Archive for May, 2012

It Gets Better

The last couple of posts have not exactly been uplifing but I feel better today. I’m not going to pretend that I won’t feel worse again tomorrow or that the dark thoughts are completely out of my mind but you guys have put up with my thoughts just as much as I have so it’s only fair that I share this moment of hope with you too.

Nothing is really different today but then again, it never really works like that does it? It’s not the big changes that affect my mood, it’s the little things that most people have the fortune of over looking that gets to me. Today I woke up early and loved watching the sun rise (from the warmth and comfort of my bed) and when Heidi (the little jackrussel) cuddled up to me I spent another hour just laying in bed enjoying the moment. Of course it helped knowing that I didn’t have to get up for work or anything else for that matter. Had a nice cup of coffee and morning catch up with my house mate before he went off to go win his golfing title. Spent the rest of the day washing dishes and listening to P!nk… 2 of my favourite things! Yeah I know washing up doesn’t usually make it onto anyone’s fav list but it is very theraputic…

Listening to AB Moore always brings back amazing memories and reminds me that it always gets better….

As always, thanks for reading ❤

Feelings that don’t go away

A few years ago I wrote Today I’m Not Okay shortly after my dad died. To be very honest I remember why I wrote it and I remember everything that led to me writing it but I don’t actually remember writing it.

 

I just remember sitting down feeling frustrated because everyone was so worried about me and my mom and they were trying to help but they ended up just getting on our nerves. Plus, I really don’t like being told how I should feel even when it is with the best intensions and in the form of “It’s okay to feel…” So I took the same pen and book I’ve been using for the last few weeks while my dad was in hospital and we were planning the future and our life without him and in this same book I wrote a letter to everyone I knew saying thank you for caring but back off!

 

So 6 years on I’ve been spending today trying to hide my pain and sadness and last night I even tried alcohol which would usually at least make me a bit sleepy but instead it had no effect whatsoever… I guess my emotions are just a lot stronger than anything else at the moment. So on top of my regular insomnia I had absolutely no sleep what so ever last night and don’t foresee myself getting drowsy tonight either ( but I sure will try every trick I in the book). And for some unfathomable reason work decided to call a meeting tonight full of slideshow presentations and 10 staff members all getting the floor for 20min a piece and I couldn’t really get out of it. To be fair, I didn’t try that hard.

 

See, a small part of me hoped that if I had something else to do today that I would be able to ignore the pain, after all, what makes today any different from yesterday? It’s not like my dad is any more dead than he was that first night… Or like I miraculously found the solution to grief… Or like I love him any less or remember his love any less for that matter… A part of me wanted to believe that simply being around people would fix it. But that only works when the people in question actually know that there is something that needs fixing…

 

Anyway, I walked out of the meeting a few minutes ago and I will be faced with a lot of questions from everyone who stayed. It’s funny how I don’t trust these people enough to tell them that I am not okay yet my brain believes that they have the power to fix it. Sort of reminds me of the moment that the doctor fist told us that they couldn’t ‘fix’ his stroke with the surgery and as the words awkwardly fell out of his mouth I kept on thinking ‘just take it back’ ‘rewind and say that you made a mistake’ ‘could Ashton Kutcher jump out and say you’ve been Punked already?’ Like he had the power to change this chaos simply by speaking it. And even though this isn’t true for his illness, it does make a difference in recovery! One thing I have learned is that speaking up and asking for help gives you the power back and yet, here I sit after running away from the people I’ve spent most of the last year with….

 

So here’s me saying: Today I’m Not Okay. Today I am sad because I really, really miss my dad and all of the memories we will never have the opportunity to have. I want to hug my dad one more time! I want to be able to remember the last moments we had together without bursting into tears. I want to be able to not worry about 25 May every year! I want to smile when someone talks about their fathers or their wedding day or not cry like a little baby every time I watch a movie with a funeral in it or get INCREDIBLY sad every time someone mentions that they lost their dads…

 

I was sort of hoping that by writing this I would have a similar kind of insight that I had all those years ago but I guess that didn’t really work out so instead all of you spent the last few minutes reading my sad sob story with no real epiphany… Sorry but let me try to selvage it by letting you in on one thing I have learned: letting it out, even if it is just by admitting it to yourself during convenient the excuse of a sad movie, does help!

 

So don’t ever apologize for showing your emotions because when you do so, you are apologizing for the truth… Hey, guess I did learn something, tomorrow when asked why I ducked out of a ‘very important’ meeting, I will through a quote at them and maybe I’ll be able to trust one of them enough to tell them the whole truth…

 

Here’s hoping

It starts with us

If you’re going to listen to the marketing hype, at least take the time to read the label too….

