Thursday, December 8, 2016

Resting In The Victory - My Journey Through Depression

It has been over a month since I have posted to the blog, but not for a lack of trying. I have written a few pieces, but once I read over them, they just didn’t click for me. Perfectionist issues!  Even as I sit and peck the keys to express this post, I am struggling. I don’t have anything to say, yet I have so much to say. Confusing right? I absolutely don’t understand it, but I am not going to force it.
7 months ago, I felt the earth under my feet disappear. I couldn’t catch my breath and the tears wouldn’t stop flowing. The vice grip on my stomach was unbearable. My heartbeat was doing a triple beat tango, and no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t crawl out of the dark pit of dread, despair, rage, and heartache. Chronic depression and anxiety, that was the diagnosis. I am following both of my doctors’ orders, taking the medication and attending counseling. I devour books that give me insight, knowledge, direction, and comfort during this walk in the valley. I have removed myself from situations and people. I take personal inventory of who I am and who I authentically desire to be.
I have accepted that I have tried too hard to keep it all together. I try too hard to show love and genuine concern for others. I reach out, but I don’t get the reach back. This is one of my readjustments. I am no longer going to put myself out there like that. I don’t want part time or sometime relationships. I understand that we all have lives to live, but we must put serious effort in building relationships and it absolutely will not be one sided.  Not that I don’t care, but because I care more about me. Love you and Lord bless you. I have never tried to fit in because I know through God’s grace and mercy that I am set apart for His purpose and plan. God is showing me His pruning techniques. He is showing me what and who to eliminate from my life. As He prunes my spiritual branches, I am cutting down toxic trees. LOL. I already see who the roots are.
I am a codependent. I am a people pleaser. I have serious abandonment issues. I love people, sometimes to a fault. I want to see others happy. I think I am a perfectionist. I have experienced death and broken relationships just like anyone else, and I internalize almost everything. I don’t easily trust anyone and that is because I sense the fake, the lies, and some other choice words that I am also working on. LOL.  I process the process. I overthink everything. I am very impatient and my tolerance for stupidity is minus zero and I don’t care for small talk. People who have never experienced anything or have lived sheltered lives can’t relate to none of what I said above. There are some who try to understand, I give it to them. Some would say, stop living in the past or stop holding on to this or that. Well if they really understood, they would know that the above issues and more really have nothing to do with living in the past. I have not mastered my victory over depression and anxiety, but I have claimed the victory and I am running to the finish line. I make the decision to keep my head raised when my spirit is low. I will not ignore the enemy when he tries to slide through the cracked windows and doors of my emotions.
To those of you who struggle with depression, anxiety, or any other mental illness, please take it seriously. Make the ultimate decision to do the work for your healing. I get it. I too wake up in the pit.  I sometimes wake up sad and in tears for no reason. I too feel overwhelmed with an unknown rage. Until you acknowledge the issues in your life that no longer serve you, that have broken you down, or keeping you in physical and spiritual bondage, there will be no true growth or healing, only an illusion. You cannot continue your life on a collision course and expect to reach the winners circle. Let me be very clear, if we are not doing it God’s way, everything we attempt will fail disastrously. Yes, it is all fun and games, everyone is all happy and sparky like pop tarts and skittles, then the bottom drops out from under our feet. I know it well, been there and done it. Stop trying to get God to bless your mess, he won’t and His word is clear, He cannot lie. What God hates, God hates. Read and study God’s word so that you will know how to live your life on purpose. There is healing there, there is peace there, there is victory in those pages.  No, everything will not be perfect, and every day will not be sunshine and rainbows, but you will have a clearer picture of how to walk your life out in the light of Christ and not in the dark of the enemy
With all that has taken place over the past year, as I continue to gain a mental balance after being diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety, and my son having a horrific motorcycle accident, I am still emotionally spent. On top of that, a good friend of mine’s son passed away at a young age, that hit me harder than I thought.  My thoughts, ideas, and even my actions have taken on a whole new meaning. As I dig deeper into God and His word, every step and every action must be SPECIFIC. There is a song that says, “if it don’t fit don’t force it” well I have been forcing my life to evolve, and I get the message loud and clear, and the exhaustion that rode in with it. 
God has been pressing me for some time to use my faith and to trust Him with even more of my life, I am listening.  With the recent move from an apartment of 7 years, I am in a good space, but nothing compares to having your own. I have left a job of 6 years. God is truly pealing back the layers of my life and getting rid of the residue. God is doing a powerful work in me so that He can use me for a greater purpose other than my own purpose.

My brothers and sisters, as 2016 comes to a close, please examine your life and take full inventory of who you are and where you desire to go. Take your health seriously and do the work required to be healthy. Be mindful of the actions you take and the words you speak. Determine the work that you do and for whom you are working. Are you working and doing for selfish gain and ambition? Are you working at building up for a lasting legacy? Connect with those who desire a true and authentic connection with you and don’t waste your valuable time on those who don’t. Prayer for your loved ones, friends and enemies. Surrender to God and watch Him do amazing things in your life.

We all stumble and struggle, that is life. We will face hardships and heart breaks, that is life. We will fall face down many times, but what matters most is how we get up. Dust ourselves off and walk with our head held high.  God is no respecter of person’s. He will use ANYONE at any given time to accomplish His great purpose. BE READY! And yes, He will use a drunk, an addict, an adulterer, or a prostitute. You see, humans like you and I only see a person from the outside and many of us base our judgement on outward appearances, actions, and words not understanding that they are struggling with something that we can’t see. We will never know the whole story of a person’s life. Remember this, God sees the heart and that is where He does His work, inside out.

If you know that God is shifting the atmosphere, why is it that you do not shift with God? Haven’t you heard it said, that in order to see change, you have to be the change? We cannot control everything in and around our lives. We must step back from all that does not serve a greater purpose for us. We must readjust our focus and be specific about each step, each word, each action, and each thought we take. We must increase the value on our time and efforts. Specific! We must gain knowledge on the issues of our lives and seek God for wisdom and direction as we move towards solutions and stop making and holding onto excuses. We must stop going around in negative circles expecting our lives to change for the good. Stop blaming yourself or others because we all make mistakes, but we must be aware that there are no do-overs. Stop making the same mistakes. We must be cautious of who we allow to speak a word or pray over us, because there are many who prey on us, that is spiritual warfare.  In my last post I mentioned that the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. This is real talk and as God’s chosen we must always be on alert and armed for battle.

Today will be my last post to The Unique View until February 2017. I will be reorganizing, refocusing, eliminating, and restructuring. I am currently on a spiritual sabbatical. Thank you for following, reading, and commenting on the posts. Thank you to all of you who have checked on me and kept me focused, I appreciate the encouragement and knowledge you have shared with me. As the holidays approach, I pray that each and every one of you are loved, blessed and filled with the joys of the Lord. Thank you. Remember, nothing changes unless we do. Do the work. Take action and never quit. See you next year. Goooooooooooooooo Hawks!

