Monthly Archives: August 2015

the many faces of depression…

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faking a smile

Depression isn’t simply feeling sad. At least for me, many different emotions are part of it. It is seriously a big roller coaster ride and very difficult to deal with. I go from sadness, to anger, to feeling lonely, to feeling completely empty. Going through so many different emotions in such a short time is the reason why I sometimes just can’t be around people. Not only do I want to be left alone and not asked how I am feeling (I would have to lie and say I am fine or I would have to tell you the truth and not everyone is capable of dealing with the truth because the last thing I need to hear that moment is “keep your chin up”), but I also get angry and irritated at everything and everyone and don’t want to snap at someone who has no idea what is going on.

Keeping your emotions in control when dealing with depression is not easy. I try to be as calm and easy going as possible, but tiny simple things can set you off and because of that it is easy to hurt those around you even though you didn’t mean to do that. It might sound like a lame excuse, it is however reality.

It is so hard not to get discouraged, or worse, not to give up. I try to be a good person, I try to follow Jesus Christ and be a good Christian. Shouldn’t we get blessed when trying our best? I love this quote. Someone shared that today and it is exactly right:

expecting a trouble-free life

I know we have to go through trials because we learn and grow. We wouldn’t appreciate good times if we didn’t have to face struggle and tribulations. It is still hard though. I try to be a good mom and wife and yet I feel like nothing is ever enough and I am not good enough either because I am not there for my family the same way other moms are. It is so hard not to compare myself to other mom’s and wives who seem to be able to handle everything. At the same time, I know that is Satan trying to put me even more down. Someone said to me once: “Don’t compare your weakness and struggle to someone else’s highlights.”

I am not sure why I have to struggle with this. I don’t know why I feel the need to share about it, but not only does writing about it makes me feel better, I am hoping it helps someone else who also struggles with depression and who is maybe not as outspoken about it. We all can help. People with depression don’t need lectures or special advice. All we need to know is that there is someone out there who cares. Someone who loves us and really means it when he/ she says it. Knowing how lonely life with depression can be, I try to reach out to people every so often. I am not a phone-call person, but I send out text messages, e-mails, write on someone’s Facebook wall… sometimes I don’t even know why I was thinking about them at that moment, but I just felt I should contact them to let them know I was thinking of them. Reaching out doesn’t need to be big, but should come from the heart. It feels good when you reached out to someone and they respond letting you know that’s exactly what they needed right then. Many of the Facebook posts I post are a way of me trying to reach out and hopefully touching someone’s heart with that post and or making them laugh (depending on what I posted).

People reached out to me before too and it truly feels amazing when you are so hopeless and alone, you really can’t see the end of the tunnel. You start doubting the love of your friends and your family members and start to question friendships. Deep inside I know those things aren’t true, but I can’t help the thoughts of depression and it is so hard to get rid of them again. Caring people mean the world to me and can make such a difference. A few months ago one of my friends just dropped of a yummy salad and a sweet card on my doorstep because she missed me at a church function and wanted to do something for me. Such a simple act, but it meant the world to me that night. I am not sharing this because I expect people to drop off meals or gifts now 😉 ,definitely not, I am sharing this to let you know that no matter how you reach out to others it will be appreciated.

If we could

If anything, depression is helping me understand more what other people go through. I still have long ways to go because I am definitely not perfect, but I will continue to do my part, fight this illness as much as I can and will try to lift myself and others up as much as I can. I have really bad days when I truly don’t want to talk to anyone and just hide from the world and want to be left alone, but usually after a really bad day, things look up again and I can move forward. Please be patient with me (and everyone who is caught in a depression), we are trying. Just don’t give up on us because whenever we are in such a dark place, having others give up on you might be the last straw for us to give up on ourselves. Outpouring love, understanding and kindness go a long way. It is the little sweet gestures that really mean the world to us. 🙂

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Tolerance, a word so many people don’t seem to understand…

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Over the past months, weeks and days I’ve had a lot of thoughts run through my head. Clearly the world is going crazy and people around us become more selfish, evil and deceived. But you know what, as a Christian we know all this is supposed to happen and technically we don’t need to be worried or scared, but that last part is not that easy. I do get worried a lot because I care about the people around me and I don’t want them to go on a wrong path, but they have their agency as well and I have to respect that.

