Monthly Archives: November 2014

mt rainier fron kendall catwalk hike

numb the dark and you numb the light

numb the dark and you numb the light
this line is from brené brown a renowned author who writes on vulnerability. the complete paragraph goes like this:
“and numbing vulnerability is especially debilitating because it doesn’t just deaden the pain of our difficult experiences; numbing vulnerability also dulls our experiences of love, joy, belonging, creativity, and empathy. We can’t selectively numb emotion. numb the dark and you numb the light.”
maybe depression is tied up in trying to run away from the dark feelings and emotions that seem to go hand in hand with the big d. additionally it makes sense that depressed people struggle with feelings like love, belonging, joy, creativity and empathy. when stuffing or hiding from the dark feelings, the uplifting feelings get stuffed or lost, too.
it almost seems counter intuitive, face the dark to see the light. using another analogy, if one faces the east at sunset, the dark, and keeps facing that way, sooner or later, the sun will rise, the light.
perhaps victory over depression lies in facing the dark instead of turning from it. I got to say, that sounds both like something to strive for and something that sounds really scary. The dark is the monster I have been running from far to often. And in running from the dark, depression wins.

what can I do

imagine for a moment if someone near and dear to you is suffering with depression. it’s a dark place that does awful thinks. one thing that is likely to happen is indecision. you’ll ask them, “what can a do to help you?” you’ll likely get a shrug or if you are lucky, you will get words like, “i don’t know.”
they are in a state where the mind locks up thoughts tightly and the brain seems to function more slowly. they might recognize a need but they are unable or even afraid to vocalize it. it makes the job of supporting then that much harder and as if it is not hard enough.
 if only a list existed that of things you might do that could help. you could pick a couple to a few things from that list and unbeknownst to them, you would be helping, helping them win their battle with depression.
well, there is such a list and you are looking at it. pick a couple to a handful of suggestions to take on. they really aren’t that hard. don’t expect any cataclysmic events. don’t expect the heavens to open and your friend to be immediately cured. coming out of depression can be a slow process. by sticking to your choices you are reminding your friend that you are there for them, that you care, that they can make it through, that they can get to the other side of depression.
sound exciting? you up to it? ready to choose? then go!
reach out to them.
give them a call.
sit with them.
offer support.
give then an atta boy.
smile at them.
hug them.
fix them a meal.
invite them to do something.
admit that you haven’t always been the best of support.
learn more about their condition.
acknowledge their presence.
look past your anger and resentment, to be a better support.
look past a friendship that has seemingly drifted.
be more forgiving for phone calls not returned.
be more willing to listen to how they really feel.
look past your own struggles a little more often.
look past your fear and ignorance of the situation.
try to break through the wall that stands between you and them no matter how tall or wide.
be a little less pushy.
try to be more understanding.
reach out more often.
run from their tough spots a little less often.
be a little bit more supportive.
be more willing to hold them when they are in a tough spot.
be a little less critical.
project hope more often.
let them know that they are important to you.
go for a walk with them.
remind them they can make it through.
remind there is another side.
take them to the movies.
get them some chocolate.
get them some flowers.
do anything to make them feel special.
let them know that you love them.
let them know that you are there for them.
let then know that you care.
…and slowly great things can happen.
another view of the tatoosh range


