• Tag Archives Depression
  • Guest Post: Author Amie Gibbons ~ Beating Writer’s Depression

    This is a topic dear to my heart. Amie Gibbons, author of the new book Psychic Undercover (with the Undead), gives us tips and strategies on dealing with what every writer faces at some point.

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    When I’m depressed, my writing is usually the first thing to get hit. I read my stuff and my mind starts churning out insults like I’m a late night talk show host bashing Bush.

     

    It sucks, I don’t have a clear enough theme, it’s been done, I’ll never be good enough, I made a typo and now must sacrifice one of my fingers to the gods of grammar… It goes on and on and basically adds up to one thought.
    I’ll never make it as an author.

    Yep. I go straight from ‘this story sucks,’ (for whatever reason) to ‘everything I’ve every written sucks and I’ll never make it; why even try?’ And then it starts to spiral and you go over everything bad about whatever piece you’re reading and the spiral gets bigger and bigger as it feeds on itself.

    I call it the Fibonacci Shame Spiral because in my head it looks like the golden spiral that follows the Fibonacci Sequence.

     

    And I’m not the only one. We’re writers, we’re sensitive little shits. I’m pretty sure it’s a requirement.

    So what do you do?

     

    1. To break the shame spiral cycle in your brain, try tapping your hands on the table for a minute. Just focus on the beat. Then, while keeping your head still, look as far to one side as you can, then the other, and go back and forth for a minute. The hands tapping and the eyes moving helps activate both sides of your brain.
    This shuts up what we call the inner critic, the left side, and helps activate the right side, the creative part.
    Strangely enough, these are also techniques to help people with PTSD… but I’m sure that’s just a coincidence.

    2. Read through something of yours you haven’t seen for awhile. It’s probably much worse writing since it’s (I’m assuming) an earlier piece where you were working out the kinks, but despite that, you love it. It’s a good story and, oh yeah, you love these characters, and it even flows pretty well for an early work. See, you don’t suck, you’re just sick of the piece you’ve been staring at the past few months.

    3. Pick a writing prompt and write a page on that. Anything. A flash piece, part of a scene, an all dialogue argument. Edit a little, but don’t go overboard, and share it. With your writing group, online, on your blog, whatever. Rinse and repeat until you know you’ve got what it takes again.

     

    Those are the things you can do today to snap you out of it. For a more long term solution:

     

    1. Join a writing group. Find people online or in the real world you can vent to when you feel this way and who can assure you everyone goes through this. Basically so they can say, ‘welcome to the club, we all think we suck, now get back to work.’

    2. Take a writing class at the local community college or some sort of online one. You’ll have a scheduled time to write and assignments, get to see other people’s work, and have them see yours. This also may be where you find your writing group. The point is to get yourself writing and to be accountable to other people so you have to write.
    You notice these two are two sides of the same advice. Basically, get a community. Writers are solitary creatures and sometimes we forget we’re not alone.

    3. Remember you’re a writer for a reason. You have something to say, you have stories pouring out of your brain, you walk in realities other people can’t imagine until you show them through your doorway. You write because you have to, because it’s in your blood. There’s no such thing as quitting, there is no Plan B. You’re a writer, you write. Period. So you may as well keep trying to make some money off of it.

    Happy Writing and Good Mental Health!

     

    16107016_1162451077138114_1915185237_oAnd here’s an oh so subtle push of my new book, Psychic Undercover (with the Undead), .

    Vampires aren’t the only things that go bump in the night…

    Singers are a dime a dozen in Nashville, so despite her mama’s urging, psychic Ariana Ryder’s working her way towards a career in law enforcement at the FBI, one tray of fetched coffee at a time, instead. She’s got an extremely handsome boss, a dancing partner among the lab techs, and a solid year as the team rookie under her belt…

    Right until the director gives her a big break, working undercover as a singer at a club to investigate why it’s being targeted by a serial killer. This might have worked better if the club didn’t happen to be a vampire nest.

    Now, with the vampire’s investigator, Quil, on her case, the jurisdictional battle isn’t the only thing heating up as they race to solve the case before the killer strikes again!

