Tag Archives: acceptance

Because You’re Human

When give a dose of twisted reality, much like the tragedy in Boston, we’re also given a dose of perspective. Things are completely out of our control. There are monsters that walk among us who are filled with rage and hate. Bad things happen to good people.

It’s enough to make anyone want to crawl in a hole and escape.

But this post isn’t about Boston, Texas or Newtown or the myriad of tragic events that unfortunately, we’ve had to endure. There are others that can speak much more eloquently on those topics, as thankfully, I’m personally removed.

What I’m not personally removed from is depression, something that I’ve written about a million times before, and something that quite frankly, I’m tired of writing about. I like to keep it light, if only for my own sanity.

But events like Boston bring something to the forefront of my mind, something that I’ve heard others who suffer from depression bring up all the time—the guilt.

Ahh…the guilt. That useless emotion.

I have a job, a roof over my head, family and friends who love me and who are still safe. How dare I be depressed when on paper, things look go good? Other people have “real” reasons to be depressed, so what the hell is my problem?

These are the thoughts that go through my head. The guilt—combined with frustration—are what lead me to physically wear myself down to a literal shell of who I once was.

I won’t go into my details again, but when it hits, I can’t imagine how things might change. My motivation becomes basically reduced to: food, exercise, sleep and hopefully coming up with something to write. Anything on top of that isn’t something I have any interest in.

I just don’t want to think anymore.

I simply want relief, and part of me thought (and maybe still thinks) that if I kept physically pushing myself, eventually something would literally give and then I would have a “real” reason, a valid excuse.

Because if I have an excuse, then I won’t have the guilt and there’s something else I can blame for the way that I feel.

In their own way, I hear this from friends who deal with depression themselves. That the guilt is what keeps them tamped down, that they don’t “deserve” to feel anything less than the inspirational quotes and posters that plaster the globe expect everybody to feel.

But you know what?

Sometimes things are completely out of our control. There are mental monsters like that fill our minds with negative thoughts we don’t ask for. Depression happens to good people.

It’s not your fault.

So even though I cringe as I publish this— “serious” equates to insecurity for me—I wrote it because I know I’m not alone, because everyone has shit that they deal with—big, small, internal, external. 

What you deal with is your shit and what I deal with is mine. That’s both comforting and disconcerting, as it means even though we’re not alone, we’re also not unique or the exception to some rule. Everyone has pain.

The only guilt you should feel is if you don’t honor the fact that your feelings are valid and real.

This doesn’t mean you wallow. This doesn’t mean you throw up your hands, say “screw it” and crawl in a hole and escape. This means you fight. This means you endure. This means your guilt is replaced with acceptance and you take the next step forward and deal with your reality now, whatever that reality may be.

You’re human.

That’s all the “excuse” that you need.

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Control Is (just a) Key

Sometimes the universe reminds you (or me) that control is nothing more than a key on a laptop that somehow gets a virus and will require $150 to fix only to be returned to you completely “renewed,” as in, all of your settings, downloads, documents, drafts of blog posts and some pictures are no longer part of the deal.

cntrlky

The mixture of this event and several others might leave you (or me) lying on the floor in the fetal position next to the cat, cursing Comcast while sobbing and apologizing for being a horrible cat mom.

Hypothetically speaking, of course.

But then once you get those sobs out, you (or I) might realize that people in third world countries would kick your ass if they knew you were upset over losing half-written blog posts, having your credit card hacked (a different story) or cleaning up cat puke.

It could always be worse, but sometimes that’s hard to remember. Things add up and the straw that broke the camel’s back can often break you down. The realization that things are out of your control and less than ideal is annoying and frustrating.

It’s also pointless to fight.

A lot of my stress (and maybe yours) isn’t because I honestly feel like physical chaos will ensue when things go wrong, but rather that a situation won’t be (my version) of ideal and mental chaos will ensue.