Below is a daily devotion by, Dr. Charles Stanley that inspired this post. I pray that it blesses you as it has blessed me.
Dressed For Battle by Charles Stanley -
When you wake up in the morning and get ready for the day, you’re probably not thinking about stepping onto a battlefield. But the enemy is all around us, constantly assaulting our heart and mind with temptations, adversities, emotional attacks, and more. And some days, it feels as though we are standing on the front lines of combat with no protection whatsoever. Therein lies our misunderstanding. You see, we do have protection. The Lord made provision for our nakedness in battle. He hasn’t sent us to war unprotected. Instead, He’s given us a suit of armor that the enemy can’t penetrate—the armor of God.
In today’s passage, the apostle Paul tells us step by step how to prepare for our daily warfare, and yet most Christians don’t pay much attention to the instruction. We may say, “Well, that’s a nice metaphor, but we shouldn’t take it literally. After all, the armor isn’t real.” Yes, it is. It is as real as the clothes on your back. Do you want to see a dramatic change in your life? Do you want to stand strong in the face of adversity? Do you want to overcome temptation? Then you need to dress for battle. I challenge you to intentionally put on your spiritual armor every day for the next seven days. Put on one piece at a time—the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, the sandals of peace, the shield of faith, and the sword of the Spirit. Just try it as you meditate daily on Ephesians 6:10-18, and watch what God will do.
Ephesians 6:6-18 NLT - A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil.
Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Shattered Comfort Zone – My Journey Through Depression Part 2

I smile and go inward with my thoughts because voicing them at any given moment could result in an atomic melt down, my own melt down. It is bad enough that I think, it is worse when my facial expressions betray my brain. Depression and anxiety will do that to you. I am a routine type person. I have structure and I am organized, sometimes to a fault. At this moment, I am totally not in control, straight out of my comfort zone. Being in situations that are not well put together or unorganized makes me itch. This has always been my way of life. I was raised to do things right or don’t do them at all. No half steppin!

These past few weeks have been emotionally and physically draining, but so far I am doing good. Even though the cloud of anxiety is waving the red flag shouting, run and kick everyone in the kneecaps, I have managed to only have one small melt down. I have had a horrific virus that has been flying around, that floored me. I will spare you the details, trust me you don’t want to know the details. In my last post I shared about my move. Well, today marks 25 days of cohabitation with my son and a rowdy 1-year old grandson. OH My Lord. It has been years since I have had the pleasure of waking up and going to sleep, with a child. I am an empty nester and I absolutely appreciate it now more than ever.  It has been years since I have had to listen to screaming and crying because Lil Man cannot share his words yet, so we as in momma, daddy, and Nana, try to figure it out. Picture the game Sharad’s! I thank God, that I do not have small children to raise and I praise God that He will not bless me with a King who has small children. From my mouth to the heavens. 

Since the diagnosis of depression and anxiety, I have learned to really focus on who I am and what my abilities are. Though I have a desire and passion to do many things, my physical and mental body is letting me know, slow your roll sister and focus. Well, I thought I was focusing until I learned that being busy is not always productive, especially if that busyness is taking up valuable time between you and the Lord. I am learning in deep ways that having too many irons in the fire is a catastrophe and it is exhausting. How can jugglers keep all of those balls in the air? Being a reader and writer, it has been very difficult to focus or keep a thought. Sometimes I drift off in the middle of whatever is going on. I listen to others and become anxious, all I want them to do is either get to the point or shut up. I listen to people make excuses and I want to scream running with gasoline boots on. There are times I feel robbed of my life. There are times when I feel worthless and unnoticed. Most of the feelings are my own exaggerated thoughts. I am aware that many do love and appreciate me and it boils down to me really keep loving and appreciating myself. Not in a superficial way, but in a deep rooted way, just like the Lord love’s me.

Even though I know that I am much to many, I feel empty because I do not see the same in return. People who should be there aren’t. And the ones who are, are an absolutely blessing.

John 10:10 NLT says this, the thief comes to steal and kill and destroy. My (Jesus) purpose is to give life in all its fullness.  Let’s look at the thief. Many will look at this and think it is related to a physical person stealing physical things, killing physical people, and destroying material possessions. This is partly true, but there is more to this scripture. First we are human, fleshly beings. Before our minds add up the costs of our thoughts, ideas, and suggestions, our flesh reacts first. That tingly, itchy, hot, or even cold feeling we get starts in our flesh. The heart racing, sweating, eye twitch, that’s the flesh reaction to a number of things. Once the body is on alert, the mind is like, so, what do we have here? Then it is off to the races with trying to figure it out, solve the problem, or in some cases create a problem. Here comes Jesus. The peace that passes all understanding, that’s if we truly take in all that He has said and done, all that He has said to do and not do. Go back to John 10 and read the entire chapter closely.

I have to admit that I look back over my life and trust me I look back often. I am noticing some things that I am ashamed of, but not surprised. The Holy Spirit convicts that way.  I noticed that the enemy hit me in the head and my body reacted. My head took over and my emotions went rampant. My only desire is to be a recluse. Steal, kill, and destroy. I have allowed the enemy to hold me in mental hostage, my body followed with sickness, depression, anxiety, laziness, selfishness, self-centeredness, anger, rage, self-righteousness and the list goes on.  All related to me, me, me and a whole lot of me. Do you see it? Steal, kill, and destroy.  

I know that God has been right there in my footsteps the whole time, without question. I know that the Holy Spirit has been pushing, nudging, pulling on my ear, and alerting me. Acknowledgement is half of any solution. So with that being said, even though within the human body chemical’s change, God never changes and the word never changes. One thing is certain, the attacks will not end. The ungodly will be removed from the ungodly, and God will continue to do new things.

My Brothers and Sisters, no matter what obstacle’s you face, give praise. No matter who walks in or walks out of your life, give praise. No matter the decisions you must make, give praise and make those decisions. No matter your health diagnosis, give praise and do the work in getting healthy. Giving praise is the life that Jesus gives. Everything will not work out the way you intend. What will happen is, you will grow and gain so much peace, you will have a testimony, and most of all you will have an extreme praise.

