Bringing Light to Dark Places

Bringing Light to Dark Places

How do you start your day?  Coffee?  Shower? Excercise? Excited to get your day started?Hitting snooze 15 times? Dreading what is ahead?  To be perfectly honest (and this makes me cringe to say this) each morning starts with dread; the moment I open my eyes.  At least, it has been that way.  I would wake up and feel this terrible feeling come over me; a heaviness that I couldn’t explain if I tried.  I would drag myself out of bed, only because I had to because of the kids, and that feeling stayed with me; all day. I felt sad and anxious, overwhelmed and tired; SO TIRED.  I was walking through my day in an absolute fog.  It has been like that longer than I would like to admit.

So, if you can at all relate to what I described, you can understand what it’s like to struggle with grief and/or depression and anxiety.  If you can’t relate, I am telling you, you have something to be extremely grateful for!  I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.  Whether what you are feeling is passed down from family, is seasonal, is situational, is complicated grief, PTSD, and so on… It’s a struggle and it is a very real thing that sometimes has a negative sort of stigma attached to it; which is beyond unfortunate.

Thinking on this subject, especially that part about the negative stigma, I started doing research for statistics out of curiosity.  I first started looking at numbers surrounding people affected by mental health and they are staggering!  I dug a little deeper until I was stopped at the part that just broke my heart.  Suicide.  This is the reason that the stigma needs to be changed!  Mental health is a very important thing and if not taken care of, those with poor mental health could end up in a situation where there is no turning back.  Some of the statistics I read about were relating to those with mental health issues that are left untreated.  Those numbers were just plain scary to me!  Why??? I can only guess that it’s mostly a result of unnecessary embarrassment or shame.  And guess what? I realized that I get it!!!

It took me a long time to realize that I needed help for my anxiety and depression.  Once I knew I needed help, I still didn’t pursue i.  I can’t answer why for everyone else but I can open up and be honest about myself; that will be in my next post.

Some statistics about suicide:

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in America
  • 44, 965 (Americans) commit suicide each year
  • For every one completed suicide, there are 25 attempts
  • On average there are 123 suicides each day
  • It is expected that the 2017 statistics will show a significant increase
  • Children committing suicide is becoming more prevalent

This cannot be okay, it just can’t!  This is what I call a crisis.  My heart is burdened to get involved somehow but I’m not sure what that will look like.  For now, I can openly and without shame, talk about it.  We have to talk about this and bring light to those dark places so that more people will feel like they can get the help they need!

No resolution; just hope

No resolution; just hope

You will see lots of posts about resolutions. You will see lots of posts that say it’s just another day. Either way you look at it, it is good to stop and reflect. It’s good to take time to think about your life, where you’ve been, the direction you want to go. I don’t do resolutions per say but I do typically look toward the new year with certain hopes. In looking back I realize that, although some of them did, a lot of those hopes each year didn’t come to pass. Should that mean that maybe it is time to give up on the idea that there are better things/better times ahead? It would be easy to do just that, I can assure you. I didn’t come this far to just give up now though. So, I’m going to think about what lies ahead and do so with renewed hope that the coming year is going to be better.

I sincerely wish you and yours the very best year ever and pray that you too will look forward with expectancy and hope.

To forgive or not to forgive?

To forgive or not to forgive?

Why is it so hard to forgive?

This troubles me as, until this last year, I have always forgiven easily. Or did I?  I question that because things that I thought I had forgiven have crept back up; this time more difficult to get past.

I’m far from perfect and I make mistakes every day. No one is perfect and I don’t expect that from people in my life. People will disappoint you and let you down. It’s human nature. I feel like I can typically let things go. But what about those things that caused a hurt so deep that you just can’t seem to move past? How do you deal with those things?

“I have always believed that forgiveness is a gift that you can give someone; one that doesn’t cost a thing. But it does cost. It costs dearly I have found.”

I used to forgive people for them. But, I have since found that it is actually more for me. I really can’t stand to hold grudges or have the feeling of unforgiveness in my heart. So, if I can’t do it for them, I should just go ahead and do it for me. I guess I’m just not there yet.

To be continued…

The Empty Chair

The Empty Chair

I wrote the following at this time a couple years ago:

Here we are again, another special day without you. I know you would want me to be happy, I will try to push through. I’ll do my best to smile. I’ll try hard not to be sad. I will think of treasured memories, in spite of missing you so bad. No matter what I do though, it still feels so unfair. Because despite my best efforts, I can’t ignore the empty chair.

SANGRY

SANGRY

Yep, that’s right, I’m sangry. As a widow, there are lots of days that can’t be adequately described. So what do we do?? We just make up words! So yeah, I’m in sangry mode. I’m sad. I’m angry.

