A Glimpse Into My Life

See it through my eyes & understand me a little more

Tag Archives: Happiness

Happiness in Depression

It has taken me a long time to work up the courage to write this.

In the past, I have talked about issues surrounding mental health and I have even shared some of my personal struggle with anxiety and depression. Most of the time I have done this from a comfortably disconnected point of view and I have tried to stick with writing objectively when the worst of an “episode” was over with.

In this instance, things are different and it has taken me a long time to work up the courage to write this.

Currently, I sit in the reality that I’m a Black Woman with Clinical Depression.

And it’s hard. And it’s heavy. And it weighs on my chest. And my back. And my spirit. Just about my everything because being Black is hard enough. Struggling with mental illness is hard enough. Couple the two? It is a heavy “cross to bear.”

However, this is my truth.

The “mental illness” isn’t even what makes this so hard. It is not the fear that people will shun you because you acknowledge that you sometimes feel that God has forgotten about you. It is not that people are uncomfortable being around you when you are “like that.” It is not the awkward silence after being completely honest about the fact that even though you smiled when you said hello, you feel empty as hell on the inside. That’s not what makes this hard.

It’s the happiness.

Most people view depression in a very stereotypical way. They picture someone who can’t/won’t get out of bed and take care of their most basic needs. They think of someone who won’t wash their hair or brush their teeth. They think of a person who cries constantly. They think of someone who wears all black and isolates themselves from the world. They think of an energy vampire.

They think of the type of person they would never want to become emotionally — the person that is so overwhelmed that they just shut down. And that’s wrong.

Clinical depression, or any kind of depression for that matter, can be those things. But that is never what makes it hard, at least not for me. It is the huge disconnect between my mind/logic and my spirit/emotions.

It’s being able to laugh from my belly. It’s being able to tell a story and get others to do the same. It’s being able to smile. Or sing my favorite song. Or dance around. It is that even though I can wrap my day in a million happy moments, at the center is this one thing that I can’t “fix.” This feeling. This….ugh.

And if you ask me what that “one thing” is, I would never have a real answer for you because it changes in the moment.

Which is what makes all of this hard to talk about.

As I sit here trying to piece my thoughts together, the question I keep asking is, “What do you want them to know?” I want the people who love me to know that depression and happiness live in the same space and that it’s hard to explain it. You get it if you’ve felt it; and if you haven’t, you’ll know it if you ever do.

But what I want people to know is not the same thing I want people to understand.

I want people to understand that depression is not void of happiness. I want people to understand that people go on living every day as though nothing is wrong, even though it seems their outlook is bleak. I want people to understand that while I laughed a minute ago, I was in just as much pain as I am when I don’t. I want people to understand that sometimes I want to be taken care of sometimes and not the person that takes care of others all of the time. I want people to understand what it means to embody and practice compassion and patience.

I never have enough of those things for myself.

Most of all, I want people to understand that happiness and depression can inhabit the same breath.

And that’s what hard about it.

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Living Fully

WHOOOOOO!!!! Before I get into this post, let’s talk about the fact that I have 100 posts on my blog! After three years (I think), I finally buckled down, got disciplined with my writing and hit a goal. This is actually post 101 and I think it’s appropriate since it marks the start of something “new.”

For the past few weeks, I’ve been intentional about being present and fully aware with how I’m feeling and with what’s going on. In the past, I’ve usually bottled up everything. While it’s freeing, it’s sometimes a bit weird to see the reactions of others because I know they think I’m losing it. One moment, I can be sorta great or at the very least good. The next moment, I’ll see or read something that frustrates me or makes me sad and instead of packing it away and pretending I’m fine, I acknowledge what I feel.

This has been new not just for me but for those around me. I don’t have outbursts but I’m no longer pretending to be okay. I’m also becoming more mindful of how ignoring something has an impact on people around me because I’ve learned that I’m one of those personalities that can’t hide anything. I CAN NOT TELL A LIE!!! in real life lol.

The one thing that I’m proud of is that this “living fully” is trickling into other areas of my life. Some exciting things are coming up (and I’ll be sure to blog about some of them) and I’m looking forward to all of it.

It’s amazing what being completely honest does for you and your mindset.

You Can Be Anything!!! – pt. 2 (#31WriteNow)

As promised, here are my (somewhat) final thoughts on believing I can be anything.

