RB006 Yes, There Really Is Sunshine After The Storm

Posted on : 17-03-2014 | By : Lynn | In : Baby Boomer, Choices, Featured, Humor

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One of the most difficult things to remember when you suffer from the blues now and again or full-blown depression is that there really will be sunshine after the storm.   Part of the insidiousness of experiencing the tarry black hole of despair is that, when in the midst of it, we’re convinced that this is the way our life is, the way our life has always been and the way our life will always be.

Repeat after me:  This is NOT the way it has ALWAYS been, this is NOT the way it will ALWAYS be and there REALLY WILL BE  SUNSHINE AFTER THE STORM.

Repeat as necessary.

out-black-hole-depression-wanda-rainey-paperback-cover-art  If you’ve read my blogs, you know that some of the tools that I’ve created and include in my trusty tool box of “having the life I truly want” may only be found in my tool box…so I share them with you to inspire you to take, use, re-design and/or create a totally new tool for yourself.

One such tool is to get really angry at the inky black despair that has slowly filled in the edges of my life.  Eventually, somehow, that anger attracts humor which births my own personal form of really dark humor. Might not be appreciated much by  Mother Theresa, but it does manage to help me break into the main shaft of the catacombs of my depression to begin the trek towards the light.

It must of been during one of these dank episodes that a fellow traveler of life coined the phrase “Really?!?!?”.   Saying, “really?!” feels so app when you’re simmering your anger within a broth of blue and begin noticing just how many ingredients it took to make up this stew that you’re in.  I’ve had moments in this midst that I have actually felt burbling laughs of glee because I so couldn’t wait to share with another just how crappy “life was being to me.”   The crux of the mix is when I realize that I had contributed much with my salty perspective.  I’ve found separating the good-Lynn from the blue-Lynn is advantageous at this time.  Call it denial, call it irresponsible but being able to put the blame of my tainted musings on an inanimate object such as “the depression” or “the blues” enables me to sniff out more absurdities of perspective rather than layer blame upon blame on myself.

As I write this blog I can feel the clouds circling my brain sprinkling out reminders of financial insecurity, aging, etc. and so if I take a tip from myself and go into the eye of the storm before it even sets into motion, I can already see some of the absurdities of how I respond to life uprooting themselves for viewing and pleasure.  For example, this weekend my young neighbors came to our door asking for help concerning a beautiful, starved Labrador Dog that a friend had rescued.  In the course of meeting the dog, I learned that our neighbor family had suffered from “foot-mouth” disease over the past month.  Just the mere mention of fever blisters was enough for my lips to begin tingling and popping forth with a set for each side of my mouth of one of the banes of existence that has not darkened the shores of my lips for at least a year.  I could pile this reality on to the reality of looking for a steady income and really just nose dive into a fetal position but instead will relish the absurdity of it all!

For you see dear beloved ones I really do believe there will be sunshine after the storm(s)!

Sunshine-through-clouds-1024x680

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WRITE009 It’s the Most Depressing Time of the Year

Posted on : 05-12-2012 | By : Lynn | In : Creativity, Featured, Humor

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To be sung to “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” of course. Not to make light of depression, for I have suffered and recovered from it for many years…..and sometimes the only way I can surface out of denial is through the shroud of very dark humor.  Mind you dark humor is not instead of meeting with your doctor, therapist, clergy-person or guru but rather something that can roll you up and out of the black tar pit of despair through if not a few chuckles then at least a  harrumph or two.

For instance, one of my favorite holiday cartoons is Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. Which, by the way, although I loved the cartoon, the part where the scary abominable snow man was introduced always terrified me.  Well, thanks to friend comedian Rob Nash, I now have a whole different way I can think of the holidaze and the hustle-bustle of this time of year:

In case some of you out there missed the reference, this is a pun on the movie Silence of the Lambs.   Humor can get us laughing when it catches us off-guard.  And I don’t know about you, but in my past depression could also sneak up on me and catch me off-guard and before I knew it I’d be feeling hopeless because something benign as the oatmeal being almost at the end of the big container or that the expresso didn’t foam when I made it.  Forget about the big earth crashing horrors of living that can come up, it’d be the little things that would start signalling to me that I needed to reach out and ask for some help, such as upping my meds, or making a phone call and just taking care of bidness.  But, only you fellow depressants understand that feeling such as being in a state of mind when you could compete with a sloth for the center of gravity on the floor, gathering yourself up to get help can feel like swimming in molasses.  That’s why I’m reminding you about humor and that it can help us to get up and moving.

