Sunday, November 5, 2017
We have all had to roll with lifes punches to the gut. Some of those punches have connected and took the wind out of our sails, much like depression where you just can't get out of bed or even take a shower. Other punches have stung us enough to cause us pause, like an anxiety attack in the grocery store in the middle of the day or a traffic jam on the interstate causing you to be more than late. Many of lifes gut punches have left us brused and battered mentally. Ever heard the saying, sink or swim? Are you sinking or swimming?
I'm not a swimmer in the literal sense. You won't hear me say, I'm going for a swim. Why? Around the age of 11 or 12 I almost drowned and that feeling of helplessness in a body of water was horrific. I was literally drowning. My family was in Portland, Oregon for a family reunion. My mother pressed and curled my hair. She told me that I could go to the park, but don't get in the pool. It was hot and at this time I loved swimming. Did I mention it was hot? Well, I made up in my mind since it was hot as fish grease, I was going to get in the pool and I won't get my hair wet, and I will be dry before I get back to the house. Bright idea gone bad. Did I mention I had my bathing suit on? As I was enjoying the pool that I was instructed to not get into, I suddenly could no longer stay afloat. I couldnt dog paddle, breast stroke, nothing.
I was in the deep end and going down, alone. I tried to swim but kept going down. Panic crept up and shook my little brain. I could see the side of the pool, but I don't remember seeing anyone. To make this short, I bobbed up and down a few times and suddenly, I was at the side of the pool. I was horrified. No one helped me because no one was there in the area of the pool that I was in, and the people that were there either did not see me struggling or Lord forbid didn't care that a little girl was drowning. I got out of that pool and I have not been in a swimming pool since. Hottub, yes. A pool, not a chance. I've tried but the anxiety I face has been stronger than my desire to swim.
Nothing could have prepared me for the horror I felt and I surly was not going to share that event with my mother.
Living life is like unprepared events that will gut punch you. You will get that gut punch by life's circumstance and lay on the ground in dispare and agony, dread, heartbreak, and sometimes fear. Fear of standing up to fight again. But fight you must. It's the sink or swim tactic. Events can cause you to be unlovable, unappreciative, and down right nasty to anything or anyone that resembles joy and peace, especially during a crisis when all you want to do is magnify all that is wrong in your atmosphere by complaining until you are blue in the face. The world today is full of complainers already, don't be one of them.
The key to treading life's events is staying afloat and maneuvering with precision. It's about being laser focused on your end and not your beginning or even the during. It's knowing deep in your gut that God has equipped you with everything you need to reach the finish line. You must swim those laps of life like a master, breast stroking, breathing with calm, holding your breath for a time, and breathing again as you glide to your victory.
My brothers and sisters, today I'm still not ready to swim again, but my desire is growing. I am building my faith muscle so that one day I will jump in, even if it's a cute belly flop. My prayer for you is that your faith muscle gets stronger. There is nothing more rewarding than knowing that you hold the power and ability to swim for your life. There is nothing that can hold you down but you. Your inaction should not be the sinking end of you and the greatness that is within you. It doesn't matter how many times you get hit and go down. What matters most is how many times you get up and hit back. So suit up, jump in, and swim towards all that God has placed in you to be VICTORIOUS in all that only you can do and be for the world to witness. Let your faith muscle keep you afloat.
Friday, September 29, 2017
Self Development for me comes in many forms. Mostly through books, watching people, and shear failure. My reading taste is huge as one can not rely on one avenue for growth and healing. The detrimental problem that I see today is that many fail due to not investing in themselves, not trying, not seeking, not being hungry for better. It is somehow accepted to complain, blame, and to keep dragging the muck around like a stubborn dog on a chain. People seem to forget when the car was first built, that there was a blueprint. They forgot that the only way they could have graduated from high school they had to go to class, study the books, do the lessons, and pass the tests even if it was by sweat and sleepless nights. Fear will sideline you and will leave a fowl taste in your heart for those who are unencumbered and growing . There is no failure if you don't try. The failure is in not trying. What side of the pendulum are you on?
