Depression and lessons

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“In every trial there is a lesson. Some lessons begin by digging out.” – Grandpa Mato

Three years ago, when I got the letter with the quote above, I would smirk and think, “Yeah right!”

In the last three years, I would read this letter and the quote and be in utter disbelief that anything can be learned when in the depths of hell itself.

Today, I read this and smile. I’ve come to learn that yes it’s true. It’s true even though I tried to end my life, even though I had to quit a very high paying job that I enjoyed, even though I still suffer from major depression and probably always will to some degree of another, good has come out of my negative experience. I have learned the lesson to take care of myself and listen to my body and watch for the warning signs. Most of all I’ve learned it’s ok to ask for help; albeit the hard way.

I just felt extremely unmotivated. I had no ambition for tomorrow. I only had negative thoughts in my head, and was excruciatingly tired of life. All huge red flags given my personality!

I was immensely frustrated with myself. I didn’t know why I was depressed or even that I was depressed. I thought I had it all: the love of my life, good health, a keen mind, no real debt, the management job, highly respected on the corporate ladder and all at the early age of 28.

I could read and write a several languages, lived on the beach, had a great, smart, funny, beautiful, sexy woman who loved me for who I was and a wide network of friends. So what happened to me?

Indeed, I felt really ungrateful to be sick at all.

All the people who pass me everyday seem to live much harder lives, scraping by often paycheck to paycheck. So, who was I to be unhappy about my life? I had no answer for that burning question. And the more I thought about it, the more I got caught in my web of negative thoughts and unreasonable reasoning of life.

The few close friends who knew of my plight. A few who had lived it all with me. Everyone would say how strong I was, how brave I was. Some called me a hero. But inside I suffocated, one day at a time just drowning in the darkness inside.

My friends would give me examples of great leaders of the world who had to go through trials and tribulations. Nelson Mandela is among my favorites I’ve heard. They would tell me of the great things they’d later do because of their trials and in-spite of their trials.

They’d say there was something great in store for me, and it would end up a positive life changing experience. They reassured me of this often.

But I could not agree with anything they said to me. I could not see beyond that dark tunnel of despair. I found no meaning in life. There was no greatness for me to come, nothing good from this life. I saw only the pain and was blinded.

I tried to end my own life for the second time.

Somehow, a little spark went off in my head one day, and I decided to write my own blog. I’d always written a journal which I’ve not shared with any saved a very few. So, I started writing and rambling. TJ might have had something *tiny* to do with it too.

I asked myself again those fundamental questions on what I wanted in life, what would make me happy, and what my passions were.

Through my self-reflection and writing I’ve finally learned some lessons.

In no particular order here are the ones I wish to share with you:

1. Don’t ignore warning signals in your body. Frequent petty colds, stomach aches, and headaches may all be a sign of stress. Dark thoughts are a big trigger to ask for help. Stopping them before they become overwhelming is a huge key to not drowning in the darkness. Ask for help as soon as I’m ankle deep in the darkness and not when I’m over my head.

2. There is no need to be strong all the time, and even less of a need to maintain an image of strength in front of others. I’m human and I’m squishy soft on the outside, I break easy and I shouldn’t be ashamed to be soft or weak and to show it when I am.

3. Achievements and titles mean nothing if they’re not something you’re passionate about. Everything I’ve done means nothing if there is no passion for it. I will only leave one legacy in the end and people will far remember my passion more than achievement.

4. Creativity is therapeutic, and it’s in everyone, just sometimes suppressed. Getting out here and putting it all in words has been more therapeutic for me than every doctor I’ve ever seen. I’m not diminishing the doctors, no way. But writing, having others read and even some say hey this really helped me or I’ll say a pray for you or even thank you now I know I’m not alone. You dear reader have no idea how truly blessed I am for each of you.

5. We need to matter the most to ourselves—over anything and everything in life. I had to learn “I matter” and “I have value”. Then I had to believe it. No matter how awful things get in the future; I matter. So do you.

