Compassion, Love, Empathy & Then There’s Religion

I am attracted to peace, tranquility, harmony, love, empathy, humility, and strength in vulnerability.

I cannot think of anyone whom I know that would prefer to judge others and cause them pain as a natural way of being. And yet…

I do not live my life saying that my way is the right way for you to live your life and therefore, ergo, i.e., e.g., I will spend my life telling others how wrong and misguided they are in the core of their being. I would not measure my success each day by making others feel unworthy, un enlightened, uneducated, or bad by nature. Perfection to me is love. Love is difficult.

I admire those who have achieved inner love that resonates in a distinctive outward glow.

I admire those that, through positive and enriching love of self, have a capacity for humility, empathy, & compassion that resonates in nearly every action.

In my pursuit of love (which embodies empathy, humility, strength, vulnerability and many other attributes that I find peaceful and harmonious) I have felt much pain. I have felt pain from self-judgement and hate-filled words from those who express they are on the same pursuit but taking a different path. This pain that I feel and am expressing is pretty superficial given the seriousness of the problems we have in this world. I feel the need however, to share a small example of the struggle I have with religion. Compassion, love, & empathy are talked about, but I have rarely seen it GENUINELY practiced. Hypocrisy is rampant in the ‘do as I say not as I do’ religious lifestyle, and religion is a lifestyle.

As someone who has studied the bible and the walk of Christ more often than not in life, I find Jesus to be a man whose attributes are worth mirroring. I find the words of men claiming to have known Jesus, and therefore thought to be nearly infallible in their interpretation of Jesus’ thoughts and beliefs, neither comforting nor serving the purpose of cultivating love and peace in others.

Recently, my husband was given words of advice on how important it is not to succumb to spiritism like his wife. I am still so confused by that statement. I have come into contact with this person on less than a handful of occasions over the 8 years I have known them. From the tone of the discussion as well as words spoken, I gathered that it was a very bad thing; that I am a bad person, a person who should be shameful. That’s how it made me feel. I was hurt deeply and  the exchange further supported my fear of being judged and continually hurt by religious Christians that I know. I have my own walk and this type of judgment by those I love and respect always leaves a deeper wound than I expect. I didn’t realize that I was evil and didn’t understand where this was coming from. I try to express my struggle with the behavior and how it leaves me feeling so inferior. Before I can relax and clearly express how I feel, my hurt comes out as anger and defense. Kind of normal I guess. Then I realize that not everything is about me…who knew?! 🙂 I use these little lessons as an opportunity to evaluate myself and the motivation of those around me.

I should not judge others, and believe me I try desperately not to, but I sometimes do during times of stress.
When I do judge others, it is generally because I feel pain in their presence.

Call me ignorant but I wasn’t quite sure what spiritism was, it clearly wasn’t a focal point of my studies, so I decided to look it up.

According to the Bible, which has quite a few versus about spiritism, it is generally described as one who is a medium or practices witchcraft, divination etc.. The versus that I could find were all old testament and included stoning people to death and that God hates them. Not quite the words of love and hating the sin and not the sinner that I have come to hold on to. Furthermore, I am indeed not a spiritist nor someone who practices spiritism. Ironically, according to Wikipedia, spiritists themselves believe that Jesus is the greatest moral example for humankind.

I tend to ask myself over and over again; was the goal to hurt me or to sway me or my husband into their belief system? I’m just not sure, but they accomplished hurt.

If someone believes that human nature is negative, destructive, and/or hurtful then it makes sense that one would be guided by a belief system outside of ones self, to regulate ones thoughts and actions given that one believes their inner being to be faulted or sin based.

I believe that human nature is innately good, kind, and peaceful, like that of a young child who simply wants to play and be free before adults come in and ruin all the fun with adult based fears. It is because I believe that my inner being is good that I look inward for my morality and principles by which I want to guide my life. I have the answers, its just about tapping into them. On this subject many disagree, but the beauty of my belief is that we can disagree and nothing changes. Everything is as it should be. The agreement is in the quest for something greater and we all have different definitions of greater and different ways of achieving that goal.

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Standing Up For Our Future

Through sobs she dials her mom’s cell, “Mommy?”
“What’s wrong? Where are you?” I demanded.
“I’m on the school bus and I need to talk to you when I get home.”

So much fear and anxiety flows over your body when you hear your child in pain.

