Tag Archives: depression

Seasons Change

I keep going back to the turning points in my life. I turn a corner and I realize there’s yet another corner to turn! I build my momentum and excitement to get to the next corner. Sometimes there’s a huge celebration, other times, I’m thinking, “why did I bother?” Every time I think I’m enlightened, I realize there’s more enlightenment or levels of awareness. Lol. Then I realize, I know nothing about enlightenment!

I’m just very excited. I’m excited about all the twists and turns my life has taken. I’m excited because I was stuck in a downward spiral and now I’m just constantly going upward and just when I think I can’t go any higher, I’m lifted even higher! I seem to be constantly gauging my reactions to the stimuli that life presents to me. I wonder if I’m over reacting, overly excitement, or if I’m not excited enough. I’m naturally analytical and introspective mostly towards myself and the things I’m engaging with in my life.

There have been some very defining moments in my life when everything changed. I’m talking about changing from someone who took numerous psychotropics to none; someone who was very depressed, psychotic, and suffering with post traumatic stress disorder. I have recently discovered that most of the changes in my life, although they came about from a specific catalyst, the biggest factor that took me to a mentally healthier version of me, was letting go of fears. I let go of the fears of the unknown. I stopped worrying about what others would think. I stopped worrying about being judged. I stopped wondering what if something went wrong and instead dreamed about things going right. I stopped the fearful thoughts that swirled around and around in my head. They certainly weren’t working for me!

I also decided to believe change is possible. I decided to bet on me. I decided to try anything and everything to radically switch the direction of my life instead of going with the same old status quo. There really are seasons of our lives. It’s important to recognize what season I’m in, in order to switch between seasons with grace and ease, and fearlessly. It’s nice to add a bit of inquisitiveness. What is around the corner? What is just around the river bend? Where is the bend in the road leading me to? Can I just peek a little bit as I hurry over there? I’m not afraid, simply because I’ve turned so many corners, despite sometimes not even knowing what to expect (although I did expect something good, at least).

The biggest factor which effected the direction I took, as the seasons changed, was questioning my fears, my self talk, and fear mongering. I especially like to question when someone else tries to tell me what is best for me. I definitely question prolific fear mongering in all of it’s forms. Pretty soon here, I’m going to start a rant about fear mongering. The biggest fear mongering that annoys me is the fear of judgement. I will be the first to admit that I used to be very fearful of judgement, especially judgment from God. However, I don’t live with this fear anymore. It was a very long season of my life, in which I feared judgement from God. However, the season has changed. I am happier and freer since I let go of this fear and many other fears. Every now and then, someone will do a little bit of fear mongering to suck me back into it, by telling me that God’s going to come judge me, but I don’t buy into it.

The final indication of the season changing is that I’m willing to write and talk about letting go of fears! I no longer fear what people will say about my changing my mind about fears. I changed my mind about God’s judgment. It’s a brand new season! This is a huge step because it’s sort of the precursor to another book I’ve been writing. The message here, right now, is that people change their minds about things, their beliefs and their ideas, and it’s totally okay! It’s okay to question my beliefs. It’s okay to say, “That sounds like bullshit!” I used to be afraid to question things, and I loathed myself.  Now, I love myself and I allow myself to have different beliefs than others. It’s about being true to me and what works for me. I live from the heart. I ask myself, “what would love to do?” I do this because I personally believe, love is the answer.   Seasons change.

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Everybody’s Crazy

Many years ago, I was very depressed and taking numerous medications for my condition. It was complicated by personality disorders and PTSD. One time, my sister called me around my birthday and asked me what I wanted. I told her, “what I want, you can’t buy.” She asked, “what is it?” I told her I wanted a right mind. She said to me, “Oh, Sophie, everybody’s crazy!” I quietly cried feeling very misunderstood. She didn’t know how bad I was feeling. She didn’t know I just wanted to die. About 20 years later, I finally understood what she meant! This is about how long it took for me to get myself together, too, in order to start making changes in my life so I could heal. I started to realize everyone was crazy so I wondered, What the hell am I trippin’ on???

