Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Inner Struggle

 This is a paper I wrote for my college writing class in April.

Everyone I know sometimes feels sad or down or just not themselves. We all have days where we don’t feel great about ourselves or something didn’t turn out the way we had hoped. I have those kinds of days just like everyone else, but unlike everyone else, my sadness doesn’t go away after a day or two or even a week or two, mine has been with me most of my life. I remember the first time I realized how dangerous depression is for me, I was fourteen and lying in the emergency room with my eyes shut tight, sobbing, listening to the doctors and nurses telling me to try to relax as they told me everything I had eaten that day. They were pumping my stomach to keep the handful of anti-depressants I swallowed from getting into my system and stopping my heart. People around me kept throwing around words like suicide attempt and physiological observation and short- term committal. For the next five days I learned what real serious depression looked like and I saw what it did to people my age. I wish I could say my experience as a teenager made it so depression never reared its ugly head in my life again but I can’t. I struggle every day with keeping it at bay.
My childhood, as a whole, was pretty great. I got to do and see things as a child that some adults have never done, but it was scarred by things that even all the good things can’t over shadow. My parents divorced when I was about four or five and we moved away from my dad and his family which I realize now, fractured my
relationship with my father. Even now we struggle to communicate as adults, we both try but it’s work. Missing that most important male relationship in my life has caused me problems with romantic relationships as an adult.
My mom and I were on our own in an area where she didn’t know a lot of people, and was trying to raise me and work full time. She had met a nice couple who she thought she could trust and allowed them to watch me while she worked at night. I only remember bits and pieces but I can remember enough to know what went on was inappropriate and sexual in nature. Sometimes I wonder if the suppression of those memories and never fully dealing with that trauma was where my struggle with depression began.
These and other incidents from my childhood, I feel, have laid the groundwork for my depression and anxiety. My experiences as an adult have also added to my daily struggle, whether it be lack of confidence and low self esteem due to past failures and body image or my lack of trust for people in my life. I battle with my own self-doubt on daily basis.  I crave attention, praise and acceptance from others almost desperately. Sometimes I even base my own self worth on how I think others see me.
For someone that doesn’t suffer with depression a break up or an everyday failure are small obstacles for them to overcome, for me they are Mount Everest, and I have to navigate to the other side with no Sherpa and a broken compass, in a blizzard.  Like some, I go through the normal stages of grief during a loss or disappointment, but sometimes I tend to lean towards the extreme side of
emotions.  Secluding myself from others, sleeping too much, eating too much and overthinking myself into a deeper depression.  I also have a way of lashing out and misdirecting my anger at the wrong people. In some extreme cases I have suffered anxiety attacks that have been scary experiences, forcing all the emotions I try to keep internalized to the surface.
Not everything with how I cope and survive a low point is unhealthy. I do talk about it with my friends and really try to learn from things and listen to others advice. Writing letters that I don’t send really proves to be therapeutic for me as well, it allows me to express the emotions and pain I am feeling without causing more problems or dragging the other person into it. Sometimes I also write in a journal which is a good tool for reflection because being able to go back later and see helps me learn from past mistakes.
Time and life have helped me overcome a lot of obstacles and set backs in my life caused by depression. As a young adult I really let my depression take over my life, and while at times it still takes over, I have learned to live and cope much better as an adult. Medication helps and so does the understanding that a lot of this disorder is out of my control and I’m doing the best I can. While I struggle with sadness and the anxiety of life everyday I choose to not let it define who I am or what I can become.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Liar,liar,.... you know the rest.

