I was directed to this on the internet by a friend, and felt it was worth reblogging. It’s a wonderful blog post, and I couldn’t have written it better myself. Please read it, it’s well worth the read. SO well written and expressive, and I don’t even need to mention the important content, do I? Peace out and be well, my friends.
A while ago, I penned a fairly angry response to something circulating on the internet – the 21 Habits of Happy People. It pissed me off beyond belief, that there was an inference that if you weren’t Happy, you simply weren’t doing the right things.
I’ve had depression for as long as I can remember. It’s manifested in different ways. I did therapy. I did prozac. I did more therapy. My baseline is melancholic. I’d just made peace with it when I moved, unintentionally, to a place that had markedly less sunshine in the winter. I got seasonal depression. I got that under control. Then I got really, really sick. Turns out it’s a permanent, painful genetic disorder. My last pain-free day was four years ago.
So, this Cult of Happy article just set me off. Just… anger. Rage. Depression is serious – debilitating, often dangerous, and it’s got an enormous stigma. It leaves people to fend for themselves.
It’s bad enough without people ramming Happy Tips at you through facebook. There is no miracle behaviour change that will flip that switch for you. I know, I’ve tried.
A friend of mine suggested that I write something from my point of view because, surprisingly, I manage to give an outwards impression of having my shit together. I was shocked to hear this. And I find this comical, but I see her point. I’m functioning. I’ve adapted. I’m surprisingly okay. I think the medical term is “resilient”.
So, here it is.
My 21 Tips on Keeping Your Shit Together During Depression
1) Know that you’re not alone. Know that we are a silent legion, who, every day face the solipsism and judgement of Happy People Who Think We Just Aren’t Trying. There are people who are depressed, people who have been depressed, and people who just haven’t been hit with it yet.
2) Understand that the Happy People are usually acting out of some genuine (albeit misguided) concern for you, that it’s coming from a good place, even if the advice feels like you’re being blamed for your disease. Telling you these things makes them feel better, even if it makes you feel like shit. (If they insist on keeping it up, see #12.)
3) Enlist the help of a professional. See your doctor. You need to talk about the ugly shit, and there are people paid to listen and help you find your way to the light at the end of the tunnel.
4) Understand that antidepressants will only do so much. They’re useful, they’ll level you out and give you the time you need to figure out your own path to getting well. They can be helpful. There are lots to choose from. They may not be for you, and even if they are, they take some time to kick in. Conversely, they may not be for you. Work with your doctor.
5) Pick up a paintbrush, a pencil, an activity you got joy from in the past and re-explore that. Or, sign up for the thing you always wanted to try. There is a long history and link between depression and creativity. It’s a bright light of this condition, so utilize it to your best advantage.
6) Eat nutritionally sound, regular small meals. If you’re having trouble eating, try to focus on what you’d like to eat. I went through a whole six week episode of tomatoes and cream cheese on a bagel twice a day. Not great, but it was something – helpful context, I’m a recovered anorexic. Conversely, if all you want to do is scarf down crap, try to off-ramp it by downing a V-8 and doing #9 for 15 minutes, and see how you feel. Chucking your blood sugar all over hell’s half acre is going to make you feel worse.
7) While you’re doing #3, get some bloodwork done. If you’re low on iron or vitamin D, or if your hormone levels are doing the Macarena… these can all contribute to zapping your energy or switching your mood to Bleak As Hell.
8) If you’re in bed and the “insomnia hamsters”, as I like to call them, are on the wheel of your head, watch Nightly Business News on PBS. This has the effect of Nyquil. Swap out your coffee for herbal tea. If you just cannot sleep, try the next tip….
9) Learn how to meditate. Start by focusing on your breathing. Not sleep, not thoughts. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Meditation is focusing on being present in your body, not careening around in your brain. It may not be as good as sleep but it will give you some rest and recharge you.
10) Face a window as often as you can – at work, at home. Look out into the world. Watch. Observe. Try to find something you find pretty or interesting to focus on. And, handily remember that one in five of those people out there feel the way you do.