There is a difference between someone who is going through a chemical imbalance of some sort and the normal everyday crazy.  However, many people don’t understand this. They don’t understand a person who feels they are not in their right mind feels crazy, out of control, like something has taken over, as if they are lost without a body, just wandering around like a lost soul. So many people throw around phrases like, “that’s so crazy” without understanding how it effects people who think they might be crazy. I used to just go “crazy” when people used phrases like, “that’s so schizophrenic” or would cavalierly call something crazy. It would embroil me and get me all worked up. I try not to use the word “hate” ever because it’s a serious word and I hardly truly hate anything or anyone, but I do hate the “crazy” word. Although, sometimes, I’m known to sing, “boom boom, ain’t it great to be crazy!”

Once I woke up to the reality of everyone’s general craziness, it wasn’t so bad. I could relax and not try so hard to be “normal” whatever the hell is normal! Lol. Relaxing, I’m able to be a bit more objective, understanding and compassionate towards myself instead of constantly striving to be something or someone else to fit in.

Today, many people strive to be themselves, start their own trends, wear whatever colors they want, do what they want, without checking to see if it’s the current fad or craze, nor seeking anyone’s approval. Everyone is not striving to fit into some category or box. There is a bit of chaos and craziness involved! However, in my mind, trying to look like others or fit in, is a bit of craziness, too! There’s just no other explanation. It’s okay to be different. It’s okay to be outspoken or quiet. It’s okay to be upbeat or sad. There’s nothing wrong with being human! There’s nothing wrong with feeling your emotions deeply. There’s nothing wrong with not feeling your emotions. Why must we constantly look at someone and judge whether or not they are behaving normally? Normal simply doesn’t exist. I realize there may be some signs that someone’s life is off balance and maybe they need assistance with it, or not.

What I know is that many people suffer in silence out of shame or guilt. They don’t want to be pointed out, don’t want to be judged, don’t want to be called, “crazy” or “insane” so they keep their own opinions and preferences to themselves. I know I did. Starting from when I was little, someone would ask me what I want, I’d say, “I don’t care.” I was afraid to make a choice or to state my preference for many reasons, but that was my general answer. Mainly because I had seen others teased for liking something different. I’d seen people ridiculed, laughed at or picked on for wearing different clothes, liking other music, choosing other foods, etc…

Nowadays, the “c” word doesn’t bother me so much, but back when I was struggling with my mental illness, it was very disheartening. People who are different are not crazy. People with different perceptions of reality are not crazy. People who choose to live their lives on their own terms are not crazy. People who dance to the beat of their own drum, even if you can’t hear the drum beat, are not crazy. People who are sensitive, delicate, or don’t fit into a boxed category are not crazy. People with a mental illness are not crazy. Oh, yet, everybody’s crazy!

Depression’s Effects…

The topic of suicide has come up a lot lately. A couple of years ago, when I started writing, I told myself I wouldn’t write about it. I decided it was something best laid to rest. I never wanted to revisit it. I had attempted it numerous times. Why should I be ashamed of it? There is a shame, guilt and sadness attached to it. It’s not easy to recover from it and it’s no longer my reality. However, I recently had a change of heart and decided to share a little bit on it. It’s not easy to write about it either.

In the many years I suffered from major depressive disorder, there were times when I had happy and upbeat moments but they didn’t last long. I would sink back into the reality of why I became depressed in the first place. It seemed to be a never ending spiral. I did attempt to hide my depression and PTSD from my children. I didn’t want them to have this bleak view of life. There were many good things in life to be grateful for, and I wanted them to see the bright side of life. However, they struggled just as I did to reach those bright days. On numerous occasions, I sank into very dark thoughts and in my despair just wanted to die. I would call a suicide hotline and they’d tell me all the reasons I had to live for. It sort of angered me to tell me to think of my husband or my kids or my family and friends. What if I didn’t have those people to live for, who would I live for then? I know this may sound dark, but if I were alone, would it be okay to go ahead with and suicide? Many people think it’s selfish for a person to take their life, but what if it’s selfish to ask this person to live in their dark despair? They wouldn’t want to if these other people were able to lift them up!

