You Can Do It Too!

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You can change your life.

 I know because I did it.

 A year ago, I was in a very dark place. Depression had a death grip on me and I was having frequent anxiety attacks. I was so unsettled in my own skin but the hopelessness I felt was one I thought I would never escape. I was helpless and I reached out but there was no life raft waiting for me as I slipped deeper and deeper into despair. I tried depression medicine and meditation but it only got worse.

A year later I am feeling back to my normal self. I had to change my self talk which eventually led to a change in perspective about my current situation. If I couldn’t change the part I was stuck in then I had no other choice than to change myself and use my perception to gain my power back. My mantra was “the sky is not failing”. You are okay. It took months to convince myself that I would survive my situation. That I could live a happy life right alongside the mess I was in. I decided to lessen my reaction to things that once sent me straight to panic. Ah yes, the sky is not falling and this is only temporary. Patience with myself and gentle reminders turned into a new sense of peace and confidence. I removed myself from negativity and the past few months I have started walking every day. I am up to 35 miles a week and there are no words to express what this has done for me mentally. Most days I feel happy. Did you hear that? Me, happy! And rarely do I feel anxiety for more than a few hours and it doesn’t happen often at all.  

Was It easy? Nope. I had to give up my bullshit stories that kept my anxiety alive and thriving. I had to admit that my thinking was most of the problem and the only fix out there was my decision to fix myself. I share this story because I know the silent suffering and wanting someone to take just a little bit of my despair away so I could get through the day. I also share this to tell you that you can overcome this too. It takes patience and a great deal of self love. I hope my success story becomes your own and please know you are not alone. I am out here cheering for you and I know you can do it too. You’ve got this! I promise.

The Lesson In Healing

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Healing. Every tragic storm is followed by the most beautiful sunrise. It may take days or weeks but eventually the clouds disappear and the warmth of the sun melts the most bitter cold.

I’ve suffered from depression for a few years now. There was a time when I didn’t believe I would ever feel a moments worth of happiness again. In fact, I wasn’t sure I would ever feel anything at all again. The guilt that came along with that swallowed me whole. In my mind, I didn’t think I had anything to be depressed about. My life was good so why didn’t it feel that way to me? Slowly but surely my life has come full circle. I have fought my way back and my heart feels so full today as I sit here in the pickup line at school counting my endless blessings. I am me again and I am so grateful that time has healed the pain that temporarily found a home inside of me. 

The most important lesson that came out of this dark time is that I am not in control. I will never be in control and I had to make peace with knowing that is a reality. There will be things I want to change in my life but dwelling on them and resisting something that is just going to be does not change the reality of the circumstances. I had to live in my own uncertainty. I had to find calm in my own discomfort. Anxiety became a normal that I was forced to live with and I learned to breathe there. Sometimes we do not understand what is happening to us but there comes a moment where we trust that in the end, everything really will be okay. In that place I found myself again but even more importantly I found an unshakeable faith that carries me through the happiest and darkest days. My sun is out and I can feel it shining right through me and onto others. I pray the sun comes up for you as well. It is there, I promise but sometimes it is just hidden behind an innocent cloud. Try and feel the warmth until the day you finally see it again. It may not be tomorrow but eventually it will come back out.

Hello. It’s Me.

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I’ve ducked out for a little while, hiding underneath my blanket while the world spins further out of control. It hurts to watch it happen on every level. The complacency, corruption, manipulation, dishonesty, and lack of accountability are all around me. I want to shut it out but it knocks on my front door and although I choose not to answer, it just won’t seem to go away. Sometimes I feel like the responsible adult in a world full of incapable, incompetent, selfish children. Being the adult sucks the fun out of living sometimes. Being responsible and accountable and concerned stifles the wind beneath my wings. Slowly and steadily I start to fall until I reach that place of almost impossible to return. Taking care of everything wears me out and I mean that in a literal sense. The me fades away and all that is left is this robotic clone who has mastered perfection in going through the motions. I am there under the mask, close to numb, quietly breaking apart inside my shell.

We are all connected and sometimes the cross we have to carry for those who are unwilling or unable to do their share is impossible to bear. What choice do we have but to pick up the slack, hold our head high and keep inching forward. Sometimes I lose sight of my own purpose because I am so intertwined in the lives of people around me. Sometimes I put me on hold while everyone else goes full steam ahead. Sometimes I forget that I cannot do it all and need to find a way to forgive myself for the person I become when I am drowning in responsibility and the depression starts to work itself through my veins. Sometimes I need to escape the weight of the world that holds me back. Sometimes I just need a moment to breathe. Sometimes I just need to feel like the me I was years ago before I became the me I am today. Sometimes I need to say, hello it’s me until I remember again.