11) Cry. Better out than in. Sometimes it’s not convenient or career-enhancing to cry, so find a private place as best you can and let the tears go. Carry Kleenex and face wipes and extra concealer if you wear makeup. You can always claim allergies.
12) Any “friend” who resolutely believes that your depression is because you’re lazy, because you’re not trying hard enough, who blames you for not bootstrapping out of it- that friend needs to be cut off. Polite (#2) is one thing, but there is a limit. You don’t have to explain, you can just not respond. You feel badly enough, you don’t need their “assistance”.
13) Limit your time with people who drain you. You know who they are. Often you don’t have a choice- but you can put the meter on. And, subsequently, be aware of what you’re asking of those close to you.
14) Everyone has shit they’ve got to deal with. What you have been saddled with is your shit. Recognize, just as you’re not alone, you’re also not unique. The grass may look greener, you may be jealous or envious of others who don’t have to deal with depression, but you likely do not know everything that’s going on with them.
15) Let go or be dragged. This is an old Buddhist saying. It’s a very useful way to frame aspects of depression. Betrayal, anger, fear… letting go is a process – often a painful and difficult process – but it’s ultimately going to show you the path out of this terrible place. Repeating the mantra can help when you’re feeling gripped by these feelings.
16) Wear clothes that make you feel confident. It takes as much time to put on nice clothes as it does to put on sweatpants. You will want to wear the sweatpants. Fight the urge. The whole “look good/feel better” campaign isn’t limited to cancer and chemotherapy. Or women.
17) Avoid fictional drama and tragedy like the plague. No Grey’s Anatomy, no to The Notebook, or anything that won a Pulitzer prize. You’ve got enough going on In Real Life. Comedy only. Or trashy stuff. Old episodes of WonderWoman? I’ve got the box set. Mindless drivel, like the latest CGI blockbuster. Or clever, funny books. David Sedaris. Jenny Lawson. Fiction exists to elicit emotion, and the emotion you need to express most right now is laughter.
18) Simple exercise, if you can. It can be something as simple as taking the stairs up a flight, or walking around the block. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, it doesn’t have to involve climbing a mountain or running a marathon. Baby steps.
19) Depression will lie to you. Depression will try to tell you what others are thinking. That you are unloved and unworthy, that others think little of you or don’t care – or even wish you harm. You are not a psychic. Keep repeating that. “I am not a psychic”. Repeat. The only way to know what another person is thinking is to up and ask them.
20) If you are well and truly losing this battle, reach out to someone. I’ve been the random friendly-but-not-close person who has fielded the occasional outreach. I like to think I’m not judgemental and generally resourceful, and others have thought the same, so they called and asked. You know someone like me. And they will help you.
21) Forgive yourself. I’m writing out all these tips, and I can’t always muster the strength to even stick my nose outside, or walk up the stairs, or eat my vegetables. Today, I got outside for ten minutes. I will try again tomorrow. And I will try again the day after that.
This list will not cure you. This list will not flip on the happy switch. God, I wish it were that easy. The theme here is to not to unknowingly sabotage yourself. All these little things? Like your blood sugar, or watching nonstop episodes of House, or endless Try Harder lectures from your Perpetually Perky sister?
They all make dealing with depression just a tiny bit harder than it needs to be. And it’s hard enough, all on its own.
UPDATE: Wow, guys. Thank you. The feedback has been wonderful – all I wanted to set out to do was something helpful.
For those of you who want to see the original rant, Here it is.. http://www.diycouturier.com/post/41923259437/to-the-person-who-wrote-21-habits-…
And here’s the response to my response (?) – basically, after posting my retort, the happy people came at me with torches all over the interwebs.
Also, a few people have mentioned that having a critter is a great thing to keep you on track, that taking care of something and having something rely on you keeps you going. I went back and forth on including that, but for some, it’s just not feasible to have a cat or a dog… but my cat is my Prozac.
