A Moment of Fear

Living life with a “mental illness” such as depression, anxiety, ptsd, or similar can feel like a death sentence some days.

I have been coping with the challenges of the above mentioned issues since a fairly young age. My first major bout of depression was when I was around 16, but most definitely the signs and symptoms were there in years previous.

Like most people, I assume, I go through peaks and valleys, sometimes the path even feels smooth and steady for a while. There are even days that go by where I feel well, peaceful in my mind, and as if it might all be behind me. Those days are so good. I cherish them. I treasure them beyond any amount of riches. Nothing, absolutely nothing can be as precious to me as being of sound mind, because without that, I am unable to enjoy and be a part of the lives of those I love, without that I am unable to function as I desire. It is a priceless “thing” that I cannot place enough value on, it is truly the grandest gift to be in a state of mental wellness.

Tonight, for a brief, but horrifying moment, I thought I had lost it. I thought I had lost that precious gift and it sent terror coursing through my veins. It happened as quick as a light switch being turned on. One moment I was perfectly fine, sitting at the dinner table and talking with my family, and in the next moment, my mind had spun into a place of complete fear, entering a completely different state of mind that I can only describe as overwhelming panic.

It happens like this for me, just that fast. I guess it would be an anxiety attack … that is usually brought on by thinking about or talking about topics that generate a lot of anxiety or fear for me. There have been times when I am not even thinking about anything fearful when it has happened though, and that makes it that much more scary, coming out of nowhere. This evening I was relaying the details of a nightmare, or series of nightmares, that I had last night. My daughter was curious about it and had asked me to tell her about it. I am afraid to go into it now, not wanting to trigger another attack… but it was a very frightening night of dreams for me last night. As I was in the midst of retelling what I could of my dreams to my family, I began to feel the intense fear and panic creep into my brain. It goes beyond the rapid heart rate, beyond the shortness of breath and strange nervous sensations, to a feeling in my head as if it is switching gears… and the fear and irrational thoughts start to feel as if they are taking over in my mind. My mind grabs on to the thought that I am losing my sanity and that I will be stuck in this panic state forever.  The panic that I feel seems to me to be as intense as if a train was coming straight for me, as if I was facing certain death. Although, I have to say, at that moment, death would sound soothing to me in comparison to living in that state of being.

I was able to calm down…I took some anti-anxiety medication that I am far too dependent on in a situation like this (although it has not  happened for months) and I engaged myself in a different activity. I began washing the dishes and talking about a different subject, to divert my attention. Within a few moments I felt more “myself” and a sense of relief came over me that the “attack” seemed to be over.

The most terrifying thought that I have in regards to having these kinds of “attacks” is that in that moment I am so frightened of living like that … so very frightened that I will lose my sanity and senses… that I fear one day it will be the death of me. I fear that if I continue to struggle with this later in life that I will be inclined (in an irrational state) to take my own life rather than to live in such fear.

I can’t explain to you how that shakes me, how that rocks me. Fear is my enemy and I am working diligently to conquer fear. But to have a surprise attack by the enemy certainly took me off guard tonight.

This is why we must continue to talk, to work towards ending stigma, to speak out about how difficult it is to live with mental health issues… so that people like me ( a seemingly “normal” person) do not have to live in fear of losing their sanity. We  must make it part of our responsibility to be there for others … young or old, rich or poor, to assure them that they will not be left all alone in their darkest hours.

Ultimately, that is my greatest fear, that no one will be there to hold my hand, to reassure me that it will all be okay when or if this happens again. I know I am not alone, as I know others who struggle with mental health issues, but if we don’t talk to each other, if we don’t share resources and hold out a hand for others to hold on to…then we will be all alone when we need a hand to hold.

It may be different for you, it may be a different ailment, but it is all the same in the end. If we do not take care of one another, if we do not share what we are experiencing and needing help with, then we will all end up alone. Don’t isolate. Reach out for another hand, and if they don’t return the gesture, keep reaching. Speak about the issues, speak about the struggle, speak about the fear and the pain. Help the world to understand. And by all means, let’s help each other.


Pretty Helpful

Color pencilsWhat’s prettier than a smile on the face of a child? I can’t think of anything, (aside from a deep belly laugh from a little one) that warms my heart more.

Going back to school can be hard and it can also be lots of fun. Often, on the first day of school, a child is wearing a big smile, toting their new supplies, new clothes, new backpack. It is a day of “new”. And now, here we are again, it’s that time of year, Back to School! There is a lot of buzz about back-to-school sales, advertisements for all of the school supplies, and in the big discount retailers you see bins full of crayolas and glue for the buying and stocking up. All preparing for the big day ahead…the first day of school!

I remember feeling nervous about going back to school, but always excited, too and always eager to use my new supplies. I do find the crayons, markers and colored pencils awfully attractive, I even contemplate buying some for myself to have, just to play with!

I took my daughter to get school supplies today. We are recycling and reusing a couple of her supplies from last year, and we purchased a new backpack last week. We still managed to spend $50 and that was with a $10 off coupon! I am going to need to pick up some more supplies for my preschooler soon, as well. I can’t imagine what parents do who have several children to buy supplies for.

I am feeling particularly blessed, as just this last Christmas we could not afford to buy presents for our children. Now, things are improved, not perfect, but improved greatly. We have been blessed by help from friends, second chances, answered prayers, and my husband has worked very hard.

So here I am planning and juggling our finances so that my kids have what they need for school and on twitter tonight my attention was brought to a friend of mine’s efforts to help others who need assistance doing just that, providing supplies for their children. This friend of mine is an amazing woman who has a talent for spreading joy! She has created the Spreading Joy Corporation and they have an amazing opportunity to help so many children right now, but they need our help!