6. Not replying to emails or texts immediately is not the end of the world. The people who matter don’t care and the people who care don’t matter. Those closest know life matters and they will wait to be answered because they know I’m living life first and they’ll be happy for that.

7. We all need spare time for solitude and reflection. I need to surf or climb. For me nature, god’s arena is my solitude. It’s my place to recharge, smile and know that yes I am little, I am broken and I am good. (Yes I wrote a post named I am little, I am broken, I am good.) See you were reading 🙂

8. It doesn’t matter what everybody else thinks, if I know in my heart something isn’t right then it isn’t right. Sometimes this goes beyond faith, beyond reason and beyond what I thought I knew. It’s just a feeling deep inside. Sometimes the world IS wrong and you’re right, but just sometimes.

9. Most petty worries aren’t serious. Never worry about the things I can’t control, it’s not worth the energy. I’m limited in the energy available each day and if spending the energy in anyway that doesn’t have benefit then just don’t.

10. Everything will be okay in time. A little faith that things will work out and this is temporary goes a long way. Also know when to ask for help early, back to not needing to be strong.

11. Health is the most important thing in the world. I enjoy my health since good health is the slowest possible means to death and I want to live. Staying active and engaged in living are the most important things I can do to staying healthy and fit. The fresh air and ocean water don’t hurt either. 🙂

12. Sometimes it’s best to stop doing so many things, and instead spend more time enjoying what I have. Get rid of all the clutter and focus small. Keeping that small focus is tricky given today’s world but it can be done.

13. There is no point in being afraid of the uncertainty because it doesn’t change that the future is the biggest uncertainty of all. So just make the leap. That’s it both feet, plug the nose and take the plunge. Sometimes a little change, some thing new is just what the doctor ordered.

14. I don’t have to worry about being a disappointment to anyone, because I do not need to live according to anyone else’s expectations of me. Back to those that matter don’t care and those that care don’t matter. Unless what I am doing is a danger to myself no one who matters will care.

15. I will hurt, that’s just a fact of life. I can choose to turn the hurt to good and I’ve found it hurts a whole lot less. Negative events can be used in positive ways and the new spin on the events can go a long way to curing the ache.

Depression was a very loud wake up call for me. So many years spent mired in it. But I’ve learned and grown from it.

In-particular it taught me to stop sprinting towards the vanity of titles, money, and achievements. When I’ve needed to be recognized for what I’ve done I was least happy in life. Believe it or not I was happier stripping that chasing the career. It was a simpler time I guess.

The career and chasing acceptance from others, always needing to live up to this expectation or that. Everyone thought I was happy but in hindsight I really wasn’t. It was a signal that something was terribly wrong in my life and a change was needed.

It took my heart stopping (I was clinically dead for seven minutes), a month in the ICU, a month in the SCU and ten months in the psych-ward for me to fully appreciate the value of every breath, every heart beat of every day. All 80,640 of them from every day.

I do not purport to have learned everything there is to learn about adversity. Yet, my mind has opened to welcoming experiences that might seem negative, now and in years to come. I know the negative can be turned to positive, it’s all in looking for the right spin to turn it all around. It’s also about knowing when to ask for help and it’s better in this case to cry wolf and not need than to not cry wolf and need.

Whatever comes, positive or negative, embrace it with open arms, experience it, and learn from it. It’s all part of life and life is worth every heartbeat. The sad, the happy and everything in between.

Today I am still recovering from depression and I will always struggle with it. But I’m learning to free myself from the traps of negative thinking, and establishing new habits for a new life. I’m learning my triggers and how to cope when they must be faced. It’s a road, it’s hard and it’s worth every baby step.

I must remember to be thankful for everything life has to offer. From the negative I can find positive and thus I say “Thank you depression. Thank you adversity. Thank you life.”

I’ve had my fair shares of struggles, and I’ll have more—which means I’ll have new opportunities to learn, grow, and share it. It’s all part of what makes me human, what a grand experiment we all are.