And, I wrote this in Canada, where we have universal health care. It breaks my heart that people don’t have access to professional support. You can sometimes find a community health centre, or sometimes your work benefits will have an employee support or assistance plan as part of your insurance. If you’re without benefits and hitting desperation, phone someone. Friend, family – even your local distress centre.
Stay well, my melancholic interweb friends…xoRR
I’m bipolar. Unlike my sister, who swings toward the manic side of bipolar, I swing toward the depressive side. So I have less manic episodes, and more depression. These past few weeks I’ve been experiencing bipolar depression symptoms, although I saw my doctor last week, and he tells me my symptoms are likely related to a situation in my life and will most likely go away when that situation is resolved.
My mom is seriously sick. She’s 85 years old, and I’m so grateful that this is the first time in all of her 85 years that she’s ever been seriously ill, but it doesn’t make it any easier to watch her suffer.
Even though I know my meetings will help, because it’s the place where I can be myself and share about my fears and sadness, instead of going I isolate and the depression builds. In other words, I don’t take the advice I so freely give away.
The best part is a good friend who doesn’t say anything at all, but just listens to me vent. Doesn’t offer platitudes or counsel, just sits next to me. For them – I am beyond thankful. Because it’s not about having “the blues,” as you can see from the symptoms above. It’s not uncommon, for I know I have many comrades-in-arms. But it’s not something I can just shake off, or I would have done so. Trust me. Peace out.
I hope you don’t take offense at my sense of humor with the image I’ve posted here. I don’t have a cat, but my dog would gladly take the job. She thinks she’s the boss of me. It’s all tongue-in-cheek of course. I DO have a higher power, and it’s not me, or my dog. It’s God. I’m thrilled to hand out tokens this morning, because I know the courage it takes to live life one day at a time. I know the effort it took to get to this place of an anniversary.
But I know what the answer will invariably be when someone (perhaps me) shouts out “How’d you do it?” That person will mention the Al-Anon program itself, their sponsor, other friends, and – last but not least (or maybe even first) – a higher power.
Turning our lives over to a higher power does not mean we laze around cluelessly and never lift a finger in our lives. It means we do the footwork and leave the outcome up to our higher powers. It means we let that higher power have the steering wheel, but we still have the power to put on the brakes, to slow things down if things are going too quickly.
God has blessed my life in countless ways since I’ve been a member of Al-Anon.
But seriously, I went to an amazing meeting this morning. And it wasn’t just because it was called the Sunday morning Amazing Grace Al-Anon meeting, either. We read from today’s reading in Hope for Today, and what I heard most of all was about letting go.
Boy, do I need to let go. I’ve been ashamed to talk about this here, but since I talked with my sponsor and with my friend Sherrie, who guest posted here and writes here, at Sherrie Theriault’s Blog, I feel better. My uber sponsor bolstered my spirits by speaking of a few small resentments she had rattling around in her head.
But what was most important was what Sherrie did. First, she made me laugh. Laughter is very important for the soul. 2. She let me know that I have a double standard, one for myself and one for everybody else, and I’m much harder an myself. 3. That resentments sometimes have layers, and if my sister just stopped drinking seven months ago, it’s not surprising I still have resentment left; and 4. That it’s okay, even good to let readers know other seasons of your soul. You need to know that there was a whole season I did not go to meetings. More importantly, you needed to hear from me during that time, that I was still here, what I was doing, how I was doing, so that you too could read and perhaps say, “Oh yes, that’s me.” or “Gosh, I don’t ever want to go there.”
It was great to see my sponsor. We hadn’t seen each other in a while, what with one thing and another, and we just held each other for the longest time. “Look at you!” she said. “Look at you!” said I. We made a time to get together on Wednesday.
I’m not often speechless. It’s not usually hard for me to know what to say, but writing in this blog has been so hard for me lately, and that’s not like me. It’s like I feel like I’m supposed to have the “answers,” as if 1) there are certain answers one has to follow as a member of Al-Anon and 2) I know them.