Be Blessed

Monday, October 10, 2016

Shattered Comfort Zone - My Journey Through Depression Part 1

In my last post I shared the reality of the apartment complex I am currently in increasing the rent by $150.00, many others were affected as well. So this complex will have many vacancies. Awwwww.  Side eye. Rent increases are taking place all over the country making it very hard for working people to live comfortable and in safety, some are even being forced into homelessness because they cannot afford the outrageous rent prices, and the so called affordable, low income, and subsidized is an illusion.  Unless you want to live in a ran down and dilapidated property, where slum lords are only concerned about receiving their rent on time. Praise God that He will not allow that direction for me. Though I have not secured my own lease as of this post, I do have a roof.
For a depressive, all of the unplanned change could cause spontaneous combustion. Surprisingly, I am not in the dark pit of depression. That may be due to the medication, the self-talk, and determination to walk this process out. It is absolutely due to my faith.  I am feeling some anxiety due to the unknown and that I am an imagined control freak. My patience is not short, it is gone. My conversation is leaning towards the sign language that I should have taken seriously in Jr. High School. Give me silence. Driving in my car is like a rolling padded cell. My thoughts want to do a 200-yard dash, stopping suddenly and then, do a long jump and a running leap off of the nearest cliff.  That is how the effects of anxiety feel to me, but don’t you worry, I am not going to harm myself, I have some grandchildren to harass. LOL
I am excited about the changes that were much needed because I was content and complacent. I am over joyed for a fresh perspective.  I thank God because if it was not for Him and His grace, for His love letters of peace and love, I would have scratched every piece of paint off of every wall down to the bare 2 x 4. I would have pulled every nail out of that wall with my teeth. A little dramatic right? For Real Doe!!!!!!!!! Imagine fingernails being raked across the chalk board sound. My teeth hurt thinking about it. LOL. I am absolutely on cloud 9. Not because I have won the Lottery, I would have to play to even attempt a win. Not that my life is in a grand arena of bells and whistles. Not even due to me no longer suffering from Depression and Anxiety.  I am on cloud 9 because I have been pushed out of my comfort zone of imagined control. I say imagined control because this woman is a control freak.
My Brothers and Sister, all of us have a journey to travel and a cross to bear. All of have a testimony within us that is for someone, we must now that it is not about us. So when you feel the earth move under your feet and the skies seem to be cloudy and gray, know that god is up to something. Rest in His presence. Rest in His word. And most of, instead of frowning and complaining about the darts that come your way, stand up and swing back. Raise your hands in total praise. I know that I cannot do anything without my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I lift my hands in total praise.
Be Blessed

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Staying Power - My Journey Through Depression


There is a gospel song that comes to mind when I think about, staying power. I goes like this:

It's another day's journey and I'm glad)
I'm glad about it,
(I'm glad), I'm glad about it,
(I'm so glad), I'm glad about it).

(It's another day's journey and I'm glad),
I'm glad about it,
I'm so glad to be here.

(You know I've got my health and strength and I'm glad),
I'm glad about it,
(I'm so glad), I'm glad about it
(I'm so glad), I'm glad about it.

(You know I've got my health and strength and I'm glad),
I'm glad about it,
I'm so glad to be here.
I'm so glad.
I'm so glad to be here.

Yes, I can say that I am glad to be here. Even though I feel as if my life being turned upside down, I am still glad. Since my last post, I have been working hard to keep myself out of the dark hole of depression and anxiety. I owe it all to God first and foremost, without Him, I would not be here. I am grateful for my sister friend Pamela. She came to me asking me to be her accountability partner during a hard time for her, and due to God’s grace, Pamela has been a support and encouragement for me.

I am currently packing to move from my apartment that I have lived in for 7 years. Not my choice, but due the management increasing the rent by a whopping $150.00. So that will take me close to $1,000.00 a month for a 2-bedroom apartment, nothing fancy, not even a washer and dryer in the unit, but onsite. Yeah well, nope. Off I go.  And, I want to be angry. I want to scream and kick a wall or two. God literally has both of his hands and feet in my back, forcing me to get out of my comfort zone. I say that because, last year I was going to move. I started looking for a new apartment and got extremely exhausted mentally. I emotionally shut down and decided to stay put, comfort zone. I did it again this year when my lease was up in August. I decided to stay another year, knowing it was time to move. And once I told my counselor that I decided to stay, the Lord shook the earth and changed the winds, causing me to be uneasy, frustrated, angry, and fearful, with the notice to increase the rent with a new 12-month lease, not even an option of a 6-month lease. Do you see the real picture? In order for God to use us, we have to move. Either we move on our own or He will direct the winds to push us. Go back and read my blog post called, Decisions.

I am amazed at how God works. Look at the second paragraph, see the number 7?  For God, the number 7 represents the number of completion. This just hit me right between the eyes right this minute, while I am writing this post. Completion. Completion. Completion. Say it with me, completion.  As of right now my soul is in peace where I was frustrated. Right now I am praising God because in his infinite wisdom, He just showed me, confirmed for me, and reminded me that His hands are all over this journey I am on. Trust Him, that is faith. Stepping when you don't see where your steps are taking you faith.

I almost lost my emotional power when I received the rent increase, but I didn’t. I wanted to complain and go off on Debra, the manager, but I didn’t.  I just thank God that I had people around me to keep me calm, and they didn’t even know it.  As time goes on, I am amazed at myself and how I am handling the storms of my life. Prior to being diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety, I would have internalized everything, I would have vented my anger. I would be over analyzing every detail. But, seeing the number 7 up close, right now, and knowing what it represents in the spiritual, I am encouraged and at peace today.  And though I do have some peace, I am still struggling some things, that is the depressive and anxious mind, not being able to stay focused. This will pass.

My Brothers and Sisters, don’t take the journey you are on lightly.  I am sure you have heard it said, everything happens for a reasons. Well, it is true. You have the power to make it. You have the power to enjoy your journey even though a dark cloud may be looming, the winds may be blowing, and the rain falls. Tell it all to go away through prayer and stand on the promises of God. Stand on your true and loving friends and family. Trust them enough to be honest how you are feeling and why. Tell them even if you don’t know why. We all have the staying power to overcome. Don’t concern yourself with tomorrow. Keep your eyes on today.

Be Blessed

Saturday, August 27, 2016

In His Strength - My Journey Through Depression

Life alone and all that comes with living is a balancing act. Raising children, house cleaning, shopping, work, and many other chores that we add to our list of  must do's, no wonder our mental health is out of balance. Now, add a serious mental illness of any degree to the equation, and you will no doubt tip the scales and see no signs of balance. With any type of emotional hardship, balancing your everyday life can be a struggle and seem impossible, Guess what my dear friend, you can do it.
Webster explains Balance as, the state of having your weight spread equally so that you do not fall, the ability to move or to remain in a position without losing control or falling, a state in which different things occur in equal or proper amounts or have an equal or proper amount of importance.
You may find your left foot on one side of the scale in right position, and your right foot positioned lower than your left. You are holding on. Oh yeah! You are doing good at this balancing thing until the unknown shakes your core. You rock back and forth trying to hold your position, shaky and off balance, crash land you go. Your mental space is rocking and sounding the alarm. Your cute little scale is about to explode, let it. Sometimes we need to fall down so that we can get up, regroup, and readjust.  Look at gymnastics. Not one of those talented tumblers were experts when they first hit the matt. They had to tumble and fall. They got bruised and broke a few bones. They had to flip, flop, and not land on both feet, twisting an ankle, now that is some unbalance. OUCH! My point is, with anything we are faced with in our lives, we must be willing to go through the fire, we must be consistent and diligent at understanding and working towards the balance we need to get through our journey.

