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Archive for May, 2012

Adversity makes us stronger.  If I was to pick a theme for my life that would be it, but in all honestly my life has not been that difficult.  I had great parents, sure they divorced when I was 14 but I never felt unloved.  I had an emotionally abusive, first husband, but that is why he is the first husband and not the present one, and I was never beaten.  The odd thing is my greatest struggle has been in my own head and invisible to everyone around me.  For someone who values learning, depression feels like you’ve been betrayed by your own mind and you have no idea how to fight it because you would use your mind to get through a difficult situation but it’s your mind that’s causing the difficulty.  Does that make sense?  It’s like someone’s hijacked your body and you are trapped, suffering inside. 

I tried medication but for me it didn’t work and I was missing one important element, therapy.  I said I didn’t need it.  (It was the depression talking, don’t let anyone tell you different. The person trapped inside is begging for anything to make this misery go away.)  When I finally started talking to someone a part of my mind started to awaken.  Ok so maybe I was still depressed but there were other parts of me that were now whirring and buzzing and it was only a matter of time before those parts became stronger.  I got better and, as many do, thought I didn’t need therapy anymore. I probably suffered longer than necessary because of that decision but those parts of my mind they were still whirring.  My spirituality was blossoming and I was looking at things slightly differently.  I was looking outward and I was looking inward and what I found was that my mind was not betraying me, it was calling to me, screaming to me, crying out for help.  My soul knew something was wrong and the depression was its only way of communicating to my conscious mind. 

Nine years of battling this invisible foe and I am stronger for it.  I am not the same girl who watched her parent’s divorce, I am not the same woman who allowed herself to be yelled at and belittled and believed every awful word and I am not the same woman who first realized she had depression.  But if I could take it all back inside me and suffer another nine years to prevent one teenage girl from suffering I would, because I know that one day it will be gone and she doesn’t know that yet.  I know that even though the situation might feel like it will last forever, it will pass.  Spring always comes, trees always bud and life continues to move and change.  She doesn’t know any of this yet.  All she knows is her depression and I ache so deeply for her.

I don’t know that anyone really wants to read a blog about a woman overcoming depression, but then I meet people who are suffering and all I want to do is help.  I know when I was struggling it helped to learn I wasn’t alone.  I also know it would’ve helped to know that it was possible to overcome depression with a strong mind, courageous heart and open soul.  Everyone has their own path to walk.  We all have different things we are supposed to learn from our varying difficulties but we don’t have to walk it alone. And sometimes we need to learn that it is time to turn around and pull someone else through.   I’m not quite sure how to do this yet.  I’m working on it, but I can only start with what I know.

So I pray for this amazing girl and others like them who suffer unbelievable difficulties. Know that you always have a choice.  You can take the bad stuff in, make it a part of you, carry it with you and pass it on to your children OR you can pull up your essence from within and know it is Divine, hold on to the wonderful person you are and become someone truly amazing.  With every bit of energy I possess I cry this prayer to the heavens; may the universe give you the strength to hold onto who you are, help you find the divine spark that lies within your soul and never allow you to forget that you are amazing.

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Yeah you guessed it, it came back.  But if you think about it, I have been depression free for 11 weeks straight.  That’s nearly 3 months! 77 days! or if you really want to get technical; one thousand eight hundred and forty eight blissful, depression free hours.  And!  I did say that by the fourth week of waiting for an agent response I would be a nut job and I have made it to five with nary an outburst.  (Well none that had to do with the book anyway.)

So what happened?  Well two of my triggers are a lack of purpose and the guilt over not having a full time job.  My husband has begun to read my book and one morning he mentioned that he was having trouble getting into the story and maybe I need to put more into it to keep the reader’s attention.  He also explained that he didn’t want to just tell me he liked it even if he didn’t.  He was not going to be someone who would simply tell me what I wanted to hear and he then gave an example, “like your friend so and so, she wouldn’t tell you to go get a job if that’s what you needed instead of what you wanted.”  Bam! my two issues in the same innocent sentence.  So off he goes to work leaving me home.  I keep busy, doing laundry and cleaning.  I was working on another spiritual problem while making some teacher gifts when sometime around 2 in the afternoon it dawned on me, “Damn, (sigh) I’m depressed.  When did that happen?”