This morning, I had a phone call with a support coach to help me with my business. I’ve been frustrated for a long while about where it is and the results I’ve gotten and after some soul-searching, I realize it was the same frustration that was at my job and in relationships and everything. Basically, there has historically been a disconnect between how people saw me and how they treated me. And I mean ALL people.

Including myself.

It is in this disconnect that the frustration has festered and grown BUT it is in this frustration that I have decided to want a new life. As my Life Coach AND my Support Coach (two different people) have said before, “If there is a desire, the Universe works to present an opportunity.” Seriously, they both said this! In being anything, I desire to be everything that I’ve ever wanted to be.

I want to be:

  • Wealthy
  • An example of prosperity and abundance
  • Content with life as it is
  • Grateful for everything that comes my way
  • A doctor (in the philosophical sense)
  • An AWESOME daughter, sister, niece, aunt, cousin, friend, etc.
  • A wife
  • A mother
  • An example to others that they can get out of debt and STAY OUT of debt
  • Stylish
  • Confident
  • A successful business
  • A successful businesswoman
  • Sociable
  • Worldly (someone who travels a lot)
  • Fluent in two more languages (Italian and maybe Arabic; the third language is up for grabs lol)
  • Healthy
  • A marathon runner
  • Well-read (I love books!)
  • Someone who reaches the goals she sets for herself
  • Compassionate
  • Understood
  • Loved
  • Mentally healthy
  • Someone who has grieved the loss of loved ones in a healthy sense so I can move on and develop/strengthen relationships with people who are here
  • A mentor
  • A mentee
  • An example to people that they can make it too and someone who provides tools (I sometimes feel that’s what I missed in the healing process)
  • A known blogger for Young, Gifted, Black & Broke
  • A writer
  • AWESOME

I know that bringing this list to fruition will take some serious self-reflection and some serious internal work with building a new mindset and developing new habits but I’m up for the challenge. What’s exciting about this (and scary all at the same time) is that people have also shared that I’ve only touched upon the tip of my potential. There’s so much more there.

Let’s see where this journey takes me next. Cheers!

“Girl….that was a GOOD job!!!!” (#31WriteNow)

If you follow me on Twitter (@hersoulweeps), then you know that I’ve been excitedly talking about something for the past four weeks. After almost two years of working in the same place, I left my job.

That’s right! I resigned.

Now most people support this decision until they ask the fateful question, “What are you doing next?”

My answer – I’m applying to PhD programs that will start in Fall 2014. There is ALWAYS the awkward pause (lol) once it hits people that I left a job with no other job lined up. And then…they say, “Girl….that was a GOOD job!!! You are crazy for leaving!”

Yes. On both points. It was a GOOD job. And I am crazy for leaving.

But I would have been crazy for staying. I realized a LONG time ago that I no longer served that job to the best of my ability. Because of a lot of the challenging experiences and situations there, I felt defeated. I was starting to wonder if I made the best decisions for myself because I was unhappy. I was in the field that I wanted to be in (education, non-teaching) but I wasn’t doing what I KNEW was my passion. After much deliberation and a sudden dose of courage (or crazy), I made the decision on July 13th to submit my letter of resignation on July 15th. It was a VERY difficult choice to leave because that job came into my life EXACTLY when I needed it.

You see, I’ve battled depression (deep depression) for years. It became very real to me my Sophomore year in college and I’m thankful that my then RHD encouraged me to go to my University’s counseling center because I didn’t understand what was happening at all. I was smart, had friends, people seemed to enjoy my company and I was making my family proud. But there was something I just couldn’t shake. A cloud was always there…and it was suffocating. I persevered though and graduated in 2009 then went on for my Masters. When I graduated with my Masters in Urban Education Policy in 2010, I wasn’t exactly in the best place. I left Providence with no job and I moved back in with my Mom. It got to a point that after applying to more than 90 jobs in my field and 120 other service industry jobs, I was still without gainful employment.

In December of 2010, I made the decision to check myself into a behavioral health unit to keep from losing my mind. While there, I met some amazing spirits that had been rejected by those they trusted and they were the FIRST group to affirm that I was “someone special” and to keep faith. One woman even told me that if I kept a flicker of something, it would grow into a flame. I was grateful for that. After that, I bounced around jobs a bit (Associate at Victoria’s Secret AND Forever 21; Temporary Employee with TWO temp agencies; and Budget Mobile Customer Representative). In October of 2011, I got the news at my job (Budget Mobile) that they weren’t sure if the store was going to need the same capacity and because I was a more recent hire, I’d be on the chopping block. My Manager then encouraged that I look for a job right then.

