Uncovering Depression

“I don’t want to see anyone. I lie in the bedroom with the curtains drawn and nothingness washing over me like a sluggish wave. Whatever is happening to me is my own fault. I have done something wrong, something so huge I can’t even see it, something that’s drowning me. I am inadequate and stupid, without worth. I might as well be dead.” – Margaret Atwood

 

Hi there on this Solemnity of Corpus Christi and Father’s Day,

Maybe what I am about to write about is just yet another one of my quirks which make relating to the living so difficult. I know when I am depressed I am difficult to “deal with.” I am irritable, lifeless, a hopeless cause and just taking up space under bedcovers during the day when the world goes on outside my window.

This weekend has been one such time where depression sucked me into its quicksand, and no matter how hard I tried to fight the thoughts or the crushing wave of intense feelings I lost the battle. I slept, barely got out of bed, only enough to minimally interact with the world and fell far into the shelter of nothingness.

It’s difficult to explain why I felt this way, but maybe you may have some ideas how I can prevent another episode. It all started with a beautifully real intense book I read which displayed vulnerability, humanity at its worst and the outcomes of pain. The author is not amazing for what she overcame, but rather for putting words to her experiences. She deftly put words to my feelings of hunger, feelings of wanting to disappear but to be noticed all at the same time. I certainly will be blogging my thoughts in a future entry, but oh my!! Words are powerful. We as humans are powerful beyond our realizations. Our words, our expressions, our actions and reactions can unknowingly impact another for good or ill. Please, whatever you do, everyday offer someone a smile, a kind word, give a friend a hug, an authentic encouraging word because sadly humanity can be so overwhelmingly savage and cruel.

This is what pulled me into the vortex of depression. Feeling the author’s pain, comprehending the superficiality of our culture and as these feelings and thoughts crashed over me like a tidal wave, I could not bear to fight feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and despair. I don’t know how tomorrow will go, but I will put on my mask of “I am not depressed” and keep on keeping on and will “fake it till I make it.”

Until next time,

Anjelina

As We Change we grow

The following quote is taken from a Facebook friend’s post:

“Sometimes, you and someone else were only meant to share a moment of time with each other. Sometimes friendships and relationships are not built to last forever, they are built to teach you a lesson. Maybe you both needed to learn something from each other that no one else in the world could teach you at that time. Maybe you both were perfect for getting each other through a terrible storm together. In life, you will fall out with people that you never thought you would. Get betrayed by people you trusted with all your heart. And get used by people you would do anything for. But life also has a beautiful side to it. You will get loved by someone you never thought you would have. Form new friendships with people that will establish more meaningful and stronger relationships. And overcome things you never thought you would get over. We all have chapters that end with people at some point in life. But take pride in knowing that the very best part of your book is still being written.”

 

Hi blog world,

As usual it has been some time since I took time to write and read your posts, but lately I have felt the nudge back to reflective writing, so here is a brief entry about what I have been thinking.

Often my heart feels burdened, emotionally tired and worn, however, there is this change I feel taking place. It’s a gradual realization I cannot control the outcome of relationships or situations. It’s the acceptance each day is a blessing with its unique challenges, choices and triumphs, and I can only embrace each day as a precious gift. This deeper understanding comes from years of self-imposed physical and mental torture, way too much time dedicated to pushing friends away because I always felt less than, undeserving of love or just plain unworthy.

I have somehow arrived at a place of liking who I am for the most part, along with an awareness in life comes the lesson of learning to let go of my specific plans, the comfortability to show my vulnerabilities, the past, to let go so I can change, and changing to become a more well-rounded spiritually-centered person.

Attempting to attain perfection, whether it be in my personal or professional life will only lead to this repeated feeling of inadequacy, and these unachievable goals reinforce my natural human shortcomings. I am beyond blessed by God’s gift of my relationships with friends, coworkers and family members who are helping me realize my worth, who are cheering me on as I use my words for good rather than my self-destructive actions whose purpose is to only slowly silence my voice.

Thank you for sharing your life lessons, wisdom, and most importantly pouring your trust and love into this cocooned caterpillar who prayerfully someday bud into a butterfly.

Until next time,

Anjelina

A Mother’s Day Reflection

What follows are words I cannot take credit for but beautifully summarize this day.