Since my diagnosis of clinical depression and anxiety, I have learned valuable lessons.  I have read various books that have given me valuable tools in understanding this journey. I am a firm believer that with anything that impacts our lives and the ability to be healthy and whole, we must do the work, we must find and use the resources that apply to us individually.  No one person suffers the same. No one person heals in the same manner.  Each of us are unique and in our healing we need to be specific and on purpose so that we can live the authentic and healthy life that God intended.  This journey has brought me closer to a loving and compassionate God, and His grace is truly sufficient in all situations. 
Exercise is a good way to help calm the onset of depression and anxiety naturally. Increasing your heart rate and getting a good sweat in, getting those endorphins elevated can help. I take walks and listen to some soothing music. We should be achieving 10,000 steps in our day. Hint! Hint! Get active. I silence my surroundings as best I can. Being an introvert this is easy for me. I know for those of you who have children to raise this may be a tuff one, but I encourage you to put into practice some quiet time for the little darlings and yourself. 

My brothers and sisters, you will win. You have the power to overcome. Take a step back from convincing yourself that you must do everything, you really don’t, and besides, the world will not come to an end. Eating a balance meal is helpful as well. Cutting out sugar and caffeine can be a life changer. I have not mastered that yet. LOL As I sip my cup of coffee and stare at the chocolate chip cookies on my desk. Pray for me.

Be Blessed 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Decisions – My Journey Through Depression

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a clean and neat person. Well, not as of late. I absolutely cannot bring myself to empty the dishwasher and load up the few dishes that have sat in my sink, in dishwater for the past few days, well going on 4 days. I have emptied the dish water and refilled the sink with clean soapy water, but I have not had the desire to complete the dish washing process.  Judge me if you will, unless you have faced this horrible illness, you really have no idea what a depressive will face on a day-to-day basis.  To some, making a decision is like chopping off your own hand and watching it bleed.  I can get dramatic.

I have talked with other woman to learn that they too face this battle.  Tasks as small as emptying a dishwasher and reloading it, come on, really? Yes, absolutely. I find myself looking around and saying to myself, I need to do that and this, oh and that. I start out on a good groove of hitting every room in my two-bedroom apartment. I swipe at the bathroom (no it is not horrendous), I adjust the kitchen (it is summer time so I am not cooking), my bedroom is my cave, so no, making the bed is not an option, and don’t even look in my closet, you will get lost. The living room is picture perfect, I am never in there unless there is company, and Lord knows, I don’t want company. Introverts cringe at the sound of someone knocking on the door. I look at my phone, I look out my window to see if there is a car I know, the benefits of living on the parking lot side of the apartments.  Did I miss a call? Did they call first? Ignore. Silence. Go away. As a matter of fact, run for your life.

I have had to really force myself to even take a shower and brush my teeth. I dreaded going to the grocery store for sustenance. Thank God for working outside of the home, there is now no choice in those decisions.  I worked from home for a year and let me tell you, the last few months are a blur. I hardly left my house. Rise at 5:30 am, coffee in hand walking into the home office. I did not have to get dressed, but just in case I had a system issue, I partially dressed. I hardly left my house during the winter time and trust me, it was not hard to do.  When the depression slammed me into the wall, I was working from home and if it had not been for one my favorite ladies and supervisor’s being at her desk at that particular time, I don’t know what I would have done. I was mentally in the ceiling, in the corner like a spider creating a web for it's prey. Yes, I was a mess, tears, and full blown panic attack. But God saw fit to have the right person in the right place, at the right time. This lady has been a prayer warrior and encourager. She has seen me in tears and has witnessed my joyful goofy moments.  Thank you Diane, words can not express  how thankful I am for you, you will not know how much you helped me on that dreadful day. Your prayers, your kind words,  your calm in the middle of storms, and your encouragement was and is absolutely the light of Christ.

I don’t pretend that all is well, because it is not. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, I don’t. I will tell you that I am learning so much more about myself and mental illness though this journey. I could care less of what others may say or think due to sharing my story. It is my story and if I can help to encourage one person, that is a win-win. It doesn’t matter what degree of darkness a person faces in mental illness. Mental illness does not mean that you are defective or damaged. It does not mean that you have somehow crossed over into the abyss of insanity floating around in a pitch black sky, alone. You are not doomed to live a life of uncertainty with pills and doctors invading your mental space. No, quite the opposite. It means that you have lived a life with a mask and it is now time for you to allow that mask to fall and crack into a million pieces.  It means you have internalized major events to keep from addressing them. It also means that the serotonin in your brain is either depleted or on overload, you can’t sleep and leaving your house is like World War II, or you are sleeping too much to avoid life all together. It means that your emotions are not yours to control and any word or look will cause the tears to overflow like a beautiful water fall, nonstop.

It is time for you to release and let go. It is time for you to acknowledge just how beautiful and handsome (can’t leave my brothers out) you are. That you have gifts waiting for someone to cherish. You have a heart of forgiveness to unleash onto all that need it or don’t. Remember, acknowledgement and forgiveness is for you and you alone. Forgiveness ushers in freedom, peace, and love of you just for you.

My brothers and sisters, you are not alone. I cannot say that enough. Do the work. Get clarity. Get grounded. God did not give us a spirit of fear, He gave us dominion and authority. We will go through trials. We are in spiritual warfare first and then it is physical. Fight the good fight of faith. God is right there with you, lean on Him. You are in preparation for a great testimony. 

Please excuse the more than double spaces on this post, Blogger won the fight.

Be Blessed

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Riding The Roller Coaster - My Journey Through Depression

Depression for me is like a roller coaster ride. It moves slowly at first and then, whoosh, down it goes and then faster it goes up the track. It twists and turns and back down and then up faster and faster. It loops and curves and then, it stops. The depressive moments come out of the blue, literally and take hold just as fast as a roller coaster moving along it’s track.  I don’t play with roller coasters and they don’t appreciate me. I don’t care for amusement parks only due to the mass congestion of people. I do like the exhibits and some of the food, but I have not been to our yearly fair in over 30 years. That is a set up for a major anxiety attack.  Can you relate?

Since April 6, 2016, my journey with depression and anxiety has been eye opening and down-right traumatic. The sadness, the dread, the idea that if I have to talk to anyone or go anywhere makes me want to revert back into my cave.  Don’t get me wrong, I talk all day working in a call center, which I have been doing for many years.  I do smile and laugh with my co-workers and speak to people who pass by. I have the ability to encourage others, but I cannot encourage myself. I cannot seem to come out of that dark abyss once I am there. I would rather be left alone to my own thoughts and creations or the lack.  The desire to cry chokes me. The urge to scream ushers in rage. The shear dread of anxiety makes me want to run as fast as the speed of light. Yeah, well I have not been given that super power, yet. Sometimes a menial task is overwhelming.  It’s not as if I zoned out and lost touch with reality, no, it is that I am exhausted mentally and physically.  Sleep is a curse word because I don’t do that task well and being a hyper insomniac does not help. The narcotics don’t help unless I want to double or triple up and possibly over dose, nawww not doing that, awake I stay.