I saw the listing for my job and applied. Within a week, I was offered the position and I accepted it. My first day was November 7, 2011.

If people understood all of that, then maybe they wouldn’t think I was crazy for leaving. You don’t make a decision to leave a good job after all of that has happened. But this morning, I truly realized that job was a miracle right when I needed it. While it was definitely a challenge on most days, many miracles took place. I met amazing people that I am forever connected to. I found my voice and the courage to speak up so I wouldn’t get lost in the shuffle. I built a reputation as someone who does amazing work. I realized my brilliance and my abilities were affirmed. Most importantly, because I was blessed with this position at the lowest point of my life, I learned that I am able to take care of myself.

I should always take care of myself.

That’s why I left. When you realize that your purpose no longer fits the position you are in, you start to question everything about yourself. You wonder, “Did I make another wrong decision?” and “Maybe I’ll never amount to anything more than a pitiful existence.”

And that should ALWAYS be the cue to leave. The decision to leave wasn’t easy. But it was necessary. It was time to go as I’d outgrown what was being asked of me and I knew I wasn’t fulfilling my purpose while there. You are no longer serving that space and it’s no longer serving you. Open your hand to let that go so that something greater can be placed there. Release it so that it can be a miracle for someone else.

So yes, I left my GOOD job…but I’m only waiting for my GREAT job. And I released that job on my own terms — with much gratitude and on a positive note. Besides…you should always want to go out on top. 😉

10 Things Pocahontas Taught Me That Miley Cyrus Never Could

Now, one thing you should know about me is that I like Disney movies. But not the “new” ones. Those are too flashy for my tastes. The ones from the 90s/early 2000s. I think it stops after Mulan (hmm, I’ll have to look into that). Anyway, this post comes about after I watch Pocahontas for the eleventh-million time. I thought of all the lessons that the movie teaches you (now that I’m 23, it all makes sense). Here I was thinking it’s a love story and it’s much more than that. I hope you enjoy this post!

*Editor’s Note: These are in no particular order. I apologize if you are at all confused.

1. Things Should Never Be Done In Anger

There are quite a few moments in the movie where you just cry out, “No…don’t do it! You’re just mad right now.” Okay. Maybe that was just me. Still though, there are times where see exactly what anger can lead you to do. My good friend Kocoum ultimately meets his demise in the movie because of anger (and/or jealousy, the jury is still out on this one). He witnesses intimate behavior between Pocahontas and John Smith (it was a kiss you all) and proceeds to attack. He’s shot. What sent him there? Nokoma (Pocahontas’ best friend forever) is upset that she wants her to keep the secret that she leaves the compound and out of worry (and/or anger) she sends Kocoum after her. See, ladies and gentlemen? It’s all bad! Anger is all bad. What you should do when you’re angry is think about the situation. Breathe in through your nose and out through mouth. Then proceed. Things often said and done in anger are remembered most and can lead to awful endings.

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2. True Acceptance of Others Comes from Understanding and Appreciating the Differences and Gifts

This relates to the Savages vs Civilized Folk issue. John Smith mistakenly calls Pocahontas and her people savages. This word, filthy and despicable, hurts Pocahontas deeply. It then leads her to sing the most beautiful song in the movie, “Colors of the Wind” (check it out if you haven’t heard it). It talks about judgement and acceptance of others. The lesson: You can do no such thing until you know someone. Until you’ve walked in their moccasins (oh wait…that’s a book I read as a child). BUT YOU ALL GET THE POINT! Don’t judge people. You can’t do that. If you do, you don’t appreciate them and you definitely can’t accept them. And if you can’t accept them, how will you recognize that they are a gift to your life?

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3. Nothing Can Stop True Love…So Don’t You Try To

Seriously! This is pretty straight forward. Person A meets Person B. There’s a spark. Things get pretty intense. Person A or B, for whatever reason, decide to cool it…or fight it…or let other people come between it. But you know who wins in the end? LOVE! So don’t fight.

