself.

5. nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)

6. create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.

7. list these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here.) Once you have written and published it, you then have to:

8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!)

Depression ~ My Perspective

Depression and laziness are not the same thing.

I am coming out of a severe depression that has lasted for almost an entire year. It began to subside, slowly, about three months ago. When I say slowly I mean, I could start to remember what I did the day before, dates, appointments. I could finally take a shower and even use shampoo.

I really hate depression. It makes me feel lazy. What’s worse, it makes me feel like other people think that I am lazy. “Get up and go outside for a walk, it’ll make you feel better!” “You don’t have it that bad, look at how good you have things!” Add more guilt here. Do they not know that I would do almost anything to have the energy to get up and go for a walk? I would love to comb, and blow-dry my hair? Maybe add a little make-up and put something nice on? That’s funny. Those things are out of the realm of what I would do almost anything for. I would do almost anything to have the energy to take off my sweats and take a shower that includes washing my hair, shaving, oh my god the nightmare! I always do it, eventually, but I wish just one person could feel how physically difficult it is to do those things.

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I loathe depression. Lying there, knowing how many things you need to do, appointments to go to, mail to open, laundry to do, hell, eat! Just anything! Knowing how lazy you must seem to everybody around you. How do you explain the feeling? That feeling of agonizing heaviness that makes you feel like you cannot physically move. Depression is not just sadness, guilt, emptiness, feeling of failure, fear, anxiety and on and on. Those aspects of depression to me are the ones that I have become used to. I have my head wrapped around those symptoms as much as one can. It is hard to remember at the time, but you know that it is depression. The nightmare for me is the physical toll that it takes on me.

You see, when I suffer a depression that is contained mostly to the emotion symptoms, a few of which I described above, I can still manage to complete some daily tasks. I am just very sad, anxious, guilty, etc while I drag myself through to completion. It is the deep, all consuming depressions that hijack my mind and my body that leave me feeling the most helpless.

images (29)Have you ever had a dream where your mind wakes up but your body is still in sleep paralysis? Those terrifying nightmares where you can’t move, scream or call for help? That sort of how a severe depression feels to me. It is difficult to explain, but every motion, every movement feels more difficult and exhausting than if I had the flu. Most people find it difficult to get up and at ’em when their body is overtaken with a flu, right? Well, that is the best way that  can describe how I feel when going through a severe depressive episode.

I can only write this now because I am feeling pretty good. I have come through and finally am in the care of a strong team of professionals. A great GP, Psychiatrist and counsellor that I have never had before. I am feeling happy today. Some days are better than others, but things seem to be looking up and I seem to feel better more often than not these days.

Now that my depression has been treated for some time, as difficult as it was, I can get up and go for a walk if I am feeling a little low, and it does make me feel better. Going for a walk and counting your blessings do not cure severe depression. Professional medical help to treat severe depression will eventually lead one to have the ability to get out and go for a walk.

If you are suffering a depression right now, my heart goes out to you. I understand that it is too hard to do a lot of things that many around you might think are simple tasks. I know that simple tasks are only simple to someone healthy, and that you are not ungrateful for the things in your life. You are ill and that is it. It is not your fault.

If you know someone who you believe may be suffering from depression and want to help, acceptance of where they are and education are a good first step.

Here are some links:

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