Living Life Purposefully

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Tag Archives: Miss C Jayne

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.


The Problem With Goal-Setting

For some odd reason, all of my greatest thoughts start to surface when I’m trying to rest. By rest, I mean go to sleep.

Without fail, I find myself winding down by 10pm yet I’m jotting notes until 3am because my brain is always like “one more thing Court!” And who am I to say no to what could mean an early retirement? So I jot down my thoughts and things I need to follow up on.

But something interesting happened one night as I tried to get comfortable in bed. My Spirit whispered, “You know…you only have to set a goal because you like the goal.” I was confused and annoyed. I was confused because I didn’t understand where this came from. I was annoyed because I KNEW I was not going to sleep until it was figured out. Thank you Brain.

Thanks a lot.

Now, I actually said “Thanks a lot,” and I did so with as much sarcasm as 3:01am would allow. Would you know that my Brain said, “No problem and you’re welcome”?

Then it hit me – it being my problem with goal setting. You see? I’m great at goal setting and I’m super good at planning the necessary steps to reach the goal. Actually getting to the goal? That’s a bit problematic.

I have the tendency to set awesome and amazing and sometimes vain goals for myself. But more than that though, I have the tendency to come up with acceptable reasons for setting the goals. It’s my coping mechanism for thinking people will be unnerved at my daring to dream. I realize now that the reason I end up not caring about the goal is that I don’t connect emotionally with the reason. This is a vicious cycle to find yourself in, especially if you are like me and fluctuate between “I’m okay” self-esteem and “Ummm, what was I thinking” self-esteem. The goal-justification cycle is one of the most abusive behaviors I engage in with myself.

As of the writing of this post (3:07am), that all stops. I will no longer set goals that make me happy and think of reasons to justify my goals to other people. I’m releasing myself from the burden of expectations and the attachment of others’ reactions to my accomplishments.

Why? Because my Brain told me I only have to set a goal because I like it.

20 Questions with @FromRaeWithLove (#31WriteNow)

Every Wednesday, @FromRaeWithLove shares 20 questions with her TL/followers. These questions are awesome and you get to learn a lot about people you’re following. As a bonus, you get to follow more like-minded people that you may otherwise have never known about. Last Wednesday (Aug. 14th, 2013), I didn’t participate in #20WithRae because I was NOT feeling well at all. But I asked @FromRaeWithLove if I could blog about it and she told me that I sure could. So see my answers below!

Q1. Do you have a blog? Topic? #20withRae

Yes. I have two blogs! One has a very personal focus (MissCJayne). The other is chronicling my journey in breaking the cycle of poverty and building wealth for myself (Young, Gifted, Black & Broke).

Q2. How long have you been writing/creating? #20withRae

I’ve been writing since I was in the 2nd grade. I used to get in “trouble” all of the time for writing little stories in the margins of my tests because I would finish early. Most of the remarks from my teachers included things like, “I don’t know how she keeps up with the work if she’s daydreaming, doodling and writing other things. She doesn’t stay on task.” LOL

However, there was a period in time where I didn’t take it seriously. Recent events have been pushing me to get back into writing seriously.

Q3. Who are your mentors? #20withRae

Hmm, I don’t know if I have any mentors. I do know that I look up to my childhood friend Christiana Harrell, a self-published author who just LOVES to write and shares her gift with everyone. She describes her connection to writing in her bio on her website (linked above) by saying “Writing is my life. I don’t do it to make money. I do it because I enjoy it and I love the escape that comes with it. If I win awards with this gift that’s fine. If I don’t, that’s fine too. At least, I’ll have left something behind.”

I know that I had a question that this one made me think of — how do you identify a mentor? 

Q4. Have you ever submitted your work to a literary journal or for a print mag? #20withRae

Once when I was younger (in the 4th to 6th grade), my Gifted and Talented teacher submitted my work to this compilation book called Gestures. My Mom still has copies of those books. Other than that, I haven’t (probably because I’m afraid of rejection and I have a LOT of self-doubt).