So I say to my readers. Thank you for sharing, thank you for caring and thank you for coming along on the ride that is my life. I love each and every one of you.

So now to include you and allow you to help others. I am inviting you to do the following.

Introduce yourself and your blog and share a post on some of the wisdom you’ve reaped from your challenging times?

Thank you for being you, love always,
Michelle

Sometime to talk about


Here is the story: http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_58d33663e4b0b22b0d19cb53

I would like to address the remarks made by representative named Corey Williams. But a few things required before delving into the story.

 

First and foremost:

 

I believe in a person’s own right to choose for themselves what they believe. The issue of abortion is very politically and personally charged. But I believe that every woman should be equipped with all the available knowledge and should make the best choice for herself and solely based on her own morals. That does not mean I believe in abortion on demand, but I do believe since it’s the law of the land that a woman should be given the knowledge of all of her options. That means every legal option available to assist her in making her own personal choice.

 

I do believe our choices in life have consequences and if you chose to have sex that one of the potential consequences is you could become pregnant. But we’re not really talking about choosing to have sex we’re talking about rape and incest at this moment.

 

My “very personal” belief in the matter of abortion is that it is wrong and you are killing another human being. I am “personally” pro-life but that is my choice based on “MY PERSONAL” morals. It is not necessarily your choice. I’ve highlighted my and personal because it is my choice and my personal morals. I do not believe I am your judge nor is it my right to dictate my morals on to anyone else. So I am pro-life when it comes to “MY” choices, “but not yours!

 

I do believe there’s a significant difference between rape and consensual sex and anybody who doesn’t is being foolish.

 

So for me very personally I would never kill a baby that’s growing inside of me. No matter how it got there. And I’ve demonstrated that through my life and my son Josef; who was conceived in rape. I choose life!

 

But my personal religious beliefs also tell me not everybody has the same morals as me. For them and abortion is not murder and I am no one to judge nor am I here to tell you what you can and cannot do. Abortion is legal by law. And though it is man’s law even Jesus said “give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and give unto God what is Gods” he answered the question about following man’s law very clearly.

 

Luke 20:25 He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”


Want to read my choice here ot is: Inside me deeply Part 4 – http://wp.me/p3IQih-5G


 

Second on the matter of rape:

 

If you have never been raped then shut the fuck up about it!

 

Because you could never ever understand what it does to a person who has been raped. I can explain it till I’m blue in the face to you but unless you’ve been raped you will never fully understand just how devastating rape can be.

 

In the case of my rape I was raped by those men. That was my rape. Though it felt like I was raped again at the hospital with the photos, the evidence gathering and the poking and prodding. Had they forced me to have or not have that baby it would have felt like I’ve been raped by the justice system as well. Three traumas do not make a right. You cannot rape me with your will or your morals. And in essence a law which would take away that choice from a rape Survivor or an incest Survivor would be just flat out wrong.

 

I made the choice for “me” what was right for “me”. In my case all the doctors recommended that I have an abortion. They talked my parents into pressuring me to get an abortion and even my pastor came (at their request) to persuade me to have an abortion. When I made my choice and my parents back to me up the hospital call DHHS. Everyone was trying to “force” their will on me and I wasn’t going to be raped again by the system.

 

They tried to rape me of “MY” morals with their choice.

 

My rape robbed me of so many things. One of them was my right to choose whether I had sex or not. Another was my dignity, my pride and yes even my innocence. When they had to examine me at the hospital it certainly felt like I’ve been raped again. And now the doctors were attempting to rape me of my morals and my beliefs by forcing me to have an abortion which I didn’t want.

 

I would not wish that on anyone. And it is exactly why I will never ever tell YOU how you must choose.

 

No one should have their rights to religious freedoms and their own morals stripped from them by anyone. It is wrong to pressure someone to have an abortion as it is to deny a rape survivor an abortion when that is her choice.