    ____________________________________________________________________________________

    Amie Gibbons

    Amie Gibbons is a prolific writer and the author of novels, novellas and short stories. To find out more about Amie and her books please visit her Amazon Author’s page.


  • Voting My Catholic Conscience

    Many freedom minded people have been arguing about the election for many months.

    So, I see no reason not to weigh in during the last stretch. A month from now we will know who will be the president, so why not?

    With the exception of once or twice in moments of despair, I have kept my mouth shut on my Facebook page. I believe every person has the right to vote the way they choose, and I would expect them to give me the same option.

    Nevertheless, I have made the decision, using my well formed Catholic conscience, to vote for Donald Trump in November, and against Hillary Clinton. Following is an article in the National Catholic Register that supports my position and that of many other pro life Catholics: Vote as a Catholic with a Catholic Moral Vision

    MSGR. Charles Pope says:
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    On the eve of an election and as a priest I frequently am baited to comment more directly on politics by naming names, and parties. I will not do so. The temporal order belongs to the laity, not the clergy. But as a priest I must convey the moral teachings and insist that Catholics connect the dots when it comes to voting. And my advice is simple: Vote as a Catholic, not as a Republican, Democrat, conservative, or liberal. Vote as a Catholic with a Catholic moral vision.

    It is a simple fact, beyond the control of the Church, or of any individual and faithful Catholic, that most politicians of a certain party support the right of others to kill pre-born children. (Emphasis mine).

    This is a heinous crime and cannot be papered over by jargonistic terminology or overlooked by moral equivocations such as “Well, he is right on the other issues.”  Would the excuse that “he is right on the other issues” hold if the word abortion were replaced by genocide or slavery? Abortion is not an abstraction. It is a horrifying reality whose death toll has reached over 50 million in this country alone.

    Proverbs 24 says,Rescue those who are being led off to death; hold back those who are being carried to slaughter. And if you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive you? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work? (Prov 24:11-14) If we do not oppose this moral evil, we are part of the problem and God will judge us.

    The same holds for euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, and same-sex “marriage.” We cannot remain silent, let alone honor and promote those who hold these views. Do not neglect the other moral issues — but these non-negotiables, for the reasons stated and due to their deadly quality and/or the severe moral harm they cause, must be our first concern.

     

    So, here we all are. The above are non negotiable in the Catholic Church. I have loved my faith and the truths taught by the Church for so many years…I have to vote my conscience.

    Most of my concern is for Life. All human life. That of unborn children, the elderly, the mentally and physically disabled, and others who are under attack by the Democrats.

    I myself have given up worrying about same sex marriage. It’s the law of the land, and I couldn’t care less what people do in their private lives.

    However, I do have many concerns about the militant LGBT activists and their Liberal fellow travelers’ push to force churches to kowtow to THEIR moral vision.

    I’m not going to bother posting any links re the Gay lobby. The information is available online by typing in a few keywords. The same goes for the abortion push by Hilary Clinton, Planned Parenthood and others.

    So, my decision is made. Trump, even though he was not my first choice, is the only candidate that might beat Clinton. And Trump has surrounded himself with people who believe what I believe re the above moral issues and others. Therefore, I will vote for Trump, and pray that he wins. Despite his problems, he is the better candidate in my opinion.

    I’ve always believed that if our country continues toward MORE abortion, ill treatment of the elderly, and other death cult practices, that we will fade away.

    There is no way we will remain free if we allow the party who fosters a death cult to remain in power, when we can at least throw a wrench in their operation for a few years, if not longer.

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    So again… I have to vote against the Democrats. But, if the Democrats and Hillary win in November, I personally believe that America will never recover. It will be impossible for this country to ever regain any semblance of freedom in my lifetime.

    Clinton has vowed to continue and expand on the policies already in place, those that take away the rights of people like me. She will not fix economy, since she vows to keep high taxes.

    She will not increase jobs, since she plans to continue Obama’s policies without change, and has threatened to put coal miners out of business, among other energy/environmental policies.