My life for the past few months have been mentally turned upside. I no longer feel like myself and what I am feeling is causing me to question myself on a daily basis.  I have become more reserved than what is normal for me. To be honest I would like to disappear, but hey, that super power has missed me too. Abracadabra! LOL. I have been told that talking about mental illness is scary.  I hear others say, I don’t want anyone in my business, or I don’t want to be labeled as crazy, I am not talking to a shrink. Well, you know what is scarier? Losing control of your emotions in public. Driving and having an anxiety attack. Being paralyzed by some unrealistic fear. Feeling as if you are alone and not one person loves or understands you. Not being able to get out of your bed or leave the house. Thoughts of and planning to commit suicide. Now that should be scary and not taken lightly. I have had most of these feelings. So, who cares about a label? Who cares what anyone has to say? That has never been one of my issues, and at this point in my life I don’t care.  So I will advocate and be the poster child for mental illness if need be. I will use my experience as a catalyst to helping others speak out, one voice at a time. Silence does not heal. Being afraid does not heal. Trying to ignore the issues will not make them go away.

Through this journey, I have increased my leaning on God and His word. Today, August 8, 2016 as I write this post, I am praising God for allowing me to see my 54th birthday. I am grateful to know that I serve an all knowing, all seeing, and everywhere God. If it was not for prayer, scripture and the Holy Spirit, I would crumble.  I cannot express enough how important you are to the Almighty. H

My brothers and sisters, are you suffering or do you know someone who is suffering?  Take action. We are capable of doing great things and balancing mental illness is no different. There is nothing we cannot do, if we really want to. Many will make excuses, many will not do the work or take the steps, keep speaking out and being transparent. GET HELP! I take medication and meet with a mental health specialist. I Let me tell you, it is one of the best things I could have done and I don’t regret it.  The only cage that can hold you hostage is the cage that you allow to hold you hostage. Take the steps. Do the work.

Be Blessed

Friday, July 22, 2016

Triggers - My Journey Through Depression

For the past few weeks, I have been in a good space.  Though I have not been able to focus on writing or reading, my emotions are in check. My thoughts are not travelling at the speed of light, and I am not about to jump out of my skin with anxiety.  Now let’s acknowledge today.  I woke up well before the 3:30 a.m. alarm and as I was making my exit from under my comfy blankets, the rain pours and the lightening is singing a melody, brightening up the morning skies.  That in and of itself is nerve racking. I am not a fan of thunder or being struck by it. 

5:00 am and I am dressed, in my car, and on my way to do my employee duties, the engine light comes on. Scream! Heart races and my thoughts move faster than the 60 miles per hour I was actually travelling.  Mental combustion.  This is one of those times when I wish I had a willing and capable husband who I could cozy up on and say honey, the engine light is on in my car. And he would so lovingly say, take my car and I will get it fixed, I love you and need you safe. Awwwwwww. Hahaha. Well I don’t, so I have to pull up my big girl sweat pants and handle it. Whatever it is.

Triggers come in many forms. I have many 
and abandonment is one of my main triggers. I don’t get too close and as far I am concerned for good reason. With abandonment is trust and because these two are buddies, it is very hard for me to step out of my comfort zone. I can be honest and transparent, but what I cannot be is totally vulnerable. Even though I know and trust God for my healing, I also know that all of this emotional chaos will soon pass and the bondage of depression and anxiety will fade away.

Sound familiar? Those of you who are battling depression and anxiety can relate to the calm and then the storm. Most often we can feel that storm before it slams into our beautiful and temporary peaceful space and time.  For a minute, my mind wanted to grab every negative event and run with it. I wanted to rant and do a rage dance about how and why this and that is getting on my last nerve, and just maybe the world is coming to an abrupt end (exaggeration) obviously we don’t know the time of the end. I wanted to really just climb right back under that boulder that I have managed to push to the side, and sit in my mental corner. 

My brothers and sisters, we must be aware and ready when the triggers surface. We must have a firm grasp even if it slips, on the triggers that can cause us to spiral back into the darkness of depression.  Learning these triggers takes patience and tenacity. We have to be willing. Learning them also requires acknowledgement on our part that they exist and trying to ignore them only sets us back in our growth and healing. No, it will not be easy and yes, you will fail, but the key is acknowledgement. Once you gained that step, you are on your way.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, to all of you who follow, comment, and share my blog posts.  It is humbling to know that some or all of what I have shared from the heart has resonated with you in some way.  Forgive my lack in consistent posting, this journey has really taken a lot out of me, but I am getting my mojo back.  Keep me in your prayers as I do the same for you. Hugs!

Be Blessed

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Will To Engage - My Journey Through Depression

If we never identify the lies and replace them with the truth, we'll forever crave a healthy life on a diet of poison and always wonder why we are sick. Author Craig Groeschel - Soul Detox

I am angry. I am frustrated. I feel stuck. Yes, I try to stay positive, but my thoughts take a journey without my permission. Depression pops up and anxiety kicks in and in the pit I go. Yes, depression is a pit. A pit of despair one cannot understand unless they have travelled the journey. There are days when I want to sleep the week away or I want to crawl under a boulder. Lately, I have been in a good space, not that the stabbing of depression does not cut, I am trying to do my part in healing. Even though I know that in Christ I am healed, I do know as a flesh being, I must take action.

As I look back over my life, I have always struggled with stress in some form. Everyday was a struggle to just keep living for my sons. I honestly think that if I did not have my children, I may have ended my life as a teenager. Though I have very fond memories of my childhood, I do have very sad and dark memories of my childhood. I was not molested or abused physically and I praise God. The fear of abandonment is a constant reminder after losing my mother when I was 16 years old. I honestly feel as if I lost more than I have ever gained, but the reality is, I know that I have gained so much due to the mighty grace of God. The fears of not being pretty enough, good enough, wanted or needed, oh yes, I admit that. The fear of failure is powerful. As a child I held everything in. As an adult I hold everything to a lesser degree. No wonder I crashed mentally in that wall with nowhere to go.

My journey with depression has caused me to take giant steps back to really see this process for what it is. I am reading books, going to counseling and taking medication. I am doing research. I talk about depression with those who care to listen and for that I am thankful because I have learned that others close to me are struggling too. As I sit here and do my best to bring you another post I find it difficult to really express how I feel. My emotions go up and down. As I will myself to engage, I remind myself that this journey is not about me. It is about someone who could use whatever it is that I can share to give them hope and encouragement. To say if nothing else, that I truly understand. To shout that we will make it.

