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For some families, the 4th of July is for family, picnics or cookouts, and others it is still another workday. Even if it’s not another workday, you may find yourself alone with no plans either by choice or not. This holiday like so many others, can breed depression. If you are one of the millions suffering today (or any day) face your demons and take a step forward into the light!
Depression is more common than you might want to acknowledge, and you are not the only with these symptoms. Yes, indicators that may be causing you to feel down, worthless, empty, and utterly despondent. Statistically, 1 out of 15 adults experiences this sense of sadness annually. If you are one, it is essential to acknowledge it, embrace it, and get the assistance you may need.
I have been experiencing depression most of my life. However, while I was still living at home under the roof of my parents, their answer to this malady was to keep my chin up. It is easier said than done, and without the proper tools, it may be impossible. For me, it was all about reliving my feels and crying over my woes. Once I was cried out, I was too exhausted to feel miserable, so I put on my happy face and attempted to find the smile behind my mask.
After suffering for almost 64 years, I began to acknowledge my demons in the winter of 2014. Many of those demonic fears were self-imposed and yet I was unaware of that at the time. My journey began by acknowledging I was ill as I took sick leave from my corporate job that I loved; however, the environment was toxic for me. It was with this acknowledgment that I sought help.
Help came through therapies, including psychologically, medically, and spiritually. What I have learned is I am OK! Being OK does not mean perfect. It is the imperfections that make me special, unique, and astonishing. The opinion of others is not what should define me. This five plus year journey has taught me to be true to myself. It is not always comfortable.
Stepping out of my comfort zone was difficult, but I wanted to witness the amazement of loving life. These words are spoken and sung in various ways. Demi Lovato sings about finding the love and self-confidence inside yourself before you seek acceptance from anyone else. https://youtu.be/cwLRQn61oUY
Join me as I continue to share my journey, tell me about yours, and let’s create a safe and loving world. It’s time to become more aware of our needs while accepting that we are not alone. Hold out your hand and acceptance the guidance.
Depression is not a cookie cutter illness, nor is the treatment.
Last night I had the pleasure of being part of a great event, “Don’t Forget to Laugh” organized by Melinda Smith of Heart Mojo, https://www.spreaker.com/show/heart-mojo-with-melinda-smith. The entertainment consisted of four amazing comics all with heart and soul; Bill Benden, Tim Folger (no relation to the coffee), Mike Conley, and Michael Gershe. This talented group of individuals donated their time, energy and passion for an evening to support the Alzheimer’s Association.
Melinda Smith has a walk team to support the important message that only money for continued research will help eliminate, cure, or reduce the incidents of this mind altering disease. It is not just the individual that experiences the loss of memories that suffers but all that engage with them. Although this disease is not life-threatening, it destroys the nerves that connect in the brain that makes it difficult or impossible to do common every day things like, dressing, eating, and worst of all living in a fog of confusion. Like many of us, Linda had the experience of watching her grandmother live out her life with this disease. In fact, not only did her mother become a caregiver but Linda did as well, out of love and need for a family member.
Last night’s event is just one of several Melinda Smith will be coordinating to raise awareness and financial support for Alzheimer’s and Dementia which is kin to this disease. “Don’t forget to Laugh,” was held at the Funny Stop in Cuyahoga Falls. Owner Pete Barakat of the club graciously provided the space for this comedy event. Watch for more information on “Don’t forget to Laugh” coming to Cleveland, and other areas where we can come together to support ourselves and others to help in finding a cure.
On a side note, I want to share that studies show that laughter and music help heal parts of the brain. So keep laughing, do not lock it away.
