Tag Archives: hope

The Thing About Grief

It’s a deep, twisting, vertical cave, and you cling somewhere to the side of it. The Rock is slimy, cold, covered with a residue of something quite foul. You are frozen, unable to climb up toward the light.

You can hear them calling you from the light at the top of the cave. You rest your cheek for just a minute against the icy rock. You despise it here. You wish you could feel their love, and that it could save you. You wish you actually wanted to live, for them. But right now, all you want is to let go of that jagged rock, and be free. You are desperate to stop hurting. You didn’t know this type of torture was even possible.

The thing about grief, is that it can be caused by many different things:

Death of someone you love, care for, admire.

Loss of a beloved pet.

Loss of a close friendship.

Loss of/ ending of a career that gave you a deep sense of purpose.

Loss of a romantic relationship.

The end of a marriage.

A parent leaving.

The ending of a dream, vision you had of the way your life would be.

Loss of your life as you know it, as you are comfortable with, as you have come to depend on.

Love and care in any form that you had once relied on, suddenly taken away.

Those things all cause grief.

And the thing about grief, is there is absolutely nothing that can be done to make it go away. Grief is awful beyond belief. Period.

You have to feel it, in all it’s miserable, hellish agony, before you can even begin to think about healing. That means for a certain length of time, you will exist without joy, without a sense of hope, without anything except your will to keep clinging to the inside of that cave.

And that is okay.

Don’t you dare put on a fake smile to make others feel comfortable.  Don’t you dare pretend you are okay. Don’t you dare let anyone tell you “it could be worse.” Don’t you dare let anyone tell you to “be strong.”

Because, my dear, the very fact that you still live, enduring the hell on the inside of that cave, clinging despite your stiff, tired hands, and exhausted heart. ……..that, my dear, proves you are very, very strong.

As you exist, feeling ill, exhausted, angry, full of sorrow on the side of that cave, take comfort in the fact that you are strong. Yes, you feel helpless, because pretty much, that’s exactly what you are. Helpless. Unable to gain back what you have lost. Unable to escape your pain, except during sleep, if you are lucky.

It sucks very, very badly. It probably will for a long time. The last thing you want to hear is some hopefull, flowery quote telling you to think positive and it will be okay in the end. So I won’t do that.

But I am going to say that one day (when you are ready and not one moment sooner,) you will remember that you are alive, and that your life belongs to you. You could not control the devastating loss you have suffered, but you can control what you do with the life that still exists within you.  It is your life that those voices coming from the light at the top of the cave are calling for. Over time, those voices will get stronger, and that light will get brighter, because you will have started your careful climb upward.

An important part of your heart, of who you are, has died. The suffering you have endured is indescribable, and you deserve every ounce of sympathy you receive.

But, you have not died. You still live. You have full control over what you do with the days you have left on this Earth. I really hope you choose to (eventually) have some fun, find a new purpose, and love again. You deserve love. And just because you have lost love in the past, does not mean you will lose it again.

The thing about grief is, the reason it hurts so badly is that at one time you had something very, very special. At one time, you had something that made your soul happy. Try to remember that. And keep gripping to the side of that cave.

 

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Thanks for reading.

Be Brave, and Talk

Your Lion On A Leash

Although nobody ever sees him, you walk this world accompanied by a lion on a leash.

Most of the time your fierce, ferocious lion is very well behaved. He saunters beside you, you hardly even notice he’s there. He’s your silent companion. He makes you feel safe, most of the time. He makes you feel beautifully, heroically tragic. He makes you feel unique.  He keeps you company at night.

You hold on to his leash tightly at all times. You cling to his frightening, but familiar presence. You need him. Even though every now and then he gets pretty darn mean.

Sometimes you lose control of your lion on a leash. His roar rattles you, his teeth glint in the sunlight and threaten you, his wild stare breaks your heart.

In these moments, you wish your lion and you had never met.

In these moments, you wish more than anything that you could figure out how to let him go.

But you remain bound to him with that twisting, burning, invisible leash. You struggle to tame his wild fury. Nobody else notices a thing.

In desperation, you feed him until he’s satisfied, and once again at peace by your side. You sigh with relief.

Nobody knows you better than your lion on a leash. He is your most intimate friend. He owns the most vulnerable parts of your soul.

