Facing Faults and Fears

Person performs mystical "Sun Salutation&...
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Our faults irritate us most when we see them in others.

~ Pennsylvania Dutch Proverb ~

I have heard quotes like this many times… I have believed it, I have agreed. But now, I really understand it, feel it, and “get it”. Kind of like an “Aha!” moment, I know now one of the things I most need to change in myself. It’s a good feeling to be able to identify it, and it’s scary all at the same time. It’s a moment where you think, “This could make or break me.”

The truth is, it won’t break me, I’m already broken. Aren’t we all? But I have an opportunity to take what I am learning about myself and make the most of it, or I can lose the clarity and lose the motivation to change and make a difference in my life.

I’ve identified how easily I am frustrated and angered by others who are not willing to do what it takes to help themselves. I see how painful it can be to ask for help, I understand it as I have been there.  It frustrates me to know another is suffering, yet all they need to do is reach out. So, now I’m thinking, how is this mirroring my own life? What I am not changing that needs to be changed? What am I afraid to do or seek help for? What am I avoiding that must be done for my own wellness?

For the longest time, truly, the longest…I have known I need to implement some very important things into my life. I have discussed them, written about their importance, shared these things in advice with others, but have yet to put them into practice on a regular basis myself. In essence, you could call me a hypocrite, but you do know, I have always had good intentions.

How do days, weeks, and years go by, with a knowledge of what can bring help or relief, and yet I fail to act on it? I have yet to put into practice what I preach (and what has been taught to me), what I know is the number one most natural way to help myself, physically and emotionally, to deal with the depression, anxiety, and fibromyalgia all in one.

Fear. Fear is the only thing I can come up with, the only thing I can imagine is able to keep me in my place, stuck and stagnant. I have spent a lot of time avoiding what I know will help me… (it’s exercise, if you didn’t know already). I keep myself busy, busy in mind, busy in work, busy with kids and all kinds of things I “should” be doing. (Have I ever told you, “Don’t should on yourself?” That’s a favorite of mine by Dr. Paul Fitzgerald)

Most days, exercise does not even get put on my “to do” list. Why? Because I am afraid.

I’m afraid of pain. I’m afraid of failure. I’m afraid of committing to it and messing up. I’m afraid of the hard work. I’m afraid it won’t work. I’m afraid of looking like a fool. I’m afraid…it could only be fear that could be so powerful.

So there it is, I have identified it. The elephant is no longer in the room! I know what I must do. I must choose to love myself enough to take care of my body. I must choose to face my fear. Or, I could choose not to…but then what would that do for me?

It’s a crossroads. Which way do you think I will turn?

P.S. This is a good time to share encouraging words, did I tell you I think I could use your help?

The Great Depression Bloggers

I decided to take a moment to share with you a world of understanding, a blogging world of understanding.

Recently I researched depression blogs for a discussion I posted titled “12 Top Depression Blogs to Follow” on WEGO Health. There you will find some wonderful blogs, from all levels of writing and experience that focus primarily on severe depression or major depressive disorder. It was a tough list to write because there are so many amazing blogs!  There are also so many blogs that may stray away from the severe or major depression topic a bit, but are incredibly helpful and provide great insight that did not fit the criteria for that post. I have this lingering feeling, as if I was not able to do enough service to the mental health blogging community because of the nature of it being a such a short list. (Although, I am certainly excited about sharing the 12 blogs that I highlighted!)

This morning I received an email that my blog was included in a list of 101 Blogs to Help You Deal With Depression. I am honored, to say the least, I even got a bit teary. And then I thought, “I wish I had seen this list last week!” Although there is some overlap on the lists, there are also a few blogs on my list that are not on this one. I am happy to be able to share both lists with you so that  you can get connected to these other blogs, these blogs that are offering support, encouragement, and shared experiences.

Undoubtedly, because the blogging world is so large, there are many blogs left off the lists that would be well worth mentioning, so please feel free to tell others about them in the comments here.

At the Bottom of the Pill Bottle

Not sure how to write about this eloquently, I’m frustrated and ridden with anxiety. I feel really helpless, too.

I’ve run out of a medication that I take regularly for anxiety. It is also something I take, as needed, in an emergency kind of situation…if the anxiety were to get really out of control. Even during times when I have not been taking it regularly, I keep it around, it’s my mental health security blanket.

I tried to refill my prescription before it ran out, I went and dropped it off at the pharmacy beforehand, but the actual prescription had expired. I don’t go through it very fast, so I had not needed a refill in the time since I last saw my doctor. The pharmacy sent the good doctor a refill request form and although no one contacted me to let me know, I found out when I went to pick up the prescription this morning that he had denied it.

I called his office right away, since it was prior to office hours, I left a voicemail message (I promise it was a nice one!). I didn’t hear back, so I called the office and scheduled my appointment.  After that, I was transferred to his voicemail again so that I could let him know and talk to him about the refill. I left a second message, feeling rather ridiculous at this point.

This evening, it was approaching quitin’ time and I had not heard from him yet… so I reluctantly called the office again, knowing that I would have to face a second night without the medication if I did not get the issue resolved. I left him a third message, now feeling really ridiculous and as anxious as can be.

