If You’re Depressed, Be Open and Talk About It

An essay in today’s Washington Post about depression and suicide, details one young woman’s quest to be honest about her sister’s suicide, with the hope that she might help others think twice about suicide and get help:

I had to be honest. I had to tell the truth.

By the time I sat down to write my sister’s obituary I knew that the opening line could only be one thing: Aletha Meyer Pinnow, 31, of Duluth (formerly of Oswego and Chicago, IL) died from depression and suicide on February 20, 2016.

Eleni Pinnow said in her essay on her sister’s suicide:

The lies of depression can exist only in isolation. Brought out into the open, lies are revealed for what they are.

Here is the truth: You have value. You have worth. You are loved. Trust the voices of those who love you. Trust the enormous chorus of voices that say only one thing: You matter. Depression lies. We must tell the truth.

these-are-the-first-signs-of-depression-that-everyone-ignoresDepression is so common and yet we still have such a huge stigma about talking about it.

So many like this young woman in the story, Aletha Meyer Pinnow, who committed suicide at 31 years old, would rather keep their depression a secret than discuss it openly.

Here’s a few reason why that is wrong: Continue reading

Food For Thought: Loving the Troubled Soul

sailing

I was reminded again recently that life is short. Some of us live with the understanding that our lives are filled with lessons, some are joyful lessons and some are painful lessons. And, some of us live our lives forever chasing demons from our soul in the most self destructive of ways. Continue reading

Reflections: On Being an Empath

The highly empathic person feels deeply connected to loved ones emotional and physical pain, sometimes feeling their symptoms of illness or experiencing their sadness and joy on a deeper level than the average person who is empathetic of another persons situations. Empaths tend to be deeply sensitive to others beyond their loved ones and inner circle of friends, and they often can pick up some disconcerting feelings both physical and emotional, if gifted with what is known as psychic empathy.

At Sandy Point ~ c. Pamela J. Leavey

At Sandy Point ~ c. Pamela J. Leavey

Dr. Judith Orloff has written on the topic in-depth in a few of her books. Those that I have read including Second Sight and Positive Energy have given me great insight into understanding the complex and sometimes disconcerting feelings that arise for myself and others with empathic abilities.

Sometimes as an empath, I find myself unable to block these feelings that arise and I have learned to ride them out like a storm honoring the dark nights of the soul that might arise. One must honor the feelings that the empathic trait brings, and learn to deal with the well-spring of emotions that range from happiness to grief and beyond.

I’ve just emerged from one such period where a wealth of empathic emotions propelled me into deep contemplation and triggered the all to prevalent writer’s block. The storm has passed… I emerge like a butterfly with new and strong wings, inspired to fly free filled with joy.

Reflections: On Injurious Falls

I’ve found it difficult to write over the past few days, my head has been fogged in by a loss for words. It’s been 9 1/2 weeks since I fell in my driveway and ended up with a Lisfranc sprain in my right foot. Finally nearing the end of my initial treatment for the injury, first being in a hard cast for 6 1/2 and then an air cast for 4 1/2 weeks, I head back to the ortho on the 26th and I am hoping he OKs me to start physical therapy.

It’s been a long tough haul… Stuck at home, alone, day after day, unable to drive, dependent on my daughter and some friends to first bring me supplies and then start to get me out of the house occasionally.

My right foot was completely atrophied when the hard cast came off. Much to my chagrin, I did not realize how badly atrophied it was until I slipped out of my air cast and prepared to step in a nice Lavendar scented hot bath. What was I thinking? How am I going to get into this bath tub with no strength in my foot and leg… and worse, how the hell will I get out?

Strength be damned, I was getting in that tub… I grabbed hold of the shower height bar and slid down into the tub. Once in I knew getting out was not going to be easy… So I relaxed into the hot water and gave thanks to have the cast off my foot at last. With visions of having to yell upstairs to my neighbors to help me get out of the tub, I somehow managed to pull myself out and didn’t try that stunt again for a few weeks.