we are in a period

Many issues are being debated at the moment and arguments about political issues, religious stuff and other things are all over social media. It is frustrating to watch how aggressive some people are (on both sides) and that they attack you as soon as you disagree with them. I also love how people think that just because you disagree on issues, lifestyles and opinions it must mean you hate the other person and you can’t be friends. That is nonsense and if people would really think about it they would understand it too. One of my all time favorite quotes (which I shared a ton on social media) is this one:

our culture has accepted

I am a firm believer that everyone has the right to share their opinion and I will respect and accept that. However, that goes for me too. If you can share freely what you think and believe so can I and both of us should be kind and gracious about it. We will never agree on everything and it amazes me that some people think we have to. I’ve had my fair share of discussions and I am happy to discuss, however, if the other person is trying to argue about it or wants to force their opinion on me, I will refuse to go that route. If I know I am right about something, or my feeling tells me what the other person beliefs is wrong, it won’t matter what anyone says to me because I will stand up for what I believe is right. I am not asking those who disagree with me to love what I have to say or agree with me all of a sudden, but I am asking for respect and tolerance. Do you know what tolerance means? A lot of people seem to think that tolerance means I agree and have to support them in what they say or do. That is wrong though. I looked up the meaning of the word at one point and it still seems to surprise a lot of people when I tell them. “Tolerance is the positive and cordial effort to understand another’s beliefs, practices, and habits without necessarily sharing or accepting them.” So as I said respect another person, but you don’t have to agree.

the ones who scream

Some people seem to think that in order to love people you have to agree on everything. In the many discussions I’ve had with people, I heard that many times. I always respond by letting them know that I disagree with my husband (and other family members) too, does that mean that I hate them? No, I still love them, but we just don’t see eye to eye in certain things. I also point out that I will always love my children and there will still be times when I don’t like what they do. You can be friends with people and disagree. It is possible and I will continue to believe that no matter what. Yes I have been unfriended on Facebook because people didn’t like my opinions. I found that sad because that shows me that they are only willing to accept you as a friend if you agree on everything. Makes me wonder how these people weather marriage and other family relationships. 😉 (And by the way, you can unfollow people, at least on Facebook, if they constantly post stuff you disagree with. I have done that plenty of times. I am still friends with them, I still go to their page and comment on the things I want to comment on, but I don’t have to see their posts all the time. Works out great!)

In one of the last discussions I had, I said the same thing like I pointed out above that I disagree with my husband at times too and still love him. Some of the responses I got really amazed me in a “I-can’t-believe-people-really-think-like-that” way. 😉 People responded that if we had an disagreement on something that would affect him personally and I wasn’t supportive I couldn’t really love him and it was actual hate because I wanted him to be unhappy. I was like really? So someone I love decides to do something that clearly is wrong, and goes against everything I believe in, I should just go along with it because if I don’t it might make them unhappy? Sorry, but I don’t think that’s how things work. We will all make decisions that aren’t always right and people who tell us that’s wrong don’t hate us but they love us enough to try to stop us from making a mistake. If my kids are about to make decisions that are not okay, I will warn them, I will let them know about possible consequences and I will let them know that I don’t agree with it. I still love them and the reason I am stepping up is because I love them. And guess what, they still have the chance to make their mistake. I can’t force them to obey me, I can’t force them to listen to me, but I can let them know what I think and what might happen if they do what they want to do. Also, if you can only be happy if everyone around agrees with you at all times and is 100% supportive than you will never be happy. I try to agree with my loved one’s as much as possible, but I will not go against my values, standards and my faith. It is more important to me that God agrees with me, and I am on His side, than doing something or supporting something that I know in my hear to be wrong. Luckily my husband isn’t like that (I was just using him as an example of how disagreeing and such works), but some of our family members and friends might be.

