Hope love and lessons learned…And it started with Churchill

This isn’t political.

This isn’t about being historically accurate.

This isn’t a statement about what I feel about him as a politician.

This is about the hope.

This man is just one example of the hope I was looking for!! And you know what, that makes all the difference for me on my journey. It should for you too. If it’s possible to fight your physiology; he shows us.
He died at home with loved ones in his life… It is possible. It’s possible for people to understand you. See you through your struggle, celebrate with you when you feel crazy happy.

Me….for me….for me it is possible too.

Just because you give doesn’t mean you will receive. There are a million billion amazing quotes that remind you to know your worth.. And when you are ready…you’ll know when to make a decision best for you.

I have epiphanies all the time…but it doesn’t matter so much if I share them unless you can a) feel it on your skin and relate or b) you’re ready to do something about your current situation. But I will share them anyway in case one person reads it and feels LESS alone and enlightens some positivity.
I come to these epiphanies through deep thinking about myself and others because I always wonder why and look for patterns. I want to live a full life because I truly love people. I want to get them… And to get them and be a good person I need to get me and be good to myself.

Ego driven goals or expectations from life are a big turn off and unhealthy! …and unfortunately I have a difficult time with people who are done growing. But I get it. Baggage is sealed and they don’t want to leave that comfort zone. Their habits and ways and wants are established and there are “no other” (quotations because this is a choice) perspectives left. This is why sometimes people need to want to help themselves before they can take the steps (even if they have seen a dr so to speak). Whatever “reward” (psychologically speaking) is to be had is their own, and even if others around them feel the impact, it’s “our” (family, loved ones) job to support until ready. To my dismay if I felt like that it would be disheartening and would make me depressed, I don’t find comfort in misery unless I am in depression…. And to be honest that’s not desired. I met people like this on my camino… And I must say I felt very bad one day when his beliefs begun to irritate me and so I stopped to change my shoes…

My big stink about RW is really over. Now that I feel how tired he must have been I get it. I do…but I also get that not everyone who recognises their black dog is going to end up making that decision…

Churchill has been an inspiration for me since about 2008… His quote “if you’re going through hell, keep going” was the beacon of hope, and I was only to discover there was so much more. It didn’t offer any promises or sparkles…it just said something that my physiology in my brain betrays and tries to fight back….”carry on.”

Carry on…because there is always hope. Always. Hold onto it like a rich man to his jewels. That hope is all yours and it should be a reminder.

I read something today or maybe it was a YouTube video : that accepting death (I really should reference this) doesn’t mean you embrace it or you don’t grieve…it simply means you can carry on without thinking “why” or “why is this happening to me?”

People in my life give me strength not because they comfort me…but they have taught me skills and awareness. Awareness about myself, the good things, the signs that something is wrong and above all to be kind to myself and forgive myself. Along with my effort and persistence I’ve made a change. Doesn’t mean my demons will never try and infiltrate…but whose doesn’t…there’s no need to feel ashamed when you need help, can’t cope or are struggling…carry on and look at how you can fight to keep realistic perspectives. Life is about support and community and focusing on what’s important… Rather than wondering who you’re supposed to be -> just be…

Takes practice and a lot of it. Like ridiculously…. It never goes away..it’s a daily battle but it’s a worthy battle and yeah I do need people like Churchill or Andrew Solomon to show me otherwise…. I’m grateful for that.

So get up… Be aware/mindful of yourself…accept certain things (this part you must do) and carry on…

You can retrain your brain… Hormones (females) and neurotransmitters might betray you from time to time…but equip yourself and you will recover.

It’s ok to lose control sometimes but be aware that you have and that you’ll get past it…just like every other time because you my friend…are a survivor …. You are resilient…. And you have grown.

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Robin Williams… turned my world upside down

I don’t know Robin Williams and I especially don’t know his struggle.
But I know depression.
I know the feeling of losing all control of your own feelings.  Not knowing how to control them or tell them they’re irrational.
I know not knowing a solution or a way out. Not knowing how to fix something you don’t even know how it broke.
I know the feeling of being all alone in what you feel. There’s no other way.

I know the feeling of other’s around you feeling sad, helpless and feeling sorry because they cannot understand you, help you, pick you up.
I know the feeling of other people’s frustrations because they can’t help you, or they make you feel that doing so is a really big deal.
I know the feeling of people making you feel that a click of the fingers can fix the problem or feeling paranoid whether those you love see more to you than this? or not?