    She has vowed to see that the Hyde Amendment is overturned, which in reality would make me a slave, because it will remove any protection whatsoever to keep my hard earned money from paying for abortions. I do not want to pay for this barbaric practice. To force me to do so via taxes is a violation of my rights as a free American.

    She is pushing for more gun control, and will appoint Supreme Court justices to see that Americans lose their 2nd amendment rights, and she has promised to allow open borders and import un-vetted refugees to America.

    There is no way to vet the refugees. They are from war torn Syria and other Muslim controlled countries, and it would take too much time to vet each one. Also, many of these people do not wish to assimilate and become Americans. They want Americans to become like them instead.

    I could go on, but the gist of it is that in four years, anyone who runs against her has no chance of winning. Democrats have recently been caught registering dead people to vote in Virginia. There are numerous other examples of voter fraud, yet they insist there is none, and will not allow voter ID laws in many states.

    So, with the above in mind, I do not believe anyone can beat Hillary in 2020. She is a criminal, and she is not above stealing votes. By the time 2020 comes around, there will be way too many immigrants who’ve come over the open Southern border on the voting rolls. They will be registered Democrats, and even if they don’t actually go into a voting booth, they WILL “vote.” And they’ll vote for Hillary.

    It will not matter who runs against her in 2020. She will win again, and by 2024, 16 years of far Left policy will have completely transformed America. We will not recognize our country, all of our traditions will have gone the way of the dinosaur, and we will be, in truth, dhimmis.

    I know some folks believe Congress will hold Hillary in check, and not approve her SCOTUS picks, but I don’t believe it. They haven’t held Obama back, and they won’t mess with Hillary either, so IMO, America will be over if she’s elected.

     

    Take a look at this video of Hillary Clinton standing for the right to dissent:

     

     

    Now please understand the truth. The above may have been true when the Democrats were protesting GWB’s presidency, but no such allowances will be made for anyone who speaks out against Hillary Clinton if she wins.

    Political Correctness has eroded the country. Federal bureaucracies have already been used against conservatives under Obama.

    If Hillary is elected, she will double down on us–those she deems irredeemable deplorables. Also, please note this fact: Just because someone does not vote for Trump doesn’t mean they won’t be counted among the deplorables.

    The Democrat flunkies who will be carrying out the Clinton agenda will not care if any given American was against Trump. If a far Leftist sees an American’s name on some list, they will not be given a free pass just because they voted Libertarian, or wrote in someone else.

    Anyone who does not vote for Hillary will also be considered a deplorable, irredeemable, un-American peon who can be targeted for anything these government workers dream up.

    Take a look at the following. I know it’s ten minutes long, and you don’t have to watch the whole thing, but it illustrates exactly the type of person who will be lording it over all of us if Hillary wins:

     

     

    The above is not an isolated incident. It is a common practice now. If Hillary wins, people like the woman above will grow braver and stronger, and will make the lives of more and more Americans a living hell.

    I can’t help but wish that such a person could be put on notice. Such behavior is abusive and bigoted, yet she’s proud of herself. But if Hillary wins, more of this type of behavior will become the norm.

    There will be more violence, more division, more denigration, and more abuse. There will be less inclusiveness, and more distrust. The country will divide yet further, and Conservatives and Libertarians will be considered non-persons, to the press, the government, and Leftists like the woman above.

    So, here’s my dilemma. I am rather ill with depression/anxiety, as diagnosed by a physician. I consider myself blessed that I found a great doctor who listens to me, and who will work tirelessly to help me manage my condition.

    Still, I must admit that battling the Leftists for the past 8 years has left me exhausted. And the constant worry about what has happened and will happen if Clinton is elected has exacerbated my condition to the point of physical illness at times.

    Sometimes I lose hours or even days when I’m overcome with depression. I’m not ashamed of my illness. It’s real, it’s chronic, it’s debilitating and it’s hellacious.

    But as I’ve said before, it’s what I was given, and it’s my responsibility to manage it, and to keep myself in the best health I can.