Don’t Go Back There Anymore

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Have you ever been through a time that almost destroyed you? It could be the end of a relationship, loss of a job or just a situation that nearly drove you over the edge.

Last night while I was trying to fall asleep, I kept rehashing a time like that in my own life. I kept thinking about how the situation should have gone differently and replayed uncomfortable conversations in my mind. A few minutes turned into hours and I could feel the anxiety growing out of control.

I had a fleeting thought that caught me a little off guard. Why in the world would you want to go back and revisit that hell? No matter how much I thought about it or replayed it inside my head, the fact is it was never going to change. I realized how much time and energy I spend in a time or place I don’t want to be because I make the choice to go back there. It’s time to make the choice to walk away. Leave it behind and stop looking back.

How many times have you done this in your own life? How did you finally disconnect and walk away for good?

You’ve Got This

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Encouragement. Where does it come from? We all need someone to stand on the sidelines and cheer as we make the run of our life. We need someone waving us on with a smile and yelling, keep going, you can do this. We need someone to give us a little push when we feel tired and remind us the finish line is just around the bend.

The first thing I thought when I woke up was, I don’t want to do today. I want to go back to sleep and wake up a few weeks from now when this leg of the race had passed. I realized that sometimes I have to be my own best friend. I have to be the person who says, come on Kim, let’s just deal with one minute at a time. It’s a beautiful day, get up and enjoy it. I need to distract myself from what’s dragging me down and focus on those things that lift me up.

Today, let me be the person who says, you got out of bed and you are going to rock today. I am here waving you forward with a smile on my face yelling you’ve got this, keep going, I’m right here with you jogging beside you. When you get tired I will walk a mile in your shoes and then maybe you can walk a mile in mine.

Happy Friday! Have a great day and be kind to yourself. Focus on something that makes you happy and fight away those negative thoughts. Really, you’ve got this. We both do!

The Start of Something New

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As I was sitting outside earlier, I noticed my rose bushes were budding with numerous blooms. We are so much like the flower that lays dormant for so long. I too have been asleep for many months now. I too have been just sitting around helplessly waiting to come alive. I’ve dragged myself through the motions with little or no feeling at all just hoping to survive from sun up to sun down. Some days all I looked forward to was going to sleep. This depression thing swallows me sometimes and it takes months to crawl back out. But today, I had a little hop in my step. I felt energized as I recognized that feeling that I too was starting to bloom. The hope and change are in the air and I am grateful to feel this good today. Sometimes you have to sit back as the ebb and flow comes and goes. One day at a time is all we can do and today is the start of something new.

Time To Move On

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I have wasted an entire year of my life. In just a few days I will turn 45. The older I get, the faster time seems to fly by. I got caught in a sticky web of the things I couldn’t control. I let them own me. I called them boss. I can reflect back and feel disappointment or I can learn from my journey and choose a new, better road. I am excited about the path ahead and I won’t be turning around wishing I could go back. I am ready to leave it all behind and walk away feeling lighter. I am choosing not to carry that load anymore. I do have a choice and I am choosing to move on and let go. They say everything happens for a reason. I think we are handed a lesson and until we finally learn, it is given to us over and over again. For those of you who have followed my journey over the past year, I have finally found the courage to file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights and not try and handle this school trauma anymore. I have let go and let God and whatever happens from here will have to be. Thank you for your support, encouragement and friendship during a time I let myself fall apart. I am forever grateful. 

Why Do We Do It?

