On those days when you don’t love yourself, force your eyes open to see the vision and love that others have of you.
I’m reminded of that time and again on those days when depression threatens to derail me, when I get so caught up in the misfiring of my brain cells that I can’t see the incoming missiles of love. That’s what folks who thankfully don’t experience depression don’t understand, the clouding of our world through the periodic mud splattered on our windshield view.
You know how gossip spreads and how each time it is told, it becomes more embellished, distorting the facts. Or in the classic exercise of a circle of people, the first whispers something to the second and it goes all the way around until the end when the original message has been mangled to such a degree that the last person is clueless … and everyone laughs at the human silliness of it all.
I’ve discovered that that is a perfect description of how my brain navigates through depression. One cell tells the next something and by the 1,000th cell in the journey, it’s a train wreck. For example, the original “You are loved” goes through the washing machine, dishwasher, dryer, blender and garbage disposal before it reaches the rest of the gang, a garbled, “You suck, you’re worthless, nobody loves you, go enjoy some worms.” The last one in line just sighs and says, “How true,” and passes that along to the remaining millions of cells awaiting instructions.
Whew! Our work here is done!
As in most human failings, it’s miscommunication that sets the evil plot in motion. What causes most arguments, divisions and even war? The way the message is delivered, how something is interpreted, how it exceeds the speed limit by a thousand-fold and can’t slam on or even find the brakes …
Our brain is truly the most amazing creation in the universe, but alas, it is human, not God, and is imperfect. Everyone is wired differently, driven by our genetic code, our environment, our circle of fellow humans. Those imperfections are exhibited in many ways … and depression can be one.
Admitting many years ago that I have some misfiring brain cells has been a blessing … so that I could do repairs along the way because I chose to. Therapy, medication, creative outlets, friendships and love … all part of ongoing bandages, healing and survival.
The purpose behind this story is a reminder that we must store up the love of others to release at those down periods. The hugs that go on a little longer, the kind words, the generous gifts … each feeding my reserves for the moments I need them the most …
My tank was filled to overflowing recently when I stopped to visit old friends and meet new ones at Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp for the Rockford, Illinois, area. It’s been several years since I had been able to attend this camp, but I’ve never stopped loving it and the individuals there.
One of them is Pat, a stroke survivor, who’s accomplished many amazing things pre- and post-stroke. I have a special and unique bond with Pat, because of our conversations through the years. She’s among many who have taught me much about stroke and life in general, and the healing tool called empathy.
I will never forget how Pat and a caregiver friend Jo drove from Rockford to Peoria for an impromptu gathering of my local friends organized by Marylee Nunley after Christmas 2016 following the unexpected passing of my dad in Indiana. They had so many challenges of their own, yet they took the time to drive two hours each way to see and comfort ME. I was humbled and speechless …
And I was again during this brief recent visit when Pat gave Roger and me an afghan of luscious purple yarns she had made just for us.
The purpose of this story again? Savor and store these moments and unconditional love when your brain cells start feeding you a line of crap about how you’re not loved and certainly not worthy. Feed all your senses, as I will with sight and touch as I wrap this priceless soft gift around me these upcoming cold nights. Thank you, thank you, thank you …
Yes, Pat, I’ll share with Roger … because he shared me with you … the way life is supposed to be …
So, what’s your story? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment. I’d love to speak to your group, organization or company about working our way through the pain and challenges of everyday life. You want straight talk? You got me!