Monday, August 25, 2014

I Needed a Break


Romans 12:9-15 NASB~ Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

I took a break.

I took a break from writing, from facebook, from the world. I was going to do a series on depression but it made me depressed so I put a halt to that.

A few weeks ago, a dear friend and owner from my old stomping grounds Writers Village University asked me if I’d be interested in working the boards again. I was in a funk and thought, maybe this was God’s way of waking me out of it.

My mind reeled. I haven’t been really active on the site in many years, I’ve been a behind the scene support member but that was it. All my writing has been non-fiction here on my blog and that’s about all I wrote. I wasn’t letting the tainted world in and I ‘thought’ I was good. I wasn’t.

I was really getting depressed when I went to facebook; pictures upon pictures of things, just meaningless things over and over again. Whether it be a lost animal, lost kids, dogs, cats, challenges, quizzes, food (more food than I care to look at in one day), selfies, endless emoticons and the list goes on and on. Basically, facebook was becoming meaningless, to ME. There has to be something more to life out there.

A few months ago a dear friend had made a remark on all the pics I was posting. He was wondering if I had any thoughts of my own. I stopped posting pics, except of Boo, one of the cutest and most popular dogs ON facebook. My facebook life changed. I saw what he saw and realized, while I love the friendships, all of whom I know and no one is a 'random' pick of the day friend, the feed is tiring to me and quite depressing.

Other folks LIKE, LIKE, LIKE pics pics pics, but I now was seeing with different eyes. I was seeing how annoying it had become, then it depressed me. I focused on my garden, mowing, finding new dishes to make for my family and just enjoying the unseasonably cool summer we were/are having.

***Please note: I LOVE all the family pics, and the flower pics that people take and share, and especially all the beautiful sunrises and sunsets, and mountains and all the PERSONAL pics that people share! And I am not without fault, I can be a pic posting maniac, but again there has to be something more to life. People HAVE to have real thoughts of their own, right?

Tiring of the unhealthy eating habits of the many, bored with coffee, depressed at being there for everyone else and no one being there for me, Bob approached me and said three words, “Are you interested?” I snapped out of the fog that held me captive and responded quite surprisingly quick, “YES, Yes I’m interested.”

I began a sort-of training for the task by my dear friend Priscilla whose very big shoes I was being asked to fill.  Both Bob and Priscilla thought I was up to the task and they had faith I could do a good job. It’s amazing what two people’s confidence in me did FOR me.

I told Bob that I KNEW I wasn’t up to handling ‘the calendar’ portion of the tasks and he assured me, “We’ll think of something.” After quite a few of rare-for-me sleepless nights, Pris emailed me and said she’d stick with the calendar! Talk about praising God. I was so thankful.

F2K (fiction 2000) was fast approaching. That’s a writing course I love too; an extension course of WVU. I signed up, boldly too I might add and began writing again.

I could now feel the fuzzy days becoming clearer. I was being pulled back to my gift of writing and that is what God had intended for me all along and He has this funny way of seeing to it we’re keeping up our end of the bargain.

While depression can be debilitating for some, to me it is a time of a forced-fast; a time to reflect and see what’s right and what’s wrong. A time to take a look and in the midst of looking realizing there is more to life than mundane functions. God didn’t put us here to go on day-by-day treating life with a menial attitude. He put us here to flourish and prosper. And I’m pretty glad that two people had the faith in me, which allowed me to once again have faith in myself. Thank you Bob and Priscilla!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Poetry Sunday ~ Fiery Pit

Isa. 13: 8 And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames.

Fiery Pit

Alone in the fiery pit
No one near to see
Flames licking at my side
The walls that smother me.

Heavy eyes raised to glance
The yellow, orange and blue
Holding me within its grasp
Feet cling to the floor of glue.

I cannot move; no hands reach out
I’m caught in the raging flare
The sound is all but deafening
In its race to singe my hair.

Is this a dream I can’t wake from
The abyss alarmingly real
My limbs are numb as the blaze erupts
There’s nothing for me to feel.

Why do people pass right by
Not hearing the harrowing screams;
Is a smile enough to make them think
All’s normal or so it seems?

Alone am I in the fiery pit
While people are blind to the pain
They’ll live the fantasy that all is well
As I dance in the fan-flamed rain.

Move on you sleeping nation
Your hypocrisy is wearing thin.
Pretending to care and moving on
As I peel my melting skin.
 