Q5. Would you write under a pen name? #20withRae

This blog is sorta under a pen name, so I guess I would. I think my name is a regular, run-of-the-mill name and doesn’t really stand out anyway. LOL

Q6. Where do you get your creative ideas from?  What inspires you most? #20withRae

Life. Most of my creative ideas come about when I’m fighting my way out of a depressive episode. Other than that, I look for writing prompts or I go outside. One time, I even rode the bus for an hour.

Q7. Do you write from life events?  Would you write about your family? #20withRae

I do write from life events and I would write about my family. The thing that gets tricky in writing about family members is that other people don’t get the full story. I’m always afraid that people are going to react harshly to the folks that are intensely important to me, so sometimes I’m a bit hesitant to write about them.

Q8.  How often do you write? #20withRae

I write a little bit every day. I journal more often now (it helps me to keep my sanity) and I blog on a regular basis.

Q9. What is the best environment for you to write/create in? Music? Day or night? Home or in a cafe? #20withRae

Inside. I get distracted when I’m outside. I use music if I’m in a sad mood because it helps to life my spirits and I can write a bit easier that way. I’m not sure if I’ve noticed an inclination to write in the day versus the night though. And home is always the best place to write for me. If I’m outside (library or cafe), then I end up people watching.

Q10. Does it matter to you if your friends read or care about your writing? #20withRae

I don’t care if they read or care about my writing. What bothers me is that sometimes they feel I’ve been unfair in the things that I say. But I just gently remind them that my writing, especially when it’s personal, is about how I experience life. It’s not about them and it’s hurtful that they would approach me in that manner. Now, I’m not sure if they read my writing at all.

Q11.  What is your ultimate writing goal? #20withRae

I would like to have written a book about my life (I have a lot to tell); I would like to have written a fictional piece (I think this #NaNoWriMo is going to be the one I finally finish what I start lol); and I’d like to be published in a popular magazine or on Oprah’s website. Seriously.

Q12. What writers on Twitter do you follow? #20withRae

I follow @StacyAustralia. But that’s all I know of that writes. Hmm, maybe I should ask people if they write. lol

Q13. What writer-driven hashtags do you follow on twitter?  What twitter chats for writers, creators? #20withRae

I don’t know of any. I plan to check back on the answers to this question though and start following them. lol

Q14. If you got a rejection letter from your favorite author or publication, how would you handle it? #20withRae

Me? Rejection?!? Oh…I’d cry. Like real tears. For maybe a day or two. Then I’d question why for approximately three days. Then I’d follow-up within a week to ask why and get feedback. Hopefully, they’d be open to giving feedback so I could make some changes and resubmit. Is that how this works? lol

Q15. How are you inspired by other creatives? #20withRae

I’m usually inspired by the way other creatives use words or art mediums. Do they use them differently or more traditionally? I’m also inspired by my friend @Aunt_Flo who makes jewelry…which now that I think about it, I wonder, is this weird? lol

Q16. Do you cross post with other bloggers? Where? #20withRae

No, I don’t. I’m not opposed to this idea; I just need to become better at being social.

Q17. Please list your recommendation for books writers should read – fiction or non-fiction.  Books that changed your life. #20withRae

I don’t know that I have any recommendations. But on the topic of books that changed my life, I will ALWAYS mention Mildred D. Taylor’s “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry” and “Bridge to Terabithia” by Katherine Patterson. I love those books so much that if I ever had a child who said they didn’t like them, I’d send them away for a week and wonder how did I fail as a parent. LOL

Q18. Have you ever thought about attending a writer’s workshop? Which one? Did you apply? #20withRae

I haven’t but because of this question, I want to look into them now.

Q19. Would you self-publish? What platform? #20withRae

I think I would. I have to look into this though as I know nothing about it.

Q20. Where would you like to see your work in five years? #20withRae

RE: My Financial Story — On Oprah’s website. In Oprah’s magazine (or another popular magazine). Everything else? On a Best Seller’s List.