Let’s get a couple things squared away. The only “answers” I really know in Al-Anon are told to me (either through the other members, the big book of Al-Anon, my sponsor, whatever) by my higher power. And what I don’t know will be revealed in time. I trust that. I trust it as easily as I trust the sun to rise every morning and to set every night. There is a God, and it’s not me.
Which brings me to the second part of what I’ve been feeling and why it’s been so hard to write lately. Not only are there certain answers, but I have them. Alcoholic boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse/parent/sibling/friend? Just come to me. I’ll cure what ails you. NOT. So not. What I say on here, what I share on here, on this pithy little blog, is just my own experience, strength and hope. I don’t have the answers anymore than the next guy.
What scares me is when I write posts like “Five Ways to Tell if You’re Codependent,” because it makes it sound like I’m an expert, which – we’ve just just established – I’m really not.
So if you’re here for answers, you’re in the wrong place. If you’re here because you just want to hang with another struggling, trying-to-get-her-act-together codependent, you are so in the right place. And man, can we have some fun. Because my life is anything but boring. I’m worried about two people right now, my mom (who is not an alcoholic) and my sister (who is). More on that tomorrow.
“Patsy, it’s the phone.” He tripped over a blue balloon, caught his hand on the corner of his desk, and landed in the chair, which sent him spinning into the corner. The phone rang again.
“James, the phone!” Patsy rubbed her head where it had collided with James, and paced back and forth, her poodle skirt making quiet swishing noises with every move. Patsy refused to update her wardrobe to the 21st century.
James pulled his chair back toward his desk. The phone rang a third time. He sharpened his pencil and pulled a book open to a fresh, clean page, flattening it with his hand. The phone rang a fourth time. He wrote the date.
James punched the blinking line, the only blinking line on the phone, and picked up the receiver.
“You Matter Crisis Hotline. Can you hold please?” Before waiting for an answer, he put the caller on hold.
James returned to the book. He wrote the day next to the date, looked at his watch and noted the time, and also wrote that down. Then he returned to his call.
“Thank you for holding, and Happy New Year. This is the hotline where you always matter. How may I help you?”
“My girlfriend left me on New Year’s Eve. Said she was reassessing her life and I wasn’t in it. Oh, and my dog died. I don’t see any reason to go on.”
“Can I please have your name, so I know what to call you?” James adjusted his paisley tie and wrote down in his book the phrases “girlfriend left” and “dog died.”
“Fred. My name is Fred. And – And I feel so alone. Everything is meaningless. There’s no point in anything.”
“Well, Fred, things’ll look better in the morning, after a good night’s sleep. That’s what I always say.”
“I’m an insomniac.” Fred’s monotone voice did not deter James from his mission.
“It’s always darkest before the dawn, Fred.”
“What does that even mean?” came the reply over the phone, which now sounded a bit more annoyed than depressed.
“Well, I think it means things are never as bad as they seem, and we should always keep our chin up, buttercup.” James wrote in the book “insomniac, aggressive.”
“She took all my Bruce Springsteen records.” Fred sobbed.
“You were too too good for her, Fred. And there are plenty of other fish in the sea.”
“If I was so great she would have stuck with me. And I don’t want a fish, I want a girlfriend. Do you actually get crisis training?” Fred shouted.
“Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes we just have to look for the reason.” James flipped through the allowed response book and desperately searched for something more to say. He wrote down “girlfriend took Springsteen records.”
“I had the best dog in the world. Snickers. A yellow lab. He used to be able to get bottles of soda for me from the fridge. Do you know how amazing that is?” Fred’s sobs were bordering on hysteria.
“Fred, Fred, you know-you know can always get another dog, just like you can always get more Springsteen records.”
“Oh, oh, dogs are so replaceable, aren’t they?”
“You know, God never gives us more than we can handle, Fred.”
“What?! What the heck does that mean?”
The phone rang.
“Fred, I’m going to have to put you on hold. Your call is very important to us.”
James punched the next line. “You Matter Crisis Line. Can you hold please?”
