Daily Archives: November 24, 2016

Is It Depression or Is It Just Depression? – Throwback

  Every week I go through at least one day that I feel depressed. When that happens, I always have to ask one question, “Am I suffering a depressive episode, or am I dealing with a typical day that I’m just feeling the blues? Is it just a normal depression that most people deal with now and again?” I was…

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The End of Gratitude

Gratitude U

At least in collage form. For a while. Frankly, it was exhausting to summon up so much gratitude when I was hospital-worthy.

Gratitude V

Negative thoughts yoke themselves to negative emotions. One can trigger the other, strengthening the connection, creating a wider, smoother highway for each subsequent episode.

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Forging new neural responses through mindfulness and self-compassion  takes time and lots of practice.  It feels counter-intuitive at first.  For years, perhaps, we’ve berated ourselves for not being strong enough, disciplined enough, grateful enough.  These core beliefs feel so true, we don’t even question them.

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You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection–Buddha

Science now supports what that old bodhi tree-sitter knew–mental illness must be embraced with love and awareness from those who suffer from it.

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It feels impossible only because it’s a path waiting to be created.  But I’ve found over the years of making my own trail through this bramble that it gets easier to remember the way back to it.  And once I remember to treat myself gently and with exquisite care, I find I can breathe again.

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And then, I can be grateful for the air, and my lungs, and this day.


Happy Days!

I’m back home after ten days’ vacation, seven of them at sea in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. My family and I also spent a couple of days in New Orleans and had the French Quarter experience…what a crazy place! I walked further than I thought I was capable of, shopped on Bourbon Street, sampled deep-fried alligator. There was always something going on, tons of people walking around, and street entertainers doing their thing. I got showered with Mardi Gras beads, and I didn’t even have to bare my “girls” for them. Haha!

The cruise itself was delightful. The Carnival Dream is a lot like the Magic, but we had a better stateroom this time. We went all the way down to Central America, which was absolutely breathtaking with lush jungles and white-sand beaches. I bought a handbag in each port—yes, I’m touristy enough to carry purses with “Belize” and “Roatan, Honduras” embroidered on them—and dipped my toes in the spectacular blue-green waters of the Caribbean. I dined on filet mignon and drank virgin tropical drinks as well as non-alcoholic beer. And of course, Clark’s mother Shelley and I spent a lot of time laying out on the deck by the pool, and we all watched movies on the big screen just like we did the last time.

Then there was Cozumel. You see, this was the place where Will and I bought our new wedding rings and my Mexican wedding dress, so we had something of a bond with this particular island. While Ethan, Clark, Shelley and I were shopping, Clark persuaded me to come inside a jewelry store to look at Pandora bracelets. I didn’t know why, as he’d already bought me a beautiful rose gold overlay tennis bracelet on the ship. Thinking I was a little too old for charm bracelets, I demurred at first, but Clark was insistent. He proceeded to pick out a bracelet and a charm with the letter W, for Will, and told me that before he died, Will had asked him to get something for me in Cozumel as a remembrance. This was Clark’s fulfillment of that request.

It was all I could do not to cry. And I did have some tears during the trip, because Will had loved that first cruise as much as I did and wanted to be there for this one. I ached for him, dreamed of having him by my side once more to wonder at the magnificent waters and other visual delights of God’s creation. But overall, these were very happy days and I enjoyed them tremendously.

And my bipolar didn’t even make so much as a squeak during the entire time. No bursts of mania due to jet lag and time changes, no depression, no irritability, and very little anxiety. (I do get nervous during flights, though, which is why I pray before takeoffs and sometimes pop half an Ativan for good measure.)

Coming in December 2017: another cruise—this time on Carnival’s largest ship, the Vista—to a different part of the Caribbean, followed by Disney World. I can’t wait!