Ramblings…

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ramblings

I haven’t been writing lately…well…that’s not exactly true.  I have been writing a little, but not sharing.  I’m not sure why exactly…that’s not true either.  I do know why.  When I don’t feel like I have something positive to offer, some glimmer of hope, some coin in the cake (this was my favourite birthday tradition as a child; come cake time, each child would dive through their piece of cake like the Hulk looking for gold!  Actually quarters. But you get the picture.) I just keep my mouth shut.  Or I guess I keep my blog…unblogged.

 

I haven’t seemed to have any coins lately.  It’s not that life has been bad either.  In fact I have been feeling quite good for awhile now (for those of you who may have just tuned in, I struggle with clinical depression and the last couple of years have been…up and down).

 

What I have written is… ramblings.  Pure, honest, heartfelt ramblings. To whom do I ramble?  Myself mostly.  And my therapist. Especially to myself AFTER I’ve seen my therapist! 🙂  I write to survive.  I write to contemplate.  I write to put my feelings down where I can see them; somehow relieving the pressure cooker full of emotions that are festering, pulsing, and growing just under the surface.

 

Why share these ramblings at all?  Why not show the ‘Photoshop’ed version of my reality (Is there a writer’s version of Photoshop? Oh…I guess it’s called editing.)  One, because my blog is called ‘Becoming Ordinary: Letting go of ‘perfect’ one day at a time’.  If I only write when I have something poignant and sparkly to share, then I am still suffering under the rules of the tyrant who constantly demands perfection (and we know where that leads!).  Secondly, I feel it’s my duty to be honest about my struggles.  Let me explain.  I want to help people.  I want people to be inspired to ask for help.  I want people to know that they are not the only one who gets depressed, or has ‘crazy’ thoughts, or is ridden with anxiety.   Psychiatrists, psychologists, practitioners & counsellors all agree that the biggest barrier that stops people and their families from getting help is the stigma attached to mental illness.  People are afraid of being judged, gossiped about, people using their hurts or struggles against them.  However, if we can remove the stigma attached to speaking up, asking for help, we can begin the helping and healing process.  Then and only then will people be able to crawl out of the shadows of shame and isolation and get the help that they need.

 

So here I go.  Warning: it’s not uplifting.  It was written on a day when I was feeling down, alone.  I DO NOT feel this way all the time – it is a small sliver of thoughts written from the heart when feeling anxious.  So…here are the ramblings of a pastor’s wife, recovered anorexic, sometimes depressed person who wants to blow the LID off of ‘stigma’!  Stigma?!  Bah!  You may have met your match!

 

ALONE

Sometimes we are lonely. So lonely that we feel like strangers in the world we live in.

 

We walk around on the outskirts of life, watching, listening, pretending for a moment that we too are a part of what is going on.

 

But there is a wall. A thick barrier between us and the outside world. On one side is laughter, camaraderie, and sweet indulgences that mock you, alone, on the other side. What other people have, at times, seems appealing, but you can’t help but hear the destruction, littered with pain through their shouts of elation and enjoyment.

 

This makes you wonder why there aren’t more people on your side of the wall. You listen to truth, obey the rules and start to resent those on the other sided the wall. After all, though you can see the destruction and identify the pain, their shouts of celebration make you painfully aware of the giant barrier between you and them.

 

And yet they don’t see it. They don’t see the wall a because their backs are turned only facing what lies before them. Indulgence, desires, wants, needs. With their voracious appetites they devour all that comes before them. And God allows this. Here I am on my side of the wall. Listening, hearing, and watching while others get blessed; enjoying every minute of their lives with reckless abandon.  On my side of the wall, I am desperately trying to please God, make sound choices, lonely and keenly aware that my choices keep me behind the wall.

 

There I wait. Wait for the time when I am celebrating. When I am indulging.  When I am filled with joy. Instead, I am left staring at the wall, only listening to the living that is going on beyond my bricks and mortar.

