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

Facts about Standing Rock protest


1)      The pipeline was moved once. When Bismarck ND residents complained it would be too close to their water supply. It was moved away from their water supply and directly under the Standing Rock water supply.

2)      The lake Oahe was flooded when the army Corp of engineers built the Oahe Dam. 200,000 acres were lost of tribal territory underwater. The very territory they are trying to put the pipeline under now. Sovereign native territory!

3)      Ft Laramie treaty was found by the supreme court in 1980 to be:

a.       Still in force and enforceable

b.       To have been violated time and time again including the flooding and forced relocation of the Lake Oahe area.

4)      The Lakota and Dakota were offered more than a billion dollars compensation which was refused to maintain land rights and claims to land under the Ft Laramie treaty instead.

5)      This has nothing to do with money or greed and everything to do with fresh drinking water and land rights.

a.       Native land is considered a sovereign nation untouchable by the federal or state governments. It’s one reason native reservations (nations) cross state boarders.

b.       Many homes (as much as 50%) on Standing Rock do not have running water or electricity. Making this the ONLY fresh drinking water available to these residents. The rest have wells which rely on the aquafers below the lake for water.

c.       Buried beneath the lake are native holy sites and graveyards that will be further disturbed by this pipeline.

6)      The Standing rock tribe nor any Lakota or Dakota have asked for compensation in exchange to build the pipeline. They have asked and demanded the pipeline be moved.

a.       Moving the pipeline because it is crossing without permission sovereign native lands owned by treaty of this united states at Ft Laramie.

b.       We’ve already determined the Ft Laramie treaty remains in force and enforceable

c.       They wish their ancestors remains and holy sites be left unmolested by further US tampering

d.       They have asked that their life giving water used for drinking and crops be left unmolested by a pipeline which could someday leak and pollute that only source of fresh drinking water.

e.       Eminent domain does not apply here as the territory in dispute is sovereign Dakota and Lakota lands. These tribal lands are a separate government and not within US jurisdiction.

7)      Most of the violence has been against the native peoples. One two occasions the native people fought back by blocking access with barriers and setting fires. These were not assaults on people but a tactic to slow the advancement of militarized police.

a.       Police have used pepper spray, dogs, concussion grenades, batons, rubber bullets, water cannons (even in sub freezing temps), and Tasers to name a few

b.       They used these on fully unarmed protestors many women and children

8)      When police have been called they have always taken the side of the company

a.       Michelle was there when dogs were set upon the protestors. When she defended a very young child against a dog she was arrested and charged with animal cruelty and the dog owner (no charges)

b.       Michelle was pepper sprayed and struck with a baton while sitting peacefully in protest. Not like a single policeman couldn’t simply pick up and move a 120 pound girl who is just sitting there.

c.       Michelle in a separate incident was pushed to the ground and kicked repeatedly by a policeman from behind. Again a policeman in full riot gear has to push and beat an unarmed 120 pound girl?

d.       In yet another incident Michelle was struck in the stomach with a baton because she stood still and and did not hear the policeman behind her screaming orders. (She is deaf DUH!)

e.       In the last incident she was Peper sprayed at point blank range while trying to get two Dakota children away from the oncoming riot police.

f.        These are just Michelle!

9)      I challenge you go visit Standing Rock and see these truths for yourself.

Despite the army corp of engineers ordering the pipeline stopped as they agree with the Dakota on many points including this is tribal land and the water is the only fresh water source for the reservation and some outlying towns. The army corp of engineers ordered the pipeline moved but when president Trump signed and Executive Order to resume the company did just that they resumed on the original course. The pipeline has NOT been moved as they were told to do.

Despite court rulings to stop the pipeline from tribal lands the company continues to press forward into tribal lands.

I am sure the president meant to continue the pipeline as approved and to be moved 70 miles from it’s current location. This is however NOT what is happening on the ground. If it was then the original standing rock camp which has been in the exact same place for many months would not have needed to be cleared.

We have family on the ground there. We are not relying on the news which has been biased against the Dakota and Lakota from the very start.

So I challenge anyone calling it fake news or not believing. Get on the ground and see for yourself!

Sarah

If the police did to black lives matter what they did to Michelle and the Dakota/Lakota people you’d never hear the end of it. Thia is proof to me that our government is still at war woth the native people and don’t see them or treat them as people at all. This government has denied native rights over amd over throughout its existence. It’s clear to any just how low our government holds these people and how they are treated as subhuman even today!

This must change!