I could never presume to know what someone is going through in their darkest hours, that would make them want to give up because I know it’s different for each person. I do know that it’s a dark space, more like a hole that’s covered in dirt, it’s like being buried alive. There is no tunnel with a light at the end. Who would want to go there? Not many people will dare to tread the darkness searching for light. When I was in this state, I was very lost and alone. I didn’t think my wanting to die or my death would be a selfish act. I thought it would be a great relief. I thought it was an act of love and mercy for those alive if they didn’t have to see me living in this state of living death.

I really didn’t think of the pain I would cause others if I had succeeded, yet I know now, they’d be living in this perpetual state of depression and sadness. It takes a long time for someone to come out of this state though. Medication can help but sometimes it only causes it to linger longer. In my case, it wasn’t just depression but extreme anxiety that I wanted to escape from plus the memories I kept reliving. I hated having flashbacks and just wanted them to stop. I now see that the memories were there to help me heal.  Anytime, a painful memory comes up, it’s only service is to heal, ultimatly to set me free, not to shame, guilt or hurt anyone. The more I resisted these memories, didn’t face the feelings, or allow myself to grieve, get angry, or whatever, the more they persisted.

It’s not exactly something to go through alone either. It required the assistance of a therapist, counselor, understanding friends and family. It took a lot of people to walk through the valley of the shadow of death in order to get me through the other side. It takes the person who is in the light, who has hope, who knows life is worth the struggle and worth living to keep you going. It takes a lot of strength and courage to keep going when you just want to give up.

People with mental illness are not weak, they are the strongest people alive because they live with these images, voices, memories, hallucinations, and extreme emotions, yet continue anyway. They hold on to their humanity, keep breathing, keep reaching for the light, keep trying over and over again despite what life throws at them. They are a beautiful and loving reminder that people are strong, yet they are also fragile, that everyone is important, everyone has a purpose, everyone brings meaning into this world, and to treat each one with kindness.

We all have a breaking point, which is why it’s important to love yourself. If I’m tired, I rest. If I’m sleepy, I go to sleep. If I’m bored, find something fun to do. If I’m hungry, I eat. If I need to talk, find someone to listen. If I need a hug, ask someone for one. Balance my life with work, rest, and play! If I’m working and not laughing enough, find the joy. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help. In fact, it’s imperative to ask for help and not try to be the lone ranger. Life is meant to be lived in community with others.  When the dark clouds descends at times, it helps to have someone who is above them.

Life is worth living and it is beautiful. Look at all of nature, it is a symbol of life, breath, and renewal despite the changing seasons and what appears to be chaos at times. I take in the breath of life each day. I allow myself to breathe deeply knowing that whatever is going on, it will pass. The seasons change. Engage in life mindfully.  Be in the moment. Do things that brings joy.  Just breathe.

Beauty of Hindsight

I don’t know how many times I have wondered, “Why did this happen to me?” I don’t know how many times I wondered why I was let go or dismissed. I thought I had done everything right and followed all the rules. I put my best foot forward, I was nice, polite, and “something else”! Yet things didn’t go as planned! What I’ve learned is many people learn their lessons in hindsight. After all, if I’d known a relationship wouldn’t pan out, maybe I never would have started it. If I had known the job wasn’t a good fit, I wouldn’t have tried it and left. Perhaps it was meant to go that way to teach me a lesson! Not many of us have the right perceptions in order to avoid seemingly “disastrous outcomes.” Yet, I believe all of these experiences are life lessons.

However, it usually takes a long time to learn the lesson when I’m resisting it. Like many years ago, I was very depressed and hurt at the way my life was going and the relationships not working out. I wondered what I had done wrong. I didn’t feel like I had done anything wrong. The more I pondered it, the more I wanted an answer, the more I stewed and couldn’t let it go. This is where the danger of falling into depression and being unable to cope comes in. Yes there were many other factors, but at the time I didn’t know how to just let go. I didn’t have the life skills, yet this exact situation was teaching them to me! Resisting, and insisting on answers caused me to lose the lesson until many years after I had finally moved on, and one day I had an “aha” moment of revelation!