“The following aren’t my words but I couldn’t say anything more perfect than what was already written;

To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you.
To those who lost a child this year – we mourn with you.
To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains – we appreciate you.
To those who experienced loss through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we mourn with you.
To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment – we walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t mean to make this harder than it is.
To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms – we need you.
To those who have warm and close relationships with your children – we celebrate with you.
To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your children – we sit with you.
To those who lost their mothers this year – we grieve with you.
To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother – we acknowledge your experience.
To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhood – we are better for having you in our midst.
To those who have aborted children – we remember them and you on this day.
To those who are single and long to be married and mothering your own children – we mourn that life has not turned out the way you longed for it to be.
To those who step-parent – we walk with you on these complex paths.
To those who envisioned lavishing love on grandchildren -yet that dream is not to be, we grieve with you.
To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year – we grieve and rejoice with you.
To those who placed children up for adoption — we commend you for your selflessness and remember how you hold that child in your heart.
And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising –we anticipate with you.
This Mother’s Day, we walk with you. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have real warriors in our midst. We remember you.”

Until next time,

Anjelina

Wise Words to Live By

Hi there,

No matter our earthly voocation, may we always be mindful of these profound words to live by with holiness and heaven as our ultamant vocation.

1. Prayer is not a “spare wheel” that you pull out when in trouble, but it is a “steering wheel” that directs the right path throughout the journey.

2. So why is a car’s WINDSHIELD so large and the Rear View Mirror so small? Because our PAST is not as important as our FUTURE. So, Look Ahead and Move on.

3. Friendship is like a BOOK. It takes a few minutes to burn, but it takes years to write.

4. All things in life are temporary. If they’re going well, enjoy them… they will not last forever. If they’re going wrong, don’t worry… they can’t last long either.

5. Old Friends are Gold! New Friends are Diamond! If you get a Diamond, don’t forget the Gold! Because to hold a Diamond, you always need a Base of Gold!

6. Often when we lose hope and think this is the end, GOD smiles from above and says, “Relax, friend, it’s just a bend, not the end!”

7. When GOD solves your problems, you have faith in HIS abilities; when GOD doesn’t solve your problems HE has faith in your abilities.

8. A blind person asked St. Anthony: “Can there be anything worse than losing eye sight?” He `replied, “Yes, losing your vision!”

9. When you pray for others, God listens to you and blesses them, and sometimes, when you are safe and happy, remember that someone has prayed for you.

10. WORRYING does not take away tomorrow’s TROUBLES… it takes away today’s PEACE. Live simply, Love generously, Care deeply, Speak kindly, and Leave the rest to God.

— Author Unknown

Returning to the Road

Returning to the Road

“When suddenly you seem to lose all you thought you had gained, do not despair. You must expect setbacks and regressions. Don’t say to yourself “All is lost. I have to start all over again.” This is not true. What you have gained you have gained….When you return to the road, you return to the place where you left it, not to where you started.” Henri J.M. Nouwen

