Saturday, March 9, 2013

Unleash Your Soul!

This is the theme of the day!

I just awoke from a good night's sleep - full of optimism and grateful to be alive. 

I wish you, dear reader, a wonderful day / night. Let us unleash our souls...and let the games begin!!

Friday, March 8, 2013


I got a sinking feeling in my stomach all of a I really just a pill away from engulfing darkness? a pill away from despair and the gnawing jaws of anxiety? it is a scary thought. 

Today I heard from a friend I met in PHP last fall. It was so good to hear her voice again, because she is a wonderful person, and because I often think of her and pray she is doing well.

I pray for everyone I grew close to in my group. After all, we were emotionally tethered to each other for our very lives. In about two and a half weeks, we came to know each other on a deeper, more profound plane than I could have imagined possible for total strangers. This is because we understood each other. We understood the hollow pain, the dark voice that gnawed within, grating on our psyches, and the dire steps we were willing to take to make it all go away.

Hearing her voice again was cathartic. I was so relieved to learn that she was doing well, and I shared with her a little of my progress too.

But the conversation left me tinged with mild sadness. The gray ache in the back of my throat, almost forming a lump - knowing that my illness {like hers and that of all our group buddies} is a sleeping dragon just waiting to awake - knowing that the only thing keeping it from waking is daily diligence to our medication schedule, therapy, self-care, and personal growth...and a concerted effort to maintain the bonds of love that keep us all together. 

Tonight I am also feeling very grateful for those bonds... 

Thursday, March 7, 2013


I know we have all heard it time and time again, but it rings especially true for me today: life is precious.

Today I learned of the passing of a friend’s brother. I know it is often said of those who go before us, but he truly was a kind and good soul…and he died far too young (in his 30s). In the coming days, friends and family will gather together in sorrow, grief, love, and reflection and will recall the numerous times he touched each one of us in his relatively short time on Earth. I only hope that while he was alive, he knew how much he meant to his family and friends.

Five months ago, I was willing to trade it all for eternal peace and an end to the incessant cycling of negative thoughts in my head. Today, I find myself on a precipice at life’s border once again. From this vantage point, life is expansive yet brief, enduring yet fragile – a beautiful landscape of hills and valleys; raging, twisted rivers; deep, dark forests; and bright, shiny peaks that sparkle in the sun.

Today I mourn, but I am also grateful to be alive, and to have had the chance for my life to intersect with this dear man.

Dear Reader:  Please remember that life is short and very, very precious – and YOU are preciousvery, very precious to this world – even if your head tells you otherwise. Take a look around you today / tonight. Find one reason to be grateful – one person, one pet, one small thing that brings a little smile to your face – and savor that feeling.  Or reach out and do something nice for another person. Cherish the feeling you get bringing comfort, love, or joy to another – for this is the feeling of love and the currency of a rich life.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

"Nervous Breakdown"

Nervous Breakdown - noun. an attack of mental or emotional disorder especially when of sufficient severity to require hospitalization []

According to BBC Health, a nervous breakdown is an old term dating back to the 19th century, when many mental disorders were attributed to failure of the nervous system. It reflects a rather mechanical view of how humans function...[See term is not typically used anymore by mental health professionals of the 21st century - or at least not by those with whom I have been treated. In fact, it carries a rather negative connotation among many doctors, therapists, and patients.

Nervous Breakdown is, however, still used today by the general population to describe a condition that erupts when a person’s mental shores have been breached by stress and life's woes - when the person has reached a mental tipping point and can no longer function - when the person has limply melted into a massive lump of blubber and tears. {Can you tell where I'm going with this?}

Based on this 19th century interpretation of major depression and anxiety disorder, it could be argued that I suffered a “nervous breakdown”; but mental system crash induced by too much stress for poor widdle me to handle, does not accurately describe the disorder - nor does it explain why it didn't happen at other over-stressed times in my adult life.