I often ask myself now, when things seem to be going awry, “what is this situation trying to teach me?” Sometimes, it’s apparent and other times I need to wait. When I’m stuck in the middle of something, it’s hard to see where it’s going, and what I’m being taught. I’ve learned to be patient, compassionate, forgiving, and loving with myself so that I can continue to function and breathe without spiraling down. This in turn empowers me to give others patience, compassion, forgiveness, love and grace when they’re going through their own struggles. Once I figured out that I learn things in hindsight, I was able to love, forgive and move on.

Resistance slows the process! I had to learn to go with the flow! It takes patience, wisdom and trust in yourself, that you’re going to okay.  As I look back on my life, I see I have overcome so much, and I’m grateful for the beauty of hindsight!

In The Driver’s Seat

Many years ago, I was in such a mental state that someone had to drive me to my counseling appointments. The therapist was about an hour away and sometimes it was a very distressing appointment and I was in no condition to drive home so she made a rule that someone had to drive me. I had forgotten all about that period in my life until recently when I’ve been driving people here and there, and all over the place! Suddenly, I remembered and thought, “I’m in the driver’s seat now!” It was a wonderful aha moment of recognition. Of course, I’ve been there for a while now, but something in my soul wanted me to recognize how far I have come.

There are many people who choose to ride in the back seat for various reasons. Yet, it’s important to know regardless of who is driving, you’re still in charge of your life, you still get to choose the path, and the means of getting from one place to another. Yet there are those who idly sit by and let someone else dictate what they are going to do with their lives. Maybe it’s a parent’s dream for you to be a Doctor, Lawyer or pro basketball player, but you want to have nothing to do with those things. It’s okay to choose a different path
for yourself.

I love to tell people, your past does not define who you are today. It doesn’t define who you are becoming or where you’re headed either! Everyone can choose at any moment who we’re going to be, right now, today. We don’t have to be bound to our past decisions and choices. We also don’t have to believe or do everything our parents did. It’s my life. It’s your life! Make it a good one!

Peaceful meditation

When I first began to meditate, I was just curious about all the hoopla about it. So many people talked about the wonders of it, I felt like I was missing out! I had to find out! I wondered if it could really help me be more at peace with myself. I certainly wanted a lot more peace. I wanted to know if it would help me to sleep at night. I wanted to know if I could really shut down all the anxiety producing thoughts that were constantly running through my mind. The very first time, I concentrated on an LED light and I ended up falling asleep. I did it again and again. At the time, I had extreme anxiety and PTSD. I had inside and outer voices going on. I was coming out of a major depressive disorder. It worked wonders.

At some point, I was able to stay awake during the meditation time. When I’m awake while meditating, I am able to just observe my thoughts without judgment. I can see what is capable of changing. I see my knee jerk reactions, my sorrow, my happiness, and joy. I accept them all. Being in a meditative state brings about clarity. It’s calmness in the storm. It’s looking at life from a bird’s eye view and knowing it’s going to be okay. It’s letting go of all the “I have to”, “I need to”, and “I should”. It’s allowing life to happen at a natural flow. It’s going with the flow. It’s knowing what I can control, which is me, and what I can’t. Meditation has helped me to face my feelings. It has helped me to look at them and understand where they come from.

In the early days of learning to meditate, I was able to forgive lots of people, including myself. I let go of all the anger and unforgiveness by forgiving those who hurt me. I also forgave myself for those I hurt. I let others off the hook and I let myself off the hook. It’s a win-win situation. I let go of feeling guilt and shame for my past transgressions. I allowed forgiveness into my heart. It’s as easy as that! It doesn’t have to be hard or difficult.