Good day,
As the birds quietly sing outside my window while I drink my second cup of coffee and Audrey Assad plays softly in the background, so many thoughts and emotions have been going through my mind after starting a transformational read. I hope I can somehow capture them and rope them into some semblance of coherency.
Last Sunday I went to my first in-person recitation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet in a Cathedral which was such a beautiful experience, and adoration was a needed quiet time to talk with Jesus about my hopes, fears and desires. Afterwards was Mass which in the cathedral is always such a moving time for me. The music, incense, the voices of the choir and the Eucharist, the central part of the Mass, are just a few of the aspects which were exactly the spiritual rejuvenation my weary soul needed.
With this entry, my tentative goal is to write about my faith journey in a bit of a different way than I have in past posts. I love those mountaintop moments with God and my Catholic faith. Those times when I feel as if this is home and I am in awe to think at one time I willingly walked away from this beautiful gift which was planted as a seed when I was a child, however as an adult I did not nurture it into maturity.
The fact I came to this realization on Divine Mercy Sunday certainly was not due to my intellect, rather I believe it was a gentle whispering reminder from God that His mercy is new every day and free to all. It’s free to even me who at times is demanding, bitchy, ignorant, introverted, caring, a walking contradiction, socially distant and awkward at times, weak, resilient, depressed, cynical, jaded, joyous and sadly a self-induced perfectionist which has wormed its tendencies into a 20-year battle with anorexia.
Now here is where my love of my faith gets difficult and a bit complicated. I have never been one to like being placed in social boxes, because as a person with a visible disability, I always felt as a child I was labeled whether by professionals or my peers. The ascribed notations in my IEP were often I was to quiet, did not interact with classmates enough, I had “special needs”, some unknown learning disability and the list goes on. When I grew out of the formulized K through 12 system, I vowed to myself I would not allow myself to be placed in those nice little tidy square boxes with their bold identifying labels that I did not always feel fit my personality or aptitude.
Initially college was a time of slight individualization, however my faith at that time was mostly a predetermined rule book of do’s and do not’s, and if I crossed the line I would take the express elevator to hell because my catechesis did not include the wisdom behind the why. Even though my faith journey has been an adventure, and I would never change where I am for anything, what follows is where I sometimes become frustrated with social mores.
My faith has morphed into my moral compass, it’s a fluid relationship and healthy respect for God and His wisdom passed down through the Catholic Church. However, at times I feel as if because I am a practicing Catholic I am expected to fit into specific neat little boxes which I do not like. Politically I am a moderate, and on certain issues I could even say I can be conservative with a dose of liberalism mixed in for diversity. In my 33 years, I have learned life is not cut and dry, this or that or as simple as right and wrong. At times my Catholic faith and profession as a social worker nicely coincide, but then times do exist when the two fiercely clash and oppose one another. These two facets inform and influence my daily life, so I cannot have one without the other. My past, my status as a sister, Mother, daughter, friend, my love for books, writing, music and learning all somehow seemingly intersect to form who I am. I am working to find some balance between being myself but not compromising myself, but also as a person who craves respect, acceptance, stability, support, control, friendship, love and happiness, I know certain concessions must be made no matter how we think or feel. For instance, I can play the role of the good Catholic, but when I am comfortable with people if I can deduce it’s socially accepted, I admit I have a potty mouth which isn’t the most virtuous feature, but it is what it is and it’s a work in progress, but that is where I am right now. I am trying to figure out where do I fit in this world with its pushing and pulls toward one or the other?
My friend recently recommend I read Bad Feminism by Roxane Gay, and so far, I absolutely love the book because I can relate to so much she says as a minority and a woman who have felt marginalized by society.
I know for a fact as someone who is not considered able-bodied by the standards of our society, I often find myself setting up my own expectations whether they be realistic or irrational. I believe I can compete with my sighted or otherwise able-bodied peers and coworkers, but always in the back of my head I am always wondering if I am even where I am today based on my own merit? Could it have been out of pity I was hired for my job, or offered whatever general thing. It at times is a difficult balance because I long to be treated equally but let’s say it how it is, equality does not always exist. Related to disability rights we are forced to operate under separate but equal at times, but I am not at all denying the bounds and leaps we continue to make on a regular basis.
When will I be able to accept what I have personally, professionally, where I am spiritually without feeling the need to measure up, to keep up based on some scripted guidelines?
If you have made it this far, I thank you for being part of the community where I find peace and solace. Whether it’s being with my authentic friends near or far, the blog world, sitting in soothing silence during adoration, the comfort of escaping into a well-worn book or losing myself in the lyrics of a song which has changed the landscape of my life are why I embrace all these blessings from God.
I am not a super duper uber Catholic, rather I am a flawed sinner and has shortfalls that impede my progress, but this earthly life is not a popularity competition, and in the end God knows our vices, innermost thoughts and the desires of our hearts, so no matter where we are on the road toward our goals, dreams or the ultimate prize of heaven, may we always keep on moving forward, and if we meander, backtrack or need to stop and rest a bit, as we were reminded today in the account of the road to Emmaus Jesus is always walking beside us and when we resume our journey we have come a bit further than we were before, so all is never lost.
Until next time, one step at a time
Anjelina

Lessons of Love and Friendship

“A friend who is far away is sometimes much nearer than one who is at hand” Kahlil Gibran