I myself refuse to stay in a state of mental chaos for too long. I'm not one to complain or keep talking about all of the bad things, but I do spin around in my head like a spinning top. I repeat to myself, it is okay and not as bad as aI can create the situation to be. I remind myself that I am the key holder as to what I will think about. I no longer want to hit the replay button on what was or what should be. Or on who did what or what someone didn't do. Why? Because I must get to the other side. Everything we do or not is a result of the information we received be it negative or positive and the choices we make. How valuable is that knowledge?
Mental illness is no different. Mental illness is manifested by the information we have seen, heard, or felt. Pain unaddressed leads to the heart and mind being over powered by the reactions to that pain. What pain? Pain of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. Pain of your true love being snatched away as the one you loved abandoned you. Pain because of those who you thought were your friends weren't and your family members who treat you like trash. Pain of fighting a wars you did not create or sign up to fight, killing unknown men, women, and children. Look at the Vietnam War. How many men and women do you know who went to that war sane and came back home unrecognizable? Its still happening today, but now there is a name for it, Post Traumatic Stress. Pain of stuffing every hurt, real or imagined and replacing it with a false sense of strength. Alcohol, false strength. Drugs, false strength. Promiscuous sex, false strength. The greed of money and material things, false strength. Dressing to the nines to look good on the outside and totally obliterated on the inside, false strength. Yes, these false strengths and more can cause the mentally sane to become insane. I know because I was a part of the false strength club. Wore the the shiny badge and blinking tiara. Thank God for His grace and mercy.
Generational curses and dysfunction rises up and goes forth, generation after generation until it happens. The it is the sudden realization that your current state is not where you imagined yourself to be. But, realizing it is one thing, changing it is another because without making the change, there you will remain. In the pit. Making a change is no easy feet as with any new thing, it takes will power, desire, and a determination that announces to the world, I ain't going down like that. We must make the choice to either lay down and give up, or square our shoulders and for fight. Isn't your life worth fighting for? Do you truly like where you are right now? If not, prepare for battle.
And how do you prepare for battle? Acknowledging your current state of living. Mind, body, and soul. Analyze where you are and determine where you want to be if you don't already know. Let me tell you this, you already know you just have to push into that thing and put that foot forward. The next foot is clearing out the attic, this is where you have stored everything good or bad. It is your mind. To do this is to replace the bad with good. For me, I read and research what I am struggling with. Reading stories of those who have walked the road of dysfunction and learning how they changed their lives or not is helpful in so many ways, especially when the result is a ray of sunshine and emotional freedom. Emotional bondage to me is worse than any physical bondage. So I ask you, what are you really doing for yourself? Are you in the fight of your life? Have you settled for the diagnosis or have you determined that, nope, Im not going to lay down and wither away? I say GET UP! You must do the work no matter how hard it will be. Isn't your life worth it? Don't you owe it to yourself to be the best that you can be? Remember, self love means doing everything within your power to present your beautiful self to the world? Yes, you ARE worth it.
My brothers and sisters, there is noone like you. There is noone who can do what God has specifically created and ordained you to do. Self Developement is scary yet easy to achieve. None of us can go back in time to change things, we only have the right here and right now to press the play button instead of the replay button on our lives. And if you do happen to hit that replay button a few more times, listen to it, deside to learn from it, then ERASE IT so that you can get to the best part of you because you are absolutely worth it.
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Praise God to whom all blessings flow. As I reflect on the current events with experiencing my first hurricane here in Miami, Florida, it has really opened my eyes and heart. What is life if you don't learn anything that will take you to a higher level? In a blink all that we work for and our lives can be snatched away. We strive for material things, but do not have true love and compassion for the human race. We turn our noses up at situations we don't understand or fail miserably at trying to understand, all the while convinced that we somehow have made it. We walk around as if we know the keys to life all the while living in generational chaos. Wisdom and correction is ignored by the so called smart ones. My mother used to say, there are fools and educated fools knowing so much but knowing nothing at all. Those that have so much to say but saying nothing. Look around you and take a few steps back. Be about God's business.
