Walking out of depression

“You can predict the future by looking at the past,” my first real love used to say.

He used this as a mantra in financially difficult times.  He would declare with confidence and enthusiasm,  “I’ve had money before and I’ll have money again!”

His logic, if there was any, was never clear to me, but when I get too sad for too long I remember what he said.  I figure if I’ve been happy before then I’ll be happy again!

I know myself in pain, fatigue and sickness.  I know myself in sadness, grief, confusion and shock.  I know myself in crises, one after another.  I know myself in defense of my dignity and integrity.

Fortunately, I also know myself in joy, peace and happiness, but if the truth was told, I haven’t been really happy since my son became ill when he was nineteen years old.

Depression had literally disabled me before my son’s illness, but I was managing and getting along.  I had gone back to college hoping to finally finish about the same time my son began having medical problems.  I withdrew for the second time, both times were medical withdrawals due to depression.

I know myself well in depression.  Some days I think it’s no more than the way the sun shines that gets to me.  Some days anyone in my shoes would be depressed.  Then, there are times when I remember something that brings me down.

Recently, the memory of that awful relationship I was in not that long ago crept into my mind.  I didn’t want to feel the memory.  I didn’t want to feel the confusion that comes when I recall what I thought was love, only to remember that he said it was all a game.

The gloom that set in was soon interrupted after a brief phone conversation with a very good friend.  I had called to ask him for a favor.  He was able to help me, which relieved me of an hour-long trip.

It wasn’t his kindness alone that changed my mood, although I was certainly grateful for his help.

After telling me the favor I asked of him was no problem and something he could do quickly, he jokingly started pretending to be a ladies man.  “Hey baby,” he tried to say, but we both laughed at how funny it sounded coming from him.  He’s not the kind of man to call a woman Baby or Darling, or like one of my very southern friends, “Sugar,”  who reserves a special name for the sweetest women, a group he says I fall into and calls me, “Sugar Bugger.”

My good friend who can’t even say, “Hey Baby,” without laughing and is not from the south thinks this is a very funny way to address women.  On occasion, he enjoys playing this type of character.  He knows it makes me laugh, which is why he does it.

He tried again, “Oh, baby.  You’ll owe me.  You’ll pay up –he had to pause trying not to laugh — you’ll pay in kisses!  Chocolate kisses!  I will exploit you to no end making you pay in chocolate kisses.”

We both laughed.  I realized when we hung up the phone how much better I felt.  The dark cloud was gone.

Having my friend joke about such a thing or me merely hearing the word, “exploited,” might have made me very sad or even physically sick six months or a year ago.

The joking around didn’t cause the dark cloud to rain misery down on me and instead brought only laughter.  My friend’s silly imitation of this type of character made me see how lucky I am today not to be in a relationship where what he was joking about would be my reality.  A peaceful feeling set in with me for the rest of the evening.

I feel lucky to have made it back to myself.  What a long trip away it was.

This past summer brought healing to my heart in a new friendship with two sisters, both young and full of enthusiasm for the simple things in life.  I laughed more that summer than I have in ten summers put together.  My son laughed too and for the first time in years I started to see his smile when I snapped pictures of him.

One night we laughed so much and lost track of time.  After midnight I realized the girls should have already gone home.  They were grounded for a week.  Secretly, I felt like a child.  Not that I wanted them in trouble, but we all knew our time was innocent and laughter had gotten the better of us.  Not so much a crime in the summertime.

The girls’ family is of a particular religion that has many rules, a few of which I unknowingly broke, like when I gave them both a birthday celebration.  One of the parents was pretty upset and things changed after that.   Nevertheless, our times together, especially when we all laughed so hard for hours that we would completely wear ourselves out, remains in my mind as a time of healing.

The first day I met the girls I was walking the dogs.  I wasn’t long out of the bad relationship and I had two serious cuts on my fingers from an accident in the kitchen.  They asked me how I was doing and I broke down in tears right there on the side of our road.  I had to bend down and rest on my knee.  I was completely taken by sadness.  I cried while I told them all about my life, how hard it was and that’s when they asked if they could hold the dogs for me.

Most days after that they were here.  Most days they walked my dogs for me.  I cried a lot for the first month or so, but the laughter began healing my heart.  Then when I took pictures and saw the familiar smile on my son’s face that I hadn’t seen in years, I felt that if there is such a thing as angels, those girls surely must be ones.

Not having the best luck in the world, my summer ended with a new neighbor who turned out to be a nightmare.  The situation eventually thoroughly depressed me and the neighbor was soon after evicted for harassment.  The girls weren’t visiting as often anymore.

I felt like I had taken ten steps back.  I had to go through some of the same emotions I had felt that past winter.

The girls went back to school.  My son went back into the hospital.  I realized I was burned out.

Then, just to top things off, a stressful family event happened that caused me more turmoil.  I felt like too much had gone wrong.  I became seriously clinically depressed.

I feel like I’m walking out of depression, but it sure is hard.

