Depression is Not Black and White

chickadee - soft (greys)

The use of black and white filters can be striking in the world of photography, but in the world of depression, black and white is nowhere to be found. Everything is shaded with countless shades of grey. I have spent decades attempting to figure out the right way to handle this or respond to that. Hoping to learn how to be more likable and more normal. Searching for a better approach to maintaining fulfilling relationships. Trying desperately to just be okay.

However it isn’t that cut and dry. Life is unpredictable and has a fierce habit of jerking the emotional rug out from under us when we least expect it. And when that happens, we hit the ground. Hard.

For someone with depression, an emotional takedown can be utterly debilitating. Maybe your energy drains to nonexistence and you find yourself unable to move or leave your bed. Perhaps you become enraged and begin to actively push away anyone who cares enough to try to offer support. Some people physically hurt themselves or try to anesthetize the pain away with alcohol or drugs. Others lose hope, give in to the pain and the lies their minds tell them, and give up altogether.

I genuinely understand the indescribable heaviness you feel when you are facing that dark night of the soul. I promise that I truly do. But I also know that no matter how dark it is in that moment – even if that moment feels like it has gone on and on – it does not stay like that. It always get better. Ironically it will go back to crappy again, too, but the good news is that the pendulum keeps swinging back and forth. As always, just remember to wait it out whenever that happens.

The truth is that this is how life goes for everyone. You don’t need to be a card-carrying member of the mental health diagnosis club to feel like an outsider, to believe that you are lost, or to be in a place of tremendous sadness or hurt.

We may focus on our weaknesses, but the heaviest of times often reveal our greatest strengths, too. If you can’t get out of bed today, that’s okay. The weight of that kind of emotional exhaustion can be suffocating, but the world will keep spinning for now. But get out of bed tomorrow.

If you are being offered genuine help from someone who loves and wants to be there for you, open the door instead of slamming it closed.

Avoid trying to mask to pain with alcohol or drugs. I get that it feels good in the moment, but those will tear you down on so many levels. The numbness won’t last, and you are left with a deeper emotional hole with every further attempt to hide from your life.

Open up to others in your life who will help you find your footing again, and seek professional help.

Above all, don’t ever give in to the pain, and don’t ever lose hope.

I don’t believe on any level that suicide is an indication of cowardice. Rather I see it as an act of absolute desperation and total confusion. People who take their lives become tremendously lost regarding what seems real versus what actually is real. They can recognize the absolute truth that every new day holds a promise of something better. Now I’ll admit that that doesn’t mean that the better whatever will come along today. But then again, it definitely could. If not, that greatly improves the odds for an even better tomorrow, so it makes practical sense to keep sticking around.

Although it might simplify our days, a world of black and white would be tedious and dull. We may perceive endless shades of grey in our lives, but we are also blessed with an endless array of other colors to brighten our days. Don’t forget to notice them in their innumerable forms, and don’t ever hide your own colors, your brilliance, or your beauty in an effort to blend in or be normal. You are so much better than normal, and you are so much more than mere black and white.

Much love to you always.  Jo

chickadee - soft (color)
Life is much more beautiful with a splash of color.

***Thank you to my darling friend https://authentically50.wordpress.com/2018/06/27/7-day-bw-photo-challenge-day-four/ for tagging me to participate in the 7 Day Black & White Photo Challenge. The rules are straightforward. Seven days. Seven black and white photos of your life. No people. No explanation. Challenge someone new each day.

For day 1, I am tagging Kim at https://itrippedoverastone.com/.  Kim is a light in the dark to so many, and I am so incredibly blessed to call her my friend.

For those who have known me via my primary blog https://momentumofjo.com/, you won’t be stunned to hear that I am not particularly interested in rules of any kind (thus my black & white-ish photo) nor will you be shocked to read that those whom I tag should feel zero pressure from me to participate or follow the requirements as written. Although I would love to see your photos and read your posts, I fully understand that we all have plenty on our to do lists. Participate if you would like. Don’t if you would rather not. Whatever you do, just do it in your own style. Much love! 🙂

Working Through Mental Health Heaviness with a Little Gardening

Momentum of Jo

garden.jpgWhen I am struggling, I tend to shut down or lash out. Or I lash out and then shut down. It’s a game time decision and basically not really a decision at all because I never know how I’m going to react in the moment. To put it ever so delicately, I think that it must insanely suck to be part of my family (or within ten miles of me) whenever I’m spiraling. I don’t hide it at all. It’s not in my nature nor is it in my innate set of skills. I basically exude “Hot Mess Here!” when I’m in that place. And I hate it.

