Category Archives: TRAUMA

PULL YOURSELF UP BY THE BOOTSTRAPS

Since 1998, the suicide rate has increased 25% in this country. Mental illness continues to plague our society and it continues to be gravely misunderstood and judged harshly. This week we lost 2 very successful folks who were in the spotlight, yet how many left us that will not make the headlines???

When my sister took her own life last September, I received a few texts from friends who commented on her mental health issues, insinuating that those were the precursor to her tragic act. My first reaction was to defend her, saying it was NOT mental illness that caused her to take her own life. And I have to ask myself, why did I feel the need to defend her mental health so staunchly? My answer is because for the most part in today’s society, depression and anxiety are shunned, thought of as “bad” or something that we possibly have control over. Resources and funding to help the mentally ill are consistently being cut as the disease spreads like a wildfire through America. And the less resources the mentally ill have, the more end up homeless on the street. When I first arrived in San Francisco in 1992, I was astounded how many folks were wandering the streets. By the time I finally left SF in 2010, there were literal camps of homeless below the freeway on 13th street. My heart simply could not take seeing them all on a daily basis. How in the name of all that is GOoD can we call ourselves the greatest nation in the world when these serious problems plague our society?

For many years, I personally suffered from SEVERE depression and anxiety. My depression was SO crippling at times that my good friends who had compassion and an inclination of what I was enduring would come and stay with me, just so I could find an iota of comfort and/or not harm myself. I can’t pinpoint exactly how, why or when my depressive episodes and anxiety lessened. All I can say is that I AM SO ETERNALLY GRATEFUL THEY DID because those snippets of hell, those dives into the abyss of unimaginable sadness made me understand exactly why people like Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade hung themselves.

My mother suffered from depression. My grandmother was heavily medicated for 45 years of her life for mental health issues. My great grandfather had my great grandmother committed for her mental health and then he took his own life. So, was(is) my tendency towards depression and anxiety genetic OR as my sister Barb had mentioned often, learned bad thinking? Quite honestly, I’m not sure if there is a definitive answer to the cause of my own disease. I have come to attribute my own depression towards being born ultra-sensitive in a society that doesn’t nurture sensitivity. A great book I read to help understand this was “Self Care for the Self Aware” by Dave Markowitz. I also kept deep, dark secrets for many years. And I also used drugs and alcohol to avert my feelings. Since I ceased using drugs (all street and pharms) and alcohol 18 months ago, my depressive episodes have decreased significantly. AND I attribute my “recovery” to having great counseling as well as digging into those places and secrets held inside that haunted me for years. Most importantly, I became willing to open up and not hide anything any longer, and that included my anger and sadness which I believe turned inward was a huge cause of my blues. I decided that I didn’t care what anyone thought of me or how I chose to live my life any longer. I decided that I was going to unconditionally love myself…. AND get a dog!!! So, my “fixes” may not be permanent, nor may they be yours. The most important thing I can suggest for those suffering is to not be afraid to find some help, to find a compassionate ear and last but not least, DO NOT LISTEN TO PEOPLE WHO TELL YOU TO “PULL YOURSELF UP BY YOUR BOOTSTRAPS”! As a society, we owe this disease a lot more attention. And…. we owe those who suffer chronically from it A LOT MORE COMPASSION.

 

Also posted in Alcoholism, DEATH, Depression, Depression, Drug Abuse, IGNORANCE, MENTAL ILLNESS, RECOVERY, SPIRITUALITY Tagged , , , , , , , |

THE SOUNDS OF SILENCE – today’s brief thoughts on trauma, suppression and moving THROUGH grief

Like many others of my generation, I grew up in a family that didn’t talk about anything. Shhhhh. what might the neighbors think? There were horrible arguments in my home growing up as the child of an alcoholic. And without fail, a day or two later, after the “Sounds of Silence,” people would break it and act as if nothing ever happened and simply go on with their lives. On occasion, there would be days, weeks or even months that went by and not a word was spoken. What happens to all that energy not expelled, all that tucked into the cells of our beings – festering in the “Sounds of Silence?”

I truly hope at some point that the numerous people who have criticized me over the years for this or that or whatever the fuck they thought MY problem was, will read these blogs or my upcoming book and possibly understand on a deeper level what it is actually like to grow up in a household with constant trauma as a über sensitive soul. When a child is so young and vulnerable, they have no way of defending their self from the ENERGY of ANGER, of RAGE of constant discord in an environment that molds them. A child should be in a happy and nurturing environment always. (Example, children are sensitive to energy just like animals are. They are pure souls without defense mechanisms. That is what makes them so beautiful, their innocence. Over the course of the last days since I found out about my sister’s death, I have had to shelter my sweet Mona from my immense emotional expulsions of grief. When I first found out about Barb’s death, the sounds that were exiting my body were none I have ever made before. And because I have done SO MUCH WORK to be at my level of self-awareness, I know that to suppress is to get sick. SO I FUCKING LET IT OUT!!! Depression on many levels, is simply anger and/or sadness turned inward. And I am NEVER going back there. NEVER. So if I need to emote, I am going to do so in a safe environment so that the ENERGY coming from me is not absorbed by anyone around me, 2 or 4 legged.)

The intention of writing and publishing a book about my journeys in life is not about EGO gratification. Rather it’s about real life experiences that people who suffer/struggle from any kind of trauma, mental health issue or addiction can hopefully relate to. It’s for people who are in recovery, and no, I am not just talking about drugs and alcohol. It’s intended for people who have been victims of abuse, of domestic violence, people who struggle with abuse of ANY kind, people who have been victims of homophobia, people who have suffered or currently suffer from mental illness, depression, anxiety, or more other serious diagnosis. I’m simply writing so that I can help others through REAL LIFE EXPERIENCES, not hypothetical ones. So many self help books have been written on recovery that come from a clinical standpoint, people who have studied all of the aforementioned soul sicknesses. And although more are rapidly emerging, in comparison, there have been few that are written from actual life experiences. I do believe this is the new form of “therapy.” Instead of going to have “treatment” with someone that has a bunch of letters behind their name, the recovery coaches of the new age are going to simply hang a shingle out that says. “My name is so and so and I have been through the HELL and back.” And they won’t charge $175 per hour, yet if one doesn’t have that idiotic green stuff we all value so much in this life, the door will still be open – sliding scale and FREE if people do not have money and need help. This is my way I can give back to humanity. Because after all, that is WHY we are here, to be of service to our fellow humans and our planet. End of story.

So, in closing this brief musing today, I hope that by reading my real life accounts of being IN it and moving THROUGH it, people can find a life of freedom, liberation, and experience the true nature of their soul, a happiness and bliss that is not BECAUSE of anyone or anything outside of ourselves. IT IS JUST BECAUSE IT IS OUR GODDAMN BIRTH RIGHT! Namasté

Also posted in ARMAGEDDON, Barbara A Ruof, Emotions, HELL, IGNORANCE, RECOVERY, Suicide Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , |