Sweet Seasons 11-24-18

When I was a young girl one of my favorite albums was by Carole King. I loved all of her music. In 1971, Carole released “Sweet Seasons”. I was six years old however, even though I was so young I loved this song. At the time I had no idea how much the lyrics of the song would resonate with my own life 46 years later.

The season has changed in Washington state. Winter is right around the corner. In fact, we saw early snow on Thanksgiving Day. The temperature has already dropped to 33 degrees. I’m not a fan of cold weather and I’m certainly not a fan of winter. Let’s just say, my favorite season is summer.

I woke up this morning and despite the cold, the sun was shining beautifully. I put my warm clothes on and went on my walk. I wanted to breathe in that rare winter sunshine while breathing in that cool, fresh winter air. I found myself reflecting on yet another season and the many that have gone by. I was reminded of this song I loved so many years ago and listened as I walked while allowing my mind to reflect on the many memories that have past with each and every season.

I’ve shared on many occasions that I have battled depression, anxiety and PTSD for a very long time. This past July, things took a turn in my life and I found myself no longer able to keep my head above water. My depression, anxiety as well as PTSD suddenly began to rule every part of my life. For those of you that are wondering, PTSD and anxiety are real. Depression is real. For me even a ring tone, a scent or a song can bring back the horrible memories I’ve tried so hard to hide. The racing heart beat, the overwhelming thoughts, the insomnia, fear, worry and feeling of hopelessness have been more than I could bare. Somewhere along the line, I snapped. Through it all, I somehow recognized I needed help.

Last month I finally accepted I needed the help of a therapist. My first visit, I ranted and raved. I had so much I wanted to say. The words were spewing out of me like a crazy woman. I couldn’t stop myself. I was amazed at the feelings I have kept stuffed away for a very long time. Still, after releasing all that stuff I was depressed, overwhelmed and I couldn’t breathe. The counselor explained that I had experienced so much trauma these past several years, I could no longer cope. She recommended an anti-depressant to help get some relief from the depression and anxiety and begin working on my healing in therapy. I have to admit, this wasn’t the first time an anti-depressant was recommended. Looking back, I was encouraged to take one eight years ago. I refused and have refused many times since then. My only excuse is I’ve always seen myself as a strong woman who could overcome anything. I was wrong. The result has been catastrophic. As it turns out, I’m not superwoman. I’m merely human. Like any human, I can only take so much.

Two weeks ago, I started a drug called Celexa. In truth, I was apprehensive but deep down I knew it was time. I knew I needed some help. Every day since then I have felt like a turtle poking its head out of his shell. Slowly but surely and very timidly allowing myself to come out of a fog I’ve been in for a very long time. I have begun to feel some clarity. Unfortunately, the clarity has also come with the realization of how many seasons have gone by since my depression first began. I am struggling with time. I realize it’s 2018 but for me I find myself waking up where I left off. This may sound crazy but for me it’s hard to grasp how I got here.

As I walked today, listening to Carole belt out this tune while reflecting on the many seasons that have gone by, I suddenly remembered. I knew when my depression first began. The memory was so vivid. It was Christmas night 2010. I was sitting on our recliner. The Christmas lights on our tree were the only lights in the living room. It was snowing outside. I was watching tv. I was so depressed that night, I remember wishing I could run away. I can still feel the way I felt that night. It’s hard for me to believe eight years have gone by. It’s hard to believe everything that has happened. It’s hard to believe 32 seasons have gone by and I’ve just been a character in this really bad nightmare.

I realized today, I have a lot of “stuff” I need to work through. I have so much wreckage to clean up. After all, it’s been eight years. I’m grateful for my therapist and I’m grateful for my meds but more importantly I’m grateful I’m coming out of this fog and entering reality. I found myself crying today. I was on my knees asking god for my life back. This life I find myself waking up to certainly isn’t the life I was living when my depression first started. So much has happened. So much trauma. So many losses. I know it’s going to take a lot of work but I have to do it. A friend once told me “when you’re rock bottom, there’s nowhere to go from here than up”. Eight years and 32 seasons later, I’m rock bottom however, as I enter my newfound reality, there’s nowhere to go from here than up.

