This was sent to Aunt Babz via email...
Dear Aunt Babz,
I lost my dad Jan 2nd of this year...I've lost the relationships with my mom and sister, I was very sick - was told I was dying Jan 10th through Feb 21 of this year - finally came through that - lost my job upon attempting to return to work..haven't been able to find another job....have all the support in the world from my grown daughter (living in Dallas) and grown son-his wife-my wonderful grandson of 6 years (living 1 block away) and my husband of one year. I am on anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds, pain meds, insulin dependent diabetic, unable to find a job - or haven't been able to so far... how do I go on? I feel totally unwanted, find no joy in my life, sleep as much as possible, almost unable to complete self-care daily , totally a wreck...I barely get up...how do I find purpose? go on?
I think you have more on your plate than most, this is certain. In fact, I think you may have received, several portions more, than you needed, huh?
I must say that any one of those situations, could send someone into a tailspin but to have it all thrown in your lap, is the endurance test of all time. Yes, it is a test and you will pass this test, it's all a matter of what will you and can you choose to learn, from it? How can you rise above such a constricting conquest into despair?
I assume by your meds schedule, that you are receiving counseling? Maybe, you should utilize that counseling a bit more? Just for starters, if you have access to patient counseling, I encourage you to make yourself go and demand more sessions. If we keep things bottled up, it will break us down and can threaten to consume us. I think this may be happening, right now.
It is quite clear to me, you are in a terrible state of depression. Been there, done that, so I do understand. Sleep was my only escape and I could care less about taking a shower. I only took one when I just couldn't stand myself any longer. I didn't care about anything or anyone. It was then that I was launched into a complete, life altering and debilitating addiction to heroin. I was in a tremendous pain, physically and mentally. The heroin lied and made promises and I thought it was a miracle drug. The minute I didn't have it, from the very beginning, I felt I would die. I did anything and everything, not to feel that way. I walked down a long rode to hell. I left a destructive path, as I went likened to a tornado and hurt a lot of people, including my children. I ultimately ended up in prison. I tell you this, only to let you know, that I do in fact know how you feel but I also know the power of pain and depression. If left unchecked, it will threaten to kill you for certain.
I am a very Spiritual being but there was surely a time, I felt as you do now. I had the same or similar setbacks, happen to me and my life fell apart. I really felt I had no control. As I sat in Prison, wondering about my life and not knowing the welfare of my children or even where they were, I most assuredly, thought I could not go on.
I went through Interferon treatment, for Hep C, while I was incarcerated, which further threatened to send me into Insanity. I was fortunate enough to have a good Psychiatrist, who would allow me to rant and rave. She would also validate my feelings and then help me work through them. She never gave me the answers but she did help me search for them. She played Devil's Advocate and when I would rant about things, she would listen and tell me what was reasonable and what was not. She also made me aware that, the only feelings I allowed myself, at that point in time, was anger. I've always held things in, except to be angry with the world or an individual but I had most certainly not allowed myself to cry or to feel or look for joy. Basically, I was a determined negative person.
It had become extremely easy for me to find the bad in people, things, issues and my life in general. It was easiest to stay angry, rather than feel any happiness. I had trained myself to be that way and thought I was quite content, to remain negative and view things negatively. I built walls and kept people out, it just felt safer. What I didn't realize was, that it all threatened to consume me. Anger kills. It kills in war, in relationships, it is what spurs people to commit the heinous things they do and you can bet, I saw my share, of what anger produces, from drug addiction to murder.
I realize that this is the extreme spectrum, as opposed to your situation. But I happen to believe that depression is just quiet anger, self imposed. When we become depressed, we are actually punishing ourselves, it is a "Silent Scream." We spend our days trying to shut it up and contain it. Of course, sleep is the best way to escape it. Quite often, people delve into drugs and drink to quiet that silent scream. Living life on life's terms becomes close to impossible or so it feels, huh?
You have taken quite the beating and right now, you probably feel defeated. You walked away from it, put on a Band-Aid and crawled into bed.
