sharing my life experiences, reflections and insights as a mother, a writer, an Occupational Therapist, an unschooler, and and a spiritual being having a human experience

Posts tagged ‘loss’

The other side of depression, Bipolar Depression

I found this post in my drafts written February 12, 2018.

For some reason, I never published it. I suppose I felt it was unfinished.

Two months have past since I wrote it….Today is Monday April 9,2018.

I will first share the post as it was written two months ago and add to it at the end.

Written February 12,2018:

I decided today was a day to write about myself and my journey with depression.

I reread the post I wrote 8 months ago, shortly after I started on my current anti-depressant,

Seeing the Horizon

That’s just the way it is

Some things will never change

That’s just the way it is

Ah, but don’t you believe them

That’s just the way it is

Some things will never change

That’s just the way it is

Ah, but don’t you believe them

Bruce Hornsby sings in my ears as I write…

When I am in the midst of depression, I feel stuck like the words of the song, that’s just the way it is.

Yet, I never lost hope, but don’t you believe them.

I have now been on Prozac for 8 months and I feel I first really saw improvement back in October, after 4 months on medication. I insisted my doctor start me on 10 mg before moving up to 20mg for an easier adjustment for the medication. It’s what we did for my daughter and was recommended to minimize side effects and so I wanted to do the same for myself. It was also how the nurse practitioner had started me on a different anti-depressant 2 years ago when I first asked for medication help for my depression.

Here I am on the other side and looking back

Now if you’re feelin’ kinda low ’bout the dues you’ve been paying

Future’s coming much too slow

And you wanna run but somehow you just keep on stayin’

Can’t decide on which way to go

Yeah, yeah, yeah

I understand about indecision

But I don’t care if I get behind

People livin’ in competition

All I want is to have my peace of mind

Boston says it so well. Thank you amazing musicians and azlyrics.

Reading my post Seeing the Horizon….

I feel that I am in a weird fog.  I don’t want to use someone’s suffering to figure out my own life. Yet this expereince today has affected me. I want to take from it to move forward in my life and in my choices.

In my post, Seeing the Horizon, I shared an experience I had going to a new location for my writing time and discovering a man on the floor. My first thought was he was sleeping, which seamed so silly after the fact. He had collapsed, fallen out of his booth onto the floor face down on the ground and I froze, witnessing the restaurant employees try to figure out what to do, offering him ice because he was clammy. And I stood there frozen, knowing what to do but unable to make myself step forward and speak up, “I know CPR”.

This experience and how I handled it has haunted me since it happened. I came to some peace with myself realizing it had triggered my PTSD from when my husband had a massive heart attack and cardiac arrest in my own home. I was so thankful the medics arrived before he went into cardiac arrest. I was grateful that a police officer showed up rather quickly after the restaurant employees tried unsuccessfully to help the man. One employee knew to roll him gently onto his back and someone called 911, while I sat there paralyzed.

I recently completed a 6 week Resiliency Course with the amazing EFT Master, Jan Luther and founder of The Ego Tamer Academy and Author of the book, “Grief is Mourning Sickness”.

This course involved 6 intense weekly phone calls and some other individual work with tapping (EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique) along with other exercises as part of a deep healing experience.

In my own personal work, through the help of Jan and the “borrowed benefits” of my group members, 5 other women, I discovered a connection between my own issues with medial professionals who have failed me and my children in getting the help we need with this experience.

This experience where I failed to respond to help this man in need.

In this realization, I was able to forgive the medical professionals who have failed my family. We are all human and we all make mistakes. On some level, there is still some underlying frustration with the failure to get help for my children when we really needed it. Yet, I have learned that moving past this resentment and anger is healing. Healing to myself including the ability to forgive myself for my own mistakes.

I have always been my own harshest critic.

In reflection, I have continued to move forward with great strides over the past two months.

I went through a long period of only needing 5-6 hours of sleep and getting up very early and accomplishing many things and jumping into many new things. While enrolled in the 6 week Resiliency Course, I realized my job of 8 years was not serving me and the universe had been pushing me to move on, and I had a difficulty phone encounter with my boss that led me to moving forward on my job search process that I had already started due to lack of hours. I also interviewed for and accepted two jobs, both “PRN” work, meaning on an as needed basis which is my status of employment at my other two employers. I have worked PRN for over 16 years since leaving my part time position when my daughter was born.

I was liberated when I moved away from the job of 8 years that was no longer serving me, nor providing me a pay check.

I found new work close to home and a better rate of pay.

I have been an Occupational Therapist for 25 years and for the first time in 21 years, I have found a position with a higher rate of pay than I have previously received. This is the nature of healthcare jobs in 21st century America.

I am still in process of completing online requirements for the one employer. I have begun work for the other employer and am enjoying my 3 mile commute. I have worked at this facility in the past and so I knew several of the employees when I interviewed for the position. Being a familiar place, helped ease my transition to the new job. Change can be hard even when I am not depressed.

I have come to realize that I feel I have had some underlying depression since my teenage years. Most certainly since the challenges that came about in my life after moving when I was 12 years old, just prior to my 7th grade school year. And all the challenges of puberty only added to the struggle for me. I had some bigger issues in college my senior year when my relationship with my boyfriend of 5 years ended. I think the depression was mild until..

Maybe until my daughter was born and the challenges of being home more and juggling the needs of 2 children, or later when I was trying to conceive our third child and having no success but having hot flashes instead. Even then, when I look back, that was a relatively happy period in my life. I was struggling in that year before our third child was conceived and then when I was 3 months pregnant, my husband lost his job. The very job that helped me to stay at home full time and for us to make the decision to have the third child I had always wanted.

My daughter’s OCD symptoms began about this time, but we did not acknowledge it fully until it exploded a year later, when her baby brother was one year old and she was 8 years old.

