Tag Archives: depression

The power of a word

 

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Words hurt.  I know the old saying about ‘sticks and stones’ but the truth of the matter is:  words do hurt.  I have a memory as a child that someone had told me I was an ugly duckling.  I was crying and I told my mother what was said.  At that moment I truly believed I was an ugly duckling and I would never grow into the beautiful swan.  I was a kid, I was awkward.  My mother’s reaction shocked me.  She was outraged, she was furious.  She wanted to know who had said such a horrible thing to her child.  I smartly refuse to give up the name.  I have since forgotten everything except the words.  The name of the person was unimportant.  My reaction to it was not.  I was devastated.  My mother told me forcefully that I was not an ugly duckling, I was beautiful.  I would continue to be beautiful throughout my life.  Never mess with a mom.

Jump ahead a few years to high school.  A fellow classmate came up to me and asked me if I wanted to get rid of 10 ugly pounds of useless fat.  Ever a sucker I said yes.  She told me to cut off my head.  As I have grown older I have learned that comments like this are meant to hurt and they are meant to be funny to those people who think it’s hilarious to watch someone else’s pain.  I have learned that the speaker is more important than the words in incidents like this.  At the time I was still at that awkward age where we are unsure of ourselves.  Being called ugly didn’t help.

I remember these two instances because it’s something I’ve had to fight my whole life.  These were words spoken in anger.  I should not have given them a moment’s thought and yet here I am several decades later still reliving the pain they caused all those years ago.

Fortunately I am also able to remember the positive comments that have been made to me over the years.  I remember the first time a boyfriend told me I was pretty.  Pretty heady stuff!  I can remember an essay of mine being held up in English class as the correct way to research a paper.  The teacher expounded on the amount of time I had obviously devoted to this brilliant essay.  I was suitably chagrined because I had only written it the night before.  My friend knew, the teacher never did.  I remember in University being told that my performance the night before was inspired and brilliant.  More heady stuff.  I remember a boss telling me that he was amazed at the way I had handled a difficult customer.  Words do make a difference.

I hope that in my travels I have said more words that are positive in nature than negative.  I would like to think that my words have inspired and cajoled, comforted and amused.  We communicate every day with each other and our words matter.  How we say them matters.  How we present them matters.  We matter.  Choose your words as carefully as you choose the ingredients for a fine meal.  It will make everything taste better.

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THE PHONE KEEPS RINGING

Nov 19 2013 004

NOW I UNDERSTAND

WHY IT IS SOME PEOPLE

CAN LET THE PHONE KEEP RINGING

AND NEVER SEEM TO CARE.

A SPECIAL KIND OF PERSON

CAN KEEP IT ALL INSIDE

AND LOOK BEYOND THE NOW

TO DISTANCES AFAR.

THEIR UNDERSTANDING IS THEIR OWN

NOT TO BE SHARED WITH ALL

THEY RISE ABOVE THE REST OF US

AND SEEK ANOTHER PLANE.

PERHAPS THE DAY WILL COME

WHEN I WILL SEEK THAT PLACE

AND CROSS INTO THE WORLD BEYOND

THE CHOICE IS MINE TO MAKE.

Believe?

 What do you believe in?  Do you believe in a supreme being that has mapped out each individual path?  In which case there is no personal choice, our lives are fated and we cannot change the course it must take.

Or do you believe that our lives are self-directed?  This would mean that  each path we cross will have an impact on the choices we make. Or perhaps it is a combination of both.  There is a supreme being who offers us choices and we must choose the path to follow.  I must tell you, from my perspective, that supreme being has one hell of a lot to answer for! Not that I am in a hurry to shake his or her hand, but come on.  You give me an incurable disease, make me pay a fortune for the ‘stuff’ to function in today’s society and then have the audacity to make it rain!!!  It must be tough being omnipotent.  Nothing surprises you ‘cause you caused it all.  Boring!

I do not belief that what happens to us is merely at the whim of a supreme being anymore than I think we have full control over our lives.  We are born naked and innocent.  From that moment we are constantly bombarded with information.  Our parents, our siblings, doctors, bus drivers, everyone we come into contact with throughout our lives has an influence on who we become.  How we deal with adversity is a result of that lifelong input.  We cannot control the world around us, just how we react to it. Our belief structure is based on the need for acceptance.  It also helps to have someone else to blame.  “The devil made me do it.”

How we deal with disease or any perceived imperfection is directly related to our beliefs, be they spiritual or secular.  No one is perfect.  No one is without any redeeming qualities.  And as hard as it may be, your belief in others and in yourself will get you through anything.

The Dark Days

They will happen. They may last days, weeks or even months.  MS is like that.  It lies in wait and just when you think things are going extremely well, they are not  When I become sad I try to do several things.  If I watch a sad movie I can cry without the MS being the reason.  I can also watch a very funny movie or read a very funny book.  Laughter does help. Tea to me is a wonderful panacea.  I know it is just a beverage but it is calming to me.  I try not to call on family or friends because I do not want to verbalize what is happening.  It just makes it all too real.  Now that is really odd.  All the experts say you must talk to someone when you are depressed.  I agree, completely.  I am not depressed, I am sad.  You may think it is the same thing but there I disagree.  Depression is severe sadness, it can cause you to harm yourself and it can alter your emotional balance, make you imagine the worst is happening.  I am fully aware of what is happening to me and I can adjust, but I will not go easily.  I do not like what is happening to me and yes I am aware of what could happen.  We all deal with certain amounts of sadness so I am not any different than anyone else.  Of course when it is happening to you it is always THE WORST.

 I will get through this, I will adjust.  So will you.  You have survived this long.  Do not give up the battle, do not go quietly.  Scream if you have to, beat on a pillow (not your significant other!!)  Find something that works for you. You can do it, I can do it.  Chin up.  Look out world, here we come

MS isn’t for wimps . . .

Depression, the killer of lost souls. Have you ever felt so lost, so alone in a crowded room that you begin to question the reasons.  The reason we are here, the reason we feel so deeply, the reason people see the world in so many different ways.   Why am I here, why do I live while others die, why I am dealing with this damn disease?  The answer is very simple and not very popular:  why not?  As for the reason . . . who said reason was a part of living.  Reasons are the excuses we give ourselves so we can do what we want while still feeling sanctimonious.   Don’t kid yourself.  Mankind is a predator.  We take what we want and make excuses, laws, beliefs to accommodate the moment.  The questions of faith would best be left to saints and madmen, madwomen, mad people, oh whatever! Each one of us has moments of madness and saintliness. The trick is knowing the difference. 

I was recently asked how I deal with depression.  Why is it always assumed that we must be depressed if things aren’t perfect?   Just because I am dealing with a disease that has robbed me of the ability to walk, for which there is no cure, that limits my independence, why must I be depressed?  Hum-mm. When you put it that way, maybe I should be.   But I’m not.   Oh don’t get me wrong, I do have days when I feel really crummy, when I am a wee bit depressed but I am not dealing with DEPRESSION.  I have enough to deal with why would I complicate it with depression?  Having MS has taught me tolerance, it has taught me patience (still a work in progress) and it has taught me to ‘deal with it and move on’.  Every single person has something, some hurdle they have to contend with – fear of heights, fear of flying, allergies, migraines, the list goes on.  Mine is perhaps more frightening, more high profile. But my personal hurdle is no more difficult than another person’s.  Because whatever you are dealing with is always worse when it is yours.