My blog is participating in the Forward Motion Flash Friday Blog Group, a weekly flash fiction exercise (that I may or may not manage weekly!). Check out the other participating blogs for more flash.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated…I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by [people] from the cruelty of [human kind]”—Mahatma Gandhi
It may seem silly, but I can’t stop thinking about this article I read in our local newspaper about a woman who was convicted of abuse/neglect and causing the death of one animal and abuse/neglect of another. She had two dogs, Angel and Chaos. She starved them both. They were rescued, and upon rescue, it was noted that Angel could barely stand on a body of skin and bones. Despite exhaustive efforts to save her, she died at a veterinarian’s office four days after being found. At autopsy, they found pieces of plastic and denim in Angel’s stomach. She had taken to eating blue jeans to survive.
It’s so trivial. Really. I mean, there are starving children and babies and I can’t get my mind off this article about a woman who starved two dogs. Chaos survived, by the way. It’s just so senseless. I mean, it makes absolutely no sense to keep an animal you can’t afford to feed when there are resources provided for its rescue, care and feeding. Absolutely no one would look down on a person for doing the right thing in this economy for an animal they could no longer afford.
What is wrong with people?
Anyway, it blossomed into an idea for a novel. One person I talked to said he didn’t see how I could possibly get him to care that much for an animal, but a child or a person maybe. I disagree. And maybe he’s not my target audience. I will keep you updated on my progress with the novel. Right now it’s just in planning stages.
Be kind to each other, and yourselves.
I give up. I was actually trying to write a post every day this month for the Holidailies December challenge. You don’t have to have a theme, but I did, and my theme was – wait for it – holidays.
Then, the day before yesterday, I got sick. I don’t know what it is, but it’s not just a cold. Sometimes I think it’s bronchitis (I’ve had that before) and sometimes I think it’s something worse. And my doctor is on vacation until next Wednesday. Fortunately, this morning his office phoned in an antibiotic for me, so we’ll see if that works.
But I feel like I’ve been hit by a Mack truck and then some.
I can’t finish.
So sorry for the ones who were following me through the challenge. I just can’t do it.
How often have you heard those words, or even said them to yourself over holiday foods during this season? Don’t despair, it’s never too late to learn new habits or try something new. Here are five ways to fight holiday weight gain starting now:
1. Absorb: Drink at least eight glasses of water a day. A glass of water before a meal is a good idea, too.
2. Activity: Exercise is always a good idea. I recently got a Wii console for an early Christmas gift, and Zumba to exercise to. I don’t always do it, but it’s on my list of New Year’s resolutions, to exercise to Zumba at least four times a week.
3. Avoid: Don’t eat for emotional reasons. When you reach for that ice cream, ask yourself if you’re sad, bored, angry, or even joyful.
4. Await: Slowly count to 10 before you cheat. Then, if you still want it, eat it, You’ll know you made a conscious choice.
5. Always: Always eat breakfast. It helps start your day right by making you feel full to begin with, and it really is the most important meal.
Boxing Day traditionally falls on the first weekday after Christmas day. It’s a British holiday, but some others celebrate it I am sure. The custom is linked to an older English tradition. Since the servants would have to wait on their employers on Christmas Day, they were given the next day to go and visit with their own families and celebrate together. The employer would give the servant a box to take home that had gifts in it, or bonuses, and sometimes leftover food.
Today is also the beginning of Kwanzaa, created in 1966 as the first holiday specifically for African-Americans. So Joyous Kwanzaa as well!
Try to see the world around you with the eyes of a child. In the words of Aldous Huxley: “For every man, the world is as fresh as it was the first day, and as full of untold novelties for him who has the eyes to see them.”
Love and good cheer.
“In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it ‘Christmas’ and went to church; the Jews called it ‘Hanukkah’ and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say ‘Merry Christmas!’ or ‘Happy Hanukkah!’ or (to the atheists) ‘Look out for the wall!”