The back story:
A group of 10 & 11 year olds were conducting a chat about a book regarding the declaration of independence. As an enhancement, 3 students wrote a declaration of their own and had those who agreed, with all or in part, come up and sign the petition. The petition asked for the teacher to not single kids out and humiliate them everyday and to teach them that the rules apply to all and not just to one. Wow! Well thought out. This must have really been pressing on them to go to the point of articulating it in that form.

Consequence:
They were punished for making the teacher feel badly and made to write a letter of apology. They were yelled at by 2 teachers and the teacher in question began crying. All 13 students were crying. At no point was there a compassionate lesson of how they could communicate frustrations through the proper channels. In that moment what they all learned was that it was bad to stand up for yourself and others. I learned of this consequence after a sit down with the 2 teachers and the asst. principle. I was also able to share my daughters reasoning behind her signing the petition.

The reason my daughter signed the petition was to save one kid who was “bullied every single day, every single day mom!” by the teacher and “he has even had to go sit in a corner to compose himself.”
She proceeded to tell me, through tears, that the other kids make fun of him all the time and he has to deal with that on top of getting bullied by a teacher. “It’s not fair!”
“Why do the other kids make fun of him?” I asked.
“Because he’s black mom. It’s not right!”

Ok…whoa! I questioned if I was hearing this right. I was hearing it right and it got much worse! I was on the phone and in my car without hesitation.

They even made up a song, “one shot, two shot, three shot, no more black (childs name).”
What is happening in this world?! How does this crap still exist and infiltrate the young malleable minds of our youth. I thought this kind of thing sat with crotchety old white guys. I’ve just been waiting for them all to dies so that we can move on in a more peace-filled world. NO! It’s being handed down to our future generations.

My 10 year old was so distressed by the situation that she personally called the assistant principle and spoke her side and informed him of what was really happening. I was so proud of her.
If I have done nothing else as a mother, I have unwittingly taught my children how to care for others. In a world that self segregates, I have taught them how not to fall into that trap of hate. Even when my daughter told the child that she had called the asst principle and told him what he was going through and wanted him to know that he had her support if he ever needed her to talk to a teacher or just to talk, the child laughed and said he didnt care. My daughter was hurt by that but at the end of the day, she did the right thing. She stood up for a peer.
What the school did about it….nothing.

Life’s Beautiful Stressful Rewarding Journey

It’s true what they say:

Sometimes in the middle of a crazy messed up mistake ridden life, comes a fairytail.

Ok, “they” don’t say exactly that but for me it’s true…sort of. Things don’t usually just come to you and they certainly don’t stay if you don’t learn how to foster them and grow. To get right down to it, you need to change in an uncomfortable way. Don’t be disheartened though, it’s only uncomfortable because it’s not what you are used to.

Surrounding yourself with those who have achieved your vision, goals, and/or dreams is a critical piece to achieving them yourself. You not only learn from their journey but you create a board of advisors for your own journey. 

For me, emotions were like a ginormous (see what I did there ;)) boulder blocking my way out of the cave of darkness. I kept trying to move the boulder from every different angle, only to learn that another way out was just around a different corner. Emotions crippled me because they guided my life. My emotions told me to be angry when I wasn’t treated fairly. They told me to quit if things didn’t go my way. That I should tell someone they are wrong if I feel they are. 

They lie… Emotions lie!

Emotions kept me from making sound decisions that would benefit me in the long run. 

After I learned a little emotional intelligence, life snapped together and became the most amazing fairytale. I never could have dreamed of this life. Somebody pinch me! I could tell you all about it but I still don’t believe it myself. What I do know is that the outcome was worth the stress and hard work of relearning life.

Not allowing yourself to give into becoming overwhelmed or angry is as rewarding as it is hard.

The sun will rise and set no matter what. I can scream all day and make myself and those around me miserable or I can make my list and move forward; either way the sun will rise and it will set. I choose to be happy somewhere in between. I have no control over how others live or how they treat me or one another; I don’t want to either. Truth be told, I want to be more like my golden retreiver 🙂 always smiling and loved beyond belief. 

The Battle (Part 1)

The journey of a mother and her son through diagnosis and into treatment is a tamultious one. The passion for proper treatment, for actual care of ones health. The turbulent path of finding the right professionals and then the ups and downs of medications, their combinations, and side effects.

The love of a mother for her son is a special one. When he feels hurt I feel his pain multiplied deep within my soul.