Though I tend to sabotage anything positive that comes into my life or find it easier to believe I deserve heartache and pain or wallow at times in my own self-imposed pity, God has used a dear friend to teach me some of the most meaningful lessons about acceptance, authenticity, displaying my vulnerabilities and the reality that risks at growth and happiness are worth taking. This dear friend, with his heart of gentleness and kindness has taught me value life lessons. Whether for a reason, season or prayerfully forever on this side of heaven, I will be always thankful God has allowed our paths to cross.
As this gentle cleansing rain falls and the thunder rumbles outside my window, here are some of the tidbits he has taught me:
•On my worse days, I am worthy of love and acceptance.
•My past, with its mistakes, missteps and meanderings does not have to always equate to my present or future.
•Signs of difficulty, opposition or disagreements do not have to automatically be catastrophized as an ominous sign of impending implosion.
•Authentic love asks nothing in return. It does not care about social circles, job titles, financial status, what’s in it for them or what we must offer, rather it’s pure without pretenses or unrealistic expectations.
•Friendship is realizing each one of us is created in the image of God, and how we treat each other is how we treat Christ.
•Love cultivates sincere promises, words of affirmation, support, constructive criticism for growth toward heaven and further human development.
•Even if it is not meant to last, love and friendship expands beyond the moment and ultimately wants what is best for one another despite the heartache and pain.
•Friendship is about trust, feeling safe, being heard and respected.
•Friendship is about apologizing for mistakes, asking for forgiveness and moving past what has been forgiven without bringing up what has been buried.

“Because everything of value that we will know in this life comes from our relationships with those around us. Because there is nothing material that measures against the intangibles of love and friendship.”
R.A. Salvatore
Until next time,
Anjelina

Social Work Month

“All life has inestimable value even the weakest and most vulnerable, the sick, the old, the unborn and the poor, are masterpieces of God’s creation, made in his own image, destined to live forever, and deserving of the utmost reverence and respect.” Pope Francis

Hi all,
Unfortunately, it has been some time since I last wrote, and if you wouldn’t mind please keep me in your thoughts and prayers. Based on medical happenings and the continued downward spiral the startling realization has hit me I need to fully invest somehow in eating disorder recovery before anorexia kills me. So that is where I am on that front. I have started and stopped writing the general outline of this post many times, but was unable to wrap it up into some type of sense.
The initial premise of this entry follows. If I were to tell you I am a social worker, what would be some of your thoughts or questions? Would you think, no one could pay me enough to do that type of work, or would your first question be do you remove kids from homes? For various reasons, recently I have struggled to write an entry. Whether it’s contending with confusing mood shifts or resorting to negative coping mechanisms which bring to light that I must make some type of tangible change before the eating disorder devours me alive, so this entry goes out to the social workers who have pissed me off enough into action during stretches in treatment, pushed me out of my comfort zone, led and mentored me professionally and personally as well as all who advocate for the rights of the oppressed, misunderstood and marginalized.
On both professional and personal fronts, the broad scope of social work has shaped my beliefs, enhanced my awareness of disparities in our society, offered opposing perspectives to previously held positions, proactively challenged my Catholic faith, and most importantly provided me a network of colleagues and friends of whom I can dialogue candidly about tough issues and ponder questions such as end of life issues, suicide, domestic violence, drug abuse, resiliency, theoretical perspectives, religion, depression, recovery, mental health and overall wellness.
I am so thankful Social Work month is always in March because this is when I seem to bounce from depression to feeling better or better than I should. Nonetheless, I am grateful for the opportunity to celebrate the work and tireless efforts of a profession I am blessed to work in daily.
Today a friend sent me this song which embodies what I believe social work strives to achieve: love, peace, acceptance, forgiveness, celebrating everyone’s unique gifts and talents.

 

May we always remember authentic love wins.

“When someone’s all alone and standing on the edge
Somebody reaches out and pulls ’em in
Love wins
When someone’s running out of places they can run
Ashamed of their mistakes and things they’ve done
When someone opens up a door with open arms says come on in
Love wins
Love is patient, love is kind
Love don’t care who’s wrong or right
Doesn’t envy, doesn’t boast, it doesn’t quit
It’s not selfish, it’s not proud
Love’s the noise above the loud
It never fails, it forgets and it forgives
Love wins
When a husband leaves the house and slams the door
Hears her say that she don’t love him anymore
But after twenty years together they thank God they tried again
Love wins
Love is patient, love is kind
Love don’t care who’s wrong or right
It doesn’t envy, it doesn’t boast, it doesn’t quit
It’s not selfish, it’s not proud
Love’s the noise above the loud
It never fails, it forgets and it forgives
Love wins
When we don’t have to teach our kids
That beauty’s deeper than the skin
And peace on earth is more than just a wish
When we let each other pray
In our own different ways
We’ll bow our heads and open up our fists
Love wins
Love wins
Love is patient, love is kind
Love don’t care who’s wrong or right
Doesn’t envy, doesn’t boast, it never quits
It’s not selfish, it’s not proud
Love’s the noise above the loud
It never fails, it forgets and it forgives
Love wins
Love wins.”
Until next time,
Anjelina