This Christmas, don’t forget to:
1. laugh: humor can help any situation, and it seems at holidays it is absolutely essential. So when you notice your uncle is once again drinking too much as he always does, try laughing about it instead of getting angry. See what that does.
2. smile: I think I’ve said this before, but if so it bears repeating. It takes less muscles to smile than to frown, and it’s been said that one can actually smile her way to being happy. So if you’re not really feeling the Christmas cheer this year (hey, that rhymed!) try smiling your way there.
3. be grateful: Your aunt gave you another atrocious Christmas sweater which you wouldn’t even wear once a year? So, be grateful. It’s really nice that she thought of you. (And there are starving people in China. )
4. breathe: Take a minute to take a deep breath. So often when we are in high stress situations, and even though Christmas is fun, it’s still considered pretty stressful . . . we forget to breathe. Breathe.
5. meditate: This is where we remember to take things one day, or one minute at a time, and remind ourselves that this too shall pass. Take yourself off to a little corner and whip out a thought for the day book, or say the serenity prayer. Call your sponsor.
And have the Merriest Christmas!!
I went to a meeting this morning. I was so grateful there was an Al-Anon meeting on Christmas Eve morning that I could attend. The topic around the meeting was taking care of ourselves, but I heard a smattering of frustration and fear on the topic of holidays in general, my own included. I talked about how I was trying to remember the Three C’s: I didn’t cause it, can’t control it, and can’t cure it . . . and the Three M’s to avoid for myself: manipulation, martyrdom, and mothering.
It all comes down to the wisdom of knowing the difference between things I can change and things I can’t. It should be such a simple thing. All I can change is myself or things about myself. Period. Can’t change circumstances or other people.
Circumstances will be different for me this Christmas Eve with my family. I can’t control the outcome. I can’t control whether or not people have a good time, or are upset about something. I can control my own responses and reactions. That’s about it. There’s not a lot I can do otherwise.
When I think of the word detachment it helps. If I’m too enmeshed with someone or something, I can’t possibly back off enough to even BREATHE, let alone know the difference.
Have a great day today. Whatever you do, take care of yourself. Even if you just need to go to a quiet corner and meditate, do that.
Peace, both individual and world peace in general, has everything to do with the 3rd step I’ve learned in Al-Anon – made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
I have had to revisit Step Three a whole lot during the last few weeks. Because of my codependency, I sometimes still have issues with boundaries. I let other peoples’ feelings leak over into me, and think that my positive feelings about the season should be enough to lift anyone’s spirits. It’s like I forget about the invisible line that separates me from other people.
It used to be for me, if you and I went to a movie and you didn’t enjoy it, it became a personal affront. I almost couldn’t stand the idea that you didn’t like it, didn’t have a good time, and felt like what you were saying was “I didn’t like you. I didn’t like being around you.”
In the past while, since Thanksgiving, I’ve come across several people I care about who are – to put it bluntly – humbugs this year. They would rather the season pass, the days go by, without acknowledging anything special. It started to bring me down. A couple times I even got angry. I was losing my own joy and inner peace. My serenity felt lost at sea.
Then I remembered that part of the Third Step is turning other people and their lives over to God. I remembered, when the alcoholic in my life was drinking, that I used to pray, “God, this is too big for me to handle. I don’t know what to do. But nothing is too big for You, so I’m turning this (person, situation) over to You.” And I would feel, if not immediate, then very soon after a peace wash over me.
That helped me this morning, when I logged onto Facebook and again saw an expression of humbug over Christmas. I turned that person over to God, and I let it go. Peace and happiness over Christmas day are both an inside job. Nobody can ruin that inner peace unless I let them.
I wish you peace and joy this holiday season. And I hope your day is lovely. I pray we can focus on the people around us, the loved ones we are with, thankfulness for what we already have as opposed to what we don’t, do only what we can, or do even less, and remember that serenity doesn’t guarantee a trouble-free existence. It does mean that we can maintain inner peace though the troubles. I pray we can look on the brighter side, and let go of what we can’t control.
