The Daily Me (Journal) Bravery – 11/20/2016

Today’s prompt comes from 100 Inspirational Journal Prompts by Melissa Bolton @ The Mogul Mom

Describe a time when you were brave

I don’t do brave well. It isn’t that I am a coward. I think it is just that I don’t set out to save the world, or even myself often and therefore, I don’t always consider my actions bravery.

There was a time though when I felt like my life was a sinking ship and I flailed in the ocean of life. I struggled between having the will to live and resolving myself to death. My ship was named Depression and as captain, I ignored all signs of the ensuing storm that was about to capsize me. Since I’d boarded this ship in my 20s, I figured I was on it for the long-haul, never to see dry land again. I became complicit, rolled with the sea, ebbed and flowed with the storms. This was my life and I accepted it.

In the mid-2000s, I ignored all signs of a tsunami building off my starboard bow. I’d weathered storms in my teens and my college years, surely this one wouldn’t topple me. I’d just lower the sails and brace for impact, just as I had so many times before. I didn’t realize that I would nearly die from stubbornness and yes, ignorance. This was no ordinary storm and my ship wasn’t strong enough. In order to save myself, I would have to do the brave thing and abandon ship.

Leaving the metaphor aside, I had allowed depression to consume me. I gave into the psychosis of voices which told me that I was worthless, unloved, and a burden to society. When the pain became too much, I would cut myself to release the pain because I thought it dwelt in my blood. If I became too numb to the pain, I would burn myself with a lighter to feel something, anything. And when I couldn’t bear the duality of pain and numbness anymore, I would attempt suicide. This went on from 2005 until 2013. I had two choices left – live or die. To retrieve the metaphor once more, I found a safe harbor and dropped anchor.

I owe my brave act to two things – uterine cancer and a therapist who taught me Mindfulness. Cancer gave me the will to live and Mindfulness gave me the tools to succeed. I am still not sure if what I did was a true act of bravery. Aren’t captains supposed to go down with their ships? And that ship does resurface now and again, beckons to me and seeks to set sail, but I think I am stronger now, more willful to live, more determined not to drift back out to sea filled with uncertainties. If Mindfulness begins to fail me and I hear even a hint of those voices, I now seek the medication route. I may not remain medicated, as I often don’t, but at least I know it is there in case I need a safe harbor.

 

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Monthly Wrap-Up: May 2016

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May has been a rollercoaster of a ride for me. Allow me to share some of the twisty-turvy events with you…

I was ill for about 12 days (7 of those days were the worst) with a flu-like bug – fevers, chills, unable to keep food down, too many trips to the toilet, my head hung over a wastebasket, and extremely lethargic. Although I am able to eat solid food again, I am still quite lethargic. I only get the flu maybe once every couple of years and generally in winter, so this was quite a shock for me.

I’ve also been having a serious bout of depression for most of the month – partly due to a friendship I knew I had to end and eventually did end and partly because of being off of my low carb diet for most of April and May. Between the flu and my screwed up diet, my blood sugar has been all over the board (even taking my insulin), anywhere between 180 up to the 400s. High blood sugar readings also contribute to depression for me. When I had the flu, it was nothing for my bs readings to be in the 300s. Since I wasn’t eating, I didn’t feel safe taking as much insulin as I am supposed to take, so the numbers just ran rampant. It has taken me 3 days to get it out of the 300s without over-dosing on insulin (taking too much insulin makes me crave sweets and other carbs). The past two days, I have been back on my low carb diet and I can finally feel the depression lifting some.

And I’ve been having some internet issues that have driven me insane. My provider has been doing major upgrades to their wifi service which has been knocking me offline at random times during the day and night, often for hours at a time. They sent out a schedule of these ‘down times’ to people who receive a paper bill, but not to those of us who get the electronic bill. I had no idea why the ‘net kept going down and would spend hours on the telephone trying to get through, but since I didn’t know what was going on, I didn’t know they wouldn’t be answering the phones either. This oversight on their part kept me on the phone with them for nearly two hours one night (when they weren’t down) trying to get through to someone, anyone who had the time to read me the schedule. This occurred while I was ill, so my patience wore thin pretty quickly. There will still be updates randomly through June, but thankfully, they sent a schedule out to those of us who receive the electronic bill this time. So if you don’t see me around, it is probably because of the wifi upgrades.

