Do You Know Disguises For Depression? Well Maybe; and Maybe Not!


Copy of Copy of Wedding Pictures 9 12 09 170

Often asked about how depression works as well as how one can recognize the signs of depression, I decided to jot down what I know from experience, and through research and learning for you.  Depression can often feel like an intolerable sadness, and/or deep gloom that just won’t go away.  However, depression often is disguised as sneaky in symptoms that may be hard to identify.

If you have unexplained aches or pains, feelings of irritability or anger for no apparent reason, and when you cry at the drop of a hat — you could be depressed.

Common Depression Symptoms include feeling sad, hopeless and empty or having lost interest in the things which gave you pleasure. Do not discount, however, the less obvious symptoms including:

  • Anger, irritability, and impatience. You are irritated and angry at family, friends, or co-workers, or overreact to small things.
  • Sleep problems. You may have trouble sleeping, may wake up very early in the morning, or you may sleep too much.
  • Anxiety. Your symptoms include anxiety, worry, restlessness and tension.  Anxiety and depression often occur together, even though they are two separate problems.
  • Crying. Crying spells over nothing at all, and possibly crying about small things which ordinarily wouldn’t bother you may be signs of depression.
  • Inability to concentrate. Depression can make you forgetful, have trouble making decisions, or concentrating.
  • Pain.  Have aches and pains that don’t respond to treatment?  They could be signs of depression.
  • Substance abuse. Substance abuse and depression often go hand-in-hand and can hide an  underlying problem with depression.
  • Appetite changes. You may have no desire to eat, or you may overeat in an effort to feel comfort and happiness.
  • Isolation. Feeling withdrawn from friends and family right when you need their support the most is a definite symptom.

depression sad_sketch

Being depressed can be hard to admit to yourself let alone ask for help. However, there are good reasons you should consider depression treatment:

Treatment works. Even people with severe depression find relief, and so can you.

  • Early treatment is better. As with other health problems, getting treatment early can ease symptoms more quickly. If you wait to get help, your depression can become more severe and harder to treat.

Many people are willing to help you overcome your depression, but you must take the first step on your own.  In other words, let someone know how you are feeling. It may help to start talking to a close friend or family member. Ask for support in finding treatment. The sooner you start treatment, the sooner you will feel better.  Don’t hesitate — call your doctor or a medical health professional if:

  • You think you may be depressed
  • You notice symptoms of depression such as sadness, hopelessness, or emptiness, or if you have less obvious symptoms such as trouble sleeping or vague aches and pains
  • Depression symptoms make it hard to function

Help yourself by spending time with supportive friends or family who will make you feel better — even if you don’t feel like it will.   The contact you get from others, along with depression treatment, can help bring you out of the dark and back into the light.

PLEASE REMEMBER TO:

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Has Suicide Affected Someone You Know? You Will Get Through This


Be Kind Fighting Hard Battle

Much has transpired since that fateful day back on May 4, 2010 when my husband took his own life through suicide.  And there isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t try to reconcile with myself all of the things I’ve felt, actions I’ve taken, tears I’ve cried and important lessons I’ve learned.

Because people often ask me questions about suicide and depression, I’ve often thought about how to impart helpful information and help folks understand the dilemma facing those of us who are called “survivors” of suicide.

For the first six or seven months after the suicide, I cried.  Not just off and on during the days and nights but a steady stream of weeping and wailing as an expression of the grief I was experiencing.  Finally I asked Hospice and therapists, “When will I ever get over this?”  The answer may surprise you.  I was told, “You never get over it.  You learn to live through it.”

Don't lose hope

My life felt hopeless and was spiraling downward as suicidal thoughts took over my thinking.  In fact, I even purchased the items in order to go through with it.  I wasn’t proud of that but rather just wanted and needed the pain to stop and the darkness to end.  I was so fortunate that something inside my usually positive self raised up and I wept (again) but this time with a realization that I could not end my own life when I had yelled out all these months how could my husband do this to those who loved him.

Since I became reclusive, I began to read articles, stories, poems, and my journal aloud.  Partly because I was so lonely, and partly so the deafening silence wouldn’t frighten me so much.  That’s when it happened – I changed.