So I plan things like having a post ready, make sure I can workout or that a meal won’t be rushed, eaten later than preferred or (gasp!) a disappointment. I like knowing that I can do “A” at time “B” and the result will be a predictable “C.”

Hello? Laptops getting sick, credit cards getting hacked and Snooki getting a spin-off show fit nowhere in that plan!

Anyway, after finding myself lying on the floor in the fetal position next to the cat, cursing Comcast while sobbing and apologizing for being a horrible cat mom—hypothetically speaking, of course—I had a thought. Well, two of them actually.

1) Wow, there’s a lot of catnip in this carpet.

2) How’s “predictable C” working out for me?

Of course at this point it wasn’t only about the laptop—although I was (and am) still kind of freaking out about that. No, it was the general realization—again—that sometimes you (or I) have to let go and just go with the flow.

Learning to accept the world as it is rather than being annoyed with it, stressed by it, mad at it or trying to change it into what we want it to be is really all we can do.

And I have to admit that my computer is running much faster. While this stinks, I can turn that around and say now I have an uncluttered canvas that can be filled with whatever might suit me right now. And we can continue the cheesy metaphor and say doing  a different “A” at time “B” can result in a new and improved “C.”

Exclamation point!

Of course at this point it’s still not only about the laptop and I’m still lying on the (now freshly vacuumed) floor. However, it’s not because I’m sobbing and losing my shit, but simply because I stood up and a piece of broccoli fell out of my shirt.

I can’t find it.

I’ve learned to accept this will happen. Not being annoyed with it, stressed by it, mad at it or trying to change it into what I want it to be is really all I can do until someone sends me a bib that can double as a superhero cape.

You pick your battles, people.

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My Internal GPS is MIA

It’s not only possible, but 111 percent probable that if you dropped me into any area within a 20-mile radius of my house and gave me directions using only North, East, South and West, I would end up somewhere 40 miles away from my house.

A compass is as foreign to me as self-editing and maps are simply pretty pictures with lots of distracting colors that are entirely impossible to a) understand b) look at while driving and c) fold back up. 

In other words, I have no sense of direction.

It’s not that I haven’t made a valiant effort to understand directions–I’m aware that North, East, South and West exist—it’s just that I don’t quite understand where they are in relation to where I am or want to be.

In my world, local highways are not labeled by specific names—1-96, I94—but are instead known as the “mall highway,” “Harvest Health highway,” “work road” etc. Sometimes people that don’t know me very well will ask me for directions and in turn get a series of landmarks and things like, “Turn left at the gas station that has my favorite gum that everyone else stopped carrying” as a response.

Not many people ask me for directions after that first time, but I actually feel much worse for people trying to give me directions somewhere.

Here’s how a typical conversation with me generally goes:

Other person: Go east on that road about five miles.

Me: Is east left or right? 

or

Other person: Head north on that street.

Me: If we’re standing in my driveway, is that behind me or in front of me?

In my head I see a flat map with north at the top, south at the bottom and the other two things on the sides. How this translates into real life is somewhat more complicated. Until someone paints a big N, E, S or W in the sky, I’m pretty much screwed.

But I really don’t get lost that often, as I end up figuring out my own system—and don’t generally travel alone if it’s outside that 20 mile radius from my house. If I’m traveling with someone who expects me to be a dependable co-pilot, they soon learn the error of assumption (and which gas station has my favorite gum that everyone else stopped carrying.)

I’ve tried to fix this little issue, but my internal GPS is completely MIA. However, instead of lamenting this directional deficiency of mine, I’ve embraced it.

I’ve accepted the fact that I might not always know where I’m going—either in my car, on foot or in life—and that it’s OK to stop and ask for directions, even if those directions don’t help me out that much at the time.

Even if I take a few wrong turns and feel a bit lost, I take a small amount of comfort in knowing that I seem to find my way eventually.

Just don’t ask me how I plan to get there.

I’m still figuring that out myself.