Sit up, on the edge of your bed and say the word, "STOPS!!!"
You must pull off that band-aid and look around. You must begin to see that you've punished yourself, long enough. You must make a list of the things you can be grateful for. I do not say this because I am saying you are ungrateful but simply to try to look for the good in your situation.I know...right now, you can't even feel or think like that but you must sit up and actually write these words down;
STOPS...Start To Overcome Pain Sanely...
I am grateful for the time I had with my Father and try to remember some of those good times.
I am grateful for the fact that I am not dead as they predicted. There must be a good reason, I did not die.
I am grateful for my children and my grandchildren.
And on and on...
You must seek laughter and joy. Find something every day, that'll make you laugh. You need to find your smile again and you need to put your life back into perspective. My own Mother told me, when I was complaining about my life, that, "An untrained, undisciplined child, is an orphan." What does that mean? It means that your Higher Power is testing you for a reason. You must let go and let God. You must pray for strength and understanding. You must pray that doors will open, once you get out of that bed.
When I was so sick, walking in a snow storm, trying desperately to find the money to buy dope, I crossed a bridge, over The Chadakoin River. I was seriously contemplating, throwing myself off of that bridge. Would it be cold enough, with all it's ice jams and so on, to take me under immediately? I was about to throw my leg over the bridge railing. It was a quiet dark night, the city, in the grips of a terrible snowstorm. No one was out, know one was watching, no one cared. It was freezing out. As I lifted my leg, I saw a car, out of the corner of my eye, he sped up and slowed down, behind me. He looked right at me and I put my leg down. He smiled and drove on.
I fell to my knees, in the snow, weak and exhausted. I was angry, that he had stopped me. I opened my mouth wide to scream out but it was silent. I cried out from the depths of my soul, "Please help me, I can no longer help myself." He heard me and threw me in jail.
That wasn't what I had in mind but it was sure what I needed. I was clean from heroin, from that day on, June 24, 1998. This month, a few short days from now, that'll be nine long years ago, that I cried out in such pain.
Of course, at the time, I was quite angry for being thrown in jail and then into Prison. It was there, that I met so much hate and anger. It was there that I witnessed real evil, uncivilized people and the debilitated and handicapped by anger and hate and rage. I also became acutely aware of people, women who were far worse off than me. Some had killed their spouses, after they'd been beaten continually. They'd never reported it and were doing "Life" for that, little omission, as they didn't have a record for their motive. Some were driven over the brink by addiction or mental illness but I realized that they'd never leave and I would. Some deserved to be there and some, you wanted to hug and never let go. Prison will bring out the best in a woman or the very worst. I met both but I sure realized that my life could be far worse. They showed me that with their scars and fear, their Silent Screams.
Gin, how does all this apply to you? First, I will give you license to feel as you do. You have every right in the world, to feel like shit, I know this. But you are going to have to get out of that bed. Take a shower and wash off that old life and begin again. You can come out of this, as I did, when I walked out the gates of that Prison; Bitter or Blessed. I want you to learn from all this and choose to use it to understand others and their plight. You now have a degree in Empathy and Understanding. Use it wisely and always remember, it could be far worse. I know you do not want to hear that but it's true, is it not? My life is no bed of roses. In fact it often feels like nails. But I often have to put things into perspective. Right now, I am wearing a prison bra. It has my name and DOC number, OF6708 on it. Sometimes I put it on, when I feel sorry for myself, as a reminder of just how bad it could be. My family says to me, "Why don't you get rid of all that stuff from then and forget about it." When I walked out of prison, all I owned were the donated clothes on my back, a plastic spoon and plastic coffee cup. I keep it where I can look at it and be reminded of three things; How bad it was, how good it can be and how far I've come.
Now get up, write me and tell me, you will try to smile and laugh again. Everything else will fall into place, once you pray and try to look at things, as to how they could be, how good they can be, and even if it's three steps, count them and see how far you've come.
He has plans for you Gin, get up and get your butt in the shower.