Category Archives: history

post discussing my history with depression

reflections off the water

a story about a young man, depression and its conquest

i wrote this in a previous cycle of depression. it is an exercise to create a symbol of depression and its conquest. i thought that it would be a good thing to look at again and to add it to my blog.

once upon a time there was a young man. like many other people of his time, he went on with his life seemingly making ends meet in winning the constant struggle between good and evil, managing to maintain a balance.

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#WOFG

two things happened in 1985. well, probably many more than that, but i’m talking about as it pertains to this story. the kansas city royals won the world series and my good friend who is from kansas city, her grandpa, who i believe spend most of his life there, took his last breath. the royals pretty much had not had a sniff of the playoffs since then.

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great blue heron

chicken yorkshire

eeh by gum, take a gander at the calendar, don’t get flummox, but did you flippin’ ‘eck knoe that august 1 is yorkshire day.( the the previous sentence is loaded with yorkshire-ism.) neither did i until by blogger friend lauren hayley, who happens to live in yorkshire told me. I told her about about our family recipe for yorkshire chicken. Mary and i introduced it to your friends down the street. they liked it so much,  it has become a regular on their christmas table. lauren asked for the recipe and instead of trying to shove in a comment field, I decided to post it here, for all to see. so, without further ado, the recipe

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wintery reflection

drugs-god’s gift to me???

I want a new drug
One that won’t go away
One that won’t keep me up all night
One that won’t make me sleep all day

Huey Lewis & the News

i have a long and sorted battle with meds in regards to my depression. i might as well start at the beginning.

my first depressive cycle, diagnosed as seasonal effective disorder, sad, coming in the winter, ended up to be a relatively minor one. i beat it back with just a careful regimen of good diet and exercise.

find out where things go from there

mt rainier fron kendall catwalk hike

sad but true

as Mary and i drove home from her sister’s house for easter, i noted that I felt more comfortable with her family than my own. it’s not like i’m sleeping with any member of her family, well except for the person with whom i exchanged vows. 🙂

read for about the state of affairs with my family

fall on the way to kendall catwalk

we are fam-i-ly?

or are we?
family(n) a group of people related to one another by blood or marriage; friends and family can provide support.
i wrote to my siblings on March 22, 2013 announcing my most recent swim in the mental disorder pool. the second part of the definition above troubles me. i’ll do a review of my family support structure since then.
oldest sister: I am probably closest to her. we are separated by ten years and one day.  she always voices her appreciation for me not being born on her birthday. she had a long planned trip, years in the making, to the area. communication happened to coordinate that, not much more.  in her visit, I never remember us talking about my situation. she calls for celebration days; birthdays, thanksgiving, christmas, but still months go between calls.  we shared some truly excited interest on our last call.  I told her about a book I am writing. she uses many of the ideas that I will develop in the book in her work. she looks forward to see what i develop.
oldest brother: I get a christmas (cash) gift card from him every year.  I get a beautiful calendar he produces using photos he has taken throughout the year.
middle brother: he has contacted me twice _through_ my middle sister. the first time he wanted help picking out a new computer.  the second time he had questions on how to install old programs on his new machine.  i guess i meet the qualifications to answer the questions, but I didn’t even feel like the most qualified person in the family. more about him later.
middle sister: we had a tight relationship at one time.  things fell apart when my dad died.  she served as the conduit for the computer questions. one time in one of those calls she actually asked about how I was doing. beyond that, not much more has happened.
youngest sister: she lives in the area, also. so we had communication to coordinate my oldest sister’s visit. she suffers with depression, also.  nothing like two siblings fighting wit depression trying to fight through isolation and make a call.
you would be right in saying I could have picked up the phone and made a call at anytime. maybe you’ve never dealt with a full blown case of isolation. for me, i always struggle with feeling worthy. depression makes that struggle all the harder. i reach a point where i don’t feel worthy to make calls to my friends or even my dysfunctional family members. isolation feels like living in a prison with no bars. even though no bars are present to hold me in, there doesn’t appear to be a way out. isolation sucks! it sucks the life right out of me.
I promised more about my middle brother.  we have been on similar tracks for about the last year, me with depression and he with cancer. i try not to get resentful on the difference in treatment, but it keeps getting more and more difficult.
my middle sister has bedn his advocate. she sends out regular updates on how he is doing and the progress he is experiencing. she lines up transportation for him to his cancer treatments; his cancer makes it not possible to drive the eight hours to his cancer treatments.
the topper came this last week when i got an email request for his financial support.  i won’t be participating; something about not having worked for two years and having to dip into retirement just to get by.
i guess I’m glad my brother still has a “family” and support. i hold nothing against him, personally. but, i an part of that family structure, too, i know because i continue to get the updates and request for support.
my question is where is my support from my family beyond the maybe two dozen or so phone calls i have received in the last two years? i can tell you, absent. I find that sad, real sad.
reflections off the water

self care struggle

 