    So I have to plan what I will do if Clinton wins the election. And unfortunately, I’ve decided that I will not engage in politics in the future if she wins.

    I can’t deal with another election, knowing it’s Kabuki Theater. If we can’t win now, we certainly won’t win in 4 or 8 years, no matter who the Republicans run, for the reasons I listed above.

    So, I’ve already decided that I will stay off of social media in the days after the election, no matter who wins. I’m sure it will be a contentious place, and I can’t allow myself to lose a week of my life over something beyond my control.

    And if Clinton wins, I will not be involved in any way, shape or form in protesting or trying to change things. This includes voting.

    I am simply going to drop out and live my life as best I can. It hurts way too much to see news stories about Planned Parenthood clinics and the amount of death, destruction and waste of women and children’s lives as it is. I cannot bear to see these things anymore, knowing they are here to stay.

    The same goes for all the other issues.

    So… if Hillary wins, this November will be the last time I ever vote.

    I don’t say this lightly. I’ve voted in every election except one since I was 18 years old. Not to vote is a foreign idea to me.

    But at this point, it won’t do any good, and my health has suffered way too much already.

    I hope people won’t hold it against me in 2020, but I absolutely will not get involved in any attempt to “beat” Hillary. I refuse to go through this again, and I will not bother to drive to the polling place. I am staying home.

    In closing, I’m going to embed a tweet with a video re Donald Trump. I have watched it quite a few times, because it made me happy to see the little girl’s face when she realized someone cared enough to help her.

    Related Posts:

     

    Les Deplorables

    Saint Augustine and The Donald


  • Back to the Real World ~ Home from Vacation

    I was away on vacation last week with no internet, and that’s why I haven’t blogged.

     

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    The boardwalk at Rehoboth Beach, DE

     

    My husband and I usually spend two weeks at the beach each summer, one in June and the other in September. Last week we had a great time at the Delaware Beaches.

    We visited relatives who live in the area–my mother’s brother and sister and their spouses. It’s always great to see family, and they seemed to be happy to see us.

    It rained most of Tuesday, the first full day we were there. Still, it was a refreshing change.

    We spent a good amount of time riding my husband’s Harley-Davidson to various beaches and the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk, which was still relatively crowded, even out of season.

    The most fun we had was at an old time photo studio. We got dressed up as robbers during prohibition and are pictured in front of the Genco Olive Oil Company, from The Godfather.

     

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    Sunset at Rehoboth Beach

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    It was a terrific week away. Here are more pictures:

     

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    View of Atlantic from Boardwalk, Rehoboth Beach.

     

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    Dunes at Roosevelt Inlet, Delaware Bay, Lewes, DE.

     

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    Roosevelt Inlet.

     

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    Sunset at Lewes Beach.

    We arrived back in Pennsylvania on Saturday afternoon, so my husband could get ready to go back to work on Sunday.

    He works in a mall. Our vacation was perfectly timed, since there have been a string of terrorist attacks/violence at American malls recently. Hearing of these attacks, and knowing he has no weapon, nor any way other than perhaps a tool of some sort with which to defend himself at work, caused me mental anguish.

    Combined with knowing summer is over, and with it much of the sunshine and daylight, hearing of people being attacked and killed in malls brought on a terrible attack of anxiety/depression. It knocked to my knees for a few days, and prevented me from doing much of anything.

    But depression is my illness. It’s horrible and chronic and I wish I didn’t have it, but everyone has something, and this is what I was given. So I don’t complain too much.

    I wrote a post about my affliction last year.

     

    Though my depression/anxiety is under control for the most part, due to a doctor who listens and works with me, I still have periodic episodes, one of which is happening now, as I write this.

    Too many things have happened this past week. Some are small things that should upset no one, such as a darling and perfectly adorable grandson going through the terrible twos, who snaps and shrieks when looked at. Such a thing is funny, and I laugh accordingly, but my senses weren’t made for such overload. After two days, the shrieks seemed as loud as a fire siren to me.