I am a bit disappointed that I didn’t get to complete the StoryADay writing project. I did try to catch up with the story writing, but I finally resolved that those last seven stories would just go unwritten. I’m not looking at this as a failure though. I did what I could while I was well enough to write or had service to the ‘net. Time to sweep all of that out the door and look forward to June. I will be writing on my memoir and Serial Killer short stories, working on another addition to the Jack Diamond story, continue working with Keith Channing on the Zanzibar story and hopefully begin a project with my friend Raili. I’ve decided not to stress out over any of these projects this coming month. If I get all of it done, hurray! If not, so be it. I will fill you in on one thing – I will be taking the entire day off on Monday, June 20th. That will be my 50th birthday and I spend my birthdays doing my favorite things and that doesn’t include being online.

And now, because I feel a bit tired, I am going to go sit out on the front porch and watch the neighbor’s kids play catch and listen to the birds singing. See you all tomorrow.

The Sandbox Writing Challenge #40 — Survivor

I am way late in answering this question, but better late than never, right? For this week, Calen asks a very important question, one that has me questioning a lot about my past and present.

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What makes you a survivor?

The best answer that I can come up with is… I am still alive. I don’t feel brave for weathering my storms. I don’t feel empowered for accomplishing some massive feat. And I am definitely no role model for others who’ve been abused (physically, emotionally and/or mentally) or suffered from crippling depression.

I wrestle with my demons on a daily basis. Some days I am grateful that I have the tools to keep myself from descending back into what I can only describe as a hell of my own making. Other days, I begin to slide and forget all about those tools as darkness surrounds me. I must have a whole team of angels working in my favor because something always catches me before I fall too far into the abyss. Lately, it would seem that they’ve been working in tandem as my demons are determined to recapture me completely.

I often ask myself if I made the wrong decision to go off of my medication nearly two years ago. For the most part, I’ve been fine. Just short bouts of melancholy for the better part of a year. But for the past six months, I’ve begun to notice a trend. The short bouts are getting longer and it isn’t just melancholy, it’s definitely depression now. Not to mention, my OCD is getting much worse, to the point of agitation. Fear has become a constant companion. I am not sure I could handle another serious break-down.

To me, a survivor is one who has faced an obstacle and come out a winner. I’m still facing obstacles and I haven’t won anything yet. So I don’t really consider myself a survivor. I merely exist on the brink of chaos.

Self-Discovery Sunday – Passion

for Self-Discovery Sunday – What are you passionate about?

I haven’t always had passion in life. In fact, I went through five very dark years of depression where passion had completely fizzled out in my life. During those five years, I quit doing everything that I once loved. I hid myself away in a darkened bedroom, rarely went out of my house, and attempted suicide more times than I care to admit. I blamed most of it on my husband during those years, but if truth were to be known, I was just as guilty. Sure, it was difficult living with a narcissist, but I was also the problem. I hated living in Oklahoma far away from my mountains of Virginia. I made no effort to meet new people. And I rarely left the house. I allowed myself to sink into that horrible depressive state. But when you are Bipolar, you don’t always have a choice as to when depression or mania will hit you. It just happens. Without notice and at the most inconvenient of moments. It was only with the help of a cocktail of drugs, a great therapist and Mindfulness training that I overcame my depression. I do still on occasion have a depressive moment, but nothing like before. I have my passionate life back again!

Here is my list of 5 things I am passionate about:

  1. Meditation and Mindfulness – these are both essential to my life if I want to remain depression-free. I do a 20 min meditation each morning and I practice Mindfulness throughout the day. You should see me mindfully brush my teeth *laughs*
  2. Writing – this is without a doubt my #1 passion, even though I am listing here it here as #2, for obvious reasons listed above *winks*. Writing fiction and poetry is in my blood. It is my reason for blogging, my reason for getting up each day, and for living. Without it, I am nothing, a soulless being.
  3. Cultivating friendships – I don’t have many friends, but the few that I do have, I want to keep. So it is very important that I maintain and strengthen those friendships.
  4. Reading – I am an avid reader. Nothing thrills me quite like a good mystery or science fiction story. I love getting lost in others’ lives.
  5. Family – I haven’t always been close to my family, but I am working very hard these days to keep that connection.

 

Self-Discovery Sunday is a weekly Journal Writing experience for those who’ve dealt with and are recovering from depression and/or addiction. I hope you will join me each Sunday over at Annette’s Place as we learn to discover who we truly are and how we wish to live our lives now, free of depression and addiction.