 

Morning dawns.  I bravely smile as I start my day once again alone, behind the wall.  But I pray that God would be close and that he would bring more people to my side of the wall.  So I wait.  And listen.  I begin to live tortured by what is going on just beyond my reach.  Both the joy and the suffering, the abandon and the aftermath.  I decide to build my wall higher, thicker, tougher. Maybe if my wall was thicker I wouldn’t have to hear their shouts, smell their humanity, feel their pain. Maybe if my walls were thicker I would be happier to stay on my side. Though alone, I would at least feel safe. Safe from their immorality, and dangerous choices.  But the construction of a bigger deeper and impenetrable wall leaves me wheeling even more alone, and I have now blocked out the sun, and the beauty that was part of both of our worlds. I no longer get to smell the flowers, see the sunshine, feel the warmth of it touch my skin. Alone, I don’t experience the beauty of togetherness. The beautiful music of life cannot be played by a single instrument alone. And I can no longer hear their shouts and singing. No all that is left is the wall. I am safe and alone.

How’s that for ‘letting go of perfect’ one day at a time? 🙂

Becoming Ordinary: Year 1 Day 236

I’ve been nominated for a Leibster Award!

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How surprise was I when I received a comment from Amy over at https://shirleysheaven.wordpress.com/ letting me know she had nominated me for a LIEBSTER (‘i’ before ‘e’) AWARD?  Very surprised.  Unbelievably surprised. Tickled just as pink as the award! 🙂

This award is a great idea to get newer bloggers with less than 200 (some info says less than 1000) followers some exposure to the blogging community.  Just like Amy, a lot of my blogging has a focus on mental health awareness and hopefully offers encouragement by sharing my story and removing the stigma attached to mental illness.  Blogging also helps me to wade through the sludge-like waters that sometimes flood my brain and threaten my well being.

Along with this nomination, I am to post the following rules, and then answer the questions created for me by  https://shirleysheaven.wordpress.com.  So here goes…

THE RULES:

  • Mention the person who nominated you in your blog post, with a link to their blog
  • Answer the 11 questions that were asked by the nominator
  • It’s your turn to nominate 5 with less than 200 followers!
  • Create your own 11 questions for them to answer, and let them know they’ve been nominated.

THE QUESTIONS:

  1. What is one lesson you’ve learned in life that you want to pass on to others?  I don’t know that I have completely LEARNED this already, but it is something I am conscious of everyday: Live in the ‘NOW’.  Too vague?  There is no point in looking back, wishing that things were different – because they’re not.  There is no point in living too far ahead of yourself, waiting until you ‘arrive’, because no one knows what the future holds.  Live NOW.  Love NOW.  Hope NOW.  That is the only thing that we can grab onto.
  2. How has blogging affected your daily life?  I find that blogging (as I said above) has helped me to work through my own feelings which are often ping-ponging in my head either too quickly for me to process, or so one-sided (often the negative) that I find it difficult to see anything else.  Blogging, for me, brings clarity to my own thoughts and feelings.
  3. Where is your happy place?  No doubt in my mind, my happy place is at home, with my hubby and kids, cuddling on the couch watching a movie.
  4. Where is your least favorite place?  I would say this has changed over time, or changes depending on where I am with my mental health, but currently, my least favourite place is around lots of people who I am not connected to in a meaningful way, feeling forced to make ‘chit chat’, laugh at jokes, and ‘look pretty’.
  5. Do you express anger inwardly or outwardly?  Oh dear – DEFINITELY inwardly.  I really struggle with inner hatred.
  6. Do you prefer the mountains or ocean?  That’s a great question considering I have been raised by BOTH…so I don’t know that I could choose.  Is BOTH an answer? 🙂
  7. Do you learn by watching, listening, or doing?  I think watching and doing.  My greatest learning definitely comes from applying and ‘doing’ what I’ve learned in the present.
  8. What historical figure would you most want to talk to if you could go back in time?  Definitely Jesus.  I have SO many questions for him!
  9. Would you be better at doing a crossword puzzle or bowling? Hmmm…definitely bowling (though I’m terrible at that as well! 🙂 )
  10. What was the last movie you watched?  Cinderella (with my 6 year old daughter cuddled on my lap for the whole thing – it was magical!)
  11. Showers or baths?  I have showers for time’s sake, but enjoy baths immensely – but don’t often take them.

