Plea and please

The picture below is a photograph of my son and I, taken four years ago, on the evening of his final school dance. Many people have commented that he ‘looks a lot like me’. (I softly curled my hair for the occasion 😉 )

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Although there is a resemblance in our appearance, it stops when it comes to height and body shape. He’s slouching a little in the picture, for Mom’s benefit 😛 He’s just over six foot tall, and slender. I am a shorty, and rounder 😛

The similarities with us are not just physical – he seems to be very similar to me in a lot of other ways too. He has a kind and tender heart, a gentle spirit, and like his momma he can be quite sensitive. He and I are the ones who will sit and cry in a movie, or an episode of a series – not always out of sadness though. In fact, most times, if it’s heartwarming, it gets our tears 😉 When we try to retell stories of acts of kindness, our voices wobble a little – and if it’s one of those ‘overwhelming type stories’, we’ll have to stop to try and ‘get a grip’ and prevent ourselves from crying.

We’re just too soft 😛

But I am proud of my young man, and who he has become. He may fail in some ways, and may be a bit of a slow starter in others – and yes, he still has his moments where he frustrates and irritates me, ha ha ha! BUT his good qualities FAR outweigh any bad, and I am very grateful for that!

One of the ways that he is VERY different to me though is when it comes to the social side of his personality. He’s great with the friends he has known since he was 13 – there is no struggle for him there. But he is, for the most part, shy and introverted. It takes him a while to come out of his shell around other people. (He partially struggles with self esteem.) And yet, like his mother 😉 , he doesn’t struggle to connect with his online friends. He met them through the world of online gaming, and soon they were social media friends, which means chatting and voice noting and connecting. And through all that, he has made good friends – friends he has never met in person. And I even ‘know’ a few of them – sometimes it feels like they are part of our ‘real world’ and have been to visit 😉

SO…. why am I telling you all this?

Last night, my very precious ‘boy’ came to me, still in shock and unsure of how he felt. He had just received a message from one of his other friends to say that their ‘mutual friend’ had committed suicide on Saturday. She was only 18 – we had all ‘celebrated online’ on her 18th birthday this year.
We knew she was struggling with depression. We knew that she had started new medication earlier this year. We knew that a couple of weeks ago, things were bad for her and she was withdrawn.
But it still came as a shock. 
Because we also knew that we had all offered help, that she had reassured us that ‘it was okay’, that she had her meds. She never once told anyone that she wished for death.

I didn’t hug my son. He’s not one for physical affection, and I respect that.
But we talked. Briefly. And I made it clear that I am always available if he needs to chat – he can even wake me if I am sleeping.
Then I watched my young man as he left my room, shoulders stooped, heart hurting.
And I cried a little bit.

Preteens, Teens, Young Adults, Grown Ups – please hear the cry from my heart today :

Depression sometimes has a way of ‘creeping up on us’. In society today, it’s ‘common’ – and yet in some cases, there still seems to be a stigma attached to it.
If you think you may be suffering from it, or know that you are, please DO NOT BE ASHAMEDno matter who has tried to shame you for it. 
Please reach out and try to ask for help.
I know that sometimes we get to a place where we just can’t ask.
Please force yourself. And if you need to, then please force yourself to accept help.
Your life IS worth something.
YOU ARE WORTH SOMETHING!

Unicorns and Sparkles

I received a picture message from my friend this morning. We don’t often get to connect because our lives are busy. In fact, even though we live in the same town, we actually only get to see each other once every four months or so, when our schedules are in harmony. Those are the greatest times, and always filled with moments that make for the best memories. We ‘do’ those times properly, and pretty much block book five hours or so for each other. When her husband hears we’re getting together, he pretty much sighs and tells her, ‘I’ll see you tomorrow – I’ll be asleep when you get home’. 😛 (He adores me, so that’s a plus for our together time 😉 )

Her message to me this morning was such a special one – and I consider it one that we all need to hear from time to time. I’ve delved a little more deeply into it for blogging purposes and added some ‘stuff’.

The message was simple : You’re important and you matter to me, and I hope you will always know and remember that. You can call on me at anytime. I will always be your ‘mental’ friend – there to help care for your mental health when you need me, and there to just act crazy with you when you need me to.

Sadly, the message didn’t just ‘come out of the blue’. It came in the wake of an acquaintance we both have in common who went missing day before yesterday. This young lady is a mother of two (aged 10 and 3) but prone to depression. Drugs and alcohol have not done in her any favours as mood stabilisers. And she’s one of those girls who refuses to ‘talk about it’, because she’s ‘too strong for that’.

*Side note* When it comes to mental health, seeking help and speaking out are the bravest and strongest things you actually can do!

She was found last night – no harm to her person. Had apparently done a runner ‘to think’. And is still refusing to talk with friends and family about what is going on inside her head. The perception of many is that by choice, she is very much alone, locked in to herself. Those of us who are more aware know that when you are in a place of mental instability, there really are no conscious choices. 😦

The whole situation sparked an outburst of messages around town; everyone reassuring one another that ‘you’re not alone, you are important’ etc.

And although I don’t actually know any of you, I wanted to ‘put something out there’ for ‘my’ blogosphere to read. Perhaps someone will come to mind who could really use a quick message of encouragement and reassurance from you?