As I experience this process, I am exhausted mentally, emotionally and physically. The effects of depression takes a catastrophic toll on the whole body. Yes, I can smile and laugh, but on the inside I want to scream. It is hard to focus on the many things that I truly enjoy like, reading, writing, or listening to old school R&B and gospel. I just want silence. Like today, my house has been silent except for the sirens and motorcycles whizzing by. The anxiety that creeps up inside of me is so overwhelming, I want to run away screaming like a maniac. The anxiety itself seems to be a bigger struggle for me as it happens for no apparent reason. I am not in danger and there is no danger lurking. So, why? I go to a scripture that is a reminder in so many ways.  Ephesians 6:12 NLT says, "For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places". Now lets look at it from the King James version that says, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places". Do you see what Paul is telling believers? Paul said this to remind them what powers are against the Church and the attempts made on turning them away from God. Not only is depression a mental warfare, it is a spiritual one too.

Mental illness is more than just some chemical imbalance. It is more than the brain producing more serotonin then needed. Though this is the root cause of mental illness along with tragedies left uncheck, satan is the author of confusion and lies, satan is the creator of dysfunction and chaos. And if you are a Christ believing man or woman you know this to be true. With that being said, I want to encourage you to stay connected to the true source of peace, God. Stay connected to those who want to see you at your best. Stay connected to all things positive and do your best to address the negatives in a way that moves you past the pit that leads to depression, codependency, and anxiety. Don't try to be all to everyone, YOU CAN'T. Don't force yourself to engage in anything that serves you no good.  Don't allow yourself to be a people pleaser. Say no and offer no explanations. The will to engage rests on you and what you are capable of and comfortable with. No, everyday will not be a good day. Everyday will be a new experience in your walk through depression. 

My brothers and sisters, I cannot say it enough that depression and anxiety are real killers mentally and physically. I want to encourage you who are struggling, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  You must take action in getting healthy. Seek counseling, try the medication. Change your eating habits and get active, as in physical activity. I thank God for my son, Marcus for encouraging me to get more active. He is a weight lifter so, if you know any serious weight lifters, you know what I am talking about. I am not lifting yet, but I am doing more walking, 3 to 5 miles each walk, and a little running. Back to you. Mental illness is a subject not being discussed and many are living and breathing but dead while living and breathing. Many men and women are locked up and not being diagnosed. Don't let this be you. If you don't know where to start, start with talking to God and asking Him to help you. He will do it.

Here are a few books that I have read and found very helpful:

Healing from Depression - 12 Weeks To A Better Mood - by Douglas Bloch, M.A.
Willow Weep For Me - by Meri Nana-Ama Danquah "I loved this one"
Understanding Depression - by J. Raymond DePaulo Jr. M.D
Get Out Of The Pit - by Beth Moore
Hope in the Midst of Depression - by Mary Southerland
Soul Detox - by Craig Groeschel "I loved this one"

You are needed. Your family and friends need you. Your gifts are needed. Have the will to engage.

Be Blessed

Sunday, June 5, 2016

A Mental State Of Mind- My Journey through Depression

As I journey through clinical depression, I am seeing clearly the areas in my life that I have magnified unnecessarily. I unintentionally allowed my thoughts to become laser focused on where I think I should be in my life and on the goals that I have never been able to achieve. I have not allowed myself to morn the death of those closest to me. I have learned to become a sponge, taking in all manner of other peoples issues. The codependency behavior wants to rise up and fix everything, make it all better. The only thing is, the sponge never got wrung out and I know that I cannot fix anything for anyone. Though I have accomplished many things, there are many goals that have seemed to get pushed back into a dark hole. Feelings of being unworthy of anything good. I have placed a priority note on areas that are of no real use in accomplishing what needs to be accomplished, for me. My life has become what I read in a book about clinical depression, an emotional toothache.

In 2006, I left Washington State and headed to Charlotte, North Carolina. It was to be my starting over point. I sold everything. I packed up the Toyota, picked up my girlfriend, and we were off like Thelma and Louise, without going over the cliff. Many people thought I absolutely lost my mind. Little did they know, I found my mind, well a piece of it. Driving over 3000 miles to a city I knew nothing about, accept what I learned from the internet and conversations from a few people who lived there. It was one of the best decisions I could have made at the point in my life. The experience alone is my story to remember. I learned a lot about myself. Though I relocated, my thoughts went with me. I dragged my emotions kicking and screaming. As I began to settle in, I felt as if a massive Silver Backed Gorilla was pushed off of my back somewhere along Highway 40 headed east. Though some turn of events caused me to return back to Washington State, I am grateful for the ability to see beyond my landscape. I returned no longer the person I was when I left. My ideals changed. My thoughts changed. My desire changed. Then, tragedy hit like an atomic bomb, my oldest sister Leslie passed away from a massive stroke. This was the turning point in my life, the break down. The realization of shear emptiness, abandonment, and anger. I felt lost, at times I still feel lost.

My sister's passing brought back every death I had experienced and every relationship that ended. It brought back the dread of abandonment, causing me to turn inward and not allow another person to get close. It brought back every, "I love you" that was said that turned into a dagger straight to my juggler. I learned to not believe any of what I see or hear. I learned to understand clearly the lack of consistency in others and myself. I have been lied too and lied on. I have been labeled and judged. I have been misunderstood, and truthfully, I am still misunderstood. Though none of it really bothered me on the surface, somewhere in the recesses of my psyche, it mattered. I held value and placed value, but I was never truly valued, so I felt. And to be honest I still feel that lack of value. Maybe I don't recognize it. Processing that as I reply the words in my mind.

Often times we in our unconscious state, make situations more chaotic than what is needed or required. I hear it often, "I am so busy", or the famous, "I just don't have time". When I hear this, I cringe. Most people have filled their lives with so much, they have failed to see the most important things and people. And then, some do exactly what they want to do, ignoring the most important things and people. I have a quote that sits on my desk that says, "Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone". This quote is in a place on my desk where I see it all day, so I ask myself the question. I repeat it. I meditate on it. At this point on this journey of depression, I have not formulated a solid answer. I can say that I have missed the mark.

What does a depressed person look like? Can you spot them in crowd? Can you see the cuts on their arms? Can you see their thoughts of suicide? Can you really know if he or she is being mentally or physically abused? When you see a homeless person, are you judging them? Depression has no one face, but many faces. Depression has a smile on the outside, but screams of terror inside. Knowledge is power when gained and used. Look at Robin Williams, prolific actor and comedian, a father, a husband. Robin Williams suffered from depression and his journey he could not live with, and he ended his life to escape. I personally have talked with many who are suffers, it is humbling. Many label a person crazy and this ignites rage within me. Depressed does not equate to crazy. What is crazy anyway?