i have a belief that self care, or lack there of, ends up in every recipe for depression. i also believe that if there were a group of depressed people around, a fight might break out surrounding whose struggles with self care contributes most to their depression. here, you will find one of my arguments why my struggles with self care weighs me down.
Mary and i had planned to go to a dinner this saturday. the dinner is a group, come as you are, low pressure affair. the more each of us thought about it, we separately made a decision that going to the dinner didn’t rank high on our priorities.
the separate thoughts came together in a conversation. “i’ll go if you want to go.”‘ echoed back and forth. okay, then our saturday night is free, no obligations.
a day or so went by and I remembered about a certain part of the saturday evening that excited me. a conversation ensued. “you know, i thought about saturday evening and I changed my mind; I really want to go.”‘ i said. Mary replied,”okay, then we will go.”
end of story, right? if it where only that easy.
i had only asked for a change in plans and met absolutely no resistance, but an ashen color washed over my now long face. it felt like i had just fought a long, hard battle.  the fight made me feel exhausted.
Mary noted my change in color and shift in energy. really, at this point, i had barely noticed it myself. she asked me what happened. after a brief moment of thought, i realized that my attempt, an uncontested attempt, at self care, going to the dinner, had resulted in great wounds or more likely the opening of old wounds.
you see, self care didn’t really show up on the curriculum in my household. formal training on self care didn’t exist. I guess we, the children, learned what we learned through osmosis. we were just let to absorb it from else where. many times when we practiced self care at home, the results often ended up getting rebuffed.
i find it funny, in a sad way, that there exists underlying jokes on sex education with kids and the affects it has on adult lives. those jokes for self care don’t appear to exist but the results can be far more damaging.
a seemingly harmless and successful conversation about the saturday dinner caused painful flashbacks to my childhood years. there, untaught attempts at self care, only those learned on the proverbial streets and in the imaginary back alleys, those childhood defeats, more often than not, today, still echo in my mind.
today, those childhood failures at self care, these learned patterns, continue to haunt me and trip me up. seemingly successful exchanges end up in a ball of flame. no wonder self care ends up as an ingredient in my depression recipe; even successful attempts at it, can result in serious setbacks.
blue boat getting away?

The big wind of ’14

i sit here in the dark tapping out this post my ole reliable ipad. thank god for battery powered devices. you see, tonight is, said with the proper booming voice, the  big wind of ’14.  before losing power the local tv station broke in giving a update of the storm every commercial break. then a flicker and another, then we plunged into total darkness.
i’m going to take this opportunity to tell some wind stories of mine. I don’t think they are too scary, but you might want to cuddle up with your teddy bear, just in case. it never bad to cuddle with teddy, anyway.
i first encountered wind as a young child, less than 10 years old. when ever we had a big wind, i would shiver violently in fear. the noises scared me and I had fear that some nearby tree would come crashing downing my bed. of course, the nearest tall tree stood probably 60 yards away. those trees couldn’t even do any damage because the prevailing winds wouldn’t even blow the tree towards our house. tell that to an eight year old. so, I lived in fear of big winds.
i normally slep up stairs. on windy nights I sought the comfort and solace of one of the down stair bedrooms until I could finally shiver myself to sleep.
until one windy night. it was a dark and stormy night. I had had it with fearing this wind. That night, I made a pact with myself to show strength and stay up stairs, all night. i shivered violently just like any of the windstorms before, but this time, I stayed up stairs! wind never had power over me in my childhood years, ever again.
step forward some twenty years as we moved into our new and current house. there are two trees that concern me. they are both to the south of us and big storms around here kick up winds from the sound.  one would wreck havoc, landing on the foot side of the master bedroom and the other would do damage, landing on our garage and cars. The first tree has enough heftTo do major structural damage and scare the bjezes out of us at the same time, especially if we were peacefully resting. the second tree doesn’t have near the heft of the first tree so I believe its damage would be rather minimal. the fact that we live in a well wooded suburban neighborhood ends up offering us protection. there are enough trees to the south of us to rob just enough of the wind’s energy to keep our trees standing, hopefully for as long as we live here.
which brings us to tonight. the power is out and the only light in the house comes from my ipad or flashlights as we move around the house. I find amazing the amount of light that all of our electronic devices and appliances give off. The  blacks are a little more blacker this evening because of the lack of power.
the winds continue to howl outside, sometimes as loud as a double fortissimo. for you who don’t know music terms, that means very loud, where triple fortissimo generally gets recognized as playing the loudest the instrument will play. when it the loudest, it reminded of the sound at the end of the runway as a plane comes in for a it’s noisy landing. the sound kicks up my fear, not like my childhood uncontrollable shiver fear but more like a putting a sizable knot in my stomach. thankfully, the wind, and with it, the sound, has died down, more like a mezzo forte, medium loud, to forte, loud.
which brings me to my final realization, which i recognized last year, that I will share about before signing off for the evening. take a small branch and whip it through the air. it will create a relatively high pitched sound. now take another larger bow and wave it through the air; it will create a lower pitched sound. as you wave even larger bows the sound will get lower and lower. now, imagine a wind blowing through the trees. everything from flutes, the small branches, to bases, the largest bows, play their song. the wind in the trees creates a full blown orchestra! The higher the wind speed, the louder and more intense the orchestral movement becomes. sometimes I try to use the orchestra to calm and sooth my nerves trying to loosen the intricate knots that resides in my now tired mid section.
postscript: our power came back on about 2:30 am. as mary drove out of the neighborhood heading to work this morning, she called me with an update. just over two blocks from our house, the neighborhood still remains without the electrical juice that our society has so come to rely on. What a difference two blocks can make.
clouds and sunlight