Seriously, I’ve spent hours on YouTube listening to some of my favorite comedians, like Louis CK … til I find those fellow humans that understand what it’s like to see and feel the under belly of life.  Here’s Maria Bumford talking about the Crazy Office Myth.

You’re right of course, being depressed is no laughing matter BUTTTTTTT, laughter can help us realize that we’re not alone and there are probably more of us out there like each other than some would care to admit.  For the record, I’m glad you’re out there!  Now, go find something or someone to laugh at and get some help. One of us surely needs it!

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Blog #98 Dem Blues Ain’t Gonna Take Me Down

Posted on : 27-06-2010 | By : Lynn | In : Uncategorized

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Man oh Man, there is nothing quite like going into that slump of the slumpiness called da blues or as clinicians would diagnose it: depression. Let’s just go ahead and get that big ole wrinkly grey elephant right into the middle of the room and talk about him, shall we?

I definitely know that I am a an uber sensitive soul. I think we all may be but some of us have more of the kind of natural chemicals coursing through our systems that helps keep the wild beasties in our head at bay. You know when you do if you wouldn’t think twice about jumping off of a tall bridge with a bungee chord. I don’t know if there have been any correlating studies done on that, but suffice it to say my hands sweat at just the thought of it. I’m pretty sure that when I came into the world my genetic make-up did not have the extra cylinder of said chemical. Then to top it off I mucked up the chemicals that I already had with man-made and nature-made concoctions plus have weathered losing all of one organ and partials of two others. Given all of that, the way I am naturally made, my environment and missing pieces and I think I have a recipe coursing through my brain for depression.

This latest bout took me by surprise. It always does. I always forget how bad it feels to slip into a depression and then it’s real convincing that I’ve always felt this way and I’m always going to feel this way. Mind you, I’m someone that has done all kinds of bellybutton spelunking, haven’t had a drink in almost 20 years, don’t smoke, don’t even have caffeine. I meditate at least 30 minutes a day and have a really strong support system of people I can reach out to when I get this way. I’m grateful for all of that.

It’s still hard, though, to admit when I need to take the medication that helps me not sink to the depths that I know my depression can take me. There’s still a lot of judgment and ignorance out there about mental illness period, much less about depression. There’s also the issue of medication. Heck, I’m someone who believes that we should do all we can FIRST before we take medicine and only take medicine in conjunction with a doctor/therapist’s supervision. The reason I take medication for depression is to get me up to normal NOT because it puts pep into my step or pop into my thought. There is just nothing glossy or sexy about the kind of medication I take. I might as well be taking a salt pill to hydrate my body better.

The reason I feel called to write about this is that if you, or someone you love, suffers from depression I want you to know that you are not alone. There is so much help out there today that it is amazing when you start looking into therapists and options for help. There is hope. There is help. I started my quest a long time ago so my route was a lot more traditional beginning with one on one therapy (did that for several years…loved it!) then joining various 12-step programs, then learning how to eat better and get the right nutrition and supplements and exercise. My spiritual life has been very important to me as well. Meditation really is quite a nice remedy for the monkey mind! And in spite of all of these very good tools that have helped me out immensely, I still need help medicinally. If you do as well, I hope that you will be gentler with yourself about finding help than I have with myself!