So here I am feeling like my book will never be published, I will never be a writer and I need to start looking for some sort of full time job.  The other spiritual lesson I was working on told me to take some time.  To go with the flow, relax.  Give it three days.  (OK that’s not specific or anything)  But how can I?  I need to start looking for a real job!  I need to do something!  Relax.  But!  Relax.  But!  REEE…LAAAX!  Yeah it wasn’t going well.

By evening I had the wherewithal to check where my husband’s bookmark was.  He was on page four.  Really! Page four!  I’ve read books where the introduction lasted well into the third chapter.  He was bored on page four?  I lay in bed while he brushed his teeth and my mind automatically started going over my book.  The funny scenes, the tense scenes, the ending, all the scenes he hadn’t gotten to yet.  It’s a good story!  It does not follow a typical format and when I focused on the different scenes I became confident that someday this book, one way or another, will get published.

The next morning I got called to work.  I put on my suit jacket, grabbed my coffee, kissed my husband good-bye (sent off the two younger kids to the neighbor and dropped off my older daughter to high school) and walked into school with a full and happy heart.  It was gone just like that.

Later that night I told my husband, “you need to get to chapter two and then we’ll talk.”  Ok, chapter two got his attention.  Now he complains he’s confused and still thinks he, as the reader, needs more background on the two main characters.  He tells me what he thinks chapter two means and I tell him with a wicked smile, “That’s exactly what the author wants you to think and as for the lives of the two main characters before the beginning of the book, you will just have to wait.” 

I am having a blast watching him try to work it out because honestly what he is feeling is exactly what the author (that’s me!) wants him to feel.  The character is confused and so is he and I can’t wait until the rug gets pulled out from under him (in the story that is) in about two more chapters. 

I have always had difficulty when my writing was criticized.  My mother would tell me she didn’t understand something and I refused to write for days.  I had such a difficult start that too often I doubt my ability, which scares me because I love it so much.  My husband is helping me learn how to field criticism in the safest environment possible and I am so grateful for that and while I know the day may come where I will have to go out and get a real job, my writing is going somewhere.  Someday I will not only be able to say I am a writer but also that I am depression free because I had the confidence and pride in my own abilities and in the gifts the spirits have chosen to give to me.  I will continue to choose the way of my heart, I will work on listening to my spirit teachers and I will strive to be grateful every day for all that I have and all that I am.  There is no room in any grateful heart for depression.

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The Last Great Compromise

As we took our seats where Congress makes their opinions heard and turns ideas into laws, I expected a very nicey, nicey speech about American politics.  What I got was a man sharing the difficulties of a divided house in the nicest way possible.  “We don’t get to know each other anymore.  We don’t share who we are because too often it gets turned into something we’re not and we have lost our ability to compromise.”  Yes, we have.  Kids today don’t fight and make up anymore; they kill each other.  Divorced parents don’t try to get along.  They demean and criticize despite what it does to the children.  We are more intent on being right than we are about doing right and as a society we seem to have forgotten how to listen to different opinions and compromise.  Anyone who has served on a committee or even been a Girl Scout leader knows that if you have 12 people you will have twelve opinions and in a democratic process majority rules, unless the minority decides they want to drag out the vote so nobody wins.  How is that good?  Representative Neil said it best, “until we go back to listening to each other and regarding each other as people rather than opponents, nothing will change.”  We’ve lost our way as a nation; we need to find our way back to the beginning. 

The Beginning

When this nation was just beginning to create a persona for ourselves we built our monuments and our places of work and worship in much the same way other great civilizations built theirs, with the back-breaking labor of slaves.  It’s interesting that this nation, forged for freedom, was largely built by those who were not and this is not the only irony.  Walking around Washington you are struck by the Roman and Greek architecture, by the statues of Roman Gods and American heroes.  Union station is guarded by stone statues not unlike the Chinese Stone Army.  Lincoln sits in a structure that starkly resembles the Parthenon right down to the larger than life figure residing inside.  The inscription above his head even refers to the place as a temple.  The capital building with its domed roof is so much like the domed Cathedrals of Rome and in the center of the great structure is a painting of George Washington ascending into heaven.  In a country where we are so adamant about separation of church and state, religious ideas seemed to be dripping from the walls.   Then I walked into the Library of Congress.  Originally we had no idea what the Library of Congress was, which is rather embarrassing as it is exactly what its name implies, a library belonging to Congress (duh!).  Every bit of knowledge to have ever existed resides within these walls (or nearby walls) and being a lover of wisdom and a seeker of truth the place enthralled me.  The building is in the architectural style of the Italian Renaissance and within every curve, carving, and mosaic tile every country, religion, and school of thought is represented. 