most of us have heard of the grand daddy of ideations, suicidal ideation. that generally happens as life seems to be headed on a steep downhill and there doesn’t appear to be anyway to stop. maybe it’s the thought, “i’d be better off dead.” or the even more solidified thought, “…and this is how i’d do it.” fortunately, a majority of the time the fog lifts just enough for the head to clear and the thought remains just a thought and nothing more. the situation that caused the problem clears and the thought goes away.
what about the healthful ideations, the thoughts about healthful situations? sometimes they remain unfulfilled or become muddled. i claim, at least for me, and probably others, that these thoughts can be just as wearing, just as dangerous.
let me start off explaining a little more what i mean by healthful ideations. these are the thought about things we do that help us to stay or get healthy. things like, self care, reaching out to friends and to a support structure, and creating fun are some examples. while all of these appear to be healthful endeavors, they are not always healthy endeavors. i’ll explore each of these further and show how they are a struggle for me.
self care
i see self care as a good thing. in performing self care, i see myself good and worthy of the care i am giving myself. i say i am important and deserving of the care and love i give myself. there would be few and far between that wouldn’t see this as a healthful ideation. how could this possibly become an unhealthy ideation?
recently for me, there have been two companies that have charged me fore services for which i had only implicitly agreed. a phone call stood between me and a form of self care. i feel too wound up  about today; i’ll call tomorrow. then tomorrow becomes tomorrow’s tomorrow…
or perhaps i want to have a conversation with a family member or a friend to establish some better boundaries. there is already a certain amount of self doubt for me; i haven’t ever been particularly good at self care. the opportunity gets lost and doubting mind claims, that it wasn’t really that important.
each failed attempt at self care builds upon one another. it becomes somewhat the opposite, kind of a self-discare. “i’m not good at this; why even try?” “failure is guaranteed more often than not.”
the healthful ideation of self care becomes wretchedly ugly. the ideation becomes transformed into something it is not.  how could something so clean and pure like self care end up in such a mess?
reaching out
i think that reaching out to friends and/or a support structure to be a good thing. in making a connection, i admit that the world is bigger than just me. additionally, it can be an opportunity to get out some of the stuff i’ve been holding inside. i can also potentially be a gentle ear, to hear about someone else’s struggles and perhaps even be a comfort to them in a time of need. i would probably have to search high and wide to find someone that would disagree that reaching out would not be a healthful ideation. how could anyone see this as an unhealthy ideation?
it’s happen enumerable times to me, i’m going to call my friend joe; i’m going to call him at 10:00. then 10 becomes 12 which becomes 2, which becomes 4, which becomes 6. by the time that happens, i decide he is probably home with family. i don’t want to bother him now. i’ll try again tomorrow. tomorrow comes with similar results. tomorrow’s tomorrow lays out in a similar fashion…
each one of those failed connections can be seen as a defeat. as the defeats pile up, self defeating thoughts enter the mind. “maybe it’s best that i didn’t call joe.” “he probably didn’t want to talk to me anyway.” “i wonder if anyone really wants to talk to me.” “no one is trying to call me.” “why even try.”
the healthful ideation of reaching out becomes an unhealthy monster. the ideation becomes a twisted wreck known as isolation.  how could something so clean and pure like reaching out end up in such a mess?
creating fun
i am on assignment from my counselor to go out and have some fun this week, go out and do something fun that may even have low intrinsic value, like bowling or a ride on a ferry. i can see the value in this; it could be a temporary release and a lightening of mood of this hell hole i find myself in. i would be hard pressed to find someone who would not agree that making and having fun is a good aspiration and a healthful endeavor. how could anyone see this as an unhealthy ideation?
a group i am in has a outing planned to a meal and a movie. these are typical thoughts that might run through my mind. “what does betty think of me?” “did i do something wrong?” “what did i said, was it funny or rude?” “do i even belong here?” “can i even afford this?” how can something intrinsically fun gets swept away in fear, anxiety, and worry.
each worry, unspoken fear and each gut wrenching anxious moment eats away at the fun. slowly a flip begins. the “fun” event ends causing far more grieve and pain than even could be derived from the fun.
the healthful ideation of creating or having fun becomes an unhealthy beast bogged down, stuck in a muddy mess, unable to move.  how could something so clean and pure like creating and having fun end up in such a mess?
while there would be near universal agreement that unhealthful ideations like suicidal ideations are dangerous, i believe, and kind of contradictory, that healthful ideations come with there own set of problems. they can create such demons as self doubt, self destructive behaviors and self loathing just to name a few. nothing like having the good guys fighting against  you; that only serves to make the battle that much harder.
a little bird sitting on a branch

that face

i hate that face. the downward facing corner of the lips, the slight puppy dog eyes.  it always strikes me hard, like a hammer to a finger. is it a look of disappointment? is it a look of despair? is it i hope for so much more for you? is it i want so much more out of you? is it a hate to see you is such pain? is it i want you to fight harder? is it i don’t want you to give up?  is it pull up your bootstraps and get going? is it why, why, why? is it a why me? is it great sadness to horrid to express? is it this person i love so dearly doesn’t deserve this? is it when will this end. is it will it ever end?
all of these and more swim around in my head when i see that face. the current is swift and i thrash around wildly trying to keep my head above water. my gulps for air are punctuated with gulps of half air and half water and others of almost all water. i feel like i’m drowning.  i wish for any flotsam or jestum to grap onto so i can wrap my body around it to hopefully keep myself afloat just a little bit longer. i wait for a rescue and i don’t even see one on the horizon.
this sucks!
depression sucks!