You relish him. You love him. You fear him. You loathe him.

Whether his name is Perceived Failure, Heartbreak, Grief, Traumatic Life Experience, Regret, or Anger,

your lion does not belong bound to you on a leash.

He isn’t meant to be a secret, chained forever to you.

Your lion has taught you strength. Your lion has taught you courage. Your lion will forever be a part of who you are.

He isn’t you though.

You’ve got to stop feeding him. You’ve got to set him free, before one day his wild rage devours you whole.

You will never forget him, and he may never be fully done with you.

But never give up trying to set him free.

He doesn’t belong bound to you with a leash.

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Thank you for reading.

Be Brave, and Talk

 

 

 

Take It All In (Celebrate Earth Day)

 

 

Even though we’ve ravaged this majestic planet, miraculously, it’s beauty shines on.

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It’s no surprise that taking in the splendour of the sunset over crystal waves, hearing the leaves crunch under your feet as you explore the peaceful forest, feeling the thrill of ice cold water as you dive into the rippling lake are the most effective forms of relief for mental illness and stress.

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Being in nature quiets the cruel voices within. It soothes your soul with its splendour. It touches your heart with hope.  It ignites your will to live, and helps you see what truly matters in this existence.

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There is a whole lot of beauty in this world. Remember this. Appreciate this. Take it all in.

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When anxious breath catches in your throat, when irritability furrows your brow, when frustration clenches your fists, stop what you are doing and go outside.

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Because going outside is going HOME.

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Thank you for reading.

Be Brave, and Talk

 

 

 

 

10 Depression Symptom Analogies For Those Who Have Trouble Understanding

If others don’t believe you when you are certain you speak the truth, if you get blamed for something you know is not your fault, if no matter how many times you try explaining something the person just doesn’t get it, how does it make you feel?

Pretty frustrated, I’m sure.

Sadly, this is the case for many who suffer mental illness, like depression. Imagine being accused of creating your own illness with your negative attitude, laziness, or self pity. It’s pretty awful. Those with depression long to be believed, long to be understood. Depression is NOT a feeling. It’s a very real disease, and I’m going to attempt to describe it to you with some analogies below.

10 Depression Symptom Analogies To Help You Understand:

1.) Irritability (The Sandpaper Bed)

You stand beside your bed. It looks cozy and inviting. You climb in and are startled by the feel of the sheets on your skin. They are rough, like sandpaper. Your pillow is hard as a rock. You roll over, nothing changes. The sandpaper sheets hurt your skin, the rock pillow makes your head hurt. This is what irritability is like. You know you should not be bothered, but everything annoys you, angers you, makes you very uncomfortable. You wish with all of your might you could relax and feel peaceful, but it just won’t happen. You want to explode at everyone around you, but you hold it in as best you can. You press on, try to appear normal. Like a night spent in the sandpaper bed would be, it’s totally exhausting.

2.) Empty/Numb (The Worst Comedy Show Ever)

Depression frequently makes you feel…absolutely nothing at all. Imagine you’re at a comedy show, but you’re the only one who finds nothing funny about it. Everyone else cracks up laughing at jokes that evoke no response in you at all. You wish you could enjoy yourself as they are, but your heart and mind are void of all feeling, You throw back a few drinks, to try to ignite a spark of life within you, to no avail. You just want to go home so you can stop pretending you actually feel something other than numbness. Depression often makes you feel as though someone has reached in and ripped your soul out of your body. It’s not fun.

3.) Extreme Fatigue (the 500 lb lead weight suit)

Picture yourself wearing full body armour made of lead. You try to go about your daily activities, but every movement requires tremendous effort. You want to move. You try your best to move. It’s just completely exhausting. No matter how hard you try, you seem unable to take off your lead body armour. It only removes itself when it feels like it.

4.) Self Loathing (tied with a rope to someone you really dislike)

What if that person you can’t stand being around, that person you have a hard time finding good qualities in, that person you just can’t seem to like was tied to you with a 3 foot long rope for an entire day? “No way in hell,” you are probably thinking. Well, if you suffer depression, that person is tied to you permanently. That person is yourself. It is a very sad, but very true reality of depression. The majority of the time during a depressive episode the sufferer thinks very negatively about themselves, and they might even have feelings of self hatred.