Do you realize that things you do, even little things that you might think nothing about, resonate with people for a long time? It’s true. We might not see the consequences of our actions immediately.
I wrote a guest post for a friend’s blog sometime this past year. It was about my experience, strength and hope as a woman who loves an alcoholic. I wrote from my heart, but I had no idea it would make a difference. Several months after I wrote it, I got a Facebook message from my friend saying that she still gets people who read that post and sometimes comment on it.
It amazed me, that statement, but what I realized about giving, whether it’s your testimony at a meeting (or on a blog), your time, your money, whatever we give . . . comes back to us ten-fold, in that – well, it makes us feel good. I don’t know the science behind it, and I’m not going to pretend I do, but I know I read somewhere that helping someone else boosts our own moods.
Feeling down this holiday season? Volunteer somewhere. The Salvation Army still needs bell ringers in my area (I did it a couple of times, so I know) and they must need them where you are too. Check HERE to find help on how to be a bell ringer.
Just be kinder, gentler . . . if we look around us, we can find all sorts of ways to help others this season. Know a neighbor who spends the day alone? Invite her to your home for Christmas, or take her a plate to eat. Open doors, smile more, be patient with store clerks and other patrons, and try not to swear in traffic.
Hoping your day is lovely.
Finally finished the paper-chain around the tree. It’s up, it’s beautiful (I guess), and I’m supremely happy. I only have to make a tinfoil star for the top, and that’s really optional. I could buy one at the store just as easily. But—I feel like making one.
That’s my mom and dad’s wedding picture in the background. I sure wish Dad could have been around to see this tree. But I believe in heaven and the afterlife, and I fantasize that he’s looking down from heaven and can see it.
This will be a short post. I’m still whacked out from staying up all night the night before last. Something I will never do again! Twenty-nine is definitely too old to continue to pull all-nighters.
Be proud of the small things you achieve. Cut yourself slack on the things that don’t get done. Be gentle and go easy.
When things go wrong, as they sometimes do, I’m reminded by this slogan to hold on loosely; when things are going well, as they sometimes do too, I remember to hold on loosely but treasure each moment. Nothing lasts forever, and this too shall pass.
I made a choice yesterday in reaction to confusion, anger, and fear—none of which are, of course, good foundations for decision-making. I decided to stay off Facebook until December 26th. There had been too much sadness, arguing, and general ugliness which I witnessed, and there were some other personal issues involved.
Holidays can be so difficult, especially if we have lost a loved one during this time of year. A staggering 25% of losses occur during the holidays, for various reasons. What happened last Friday will add to your stress and difficulty, if you let it.
I don’t always remember to hold on loosely, but when I do, it makes it much easier to practice that other tried and true slogan Let go and Let God. Just—let it go. It doesn’t mean we don’t feel sad and concerned about the families going through this holiday without their loved ones recently lost in Newtown, Connecticut. It means we give it to God, because it’s too big for us to hold. And YOU have a life to live . . . that’s not selfish, that’s a fact.
Take care of yourselves, and each other when you can. Be sure you get plenty of zzz’s (some people swear by five hours of sleep, but it’s recommended that we get between 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Eat properly. This means sitting down once in a while and not standing at the microwave, unconsciously eating while you ruminate about your to-do list. Pray. Pray again. Even if you’re not sure you believe, what can it hurt? Play. If you are living in an area of the world lucky enough to have snow right now, go out and build a snowman. I saw a hilarious picture of a snowman built upside down, with the arm sticks pushing down into the snow, as if he were doing a headstand.
Caveat: I feel it’s important to say here that I don’t always follow my own advice, so that’s a gentle warning to you, dear reader. I don’t nearly get enough zzz’s, because I have a dog who wakes me up sometimes in the wee hours of the morning. And last night I didn’t sleep a wink, finishing paper chains for our Christmas tree. I’ve been off my diet for the past month or so, but I plan in getting right back to it today. I’m learning how to play, but I’m no expert. So the words you read here on this blog are written by an extremely fallible human being.
But I do believe that this too shall pass.