You want to read about my rape I discussed it here: Inside me deeply part 5 (Inside my Rape) – http://wp.me/p3IQih-6q


Wanna read about the hospital experience I talked about that here: Inside me deeply part 5 chapter 2 (Inside my rape part 2) – http://wp.me/p3IQih-b7



Third:

 

All that said I would not have made a different choice.

 

And now on to what I really wanted to talk about:

 

People are attacking this representative for his statement the God can take even rape or incest and turn it into something good and beautiful. Why do you feel the need to attack him for that statement?

 

His personal faith tells him this is truth. My personal experience tells me this is truth.

 

My son is the most precious gift I’ve ever been given. God took my rape and he gave me a child who loves me unconditionally. My son is a beautiful young man because his heart is big and caring. He’s intelligent and he he’s been going to school for robotics and wants to get a PhD in neuroscience as well. He wants to one day build prosthetics that are Bionicle and attached directly to the human body and the human nervous system.

 

He’s already got scholarships to go to UCLA, UHawaii, and Duke Medical School for some of his robotic designs and for a thesis he wrote. He’s been taking college courses while still in high school and some of his thesis is being used for some research at several schools today.

 

My son conceived in rape may one day help Superman walk again. Yes I know Christopher Reeves has died but it’s the idea so many hit still strive for. To one day help the crippled or the lane function on their own, fully independently. My son’s mind will be one of the minds that are driving this technology in the future.

 

From my rape came a gift not just to his mother, not just to the extended family, and certainly not just to those who know him. From my rape a gift to everyone was given a life known as my son Josef. And someday he will lead the way to a better life for more people.

 

I firmly believe the Josef is the beauty that has come from my rape. Did god cause my rape? No. Does that excuse my rape? No But god took my tragedy, my rape and I believe God did transform that event into something wonderful and miraculous.

 

And I am personally and example of transformative works. Besides my son my experience has driven me to help other women. I volunteer lots of time to the teen crisis centers in my area as well as local womans shelters. I also give generously to these same causes. My rape has helped others who suffer and that is beautiful.

 

My experience has driven me to pursue a degree in psychology where I hope to help even more people. That is the beauty that can come from even the most vile that mankind can dish out.

 

We are examples of how God can take a tragedy like rape and turn it to something wonderful and beautiful. He took mankind’s cruelty toward another and turned it into hope and love.

 

If you told me today you could change time and stop me from being raped I would say no thank you. All that that my rape took for me would not be worth losing my son.

 

So yes I firmly believe God can take anything that happens. That means any tragedy and he can show you how to get beauty from it. If he can transform my rape into the life I and my son live today then he can take anything that happens in our lives and turn them to something wonderful and beautiful and I am walking, living, breathing proof of that as is my son.

 

Now representative Williams and I disagree on legislating to take abortion away from a rape Survivor. I believe that should be an option. Because forcing a woman to carry a child conceived in such a violent and vile way as rape is wrong. He would be raping her of her own morality and freedoms. In the case of rape and incest the woman did not choose to have sex and she certainly shouldn’t be forced to suffer the consequences of pregnancy.

 

Why should she be forced to do anything by anyone after being forced into nonconsensual sex? Why should another be allowed to dictate morality and force it upon a victim who made no choices.

 

He is dead wrong wishing to strip rape victims of choices. Just as wrong as those who tried to force their values, morals and beliefs on me after my rape. He is not wrong in his belief that god can transform tragedy to victory, evil to good, or even rape to beauty. He is wrong in believing he can force his “personal morality” on others. Yet so many jumped on him about god and ignored everything else.

 

Why does the mention of god and his greatness send so many into a tantrum?

 

Michelle


I have no problem with his faith or his belief in God’s ability to turn the worst events into a blessing, to turn evil into hope, life and love. I am living proof he can do just that. The place we disagree is on the ability he believes he has to force his own morality upon victims and force them to do his will. He might as well be preaching sharia where the rape victim must marry her rapist or be lashed and imprisoned. /smh