I let go of the fear of what’s going to happen in the future. I accept that there are many unknowns and deal with what’s right in front of me. I can plan and take steps towards the future I desire, but I don’t have to have all the details worked out. I work with what’s available to me at this time while knowing and believing it’s all going to work out. If it doesn’t work out the way I planned, it’s okay. I’ll do something different! It’s okay to not have all the answers or have everything figured out. I’m at peace with myself and the world. I choose peace. I choose to be a peacemaker. I choose to live with the people in my life to the best of my ability with peace and love in my heart. I do what I can each day, then I go to bed in peace, knowing I did my best, and will carry on the next day.

I’ve made meditation a regular part of my life now. It is my number one stress reliever. It doesn’t take a lot of time. Sometimes, it’s just taking a deep breath in, and exhaling. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. I can do it anywhere and anytime. I used to hear people say, “peace is just a breath away”, now I know what it means!  I breathe in peace, exhale stress!  Meditation is healing for the mind and body!

Sing A Song

The last couple of days, I’ve written about bullying, today I’m switching it a little bit. My biggest point in writing about it has been to empower yourself, speak up for yourself or someone else. Use your voice, your actions, and compassion to overcome the effects of bullying. So today, I will briefly share what I have done and am doing to help myself. I believe I was healed in order to heal others, to share my stories of healing and lead the way for someone else to rise up out of despair, depression, anxiety, and on.

An important aspect of my healing was talk therapy, lots of journaling, writing, and basically communicating. It’s important to have the right person though. Let’s be honest, not everyone is prepared to hear our sad stories, or to deal with depression and anger. Sometimes people just don’t want to talk about difficult subjects. You notice in many social circles the rule is to not talk about religion nor politics. Okay, I’m getting off the subject for a second. The reason is because the subjects can be heated since everyone passionately believes in their stance. Sometimes, anger arises, frustration and sadness. People don’t always know how to deal with these so called negative emotions. However, these are common feelings which everyone has! Why are we uncomfortable with them? It’s perfectly human to get angry, frustrated, sad and depressed over the state of the world or our inner turmoil. It’s what we do with these emotions that counts.  We don’t hurt anyone with our words or actions when we’re feeling angry and frustrated.

This is where compassion and patience comes into play. When we are discussing difficult subjects such as bullying, it gets uncomfortable because in many situations we’re told not to talk about it We’re told not to talk about the family business. The alcoholic uncle, addicted sister, molestation, incest and mental illnesses. However, I’m here to tell you that in order for our society to heal collectively and individually is to come out of our comfort zones and speak it or write about it. It’s the way through and up. Do not shove it under the covers and hide in guilt or shame. Shine a light upon it and in time you will see your healing. It’s scary at first, but with each baby step, next thing you know, you are running towards release, freedom and healing. You are no longer carrying that heavy burden. I highly recommend a compassionate therapist, friend, family member, or support group to get help and healing.

One way to strengthen your voice, and to feel confident is to sing. If you can’t sing, then hum a song. Eventually, just sing your heart out. I had to take back my voice. I used to speak in a very soft voice, and I didn’t enunciate my words very well, or I spoke too fast due to nervousness. I still struggle sometimes, but I’m much more confident now. I sing my favorite songs, one is Whitney Houston’s Greatest Love of All. I can’t reach her vocal range, but as I strive to, it helps me to exercise my own vocal chords.

When you are singing and working those chords, and you think you can’t get them to get any further, go just a little bit more. I feel empowered, strong, and courageous to share my stories as I learn to use my voice or just writing. The other thing it does, is you are less effected by criticism and I don’t fear judgment so much when I have confidence in speaking. Look into laughter clubs, too. Just google “laughter club.” It’s good to have a nice laugh every now and then, and you learn to relax in social situations. Love yourself!!

Parental Bullies

I’ve been agonizing over what to write about parental bullying. There is no simple way to say it. Included in the parental bullying are: grandparents, caregivers, uncles, aunts, foster parents, or those in authority over a child and adult children. I’m just going to briefly state different types of bullying:

Verbal berating, criticizing, teasing and belittling.

Physically beating the child with an object, hands, feet, etc..leaving cuts and bruises.

Sexually assaulting a child.

Insisting children share your religious beliefs.

Rejecting the children/adult children based on their career, lifestyle, partner choices.

Threatening to cause harm to a child for disobedience or noncompliance.