5.) Guilt (A body covered in long whiskers that bug everyone around you.)

Imagine you walk through the mall, or attend a family function, and all of a sudden your body grows huge, prickly whiskers that poke at everyone around you. You’d feel the need to apologize an awful lot. You’d probably feel pretty bad. Guilty. Guilty for being your prickly, whiskery self. Depression doesn’t make a person grow whiskers of course, but it certainly brings on constant, tremendous feelings of guilt. It makes you feel as though you are letting everyone down, that everyone is annoyed at, or disappointed by you.

6.) Physical Discomfort (The Constant Hangover)

Headache. Body Aches. Joint Pain. Nausea. Dizziness. If it gets bad enough, depression makes you feel like you have a constant hangover. If you haven’t experienced a hangover, think of how you feel when you are coming down with the flu. Many cases of depression/anxiety are diagnosed only after the patient has sought medical help for physical symptoms.( I myself was one of those cases.) Those “Depression Hurts” commercials do not lie.

7.) Confusion (partially soundproof, translucent glass box.)

If you spent an hour surrounded by glass that was hard to see through, hard to hear through and tried to go about life as usual, things would get pretty darn confusing. Depression often feels exactly like this. Focusing on anything becomes very hard. You find yourself holding your head in your hands all the time. Your vision literally blurs, and you have a hard time understanding what anyone is talking to you about. This confusion just increases other symptoms, like irritability and fatigue.

8.) Strong Desire to Hide (avoiding a telemarketer who is always callng)

You know that feeling you have when you see a telemarketer’s number on the call display? Someone with depression feels this way pretty much all of the time. They don’t want to answer the phone, or the door. They don’t want to go get groceries, they don’t want to go to your party. All they really want to do is hide under the covers and stop pretending everything is alright. They want to hide away so they can be depressed without fear of judgement, or feelings of guilt.

9.) Dread (a colonoscopy is looming, every minute of every day)

I think it’s safe to say nobody out there looks forward to the day they need a colonoscopy. When you suffer depression, you always feel like something unpleasant lies in the near future. Dread. Dread for reasons you can’t explain. In fact, knowing the dread was caused by an approaching colonoscopy would probably be an improvement over the nonspecific, sinking, scared feeling you often wake with, eat lunch with, go to bed with when you suffer from depression.

10.) Hopeless/Trapped (drowning)

Imagine you are trapped in a tank of deep water. You tread water for a long time. You start getting tired. You aren’t sure how much longer you’ll be able to keep your head above water. You try to stay afloat, try to conserve your energy and pray someone will come along and help you. Time ticks on. You are so tired. You sink below the surface, hold your breath for as long as you can. Nobody is coming to save you because nobody notices you need help. Desperately, you pull to the surface, gasp for air, sink back down again. You aren’t going to make it. You have lost all hope.

Depression is a very lonely, often desperate battle to feel alive.

But it doesn’t have to be lonely.

It doesn’t have to be hopeless.

There is plenty of help available for those suffering depression. They just need to feel comfortable enough to seek it out. All of the stigma, the fear, the lack of empathy and understanding toward mental illness in our society needs to end.

The best thing you can do for someone with depression is let them know you believe them, and you are not afraid to talk with them about it openly and honestly.

You can be that arm that pulls them out of that tank of deep water with a few powerful words.

“I am here for you.”

“I am listening.”

” I believe you.”

 

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Thanks so much for reading.

Be Brave, and Talk.

You’ve Got This

The alarm goes off, you slap at the snooze. You must stop that sound, so startling, so intrusive, so irritating. You roll over and stretch as memories of yesterday, of the week that has just passed come back to you.  You’ve been having a very tough time lately.  Days have been mere obstacles to drag yourself through.  Every action has been a chore, every smile has been hollow and forced. Chaos has seemed to spontaneously build all around you. You’ve been trying very hard to chip away at it, but mostly it has just overwhelmed you, made you want to give up.

The alarm makes you jump again, you knock it off the bedside table. Your hands are ice cold despite the layer of blankets that cover you.  You curl into a ball, grip your knees to stop your shaking. Please, please, please start coming out if it today.  Please, please, please let that spark of light come back on today. Please, just grab on to something to stop this free fall into darkness.

You need your soul back.

Depression is torture, depression is a thief. Fortunately, it has mercy on you every once in a while.