    Another was watching my beloved granddaughter be shunned at a playground. Such a thing happens to every child, and she forgot about it within a few minutes. Why then, does it stay with me? Why do I look at the future and see other such scenarios in store for this child, whom I love with all my heart? Why must I borrow trouble?

    Still other contributors were news stories. These I have no control over, and I sometimes pay zero attention because the news is terribly depressing in and of itself, on many fronts and for many reasons. However, it’s not in my nature to be an ostrich. I have to keep up with current events.

     

    Some people can’t understand what depression is, and nobody can blame them; it’s hard to describe it to people who haven’t suffered it. And I’m happy for people who don’t understand it. I wouldn’t wish depression/anxiety on my worst enemy.

    But enough of this. I spent a week away, and returned home rested in body and mind.

    This week I am working on revisions to the Cadáin’s Watch manuscript, and It’s great to be back home, doing what I love.

     

    Related Posts:

    I Wish You Peace

    I Tried Yoga and I Love it ~ Leslie Sansone’s You can do Yoga

     

     


  • I Wish You Peace

    During this time of terrible stress and division leading up to the most important election of our lives, many Americans are struggling to find peace.

    Especially people like me, who suffer from clinical depression and anxiety. Some days are so ridden with anxiety that I have great difficulty keeping myself calm. Today seems to be one of those days.

    This morning I got up early to go running and pray the Rosary, two things that usually set a positive foundation for the day. But now, at 7 pm, I find that I’m stressed out again.

    However, there are certain things that I have found to keep the anxiety at bay, even if they don’t always work, and so, I decided to write a list here in this post.

    To keep my anxiety levels as low as possible, here’s what I do.

    1) Reading Scripture and Prayer. This is a practice that helps immensely. I have quite a few apps installed on my phone, including Laudate, a Catholic resource with daily Mass readings, reflections and prayers. I also have the Bible app. This is of great help, because you can search for verses by typing in words, like peace, fear, love, trust, etc. There is always a verse at my fingertips to comfort me.

     

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    2) Turn off the TV. Yes, I mean really. This includes cable news. No TV, unless it’s for a quality program, movie or other entertainment.

    3) Silence. Most of the time my house is quiet, and when I’m working I sit next to the window, where all can hear are the sounds of birds, cicadas, the wind, and other peaceful country sounds.

    4) Limit news intake. I do not watch any mainstream news, and only listen to one program on talk radio. That’s it. Too much news/talk and debate is stressful. There are ways to keep informed without listening or watching news all day long.

    5) Be careful of social media. This is difficult for me, since I love being online, but too much of it hurts my health, since the trends are managed by leftists who try to demoralize people like me — we who do not want Hillary Clinton elected president.

    *note* When on Facebook, if the constant doom and gloom are too much for you, or you are a reluctant Trump supporter, and are voting AGAINST Hillary, please, do yourself a favor, and unfollow your Never Trump contacts.

    It is much too stressful to see the constant threads of name calling, scorn and derision. It’s very unfortunate that we are where we are, but it can’t be helped. It seems the differences are irreconcilable.

    If your friends constantly share nasty memes that deride the person running against Hillary (and/or the people who have chosen to vote for him, either as their first choice or as a last resort, like I am) please don’t feel that you must see it.

    If you see articles that cast aspersions on you or your family, perhaps suggesting that your conscience is in need of an overhaul, or that you are dumber than a box of hammers, you are not obligated to keep it coming through your newsfeed.

    The unfollow button is there for a reason. Use it, and don’t look back until after the election, when it may be safe to see what your friends are saying.

    6) Unfollow all clickbait sites, or other sites that cause stress. Yes. Just unfollow. Find some quality news that is as unbiased as possible, and weed out the crap.

    7) Stay off twitter trends. Do not look at trends. Twitter is in the tank for Hillary. They manage trends to make her look good, hiding her many crimes, her health problems, and other important news, while at the same time pushing the Republican candidate to the top of trends if he happens to say one wrong word.

    So, if you like twitter, just visit the accounts of friends, and of people who you trust to share the truth. Then leave.