Being one who struggles with clinical depression and anxiety, this Irma event SURLY could have taken me out, I was concerned, but not afraid. Anxiety tried to roar on all cylinders, but it spun itself into exhaustion because I kept before me the many promises of God. Oh yes I had a moment of spiritual and emotional turmoil. I cried tears of, oh God. I had thoughts of running for higher ground or running back to the dark abyss I left behind in Tacoma, Washinton asking myself, why did I end up in Miami, Florida? One answer, God. So, I kept my thoughts on God and in check. This is a Victory in and of itself and anyone who struggles knows exactly what I'm talking about.
We complain, bad mouth, and lay claim to an imagenry self relience that in the end will mean nothing if we do not have wisdom. For me, hurricane Irma has set my mind more eagerly on the things of God and His will for my life. Yet I fail him daily, God never fails. Yet I stumble, God never misses a step. Many say that the natures of life are God's way of saying, get it together. Well listen up, God's love letter, His word has been our warnings and our directions, and those 66 books of life's lessons is more than enough for me and I PRAISE God that yet I am a flesh being perplexed and pressed, my spirit and soul yet rejoice.
Wars and rumors of war. Pestilence and genocide. Every dark thing that roams this earth to kill, steal, and destroy is nothing more than an opportunity again and again for God, The Great I Am, the Alpha and Omega, to show up and ultimately show out on the behalf of His chosen. For me, I will continue to stand strong, unwavered, not compromising for the so called good things of this world, to stand up in the face of an unseen and sometimes seen enemy and say, that footstool, the heap of coals are all ready setup and placed. As Irma came in and uprooted millions of trees, I'm even more determined to be like a tree planted by the water of God's grace, not moved.
As I reflect back to continue to move forward, I've had many people come into my life. Most had their own agendas and it did not involve love, consistency, appreciation, or honesty. I've been lied on. Looked down upon and talked about behind my back. I've been devalued by those who should have seen true value. I've been abandoned emotionally and physically. For all of that and more, I'm grateful. For that, I'm glad that God saw fit to eliminate connections that served no greater good. For all of the hardships I faced I continuously offer up forgiveness and I still love. You see, when you really look at your life and accept responsibility for your parts or even the lack of, you will be able to see clearly the road of peace. You will be able to understand your value and worth. For all of it, I PRAISE God for His protection even though I may not have understood it at the time. Saved by grace.
My brothers and sisters, get it together. Look around you and most of all
look within you and determine that you will not be moved, except by the hands of God. High minded and hautiness will be your destruction. The proud who say it could not happen to them, they should think again. Remember, your journey is yours, don't expect understanding or gratification. Dont seek validation from anyone, seek the kingdom of God and all things will be added unto you, Gods gifts. Do everything in honor of God. Change is needed. Love is demanded. If it were not so Jesus would not have said so.
Thursday, August 24, 2017
Those who have not experienced mental illness can not relate to a person with any form of mental illness, who struggles daily to get it done. What's the it? What is the root cause? How can we balance? Be still. Get clear, and geting focused is a place to start. In this place of evaluation are the keys to standing in upright balance.
Psalm 120:5-6 nlt says, The Lord himself watched over You! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, not the moon at night.
Get still. Everyday at all times many are consumed and distracted by cell phones, television, and worthless conversations and connections. Only participating in some connections as to not appear anti-social. Being still in the moment and ushering in silence reduces your heart rate. Being still will allow you to focus even if it is for a few minutes. Look around you, do you see areas in your home that you have neglected? Start there. Get your house in order, one room, one corner or closet at a time.
Get clear. How does one get clear when so much of the unimportant is taking up your time? Shut it all down. Disconnect and unplug. Journaling is a great way to get your thoughts out of your head. Write about how you feel and why. Write about your desires and jot a few things down, action steps if you will, that will get you closer to your goal. What is your goal? Where do you desire to be in 2, 5, or 10 years? Think about it.
Get focused. This one here is very hard for a depressive, but it can be obtained. In order to get focused, YOU MUST TAKE ACTION. If you don't do It, it won't get done. Take your mental health for example. Do you want to struggle out of control for the rest of your life? Do you want to continue to cut yourself as a distraction? Do you want to stay in your bed of emotional darkness for the rest of your life? Do you want to take medication as a never ending cure all, to only mask the issues? I shout No.
Here are a few of my many steps in getting balance, clarity, and focuse. I don't win everyday, but I do make every effort to keep myself in forward motion.