They say it takes 28 days to break a habit. Sounds legit. So how long does it take stop loving someone?  Or how many weeks will it be until I don't miss someone?
One of my first posts I talked about a guy that I had gotten involved with and was trying to cut off, well needless to say the cutting off didn't work out to well. He has a way of pulling me back in... he's like a drug and I'm a junky for his bullshit. I would keep going back for one more fix. I would tell myself I could handle it we could be just friends and I would be fine or make excuses. I was lying to myself because I wasn't fine and the excuses that I was making for him couldn't hold water. No matter which way you sliced it, he was cheating, and it was wrong.
I'm on day 13 of breaking my bad habit. I've only got 15 more days to go. I've told my friends I don't want to hear his name or know any news or gossip about him unless it's dire. (Basically unless he's dead, dying or been take hostage by a band of misfit toys he doesn't exist to me.) At this point my only fear is randomly running into him somewhere and having a similar reaction to the last time, which could have been way more embarrassing. that it was.(Last time I 'almost' ran into him I was shopping with mom at the mall and was loaded down with purchases and saw him, her, and his daughter checking out and, no joke, RAN the other way and hid in the kitchen wares department of  Kohl's until I was sure they were gone while I proceeded to have a nice little panic attack.)  So far he's listened to what I said and not bothered me. I made it clear that as long as she was in the picture I couldn't be and the fact that he was marrying her when he obviously didn't want to was something I couldn't handle.
This whole thing has made me look at myself in ways I haven't enjoyed. Stacy Dr.Phil-ed me and told me I could be purposely going after unavailable men as a way of avoiding commitment.Well fuck. It's time to fix this shit and get on with it... I'm 31 years old and I'm single and I'm sick to death of it. 
So step one, get rid of the fucktard that's been screwing with my head/heart for the last 15 months. (semi-check... 15 days to go till that's done)
Step two, get off my ass. Since school is done for the semester I have sat on my ass in my apartment way to much, I need to get out of the damn house and find something to do.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Power of Forgiveness

          *** This is my final paper for my College Writing I class at Kent State-Tusc

        What does it mean to forgive? The dictionary says it means to stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw or mistake. It sounds so simple when it’s explained like that but, in truth, it’s really not. Forgiveness is complex and sometimes difficult step that some find nearly impossible. While it is difficult it can also be a rewarding and healing part of life.
            When I think of forgiveness the first person that comes to my mind is Nelson Mandela, to me he embodies the word. A man who was jailed for fighting against apartheid was able to forgive the government that imprisoned him and continue his fight by becoming President of South Africa. He strived to help heal his country from years of racism and violence by teaching his people to heal by forgiveness. He said, “If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal. Two of these roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness.”
For Mandela forgiving those who wrong him and other blacks in South Africa was the way to heal and come together as one country. While it was thought that, “Wait until a black-led government takes over. Then these blacks who have suffered so grievously in the past will engage in the most fearful orgy of revenge and retribution against the whites.”(Tutu) While I’m sure there were bumps along the road, revenge was not the case for South Africa. Mandela led his people by example and I think they are better for it.
Another lesson in forgiveness is taught to us by the Amish. For those of us who grew up in this area we might take the Amish and Amish country for granted and fail to recognize some of the beauty of simplicity this culture shows us.  In October of 2006 a man walked into a one room Amish school house and shot and killed 5 young girls before taking his own life. The common reaction from the victims family’s would be anger and grief, and for some even revenge, but not from these Amish families. Almost immediately a member of the Amish community went to comfort the widow of the shooter and off their support. Many from their community also attended his funeral.
Just as Nelson Mandela did, the Amish used forgiveness as a way to heal. While being interviewed, one Amish man said, “The acid of hate destroys the container that holds it.”(Blake) This community knows that keeping anger and grief in your heart destroys a person, and they strive to stop that. These people are not super human in the sense that they aren’t immune to the pain or angry they just taught to deal in a different way.
These two drastically different cultures have the common thread of forgiveness and should be a lesson to all of us as human beings.  So, why is it so difficult for the rest of us to forgive each other for small things when these two groups have been able to forgive others for truly horrific crimes against each other?  How can we learn from others and achieve this gift of letting go? How can we grow from their examples?
To me, these are all hard questions that don’t really have a right or wrong answer and differ greatly from person to person. For my own life I have found that forgiveness is sometimes the most difficult part of my healing process. I have a tendency to hold on to the things that have been done to me almost as way of preventing myself from moving on and healing.  Even as an adult I’m still learning that forgiveness is an art form and a process that is not always easy.
However I and the rest of the world can learn from the examples set by Mr. Mandela and the Amish community and strive to more like them. I believe that if we all took the examples set forth by these strong people I think that we would live in a better world. While forgiveness can be hard work and sometimes can be a difficult goal to achieve I feel it’s good for the heart and the soul and we all can benefit from its power.

Works Cited

Biography,, Nelson Mandela Centre for Memory, 2012, Web, April 28, 2012, Nelson Mandela quotes

Tutu, Desmond. “Let South Africa show the World how to Forgive.” Knowledge of Reality. Issue 19, 1996-2006, Web, April 28, 2012

Blake, John. “’The Amish Way’ to forgiveness.”,, Web, September 15,2010, April 28, 2012