As I mentioned briefly in another post, I have felt "different" than my peers since early grade school. {No funny comments here, siblings of mine!} As I look back on my childhood with the clarity of treatment in adulthood, I can see now that I was hyper-vigilant and hyper-socially-aware for as long as I can remember - always scanning the horizon for dragons, always analyzing myself {and not with the kindest lens}, looking to the responses of others for validation, and always finding myself in the last analysis to be..."less than." 

The major depression and severe anxiety that I suffered last August / September may have been triggered by a tipping point of sorts, but it was decades in the making. I now believe the ultimate cause is chemical and / or wiring {more in a future blog about that and how my acceptance of that was a long time coming as well}. 

The bottom line is: I am not a "hysterical woman", and I did NOT suffer a nervous breakdown! People like me - with biological depression {as opposed to being temporarily depressed, e.g., death of a loved one} suffer from a physical as well as psychological disease. We are souls born into brains that aren't functioning up to par; however, we are not weak or wussy blobs. If anything, we are strong and resilient for enduring and thriving in spite of our illness!

And now, I won't get any more hysterical about this least not for the rest of the day!


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Recovery Step #2: Sleep, Damn It!

Sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care
The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath
Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,
Chief nourisher in life’s feast.

- William Shakespeare, Macbeth


Walking around with frog eyes, feeling like my head’s in a fishbowl, repeating myself in conversations, repeating myself...oh...and forgetting what I’m doing when mid-task: this is me without sufficient sleep.

Sleep disorders are symptomatic of depression, to be sure; but I think the number one thing you can do for yourself and your sanity is to get a good night’s sleep, damn it! For me it makes all the difference in the world – in fact, the benefit is exponential!
ME after a night of 5-hours of sleep...

Adults need between 7 – 9 hours good sleep each night. According to Dr. Timothy Morgenthaler, M.D. of the Mayo Clinic [see]: 

Although some people claim to feel rested on just a few hours of sleep at night, research shows that people who sleep so little over many nights don't perform as well on complex mental tasks as do people who get closer to seven hours of sleep at night. Additionally, studies among adults show that getting much more or less than seven hours of sleep a night is associated with a higher mortality rate.

Did you read that...don't perform as well on complex mental tasks....higher mortality rate!

Make no mistake about it, neither you nor I can get well and stay well without healthy sleep habits. But what are good sleep habits anyway?

The Mayo Clinic suggests the following 7 steps for a healthful sleep (see

1.  Stick to a sleep schedule: Even on weekends and, yes, holidays; hard to do, but I'll give it a try.  

2. Pay attention to what you eat and drink: Don’t eat too close to bedtime, don’t go to bed hungry either; and watch the nicotine, caffeine, or alcohol intake. Frankly, in my opinion, regarding the nicotine and alcohol…don’t even!! just DON’T EVEN!!! {More on that in a future post.}
ME after a night of 7.5 hours sleep :)

3. Create a bedtime ritual: Create a soothing, quiet ritual to help you wind down - take a warm bath, read, meditate, or say your prayers. It works great for children, and works well for you and me too!

4. Get comfortable: Having a comfy bed with snuggly comforter, pillows, and PJs encourage good sleep {no problem for me here!}

5. Limit daytime naps: This one goes out to my husband...

6. Add physical activity to your daily routine: Preferably early in the day, so you are not too energized at bedtime.

7. Manage stress: Yes, I know, I know – easier said than done, but a crucial part of healthy sleep.

And of course, as the Mayo Clinic adds, if you continue to have difficulty getting to sleep, staying asleep, or waking up in the morning, see a doctor. 

{It’s important to remind you here too: I am NOT a doctor; I am not a psychologist or licensed counselor; I am a patient just searching for (and sharing) ways to get well.}

Inspiration of the Day: 5 March 2013

Don't have time at the moment for a full blog, but wanted to share some inspiration that will be my focus for today:

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Humor before the Work Week ;)

The Far Side®, by Gary Larson

Just found this in a stack of old papers, and I had a riotous chuckle!