Glenn Pendlay

Why? Well it started in Guatemala last week. I was eating in the weightlifting chow hall with Donny Shankle and thinking about the food. The meal that day included a sort of salad. Tasted like it had some kale in it, had some green beans, some corn, lettuce, and bits of bacon. There were diced up potatoes, cooked with onions. Diced up carrots that most people seemed to be mixing up with the potatoes and onions. And chicken. Not fried chicken, just chicken. It was representative of most of the meals, mostly vegetables and meat, some potatoes or rice. Nothing fancy. I remarked to Donny that it would be hard to overeat and get fat on such food. Not that it wasn’t good, it was tasty enough, but it was nothing you would want to go on eating once your hunger had been satisfied. And it wasn’t calorie dense, mostly…

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I hate this month

I seem to have already made up my mind that the next month is pretty much going to suck…

Now like any good irrational emotion, it is deeply rooted in some form of logic. Based on past experience and just the natural order of holidays during this time of the year, in my mind it is clear that I will not make it through this month without shedding a few tears. So I guess I better tell you why all I can see in the near future is gloom.

Well firstly, I’m turning a quarter of a century! That’s pretty crazy and I still feel like a little insecure 14 year old. So yeah, I’m going through all the normal ‘what have I done with my life’ stuff but with the added Gemini twist I have become known for. See, just before my 8th birthday we moved to the other side of the country and back then there was still a sort of unwritten etiquette rule that if you invited someone to your party they had to invite you to theirs. So in my 7 year old wisdom I decided that I wanted to test my new ‘friends’ and see how many of them would qualify me as their friend by inviting me to their birthday by not inviting anyone to my birthday… I tried to convince my mother to skip my birthday all together but she thought that was a bit morbid so they eventually convinced me to invite one of my all time favourite friends who lived next door and we had fun unwrapping all of my insanely-way-too-expensive-parents-trying-to-compensate presents. I know the whole thing is twisted and sort of mean but apparently I’ve been doing the same thing ever since just more subtly. My best friend pointed it out when we were about to turn 14 and I was being sort of mean to her and she just laughed and hugged me while saying “you turn into a jerk the week before your birthday”. In the 9 years since then I’ve tried to be aware of it and hence not try to push the people in my life away to see who cares enough to stick around through the abuse but I can’t promise anything for this year… So I sort of see myself ending up alone and crying on my bed on my birthday…  Assuming I’ll have friends left after I turn 25, I dislike parties a bit too so I’d much rather have a movie night with pizza than a big bash…

And then just over a week after my Birthday we have father’s day. And this should be a really happy day – well at least I think it should but I suddenly discovered today that I cannot actually bring myself to remember any of the father’s days I have celebrated. My dad died some years ago and it sucks when you miss someone so much and can’t really express or share that love with them. And everyone around you is so happy and you don’t want to ruin it for them by being sad so you fake a smile all day or hide out in your room. I still remember that first father’s day without my dad. I sent the entire night before watching Alias on DVD with my cousins and Aunt for as long as they would stay awake and when they faded I still sat there trying to stay distracted by the brilliance of JJ Abrams but with no real avail as the thought of facing the next day without my dad was too daunting. I love my dad and at that point in time I was truly afraid that if I went to sleep I wouldn’t want to wake up knowing that I couldn’t share that special day with my dad… Every year – no matter how hard I try- that feeling comes back and it’s like I have made no progress at all over the last 6 years. I don’t love him any less; don’t miss him any less; don’t wish that I could have just one more conversation with him any less; I still want to make sure he knows how much I trusted him and I still want to make him proud… whatever that means…

So yeah this time of year sucks a lot. And just before all of these things I’ve been envisioning in my head play out there is one more hurdle to overcome: 25 May aka the day my dad died. Very vivid day at the end of the a really long 2 weeks mainly spent in a hospital waiting room… and the 29th which was the day of my dad’s funeral… yip… just two little days before my 19th Birthday.

So years of experience told me that this month is going to suck… But it hasn’t sucked yet, it hasn’t been torture yet and I get to fix it or at least try to see the positive or even just get through it without… well just survive and get through the day to day stuff. In the mean time I’m just going to sit here and plan my birthday with soppy movies; cheesy food; pillows and warm blankets while flipping through old photos I can’t even remember taking…

Some more thoughts on suicide – family / friends please read

Not Nostalgic

Tonight I found myself in an old high school. It was sort of abandoned at least partially and I remembered when I was in high school. And I didn’t feel nostalgic at all.

Don’t get me wrong: I had an amazing high school experience and my teachers were great but it was really exhausting and I wouldn’t want to go back, I’m out of breath just thinking about it. I remember that I never really missed high school but I use to miss my friends, until I made new ones… It’s like this thing that was such a huge part of my growth and developement and even my dreams and everything I describe as self, no longer had any bearing on who I am.

I’m not sure if that’s a good thing – like I said, it was a great and mainly positive experience that inspired me to be better and challenge everything – yet it must be freeing, right? I mean, if I am no longer tied to this rock in my past, does that not mean that I can run faster and fly higher… or something?