I realized something though and that is that those who are the most aggressive about a topic, issue and discussion and are looking for reasons to either force their opinions on you or want to argue are the ones who don’t use logic but only emotions. Have you ever tried arguing, never mind discussing 😉 ,with an emotional person? It is impossible because they don’t think clearly and don’t listen either because they already made up their minds. I make up my mind too, but I will still listen if the conversation is civil and kind and even though I won’t change my mind, I will try to respect them for who they are and accept that they have a different opinion. Just dealing with emotions though makes the other person very unpleasant and you won’t get anywhere because the more you try to reason with them, the more they will respond in an aggressive way. That’s when I say my favorite line: “It seems we have to agree to disagree.” The arguer doesn’t like that, but I am not willing to discuss with people like that because it doesn’t matter how much facts and truth you use, they won’t care and they won’t listen. One of my friends taught me the coolest thing years ago and I have been using that ever since. She said to me: “I won’t JADE myself!”. Confused I looked at her wondering what that meant. JADE =  Justify, argue, defend nor explain. So yes I won’t JADE myself because it won’t get us anywhere and just makes everyone angry, frustrated and upset. Sometimes it is best to agree to disagree.

When I am supposed to sleep at night…

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I hate not being able to sleep at night. Part of depression (at least for me) is that I think about everything and everyone. I’ve had nights where I laid there wide awake, thinking about dinner plans for the next few weeks. Really? Yes really, that’s how messed up my brain is sometimes. 😉 My husband is snoring next to me and I worry about whether or not I should make pork chops or potato salad the next day. The good thing is though I can laugh about myself and how silly it is to even have such thoughts in the middle of the night, but at the same time there is just nothing I can do about it. It happens and I worry about many other things too.

having anxiety

Last night was one of those nights where I just thought about so many different things. My mind just didn’t shut up no matter how hard I tried to focus on wanting to sleep. Eventually I gave up and let my mind wander and I started thinking about who I was and why I am the way I am.

I was a very outgoing and happy child and, according to my parents, invited strangers to dinner or other things without even worrying about it. I also loved making people laugh and cheering them up. I always have had a very dry/ sarcastic sense of humor and that definitely helped me reaching people in one way or another. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I started to change a bit and became more and more shy and reserved around others and even though my mom tried to tell me that I wasn’t like that, I was going that way. Only around close friends and family was I the old crazy outgoing self. That went on for many years. I got older and still believed I was a shy wallflower that had no real potential to be successful at anything.

That went on until I was young adult. Things started to change a little bit when I became part of a musical group that traveled Germany. I was supposed to be just a background singer (and I was grateful I was given that opportunity), but my uncle wanted me to get out of my shell more and he wanted me to sing with him “Master of the House” from Les Miserables. When I tried out for that part I knew I had to give it my all or I would not make it and so I did. I surprised a lot of people that day and every time we did a show, and boy did that feel good. 🙂 That was a big step in bringing my low-self-esteem a little up again. I loved the time I spend with that group “Wings of Music” because we were normal people singing songs from different musicals, making our own costumes and stage stuff, and doing what we loved the most. 😀

Here is a link to my performance as Madam Thernardier. It is in German and since the language in the original song is a bit extreme, we changed that too, but I think you get the point. The recording is pretty bad since I had to record it from an already bad recording, but I think it is good enough.  Master of the House

When I was 22 almost 23 I decided to serve a mission for my church and I was send to Scotland. That was another wonderful experience for me and I changed from a pretty quiet shy person to a very sassy, outgoing sarcastic young woman. It was funny because whenever I told people at the end of mission how I was when I first started out, they wouldn’t believe me. 😉

When I discovered that I was struggling with depression years later, I realized that I had to do more than just taking medication, but I had to do something that I wanted to do, something that would push me, something that I loved. Ever since I was a teenager, I had two really big passions. Writing and acting. I’ve written stories since my teenage years since that was a way for me to cope with reality and escape reality for a bit. It’s also my favorite way of expressing myself. But I wanted to try out acting more seriously and so I took acting classes and was able to do a few fun short films. I loved being part of that. It was a time in which I was able to express myself and be who I really am. The hard part is that it is so super hard to break into the business especially when you are not a skinny barbie doll, don’t know anyone in the business and just don’t have the money or time to focus on it nonstop, but I loved everything I did. I kind of step away from it now simply because I am focusing on my education and family, but if I was ever offered another shot I would take it in a heartbeat. 🙂 Here is the link to a demo reel someone created for me with some of the things I did. I love the memories I have with this. My cousin was the one providing the music for the video. 🙂 Demo Reel

A very interesting project was done near the end of my acting time. A young director contacted me and said he wanted to do a shortfilm about depression and suicide, and I would have to do it in German and the film would have English subtitles. I knew what depression felt like, even though I never thought about suicide, but I understood what he wanted to do with this film and that raising awareness means sometimes you have to really address a subject that isn’t much talked about. I shared the link with many of my friends after we made the film and received a lot of good feedback, but also people wondering if that was me portraying myself. As much as that is the greatest compliment you can give an actor (it seems so real they are worried about you), I really was just playing a role and trying to make it come to life as much as possible. If you watch it, know that it doesn’t have a happy end, but is there for awareness. Can you see me?