In the words of Carole King “Sometimes you win sometimes you lose
And sometimes the blues just get a hold of you
Just when you thought you had made it“. But like the song there’s ” A sweet season on my mind” and this new season certainly appeals to me.

https://youtu.be/sbrO4rmbSPM

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How To Avoid the Holiday Blues 11-21-18

How to Avoid the Holiday Blues 
As we approach the holiday season and the onset of winter, some of us will succumb to seasonal depression. Shorter daylight hours, colder temperatures, and the beginning of winter can trigger feelings of moodiness, lack of motivation, and fatigue. Coupled with the stresses of the holidays, some of us can feel even more anxious and overworked. Social gatherings, the financial burdens of buying gifts, and the pressure to feel festive can trigger holiday anxiety. Family visits can prove taxing and painful feelings can surface with the memory of lost ones and the simple realization of the passage of time. If you’re going through a difficult time, it can be tough to see others with extra joy in their lives. You should know that you are not alone. There are ways to manage your symptoms and get the help you need. Here are some ideas about how to take a proactive approach to staying positive:
  •  Keep active-A lack of energy can be a drain on your mood. It is important to engage in exercise or other physical activities that release endorphins and boost your energy levels and frame of mind.
  • Stay on your side-Critical thoughts of oneself often arise during the holiday season. It is important to recognize when the inner critic starts to get louder in our minds. We need to take a kind attitude towards ourselves.
  • Don’t abandon healthy habits-Try to limit alcohol intake, avoid overeating, and get plenty of sleep. Try not to let the holidays become a free for all as over indulgence can sometimes add to your stress and guilt.
  • Chose family time-Don’t feel guilty about choosing the time you spend with your family. This holiday season seek out places and people that make you feel good. Design a holiday of choice in which you decide who to spend time with and where to go. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind and be true to yourself.
Don’t let the holidays become something you dread. Instead, try and take steps to prevent the stress and depression that can transpire during the holidays. Learn to recognize your holiday blues triggers and try to combat them before they lead to a meltdown. With a little planning and some positive thinking, you can find peace during the holidays. 

7 Healing Mantras 9-13-17

Here are 7 healing mantras that you can use right now to program your brain to start healing:
1. I create happiness and healing. 
2. I listen to my body when it tells me what it needs.
3. I heal my heart, body and soul every day.
4. I forgive myself and those who have hurt me in the past.
5. My body is attuned to the wisdom of the universe. 
6. I am grateful for my body’s healing.
7. I enjoy perfect health by letting go of what doesn’t serve me.

Remember that your thoughts create your reality 😉 

Crazy Train 9-11-17

Do you ever wake up in the morning and wonder “How in the heck did I get here?”  You find yourself living a life that seems like a dream and not a good dream at that.  Maybe more like a nightmare.  You’re lying in bed and the only voice in your head is Ozzie Osbourne belting out “All Aboard!!!”  Is your answer yes?  Yeah…Me too!!!

September 14th will be the anniversary of my dad’s passing six years ago.  What a journey it’s been. The only way to describe it…..It has certainly been one hell of a “Crazy Train”.  I have spent the past six years grieving.  When I say grieving, I mean for two years I cried every day.  I slept with my dad’s ashes next to my bed.  I had nightmares every night.  Up until a few months ago I stopped believing my dad was coming back and finally accepted that he was gone.  I’ve spent more days then I can count balling my head off.  I’ve spent six years trying to figure out how to live my life without my dad as my sidekick. I haven’t done a very good job at it either.  Three of those years I found myself fighting cancer among other things including a crazy boyfriend who I should mention was not only a freak, but he was 20 years older than me and made my life even more crazy than it already was. I have battled grief, cancer, abusive relationships, loss of work due to illness, memory loss, anxiety, depression, PTSD and the real clincher, I lost everything I ever worked for.  My life is in financial disarray.  I’m not only rock bottom, I’m even living with my mom.  How embarrassing.  Somehow, this life isn’t what I had in mind for myself.  I feel like George Constanza from Seinfeld.  I’m unemployed, a nut and I live with my “parent” and let me tell ya, living with my mother hasn’t been a cake walk.  I have often joked I’d like to throw momma off this “Crazy Train” I’ve found myself on.