Withholding food, clothing, shelter, and emotional support.

I could go on and on but I really don’t want to. My intention of writing this post about parental bullying is to talk about what this type of bullying does to someone. For me, I grew up feeling like I didn’t matter. I felt like I had no say over what happened to me. I felt very disempowered. I felt robbed of my right to life and safety. I didn’t feel safe growing up. Grownups weren’t safe people, neither were some of the kids, but mostly it was the adults who were supposed to keep me safe. I was in a constant state of anxiety and fear. I didn’t know what would happen from one minute to the next. I did not dare speak to anyone of what took place at home due to being threatened. I want to reiterate that I did not dare to speak. Some people will ask, “Why didn’t you speak up?” It was beaten into me that I better not say anything. I had my voice stripped away. Lots of people feel powerless due to not being able to talk about it.

Many people have been bullied in their lives and if you wonder why they don’t speak up, it’s not because they agree or condone with someone’s bad behavior, but it’s because they were taught to be quiet while witnessing horrific events upon themselves or someone else. Many just silently weep in the middle of the night, wishing it will stop. These children grow up to be very depressed, angry, anxious,fighters, feeling inferior, have personality disorders, and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

We are the walking wounded, and sometimes we go over the top fighting the system or just being compliant. Sometimes afraid to make the wrong choice or go along with someone else’s plan for our lives instead of what we really wanted. However, some simply don’t know what we want because someone else decided for us and think we’re too stupid to make our own choices. You’re not stupid, you get to decide from now on!

Since I have healed from depression, anxiety, personality disorders, and PTSD now I am here to encourage those who have experienced parental bullying to speak up. Take back your voice. Find your power. Get help from a friend, counselor, coach, or healer. You are worth it. You don’t deserve to live in fear of using your voice. You are allowed to speak your truth. You are allowed to tell your stories. You are allowed to heal from all manner of bullying and abuse. Love yourself!  You are worthy!  One final note, I have forgiven the people who bullied me.  I do not hold any anger or ill will towards any of them.  I wish them love, peace, and healing.  Many bullies were given poor examples of parenting, which is why I can easily choose to forgive with grace and ease.

Happiness

In times of trouble and unrest, it’s hard to think about happiness, yet, that’s exactly what I’m blogging about today. Because, in life, we go through a myriad of emotions and states of being, and it’s important to know nothing strange is happening to you. It’s simply life! When I used to be clinically depressed, I thought I would never ever be happy again. Boy was I wrong! However, once I got over the depression and other symptoms, if I ever felt down, I thought I must be slipping back into it. It’s simply not true! There will be events in our lives that brings elation and there will be others that will bring us down. And here’s another point, I learned to make peace with the waves of emotions that I feel each day. Peace is similar to happiness but you can have peace even if you’re sad for a reason.

Happiness is a state where you feel elated, free and light. You’re on top of the world. If you’ve ever had a runner’s high, you’ve got endorphins bringing you into a state of ecstasy running through your body. Laughing brings on a steady stream of happiness. Happiness is in a hug, a kiss, a smile, a job well done, a new birth, a new beginning, an ending, and so much more! Happiness is different for everyone and an inside job. However, surrounding yourself with happy and positive people will generally help you to feel good inside.

I am big believer in living life authentically and within my power by looking on the positive side. I strive to see each day as a brand new one to live fully, explore life, and look for the good. My childhood and much of my adulthood were some my worst days, and now it’s my mission to live the rest of days as my best days. I put the past in the past by confronting it, feeling it, processing it, releasing it, and moving on. I had many reasons for depression and now I have discovered even more to be happy. In order to be happy, I engage with life, do things that matter to me, I speak up, sing, dance, sleep, show compassion, experience and express all of my emotions in a healthy manner. See, it’s being authentic and not suppressing so called “bad feelings.”