 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Quotation Saturday

"The heart knows its own bitterness and a stranger does not share its joy" ~ Proverbs 14:10

I have chosen these quotes in light of the death of a beloved man who always made everyone else smile but was really crying on the onside. I know too many suffering with depression and maybe now is the time to bring this illness to the light of day. No more hiding!

SUICIDE

“…They think of suicide as a quick route to oblivion, an escape. Far from it. It merely alters a person from one form to another. Nothing can destroy the spirit. Suicide only precipitates a darker continuation of the same conditions from which escape was sought. A condition under circumstances so much more painful.”
~ Richard Matheson, What Dreams May Come

“If men only felt about death as they do about sleep, all terrors would cease. . . Men sleep contentedly, assured that they will wake the following morning. They should feel the same about their lives.”
~ Richard Matheson, What Dreams May Come

“The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.”
~ David Foster Wallace

“A lot of you cared, just not enough.”
~ Jay Asher, Thirteen Reasons Why

“Did you really want to die?"
"No one commits suicide because they want to die."
"Then why do they do it?"
"Because they want to stop the pain.”
~ Tiffanie DeBartolo, How to Kill a Rock Star



DEPRESSION

“As her analyst had told her: the deeper buried the distress, the further into the body it went. The digestive system was about as far as it could go to hide.”
~ Richard Matheson, What Dreams May Come

“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.”
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.”
~ Laurell K. Hamilton, Mistral's Kiss

“Some friends don't understand this. They don't understand how desperate I am to have someone say, I love you and I support you just the way you are because you're wonderful just the way you are. They don't understand that I can't remember anyone ever saying that to me. I am so demanding and difficult for my friends because I want to crumble and fall apart before them so that they will love me even though I am no fun, lying in bed, crying all the time, not moving. Depression is all about If you loved me you would.”
~ Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation

“I didn’t want my picture taken because I was going to cry. I didn’t know why I was going to cry, but I knew that if anybody spoke to me or looked at me too closely the tears would fly out of my eyes and the sobs would fly out of my throat and I’d cry for a week. I could feel the tears brimming and sloshing in me like water in a glass that is unsteady and too full.”
~ Sylvia Plath

LONELINESS

“Let me tell you this: if you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it's not because they enjoy solitude. It's because they have tried to blend into the world before, and people continue to disappoint them.”
~ Jodi Picoult, My Sister's Keeper

“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”
~ Maya Angelou

“All I ever wanted was to reach out and touch another human being not just with my hands but with my heart.”
~ Tahereh Mafi, Shatter Me

“The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.”
~ Mother Teresa

“God, but life is loneliness, despite all the opiates, despite the shrill tinsel gaiety of "parties" with no purpose, despite the false grinning faces we all wear. And when at last you find someone to whom you feel you can pour out your soul, you stop in shock at the words you utter - they are so rusty, so ugly, so meaningless and feeble from being kept in the small cramped dark inside you so long. Yes, there is joy, fulfillment and companionship - but the loneliness of the soul in its appalling self-consciousness is horrible and overpowering.”
~ Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

JUDGMENT

“We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started.”
~ Henry Ward Beecher

For in the sciences the authority of thousands of opinions is not worth as much as one tiny spark of reason in an individual man. Besides, the modern observations deprive all former writers of any authority, since if they had seen what we see, they would have judged as we judge.”
~ Galileo Galilei, Frammenti e lettere

“You are constantly told in depression that your judgment is compromised, but a part of depression is that it touches cognition. That you are having a breakdown does not mean that your life isn't a mess. If there are issues you have successfully skirted or avoided for years, they come cropping back up and stare you full in the face, and one aspect of depression is a deep knowledge that the comforting doctors who assure you that your judgment is bad are wrong. You are in touch with the real terribleness of your life. You can accept rationally that later, after the medication sets in, you will be better able to deal with the terribleness, but you will not be free of it. When you are depressed, the past and future are absorbed entirely by the present moment, as in the world of a three-year-old. You cannot remember a time when you felt better, at least not clearly; and you certainly cannot imagine a future time when you will feel better.”
~ Andrew Solomon, The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression

“With a hint of good judgment, to fear nothing, not failure or suffering or even death, indicates that you value life the most. You live to the extreme; you push limits; you spend your time building legacies. Those do not die.”
~ Criss Jami, Venus in Arms




Friday, August 15, 2014

The Demons Within


Isa. 38: 18 For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth.



