Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Thoughts on the Reality of Depression

The brain is our most powerful organ; the mouth our second. Some people do all they can to utilize their brain to it's full capacity by pushing it to limits, some consistently waste it, some don't have the ability to express what their brain is capable of due to a disability and then there are those who struggle every day with chemical imbalances that cause depression even when there is nothing to be depressed about. It is very sad that a man with talents we dream of having and success that many of us strive for dealt with the demons of depression so intensely that he took his own life. Why he did not seek help is hard to understand... but then I think, maybe nobody opened their mouth to ask him if he was okay or help him; perhaps nobody noticed he was suffering from depression. His long struggle with alcoholism was what people knew of, typically a vice signaling a deeper issue. People with TRUE depression often hide the signals very well, they do not seek attention and usually suffer internally.

I have said many times that what you see on the outside is not always a reflection of what is on the inside and vice versa. Don't be fooled by a smile, don't walk away from a frown because we all have issues and sometimes just need someone to dig deeper. Judge a little less, have compassion a little more and pay attention to the "energies" around you. Be the person who offers an ear or a friend when nobody else will and do all that you can to shine light on everyone you come in contact with; you could be the difference in the choice of life or death for them.

In my book, I tell a story of an old client of mine who came to see me on the day she had planned to commit suicide knowing that I would would say something to keep her from it without even knowing that she was planning to do it. To this day the realization that I was that light for someone sends chills up my spine but makes me smile knowing that something I said had that kind of impact. I knew she was struggling with some things, I felt it, she always asked about me... and I finally asked questions about her... dug deeper at every appointment and offered a positive side to what she was going through the best I knew how at 20 years old.

Death in any manner is sad,whether in suicide, murder, famine, or war... but is undeniably our fate. Do what you can to keep it from happening prematurely. Get help if you need it, please don't be afraid to ask or talk to someone... you are only alone if you make that choice.

Rest in peace #RobinWilliams, as sad as we are that you will not bring us new laughter and joy with your incredible talent, this is a strong reminder that depression is real and it strikes all kinds of people... even those that we could never imagine.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Realizing the Importance of Family Time

Today marked the end of a much deserved and long-overdue family vacation... something many people take for granted or have grown accustomed to, yet sadly something that I had never taken the time to do with my family. Day after day, week, after week, year after year, I sat back and looked at pictures being posted of family vacations from friends and acquaintances all over the globe and often wondered when I would finally do this with mine.

Even though at times in my life not taking vacation was due to the lack of money... that reason eventually changed. What had not changed was the time freedom... the ability to be able to plan and carry out several days off. For all of my working life, I have been either self- employed or a business owner who felt that I could not leave my business behind. There were no paid vacations or PTO in my world. If I was going to do this, it had to be carefully planned and worry free; paid for in full without wondering if I would be set back when I returned. I have run the rat race for so long that I allowed fear to get in the way of me getting out there to enjoy what all the hard work I put in had created even when my situation had changed.

In my day to day, I am very routine... almost to the annoying point I might add, and I learned this week that it's my routines that are what likely keep me from being able to relax and enjoy everything; I need to work on that. I get so caught up in this web of workaholism that I have no idea how to get untangled and technology has only made it worse. I always have one more email to reply to or check, one more phone call to make or one more item on my to-do list that cannot wait. I forced myself to unplug for the last several days and found myself scrambling for something to keep my time occupied, I could not just SIT, I was restless every night, tossing and turning and found myself staring at the ceiling nearly every night with thoughts running through my head wishing I had a laptop. I finally got a restful sleep Friday night out of pure exhaustion only to lie awake again on Saturday night thinking about all of the things I would have to do when I returned... sadly I was not stressed about it, I was excited and could not WAIT to get back to work.

I am really happy that I did this, that I took the time... although it was hard for me and I could not even readily say "yes" when a friend asked me if I had fun because work is what is fun for me. I am happy that I forced myself out of my comfort zone because it is only then that we can experience change in our lives. We cannot live by fear, we must live by opportunity, chance, and change.