I do my work with happiness. I can see work as drudgery or embrace it as a means to eat and live. I can sing and listen to upbeat music or be angry and complain while doing it. It’s all a matter of choice and perspective. Happiness is unique for each one and everyone has different things that brings in more happiness. These are some of the things that I do:

Attend laughter club

Meditate

Sing

Dance

Exercise: bicycling, walking, hiking

Read

Writing/blogging

Play with my grandkids

Crossword puzzles, sudoku, cross sums, anacrostic

Jigsaw puzzles

Listen to music

Spending time with others

Collect crystals

Hospitality

Watching birds

Daydreaming

Watching favorite TV shows

Think about what makes you happy, and do it. Make time for it. It’s the best way to balance out the chaotic lives we live. If there’s not enough happiness in your life, you may need to cut out some activities that are draining you or ask for help with it, like if you’re grieving. Let’s not be lone rangers when there’s a hard job to do or situation you’re dealing with. Life is meant to be easy and done within community of others. Find a group of people who mutually lift one another up, to share positive energy and bring more peace and happiness in our lives.

Some good books I’ve read about happiness:

Happiness Is A Choice by Barry Neil Kaufman

Happiness For No Reason by Marci Shimoff

Life Is Short, Wear Your Party Pants by Loretta LaRoche

The Healing Power of Humor by Allen Klein

Free To Be Me

Today our nation collectively and privately remembers and grieves the devastation of the 9/11 terrorist attacks fifteen years ago.  The theme for today’s blog challenge is freedom, what it means to me and why I do what I do.  I wrote my blog post early this morning and I took a break.  While I was taking a break, I thought some more about my blog post.  I thought of the words I used and the parts I had intentionally left out.   I realized since I censored some things, I hadn’t fully communicated what freedom means to me!  I had an “aha” moment.

This blog is one of the many outcomes of healing from mental illness.  However, I know that if I was still depressed, taking psychotropic medication, suffering with flashbacks from post traumatic stress disorder, and all the other problems I had at the time, I would not be writing any of this!  Because somewhere in our world and society we’ve decided not to talk about shameful or painful things.  We’ve decided it was not okay to hear about our wounds.  We’ve decided we should only talk about positive things.

There is a stigma especially for people who suffer with mental illness.   I understand there is a time and a place for these things, yet many times I cried in the darkness of my soul, all alone, because many people just didn’t want to hear about it.  For instance, at a ladies meeting at church, we broke into small circles for more intimacy.  When everyone was invited to share what’s new in our world, I said I was struggling with side effects of my medication for depression.  The facilitator replied, “let’s talk about something more positive.”  This was not an isolated incident.  It happened over and over again in various situations.  Or, sometimes people would say since the hurt happened a long time ago, I should just get over it.

When I think about freedom, it is to live without fear of tyranny, terrorism and oppression.  It’s also not living in fear of rejection and having to censor yourself, filter your words to make others more comfortable.  I do believe in the adage, “speak the truth in love”; to write and talk with compassion and consideration for others.   I eventually came to accept my truth and not hide in shame or embarrassment of it. This is how we grow and learn to accept, love, and honor ourselves which leads to healing.    It is listening with an open heart, and giving space to someone who might not have all their stuff together.  It is being authentic and honest.  I realize some people can’t handle the truth, and they live in fear of others finding out.  Fear is a cage we lock ourselves in real tight with the illusion of keeping our secrets safe.

It is perfectly normal and okay to grieve as long as it takes.  It’s okay be a work in progress.  There’s no rule of how long it takes.  It’s okay to be in therapy, have a psychiatrist and take medication.  Do what it takes for you, precious ones!!  Don’t let anyone make you feel less than or inferior because you have different problems or deal with life in your own way.   Life is beautiful and we are meant to be free to express ourselves in our own fashion.

Freedom is sharing from the heart what is most important to me.  It is having compassion for myself and others because I’ve been there.  It is living free without fear of what others are going to say or do.  It is living comfortably in my own skin, with my own personality quirks, and accepting all of it.  It is being my own unique self and not in competition with anyone else.  I can only do me, and choose to be my best self each day.  It is being free to shine my light, a la Sophia style!

“This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 2 [insert URL for this blog post, which ishttp://suitcaseentrepreneur.com/10DBC-Day-2]”