What’s the difference for you between just having the blues and being depressed? You can google for some top ten lists I’m sure. For me, depression usually eases in very slowly. It may start out with more negative thoughts that I really have to work at counter balancing with positive ones. I may get really agitated more often. I may start feeling very sad about everything and not have a whole lot of energy nor the desire to stick with projects. I think for each of us, we have our own Hallmark signs that let us know when we need to get help. Seek out a professional that works with these issues. And it is really a good idea to interview a few therapists before settling down with one. Remember, although it is nice if they have a lot of certifications and plaques on the wall…it don’t mean a thing if they ain’t got that swing with you. There’s got to be a good synergy between you for therapy to work for you.

Where is your norm for the day? How do you take care of yourself? When do you know that you need to reach out for some extra help?

I’m sending our elephant back to her nice grassy spot under the trees for now. She really is a good elephant, just wants to be heard is all. Hopefully, we’ve helped her to feel heard today.

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Blog #56 Spiraling Down the Drain

Posted on : 16-05-2010 | By : Lynn | In : Uncategorized

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If you’re not someone who has ever experience depression or at least been down in the dumps for a period of time that left a shadow in your memory, than this post may not be for you. This post is for those people travelling through life who have sometimes experienced the hiccup of depression.

The thing about committing to blogging every day for a 100 days or more is that before long, the darker parts of your spirit are going to show up for an airing and for sure if you experience depression. For a long time today, I felt not so much as depressed but melancholy and for someone like me who has spent years cleaning out the cobwebs of my mind and heart and finding just the right elixir to ward of full blown depression—it takes effort to remind yourself that “this too shall pass”. Additionally, I fought off a bout of that ever not helpful self-judgement and began comparing myself to some of my friends and pretty much suffered keyboard paralysis for much of the day.

Until it dawned on me that perhaps the sharing of my experience, strength and hope around depression might be helpful to someone out there who is feeling the same way. I learned a long time ago that for someone who can get as down as I can, drinking was not a good companion (and I for sure was not a good companion with that combo!). Years later I further discovered that trying to find any kind of an out by throwing something at it like food or acting out etc. wasn’t going to help matters either. Yep, today I sometimes feel like I’m some kind of a monk-in-training, what with my being sober and flour/sugar free and no caffeine. Yet, I got to tell you that most days I feel better physically, emotionally and spiritually than I ever felt doing all the stuff that I used to do to self-medicate and I can guarantee you that I sure feel better in the morning!

Today when I could feel myself dipping, I did those things I know to do to take care of myself that have helped me in the past. I went for a long meditative walk with the dogs (and watched the crazy woodpecker flying from telephone pole to telephone pole and telling everyone about it!), I ate a good breakfast, I took a nap and I made quick check-in phone call with a couple of friends. Just goes to show that even with all the therapy and spiritual spelunking that I’ve done in my life, I can still walk that tight rope with the negative voice in my head and almost believe that I have always felt as lousy as I did today and that I always will. Luckily, I have experience and history on my side so I know that premise isn’t true. One remedy is to incorporate some NLP into my thought process and have a conversation with that negative voice and stop it in mid rant. It’s sometimes hard for the drama queen who lives inside of me to give up throwing a humongous pity party, but I think she knows that someone like me can’t afford one.

Sure enough, around 3pm or so the brain drain began to lift. I’m glad that I was able to hang in there today and allow for the feelings to come and go. I remember when I was recruiting/managing a small technical consulting firm how many times over the years my team and I were called to help consultants who were battling depression or alcoholism, we even had a few suicides as well. The reason I’m sharing this with you is to let you know that if this has ever been an issue for you, or someone close to you that you are not alone. Many of us have at some time in our lives and some more than others.

Today I will do whatever it takes to feel healthy and happy and ready to take on life. The difference from what I do now to make that happen vs. what I did then is that today I don’t run from it, I acknowledge whatever is going on and get out my trusty kit of spiritual and emotional tools to find just the right one to help with my off kilter running motor.

I don’t know why this quote from St. Julian of Norwich makes me feel so calm (because when I’m in a dark place, I have low tolerance to all things that sound Julie Andrew-ish) but it does work and the quote is:

“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well”.

May you be well.

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