Many of the medications used to treat Bi-Polar and Depression take time to seep into the system. Putting something into your body so foreign and dangerous that it can change how you think and behave is a scary proposition, certainly not one to be taken lightly. Making the decision to have my son treated in that way has created a deafening barrage of conflicting thoughts complicating my daily life. Looking in from the outside I see his pain, frustration and struggles so clearly. I see the wild look in his eyes come so quickly when something triggers him, dispersing as quickly as it appeared. His struggles are his norm so he cannot see them each time they appear, they all blend together.

I am more cautious with his medication journey than I was with mine. I am thankful to know exactly how I felt with each medication and although we all feel differently, hindsight is 20/20 and I am using those glasses. One medication at a time. I will not name medications publicly, as I am not an expert and don’t want to sway anyone. I will however, answer every e-mail with honesty. He started one a few weeks ago and is not yet up to the levels needed to make a difference. The waiting is so difficult but he has a great therapist who is helping him tremendously. He is frustrated by not “feeling” the medicine kicking in and I understand that feeling well. In the meantime, we take it day by day. I get up and make him his breakfast and lunch. I am in touch with each of his teachers  and administration at the high school to ensure that we are all supporting him.

Privacy is extremely important for a student who is looking to attend an institute of higher learning. 

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I cannot stress enough the importance and value of not placing my son on any school “programs” or any other term the school uses to gain additional funding and places any notes or codes onto his transcripts. I want absolutely nothing to stand in his way of success. My job is to keep the doors open and minimize damage at all costs. I have been very firm and calculated with what I share about my sons health and how they will handle it. What they put on his transcripts and in his recommendations can change his future for worse or better and like a momma lion, I protect his future with my life. I communicate enough to allow for compassion on the part of educators but no more. I communicate that he is under the care of medical professionals and may experience lapses in memory and concentration. He may need their patience and compassion but nothing less and nothing more. They push to know what is wrong and I have only gone so far as to say that he is experiencing a temporary episode of severe depression.

Depression is a word that people understand even if they don’t understand it. Bi-Polar is a word that instantly turns you into an unstable crazy person. 

All is right in the world when others feel that they can help by having compassion for a young man experiencing a temporary bout of depression. Bi-Polar requires a team and a special counselor and a special program and on and on and on. Bi-Polar is a permanent state of instability in the eyes of many.

My son has the advantage of learning about his strengths and weaknesses at a young age. Armed with that knowledge he has the ability to become stronger than most. 

He has more of an opportunity to succeed now than he did a month ago. Getting out on the other side is the battle. Winning one battle at a time with knowledge and positivity is what will win this war.

 

Work Stress Work Stress Work

I’m in a fishbowl. Routine has been disrupted, stress is piling up, the pressure I’m placing on myself is too immense.

I wanted to die yesterday. I literally wanted to die. My brain was shutting down and I couldn’t speak right, I was dizzy, and clumsy, and disassociating.
Why am I telling you this? I don’t know, maybe someone else has felt this way and will send some love & light my way.
catatonic
I finally asked for help to lighten the pressure and the load of preparing a home for the realtor to come take pictures on Thursday and subsequent open houses. I’m sitting here writing as a break from all the work. I’m drowning and being selfish by even recognizing that fact. Other people are busy too and nobody has time to help within the next 3 days and that’s ok too. It’s my job to do and burdening others just adds to my anxiety and guilt.
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My husband is drowning in work & traveling the next 2 days, my son is dealing with a new diagnosis and a life forever changing. I have his public school demanding a meeting with me to get an explaination for my sons absences (4) so they can “provide him support”. Where were they when they significantly contributed to the cause of this breakdown? Oh, wait, causing the breakdown doesn’t pay but putting a label on him and providing support after the fact does pay.
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We both have appts with doctors. He has work on top of school and doctors. He finds recognition and a sense of accomplishment at work.
I have a list that is 3 columns and fills an entire sheet of paper with everything that is supposed to be done by thursday.
This friggin Thursday!
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Each time I feel this way, I think “OMG, why do I feel this way again. That’s when I remind myself that I have felt this way before and am still here. This too shall pass and the sun will rise and set with or without my efforts today or tomorrow. So, for now, I rest 😉

I Gave It To My Son

I find it easier to handle my own diagnosis than that of my child. I haven’t written much lately because I have been caring for my son. It’s been a few months since my husband and I began to notice changes in our sons behavior; lack of academic performance, girlfriend after girlfriend, problems with teachers. He stopped making himself breakfast & lunch.
He is an advance placement student so he has the capability to do well and for some reason he couldn’t wrap his head around simple things anymore. He kept saying that he couldn’t remember anything, he was tired, “there is something wrong.”