Reading my journal helped me to keep time a bit more functional for me and also helped remind me how I was coming along in very tiny baby steps.  I read aloud the answer to when I’d get over this.  And repeated it aloud and slowly, “You never get over it.  You learn to live through it.”  I wept unabashed for a long while that day.  And I believe fervently that this was the beginning of my reality to live through this.

I needed to find little bits of happiness in my life – daily if I could.  And thankfully I believe there is a God and I also believe in angels.  Whether they come directly from that place referred to as Heaven, or they are those around us – a friend, neighbor, co-worker or stranger – there are angels among us.  And I always remembered to pray at night … not the usual way, for it would make me weep incessantly and I was always so worn out from the tears and raw emotions.

Household duties were difficult at best as were outdoor gardening and pool cleaning.  But I began to be thankful that I had such things and not that I couldn’t care for them.  I began to realize there would come a day when things would improve.  In fact, for my personality, I found it was a necessity.

Girls closeup in office

With time, the tears lessened just a bit.  I was able to bring something new into my life.  I rescued two female dogs – or they rescued me – and opened my heart little by little.  I zealously believe that’s when my life began to change for the better.  It was now a year after Martin’s death and I was learning to live through it!

Often I’m asked so many questions because people are eager to learn.  It is amazing how many of us know someone, relatives, neighbors, co-workers etc. who have been affected from suicide in some way in their lives.  I’m making it something on my bucket list to continue to help educate and spread the correct information on mental illness, depression, and suicide.  These people aren’t crazy any more than I was in contemplating such an act.  They have an illness and need help – just as anyone would and should seek help for a physical illness.

This is Part 1 of what will become several parts, no doubt.  Truths need to be told, not false information given and I know that it takes time – baby steps – to understand and take it all in and learn from it.  If ever you have questions, please ask them.  I’ll do my best to honestly explain to you what I know from my experience and my research and learning experiences.  I do not claim to know it all – never think that.  However, I know that to “live through it” we must help one another to understand coping with this disease by gathering the tools you’ll need someday.  And if I can help, I’ll be pleased to do so.

Have yourself a great weekend.  Please come back to read more of my experiences “living through this.”

 JSpic

 

Cheated on? Learn To Dance In The Rain!


 

 So many people say that being cheated on stole something very precious away from them.  They worry that they will never feel “normal” or “right” again because their ability to trust and go into a relationship with their whole heart has been seriously compromised.  They feel that something is wrong with them, that they’re not enough, and that they’re now sentenced to a life where suspicion, doubt, and fear will reign.  I understand these feelings as I went through every one of them myself after I found out my first husband cheated.  But, I’m also just fine (and much stronger) today.  Although it may not feel like it right now, it’s not only possible to recover from an affair but to emerge stronger, wiser, and actually at peace.  Let me explain what I mean.

 

Your Recovery Starts With Asking For Or Giving Yourself What You Need To Heal:  You can really divide folks who were cheated on into two categories – those who ultimately decide that they want to save their marriage or their relationship – and those who don’t.

 

For those who want to save their relationship, you will need many things from your partner or spouse to heal.  You’ll need for them to be remorseful and responsible.  You will need for them to be willing to work with you to determine what went wrong and to improve and safeguard the marriage so that no one is worrying that this will happen again.  You will need for them to be accountable so that they’re not defensive when you ask where they’ve been and who they were with.  They have nothing to hide and these requests don’t offend them.  You will need for them to give you reassurance and affection when you need it and space and solitude when you need that.  You will both need to focus on improving all aspects of your marriage or relationship so that you can restore the trust, affection, and commitment.

 

For those of you who don’t want to save your relationship, you’ll have to provide much of what I listed above for yourself.  However, by no means is this impossible just because you’re flying solo.  It’s so important to be kind to yourself, but to also be honest about any places where you may have left the relationship vulnerable and what you can learn and take away from this to improve your situation down the road.

 

Knowing The Cheating Isn’t Your Fault And Not About You: Whether you ultimately decide to stay in the relationship or not, you’ll have to work hard not to take this personally and allow it to ruin your self esteem.  You must understand that this cheating likely has less to do with you than you think.