    8) Exercise, fresh air and sunlight. Find some sort of activity, whether it be walking, running, a workout, the gym, or even sitting and lifting your arms up and down. Anything at all to get the stress off.

    Getting outside each day is very important too, even for just fifteen or twenty minutes.

     

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    9). Hug your family and spend time with them.

    10). Hug your pet.

    11) Try to find at least one thing to laugh about every day.

     

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    12) Read a good book. This is a must. Reading is an escape. Use it.

    13) Music. This one is one of my mainstays. Listen to the music you love every day, and get lost in it for awhile.

    14) Get plenty of sleep. This can mean the difference between a good day and a bad day, so hit the hay early every night.

    I have been using the disciplines above for some time, though I do at times backslide in some of them. These tricks do work to limit stress, and God knows everyone is suffering at least a little right now.

    Following is a song that is one of my favorites. It happened to come up on my playlist this morning, and has been in my head all day.

     

     

     

    I wish you peace, when times are hard
    The light to guide you through the dark
    And when storms are high and your dreams are low

    I wish you the strength to let love grow on,
    I wish you the strength to let love flow…

     

    So, in closing… I wish you peace.

     

     


  • A Crown instead of Ashes

    I woke up this morning feeling the same dread I’ve felt every January for the past 8 years. Even though I’ve limited my news intake, and chose not to watch last night’s SOTU address, I found myself looking at news about it this morning. To see that so many lies were told is depressing. That’s where the ashes come in.

     

    Depression, dread, worry about the future, and seeing memes stating that the economy is stronger than it was 8 years ago all cause me to be downcast. After all, my family has struggled terribly. There are no jobs for people who need to support a family. I’ve seen numerous family members be laid off, and watched as my own husband narrowly escaped the ax of downsizing that has become just a part of life for working people. I’ve watched my sister in her struggle to find work, after losing her job in a field for which she was well qualified, and that paid enough to supplement her husband’s income. This kept the family going. Now the good jobs are gone. Who am I to believe? The man who lies every time he moves his lips, or my own eyes?

    The jobs went away, and who knows if they’ll ever be back. This is our reality, no matter the President’s constant gas lighting. Truth is truth.

    However, I have chosen to Trust. This is my word for 2016: Trust. Trust in God. Still, my heart was heavy. And then I opened my email. A friend had written. She had mentioned a scripture that could be applied to depression, and wrote that she had finally found it.

     

    …to bestow on them a crown of beauty
        instead of ashes,
    the oil of joy
        instead of mourning,
    and a garment of praise
        instead of a spirit of despair.
    They will be called oaks of righteousness,
        a planting of the Lord
        for the display of his splendor.

    Isaiah 61:3

    I don’t believe in coincidences. 

    My friend, whom I have only recently met, took time out of her busy life to search for a scripture she knew would help me. She is filled with God’s light, and He worked through her today. I opened the email, and my outlook has changed. God is at work no matter my mood.

    Why should I be downcast and wearing ugly ashes around? I’m not the one who lies, and pokes and prods and hurts others, all the while patting himself on the back. So why should I mourn?

    I’m not doing it. The spirit of despair is out the window. I’ll place an invisible crown of beauty on my head, and allow the oil of joy to run over me today. God is in control.He has more power than any politician. And I am his beloved child.

     

    2016 Goals

     


  • Depression, Anxiety and Loss of Light

    It’s fall again. A beautiful season no doubt, but with it comes a loss of light. Shorter days and longer nights affect me in ways that others might not understand. This is because I suffer from Clinical Depression and Anxiety.

    My online friend Matthew Bowman, of Novel Ninja and The Catholic Geeks, wrote the absolute best description of depression I’ve ever read. I’ve felt much the same throughout my life, for as long as I can remember. Even when I was a very small child.

    Depression is more than just sadness. It’s not something that can be cured with enforced cheerfulness. It’s not just feeling down in the dumps. It’s not even that “feelings of sadness for no apparent reason” definition you’ll see pop up every so often.