Here I sit, no return call from the doctor and the anxiety is riding high… what to do? I feel completely lost and unsafe, knowing that my own doctor has not taken the matter seriously enough to address it personally. I’m sure I’m over-reacting to some degree… because of the fear of an anxiety attack and the symptoms of withdrawal. But it all feels very urgent in my mind. It feels very frightening.

I wonder if physicians understand how it feels to be in this position, to feel so vulnerable and at the mercy of a medication…to be at the bottom of the pill bottle…

I would never wish anxiety, anxiety attacks, or panic attacks even on my worst enemy. Nothing is more terrifying in my experience. If I could be so selfish, I simply pray for my own peace of mind tonight.

Update: I made it through the night, albeit with little sleep. My doctor called first thing in the morning and called in a refill. I am grateful. I have to be sure to take into account that if I had kept up on my appointments, (I did not miss any scheduled appointments, just have not been in for a med check for quite some time.) this whole situation would not have happened. I still believe that I could have been communicated with in a different/better way. Being without important medications is scary, and doctors need to know it is a very vulnerable place to be. That said, I am glad to have my “security blanket” back, even if it is one that I need to learn to let go of. The comments on this post helped me a great deal last night, knowing others understand and feeling empowered to make sure I am making wise choices in my health care really felt good. Thank you so very much for your comments and support!

Therein Lies the Possibility

It’s hard to know, when you live with chronic depression and chronic pain, when you’re experiencing a “bad day” or what may be the beginning of a downward spiral. It’s hard to know, when you feel all the symptoms of depression at once, if perhaps you might stay stuck there? It’s daunting and sad. In moments, it can be utterly horrifying.

Night before last I was on Twitter, (imagine that) and someone asked how I was… I responded that it was a tough day, but tomorrow would be better. I fully believed that at the time. If I had known how truly awful the next day would be, I am certain I would have kept my mouth shut.

Yesterday, that next day, was brutal in all the ways that living with fibromyalgia can be. Poor sleep the night before left me feeling bruised and battered. Stress has been relentless recently and that combined with the poor sleep… I was done for. I desperately wanted to get up and enjoy my day, but headaches, back pain and a burning and aching in my hands, arms and other body parts kept pulling me back, heavy upon me. My children would come in to my room sporadically, asking and somewhat demanding, “Mommy, when are you going to get out of bed?”

It’s been a while since I have had to spend a whole day in bed, and they have become a bit more accustomed to me being more “with it” and engaged. It’s heartbreaking to hear your children pining for you and to be unable to give them what they want and need. I continued throughout the day telling them and myself, “maybe in a little while…”

I was stricken with a deep sadness as I lie in bed. I was overwhelmed with a grief for the inability to enjoy the sunshine I saw out my window (how it sparkled as it reflected off the leaves in the trees out back!). I grieved another day missed with my children… a day of adventure and play that we all need in our life. I grieved for my husband who had more responsibilities on his plate than he had bargained for. I felt hopeless. I felt as if things would not improve… but after a lot of sleep and a lot of rest, I was finally able to get out of bed for a bit in the evening. I fixed some dinner for the family. I helped the kids to bed. I showered myself!

I had a time of relief, a moment that I could not foresee, but always comes, eventually.

I believe that this is the hardest part of dealing with depression and chronic pain as well. In the worst moments, we are blind to the possibility of relief. This blindness removes our sense of hope, it blocks out the light and leaves us feeling desperate and alone. When we are unable to see the possibilities of better days ahead we are at risk for the worst kinds of thoughts and emotions.

We have to safeguard ourselves and train our minds to remember that no matter what we are experiencing, nothing is permanent. Even if we face days of pain ahead, not each day is the same, and there will be moments of relief. Relief is possible. Relief is real. A new day is really that, it’s new, and within each hour and each day there lies within it possibility.

It’s About You: World Suicide Prevention Day

It’s arrived, it’s World Suicide Prevention Day, and I’m glad, I’m pleased. It’s a good thing that so many organizations are making a big deal out of this important topic. It matters. All of the efforts matter. Your participation matters.

But I’m sitting here thinking… what about tomorrow? What happens on September 11, 2010, the day after World Suicide Prevention Day?

I am blessed to know a lot of amazing people who will continue to make this cause a priority in their life, but why, what is underneath it all? Why are we doing this and why should we continue?

It’s not about the statistics, which are plenty. It’s not about one particular age group or demographic. It’s about you.

You may not ever experience a day in your life where you would contemplate suicide… but what if you do? What if someone you love feels so helpless and is in such pain that they believe death is the only option? What if you lose someone to suicide? How would you feel? How would you act? Who would you turn to?

Perhaps your life has already been touched by suicide…perhaps you know the pain of depression, bipolar disorder, ptsd or another mental health issue that led you to a suicide attempt.  Perhaps you don’t know what to do right now because you are in such emotional pain. Or maybe, your life has been dramatically altered, forever changed by the loss of a loved one who died by suicide. No matter the reason for caring, the only reason for participating is so that you are no longer idle. We can not sit by and watch as others suffer. We cannot lay down and accept defeat. We cannot be passive.

Making a difference on World Suicide Prevention Day is important, but it’s up to you to make a difference every day. Become educated. Know the hotlines. (1.800.273.TALK) Know warning signs. Let others know it’s okay to seek help. And if you are struggling, seek help now (see above mentioned phone number).

You may think you are “just” you, but if you get involved, then you are part of the solution and part of a bigger picture, where no one is left out and no one has to suffer alone.