I say no. This is important because most times we say yes to things that don't serve especially for the good of ourselves or others. We do not have to a participant in everything.
I listen to music. This is my get out of my head card. Music lifts me up. I start to sing and the next thing I realize is that I’m dancing. Toe tapping and head bobbing.
I get quiet. I love the silence. I'm sure this is part of the cause of being an insomniac, I love to be up when the world has slowed down. With cell phones, television and a host of other distractions, we can not quiet our minds. Shut it all down and get quiet.
I read. Reading is my passion. I hear many say, they don't read. These people scare me. I’m like what knowledge do you have between your ears outside of word of mouth and social media? A very helpful thing you could do for yourself is to read books on your condition. You will be surprised at how much information and tools that are available to help you understand and use for your healing. I know it can be hard, like falling asleep while reading. Been there. But read anyway. One page or chapter at a time, read for 30 minutes to an hour. Just read. Trust me, you will be glad you did.
I journal. Yes. Yes. Writing is a powerful tool. Pick up an attractive notebook or journal. Grab a fine pen that is catchy to the eye and write. Write about how you feel. Write what angers you. Write about your day and what you’ve seen that intrigued you. The main point is to write your feelings out and get them out of your head. Trust me again, you will be surprised how valuable this small action can change your mood, especially if you read it and laugh. I love this one.
I stay active. Yes activity is important. Taking walks or running, get up and get busy. Get your heart rate up and the endorphins moving. The weather determines my activity. I try to get walking as mush as I can. Before I relocated to Florida from Tacoma, Washington, I was always on the move. I joined a walking group called Girltrek, and it was a blessing to meet like mined woman who are focusing on health and fitness. Who usher in unity. I miss that. I'm still looking for the connections here in Florida. Visit Girltrek.com for information and groups in your area. Sorry fellas, there is not a trek group for the men yet, but hey, you can grad your friends and get moving too.
I recently found myself in a situation that triggered the depression and anxiety in me. For weeks I fought the good fight until one day, the window in my emotional state cracked and the glass shattered. I took a position that was to be one thing and it turned out to be another. I wanted to win so I continued. And just recently an incident with the company’s client slammed me to my core, tears, diarrhea, and more. Still, I tried to win all the while my soul was screaming GET OUT OF THERE. I heard what I needed to hear. I learned where I stood and was shown how much I mattered. Still, I didn't want to quit. I’m not a quitter. I finally quit and I'm glad that I did, for me. Here is the point; our realities can be clouded by the shear fight to win over something that is not meant for us. We can become afraid and stuck. Stuck and afraid. God allows situations to get so chaotic, the only thing we can do if we listen is to GET THE OUT. It is called positioning. Are you in any situations that you know, that you know, that you know, that you need to get out of? Check mate that thing and get to the good part of your life. Elimination and Elevation. You may be dispensable to others, but you are forever indispensable to yourself. Remember that.
My brothers and sisters, I can’t stress it enough how important it is for you to do the work required of you to be healthy, happy, and whole. I can’t stress it enough that you are not alone in your journey even though you didn’t pick the ride. My desire is to encourage you with my stories of my journey with depression, anxiety, and my life as I live each day to be my very best. No, it's not easy and no I’m not wearing the mask of shame because of mental illness. We must raise our voices because silence only keeps us invisible. Remember this, it is not always about us. It is about who sees us. Someone is always watching, and they need you and your story. Live out loud one day at a time. Don't be afraid to take you seriously, because if you don’t, no one else will. You got this!
Monday, July 31, 2017
For the past few weeks the desire to write and share is like sitting in a dentist's chair. I loath dentists. They are evil but necessary. Going to the dentist sends my anxiety into overdrive, and I have even broke out in tears in the middle of procedures. You see how difficult writing can be for me who struggles with clinical depressive and anxiety? Am I the only artist who gets an access denied reply when attempting to get in creative motion? Okay, it's just me. Am I the only one who struggles with depression and anxiety who has desires to do a million and one things, but push past the thinking gate? What we as artists face is not so much of a block, I prefer to call it a temporary moment of, access denied.
