Saturday, January 31, 2009

Lemonade and the Connection Between Fear and Depression

Both mile191 and Colleen were kind enough to give me this lemonade award. It's about making lemonade from lemons. I'm supposed to nominate 10 blogs but I don't want to limit it to that. Every blog, by every survivor is about trying to make lemonade from lemons. It's trying to find a way and reason to hold on. If some blogs seem more pessimistic than others it's because we're all in different stages of our journey. But every person out there is doing the best they can in each moment. So to everyone out there I give this award. Each of you, in your own way, makes a difference and I honor the journey you are on.

I also want to talk about fear because I read a review of a book by James S. Gordon called: UNSTUCK: YOUR GUIDE TO THE SEVEN-STAGE JOURNEY OUT OF DEPRESSION. I haven't read the book but from the foreword (which can be read on, it's clear that Gordon takes the position that depression is based in fear—fear that we cannot change the situation we are in or the feelings we have. His approach appears to be giving people tools to change their situation and process past experiences and emotions. The moment I read that, it felt right to me. It matches my own experience and what I've observed with others.

In the years when I was depressed, I was afraid I could never stop hating myself. I was afraid I could never be happy. I was afraid my life couldn't change for the better. When I figured out how to begin to make changes in all of these things, I stopped being depressed and started being happy.

I don't know if this specific book is any good but I love that he takes this approach! I love that he realizes depression doesn't have to be permanent, that giving people tools to change their lives can make a huge difference. Had I known, had I been able to believe, when I was so depressed, that it was possible to learn how to change my situation and how I felt about myself, it would have made all the difference in the world.

Wishing for each of you the knowledge that your lives can get better and better and so can how you feel about yourself. Sending safe and gentle ((((((hugs))))))),

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thoughts on My Trip

Well, I'm back from helping my son settle into his group home. It wasn't an easy trip. It wasn't easy seeing his confusion about why he's there and his fear that it's a punishment because he “messed up big time at the house.”

I did my best to help him know that he's there because we love him and see it as a good step forward. I did my best to help him focus on what is good about his new situation. I also asked, every possible way, what he didn't like about the group home and double checked everything I could to make sure there was no abuse. He said, over and over, that he's unhappy he has to follow rules but that it's the only thing he doesn't like about the group home and that they are good to him there. I shudder when I think what it would be like if he had had to make such a move because something happened to both his father and me and neither of us were there to help him adjust.

I helped him move his things from the house to the group home. I helped him sort through the things at the house to see what he's ready to get rid of. We didn't finish the job but at least we finally started it. He got to see friends of mine who have known him since he was a young boy. And I think he is better for my visit.

I also saw the house for what may be the last time. I saw the work my ex will have to do to fix it up and I am more relieved than ever that I did not try to keep the house. I mourned—and am still mourning—the loss of hopes and dreams I had for my marriage, my home and my son. I worry about him but know that we talk every day and that if there is a real problem, he can tell me.

And I move forward with my own life. I celebrate, with the rest of the country, how far the United States has come since I was a child when the election of someone like Barack Obama as president would have been unthinkable. I love that he says we need not and must not betray our souls, our honor to create the lives we want to have. I love that he seeks to unite rather than divide us.

Change. In our personal lives and on the world stage we cannot avoid it. The challenge is to find a way to embrace it and see the possibilities. But it isn't always easy. That's why it's so important that we do so consciously choosing to look for what could be good about every change and challenge.

Here's hoping the changes in your life this week have been good ones. Sending safe and gentle ((((((hugs))))))),


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Changes For Me and My Son

Please keep me in your thoughts this week. I'm headed back east to see my son and help him settle into his group home a bit better. And I'll be taking what may be my last look at the house I lived in for so many years.

I'm not thrilled to go north in January doesn't always have a choice about the timing. My son needs help now to choose what to take to his group home and what to let go of forever. Not an easy thing for anyone—much less someone with Down syndrome.

My daughter will stay with Sophy, which makes things easier for me. I will stay with friends, knowing that they, too, are talking about moving within the next few years.

I will use this visit to see myself in a new way and I will remind myself of all the good that has come out of past changes.

May change come more and more easily for you every day and may you see each challenge as full of wonderful possibilities. Blessings and safe and gentle ((((((((hugs)))))))) to all of you.


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

10 Things I Like About Myself

Colleen challenged me to do this variation of the 10 honest things. I think it's a great exercise because I suspect we all tend to think first of what we perceive as our failings instead of our strengths. But those things we like are the basis, the foundation for our ability to change and our belief that we can. So here goes, not in any particular order...

1) I'm creative.

2) I'm resilient.

3) I have the courage to do things even when they scare me.

4) I'm supportive of others and able to help people feel good about themselves.

5) I can knit and sew and often get compliments on the things I make.

6) I'm a great public speaker.

7) I'm good with money.

8) I'm a good mother and a good friend.

9) I'm intelligent.

10) I'm a really good writer.

When I look at this list, I see the things that have allowed me to make major changes in my life.

It reminds me that it's okay to take chances because odds are I'll figure out a way to do whatever it is that's important to me.

It reminds me that I'm not a victim. I was as a child but now I'm a strong, competent woman who can handle challenges that come my way.

It reminds me that it's okay to be happy now.

So....what would your list look like? I invite everyone to play!

Sending blessings and safe and gentle (((((((hugs)))))))),