I know the pain the ones you love go through when you crash and fall.

But I also know how it is to be strong.
To pick up and just keep going until again your black dog barks its way into your life again.
To be strong every single day and to be fighting demons you can’t see or hear or put your finger on or comprehend or rationalise or understand or to just put a stop to it.
I know how much effort it takes to pick up and continue.
I know how much harder it is to do everything, even normal things because you feel ailed by that invisible force that holds you down like the heaviest lead weights.
Pulls on your hands, your neck, your shoulders. Grabs you and pulls you backwards, downwards, behind.

I know being alone in these feelings and others suffering as a result. I know that treatment is long and arduous and slow and painful. I know that doing what makes you happiest doesn’t make sense to others, or feasible in a world of “you should do …”
I know that we are one in a million and for the price of depression we are blessed with other things. Other feelings, intuitions, sensitivities, appreciation and love.  Other really beautiful amazing things. R.William’s was what he gave the world, what people will remember him for.

And I also had hope. Hope that this will be the last time that I experience this inexplicable dip. This is the last time that I would take this climb.

But today something happened and crushed my dreams. I realise that it is the action of ONE man. But it is so much more than that. It is the action of him and so many others like him. It comes to a point that they- with all their resources, the time and money they can afford, they chose to give up.
Does that mean there is no end to this ? Will this state of being never diminish? Are people bound to this condition? Is there no way out rather than death? Will their families (As much as they miss the departed) be at more ease now their loved one doesn’t suffer depression and no longer affects those around them?
Is this what it means?  Where is the hope when someone who has achieved plenty, has plenty, is loved and has so much potential for change- any kind of change gives up. With so many options… Did he try them all? did he? He surely can afford it more than others, he can also afford the time to take off to recharge and rehabilitate… but did he? Why do I need to know?

I may not know him, but I too have laughed thanks to him, laughed and cried in his dramatic roles. And I respect all the sentiment people have towards him.
But today he killed my hope. It wasn’t my hope he lived for, that, I know 100% but what message is this? Is the only option suicide? 63 and still suffering a disease no one can see or hear for decades. Is there no relief from it? And for that I am angry. I am furious. I am so so angry.

People always say “oh dear, depression is awful” but then what? What about when you know someone with depression? Do you batt an eyelid? What do you say ? Get over it? Pick yourself up and go? Do you think it?

A person with depression doesn’t need pity or empathy or sympathy or any of the sort, because no one can ever ever go inside a person with this condition. When people are seen with it we say dig deep and push yourself. Get over it, get past it.

What if there is no “past it” …  What is it in the mind that makes a person feel: with all the material needs around them, that there is no way out? How many times can a person handle “getting over it?” As many times as it takes?
Does anybody know?

What I do know is there are our heroes: Andrew Solomon, Kevin Breel, Winston Churchill, Sherwin Nuland, Jim Carey, Princess Diana, Angelina Jolie and all the others who suffer silently and make it through each day at a time.
Whether they are big stars or just people with amazing thoughts, who have taken steps, spoken about their experience, made difficult decisions. But they didn’t give up. I don’t say this as a judgement, and everyone IS different… but what is the line? what is the boundary? what is the push?
Each person we lose, we lose them to a battle  we are all fighting… An artist in all his sensitivities is just as valuable as anyone else, his or her black dog need not be their death sentence… nor be it the thing that defines who they are.

And that’s why it makes me so angry when one of these occur. It makes me angry and frustrated.
It shouldn’t be the solution.

Rest in Peace Robin…. I really really hope you are… I don’t hate you and I won’t be angry for too long. I truly wish both you and your family find the peace you were after.

Why I walked the Camino (2)

I know this post deserves a better title. This is what I want to talk about today: why I walked the Camino.

Actually I am very nervous writing this post, but this is key to my story. My journey was more than physical, it was meta-physical, spiritual, emotional, psychological, and most importantly cognitive and meta-cognitive. Ridiculously.

It was my way of breaking free from all the things that made me “unhappy”. There were evil minions ruminating inside, and simply;  they had to be silenced by drowning them out by something more worthwhile to listen to.

THE INCEPTION

Like most dreamers I, of course, read the Alchemist. I thoroughly enjoyed the narrative nature of the tale and read a few more of Coehlo’s books and also did a quick Wiki search on biography. Along the way I discovered he had walked ” El Camino De Santiago”.  At the time I thought all the references to the things he experienced I assumed were metaphorical (later on I discovered some strange things about him-tangent I know-). Whatever it was, it just called to me, and I started reading more about it, read about it on forums, looked at it on a map and thought, this is something that I want to do. I wanted an experience just like it.