I urge you to ponder the idea of sending your children to school without supplies. . . and to consider helping this project. Visit Spreading Joy Corporation and take a quick moment to read about how you can help and what they are doing. I know you will be inspired to help in the spreading of joy!

Pondering Passion

“Only passions, great passions, can elevate the soul to great things.” Denis Diderot

I’m not sure in which context this quote came from, but to me, it speaks of the passions of the heart being a great impetus for elevating a person to accomplish great things. I see passion as the fuel for the fire of achievement. So if we have no passion, we have no fuel, and we will be stagnant.

I have passion … I have passion for speaking out about injustice, about causes that need to be heard. I have passion for music and artistic expression. I have passion for knowing others and developing relationships. I have passion for learning and for following my curiosity. My passions are many and run deep, but yet, I so often feel stuck.

Where do I go with this passion? What do I do with it? And how can I achieve success with these passions as my fuel? How is my passion different, how do I stand out in the crowd? How do I become the person I was created to become?

I have always admired those who knew what they wanted to be “when they grew up”. You know, those people who knew from the age of 3 that they were going to be a doctor, or at the age of 7 they met an archaeologist on a school field trip and from that point forward they knew they would be digging up dinosaur bones one day. How about those people who go into college knowing exactly what their profession is going to be, have their major selected precisely and accurately, and their post-graduate education planned out before they have attended one day of class. These are the people I have always admired and wished I could be like.

To me, there are so many things that are exciting and interesting, so many fields of interest, but I have yet to pinpoint the area in which my skills and gifts will allow me to soar. I no longer want anything close to mediocre or “good enough”. I want to find my niche and excel. I want to be exactly where I am supposed to be. It sure would be nice to have some clue as to where that is!

I am seeking ways in which to make it possible and thinking hard (sometimes too hard) about going back to school to finish my college degree. I am thankful that I have a small amount of course work to do in my previously selected major to complete before I need to decide what I want to be “when I grow up”. Finishing my degree where I left off will give me a bit of time to continue with my soul searching. And it’s a good thing, too.

It is truly an uncomfortable, awkward and disheartening predicament to not know where you should go, what you should do, and what you were created for. Frankly, I hate it. There, I said it…I rarely use that word (hate) and I want to retract it, but it is true. Being in this kind of a place of unknowing is so unpleasant. I want to move forward. I want to create change and use my passions as my platform for change.  But, I feel a bit as if I am standing at the end of a diving board, above a deep and beautiful pool, knowing that once I dive in there is a chance that the pool might be drained of water, and I just might plummet into certain failure or just as bad, a big pool of mediocrity.

Okay, so I have passion, now I am seeking my direction.

I have a feeling it will involve diving into something!

Let Me Introduce You

I am so thrilled to share with you a person who I have come to know through twitter, who just so happens to also be an amazing and talented singer/songwriter and an integral part of a band that is at the beginning of their great story of success.

This friend of mine is a handsome young man, with talent and moxie. His name is Damien Cripps of the Damien Cripps Band. Our friendship began the way most friendships do on twitter, through another friend or recommendation of a friend, somehow, one way or another, with the click of a “follow” button our paths crossed. I happen to have a great passion for music, which does not differentiate me from so many of Damien’s “followers” but we connected. Due to our shared love of music, mutual respect for one another, as well as a few mutual acquaintances we became fast friends. Truly in retrospect, I’m not sure where or why we developed the closeness that I feel towards him, but I know now that there are absolutely no reservations on my part about feeling the admiration for him that I do.

Damien has been working long and exhausting hours, with the help of a talented and devoted few (especially Donnette!) to develop more avenues by which the band’s fans can get to know them and their music. He spends many hours on twitter developing and nurturing friendships with fans and friends, promoting their music and presence on other social networking sites. Recently he has embarked on a new and very cool blog to document what the band is up to and to help you get to know them better. This is one place where Damien really stands out. It would be easy to chalk Damien and his band up to just another group of guys who want to “make it” with their music, but at heart, they are so much more than that. Their heart is in it and their ambitions and drive is not all self-serving. They, and from my perspective Damien in particular,  continue to demonstrate a desire to promote, support, and speak out about causes that are important to them and to the world. The new blog has provided a great platform from which Damien can do this and share with his fans, friends and followers his heart.

The most recent post on the Damien Cripps Band blog is in regards to Mental Health Awareness and was manifested from a request for them to perform at an event with mental health awareness as it’s main goal. Damien took this opportunity to address the importance of these issues and bring a personal and heartfelt message to the reader even though Damien himself does not suffer from any mental health issues (that he is aware of!). I find this so admirable as it is much easier for one who is afflicted or has a family member who suffers from these issues to feel the need to speak out, but for someone who does not have that kind of personal connection to feel the need to speak out on the topic shows a depth of character I just can’t help but admire.

This recent blog post, the hard work I know Damien put into it, and the good that it can do,  is just a brilliant show of selflessness. I am honored to be able to call Damien my friend. I applaud his efforts, and I ask that you take the time to read his post, listen to some of their music, and support them in any way that you feel drawn to. There is something quite special here in our world, and his name is Damien Cripps.


An A to Z List

Things For Which I’m Thankful


Bubble bath

Cool air



Funny friends and fireflies

Girly things (like rhinestones, make-up, jewelry, flowers)

Happy faces


Jingle bells




Nicknames (like honey, sweetie, cutie, pookie)



Quintessential (the word itself)

Red roses

Simple pleasures

Tiaras (I want one!)




X (representing a kiss, as in “XO”)


Z Gallerie (the store)