I feel helpless. I am losing my son and watching his future slip away. He felt the same fear and uncertainty.

A couple weeks ago he finally broke down. It was an epic betrayal of his true self. I know that for some teenagers, anger outbursts can be standard behavior or expected, but those behaviors aren’t my sons baseline. It isn’t in his core personality.
He snapped! He threw his phone, punched a wall, and began an epic meltdown. His body was rigid with the anger that he was holding back. He ran into a bathroom and began sobbing.
I sat there, for an entire minute, in absolute shock. Although not so little (17) my little boy was in so much pain. It was a pain I had felt all too often in my life. I knew right then that this was something bigger than he. I ran in and knelt before him and as I saw his pain and his shaking from anger I felt as though he was so out of control that he may not be able to hold back physically if I leaned in. That was a chance I was more than willing to take as I quickly wrapped both my arms around him. It took a good 5 minutes before he could speak and then the panic attacks began. I consider myself an expert in those!
Eventually, I got him back to his bed and he began to open up.
Reckless behavior, emotional release when he buys something. Yikes!
“We are here for you son. No judgement, just love and support. Walls and phones dont matter, you matter!”
you matterMy husband demanded that I seek treatment for him immediately! He told me that he saw in him what he had seen in me; “that look in his eyes,” he said. “Our son is in trouble and needs help.” Luckily, I had an appt with my prescriber the next morning. She affirmed that he should be taken to a hospital to start the process of getting him help.
Unfortunately, they dont do anything but tell you that there is a 4 month wait for an eval and send you on your way.

I made several phone calls to my own providers and he has been seen by each of them this past week. The perks of being a loyal patient, I suppose. I should have a rewards card or something.

Official Diagnosis: bi-polar 2 (for now because he is so young) and a major depressive episode.

He wept…

“Are these pills going to be forever?” Yes, son. You know what else is forever? Multivitamins. 🙂

I Believe

I believe that all survivors of sexual assault should stand together, no matter their differing beliefs.

I believe that all survivors of terror of any kind should stick together, support one another, no matter their differing beliefs.

I believe that we can all offer up something positive to this world, no matter our circumstances; even if its just a smile or opening a door.

I believe in having a positive purpose in every blog post I write. I dont find anything beneficial to myself or others in complaining and bringing others down.

I believe that just as I am inspired by the strength and resilience of others, I can inspire; even if its just myself sometimes. 🙂

I believe that if you surround yourself with those you admire, you will take on those traits and become a better you.

I believe in not bringing others down by making negative, hurtful comments.

I believe that we all should embrace each other as the unique and different people we are.

I believe you shouldnt judge a book by its cover; I am white yet my ancestors came from the Congo straight into slavery and tragedy.

I believe that some people enjoy being happy and some people enjoy being sad.

I believe that it’s inhumane to not be able to provide mental health care at the first signs of onset.

I believe its wrong for a restraining order to provide a false sense of hope & security when it is only used in prosecution after it is violated.

I believe that love is the answer to the deepest of questions and compassion is the communicator.

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YouAreAmazing@mypurposefulmind.com

Love With A Side Of Klonopin

Reflecting on my weekend, I feel like it lasted two weeks. The days just fly by and yesterday was a snow day for the family which meant it lasted longer. I love having the family around but I really appreciate my week days alone too. I was incredibly overwhelmed on Saturday which made it hard to get moving, but just when I thought I would give in to sadness and lay around and feel crappy all day, my mother and brother in law called and would be at my house in an hour. WHAT?! Ok, time for a shower and OMG the house…I have construction tools and baseboards and rocks all over! OY! I was literally having a serious meltdown. Panic attack, oh hello, there you are again. It’s been what, like a few days at least since I was fearful enough to see you. I don’t like you and I want you to know that if I never saw you again I would celebrate. Just sayin’

My husband grabbed my Klonopin and handed it to me with water. “Relax. I got the house, you get the shower 😉 ” How did I get so darn lucky? I mean, have you read 5 Ways To Help Your Wife With PTSD? He really lives it out and thinks about it enough to always be a step ahead of me. He really really thinks about my well-being and my journey and what may come next and how to help me experience new things without fear. I can’t do it, so I don’t know how he does. He has a superpower, for sure.