I didn’t really know why, I did not really know anyone like me, anyone who WOULD embark on this type of journey/adventure. I read more about it and decided that one day I was going to walk this. I didn’t read about the logistical components of the way just stories and quickly  read through other accounts. I could hardly bring myself to even watch a youtube clip on it. It was all very brief.

My approach to adventures seems to be : I want to know as much as I need but as least as possible.

FIRST TASTE

In February 2012 I had a mid-life crisis. I realised that I was not fulfilling any of my travel dreams, and  I felt anchored to my life and stretched like an elastic band. I was not sure what my existence was about: My job lacked  “fulfilment” I was looking for and I felt that everyone else was finding their “personal legends” (this of course I now know is not true).  I was stuck in between a rock and a hard place. People in my life were getting married and engaged, and I wanted wholly to be a part of these incredible experiences because I love my friends! But I felt like they were coming left right and centre and I didn’t want to miss any of it.

Meaning- I couldn’t find the appropriate bracket of time to travel. For a significant amount of time, that is. Come on, I need at least 8 weeks. I live in Australia… anywhere worth going is at least 24 hours air time.

So I found a time bracket. There was crying there was stress,  there were long talks and advice. But I made a decision and I was going to spend some time travelling and camino was a part of this. However from the original plan of walking for 3 weeks, it dropped down to 1;  while I was in Spain I could see this place and that place and … you see what happened.

I don’t really want to talk about my first camino at this point,  because it is not the experience I want to share at this present moment. Basically, it taught me many lessons on how to be better prepared and what to expect. It was as if it was in the plan that I needed that practice. The way it worked out is just too good to be true.

THE IDEA OF HER REVISITS

After my returning home in 2012,  something happened. I don’t know exactly how it happened, it was a few things, multifactorial, and most importantly I was unable to rationalise it.

I was in a rut and that spiralled further and further down. Before I knew it, I was suffering from depression and anxiety again. Just like when I was 19. It was like the Black Dog I thought I knew had crept up behind me and bit me before I realised he was there. I had some very dark days that I don’t need to explain. The walls were closing in and I forgot who I was.

So I did what I had to, because I love life and I don’t give up. Well sometimes I wanted to, but I have some incredible people in my life, so that was not an option. I sought out a few avenues for help and I diligently followed through. I was going to get through this and I was going to begin the retraining of my brain. I was going to find Gariné, I was going to find that voice and trust it again.

I also needed to get away. My cognitive load was overflowing and I wanted to simplify my existence, I wanted to be far from everything but not be without remaining occupied. I considered my other options; a health retreat in Australia, time off work, but those options were either too expensive, or were going to result in idle time not well spent.

THE CALLING

So why not go to Spain and walk, sleep along the way without too much choice, but not restricted either. It was perfect.

I got the calling, it just hit me. Camino… Walk the Camino G. Just do it! Thus it was born and I became obsessed with the idea. I just wanted to walk, Suddenly my life found the glimmer of hope I was looking for. All  of my hard work was starting to pay off too, and I was beginning to see the light again.

I could see the light and I was going to walk towards it. In hindsight I can see what I needed, but at the time, all I wanted to do was walk. My heart desired to be out and open, roll around in the world and be one with it. I love culture, travel and a good solid challenge. Especially when people told me it is crazy or dangerous; because they just don’t know.

SO… WHY?

I walked the camino because I wanted adventure and it called me. I walked the camino because I was depressed and I just wanted a break from life. I wanted to push the pause button and fly away.

I just wanted to walk, and I wanted to find my voice again, my intuition (which I was going to realise later). I wanted to be outdoors but I didn’t want to compete or race. I wanted to go at my own pace and I wanted to see what I could do. I was lost and feeling alone and so depressed. But I was emerging out of it but with a lot of work, I deserved a break!

I wanted to be closer to God, I wanted to re discover my spirituality and faith in both my God and my universe. And I wanted to do it in a safe place. In a community of people who would understand my need to “walk”. The Camino is so safe, it is a part of the world that cradles you to sleep, it takes care of you and essentially teaches you to love and care for yourself as well as others (which is usually not the challenge for some). It is a wonderful place and that is what I needed. Some soul searching, some singing, some fun, some new people and some good old fresh air.

And I’ve got to tell you, I got that and a whole lot more.