Our mental health is fashioned the same way. We want to do this or that, access denied. We need to clean and cook, access denied. We need to shower and spiff ourselves up, access denied. You see your children running a muck, access denied. Is that poor house plant in the corner on its last leaf? Access denied. Just getting out of bed is extreme, access denied with sirens and fireworks. If we get real, we all can relate and admit it, right? No matter how much desire you have, all of the red flags are popping up, ACCESS DENIED. So, you stay in your comfort zone behind closed doors. Even answering the phone is an act of congress. It's just me right?
What about having granted access to all that you need and desire? What does that look like for you? What about stepping out of your unfulfilling and imagined comfort zone by force? What about not cutting your arms or legs? What about not planning your suicide? What about not pulling your hair out by the roots or scratching until blood flows? Our emotional well being has many layers. The key is to allow the layers to be pulled back, to reveal the gift that's inside of you, to allow your gift to be revealed to all who desire to experience the access that you grant them to your authentic beauty.
My brothers and sisters, no matter what your gifts are, if you are not revealing them to the world, the world misses out on your authentic beauty. Be it writing, painting, dancing, or playing an instrument, all of these gifts and more are the catalyst to allowing others access to your greatness. These priceless gems of who you are is exactly what the world needs from you. Though we will experience rejection, we must reject the idea that we are not enough or needed. We must actively ignore the naysayers and embrace the one or two or even hundreds who say yes to us and embrace us unconditionally. You must say yes to yourself because you deserve it. If you are surrounded by rejection, remove yourself, UNAPOLOGETICALLY.
You deserve all that God has just for you. God's word tells us that, "no weapons formed against you will prosper." The weapons will come, but if you fight, you will eventually win. So, brush yourself off, turn off the distractions and make your move. No matter how small your move is, each step forward moves you further away from where you dont belong and moves you closer to where you are required to be. Take action and let action fuel you.
I made my move forward and you are reading it. Access was granted.
Saturday, July 1, 2017
After a few work days of buses not showing up for their scheduled stops, me getting home close to 2 hours later than normal, and no good sleep I'm reminded still, how good God is. Even the periodic snaps of depression and anxiety haven't caused me to forget how good God is. The key is encouraging myself because all storms pass.
It amazes me to see so many people unaware of the true effects of mental illness. They tell you, get over it. They are the ones who have no debilitating physical or educational knowledge of the struggles. They don't understand the fight everyday to remain in a visual normal state of mind with tending to the tasks requiring your presence. They can't understand why you cry for no apparent reason. Unaware that some wish to lay down at any given time to sleep hoping to never awake again. Unaware that at any moment a fuse can blow in ones mind and all hell can be unleashed. Unaware that they may see beauty or bronze, while a depressive is seeing and feeling disgust, frustration, anger, and many more emotions because of the many triggers. Unare that someone is plannimg to end their life while smiling. Unaware that a depressive just placed cuts on their body to distract them from the chatter in your head. Oh no, they have no idea the magnitude that mental illness has on a soul shouting under water, unheard. Unaware that there is no such thing as, getting over it.
Since my diagnosis in April 2016, I realize my limits and I don't apologize for them. I know when, what, and how when it comes to me and my journey. Noone can tell me how I should feel. The sad thing is, I often times feel ousted, abandoned and socially inadequate. Though I know who the few are that remain a constant in my life, I see the fear in ones eyes due to the stigma. I see the concern in their eyes when I talk about my journey. I also see the shock as they seem to not want to believe that I struggle. Because I smile, laugh, and encourage others. The thing is, I have struggled long before a clinical diagnosis. I've struggled since a very young age, I just didn't know what it was at the time, so I pushed, stuffed, ignored, and move on in life until, there was no more room and the wall showed up smack dab in my face, clinical depression and anxiety.
I won't complain because I have learned many valuable lessons, and of them remains at the forefront of my awareness, the God I serve is always present and because of Him alone, I rise up and show up with my best for each day. I no longer jump on band wagons and trends to remain relevant or in touch. I've limited my intake of other people's chatter especially when it has nothing to do with me and my journey, especially when I absolutely see gnats and no fruit in their lives. I'm like yeah, I hear you, but do you know what God says? Boom, I slammed the door of my conscious and not allow doubt, fear, or another's doubt and fear to throw me off course. Don't get me wrong, I hear the conversation I just just don't co-sign the conversation. I do get overly concerned and frustrated mainly because I'm a thinker. I think about thinking and then I think some more. Let me think about that. Giggles.