So you rise out of bed and pray today will be the day. You splash cold water on your face to clear the grogginess away.

You’ve got this.

Today might be better, it also might not be.  You did not choose this brutal opponent, you did not ask it to steal your soul.

But one thing you do choose each and every day is to fight.

You are the most mighty kind of warrior.

Your muscle is your heart.

Your weapon is your will.

You’ve got this.

Your opponent has made you strong.  Sooner or later, you’re going to win a round.

You’ll see the beauty of the world around you once again. The relief will be enormous. Your smile will run deep into your reunited soul.

Depression is torture. Depression is a thief.

But when it leaves you, it leaves you with the gift of gratitude.

Keep fighting. Your turn to win is coming.

You’ve got this.

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Thank you for reading.

Be Brave, and Talk

You Did Enough Today

You look over at your children and your heart sinks.  Today was a beautiful day. You should have taken them outside to breathe in the fresh air, to run, to play. You didn’t though. You told yourself  that your oldest was still recovering from the flu, and she needed to rest. That wasn’t it though. The truth is that you just didn’t have the energy, the focus, the resolve. The day slipped away, and you wandered through it feeling lost, confused, empty.  You left the laundry undone. You left the floor unswept. You left the rug unvaccuumed.  You left those emails unsent.  The day slipped away, and you wasted it, doing nothing.

At least that’s what you think.  I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong. You did more than enough today.

You prepared your children 3 healthy meals.

You wiped hands and faces.

You celebrated with your 2 year old at her success with using the potty.

You celebrated with your 4 year old at her success with reading her sight words.

You kissed boo boos better.

You taught the importance of being gentle.

You taught the importance of good sharing, again, and again, and again.

You put on silly sunglasses and danced with your daughters.

You blew bubbles inside the house,  just to see them smile.

You gave gentle kisses and tight hugs.

You made your children feel loved.

You made your children feel loved.

Although your head was dizzy, and your vision was blurred, you never lost sight of what really mattered. You never lost your grip on what you truly love.

That is something to feel awfully proud of.

Tomorrow, or the day after, or the day after that, the sun will shine again.  You will have the energy, the focus, the resolve, and you will take your children outside to play. The laundry will get done, the floors will get swept, those emails will get sent.

It  didn’t happen today, but that is okay.

You tried your very best.

You fought with all your might.

You made sure your children felt loved.

And that’s all that truly matters.

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Thank you for reading.

Be Brave, and Talk.

 

The Fog

You stare at nothing.

You don’t even have the drive to focus your eyes.

Vision swirls.

Thoughts swirl.

You grasp at them, but the fog spins you away. You are too dizzy. You long to feel something. Fear, anger, sorrow.

They would all be better than feeling absolutely nothing at all.

Maybe you become reckless, attempt to scare yourself back to life.

Maybe you drink, so at least you feel a buzz.

Maybe you hurt yourself, so at least you feel pain, know you’re alive.

Maybe you eat or shop too much.  Maybe you pick fights. Maybe you smoke or gamble too much. Maybe you abuse drugs.

Whatever you do, never let yourself get comfortable in the Fog.

It deceives you. It makes you think you’re okay with feeling nothing, doing nothing, being nothing.

You need to find that thing that helps you see through the Fog. You need to find that thing that pulls you out.  That thing can’t come from the Fog. It can’t be booze, drugs, food, starvation, pain, danger, violence.

That thing must come from, live within your heart.

Maybe it’s the sweet, sing sing voice of your child asking you to play.

Maybe it’s a memory of a perfect day on the beach.

Maybe it’s the desire to hold your Love close, just one more time.

Maybe it’s the burning fiery need to achieve something, to use your talent, to bring about justice, to set all of the secrets you keep locked inside free.

Whatever it is, hold on to it tight.

The Fog will lift.

You will feel again.

Hold on to that thing.

And never give up on your fight.

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Thank you for reading.

Be Brave, and Talk

 

Let The Pain In

Let the pain in.
Feel it to its fullest intensity.
Accept it.
Endure it.
Thank it.
It gives strength to your heart.
It gives the precious ability to appreciate what’s good to your soul.

You will smile again.
And because of your pain, that smile will be radiantly beautiful.

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Thank you for reading.
Be Brave, and Talk.
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