For those of you who have followed me, you know my story.  My story is not your typical Hallmark feel good story.  No, my story is more like a VH1 TV Series.  The difference between my story and say… those reality TV shows on VH1, my story is the real deal.  You can’t make up this crap.  I’ve been on a Crazy Train since September 14, 2011.  Like the song “I’ve been going off the rails”.  The good news is as I approach my dad’s six year anniversary, I find myself coming out of this fog and I’m beginning to hear the whistle blow.  I am beginning to hear Ozzie belt out “Stop Ahead” opposed to “All Aboard”  FINALLY!!

Dying sucks!!!  Especially when the person that dies happens to be your dad, best friend and the only side kick you’ve ever known.  My dad was all of the above to me.  A week before my dad passed away, we were on our way home from seeing his doctor who had told us my dad only had a couple of weeks left to live.  I was devastated.  I asked my dad what I was going to do without him.  I’m not sure if my dad recognized that I was serious.  He told me I was going to be fine and asked me to watch over “Mother Superior”.  My dad’s nickname for my mother. My dad and I had a special bond.  He wasn’t just my dad, he was my best friend. Undoubtedly the most important man in my life.  Was my dad perfect? Hell NO!  Daddy was a rebel!!!  A fun rebel who always looked out for me.  My dad used to say “Velma, men are like greyhound busses.  There’s always another one at the next stop, going to the same place for the same fare”  I believed him which is why I wasn’t one of those women that cried for too long after a break up.  For me it was on to the next.  Unfortunately, while my dad’s words of wisdom came in handy when it came to boyfriends or even an ex-husband, his words of wisdom didn’t include living without him. My dad was and will always be the Greyhound Bus I will never be able to replace.

Today is a new day.  Life is getting better.  I am finally on the mend.  I am ready to start over.  I’m even eager to begin a new phase in my life.  A life without my dad, but a life with purpose.  People always say time heals all wounds.  These words are true, however I don’t believe there should ever be a time limit on how long it should take to heal from the loss of someone you love.  Many people have lost their parents.  Many of them have bounced back in a matter of months.  It took me six years.  My advice to anyone who might be grieving the loss of someone they loved, give yourself some time.  I don’t have a time limit. You shouldn’t either.  It’s different for everyone.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel.  And if you find yourself waking up from what seems like a bad dream which is actually your life and you hear Ozzie Osbourne belting out “All Aboard”……Don’t worry about it.  In every “Crazy Train” ride, there’s always a stop and a new beginning.  As my dad’s anniversary approaches, I am ready to get off this “Crazy Train” and start living life again.  My dad is no longer with me, but he will always be with me in spirit.  He will always have a place in my heart that is hidden from the world.  My private place where the love for my dad will live on forever or until we meet again.

Feeling Stronger Everyday 7-27-17

I woke up this morning and as usual went through all of my emails. I follow many bloggers. This morning, one in particular caught my attention. This person was feeling down, depressed and feeling like a failure. She was even thinking death would be better. My heart went out to her. I’ve been there, done that on many occasions.
I posted the following comment. I’m sharing because she responded by telling me thank you. I thought about the many other women out there who might find themselves overwhelmed today. Feeling just like her or even myself many months ago. I’m sharing my comment in the hopes I can inspire someone else today. We all need hope sometimes. We all need a little inspiration. If my crazy life story can inspire a few women today then all the challenges in the world are worth it. Remember, I believe in you. Believe in yourself too!!