I think it’s great that I finally feel like an adult – I never believed that you simply just became an adult on your 18th birthday, after all wisdom is acquired by moments experienced not by candles blown out on a cake. And the world we live in is so hectic that we are ‘grown up’ a long time before we are legal… I just wanted this weird but potentially life changing or at least the beginning of a really cool ‘when grandma was younger’ story, recorded… you know, so that I can pin point it when I’m a hundred and four and my whole life actually makes sense…

Thanks for allowing me to bore you with this piece of history in the making

Major vs Situational Depression

So on tonight’s #TopicsToDiscuss we were focusing on mental illness and the misunderstandings of deression. One of the questions that came up was: how do you know if you have major depression or just situational or if you’re just regular sad…

I can’t answer this question, only a professional can really give you a clear diagnosis and even then, they are only going by what they know so far. Depression and all things mental health is still relatively new to the field of medicine and unfortunately the professionals do not know everything yet. They know a lot more than they did 10 years ago! And thanks to all of the amazing people (like those following @dontloseurgrip on twitter) willing to share their stories and their fears and their hopes with the rest of the world, we can bust the stigmas and ultimately make sure that the professionals have as much information as possible. The more information they have, the easier it is for them to understand and of course help us understand what our bodies and minds are going through.

So from my perspective: situational is ‘better’ mainly because you know for certain that it will get better if you change your situation. Unlike major or manic depression that is more genetic and chemical; it won’t just go away because you changed your living arangement or your work. So with the major depression label you now have a sense of slight hopelessness BUT this really is not the case! The postive side of these 2 parts of depression being so close to each other is that the recovery process is also extremely similar. The difference is only that with major depression you have to keep fighting for your recovery… The best step is to make sure you only take one at a time: don’t try to solve all of your ‘problems’ at once. Take one little moment or feeling or fear or issue and find a way to get through that one moment, then and only then should you try to work through the next.

It may sound pesimistic or a bit strange but if you devide all of the negatives and weigh it up against one positive at a time, you can over come those dark moments of loneliness. Major depression is easier to cope with in the big picture purely because doctors find it easier to diagnose and therefore family members and friends are more inclined to actually be supportive. They find it easier to understand which generally means so can you. With situational depression you tend to be judged because ‘you put yourself in that situatuion’ which is rarely true. After all, who would willingly make their lives miserable? With Major depression you are also judged but mainly by yourself… You tend to have intense feelings of guilt and keep saying to yourself: why am I so weak? why can’t I just get over this? what did I do wrong to deserve this? And let me just remind you that depression really doesn’t care who it’s victims are; not what car you’re driving or what colour your hair is or even how old you are, depression just wants company…

These 2 versions of depression are so similar that most people don’t even realize there is a difference. Ultimately, coping mechanisms for depression are not just for those severely depressed or suicidal, it’s actually things we should all be doing to make our lives better and healthier anyway. Not judging ourselves and changing those annoying voices in our heads to make them like us instead. Eating fish and going for walks or staring into an open fire with some close friends. Finding one thing in the day that we look forward to to get us through all of those difficult moments, sort of like the desert you got as a kid after finishing all of your vegetables. We can all be more healthy mind wise and obviously that will help us be more understanding to those who are not quite ready to open up about their mental helath or those who have finally built up the courage to share their ‘deep dark secret’ with their families, that stranger who just started working in your office and already has to carry this label.

Depression sucks and it doesn’t matter which version you have, all that matters is that you get help, professional help! Talk to your doctor; talk to your teacher; talk to your housemate; talk to your mother; talk to anyone who will listen! If they do not listen, kepp talking and find someone who will listen! You deserve to be happy and you deserve to feel loved and know that you are not alone so don’t allow a few ignorant people along the way to take that from you!

Mother’s Day

So tomorrow is mothers day… I don’t even have the interest to write it with capital letters. In my older years I seem to have become cynical. Like I don’t understand the fascination anymore.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my mother and I am so thankful for everything she has done for me but it’s not like I need a day to tell my mother any of this. I tell her this every week, sometimes more often and if you knew me, you’d understand that a week in my time is like a blink of the eye so if I manage to speak to someone more than once in a week it really is huge.

I guess what I’m feeling right now is that a gimmick of getting people to spend money in order to prove that they love the woman who gave birth to them is making me pretty angry. A mother is someone who wipes your tears when you fall out of a tree for the first time; who gently explains to you that writing on walls is not appropriate; who holds you tightly while explaining the circle of life when your dog dies; who helps you prepare for your first dance and picks up the pieces when all of your dreams fall apart… The woman who makes those phone calls you are too scared to make; who accepts your apologies even when they’ve heard it a thousand times before.

Right now I’m in that 20+ stage where I don’t need my mother to pay my bills or feed me, I don’t even really need her to give me advice as much either, I just need her to be my friend… And for that I can say thank you and I love you and I appreciate you every single day, I don’t think one little 24hour day is enough to say thank you to someone who has been there for me my whole life; I don’t think a card will ever make up for all of the mistakes I’ve made or even will still make; I don’t think flowers can be enough payment for all of the advice she gave me or the times she listened to my ’emergencies’ when she had a lot more going on inside of her. I don’t think that a box of chocolates will make up for her showing me that it is okay to cry and that the bravest thing you can do is show your emotions. All the breakfasts in the world can not be thanks enough for the lessons I learned simply by watching her when she didn’t even notice.

I love my mother and yes, I will be calling her to say this but not because it’s Mother’s Day just because it happens to be the day we have a Skype date planned, I don’t need an excuse to thank my mother for loving me

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