            Thomas Jefferson believed that one could never know what knowledge would be valuable when it came to governing so he collected everything and so does the Library.  Great teachers such as Aristotle, Euripides, Jesus, Mohammed, and other great thinkers are included.  All the disciplines of learning are illustrated; Science, Language, History, Art, Mechanics, etc.  In one hall marble cherub-like figures lined the staircases each dressed and holding the tools of a trade or discipline from cities around the world.  In the center of these skilled workers were two globes and more children representing the four hemispheres of the earth, an Asian, an Indian, a European and an African.  No one race above or below another.  The building continuously acknowledges contributions of knowledge and skill from all over the world.  All I could think of was yeah, this is right.  We need to get back to this; the profound belief that every person, every culture and every religion is valuable; is not better or worse, above or below and contributes something amazing and beautiful to life. 

We humans are not perfect.  We can find ugly in every culture but why did that stop us from continuing to look for the beautiful?  We so afraid to respect and embrace  different cultures or religions because we are afraid of finding out our religious choice might be wrong when there is no right or wrong religion and if there is, well it’s not ours to judge now is it.  We need to embrace the blind love of children, revel in how our differences bring substance and  beauty to our world, and once again learn how to compromise and see other people’s point of view.  That, I believe, is the path to world peace, love, appreciation and compromise.  Our country has held the answer to this timeless question all this time, who would’ve thought it was sitting smack dab in the middle of the Library of Congress.

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3 posts in April

So I posted my third post for April a little after 9:00 pm on April 30th and it came up May first. So much for getting rid of that two next to April. Here’s to another year!

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I’m not very political.  Admittedly there are days I fear for our country because it seems as if people in government are more occupied with making large amounts of money than doing what’s best for the country, but since I am not very political I can’t be sure if this assessment is true or not.  I am no expert on anything other than my own self and there are days when even I lack the confidence to tell what I know, but as a parent I want my children to understand Washington D.C., our system of government and that our way of life did not come easy and shouldn’t be taken for granted. I want them to grow up being grateful for what they have and where they live instead of always wanting more and trying to find happiness in things, instead of themselves.  In the blur of “vacationing” in Washington D.C. these are some of the soft moments and the thoughts I came away with.  I was so long winded I had to break it up into two posts.

“Freedom is Not Free”

How do you explain to an 8 and two six year old twin girls why the war memorials stand?  With a little guidance, the older boys were able to understand that our freedom has been purchased with the blood and the lives of our loved ones, but the girls?  Could they get it?  Should they?  I was walking ahead with the boys explaining how the Vietnam Memorial reflected our images into the stone to symbolize our connection to those we have lost.  How the words seem to disappear in the rain to illustrate how fleeting life can be and how it appears to be a part of the hill from the other side to show the Vietnam War is a part of us and our history. 

I watch a lot of documentaries.  I am the type of person who cannot fall asleep with the TV on and my husband is the type who needs the TV to keep his mind occupied so he can fall asleep.  It is the only thing that does not mesh in our relationship although we have found a way to make it work.  We watch documentaries and when he begins to doze I can shut the program off.  If it was a movie or show I can’t shut it off until the story is over.  Because I watch this stuff before I fall asleep it gets filed in my brain first and so I am blessed with tons and tons of useless information stored up in my brain but have no idea where I leave my keys on a typical monday morning.   This is the reason I remember these facts but honestly,  I think I made the last one up.  My friend was following behind with the girls and when we looked back they were far behind and we had to wait for them.  When they finally reached the rest of us my friend explained their delay.  The girls had asked what the words meant.  She explained that each set was a name of a person who had died in the war.  They thought about that for a moment and then they hugged the wall and said Thank You.  They then spent the next few minutes straightening up the red carnations someone had left at the memorial, making sure each block had a flower in the center standing straight, tall and proud.  My friend looked at me, “Vicky, I wasn’t going to rush them.”  Six and eight years old and they found their way to remember the lost.  They found a way to not only be touched by the memories but to touch me as well.

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