Hazard Zone – Go to Higher Ground or Inland

tsunami sign

Anxiety can grip me so fiercely sometimes that my brain is holding on for dear life like a raft in a tsunami. I don’t know where the wave came from or where it should be headed. I am so focused on getting through that I cannot possibly see which direction would be best.

The sad part of this is that I feel like I have to keep my head down and protect myself. Over and over and over again, waves overpower me and toss me about. Each day, it seems that I have to look down and just keep moving in a direction, never knowing which way would be best, and hoping that if I keep on moving, some day I will get to where I really should be headed.

This is the part of me that feels inauthentic as I try to hold on to my job as firmly as I can, but keep my head down so that I don’t lose it. I never quite know what will upset the boss, but whatever I am seems to be it. All the parts of me are stuffed down inside, hiding the laughter, obscuring the clarity, denying the knowledge in hopes that I can stay afloat. But, it still feels like I am fighting some random storm. The winds will howl, the tempest will toss, and the conflicting moods and messages conspire to keep me off keel and far from course. Meanwhile, the struggle to hold on is exhausting.

I keep trying to find my way to safety but I don’t see any in sight and each day is a struggle to keep my head down and just keep going.

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You are better at being you than anyone else I know

quote about people judging others

Fear has silenced you. Anxiety and insecurity have prevented you from stretching yourself because your most basic needs must be met. You are realizing that you have your own strength and desires and needs. You want to improve your life.

For the last, however, many of years you have been told not to speak unless spoken to. Your right to express yourself has been limited to a small room with people that no one else wants to meet. By taking away your opportunity to speak, others tried to beat you down and defeat you. Rejection from others, and your own despair of moving ahead, have turned you into an insecure frightened person with no self esteem.

If they beat you down enough, then they win. The “they” can be any name you want to replace it with. There is always a bully or someone else whose own insecurity prevents someone else from shining his or her light. This is not a game of tug and war, this is your life. You have not given anyone the right to take away your voice. Who you are remains inside of you and is a part of all that you are. Your personal strength is not a matter of someone giving you permission. Not a spouse, not a boss, not a child, nor anyone else has the right to take away your opportunity to express yourself in a safe way. Find a way to be heard even if it is only in your mind.

If you have a voice, then let it be heard. There is not one thing that you could say that someone else will not agree with somewhere in the world. There are so many people silenced by regimes that block their freedom of speech. You have a right to be heard and to express yourself in any manner that does not harm anyone else. If your expression is music, then sing. If it is art, declare yourself an artist and determine that whatever you create is part of the expression you add to the great art of the world. Dancers unite in circles and perform publicly in squares. You have a voice; you are someone, no matter who tells you that you are not.

If your own worst critic is you, then you must allow yourself to be heard. Journal, write down your words, create a poem, put a quote that you enjoy on a blog, express yourself to a therapist, plant a flower, or feed a fish. Pet a dog, look at a painting, listen to your favorite music, search for an idea on Wikipedia. Find some way to express yourself and improve your life even by one minute, by one idea, which serves to improve who you are in the next minute. And the next. And the next. Do this until you have given five positive minutes to yourself and realize that you are someone worth loving and listening to. You do not have to hide away unless you want to. If you need to keep yourself away from others out of fear, then believe that they do not have the power to limit you, inside, even if you are already fighting a battle.

Put your foot down. Then put the other foot down just a bit ahead of it. Then begin to put one foot in front of the other and get a drink of water. Fill your body with a clear fluid and feel your cells hydrate. Your brain cells receive oxygen and you realize the gift of swallowing and feeling your heart expand with every kind thing that you do for yourself. Once it becomes a habit, share it with others. Help to do kind things for others for the sake of making them feel better than you do right now. Even if they never say thank you, know that you have helped another human being and given a gift of yourself to brighten the light of humanity. Step out of the darkness, even if it is only out of your bed, and see that someday it will not feel as bad as it does right now.

train tunnel

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That is the Real reason that they call it Work

stress_cartoon

The Work Ninja – so skilled that you don’t feel it as the knife stabs you in the back.

Where do your ears go when you talk out of both sides of your face?

Those scratches are pretty deep from your climb to the top.

Do you still need to eat dinner if you have been kissing ass all day?

My back really hurts from when you threw me under the bus.

If you are going to take credit for everything that I do, then pay my bills when my Visa is due.

Being the eyes and ears for the boss is great, maybe that is why you don’t have a brain in the middle of the day.

Have you ever thought about an education? or a re-education?

Do you believe in Karma? Because I am counting on it to pay back better than you.

Just waiting to hear what I said when you tell me what it was.

All communication is bland, measured, and careful of the potholes.