    That’s something that I find we Catholics can’t get, even though we should. Not because we’re somehow better than others; no, most people don’t get more than the slightest idea without experiencing it, and Catholics are no exception. What I mean is that our faith is built around the idea of redemptive suffering, and yet it’s so very hard for us to understand that depression really is suffering. It is a pain of the soul no less real, no less crippling, than a broken and shattered body.

    And yet, when I picked up a book that promised to be a Catholic manual on dealing with depression, I found it was the same as most of the armchair Christian-psychology stuff I would normally get. “Give your suffering to God.” “Offer it up.” “Let Christ into your life.”

    I know they mean well, but depression isn’t mere sadness. It is isolation. It is the pervasive feeling that you are alone, even though you see others around you. That you are screaming in pain, but no one can see anything wrong with you.

     

    The Scream, by Edvard Munch
    The Scream

    I’ve felt that smothering darkness, seemingly a murkiness that weighs down heavily. It’s like an invisible yet opaque ceiling. You can’t get through it, or find your way out from under it because it just hovers, seemingly without boundaries. The sunshine, though you see it, and perhaps even feel it, makes no impression on your mind, which feels nothing.

    Even in a room full of people, I sometimes feel completely alone, unless they are my family who somewhat understand, since some of them suffer from depression, too.

    See this poem by Edvard Munch, written about his painting, “The Scream.”

    I was walking along the road with two friends – the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red – I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence – there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city – my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.[9]

    You may be screaming in pain, but like Matthew wrote, no one can see anything wrong with you. It’s almost the same with Anxiety. Here’s an article that describes the way friends see people with anxiety.

    You’ve probably noticed my nervous behaviors: Bailing on plans last minute. Making excuses to stay at home. Chewed nails and sudden crying. Shortness of breath, restlessness, fearing new situations, the inability to go to places alone and panic attacks.

    Though my depression/anxiety is under control for the most part, due to a doctor who listens and works with me, I still have periodic episodes, one of which is happening now, as I write this.

    Too many things have happened this past week. Some are small things that should upset no one, such as a darling and perfectly adorable grandson going through the terrible twos, who snaps and shrieks when looked at. Such a thing is funny, and I laugh accordingly, but my senses weren’t made for such overload. After two days, the shrieks seemed as loud as a fire siren to me.

    Another was watching my beloved granddaughter be shunned at a playground. Such a thing happens to every child, and she forgot about it within a few minutes. Why then, does it stay with me? Why do I look at the future and see other such scenarios in store for this child, whom I love with all my heart? Why must I borrow trouble?

    Still other contributors were news stories. These I have no control over, and I sometimes pay zero attention because the news is terribly depressing in and of itself, on many fronts and for many reasons. However, it’s not in my nature to be an ostrich. I have to keep up with current events.

    When depression and anxiety hit at the same time, the results are, in a word, crippling. Last night I couldn’t sleep, and today I’ve done nothing but sleep and worry. This should be a happy day, because my husband has a week’s vacation, and we plan to go to the beach for one last visit this year. But instead I feel down in the dumps, so much so that I can’t seem to do anything I need to do in order to get ready to go. The house must be cleaned and the clothes must be packed, yet here I sit with a tension headache and a nervous stomach, blogging about my paralysis. I am missing a going away party for friends because of this episode.

    I didn’t even go to Mass this morning. That’s truly upsetting, because my illness isn’t physical. Even though my head was painful and cloudy and I was fatigued and worried, I could have dragged my butt into the car and driven to Mass. I hate missing Mass. I feel bad about it because I slept my anxious morning away instead of going to visit God. But it’s too late now. I’m watching Pope Francis celebrate Mass on TV instead. I will go to confession soon, and be absolved of the sin of missing Mass.

    Catholic Church

    My depression and anxiety comes through in my books at times. In the following passage from page 147 of The Notice, protagonist Jason descends into the depths of a crippling depression. The scene takes place in a chapel, where Jason goes to pray in adoration.

    One more time, from the depths of the dark pit I’d fallen into, I reached up toward the Light. My hands reached up and I tried to grip it, but there was no way. The deception was so slick, so dark, so devoid of anything other than despair, that everything but a tiny pinpoint seemed to slip away as I cried out in my heart: God? I know you’re there.

