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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Life Is A Struggle Sometimes 9-9-18

I’m on my walk this morning. I love taking walks especially outdoors. I love the freedom and the peace that only nature can provide. I pray while I walk. I talk to god, I even yell at him while having a complete bitch fit. I’ve been known to call god the “F” word during my rants among other profanity. I’m not going to pretend I’m a saint by any means.

Being outside alone on my walk is about the only time I can think or vent when I have to. I have no idea if God can hear me. At times I wonder if he even exists but nevertheless, after I’ve made a complete spectacle of myself alone in the wilderness I put my headset on and listen to music. Today’s playlist includes “Little Guitars” by Van Halen. This señorita loves this song! Lol.

These past couple of months have been so draining. I have been so depressed. In July I found out the man I’ve been dating was cheating on me. That was a real blow. Somehow I didn’t see that coming. I battle PTSD and anxiety. This blow only intensified those battles. In addition, I’ve found myself feeling overwhelmed with family obligations. One being my mother. That woman drives me insane. She demands so much of me. I’m a people pleaser so I spend my days pleasing everyone, including my mother while failing to please myself.

I’m struggling with insecurities about where I am in life. Last week I drove to Spokane to file bankruptcy. I have to admit, succumbing to accepting I could not dig myself out of the financial hole I’ve found myself in thanks to being sick was another blow. I feel like an absolute failure. I’m better than this or so I keep telling myself. I just can’t seem to find my purpose anymore. Ironically, I drove to my appointment with a ziploc bag full of change to give to any homeless person that might tug on my heart strings. I actually thought to myself “really Velma?! You’re filing bankruptcy but you’re giving away change?! What’s wrong with you?!! ” To add fuel to the Fire September 14th is the anniversary date of the day my life changed forever. It’s the day my dad passed away. I’ve been on an uncontrollable spiral of destruction ever since. I hate September. More importantly, after seven years I’m still heartbroken. I’d give anything to have one more day with my dad. One more phone call. One more joke. He always made me laugh. Losing a parent really sucks!! This is one of the last fun memories I had with my dad, uncle and cousin. We look like thugs but we were all together.

I thought I would share today not for any reason other than it’s my way of saying I get it. I know life can be a struggle sometimes. Some of you might be in the thick of a challenge right now. I post positive affirmations every day on Facebook, Instagram and even on my blog but I want you to know that I struggle every day too. My challenges may not be your challenges but they are challenges nonetheless. I’m sure some days you wonder if god exists. I do too. Everyone does. We are all human. All I know is we can’t give up. None of us can. We have to keep fighting and keep moving forward. Eventually good days come and we look back and realize how far we’ve come. Trust me. I speak the truth because I’ve been there. Have a great day!! 🌹

I Am The Warrior 5-26-17

Dictionary.com defines the word Warrior as follows:

“A person engaged or experienced in warfare; soldier. A person who shows or has shown great vigor, courage, or aggressiveness, as in politics or athletics.”

In my opinion, Velma Perez Dunkin should be listed in the definition.  I am a warrior!  Up until now, I’ve overcome so many challenges in my life. I have taken on those battles and persevered. I haven’t always won however, I’ve always made it to the finish line!  A warrior is a person who shows vigor, courage, determination while persevering through adversities in life. That’s me!! 

I’ve always loved the song “the Warrior” by Scandal. I can certainly resonate to the lyrics when Patty Smyth belts out “shooting at the walls of heartache, bang bang! I am the Warrior”. I’ve experienced heartache more than once in my life. I have the scars to prove it. I am certain I don’t stand alone. There are many of us who face adversity everyday however, as Warriors, we persevere. 

I think the real warriors are those who have been brought to their knees but have managed to pick themselves up. Dictionary.com doesn’t mention the warriors who have battled cancer, overcome addictions, persevered through divorce or custody battles. How about all the single moms out there who sacrifice and fight every day to provide for their children? Being a single mom is hard work. It requires tapping in to that warrior spirit that lives inside all of us. To me, that’s a real warrior. 

I’ve had the privilege of serving those who are homeless. Words can’t describe what they have to endure. It takes a warrior to survive life on the streets!  I remember my friend James in San Francisco. He had been transferred to the Bay Area by his job. Suddenly the economy crashed. He lost everything including a place to call home. He found himself in a shelter. While in that shelter, he was stabbed and spent much time in the hospital recovering from the wounds. When he got out, he found himself living in a tent at a parking lot. His only friend was his chocolate lab.

He finally qualified for housing. However,  he was diagnosed with bone cancer. For those of us who have battled cancer as well as the treatment that goes along with fighting the disease, we can attest that it takes a warrior to persevere. James was a warrior. He fought cancer while living in a tent at a parking lot waiting for housing. That my friends is a warrior!!

There are men, women and children who are being abused every day.  Enduring physical, emotional and/or verbal abuse is tough business. It takes a Warrior to endure!! There are children being bullied at school. People overcoming PTSD, depression and/or anxiety. The list goes on. In my opinion these are real life warriors. It takes courage to persevere and overcome. 

Memorial Day is Monday. We honor all those warriors who have served our country and lost their lives in battle. For me, I not only honor those warriors, but I also honor and respect the warriors who are enduring their own personal battles every day. Life is hard. 

I happened to see a Facebook post one day posted by one of my best friends. She posted “Life Is Like A Box Of Chocolates, You Never Know What You’ll Get”. I pondered that post for several days. After much thought and reflection, I had to disagree. While it’s true, life is similar to a box of chocolates you never know what you’ll get, but we’re talking about a box of chocolate!!! Who cares?! Chocolate is delicious! Who doesn’t love chocolate?! Life….Well it’s not always delicious!! In my opinion life is more like a box of jawbreakers with an occasional box of pop rocks. It’s tough and requires a lot of patience to get to the end while enduring the occasional surprises as well as unexpected explosions along the way. 

I’d like to encourage anyone facing adversity today to put your warrior gear on and keep fighting. Grab your guns and start “shooting at those walls of heartache – bang, bang!”  You’re a Warrior!  I’m a Warrior!!  If Patty Smyth is right the only way those pesky challenges of ours will win is “if they survive….the Warrior!”  That’s you and me! Today remind yourself “I AM the Warrior!! Victory is Mine!”  If you need a little motivation I’m sharing this video with you today as a reminder. I have used this song, among others, throughout the years as inspiration to remind myself “I AM The Warrior”. Face any challenge in front of you  today head on and kick some ass!!!