Depression, anxiety, and panic attacks are not signs of weakness. They are signs of trying to remain strong for far too long. Depression has no set rule or time. The darkness can come in the brightest of light. Depression to me is that mask marauder lurking in the shadows positioning itself, preparing itself for the right time to pounce on the mind. In the past few months, I am learning to truly recognize its presence. I am learning to not ignore its pounding. I stand firm in my fight to be aware and bring awareness even though I can not understand it fully myself. As a woman, a daughter, a mother, a grandmother, a sister, an aunt, and friend, I know that every step that I take towards healing is not so much about me, but about those who see me and are suffering in silence themselves.

As I read God's word, I am comforted in knowing that He has set the ground work for my life. You see, our humanity is not tied to our destiny. Our destiny is tied to Who God is and His unconditional love for us. He calls us by name. He knows the number of hairs on our heads. He knows our comings and goings. He spoke the world into existence, but He created each and every one of us. God is our manufacturer. Many are broken and confused. Many are settling for less than they need or want. Some do not have a clue as to what they want or need.  Many are afraid of change thus making excuse after excuse. Many cast the blame on others rather than take personal responsibility. Many are looking to outside sources for happiness, peace and validation. It is time to get real, up close and personal with ourselves and others. We must take inventory of who we are and most importantly, Who's we are.

My brothers and sisters, God is our source and until He is placed first, all that we do will fail. Oh sure, we will have a good time, for a short time. Maybe. But that thing will not last and it will be devastating when it comes to an end. Remember, all GOOD things come from God. As I write this post, I am in a state of peace knowing that no matter what I go through, no matter how long I have to go through it, I will come out okay. We cannot ignore mental health or the lack of mental health. We cannot ignore the signs in others who are suffering and spinning out of control. As I travel this journey, I can not give you any more than I have and that is, depression is real and it does not discriminate. I can only share with you my road and the bumps I hit and try to dodge. The tears will fall. The darkness will penetrate the soul. The sadness and fear will consume anyone not in position, and that position is awareness and acknowledgement. Be aware. Be ready in season and out of season. United we can stand and heal mental health and the devastation that takes the voices of the millions of the broken hearted.  I love you and stand with you, united.

Be Blessed

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Preplexed - My Journey of Depression

As I close out my day, I am sitting here thinking about the journey I am on. Being diagnosed with clinical depression is one of wonder and curiosity, frustration and bewilderment, anger and fear. Since that dreadful day, April 6, 2016, I have found myself embarked on a journey of seeking knowledge and understanding about this illness.

I woke up this morning with a strong desire to cry, scream and shout. I had a dread in my spirit that tried to consume me. I needed to clean a little, but as I started, I got stuck and had to sit down. Knowing that depression will cause you to shut down, I forced myself to accomplish my intended task. This was extremely hard mentally and physically. The dark cloud that loomed kept sounding the alarm beckoning me to stay in bed. I fought it and today ended up a good day. I willed myself to get up and get out. I took in two hours at the gym and got my one load of laundry done. Though my eating is slim to none, I did toss some chicken wings in the oven, no side dishes, it would have went to waist, I have no taste for anything in particular. Funny thing depression, it does affect every aspect of your being. One minute I feel at ease and in the next, anxious for no reason apparent.  Yet, I still managed to be awake and present in my thoughts.

This week I will have my second counseling session, and I must say, I am looking forward to it. Lisa seems to be very personable and easy to talk with.  All I know is that this thing will not beat me.  I cannot allow this to take over, the God in me cannot allow it.  Though my interest in the things I truly enjoy are not interesting at this time, I press forward keeping before me the joy, the peace, the will to understand. I allow myself to be still in the moment and just let it be all the while knowing that no matter what, I may be plagued and perplexed, I am okay and this too will pass.

As I gain knowledge and take in the information about depression, I am thankful to God that I do not have a desire to harm myself as so many who has suffered have. I love living and even though my living today may be rocky, clouded, and unpredictable, I relish in knowing that God is my comfort. Though I take medication, I am thankful that it is not leaving me in a state of deadness, for if it had, I would not take it. I find solace in knowing that I am not alone on this journey and even for a little while I do have peace.

Psalm 40:2 NLT - He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.

My bothers and sisters, I can not tell you how devastating this journey is for me, what I can tell you is that I am scared to death of the unknown of this illness. Though I am scared, I fueled by the desire to do my part in helping myself to be the best I can be. If you feel that you are dealing with depression, do not ignore it. Do not take lightly that this is an illness and just like cancer, there is treatment though it may not be a cure. Rest assured that if not addressed, depression can be devastating for you and those who love you.  Stick around as I share my journey.

Be Blessed

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Up Jumps The Wall - My Journey of Depression

I am still here. You may have been wondering, where is she? My last post was April 3, 2016.  Well, let me tell you, I have been on a journey. I am suffering from depression, medication and all that comes with it. I have not been able to write, read, let alone function clearly due to the wall I crashed into, or should I say, the wall that crashed into me.  It has been a month now, and I am doing much better, but this journey is what it is. I can only take the one day at a time granted me by the Father.  The post you are about to read is what I wrote a few days after that dreadful day, April 6th. 

My brothers and sisters, depression is real. The masks that we as African-American men and woman have been conditioned to wear must be removed. We must allow the process of life to flow through us no matter how it looks and while life is flowing, we must acknowledge who we are and what it is for us. Wearing the super cape, putting on the vibrant smile, saying we are okay when in fact we are not cannot continue to be our mantra. I will be penning my journey of depression in the hopes that in my words and transparency, you will see that in many ways we all suffer and if not checked, can be horrific not only for you but for those who love you. Stay tuned, its about to get real, up close and personal. My voice. My journey with depression. I would love to hear from you.

I absolutely do not know where to start in writing this blog.  The past month has been eye opening.  On April 6, 2016, I crashed face first in a wall; a wall of depression.  Out of nowhere, the emotions of dread and despair gripped my shoulders and made its attempt to slam me unconscious. One minute I am fine and the next, completely shattered.  Tears flowing, throat closing, and hand trembling, shattered. Sound familiar? Are you in denial that you too have hit the wall of depression? Well listen up, depression is serious and it is time that you get up and get busy getting the help you need to be the best you that you can be, without the mask.

I want to say thank you to you, my followers. I want you to know that I do not take it lightly the many views and comments I receive for sharing what is laid on my heart.  Again, thank you.

No one would ever know unless I told them that I suffer from depression. Mask.  I smile, laugh, and crack all kinds of jokes in an effort to keep the atmosphere light. Mask. I press through many situations and I intentionally ignore that which I cannot change with my hands. Mask. There is the problem. Though one can appear happy on the outside, the inside is in total chaos. Chair flipping, table tossing chaos.  I am in that space. For the past few weeks I have felt the rise and fall of all emotion and on April 6th, the head of depression reached the top showing all teeth marks of despair. Today, I fully admit and acknowledge that I need help and help is in motion.  Praise God for His grace, mercy and wisdom.

