Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Ocean of life

For months my therapist has asked me how depression makes me feel. I could never find the words. A few weeks ago, the words came to me as I woke up. I wrote it down and shared it with my therapist and, she thought I should share it here, on my blog. My virtual home, and with all of my friends.

So . . . here goes. *As a warning, it is very dark . . .

The Ocean of life 
by Murees Dupé

I’m swimming along,
In the ocean that is life.
My head is above water.
So I smile.

I land in a riptide,
And it pulls me along,
Off my course.
I fight to get free.
My arms and legs are tired,
And I sink.

I need to keep my head above water.
But I can’t.
I swallow water,
And it’s salty.

I’m not ready to die.
So, I force myself to fight.
I swim again.
I need to keep my head above water.

I’m free.
The riptide no longer has me,
In it’s grasp.
I swim along again,
In the ocean of life.
I need to get back on course.

I can see the shore.
But, something grabs my leg,
And pulls me under.
I fight, I struggle,
But I cannot get free.

Others swim along side me.
Free as can be.
But I cannot fight anymore.
I surrender to the darkness.
As it will never let me go free.
It will never let me be.

* * * * * * * * 
Getting back to blogging has been harder than I expected. I'm mostly struggling on what to say. I don't want to burden anyone with my inner darkness, even though my therapist encourages me to share more of this darker side. 

I will not be rejoining the IWSG. I'm sorry if I'm letting anyone down. I will still be around to cheer you on, and share some encouragement when you're down. I am basically posting whenever the mood strikes. I don't want to commit, and then fail to post. 

I'm starting to write again. Little bits everyday. But I'll take it. At least I'm writing again. My brain is very unfit. It has to get back to exercising again:) 

So, I'm doing better. How are you doing?

Monday, January 16, 2017

Lessons learned in 2016

2016 was a horror of a year for me. I know many feel the exact same way. I had to learn to get along with myself. One would think after 31 years I would know myself, unfortunately no. I decided to share the hardest lessons I learned in 2016, the personal ones and the writing ones. 

It’s okay to be me
If you meet me in person you’ll quickly pick up that I’m socially awkward. I wouldn’t be sure how to keep a conversation going and would end up talking about the most absurd things. Online, probably not. At least I don’t think. But, I’m learning to accept my social awkwardness.

Enjoy reading writing books, blogs and tips, but don’t take it too seriously
I know, I know. Don’t yell at me. I’ve followed every single piece of advice to the letter. I did everything I was told will have readers notice my book and, well, I didn’t do much aside for driving myself crazy. Literarily and figuratively. I don’t think anyone really has all the answers. There’s always a part that is up to fate and that’s okay. I used to worry about not getting book reviews so much, I would trigger a migraine. Maybe my first book is not that appealing, or maybe my blurb is crappy, or maybe readers don’t like my cover. Either way, I did the best I could, and now it’s time to move on to book 2.

Stress is the enemy
When I get stressed, I feel anxious. When I’m anxious, it triggers a depression episode. So, I have to keep writing and growing my own writing business and not stress about it. Easier said than done, but I have started using adult colouring books, and surprisingly, it helps me calm down. I don’t have to be a full-time writer right now, even though that is my goal for the future. I will get there. It’s okay that I can’t make a living off my writing yet. I will someday. I know I will get there.

Life is not all or nothing
Some of us do things at a slower rate than others. That’s okay. Again, I’ve read articles and books that tell you you must have a blog and a Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and whatever else account. I did all that and most days I wish I sticked to only blogging. You can have all those accounts if you don’t mind, but even having just one of the above social media accounts is enough. If you don’t accomplish every goal you set yourself once off, doesn’t make you a failure. It teaches you patience. Trust me, it’s a hard lesson to learn.

I’m more than just a writer
No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t write a sentence last year. At least not towards my second book. I made myself sick worrying that my first book was simply a fluke. As I learned to work with my anxiety, the more open minded I became. I’m by no means free of my anxiety or depression, but I know a little bit more about how to be calm and patient with myself. It’s okay to like doing other things, like reading, dancing, colouring and so forth. I didn’t always see it that way. I want to be a writer, so I have to write almost all hours of every day. Not true. If you’ve reached your writing goal for the day, go do something else that also brings you joy.

It’s okay not to be perfect
Stupid, I know, but I always pushed myself to strive for perfection in every aspect of my life. I’ve never been good at that. Do you know how hard it is for an accident prone person to achieve perfection? It’s impossible, but so is perfection. I thought that if I wrote an error-free manuscript I would feel happy. I didn’t. Besides, I still found an error, which I added after my editor gave me my final manuscript back.