    I could write such a scene because I’m intimately familiar with it. I’ve slipped into such depths more than once. The worst such episode occurred in 1998. It took me six months to come out of it completely.

    Again, it’s a feeling of being alone in a roomful of people, who say words and speak of things you can’t understand, even though they are common knowledge. You just smile on the outside and nod, while feeling empty. It’s hard to put on an act sometimes. It takes amazing effort, so when I’m in the grip of such an episode I stay home if possible.

    Of course this isn’t  always my life. My life has gotten easier over the summer, since a med switch, and these episodes are fewer now. Today’s was just particularly painful.

    Please, if you ever feel depressed, DON’T hide it! Get to a doctor. Help is available. It’s a real illness, not just “all in your head.”

    Music can also help. Listening, even if you can’t actually feel anything does help. I’m going to end with a song, one which fits the mood of this post. While it should be happy and hopeful, to me it sometimes seems exclusive, one to be enjoyed only by certain people, cliques who call themselves tramps.

    Again, this is part of my illness. And also again, it’s not. Just because I suffer from depression, doesn’t mean what I feel is wrong. It’s not. It has to do with people and the way they treat others, those who are different. The song speaks of all kinds of people who are welcome on a train to a Land of Hope and Dreams.

    Well, big wheels roll through fields where sunlight streams
    Oh, meet me in a land of hope and dreams

    Well, this train carries saints and sinners
    This train carries losers and winners
    This train carries whores and gamblers
    This train carries lost souls

    I said, this train, dreams will not be thwarted
    This train, faith will be rewarded
    This train, hear the steel wheels singing
    This train, bells of freedom ringing.

    Sounds pretty cool, right? Everyone’s welcome. Get on board.

    But again… not. Maybe Springsteen really means it when he sings those words, but his followers, the ones who make pilgrimages to his shows, sometimes over 100 or more in a lifetime? Not so much. They’re sort of exclusive, a bit like the two nasty little girls who ran away from my granddaughter on the playground, and whispered behind their hands as they watched her look for them.

    I used to frequent Springsteen Fan pages on Facebook before the 2012 election, because I found in Facebook a way to connect with people who enjoyed the same things I did.  But I never felt like I belonged, because most of the people who call themselves his biggest fans do not have any use for people with a different political ideology.

    This isn’t a symptom of depression, it’s merely a clique in action. They just assumed you agreed when people of my ideology were disparaged and slandered. If your opinion differed, you were smacked down immediately and with precision. That’s just the way it was, so I stopped following such forums for good after a particularly nasty exchange, in which Leftists informed me in a roundabout way that people like me weren’t welcome on the train to the Land of Hope and Dreams.

    I was called a liar because I differed on their interpretation of Benghazi. Then I was informed that nobody but Liberals should even be commenting, because Springsteen himself is a Liberal. So who the hell was I to intrude? Get the hell out of here, you don’t belong here.

    Then I read comments suggesting that anyone who doesn’t believe exactly as these paragons of love believe is nothing but selfish, unwilling to give to the poor, a racist who wants to take away the rights of others, etc. So I ventured one last comment, asking whether there was room for anyone who might be a Conservative on the train.

    The answer was silence.

     

    Pope Francis‘ Mass is over now. He has brought a message of hope and light and love and inclusion to America.

    The Pope is speaking to another group now, with words about the love of God. I listen and try to let the words about caring for others and being joyful in Christ wash over me. I listen to words about Mary, to whom I am devoted. I listen to him asking God to bless America, and I know I will be able to listen or read his words tomorrow, when no doubt they will make me feel something. I shed some tears as Pope Francis exits this gathering, stooping to bless and smile at people and children in wheelchairs, and hoping that others are watching and listening and taking his words to heart.

    I’m going to eat something now, since all I’ve managed to swallow today were goldfish crackers and a couple of graham crackers. Then I’m going to clean my house.

    I will feel better tomorrow.