That was 8 years ago…

The following year, 2011, my husband had his heart attack.

6 months after his heart attack when he had completed outpatient cardiac rehab, I developed Bronchitis that was recurrent for over 6 months and then got in a car accident just over one year to the anniversary of his heart attack.

May 2011 and May 2012: challenging times

My car accident in May of 2012 was far more devastating to me than my husband’s heart attack.

I became a pessimist.

And I wondered how that happened, because I was always the eternal optimist.

Yet, I knew “life had dragged me down”…

Songs like this have kept me going. Music is my therapy.

I will close with the words of the late, great Tom Petty for he has been one of my biggest inspirations over the past several years writing about my depression.

Well, I won’t back down

No, I won’t back down

You can stand me up at the gates of hell

But I won’t back down

No, I’ll stand my ground

Won’t be turned around

And I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down

Gonna stand my ground

And I won’t back down

(I won’t back down)

Hey, baby, there ain’t no easy way out

(I won’t back down)

Hey, I will stand my ground

And I won’t back down

Well I know what’s right

I got just one life

In a world that keeps on pushin’ me around

But I’ll stand my ground

And I won’t back down

(I won’t back down)

Hey, baby, there ain’t no easy way out

(I won’t back down)

Hey, I will stand my ground

And I won’t back down

Hey baby, there ain’t no easy way out

(I won’t back down)

Hey, I won’t back down

(I won’t back down)

Hey, baby, there ain’t no easy way out

(I won’t back down)

Hey, I will stand my ground

And I won’t back down

No, I won’t back down

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Letting Go of “My Story”… of loss

Grief is a multi-faceted response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something to which a bond was formed. Although conventionally focused on the emotional response to loss, it also has physical, cognitive, behavioral, social, and philosophical dimensions. While the terms are often used interchangeably, bereavement often refers to the state of loss, and grief to the reaction to loss.- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grief

Yes, I just quoted Wikipedia, this is my blog, not a research paper.

I choose that definition because of the last statement ” grief”  “the reaction to loss”.

Merriam- Webster defines it as “deep sadness especially for the loss of someone or something loved”.

Sadness is a reaction to the loss. There are many other reactions to loss, other feelings and states of being.  I think they are missing something.  I personally think Wikipedia does a much better job of defining it than Merriam-Webster.  It is muti- faceted.

And I am going to go one step further and define it as reaction to change in one’s life.

We can grieve the loss of a job, change in our financial situation, change in our life roles, and so many other large and small changes in our life.

Change

It’s time for a change…

Today, I decided to let go of my story of loss.  I wrote out all of my losses over the past several years, all the big ones, and decided I would let go of “my story of loss”.  What does that mean? I don’t know but what comes to mind is Debbie Ford.  And so I googled to jog my memory and found this:

http://www.debbieford.com/media/NewAgeRetailerArticle.pdf

The following is taken from an article in the  New Age Retailer from Jan/ FEb 2007.  The author and editor in chief is Kathy McGee.

You will find the following starting on the bottom left of page 5:

The interviewer, McGee asks Debbie Ford how does she get rid of her self- criticism and self- doubt.

Debbie Ford replies:

I haven’t gotten rid of it.  When I dip into my story (the negative internal dialogue that keeps us stuck), it’s there anytime I want to revisit it.  It’s part of the collective unconscious, it’s part of our humanity. But today, I know that’s the inside of my story.

When I feel like I’m being self-critical or insecure, I know that I’m deeply in my humanity. Inside our humanity, inside our story, it’s all fear-based.  We compare ourselves, think there’s something wrong with us- we’re not smart enough, pretty enough, don’t have the right whatever.

I try to pop myself out of my story and into my divine self.  I ask myself, “What do I have to do right now?  Do I need to get on my hands and knees and pray?  Do I need to meditate?”  it’s as simple as asking, “If I totally trusted and were in connection with the Divine right now, what would I hear?”  Start to listen to that new frequency, and it raises you right out of your story.

I think what you just asked me is so vital to the process, because most people are trying to get rid of their self-doubt, their self-criticism, and their fears.  you can’t get rid of it.  It’s part of your humanity.

And then the interviewer, McGee, sums up the rest of it when she adds, “And by trying to get rid of it, we’re creating more fear and digging ourselves deeper into our story.”

And Debbie goes on about fear saying that it is a healthy emotion.  She says to identify the feeling of fear and ask what it looks like, what it feels like in order to give fear its own personality, different from your own.

“Anything we are identified with has control over us. So, if you’re just scared and in fear, fear has total control.  If you can make it separate from yourself, you will have control over it.  If you give fear a different name, face, smell, color, or size from yours, it becomes something other than you.  You can say, “OK fear, I see you.  What do you need from me to lie down and be peaceful?””

Today, I wrote the post, What Does it all mean?, and now I can understand that I was “in my humanity”.  I was also in my story and therefore in fear.  What is wonderful is that I have a better understanding of what it means to “let go of my story”.  I have only read Debbie Ford’s First book, The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, but here I am understanding better what I sought to do when I first posted the title for this blog.  The beauty is that I had no idea where I would go with this when I wrote the title.  I only knew that I was in fact, ready to let go of my story of loss.  I used prior knowledge and found my answer.

I don’t have to get rid of my story but I can move away from it. I can also see when I am “in my story” and use my tools to step outside of it if I choose.  No matter what, I don’t have to beat myself up about any of it.  I can be ok with being in my story and with choosing to move out of it.  Because I choose, when I am consciously choosing, to move out of fear, I know that I can have more moments of moving out of my story and stepping back from it.  Even Debbie Ford, author of 7 books, speaker and founder of a Life Coaching Business, admits to still  having dark days.  It is a process.