Enjoy the journey
It doesn’t matter whether it is life, a road trip, or taking on the hard task of writing a book. Every word, part of the journey, must be enjoyed. Don’t tell yourself that once you do  . . . that you will take a moment to breath, or once you do . . . you will feel happy, it doesn’t work. I know, because I’ve been doing that all my life. Until recently, I didn’t know just how unhappy and harsh I was with myself. Being that unhappy is simply not worth it.

I know myself better than anyone else does
If you’re looking toward others to define you, you’re doing something wrong. Nobody will know what is right for you, or the best for you better than yourself. I know that now. Sure I look toward my siblings to tell me if certain business decisions make sense, but only I know if I’m ready to give up on writing. Only I know whether doing a career change is really what I want. Only I know how a situation makes me feel. Others can speculate, but only you know. So trust yourself. I’ve learnt not to trust myself. I used to think that it’s all, or nothing. But life isn’t like that. You can do more than one thing. Humans are complex creatures. I know I am. I love writing, but I also love watching TV. If I complete my writing goal early in the day, I can spend the rest of my day doing the other activities I like.  Trust your instincts. It’s kept you alive thus far.

If you want to live a better life, be kinder to yourself
When I first heard that I was too hard on myself, that I was bordering on mentally harming myself, I couldn’t believe it. I thought that was normal. That I was encouraging myself. Nope. I was being disrespectful and abusive toward myself. Self-destructive even. Learning to care for myself was so strange. One of the first exercises I had to do in therapy was to tell myself three good things about myself everyday, for a week. I couldn’t do it. I still have a hard time with that to this day.

Never take anything for granted
I was never focused on my health. I was arrogant to think I would always have it. In 2016 my health went downhill drastically. I’m still fighting to get it back, but I learned to be grateful for even the crappy days, as it reminds me I’m still alive. Unlike many who lost their lives in 2016. I focused so much on being a good writer, that I burnt myself out, trying to please everyone. Another task which is impossible.

So in conclusion, be kind to yourselves. At the end, you are the person you spend the most time with. Yep 2016 was a tough year, but I intend to make 2017 a much better year and actually start enjoying myself. The opposite of depression isn’t happiness, it’s living. I want to live this year. 

How about you? Did you learn any lessons in 2016?

Monday, January 9, 2017

Virgil Anderson's Story

Hello Friends. I was recently contacted by Mr. Virgil Anderson, and he asked if I would be willing to share his story with you, my lovely readers. I agreed, so here it is . . .

Mr. Anderson was born and raised in Williamson, WV.  His father, a coal miner, passed when Virgil was 8 years old. Virgil worked in demolition work and excavating since high school. This required the physical tear out, and hands on removal of asbestos containing insulation in walls, ceiling, attics and heating and cooling systems. To remove this required saws and sledge hammers all of which sent the asbestos fibers flying into the air. Unfortunately for Virgil the material had to not only be freed from its location but also picked up and carried to the disposal area. Once asbestos is disturbed it can stay in the air for 5 days. On some occasions there was a haze of dust and debris that you could actually taste in your mouth. He also came in contact with asbestos while working on his family’s farm. Virgil was recently diagnosed with mesothelioma, which is a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.

When he was diagnosed with mesothelioma he needed immediate medical attention. He found a few websites on the internet that are supposed to help people with mesothelioma cancer but nobody got back to him.

Then he found Mesothelioma.net. Even though he contacted them on a Sunday one of their patient advocates gave him a call back within minutes. They gave him a great deal of helpful information on doctors and resources available to him.

As a result of their website, he is now being treated at the national cancer institute and the patient advocates have even provided him with financial assistance so he could afford a place to live during his chemotherapy. If he had not reached out to this website he would likely be homeless and more importantly in Hospice waiting to die. These people gave him his only chance at survival.
* * * *
Thank you for sharing your story with us, Virgil. Thank you for your bravery and I know my readers will agree, we all wish you well for the future.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Happy 2017!

Happy New Year! It is indeed a new year with new opportunities and challenges. Nevertheless, I wish everyone a year filled with good health, well deserved wealth and lots of happiness. I think you all are so deserving of it.

May 2017 be the year you accomplish all your goals.

Not quite myself

I have no idea why, but I have not been feeling like myself. Even being in my own skin feels alien.  The good news is that I still managed t...