These past few years I have focused on writing: books, Facebook, my blog and I will continue to do so. I wish I had a bigger audience because my dream is to really reach out to people, help them in times of trial and let them know that they are never alone no matter how hard things might be. I still enjoy making people laugh and smile and all I want is to feel that I made a difference in someone’s life. Sometimes I get so discouraged because I feel like nothing I do is noticed, but I know it is by some, and as long as I am reaching a handful of people who feel comforted, inspired and loved by what I write, I know it isn’t in vain. When I wrote my guardian angel trilogy, I was disappointed so many times because no matter how many agencies and publishers I contacted, nobody wanted to give me a shot. In the end I self-published the first book and I am working on part two. Since the editing is done by my husband and friends, it won’t be perfect, but to me it is more important to get the stories out there because I know I was inspired to write what I wrote. Maybe, just maybe it will make a difference for one person. 🙂 Self-publishing “Heavenly Bodyguards -Trainee in action” truly was a huge step for me and feels like such a wonderful accomplishment. I can’t wait to publish part two.

Wow, if that is not a long post I don’t know what is. Can you now understand how much craziness is going through my mind at night when I am supposed to be sleeping? 😉 I guess writing is kind of like therapy for me because I can let it all out and there is always at least one person who knows exactly how it feels the way I describe it on my blog. Sometimes we need to go back to our past to understand why we do certain things and what makes us the way we are.

now is the time

Is entitlement really everywhere?

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I think it is no secret that there are many people around us who feel entitled to something. Children are being raised that way because their parents don’t say no or don’t teach them that you have to work for things and can’t just have everything you want. Many adults feel the same way and just expect help and assistance non-stop. It seems that more and more don’t learn that we need to work for the things we have and want, and we can’t just expect others to hand it to us. If you are a teenager and think you deserve to have all kinds of fancy technology and things, think again. Your parents have to work really hard for the things you have and they give it to you because they love you, not because you deserve it simply by gracing them with your presents. 😉

That being said, the above is actually not the entitlement I am writing about. For the past few days I have been thinking a lot about this issue and I have noticed how we all feel entitled to certain things. It seems that if you are a Christian and belong to a church community we have certain expectations of how those around us should be and what they should do for others. It seems that we expect so much that those around us can never fully satisfy us because it will never be enough. There are some really good quotes out there:

we expect we love to expect

It drives me nuts to see how high expectations are from one Christian to another. It blows my mind that some people think just because you go to church it must mean you have to help no matter what and just can’t say no because if you say no it means you are not a good person. I think what we seem to forget is that we are all people with families, work and hardships and we can only do so much. Family members should always be the first to help and to ask for help, but that isn’t always possible especially if you don’t have family around. If you have wonderful friends they will take over being a family, and they will be there for you, but we should never take advantage of them.

I learned that a few years ago when I was trying to get into acting and I needed childcare, sometimes on a super short notice. I realized quickly that this wasn’t fair on any of my friends because they felt obligated to help me (since they were my friends) but they had enough stuff going on in their lives. I realized that I had to make sacrifices too and I couldn’t just rely on those around me, especially since it was a cheaper option. So we had au pairs/ nannies for a while and that worked out great. I was able to do what I wanted to, and I didn’t have to bug my friends all the time to help me out. Of course that doesn’t work out for everyone, but we can’t expect, expect, expect and almost demand help simply because we are in a difficult situation. We need to really think about how the other person might be feeling and not try to guilt-trip or be offended when the answer isn’t the way we would like it to be.

It is not easy to not be hurt because we do feel abandoned and unloved sometimes when we feel a loved one (family or friend) should do something for us and they won’t. But we should always think about them too and how they might be feeling and if we are not too demanding. Every person is different. Some people are amazing and they seem to be able to juggle family, business and helping others without a problem (however, even there we need to be careful because we don’t know what is really going on behind the scenes), but others can only do limited things and still feel overwhelmed. Helping others should come from the heart, from the person offering it, and not because they were forced, volunteered or guilt-tripped into it.