As I sit at my laptop happily writing this routine blog on a quiet Sunday evening, I can say, YES.. I DID have fun. I thoroughly enjoyed watching my kids swim, laugh and run around, I will cherish playing Go-Fish with Zane to occupy my antsy down time, as well as bottle up the giggles that escaped Brie's lips when we all clapped loudly as she rolled a large straight in one single roll on the night we played Yahtzee together, or the anxiousness I could see in Baleigh's eyes when I took her on a haunted tour of the St. Augustine Lighthouse in the dark... it was a good time; much needed time and I am going to make it a point to take this time more often. I assume that practice makes perfect in not only work but also in play. Any advice on that one feel free to comment and I hope that you enjoy the pictures that I chose to share....

My little reminder in the sand of what is most important

Off to the pool with my sun hat and SPF 50  

My brave little Brie enjoying the slide...

Where we spent most of our time

 My toes in the sand; a place they rarely tread 
After a long day at the pool we headed over to the beach to watch the sun go down

Ahoy Mates! A pirate has escaped!

 Enjoying a historical trolley ride around St. Augustine after a long day of walking in the heat

 Baleigh and I about to go on our "Ghost Tour" at the St. Augustine Lighthouse
It was cool and historical but LAME in the scare department

We climbed all the way to the top in the dark with nothing but a glow stick around our necks

I found my dream home... I will build it in New England or Colorado

And well... I could not think of a better way to end this blog post....





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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Another August 5th.... The day that changed my life forever

As I prepared myself for tonight's blog, I sighed... and actually smiled because another year has passed and here I sit writing a blog on the eve of August 5th... the day my sister died 33 years ago, the day I wrote my very first journal entry 29 years ago which later became the beginning of the first chapter in my book, the night in 2010 that I ironically typed the last word of the first draft of that book which was dedicated to my sister, and the day in 2012 that I was scheduled to release the book and did not meet the deadline. It was because of not meeting this deadline that I was reconnected with my sister's best friend; one of the last people to see her alive after her friend's husband saw my tribute blog post that day and emailed me. I would say that this day has become more than significant in my life wouldn't you agree?

Many things have happened on this day now that can make me smile; a day that was once filled with sadness, grief and horrible memories is now a day with new meaning; all in the memory of my beautiful sister Teresa.  Oh how I hope that she can see me from heaven, that she is somehow helping control what's going on down here... ya know, looking out for me. I know that she would be so proud of what I have created through the most devastating things that ever happened to me. How I wish so badly that she were here, I would have loved to know what it was like having a big sister in my adult life... as I had children and went through life struggles she would have likely been the one I would  have called when I needed a shoulder; I guess that is why God made my mother so awesome... he knew I would need her.

I need something else significant to happen today to keep up the trend; I have a few things planned to help make that happen. Every year on this day, my word of choice is "SIGNIFICANCE"... What can I do to make today significant, meaningful and on purpose? The answer is we can ALWAYS do SOMETHING to make the day significant and I want all of you to remember that. You can make it significantly bad or significantly good... the choice is yours and your actions will define how that story ends.

I honestly cannot write a long post tonight... I am already swallowed up in tears after writing these few short paragraphs... and me, yes, me... the girl who is FULL of things to say has also learned that sometimes saying less is more and keeping it short can be VERY sweet. My message to you is that know that every single moment has purpose... meaning and significance, so spend them wisely, live them with love, hope and meaning but most of all, cherish every single one; we never know when tomorrow will be taken away.

To my sister Teresa up above....

I miss you dearly, not only today, but every single day that goes by. I must admit, that I am kinda jealous that you are up there hangin' with God, I know he is awesome. Watch out for me down here, okay? I feel your presence in me when I write... you loved to write and even planned to be a journalist; I often feel that your voice lives within me. As far as I am concerned, we write together... it is because of you that I first wrote in a journal and it will be why I write books and blog posts forever. Thank God for me, he provided the "why" that I needed in what was once a very lonely, dark and angry place for me. His light shines through me brightly now and my hope is to continue to change and influence the lives of others in a positive way just as He did. You still have meaning Teresa, you are my purpose and together, we have become significant.

Your lil' sis,



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