From RST: “Robin (Williams) was blessed with a gift to bring joy and laughter to millions of people. NO ONE THIS SIDE OF HEAVEN FULLY UNDERSTANDS THE ABOUNDING GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST! Scripture tells us not to say this one will go to heaven or this one will not. We don't have the authority. I hope he IS a brother in Christ. How about instead of passing judgment or spewing malice and hardened opinions, we who are Christ's followers lift up his family and loved ones in prayer. After all Christ IS abounding, unfathomable, never ending love. Hope, faith, and love and the greatest of these things is love. Hope to see Robin Williams in the kingdom one day! He will be missed until then.”

I read a beautiful article on suicide here.

While I’ve suffered depression and rose from the ashes, on many occasions the flames still seem to smolder never really smothered. I do have Jesus as an anchor in my life and always have but I wonder, if on the edge of suicide, will Jesus reach in and pour water on the flames surrounding you, so you don’t die? Well, we know He could, but He doesn’t impose His free will on our free will. If we consciously made the decision to kill ourselves, that is OUR CHOICE to do so, and the Lord doesn’t stop the act.

The above article really hit the nail on the head for me. Depression often feels like you’re inside a burning building and the only way out is a window that you jump through to what inevitably turns out to be your death.

You see, depression stems from a loneliness. A place where you’re surrounded by people but always feeling alone. Sometimes even a rich person, who has tons of friends, is always seemingly happy is fighting on the inside the loneliness that has enveloped him in a fiery fan of flames.

How do I explain the inner demons that we humans struggle with on a daily basis? I don’t think *I* can and I certainly don’t feel a psychiatrist can. People and doctors can try; they can provide pills to dummy you up so you don’t feel anything or give you words of encouragement, or even hand you a bible and say, “Read this, you’ll get better.”

The loneliness pit is a place where you finally take a look at YOU and you’re not happy with what you see.  I had an uncle who was a sufferer of PTSD from the remnants of the Vietnam War. He sought help and while the government gave him help it was never enough to lift him out of the pit. He had friends and even turned to them on the day he committed suicide. He went around telling them, “I’m going to jump from a bridge today, I’m done with it all.”

They all laughed and scoffed saying, “Here have a beer”, or whatever the drug of choice that was offered him, gave him no comfort, no release from the pit. They had heard it before many times, many attempts, with no success.

He went and jumped off the Francis Scott Key Bridge to his death. The problems with his prior attempts was, the bridge wasn’t high enough, so this time, he made sure it was. He had cried out and no one heard, no one took serious the seriousness of a death threat.

I imagine before Robin Williams death (pure conjecture here) when on the night before his death as his wife was leaving the house, he assured her over and over, “I’m fine, really.” Always the people pleaser, he didn’t let on to his own wife the depths of the pit he had fallen in and brushed it off in a joke and sent her on her way. He would then turn, go up the stairs and have a conversation with his loneliness, the pit of demons that let him know, “We’re here for you!”

No thought of family dwells in the pit. No external love resides there. Jesus is certainly not hanging out in the pit of your worst thoughts, you’re dangling by threads of insanity, all of which are being held by demons edging you on to a place of comfort, coddling you, caressing you, welcoming you. A place you don’t need to please anyone, a place that surrounds your mind in a blanket suffocating any thoughts except that of YOU and what YOU’VE become.

You’re not dangling in thoughts of love and family, thoughts of joy and happiness, no, you’ve taken up with the demons of comfort that are whispering all the things you want to hear; things about YOU, there’s room for no one else in the smothering pit.

When someone says they’re depressed. Whether clinically or just depressed (sad, lonely, hurt, aching) Please don’t laugh them off and hand them an answer that works for YOU, this is their battle, one you CAN’T fight for them and one you can’t lift them out of.

Don’t tell them they ‘should’ do this, or they ‘should’ do that, that is the worse thing you can say. What they need to hear is that you’re there for them. They need to know you care, and often people ‘claim’ to care and be concerned, but then they disappear thinking the person is fine. The person is in a fiery pit with their inner demons and you think they’re fine? Nice assumption!

Don’t ASSUME, be willing to listen! LISTEN, not spew should’s and should not’s, LISTEN. More than anything, while in the pit of depression, people are too eager to please OTHER people, make them laugh and smile; when all they needed was for one person to LISTEN. And no one ever has the time, to just listen.

If the many friends and family surrounding Robin Williams had LISTENED, would we be talking about his suicide? I can’t answer that, I’m only talking from my pit.

I praise the Lord every day that He stands with me in my pit, dousing the flames bit by bit, but other people don’t have the company, they are in the pit alone; alone and smothering.