A lot of people also don’t like to say no and so they either find an excuse eventually, forget about it or push themselves too much. As someone who struggles with depression, I learned that I have to worry about myself too and that I just can’t do everything other people might expect of me. I am the only one who can tell what will be too much for me and nobody can make that decision for me. I am sure a lot of people are like that and it doesn’t mean they are bad people or that they don’t want to help, but simply means we have our limits and we are not going to push ourselves over it because our families or our own health will suffer.

This is something we all will have to work on every single day because that kind of entitlement is real and shows we are human. Asking for help isn’t easy and of course we should ask for help when we need it, but we also need to understand that the other person has their reasons why they do or don’t do what we think they should. Maybe it’s because it is too much, maybe it’s because they already have something going on and maybe it is because we have asked them too many times and they feel taken advantage of.

there is a story

The good thing(s) about depression…

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I haven’t written on my blog in a very long time, but I feel like that I should again. I share on here a lot about my struggles with depression and the things I am going through and the reason I do that is because I think it is important that we talk about it and not keep it quiet. I came across a bunch of quotes the other day and two of them really hit home. “A lot of people don’t realize that depression is an illness. I don’t wish it on anyone, but if they would know how it feels, I swear they would think twice before they just shrug it.” (Jonathan Davis)  “Depression can seem worse than terminal cancer, because most cancer patients feel loved and they have hope and self-esteem.” (David D. Burns)

Depression is unpredictable. I can usually feel when it is starting up, but you never know how bad it might get. Sometimes I start to fall into the black hole, but it doesn’t get as bad as I thought it would be and other times it hits you without much warning and it hits you hard. I am usually a very aggressive depression type, become snappy and angry for no reason, yet lately that has changed to being emotional and very sensitive. In a way that is a good thing because I am less angry and snappy with my family, yet for me this is harder because I have never been a very emotional person and so even though I am fine with other people crying and showing emotions, I have a hard time being that way myself. I want to be seen as strong and someone who can handle anything.

Wednesday I had one of those really bad days. This past week I noticed I was kind of slipping into a depression, but you hope things will not get that bad. Well it did and I was really struggling. My first thought is always I can do this alone and I am not going to let anyone see me suffer, but as the day progressed, I noticed how bad I was getting and your thinking really drifts off when you are in such a bad state. So I texted one of my awesome friends and told her how bad I was. She replied and told me that I should ask for a priesthood blessing. (A priesthood blessing in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [LDS Church] is a “prayer for healing, comfort or counsel given by a Melchizedek Priesthood holder, who lays his hands on the head of the person receiving the blessing.”) But that meant I would have to ask for help. I am not good at that at all, especially when I am an emotional mess. I don’t want people to think I am weak.

you hate when

I fought it most of the day, but eventually gave in and knew I had to do something because this was getting worse and not better.The worst about depression is that within minutes you feel lonely, completely worthless and unloved. It is a horrible feeling.

So since my husband wasn’t around I actually pushed my silly pride aside and contacted one of my friends who came over with her husband so I could talk and get a blessing. Another friend was over too and she too listened and we talked for hours.

It was so good to feel loved and like someone cared. I don’t know how bad I would have gotten had I not reached out, but I am glad I was willing to get over myself and do something about it because Heavenly Father truly loves all of us and he puts special people in our lives to help us through really tough times.

Depression is not just about struggle though because believe it or not there are good things that come with depression. First of all if you know how bad it feels to be really down and low, you can appreciate the good and sunny times much more. It is also easier to empathize with those who struggle with depression or other mental illnesses and you learn to really rely on your faith in God because if anyone knows what you are going through it is Him. The trick is to remember those things when you are in a depression.

All of that being said, something I am really grateful for is the fact that I am not alone and that I am learning that reaching out and letting others help me is a good thing. I don’t have to do this alone. I know I still have long ways to go because asking for help is not easy, but I hope it will get better as I practice it more and more. As I have been taught by a few people now, it is okay to hurt, it is okay to show your soft side and it is okay to ask for help. “I don’t always have to be the tough gal!”

he grabbed me