“And that’s all I have to say about that!” – Forrest Gump

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4. The Earth IS Important. Take Care of It As It Has Taken Care of You

So, here’s the gist of this. John Smith comes to the “New World”. People are already living there. In his mind, they aren’t using the land “to its full potential” because they “don’t know any better.” His buddies (and of course him) want to tear down the trees, build big buildings, roads, and stuff because that’s what the “civilized” do. However, Pocahontas teaches him a lesson (through song…amazing! I want to say it’s Colors of the Wind) about loving the earth and taking ONLY what’s necessary. Everything else…leave it there. Because it’s good and that is the CIVIL thing to do. We can take a lesson from this. As the weather continues to lose its mind, we should use that as the reminder for finding sustainable and alternative energy options. We are killing Mother Earth and she’s not happy (then again, when have you known anything that’s dying unwillingly to be happy?). We need to remember that this world isn’t for us. It’s for our Children’s Children’s Children — three generations out folks. Give it to them in the best condition possible.

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5. Best Friends Do Things Because They Love Us, It Doesn’t Always Make Sense

Sometimes people do things that we don’t understand. Sometimes we do things that people don’t understand. It makes it even harder to understand when the person is close to you. But you should never doubt for one second that the person loves you (unless of course, their behavior says, “I don’t love you!”). In a very telling scene, the very one that makes me dislike Nokoma (Pocahontas’ best friend forever, in case you forgot), I also see why I love her more. She worried about her. That’s what you do when you love someone. Now, I wasn’t down with the whole “Tell the serious suitor who wants to marry your best friend that’s she traipsing in the woods” deal, but I understood it. I got why she did. It’s because she loved her and she meant it. She showed it through her actions and did what she thought was best for her. That’s all that best friends (and family) do. But sometimes it doesn’t make sense. And that’s fine too.

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6. Hindsight Will ALWAYS Be 20/20

Boy oh boy! This snippet says it all. We go through life. We stumble. We make mistakes. We wonder what if? We get things WRONG! After it’s over, we say, “If I just would have done this differently…” Well, you didn’t! So suck it up! Stop looking back! Hindsight is ALWAYS 20/20. It’s perfect because it’s the past. But we can’t let that stop us. We can learn and use it as a reference (like we use our encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauruses, and other reference books…because I know we use them). And that’s the great thing about life…we’ll keep going.

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7. Follow Your Heart, Stay True to Your Path

There’s a huge theme that comes up in the movie, very early on. Pocahontas tells her father that she “feels” something happening and then inquire as to what it is. Many of us do this. We feel something. It moves us. It pushes us into a certain direction. And like Pocahontas, we often look to others to ask what it is. The key difference between her Father and Grandmother Willow was that Pocahontas was told to listen to her heart. We should all do this. We’re only given one life to live, one path to take. No one else can do this for us. Suggestions are good…but they are NOT our roadmaps. So close your eyes, breathe in, listen to your heart, and take off down your path!

After you open your eyes of course.

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8. Listen to Those Who Have Come Before You (People and Spirits Alike)

In this movie, there are key elders for Pocahontas. One being her Father and the other being Grandmother Willow. I think it’s great that Disney gives her two figures to look to advice to. We’re all experienced at something, so find the elders that are willing to teach you, even if for a moment. Listen to them! They’ve lived life. I know, this can be a hard thing to do, especially if your experience is greatly different from theirs (in my own experience, I’ve gone further in my education than either my parents, aunts, uncles, and godparents, but I still go to them for help and advice). However, there’s one thing that they’ll always have on you that hopefully comes with wisdom and that’s AGE. So listen. Take the encouragement, bottle it up, and put it in your pocket. Take the tongue-lashings, bottle it up, and put it on the shelf (as a reminder sometimes, don’t carry that with you though…just the encouragement). They’ve LIVED! So listen.

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9. There Is A Leader In Every One Of Us

At the end of the movie, or very close to the end, we see that Young Thomas (why doesn’t he have a last name) becomes the one that the older men look to for answers. Why? It’s simple. He’s pure of heart and showed leadership potential. Every one of us has something that just moves our spirit to the point that we HAVE to do something. So go do it! Be that leader. If you’re afraid, just dig deep. You may see that someone is cheering you on and is very willing to follow! GO LEAD!