I don’t believe in taking medications (I AM ONLY SPEAKING FOR MYSELF ON THIS – I absolutely do NOT speak for others nor am I advising anyone else to toss their pills ever), and I can’t muster the willpower or energy to exercise. It’s…

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Sometimes I Feel Like I’m Losing the Battle With My Mind

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I hate feeling this way. It’s like my mind decided to take a trip to Crazyville, and I can’t get off the damn bus.

It frightens me when I feel this way. I don’t like facing the sense of being out of control. My thoughts race. My emotions whipsaw back and forth at random. And I can’t even tell you what set it off.

Maybe my hormones bought a ticket on the world’s crappiest roller coaster. Maybe I’m overwhelmed with the endless day to day everything. Maybe I’m tired. I just don’t know, but that almost makes it worse. I am a looney without a cause, and I don’t like it. I feel lost.

But what I do know for certain is this – the main thing to hold onto during these rotten mind screw moments is the knowledge that what feels like reality in this moment is not actually…

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To the Young Ones – Being a Nerd Won’t Always Hurt Like It Does Today

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While my son was away from his seat at the cafeteria today, another child thought that it would be hilarious to throw his lunch / lunch bag into the trash can. Apparently the kids had been hiding his backpack during lunch on other days, but this is the first time that one of the items actually made it into the garbage.

The obvious question seems to be, “Knowing this dynamic, why leave your stuff unattended around those creeps, and why sit there anyway?” Well the school is very funny about keeping tables to a specific number of children. The old “I put my stuff there first so it’s my seat” rule is law. Weird? I think so. The way it is? Yes. Also that happens to be where my son’s friends sit, and, understandably, he wants to sit by them.

Middle school lunch can be social quicksand. Despite being well…

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Have Faith in Yourself – Remove the Mask

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mask.jpg

I often tell my children that no one gives as much thought to their insecurities as they do. No other people are panicking about a blemish on someone else’s face. Nobody else stresses if another person gets a stain on their shirt during the day. Those moments of imperfection make my children feel like they are under the magnifying glass of their peers, but the reality is that those incidences are quickly replaced by alternate distractions and concerns of other people. I tell my kids all of this, and I remind them that no one is perfect. We all have embarrassing stuff, and we all carry insecurities. They don’t have to hide who they are ever. It’s solid mom advice, and I genuinely believe those words.But do I heed this wisdom in my own life?

The really short answer is no. The still short but not quite as short as…

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The Perpetual Happiness Pitch

Momentum of Jo

image000000_62Somewhere along the way someone pitched the idea that we should be happy all of the time. Should we feel any emotions that are not on the scale of yippy skippy or above, that should be taken as an indication that we are less than, that something must be wrong with us that needs to be fixed or medicated away, and that we have fallen off the right path. And to what I am certain was that person’s absolute amusement and utter shock, tons of people bought into those concepts and deemed them to be true.

The suggestion that a happy pill combined with a few positives mantras a day can permanently banish the blues away sounds dreamy. I rejoice at the thought of never feeling sadness ever again and always having the complete inner knowing that I finally have this human thing totally figured out. I would love for…

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Stop Aiming for Normal

Momentum of Jo

Picture_20170721_210115536 This is a swallowtail caterpillar nibbling on parsley on our patio. There’s a smaller one to the upper left in the pic, too.

I’m not normal.  I know this.  Apparently it’s all the rage though because I constantly hear people saying how they just want to be normal.

While we are on the subject, would someone mind clarifying for me exactly what that means please.  Also I would like detail regarding why so many people are dead set on achieving the whole being “normal” distinction.  If possible, please provide specific examples of the actual normal people in the world so I can have a template to emulate.  I don’t think that I’ve personally met any of these normal individuals just yet, but maybe I can’t recognize it since I’ve never fit the mold.  On that note, do they sell that mold on Amazon, and if so, it is available with…

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