 

People cheat because of how they feel about themselves, not about you – and sometimes, not even about the other person.  They’re trying to fix what is broken within themselves, in the desperate hopes to fix their self esteem, reassure themselves that they’re still desirable, and to try to ignite some sort of excitement in their life as a response to aging.  You cannot prevent what is going on inside them.  And you weren’t present when they made the decision to cheat.  They own this – not you.  Do not take this onto your own shoulders because it wasn’t your fault.

 

Yes, you are the innocent victim in this and it certainly hurts, but please don’t allow it to make you doubt yourself or sabotage future relationships nor your ability to trust.

Knowing That You Can Handle Whatever Comes:  I often find that people get stuck and unable to recover because of the trust issue.  They are just so afraid to be vulnerable again because this hurts so much that they don’t think that they could survive a repeat.  I understand this.  But this is also a catch 22.  Because if you aren’t able to go into a relationship with trust and an open heart, then you’re doomed before you even start.  You may as well not even bother, frankly.  You’re only giving a little piece of you, so you’re only going to get a tiny bit of what the relationship could be in return.  You deserve better than this.

 

Often at the core of trusting your partner is actually trusting yourself.  So long as you have both done the work necessary to heal, so long as you’ve worked through your problems and your partner has shown themselves to now be remorseful and trustworthy, you have to make a conscious decision that you are strong enough to handle whatever comes your way.  You have to know that you are enough and that they are lucky to have you!  If they don’t see this or forget it, then that’s going to be their problem, not yours.

 

Restoring Your Self Esteem:  A huge part of recovering from being cheating on is restoring your self esteem.  As I said, you’ll start to wonder how you could’ve been so stupid and why you apparently weren’t pretty or interesting enough to hold your partner’s interest.  I hope that this article has shown you that the cheating is due to their shortcomings rather than yours.

 

With that said though, you will need to take responsibility for healing your self esteem.  Beyond understanding that this wasn’t your fault, there are other things that you can do to heal.  Being cheated upon brings out all of our insecurities that have always bothered us (and were always lurking under the surface) to the forefront.  Use this as an opportunity to tackle these things once and for all.

 

As an example, deep in the back of my mind, it always worried me that I had put my career on hold to care for my husband when he was hurt at work and help tutor him in college since he had Dyslexia and would accept no other tutor.  The affair was the wake up call I needed to get back to me again.  I also addressed insecurities that I had about my appearance.  I lost weight and got myself strong physically and mentally.  These things made me feel proactive and went a long way toward making me realize that I was in fact good enough and could now handle whatever came my way.

It wasn’t easy and I’m certainly not saying I breezed through it.  It only takes the first step and you CAN and WILL focus on you for a change!  And yes there were tears and self-doubts.  However, those tears and doubts began being replaced by determination, confidence and will to survive.

 

I know this is a very difficult time but your future is the light at the end of your painful tunnel.  You need to realize that the potential here for you is significant.  Remember that banner on my blog?  It says:

 

Asking Why For Better


Summer time brings much more than beach and pool time with sunshine and hot temperatures.  It allows us time for relaxation, playfulness and reflection.  The latter is something I’ve been doing much of lately.  If allowed to, our mind will go to many different areas of those “file cabinets” in our brains to assess what is there.  Without speaking a word, we reflect upon old memories and ask questions which generally remain unanswered in our day-to-day lives.

As for my own reflections, I like to write things down for future reference.  Writing things down allows our brain a rest in the possibility that we may not remember had we not journaled.  Are you like me?  I remember things from years ago yet sometimes cannot remember what I did last week.  What did I eat this weekend?

Some of the contemplation on my life surrounds the reasons why our time together for my late husband Martin and me was so short-lived.  His death was a tragic event for me as the survivor of my husband’s suicide.  Oh I’ve learned to appreciate that short time together because without it I would not have known such real love, laughter and true happiness in my life.  Yet why so short … I’m reminded that as a youngster I was considered the “why” girl always asking this particular question.  Nonetheless it is how I learned from life’s experiences and asking pertinent questions.  Times haven’t changed too much in that regard.