In many ways over the past two years, life has called me to question who I am, what I want in my life and just as importantly, what I don’t want anymore, hence my love of the NO icon.

What I don’t want is pretty simple.  I don’t want to be treated poorly and I don’t want to endorse cruelty by standing in the line of fire.

What I want is pretty simple too.  I want to know myself outside of depression.

My mother recently gave me a few letters my uncle found that I wrote to my paternal grandmother in 1990.  I couldn’t believe how happy I sounded in the letters.  I was a little depressed back then but nothing, nothing like I’ve experienced since.

One of the letters reads very much like those happy Christmas letters people write.  Other people.  Not me.

I tried to remember how I felt writing the letters.  I couldn’t remember exactly how I felt, but I know I wrote them.

My son’s letter is the best.

a happy child's letter to his great grandmother

His childhood notes, creative school work and art definitely speaks to a happy kid.  I like that.  I take some credit for the good times he had growing up, which is a piece of happiness.

Returned also to me was a card I had sent my grandmother when I went to Texas to visit a friend.  I think this was the time my friend and I rode across the horse pastures, she on her Arabian and I on a Quarter horse under the light of a full moon and in Texas, that’s a really big moon!

card to grandma, boy I sounded happy

“Just having fun,” takes you a long way walking out of depression.

Thank you for visiting my blog,

dogkisses.

PS  If you haven’t laughed in a while, here’s a video that sure made me laugh.

“Laughing Girl”

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8 responses to this post.

  1. I really enjoyed this .. being a manic depressant for many years i battle depression daily… people who suffer have their good days and bad days.. sometimes when u feel u have reached the end of the tunnell and can see the light something else happens and drags you back thru half way.. I will find humor in the most absurd things. i will laugh at the craziest stuff that is only funny to me.. not always to others .. because i feel laughter is what heals the sadness in our life.. so just as one would say take time to smell the roses i say sit back and try as hard as u can to take the time to just laugh… it does help with the depression… i often try to find something funny to read or watch in bad moments of depression.. just like this video you put on here.. i have seen it already hahahaha as i try to stick to the funny stuff .. As depression can take over so fast and so easily..Thanks again for writing such a wonderful story.. great job. GOD bless.

    dell381

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  2. Depressions’s no easy road, but talking about it helps. Thanks for sharing what’s been happening to you.
    The word No seems to me a very powerful word and can be an opening into the world of YES.
    All the best
    Keith

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    • Thanks for your comment Keith! I agree, No can lead to a wonderful YES! Choosing a title constantly challenges me. I’m not sure we can simply, ‘walk out of depression’ but we can sure try by doing things that make us feel good or bring satisfaction in some way and by avoiding what makes us feel bad, as much as we can you know.

      Saying NO to people who are chronically hurtful and destructive is good. Saying YES to peace, love and light is great!

      Take care, and hope you visit again,
      Michelle.

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  3. Hi DK,

    I wish I had some great wisdom to offer in the hard times. I can only admire your ability to keep walking even when all seems dark and hopeless. You continue to inspire me greatly and I have no doubt, are a gift to all who know you, all who read your words, and all those whose path you cross even in a casual way.

    Your honesty here in sharing your thoughts and experiences is a priceless gift! Thanks to your posts here, your progress is visible and helpful to those you may never know; even when it’s not visible to you.

    In my times of greatest struggle, each time there is a moment, a blink, of pleasure – hot water in the shower, the antics of a beloved pet, a color that draws me for a second – those can be “just having fun” and lift me, even if only for a blink.

    May you find many, many blinks until they blend and move together to become ever larger parts of you. Keep walking, you’re not walking alone.

    Peace.

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    • hiddenlives– hello!

      Your comments sure make me feel good. In them are the “blinks” you speak of. Thank you for encouraging me.

      I agree, it is in those moments in time that we can build upon and that’s what I’m trying to be aware of. The other day I had a pain free day! Yesterday I saw the big moon rising, while driving on a country road. I haven’t worried about my son in two days. I recently forgave a person I love (inspired by you) and that made me feel really good.

      Many moments in time, many little “blinks” to count!

      Peace,
      dogkisses.

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  4. […] Walking out of depression « Dogkisses's Blog […]

    The above link goes to http://www.depressionpage.com which is a list of articles and blog posts about depression.

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  5. I envy people who can “just have fun.” I haven’t felt that way in so, so long……… It’s been bad for the longest time. I’m just trying to claw my way back up out of the rabbit hole. Thanks for being a friend!

    P.S. Have you heard from CJ??? I’m worried about her…

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    • Hi Rose,
      I understand. Just having fun isn’t easy for me either. I was shocked to see that I wrote that on the card to my grandma. I’m sorry you aren’t feeling well. I wish we were closer so we could help each other crawl out of that hole.

      I haven’t heard from CJ. I was hoping you had. I’m also worried about her.

      Take good care, nice to see you here, always, and thank you for being a friend.
      dogkisses and hugs.
      PS I hope you feel better soon. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

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