If you’re ever in the pit with no one who will listen and death looks much better than facing life, please call the Suicide Hotline – 1-800-273-8255. Keep the number in a handy spot on the fridge, sometimes we never know that the person right beside us is about to make the wrong choice.

You might give up on Him, but He will NEVER give up on YOU!

God Bless You!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Poetry Sunday ~ In the Catacombs of Lonely


John 11:35 Jesus wept.

 In the Catacombs of Lonely

The darkest despair, fills the air
In the catacombs of lonely.
I claw my way to find the day
A freshness for me only.

A solitary face adorns the walls
Desolation my sole friend
I carry chains of emptiness
That will never come to an end.

Deserted am I, to sit and cry
My tears that no one hears.
Abandoned is all call to love
Fills me with unwarranted fears.

The deepest despair has filled the air
In the catacombs of lonely
The mottled cape o’er me draped
As if it’s for me only.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Friend to the End...

John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

A Friend to the End…

I first met Benning in 2003 during my first F2K class. We were not supposed to wander the rooms but the rebel in me had me wandering and I run into him. He called me ‘toots’ our very first meeting and I’ve liked him ever since.(an endearing name he calls many)

He didn’t chastise me for wandering, instead he said I’d make a good mentor and that is when my mentoring days began and a friendship blossomed! My writing was taking off but I was finding more joy in teaching, helping and learning along the way.

I eventually became a lifetime member of WVU thanks to Mr. Hembree and by this time more and more friendships were just the seeds I needed to add to my flourishing garden. Benning and I were mentor’s on many levels, sharing tips, pointing out each others wrongs and rights but each day, each passing week, our friendship was growing forming a special bond.

Something happened a few years back that I won’t regurgitate, but I was no longer a mentor and instead of Benning just letting me go and wallow in my own self-pity party, he joined me and stood by when it was one of the most difficult times in my writing career. That’s just the kind of guy he is though. I thought I was special but guess what, each and every person who knows him thinks they’re special too, and I bet they are to him, in their own way.

Through PM’s, emails and facebook we never let our friendship go sour. We’ve had bickers and bites, and many food fights, but at the end of the day, we each wished each other well and rose the next day to banter all over again.

I never took him for a ‘bible’ toting kind of guy, but a year or so ago, like me he began posting scripture. I always got on him about before you post it be sure you live it first. You know, a sort of practice what you preach kind of thing? I think this was his way of getting in tune with God. I was really glad to see this growing change in him.

I remember a time when he went almost a year without the internet, did THAT hinder our friendship? No way. He’d go to the library almost everyday, to get a book of course, AND to drop me an email asking me how I was doing and letting me know how he was doing. Yup, our friendship just kept growing and growing.

So here I sit today missing my friend and his banter. You see, he had a heart attack a little over a week ago and it called for immediate surgery. A week after his surgery he is still on oxygen after being incoherent for a week and just yesterday he was taken out of the Critical Care Unit and put into his own room.

Still not running the halls and causing a ruckus, (which I’m sure he’ll be doing soon!) this is a step in the right direction and I await the day I get an update from his family saying, “He walked and talked today.” Or better yet, “He’s out of the hospital and is resting at home.” Well he won’t be resting at HIS home but his folks’ place since he needs SOMEONE to take care of him.

This is a man who always goes out of his way to make everyone else smile, a man who shares happy faces and emoticons as if it was bread for the day’s meal. He’s a happy go lucky guy now in the hands of the Lord who is walking him through a healing journey. One we’ve all taken at some point in our lives but now it is his turn.

After he returns to the virtual world (six weeks or more) and he weeds through the many, many well wishes on his facebook wall, sorts through emails and Get Well cards, he’ll come here and read this blog post and know that I will not give up on him and allow him to wallow in any form of self-pity, I am his best friend and his friend until the end. It’s amazing to see what a little writing journey for me brought into my life for a lifetime. I miss ya, Ben! Get Well Soon!

Thank you Lord.

Mark 5:19 Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.
 
 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Poetry Sunday ~ He's Lost


1 Pet. 2: 25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

His eyes, glazed over by
A darkness that crept in
While he slept

His heart full of emptiness
That swallowed him
As he waited.

His nails, filled with the dirt
He clawed from the keyboard
As he surfed.

His bile, morally corroded
By the lust in him
As he fed

His mind, self-absorbed
By a bloated ego and pride
As he’s led astray

His soul, claws and gnaws
Lost to the netherworld
As he dies.


2 Pet. 2: 15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;
 
 

Silent Protocol

Silent Protocol
Angel Always...godspeed

Sunshine Award

Sunshine award