When Martin died, I felt broken – my heart, dreams, love, life itself … broken.  I had to heal and to fix those broken things in my life, including my life itself.  Then I realized something.

Maybe it’s not always about trying to fix something broken. 

Maybe it’s about starting over and creating something better.

 As I reflect upon the future, I will journal those thoughts and ideas and  fill you in on my ideas and the outcomes.

Stay tuned for part 2!

How I’m Learning to Dance Through The Rain


I am reminded today of Garth Brooks’ song: 

The Dance

Looking back on the memory of

The dance we shared beneath the stars above

For a moment all the world was right

How could I have known you’d ever say goodbye

And now I’m glad I didn’t know

The way it all would end the way it all would go

Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain

But I’d of had to miss the dance

Holding you I held everything

For a moment wasn’t I the king

But if I’d only known how the king would fall

Hey who’s to say you know I might have changed it all

And now I’m glad I didn’t know

The way it all would end the way it all would go

Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain

But I’d of had to miss the dance

Yes my life is better left to chance

I could have missed the pain but I’d of had to miss the dance

How true those words are.  Living through loss is difficult.  Living with and healing from a tragic loss is beyond the scope of natural understanding.  We don’t get to select which memories we will have.  And I admit that had I known my darling husband, Martin, would leave this world through suicide, I would have tried to change things and who knows what would have transpired.

However, as the song suggests, I’m glad I didn’t know the way it all would end.  We don’t want to experience the horrific pain that often comes after incredible joy.  But would we stop or try to prevent that extraordinary love and joy?  I wouldn’t, not for anything.

In this world, we are born to die.  An amazing beginning of birth, and a heartbreaking pain through death for those our loved ones leave behind.  Some day I hope to understand these things, but for now I accept that they occur.  And acceptance is the very factor which will see us through the anguish, pain and suffering.  Winston Churchill said, “If you think you’re going through Hell, keep on going.”  And I agree … not pleasant, but necessary.

What have I learned through this agonizing experience so far?  What must I still do to complete the healing?  Here are some facts and thoughts I’ve been through and offer all of you.

When a loved one dies, your grief may be heart-wrenching.  When a loved one commits suicide, your reaction is more complicated with overwhelming emotions.  You may be consumed by guilt, wondering if you could have done something to prevent their death.  As you face life after a loved one’s suicide, remember you don’t have to go through it alone!

  Shock, anger, guilt, despair all play a part in your healing.  You may continue to experience intense reactions months or years after your loved one’s suicide – including nightmares, flashbacks, difficulty concentrating, social withdrawal, loss of interest in your usual activities – especially if you either witnessed or discovered the suicide, as I did.

I’ve learned to do what’s right for me, not my friends or family.  I’m living through this and I’m the one who needs patience, kindness and understanding.   We need to be gentle with ourselves and grieve in our own way and in our own time.  Don’t be hurried by anyone else’s expectations that it has been “long enough.”  Losing someone to suicide is a tremendous blow and healing must occur at its own pace!

And be prepared for painful reminders such as an anniversary, or a birthday – his is tomorrow, August 17 which is what prompted this writing.  Some days will be better than others, even years after the suicide – and that’s okay.   Healing doesn’t often happen in a straight line I’ve learned.  One step forward, two steps back sometimes.  And that’s okay!  And if you experience intense, unrelenting anguish or physical problems, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor or mental health provider for help.  Depression is all too real.  As of 2007, there were
35,000 completed suicides in the U.S.   Every 16 minutes someone dies by suicide and it remains the 11th leading cause of death in this country.   It is estimated that close to one million people made a suicide attempt each year.  And research has shown that 90% of people who die by suicide have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death, most often unrecognized or untreated depression.

Most important, I’ve learned I need to face the future with a sense of peace.  In the aftermath of a suicide, you feel like you can’t go on or that you’ll never enjoy life again.  In truth, you may always wonder why it happened – there is never closure or questions answered.  We must learn acceptance for the unknown present.  And eventually the raw intensity of your grief will begin to fade.  The tragedy won’t dominate your days and nights.  You can reach inner peace and healing without forgetting your loved one.

And I remember … all those loving memories and still would never want to have missed the
dance!  I am glad I left life to chance!