My brothers and sisters, there is no perfect and absolute way of walking out your journey. There is no feel better quick scheme to push you to the other side of the dark cloud, but there are action steps to take each day to ensure that you don't remain stuck under that dark cloud. You just have to be hungry for peace and balance. Shine your own sunshine. Music and taking a walk helps me. Keeping the negative and duldrum at bay is powerful when you are in tune with who you are is one of many keys to peace and balance. Knowledge of your journey is very important, educating yourself will give you the tools to fight. After a year, I have become much better at keeping myself in check, and not complaining is my super power on this journey. So get up and show up for yourself and watch God show out on your behalf because you are loved and needed. You matter.
Sunday, June 18, 2017
5 am. I was sleeping and the Holy Spirit ushered me awake and this is the blog post that results from that obedience. I don't feel much love. I love me, God loves me, and I know few who love me, but what I give in my understanding of love, my cup is half empty. I'm not sad about it rather, I'm elated that if I can't have authentic and genuine love, I don't want the worthless alternative. I'm not talking about man meets woman and they fall in love kind of love. Im talking about a genuine and true compassion, a fulfilling type love. I'm talking about the encouragement and motivation type love. I'm taking about like minds marching towards a purpose type love, together. Is that even possible without selfishness and conditions? I don't see it. I'm talking about true and authentic love. Oh, many claim and start, but they seldom finish only to change tracks in the middle of the journey.
As the years pass, I now see people for who they only have their capacity to be. I dont always speak on it, but because of the inate awareness, I can see the jagged edges early on because I too was once a severely jagged edge. Torn and tattered. I have learned that what love is to one is not necessarily the same love for another. I have learned that loyalty for many is only contingent on what they can siphon for themselves, draining the other emotionally and taking the other for granted. My early years took on an exhilarated jaunt around love not truly knowing what love was until I listened and studied not just The Holy Scriptures, but material related to the art of love. Knowledge is powerful when used.
1 Corinthians chapter 13 sheds the largest beckon of light on what love IS and what it is NOT. It is the foundation and precursor to the arrival of Jesus Christ and his message; Love your neighbors as you would love yourself found in Matthew chapter 22. Oh how broken hearted Jesus would be, angry as when he flipped the sellers tables in the synagogue square seeing the lack of love. Seeing the hatred, selfishness and greed that is the normal of today. Seeing the high mindedness of the nations. Seeing many claim to love God, but have no love for their fellow man or woman regardles of how they desire to live. Seeing brokenness, homelessness, hunger, abuse, abandonment without one thought. Quick to reject, but failing to provide. Jesus however in spirit sees it all from the right hand seat of The GREAT I AM who also sees and know this, just as the names can be added to the Book of life so they can also be removed, blotted out.
What I have painfully experienced is that a person can be rejected and ignored due to differences without getting clarity and without listening to understand instead of listening to respond. Family is like toilet water flushed down the drain of separations to unknown degrees. Parents not understanding and respecting their children. Children ignoring and disrespecting their parents. No values, boundaries or limits. No accountability or accepting responsibility. Sex is the motivator and destroyer for those unaware of their value. None of this is secret as Timothy so eloquently warned in 2 TImothy chapter 3. I thank my big sister Vernice for sharing this valuable scripture with me when I was around 17. I didn't know it then, but she laid the foundation for what became a powerful lens into human kind and the warning God provided so many centuries ago. It has come to pass.
My brothers and sisters, I don't know who these words are for, but I sense the urging to share that this selfish type of love and living must end and we must, one man and one woman at a time, get back to true love. Love of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We must position ourselves for that which will last and not the earthly that will desintergrate and moths will eat, knowing that we take nothing with us with that last exhale. I encourage you to read Matthew chapter 20. Evaluate what should be important and take action immediately as we know tomorrow is not promised.
Know this, the blessings and curses of God are both sure.