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10. Crooked Politicians Should Never Be Trusted

The Governor was downright despicable. Not my kind of guy AT ALL. He manipulated men who had dreams to further his own agenda. Even after he realized his agenda was false, he continued on his path of destruction. Don’t be like him. You never want to be like him. But he WAS the Governor. How many politicians do we see like this? Doesn’t it hurt to know the people you’ve placed your trust in by casting a vote only wants to further their own agenda and not the interests of the people? It hurts me whenever I think about it. So what can we do? Simple! Stay involved. Stay on their heads. Put their numbers next to the ones that you call the most. Write a letter every now and then to say, “I really hope you’re doing what I voted you to do. If not, I need to get on the CORRECT agenda. Thanks.” They are there to work for us…not the other way around.

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So, while I enjoy Miley and Partying cuz I’m in the U.S.A., Pocahontas was a necessary movie for me while growing up. These are the things that it taught/reinforced (I believe I was 5 when it was released…or 6) for me. These are things that have since become important tenets in how I lead my life today. I just hope that young girls are finding lessons in the things that Miley and Hannah are showing them.

Dream.Hope.Believe.

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© This post was written on February 12, 2010 after watching the fantastic Disney movie, Pocahontas™. All thoughts in this post are that of the author except where credit is given.

Until Further Notice…

…whatever I was writing about has been put on hold. Recent events that have taken place have been the push for writing this.

In the news today, I read a story about a young man named Derrion Albert. He was a high school student beaten by members of his community, who happened to belong to a gang. He died as a result of this (the event happened on Thursday). Now there are many issues that I have with this whole situation:

The first issue is that people in the community feel that they can’t live a life that is free from violence. People feel that it’s necessary to join a gang, or some group, for their safety and sanity. That scares me. Gangs promote violence and often operate with a mentality that is detrimental to a healthy and functioning larger community. Gangs, as we know them, promote fear and instability. No person should have to live through that and when communities are subjected to that, they suffer.

The second issue is that people feel they can’t tell. I know the reasons and the rationale behind why people choose not to. It’s understandable. Everyone doesn’t feel the way I do. I’d tell (I’ve done it before). There are some communities where some members enough grief, stress, and fear to the point that other community members just silently wish for better days and hope that their children are not caught in the crossfire.

But that’s not really what this post is about. No. This post is about the ignorance of people. On Twitter, I wrote a pulse and stated:

“There is especially one kind of person I don’t like in this world – one who CHOOSES to stay ignorant about the world around them.”

This wasn’t in reference to educational attainment (and I can see why some people may feel that way). No, this was about the people who live in communities where rage becomes the pulse of that place and dictates the actions of its members. The ignorant people I referred to are those who would readily tell someone to stop snitching or to hush someone else when asked if they’d heard about what happened to another person. These are the people who witness crimes, yet close their mouths and their minds when the police come to question. These are also the people who will offer their condolences to a family who is grieving over a family member lost in the violence.

I’ve taken this stance (and believe me, it’s not always easy to argue why a person needs to tell when they see wrong-doing) because of an experience I had when I was 10, almost 11. You never forget what it’s like to hear that a family member passed and their death was from the hands of someone else who wanted to play God for a moment (or make a point). You definitely don’t forget the image of the person who did it, if you witnessed it. You don’t forget how your Mother reacts to the news that her “only” son (who was actually her eldest child and was 16 years older than his next sibling) is gunned down because a “woman” was mad at him. You don’t forget the funeral. You don’t forget the condolences. You don’t forget the police. You don’t forget the depression. You don’t forget any of those things.

Most of all, the one thing that you don’t forget is that “life is not fair” or that he “was taken too soon.”

I remembered those lines from the wake. I remember how rigid my Mom became. I remember how cold the room suddenly felt. I remember wanting to scream and just ask the person how could they say that. A Mother lost her oldest child (a parent should never have to bury a child). Siblings lost their role model (he was our “Male” figure). Children lost a father (my nieces were young and I still see what this has done to them). A Wife lost her husband. I mean, I can go on and on about this…but I won’t. You all should get the picture.

But I think about all of that as I think about the family of Derrion Albert. I think about all of those things as I think about the community he lives in. I think about where I am now and I can only wonder if he dreamed of getting here. People don’t realize what happens when someone passes.

A void is left. A void that is unimaginable and may never be filled. Dreams are taken. Laughter is removed. A family is fragmented in the worst way.

My only hope, after all of this, is that something happens to restore the communities that Derrion Albert comes from to better places. Happiness needs to come back. Safety needs to come back. Peace, it definitely needs to come back. I just hope people take the necessary steps so that those things happen and another mother doesn’t lose a child to something so senseless.

This is an original work of Miss C. Jayne. © September 28, 2009.