The myth that Christians do not suffer and should not suffer from depression is a lie, and to pretend that there is nothing wrong only further cracks the window pane like the vale ripped from top to bottom.  Millions of men, women, and children suffer from depression, and most are suffering in silence. Most are afraid to open up pandora’s box on their lives and release. Society will have you stuck if you remain under that mask of delusion. I’m on a new journey. A journey to understanding and not ignoring. A journey of improved self-care. A journey of opening my mouth and putting the world on notice that I experience this zig in my zag, that I will not go down without a fight and fight I will.

As I write this post, my body is on a course all its own. The tears want to fall and I cannot tell you why. The anxiety that comes and gives no introduction. My passions and desires seem far off into the distance running from me, while I eagerly run from them too. I drag myself to the mic daily, refusing to offer eye contact to the life I live and the dreams embedded in my soul. No, I could care less about any of it, even unto death I can walk of the stage, no standing ovation needed. Carmella, my doctor asked me a question: if I knew that I would go to sleep and not wake up, would I be okay with it. Resounding YES. This gave her pause as it would many.  You see, my comfort in death comes from my joy in Christ, nothing more. No, I am not suicidal. No I don’t have the urge to hurt myself, but I can honestly tell you that I wouldn’t mind slapping the taste out of few mouths just to feel the vibration from my hand. To feel the exhilaration in knowing, I just knocked someone out. Pressing pause, I step back and take a deep breath, shoot stop breathing all together. Close my eyes and offer up a two-word prayer, HELP LORD!

With the sun shining and the temperature in the 70’s, I could easily stay in my room with the mini blinds shut, but I will myself to open them. I could easily and without hesitation shut myself off from the world, and for an introvert this is easy to do, but I have that conversation with myself. The body aches and emotional drain are enough to cause one to give up and I see how easily it can happen. But, the resolve deep down inside of me shouts and rakes it fingernails across the chalkboard demanding my attention, so my eyes look to the heavens, and I pause.  More to come, stay tuned.

Be Blessed

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Black Women Speak Up

"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare" - Audre Lorde

Yesterday, I attended an event called, The Black Women Speak Rally. The facilitator, Cana Caldwell of the Pierce County Aids Foundation was absolutely magnificent. She is a young woman on the rise. When I read about the event I was skeptical. The reason for my being skeptical is because for so long I have witnessed many woman especially black woman who come together to speak out on a given hardship to see it turn sour. Many come together to scream, rant, and blame. Many come together to obtain validation for negative behavior and conversation, this I can't do. My attention span for this type of behavior is null and void. With reservation, I went to the event and I am happy that I did.

The room was filled with women who came together to discuss the racial divide that is prevalent in our community and its effects on them personally. The raw emotion and passion that these women shared was heart breaking and enlightening.  Some of us have not experienced real racial hatred, but we have surely witnessed it within the community and in the media. Many of us have been victim to snide remarks about our hair or they way we dress. Some are even judged for the way they speak with eloquence and passion To listen to these women, some of them young adults, share their experiences of racial hatred was an in your face look at the effects that being of a different race has caused. We are more often than not, feared or disrespected by many. Look at President Barack Obama. He is the President of the United States and not respected for who he is. People call him names, bash him and blame him for everything under the sun. No other President has been so disrespected. To me it is obvious, that because President Obama is a Black man, he is made the scapegoat for the down fall of this nation. Yes, I said it and I firmly stand on that. Because of the color of ones skin, one is looked at as less than, portrayed as unequal in a world where equality is shouted from the roof tops, but for you of another race, it is voiced negatively and brutally that equality does not apply to you. The tears of pain in a world where we all should be accepted, where we all were created as equal is paramount in this so called United States of America, land of the free and home of the brave.

The most powerful moment for me was listening to Crystal Chaplin. She is the mother of two sons, Andre and Bryson who were shot multiple times by a Thurston County police officer, one in the back and is now paralyzed. This officer claims to have feared for his life. This mother in her small petite frame with the face of grace showed up to participate and share her horrific story. Her story just as raw on this day as I am sure it was on the day she received the phone call that her sons were almost taken from her. I am a mother. I fear for my sons as adults and have feared for them since they were teenagers living in gang territory having to do what they needed to do to remain alive, not because they were doing things that would bring them harm or others, but because they are Black men. I talked to my oldest son yesterday and he told me he was stopped by the police on his way to work, Buckley, Washington is no place for Black people in reality though it should not be so. He stated that 4 police cars were present to witness a simple traffic stop that turned out to be unjustified because there was no infraction. Racial profiling. That could have been my son, shot or beaten up or worse. Thank you Lord. Lord God of grace provided your covering and protection. My prayers are long for all children because they are living in a world that seems to not care about them. Look at the mass killings that take place in Chicago, Illinois alone, horrific and heartbreaking.

The discussion of culture awareness in a hungry community was brought to the forefront. As a Black woman I understand the lack of available resources that should be available. I understand the lack of unity due to fear of who we are as a black people.  I understand the hatred and anger that many woman have. The hidden agendas of those not for us yet, smile in our faces all in effort to side track us from the important task of bringing Black awareness back to the Black community. This is the agenda. Our agenda, and for me this solidifies my efforts in doing just that, bringing our voices back to our people through books.  But this is not about me, this is about every man, woman, boy, and girl of the minority because ALL LIVES MATTER. This is about encouraging and motivating all people of color to stand up and speak against the social injustice of race division. This is for our youngest generations who are coming up behind us, to open up awareness and providing the education needed so that they can stand on solid foundation. To do this we must unite and bring the voices to the mic, we must keep our hope alive in this long walk of freedom, because we are indeed free. We are a nation of leaders who can create change, and the change will come to fruition, by any means necessary.

Here are the four topics that were discussed. I encourage you to discuss them with your families and open up the conversation and bring out into the open the effects that many live with in silence.

Racial Based Trauma - the pain and physiological effects racial trauma causes.
Imposters Syndrome - this is where we internalize racial issues mainly in the workplace.
Strong Black Women Stereotype - the stereotype that black woman are angry, unruly, mean, and loud.
Holistic Medicine - this is where the importance of good health and healing was discussed. The Black community is dying at a higher rate due to the lack of trust in health care workers. One main point discussed was the lack of Black health care workers. This is a huge crisis that needs to be addressed. GO GET YOUR  MAMOGRAM, PAP SMEAR,, and COLON CHECKUP. Men, GET YOUR PROSTATE CHECKUP. If caught early, you will live a long life.

Connect with the group on Facebook to learn more about future events at BWS Tacoma and at Black Woman Speak Rally.

I am elated at the opportunity to sit with these woman. There is a saying, "You can not change that which you fail to acknowledge". We must speak out for all woman. We must create safe places for creating opportunity and orchestrating change. Change first starts in our minds, we must be willing to acknowledge the problem and then, set in motion solutions for growth and harmony. Let freedom ring. Let our voices sing aloud that we are woman and men all created by God.  Are you having the conversation? Do you desire change or have you turned a blind eye? Speak Out! YOU MATTER!

Be Blessed