greg day

flashback to a warm spring day in eureka. i am in the second grade. this day is an early dismissal day. that means all grades get released a the same time. finish setting up the scene, one block south from school on a grassy patch, corner of park and john hill.

for some reason unbeknownst to me, to this day, i beat the crap out of my best friend greg. i had a year on him; at that age that makes quite a difference. i just sad on him and wailed on him. our friend jesse needed to be constrained by two sixth graders, thank god for that, otherwise i would have been the one on the bottom being beat to a pulp.

i left victorious feeling like a champion boxer, running away with my arms upraised. a rub down awaited me upon arriving home to the neighborhood.

as i tried to put distance between what happened in that triumphant moment  in the days that followed, i could not put out of my mind what i had done to my near defenseless friend.

i vowed to change. i pledged to myself to never inflict pain like that again. i also promised to become passive.

fast forward  two or three years, neighborhood kids being neighborhood kids play fighting. not being scofflaws, the thought of wrongdoing  barely entered our mind. joey, a boy two years my junior and i were just screwing around. then the play turned more serious and i found myself in an all out fight.

joey didn’t possess great strength or speed. if i wanted to, i could of easily fought him to a draw or likely won.  i flashed to my vow, my promise, “never inflict pain.” on top of that, passivity kicked in. the results were the same, just the names were different. i now found myself on the bottom getting the crap beat out of me. in retrospective i can say i became passive to a fault.

since that day, my passive vow has centered around my emotional well being. if an emotion i experience could be potentially hurtful if expressed to someone else, i return to the bottom of the fight. the emotion goes unexpressed because it might be construed as hurtful. it  gets held in, hurting myself. in my struggle, i once again become defenseless and let myself get beat up, by myself in this instance. the emotion, whatever it is, gets stuffed away for unsafe keeping. through this process i wound myself again and again. and with each lost battle, i convince myself further and further, that i am incapable of sharing emotions. my emotions become a steaming pile, and i find less and less value in them. with that, i sink further and further into depression.

at times i’ve thought of trying to track down greg, some 43 years later, to make amends for that fateful day. the thing is it is probably me who got hurt most by that day since it still haunts me with nearly half a century gone by.

this passivity born out of that spring day in eureka is one of the keys to my depression. though at times, i have made some progress in this area, the key remains lost on the corner of park and john hill.

clouds rolling by…

emotional cripple

i consider myself a rather trusting person. as i sit here pondering life, the universe, and everything, there is one place i struggle mightily with trust; that is with my emotions.

it all starts with what i call my 4-10-16 triumphant. they represent the years of emotional events in my life that have unfortunately scarred me . the events either left me with minimized, or worse yet, denied feelings.

to this day, because of those events and others like them, i have massive insecurities around my emotions. i wonder if it okay for me to feel what i am feeling, i wonder if i am less of a person because of what i am feeling. worse yet, i go off the deep end and wonder if i am even lovable because of what i am feeling.

i’m constantly looking for someone that can help me deal with the emotional pain that never seems to go away. i try to let people in, but they unknowingly poke at the emotional scars. each poke reminds me of the childhood emotional pain that never seems to go away.

recently, i thought i had found a good candidate for my emotional well being. in discussions, they talked about their personal needs to work at their problems at a emotional level, first. they seemed safe. then i called out to them about some emotional turmoil i found myself in the middle of. seemingly, without skipping a beat, they slipped into talking about the situation, leaving the the emotions strewn here and there radiating outward like a middle of and explosion.  poke. poke. poke. poke. poke. poke. each poke reminds me of my primal wounds, of the pain(s) that seemingly won’t go away.

yet another person who doesn’t get it. yet another person who doesn’t understand my pain. yet another person that leaves me with the question, “are they worthy of my emotional trust?” and the other bigger question, “can i find anyone worthy of my emotional trust?” and the still bigger question, “will this pain ever go away?”

with such big questions that still remain unanswered,  no wonder i suffer with depression. lacking a place to deposit all this emotional garbage, it just stays in me, festering and making matters worse. while maybe not the total cause, this struggle contributes mightily.

my search goes on, hoping against hope, that i will find a receptacle for emotional trash or some regular collection service to take this crap away. i keep hoping to find the emotional dump so i can unload all this stuff and be more able to handle what life deals me.