He went to the grocery store and handled dinners, while I got lost somewhere in my head. Not sure where but, by the end of it all, I managed to pull myself together enough to accomplish one of the many tasks I have on my growing list. I sat down and put some rocks on a wall. I built an entertainment center about a year ago and a weekend job turned into a year long job but so be it. Slowly but surely.IMG_20160321_212203.jpg

I still have sanding and painting to do, but I haven’t quite wrangled up my manic romance yet, but once she kicks in, you will see a finished product. I managed to get the column on the right (next to the rocks) trimmed out all pretty last week though. YAY!

The hubby is home this morning to make sure that I get in the shower and don’t give in to the reaper. He knows how hard the slightest change in my routine is for me. He sees it so clearly and has such compassion. I credit him with so much; without him I wouldn’t be here.

 

Overwhelmed And Climbing

Yesterday I smacked myself in the face with a 2×4…no, really! I am desperately in a serious hurry to whip my house into shape within the next week. Realtors are calling to look at our house and my husband is going through the process of rounding up a list for the mortgage broker. North Carolina by summer is the plan. Warmer weather and no more snowblowers! It all looks like one big huge Mt. Everest to me.

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My anxiety is at MAX. Panic has set back in and I can’t seem to ‘work’ when others are around because of it. Nightmares have come to help panic out, and I am struggling with meals again. Just when everything is so perfect, it all crashes down on my head. In this case, in my face. Half my face is swollen, I look ridiculous! On top of that I am working with one finger down. I accidentally cut into half of my right index finger and I can’t even type with the thing. On the positive side, I’m learning a new typing style.

Being a one-woman machine is so hard. I can’t maneuver everything on my own but I have to. I am putting up crown moulding, baseboards, trimming out doors, mudding & taping, sanding and painting. I pretty much do it all…when I can.

That’s the thing about bipolar, we are rockstars when the mania juice kicks in! People are like, “omg, she can do it all”… yeah, for a hot second until the reaper pays a visit. The reaper follows panic and mania around like an ambulance chaser.

I call my writing days, my days off. Usually I hit one room at a time and make my chunking list. Sometimes though, even making a list is a battle. That’s when i take my day off and write. I listen to my husband talk with his family and others on the phone. I wish I could do that, but the phone is overwhelming to me most days. I will say something wrong and then the end of the world comes down like a torrential rain. The world has ended many times. 😉

This too shall pass.
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Perpetual Rape

Perpetual rape. The stigma perpetuated by our young ladies.

Standing in the middle of my kitchen, surrounding the island, were 4 teenagers chatting away about local gossip. As I approached I heard an unsettling joke coming from one of the girls. Mind you, this young lady is a junior in high school with a 4.73 gpa, great parents and a comfortable lifestyle. A young woman at their school had claimed that she was raped a few years ago and ever since then she has been the subject of doubt and ridicule. The joke was unsavory and it hurt my heart to hear such degradation of a victim/survivor.

Nevertheless I took this as an opportunity to help these young ladies see that they are perpetuating a culture of shaming the survivor and degrading women. We are supposed to support one another!

When asked, it all came down to how the survivor “handled” the situation and she “put herself in a bad place in the first place” and that she was “probably lying”. Coming from two young ladies, my jaw hit the floor, my face became red as I became triggered. Inserting myself into the conversation, I really wanted to understand how they would handle a sensitive discussion on the topic. Survivor mommy took over and the conversation went something like this:

Q. (Me) >Your best friend comes to you and says that she was raped by a boy. What do you do?

A. “Uhh clearly she has to go to the police, go to a hospital and get a rape kit!”
My response- Really? If she knows how the last girl who came forward was treated by you, and others, do you think she will make the decision to tell you and get help? (Deep thought ensues)

Q. (Me) >You are raped by your boyfriend. You may have been in a position but you changed your mind, got scared, expressed your discomfort and said you didnt want to and he overpowered you. What do you do?

A.- “I don’t know”

So many things to think about, right?! Now think about being ridiculed, joked about, and degraded after you came forward. Your own friends abandon you.
Doesnt sound like the support women are supposed to have for one another, does it? Would you want your mother treated that way? Your sister? Your best friend? Yourself?

Truly amazing how just a little conversation from a parent can start a discussion between young men and young women that will live & resonate with them. Ironically, the young men were far more protective and supportive of the female survivor than the females.

Females are alienating each other at every level and age group. We are acting like crabs in a bucket. Have you ever seen crabs in a bucket? None of them ever get out because they are too busy pulling each other down and stepping on their heads! Let’s keep the conversations going and make sure our young ladies are in them. 🙂