You are responsible for a lot of things that I need and what you gave me for the things I don’t.

Depression makes me cry, it does not dampen my intelligence

doorman tipping hat

There are just some experiences that inform and infuriate me as they emphasize stupidity and rudeness to another. Any depressive’s mind runs faster and longer around the clock than most other people. Yet the disease to please sometimes rears its head and you look for the kindness in someone noticing your feelings while grieving losses.

Someone I see often has exempted themselves from speaking to me directly or any eye contact whatsoever. I smiled and said good morning. He pointed out his extended index finger in response. Really? You have got to be kidding.

Is he trying to catch a cab?

Anyone who has had a mood disorder is more knowledgeable about medications, chemistry and neurology than your average person. Journaling and all the efforts at introspection and self examination make us hyper aware. Do you think we cannot hear or see the condescending behavior?

Have you ever dealt with anyone who treats you like your stupid or less-than just because they could? How did you handle it?

You apparently cannot handle the truth

There are people to whom you speak the truth in hopes of creating understanding. For anyone who is highly sensitive, or suffers from any kind of mood disorder or episode, we take a deep breath and attempt to communicate those things that separate and isolate us, cautionary tales and honest experiences, and the healing we seek and want to share.

Some people really make the effort to try to learn and understand. The only way to remove some stigma and fight for mental health care parity and insurance coverage is by speaking the truth. When something hurts us, we have to be brave to tell the truth of the pain.

Some may listen and hopefully the large steps that need to be taken will advance the care and necessities of those with mood disorders.

Others hear the truth and use the information to avoid and isolate further. They avoid all communication. Literally, there is an act of stepping around you, and those Berlin-sized walls that separate us, rather than look at you and interact. The stigma is an excuse to control contact and continue with mean or bad behavior.

I hope that when the time comes, they receive the kindness that they did not extend, when they need it most. It is a horrible feeling to need help and hope and receive none. No one is really immune to a mood disorder episode despite what they think. Life happens and brings joys and sorrows.

People with depression work hard to get through their days, months and years. But in the long run, the kind of ignorance and control against awareness is the truly sad truth.

The best that life has to offer

anne taintor attitude

Today I got to watch my only grandchild celebrate his first birthday. He is far away but Skype gave me the opportunity to see him squish, squash, fingerpaint and smear his way through chocolate frosting on a vanilla cupcake.

This was greeted with much smiling, laughter and photographs.

I got to watch him enjoy the bath time water therapy of warm water sluicing away the sugar and his embracing nakedness in all its tiny glory.

Ending the call, I was left with a warm, sweet sense of hope and appreciation.

Then I attempted to do something in the kitchen. That was my first mistake.

I moved the dishes in the refrigerator and upended a pan of apricot honey glazed chicken pieces. The glaze dripped onto the refrigerator, poured down the front of my clothing and stuck to my bare feet. The kitchen floor had sweet and sticky drippings across the middle and the path from the refrigerator to the sink and the garbage.

This was followed by massive helpings of Windex, Ajax, and hot water. I huffed and puffed my way on my hands and knees to clean the floor with paper towels. My clothing had to be removed too and rolled into a sticky heap. Hopping into the shower, I needed to get the stickiness off of me quickly. I am exhausted! No, I have not run a marathon, nor climbed mountains. It was not the kind of gooey fun being in the sweet stuff rather than watching it.

Depression saps all of my energy and leaves me just enough to appreciate while not necessarily get out of the house. Frustration really ought to count as aerobic exercise.

Rubbernecking in the Depressed Lane

confused traffic signs

The moving is slow, lined up like ducks at the edge of a lake, hoping for a crumb from the tourists. We watch ourselves and how others watch us. We are weary of the hiding, the stigma, the pushing out of strength and energy.

Meanwhile, even though our predicament comes with isolation and revolving negative thoughts, the rubberneckers just look at the wreckage as they pass by. It must be great to pass judgment without ever having to experience what the road is really like. They never have to drive with the hazard lights on or the panic attacks forcing us to the emergency rest stop.

For anyone who has had to suffer with changing moods, copious weeping, and the energy of a sloth, we know what the road signs look like. Driving dependent on the GPS of medications and trying to bypass the traffic jam of emotions, others speed by us never realizing what caused the morning back up. They just grumble at us moving slowly in front of them waiting for us to get out of the way.

If I ever pass anyone in trouble, I understand the detours on the crooked paths that lead them there. Seeing someone in bad shape on the side of the roadway, I know the tools that they need and the boost of human kindness. They need a hand, just a smile, or someone to help them get moving again. Instead they wait watching the movement of life and activity passing them by, hoping they can get on the path again another day.