A Lisfranc sprain isn’t a swift healer like some ankle sprains can be. It’s not even a very common injury, 1 in 55,000 a year get a Lisfranc injury… Just my luck. I’d have rather won the lotto, but I don’t gamble. Or do I?

About 2 months before my fall, I gambled. I took a huge leap of fate and trusted the Goddess to guide me as I began to date someone I met online. He was persistent and seemed oh too good to be true and he swept me, the storied Ice Princess off her feet. And that was the beginning of another injurious fall.

First, I fell head over heals for this knight in shining armor who was promising me the world, and then with in a few short weeks, I fell from grace it appeared, as I managed to land myself spread upon my driveway with scrapes, bruises and sprains.

After the fall, the phone calls started to dwindle. There were no more dates, the promises started to fade. The weeks not seeing him stretched into a couple of months and there I dangled like my injured foot, with a heart crushed by the promise of love.

Sometimes life sends us some very difficult lessons and sometimes they come heaped together like a big bowl of stewed troubles. It wasn’t enough I should fall on the ground and sprain my foot… Hell no… I needed to have my heart stomped on too.

My faith was sorely tested in the first weeks of my injuries as I realized that that which I thought I had found was slipping away, as I sat stuck at home alone, unable to drive… trapped like a prisoner in my pain. Loss of freedom, loss of love, wrapped together like the vines of a wicked bramble bush waiting to ensnare.

Ah, but even after injurious falls, life does go on. My strength is finally coming back in the physical sense from my injuries and I drove today for the first time in 9 1/2 weeks. It was liberating…

My heart, I fear will be weary to trust again, for it took so much for me to take that leap. Promises can quickly turn into broken promises. Some are better than others at keeping them. And the ones that can’t keep them, well they really show their trues colors when they bail on someone in need.

I’m still working on figuring out the lessons and hatching ideas of what’s next in my life… Reflecting on what was… Looking forward to brighter days…

(Photo: Berries & Brambles ~ c. Pamela J. Leavey 2012)

Food For Thought: Trust

Trust has been a theme that has been recurring in my life in recent weeks and bringing up issues of faith or I should say more aptly put, loss of faith.

The faith I question isn’t in myself, or my very complex and diverse understandings of the spiritual realm, so much as it in people and the lesson in don Miguel Ruiz‘s The Four Agreements to “be impeccable with your word.”

When people in your life are not “impeccable” with their word and you take them at face value, because you trust, you get hurt. There’s no way around that.

Times heals all wounds… but, trust when shaken or shattered no longer becomes a gift given freely, it must then be earned.

When you are impeccable with your word, you run less risk of breaking the trust of others… It boils down to, being capable of walking your talk.

(Photo: Salt Pan Sunset at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge ~ c. Pamela J. Leavey 2011)

Reflections: Uncertainty

As I sit here with so much uncertainty in my life, it’s hard to see clearly what the next chapter of my Mid-Life Adventure entails.

Talk about being stuck in a rut… when you end up with a sudden, accidental injury that leaves you disabled for a time, it is a life changing experience in itself. Couple that with empty nest syndrome and being out of work and it’s easy to feel some days, no matter how positive you try to stay, as though the whole world is crashing in around you.

There are days when it is just plain hard to focus. Either there is energy bursting to get out in some creative or physical form, or the mind just goes blank as you seek the light hiding behind the clouds.

Sometimes life just seems so unfair, although you look around and see that so many people struggles are worst than your own. Yet, you stay stuck in that woe is me syndrome… sadness can strike even the strongest of heart and mind.

Drifting, drifting, drifting… the dark nights of the soul, when faith is tested in so many ways, are long and seemingly endless.

There are those who would say to you… Snap out if it. But you can’t. There are those who would tell you… This too shall pass. And you do know deep down inside that it will.

So, you ride the tide of uncertainly, as it wanes and crests and blows through you like the wickedest of winds. And, when the question arises, what is next in this Mid-Life Adventure for me… Truth be told, I have no answers today. I’m busy pondering the great uncertainties on my doorstep and hoping the winds won’t blow me further off course.

(Photo: Afternoon Sky at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge ~~ c. Pamela J. Leavey 2012)