MY QUESTIONS FOR LIEBSTER AWARD NOMINEES:

1. What gets you up in the morning?

2.  Where do you find your greatest comfort?

3. What would be an ideal vacation for you?

4. (Borrowed from Amy who asked me this question – but it is SUCH  good one!) Do you express anger inwardly or outwardly?

5.  Are you introverted or extroverted?

6.  Are you, or someone you love currently struggling from a mental illness?

7.  Sunsets or sunrises?

8.  Similar (but different 🙂 ) are you a morning person or night person?

9.  Why did you start blogging?

10.  What do you hope to accomplish with your blog?

11.  Do you MAKE things or BUY them?

MY NOMIMEES:

https://thatteablog.wordpress.com/

http://irunthismind.org/

https://tomorrowthesunwillrise.wordpress.com/

https://thatanxiousmom.wordpress.com/

https://writingoutdepression.wordpress.com/

(I know some of you have slightly more than 200 followers – but some of the rules state less than 1000…so…)

WHY ARE WE HIDING?

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robin_williams_inline_19ujg4r-19ujgadThere are brief, public, encounters that ‘ordinary people’ have with those who suffer from mental illness.  For a small period of time it makes headlines when yet another star ‘looses it’ in public (Brittany Spears and Amanada Bynes come to mind).  Even more devastating is when someone as brilliant as Robin Williams takes his own life. It’s shocking.  Maddening even.  We suddenly have questions and want answers.  Until the hype settles down, the experts slowly stop making appearances on CNN and Entertainment Tonight, days turn into weeks and most people go back to regular life.

I say MOST people because there are many of us who continue to suffer after the very public interest wanes.  Sadly, many of us choosing to suffer in silence.  But who are we kidding?  Aren’t we ALL touched by mental illness?  The statistics say that 1 in 5 people (20% of our population in Canada) will PERSONALLY suffer from mental illness in their lifetime.  If you think about it – that means that in homes where there are 5 people (any combination of Adults, Children, Seniors etc.) one of them will struggle or suffer through a bought of mental illness which inevitably will affect the whole household.  Some of those families will support a loved one who will suffer for their lifetime.

So why are we hiding in the shadows, behind closed doors, under warm, cozy blankets of shame?  Why are we not talking about how our mothers, our daughters, our fathers, our children, are struggling?  Are we quietly judging?  Are we afraid?  WHAT IS IT?!

Did you know, that in spite of the fact that mental illness can be treated effectively, almost one half (49%) of those who feel they have suffered from depression or anxiety have never gone to see a doctor about this problem?  An even MORE shocking statistic: the LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH (not including accidental deaths) for people between the ages of 10-40 years old is SUICIDE!  “Deaths by suicide, it should be noted, reflect only a small percentage of suicide attempts. It is estimated that for every completed suicide there are as many as 20 attempts.”9 And higher than 90% of those who commit suicide struggle with a diagnosable and TREATABLE mental illness!

So what are we doing about the LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH in Canada?  There are many groups that are daily working to make us aware of mental illness, it’s effects, and the dangers of suffering in silence.   However, their most difficult battle isn’t necessarily against the illnesses themselves, but the STIGMA attached to those who struggle.  The Canadian Mental Health Commission reports that:  People living with mental health disorders often say the stigma they encounter is worse than the illness itself.  (Mental Health Commission of Canada, Opening Minds Initiative, February 6, 2013, http://www.mentalhealthcommission.ca/English/initiatives-and-projects/opening-minds).

That is why I am open about my own struggles.  I want people to know that though things can look good on the outside, there can be a war raging on the inside…and we NEED to talk about it!  It is literally a matter of life and death.

Becoming Ordinary: Year 1 Day: 209

“I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2015 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.”

http://www.blogformentalhealth.com

http://blogformentalhealth.com/take-the-pledge/

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