Laugh to Keep From Crying Madonna
I can’t lock my door
Oh, I don’t have no privacy
The only thing that’s mine
Is what’s inside of me
When I’ve had enough
A little voice inside
It says you’ve got to be tough
You’ve got to take it in stride
Sometimes I am foolish
I let it get the best of me
At least I know that my mistakes
Are my responsibility
I just have to laugh to keep from crying
I just have to laugh to keep from crying
I don’t have a dime
Oh, to buy those pretty things
But I hear all the evidence
You know it all sounds the same
But I’m still waiting
I’ve got my hands open wide
You know my dream isn’t fading
I keep it hidden inside
I just have to laugh to keep from crying
I keep on trying
My friends don’t understand
Oh, they think I’ve lost my mind
And I’m choking back the tears
I’ve got to swallow my pride
I just have to laugh, ah
Songwriters: CICCONE MADONNA L / BRAY STEPHEN PATE
Laugh to Keep From Crying lyrics © WB Music Corp., Webo Girl Publishing Inc., Momma Hattie’S Muse, COPYRIGHT CONTROL (NON-HFA), WEBO GIRL PUBLISHING, INC., WB MUSIC CORP. O/B/O WEBO GIRL PUBLISHING, INC.
Monday, February 25, 2019 today begins the end of the shortest month of the year with the promise of spring around the corner. In less than two weeks we will be back on Daylight Savings time, and the daylight will extend into the early hours of the evening. Although SAD is one of my struggles this winter, I was able to control the blue and grey mood swings that come over me. I credit that to my family and friends as well as to myself. Six years ago when the seasonal affects (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder) took me down a spiraling abyss, I confronted this disorder. I acknowledged my depression and sought help. It was due to an accumulation of events that 2013 was both my worst mental health year and my best!
When we face our demons, and we all have them, it becomes an opportunity to accept the challenges and obstacles that lay before and to use the intelligence (the thought processes) to cut through the heavy, dense fog that is pulling us down, down, down!
In the winter of 2013, I had no idea that I was empowering myself to become the person I always thought I was. Instead, when I reflected on who I wanted to be and who I was, I knew it was time for a change, and that it is never too late. Although change can be terrifying and often we (I) have used excuses such as I can’t change because I’m too old, or I don’t have the resources the answer was I couldn’t I was not ready. Taking the fork in the road in February 2013 has allowed me to be me.
Here are lyrics of I Got to Be Me, sung by Sammy Davis, Jr.
Whether I’m right or whether I’m wrong
Whether I find a place in this world or never belong
I gotta be me; I’ve gotta be me
What else can I be but what I am
Please do not ask someone why they are anxious or depressed, often they cannot provide themselves with an explanation so why assume they will be able to communicate with you? Anxiety is normal it is part of the flight or fight process. Without a touch of anxiety, we could place ourselves in harm’s way walking up to roaring Lion or crossing the railroad track as a train comes towards us at full speed. However, anxiety that produces dread for seconds, minutes or longer can interfere with our normal routines. I know I went through this five years ago. Up until that time I pushed and prodded through often with tears and mood swings blaming it on trivial things like a broken nail, I gained a few pounds, or I was not included in an invitation. Oh whoa was me! However, those situations were just the triggers, they weren’t the reason, and sometimes we never figure out the whys!
Anxiety can affect us all in different ways including irritable bowel, obsessive-compulsive needs, and migraines, just to name a few obvious ones. In my case IB and Migraines are my malady and recently (over the past few weeks) I have had an increase in Migraine attacks along with this on again, off again of foreboding. My fear is my anxiety will deepen and take me into depression and I won’t and can’t have that as part of my journey.
The series that I am planning for 2019 will not only help me face the demons that invaded my thought pattern, but it will bring me closer to others while I share my story I will listen to theirs. It is only in this common thread of true and open communication that we can face this disease head-on. Yes, anxiety and depression by medical terminology are diseases, and although they do not need to be terminal without support, understanding, and acceptance, for some, it is life-threatening.
This week has been difficult despite the love, friendship and support of family and friends. However, please know there is still a brewing demon called anxiety living within in me, and I must become more intentional in my thoughts and living to extinguish what is not needed for survival.