Sangry started on Sunday awhile back as I was thinking back to what Sundays used to look like… I woke up beside my best friend. The day revolved around God, family, and church. We were together. The four of us.

I got to thinking about what a big part of our lives church was. It was our history, our present, and our future. We had so many plans. I had so many hopes for the future. I could see how it would play out. We would do it together.

Absolutely everything changed on June 19th, 2012 when he was taken from us.

Where does one go from there?? We went from a family of four to a family of three. I went from being a wife to being a single mother. My kids went from having a father to being fatherless. In an instant.

As difficult as it was to walk back through those doors without him, I kept my kids in church every Sunday that I was able. For me, it felt like going to the funeral again. Every Sunday. I was trying to “do the right thing.” I was trying to maintain some sense of normalcy. Trying is the key word. What was “the right thing” was no longer clear. Normalcy no longer existed in our world. After 8 horribly difficult months, I realized that there was no way I would be able to move forward while being there every week. There was too much history there.

I found the Lord there at the age of 18. I was only visiting; watching my (then) boyfriend play the drums. A year later he asked me to marry him there; from the stage, in front of everyone. That same year we were married there. Shortly after, we had two children and we raised them there. After making it through some very difficult times, we renewed our vows there. And then… His funeral was there. 

I tried, I really did, but I just couldn’t be there anymore.  It hurt too much.

I didn’t want to leave but I genuinely felt like I had no choice. I was torturing myself trying to “do the right thing.” It was painful and I felt completely out of place. So, we started going somewhere else. It was still difficult, just not in the same way. Close to a year later I decided it was time to go back. By that time I had felt much further removed than before I left. But now it was more about conquering something. Walking back into something so that I could say that it didn’t get the best of me. And that’s just what I did.

I won’t go into all of the reasons surrounding leaving for good nearly 9 months ago, but I did. I will say that it was extremely hurtful to watch what “should have been” my life, play out in front of me; a different cast while I look on from the outside.  For those of you who don’t know my history, my husband was the Praise & Worship Leader at our church.  When I thought about the future, it entailed him evolving in his ministry while I did the same with mine.  But, we would do it together.

I did some “church hopping” for awhile but never landed anywhere permanently. And now, I rarely go. Don’t worry (to any of you that gasped with **insert reaction/emotion here**) I haven’t gone to the dark side. I’m no more of a sinner than anyone sitting in a pew on Sunday. I’m just a little lost right now. I still love God. I still pray. I’m just trying to find my own way. I’m trying to examine my heart and my hurts and then search for something real.

My post wasn’t meant to be about church. I only intended to use it as an example as it was such a big part of our lives for so many years. The point is that everything changes when you lose someone that was such a huge part of your everyday life. I’m reminded of what I wrote in 2014:

“When you lose someone that was so much a part of you, you lose your identity too. Learning to live again is so difficult. You don’t know your place, where you fit anymore. Everything is different. Nothing will ever be the same.”

Here I am almost 5 1/2 years later and I’m still so lost.  Don’t get me wrong, I have done a lot of work; I have come a long way. But, I realize that there are still so many things I need to work through.  The sadness, most likely, will never go away although I look forward to it lessening.  The anger shouldn’t last if I allow myself to feel and work through it; eventually accepting things as they are.  But for now, I’m sangry and I’m okay with that.

The Struggle is Real

The Struggle is Real

There are things that I hate to admit; mainly because of how I am supposed to think and what I have learned to believe. Those aren’t the things that I would typically write about. But, I realize something… If I only write about the things that would “sit well” with others, I’m not writing with real honesty. I have believed in everything I’ve put out there; I just tend to leave out the things that might make me “look bad.” Thankfully, I’m learning not to care so much about that.

I truly believe that, popular or not, it’s the things that we are afraid to say that are what people really need to hear. We need to say them out loud. We need to talk about them. In turn, others will feel freer to do the same.

Writers should inspire others. Inspiration doesn’t come from “rainbows and sunshine” writing alone. Positivity and self-help is extremely important but, so is talking about real things; what it’s like being in the midst of struggles and all that it entails.

I talk a lot about the beginning of an issue and being on the other side of it. What about the times when you are stuck in the middle of the struggle; when you can’t seem to find your way to the other side?

What’s the good in talking about the victory without mentioning the truth that is the walk through the struggle?

IMG_2922 2I say all of this to say that I want my writing to be real. My life is very real. My struggles are very real. Why hide the parts that could truly help someone? Nothing helps someone more than to be able to relate to someone going through the same thing; someone who truly understands. Good, bad, everything in between… That’s where I go from here.

We jokingly say it all the time but the struggle really is real.