“I’ve been where you are on many occasions. I get it. Here’s what I know. You’re not a failure. Most people would’ve thrown in the towel a long time ago but you’re still hanging in there. You my friend are not a failure!!! You’re a warrior and a survivor!!! Remember that! Believe that!! I recall seeing my therapist some time many months ago. I too was feeling like I was better off dead. I was even thinking of ways to end it all however thank the lord I didn’t act on those crazy feelings. I’ll never forget what my therapist said to me. She said “Velma you are one strong lady. You have endured more than most. Despite the challenges you haven’t given up. Do you know what I think?” I replied “what?” She said “you haven’t given up, you haven’t ended it all because you’ll be damned if you give anyone the satisfaction of pushing you to defeat!” Wow! She was so right. I’d like to encourage you today. Don’t give up!! You are a survivor. Do not give anyone or any challenge you are facing the satisfaction of beating you!! You are going to make it!! Tomorrow is another day. I pray that today and all your tomorrows will find you feeling stronger every day!!! My song for you today is a favorite by the band Chicago. “Feeling Stronger Every Day!” That’s your mantra. I believe in you. You can do this.”

For more discussions on Depression visit:

https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/depression/10-depression-quotes-that-may-change-your-life/

https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/depression/how-to-deal-with-depression-tips-techniques-treatment/

https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/depression/

Intuition 9-7-14

I looked up the word intuition today. The meaning is as follows:

in·tu·i·tion
ˌint(y)o͞oˈiSHən/
noun
the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.
“we shall allow our intuition to guide us”
synonyms: instinct, intuitiveness; More
a thing that one knows or considers likely from instinctive feeling rather than conscious reasoning.
plural noun: intuitions
“your insights and intuitions as a native speaker are positively sought”
synonyms: hunch, feeling (in one’s bones), inkling, (sneaking) suspicion, idea, sense, notion;

I chose this topic because many times as women we find ourselves in situations where we have this gut feeling something is amiss. Quite often it occurs in our relationships with others. Maybe a husband or a partner. We get this hunch or gut feeling that’s so strong it begins to drive us insane. It makes us crazy. The signs are all there but the proof isn’t. What happens next is nothing short of a nightmare. I’ve always heard that women have been blessed with an intuitive spirit. We all have it. For instance, as mothers we can sense when our kids are in trouble even though they’re miles away. We know when they’re happy and we know when they’re sad. We can feel it deep down in our gut. As women and or mothers we have the ability to read between the lines. However, at times as wives or girlfriends, despite having that strong intuitive hunch about something, occasionally we disregard it as “craziness” or after listening to the excuses or justifications of the other party we begin to believe we really are nuts. Even then, that feeling is there, it doesn’t go away and eventually it grows until finally we find that we have lost our identity by becoming consumed with that “hunch” that deep down we already knew was the truth. It isn’t until later when the proof is in the pudding that the flood gates open and looking back we can honestly feel that we knew it all along, we just chose to not see it. The signs were there. They were like billboards at every stop, but yet we closed our eyes to the hunch. It’s at that time everything makes sense and we realize we weren’t crazy after all. It’s also at that time that we wish we could go back to the beginning and address that hunch with the same tenacity we would’ve, had it involved one of our kids. However, the truth is the proof was always there. It was provided to us time and time again. The floodgates finally opened when we reached a point that we were strong enough to finally handle the truth.

I’ve heard many stories of women who have experienced this one or more times in their life. I’m no exception. The past two years I myself have experienced an intuitive feeling about a particular situation. It has consumed me and has turned my life upside down. Once upon a time, I was a strong, confident and an extremely funny and outgoing woman. Today I feel beaten down and now I’m fighting cancer. A wise woman once told me “Velma, everything always comes out in the wash”. She was right.

My life has always been an open book. I have always shared the ups and the downs of my life. Today is no different. I share the trials of my life not because I am looking for sympathy or attention, rather because if I can help others to avoid making the same mistakes, then to me it’s all worth it. As the weeks go by I will undoubtedly be sharing my latest setback. Heck I have 2 years of journals to refer to, but I have no intentions of beginning the saga today. I will only encourage each and every woman to act on any hunch. If it stinks, there’s a reason for it. Don’t back down and never allow someone to make you feel like you’re crazy. More often than not, your hunch hit the tail on the donkey. Remember as woman we are always smarter and more intuitive than we know. Don’t give up!

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