You need to remember that you’re important. Somehow, some way, you will always be a part of someone’s life, and that makes you important. I like to think that I’m a lot of people’s reason to smile….but I may also be the reason some people drink. 😛 Who knows? I’m all over the place 😉

But I matter. YOU matter. Because there will always be someone who will value you, and fill up the empty spaces in their life with pieces of you. (I am not speaking romantically – this is about all other relationships)

(And in my humble opinion, this is a really good reason for us to always try and have a positive impact on those around us. Not always easy, because we all have those moments where our spirit is downcast, and our attitudes suffer a bit and can be referred to as bad…but definitely worth not giving up – continuing to try, even if we fail. )

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photo credit : quotefancy.com

It’s easy, in times of trouble, to question our existence. It’s important, in those moments, to remember that someone out there actually needs us. That we have something to offer. Perhaps not to the entire world, but that doesn’t make us any less important.
Because the thing is that even as an individual, your existence still impacts the world.

Max Lucado once said something that I really liked, and actually printed out for my wall – he said that we are valuable because we exist. Not because of what we do, or what we have done, but simply because we are.

Anonymous once said something too that resonates such truth :

Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.

And…..just for fun…..

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Source : Facebook

So keep shining, my friends! 🙂

Are you okay?

I suppose this can be considered my comeback post.
It contains no great literary excellence and would not be attractive to any magazine looking for new article writers, because this post has not been well researched.

What it does contain, however, is some truth.

Personal experience gathered through another series of painful episodes, and I have chosen to spew some of that experience here….because you just never know who needs to hear/read this truth today.
So if you’re reading, welcome to ‘my world’, as it is at the moment.

The last few months have been a mixture of negative emotions : fear, anger, hurt, worry, a sense of hopelessness fueled by unnecessary anxiety. And yet somewhere deep inside me there is this determination that refuses to just let me rest.
Because there have been moments in all of the above where I look in the mirror and think, “I just want to close my eyes and sleep forever”. I think I may have even said the words aloud on a few occasions. Whoops! 

Because, ladies and gentlemen, truth be told : Life sucks, for everyone. It never goes according to plan, no matter how successful you are – the merit of that success being whatever you base success on. We all have a vision for the way we want / wanted our lives to be. And nothing has gone according to plan. And guess what :

IT’S OKAY!!!!

I don’t remember who said it, or where I read it, but I remember in my early twenties that I came across the following statement ~ 

If life was meant to be easy, it wouldn’t have started with something called labor.

All the negative emotions of the last few months have deprived me of so much, mostly restful nights of deep, uninterrupted sleep. I’m exhausted. Because, truth be told, I am, for the most part, a positive and happy person. I have my moments, but they never last very long. Of late, they’ve lasted longer than usual. I don’t know how to handle the experience of such awfully draining emotions for more than a day. And it has scared me.

Anyone who has any influence over my life – and media in general – have forced the words ”suck it up”, ”it is what it is”, ”stop being negative” into my brain.

acbba77346e27d716bc6c9b535ee75ac54948e9712e3981ebfb5f29b23e95ef2_1 Photo credit : ifunny.co

 

(I don’t have a baseball bat, which I suppose is a good thing, all things considered)

Again, I repeat, if you find yourself in a negative space consumed by crippling emotions, IT’S OKAY. YOU’RE OKAY! 
People (the world over) want to force the beauty of life on us. 
Reality is that some days (sometimes for a few consecutive days) life simply isn’t beautiful. 

I mentioned earlier a determination that won’t let me rest. Guess what? You have it too. Somewhere deep inside you, it’s simmering. Because you’re still here. (And hopefully still reading this.)
We’ve all heard that life is a journey. Well…what journey is perfect? Your boarding pass gets lost, or your luggage goes to a different destination, or the weather doesn’t co-operate, or the hotel isn’t exactly what it made out to be online, or the food/travel made you ill, or……
There’s a multitude of ”’or’s” in life. Embrace them. Feel them. Experience them. Even if you’re there for a few days. 

My epiphany of truth yesterday was simple : I’ve had months of more than one bad/negative day. I’ve been in valleys of despair. But I haven’t pitched my tent and stayed there. Each time, I’ve reached a point (after a few days) where I’ve continued on….carrying a heavy load….but continued on, nevertheless. Slow, heavy, burdened progress is STILL progress!

And THAT’S why it’s okay, and you’re okay. If you’re still here, you’re winning.  

I’ve suddenly realised that it’s okay to say I am NOT okay, because that makes me okay. (That sentence makes sense in my head – here’s hoping yours can find the sense in it too!) There’s no shame in admitting that things are not great. And it’s probably my greatest achievement yet.
Life sucks. It doesn’t mean that I have to.
My life is going on…. and I am going to live it. Bad days and all.
And there’s no promise that the good will eventually supersede the bad.
But I’m sure as hell sticking around to find out…I’m a sucker for travel 😉 

Shipwreck

The ship was sinking. Fast.

It had been slow at first…the water seeping in through a small hole…
But the pressure had built, and now something so small had grown into something large enough to create chaos and devastation.

In what seemed like a shorter space of time than what it actually was, the ship took one last look at the magnificent orange and red hues of yet another almost perfect sunrise. It disappeared beneath the depths of a very large ocean, immersing itself in the dark depths below.

And sometimes, this is life.

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