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Sometimes I feel like a hamster running as fast as I can with all my effort and focus on that silly wheel. The problem is my goal is to actually get someplace and not to put in countless hours of blood, sweat and tears to just end up physically and mentally drained. At what point does a hamster just retreat to the corner of the cage and never get on the wheel again? It’s awful for anyone to have to dedicate themselves to something that they will never get a single thing out of except for an ongoing cycle of insomnia followed by a painful headache. I can’t help but wonder why some things in life are set up that way. Why do things have to be more difficult than they need to be? Why do we need to be buried under tremendous amounts of stress and neverending workloads? It’s like a job requiring 3 steps to complete but to challenge ourselves we add in an extra 100 steps. That’s great if you are on a stairmaster trying to lose weight but if the goal is to get something done quickly and efficiently, 3 steps would be a better plan. It’s like spending the whole day washing clothes only to repeat the cycle an entire lifetime until you finally close your eyes for the last time. At least when it comes to doing laundry, the payout is having clean clothes but when there is no payout? Imagine people buying these powerball tickets with a way to fix the system so that there would never ever be a single winner. Why buy a ticket if you don’t even have a chance to win? But somehow we do. We wake up and we go straight to that wheel day after day after day. I don’t want to be a hamster anymore. Running is overrated. I want to be a bird.

What Should We Call This?

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I’m pretty disappointed with myself today. They say the garden only grows in places you water it. I think the worst part about depression is there is always a drought. You have a minuscule amount of water, so you have to pick and choose where you sprinkle it. You have to conserve as much water as you can while still making sure everything in your garden is growing strong. Do you clean the house or get out of bed and get dressed? You seriously have to choose which one is more important that day. As you feel yourself plummeting further and further, you have no choice but to let some things wither away and all you can do is stand there and watch. It’s not your choice, you’re too darn tired to do anything else.

I have the most beautiful rose bushes outlining my back yard. With the extreme amount of heat we’ve been having combined with my extreme fatigue, I haven’t walked out back in quite some time. I thought I could see the shape of my bushes changing. Deep down I knew they were being swallowed up by that fungal disease that makes them drop all their leaves but instead of doing something about it, it was easier to just not go outside. My hose was empty and if I didn’t look, I didn’t see.

I walked out there today and I became furious with myself. Just like my own garden, my own self was suffering. I felt so sorry for those innocent roses. They were counting on me to take care of them and I let them down. How could I take care of them, take care of my family AND take care of me? Mind over matter, that’s how. I did my best to trim them back and spray something to kill the disease but now I’m drained, not a single drop of water left. Every ounce of energy I had is gone and it’s not even 2:00. Insomnia kept me company most of last night and if I go to sleep now, tonight will be an unfortunate repeat of last night.

I hate depression. It’s the first thing in my life I haven’t been able to fight. And the guilt? Depressed about what? For the most part, I really have a great life. So how could I possibly feel this way? It not only affects me but also everyone else that lives around me. 

Don’t ever sneer at someone for having a depressing tone or depression period. Its not a performance or sporting event and it surely doesn’t need your judgement. It’s hard to know what anyone else is going through and the worst thing you can can do to somebody with depression is put them down or make them feel even more guilty then they already do. We get that you don’t understand but do us all a favor and keep it to yourself. Sometimes the best thing you can do for anyone, depressed or not, is to be kind and offer to lend patience and a supporting hand. We are all connected and we need to start acting that way.

Fast Forward

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Down the rabbit hole. I could feel myself falling the other day. Slowly at first, feeing a little tired.  Motivation slowly slipping away as my desire to do anything but lay in bed is all that is left. The truth about depression is that it sneaks up on you when you aren’t expecting it. Everything seems to be going fine and then wham! It taps you on the shoulder and screams, I’m back! And so it is.

What I have learned is that I have to be patient. What swings one direction will eventually swing the other way. I dont know when or how but I do know it will happen and I take comfort in that knowledge. Inside I am dying, knowing time is slipping further and further away. Its like trying to hold water in my hands, it stays there for a little while then starts to seep away. There are some things you cannot hold onto no matter how hard you try.  All you can do is watch it fall away.

As my kids venture into 8th and 11th grade, I grieve for the young children who are lost somewhere back on the timeline that defines my life. I allow myself to be sad for the years that are gone and at the same time, remind myself there is still so much to look forward to. It’s just so difficult to understand how they grow up so fast, in the blink of an eye. That’s how time seems anyway, like there is some point in a lifetime where the years seem to be stuck in fast forward and the pause button doesn’t work anymore. That is where I am right now, on fast forward, banging and screaming on life to slow down but it just keeps going. And so it is like so many other things just are. What can I do but try and breathe and be grateful for each day as it comes? I need to remind myself not to take a single second for granted. I can’t hold onto it but I don’t have to miss it because I’m so preoccupied with the past or apprehensive about the future. Be in the moment the best you can and don’t grasp for something that is impossible to hold. Live, love and then love even more.