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Seriously Depressed

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Dear Temmie,

What is that saying, "Friends are God's way of making up for family" or something similar. I am so very, very sorry you have to go through this without support of the ones nearest you. It is definitely tough enough without factoring in family disfunction and a work environment unconducive to healing.

I was not alone after my husband died. I had all kinds of people that said they would be there, until I called to ask for help. So, it was me, my young children and a lot of well wishes, basically. This is a time where you have to do what is necessary to take care of yourself. Being so entirely ill shortly after traumatic loss comes as no surprise. With lack of proper sleep, nutrition, working exhuastively and the stress of living, it hits us all sooner or later. Do not be too proud to go to the food shelf. That is why they are there. It is humbling, for sure, but I did it and as soon as I was back in a situation where I could pay it back, I did. Contact your church, county, United Way, any place you can think of for assistance. This is a temporary setback. You will go through this, but it is not going to be easy. I would advise against taking on another job because it will run you down even further.

If you miss the ground hog party, it will be understandable, if not by your siblings, at least by your friends. (Friends meaning all of us here.) I am concerned about you dosing yourself to get through days and nights, but I'm not one to ask as I refused any medication from my doctor when it was suggested.

My last bit of opinion is..this is absolutely the right place for you. We don't judge, we don't anger, we accept where you are and how you are because you are who you are and we understand the horrible reality of it all.



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I was actually going to start a new thread with this but maybe this is where I need to post it. I was looking through cards today to buy to send to friends when I feel they need a little TLC and saw this one and immediately thought of all of us here. The saying went like this:

There's a time for helping and giving,

and there's a time for slowing down and pulling back,

This is your time to take good care of yourself

and to remind yourself how special you are.

I think from time to time we all need to be reminded of this.

Please quit taking so much Xanax. It can actually make you feel more depressed. I know it helps to take some of the numbness and anxiety away but in the way you are taking it may be making you worse. If you feel you need it try just one in the morning on the days you have to teach and one at bedtime to help you sleep.

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Hello all ~

So very grateful for your writing here. (((hugs back)))

An update on my "condition," ... raw, stabbing, unmanageable and torturous pain over family rancor has settled into a more tolerable and familiar dull roar. I used to say, regarding depression, it's like someone you loved has died. Like some horrible sorrow has crept up into your heart, and it's there when you go to sleep, and there when you arise.

That's kind of what it's like. And we all know about that, by now, of course.

Yes I do, and have had, experiences of the sublime. I spent a period of time in a monastery, and as childhood traumas are wont to do, an even longer period of time in contemplative work and prayer. Sometimes I am able to better touch the heart and essence of "who we really are" behind the veil of physical self. Just as often, however, dull roaring discourse will arise into expression of appalling sorrows.

That's about the best I can describe it.

Thursday is the anniversary of my cancer surgery in 2006. That issue of depression, which I've also described as feeling like a "hole in my heart" now has a physical representation in a wounding of my interior that will never go away. Humbling. This aging thing. As a participant in a cancer survivors' retreat at Shambhala Mountain Center said, "I've never been concerned about the fact of having cancer. It's what the doctors did to me that remains the bigger problem."

Our "bodies electric," are indeed more delicate ... and more intricate ... and more carefully, masterfully put together than any of us can appreciate.

What can we do to foster appreciation? Love life. Put down the fork. (We don't need cake every day.) Eat more fruits and vegetables. Push through appropriate movement. (Even when we'd rather not.) Work to expand our range of motion (even when it hurts), and that includes being unafraid and unashamed of expressing every range of "emotion" (so long as it results in understanding that furthers our growth).

Keep moving forward.

Brush and floss.

Do something of honor in the name of your loved ones. A secret, solemn promise of remembrance. Holding the door for the woman behind you at the drug store. Smiling and greeting the checkout person at the grocery.

You can even do something you love in the name (and with the intention of honoring) ... someone you hate. That is the hardest, of course, but that is what Jesus recommended, “Pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”

We may as well! Perhaps others then might pray for (or forgive us) when we are also spiteful and in most need of love.

* * * * *

The 18th of the month ... (I think it was the 18th) ... is the anniversary of the last time I visited with my mother. She was feeling poorly. So was I. She was lost, worried, and scared. I was worn out, pushed to the absolute brink of what I felt I could endure with another challenging school year (unruly kids, unfriendly staff, report cards!) ... and I was crabby.

I skipped the next weekend's visit, then came down with strep. On Friday night, the 29th of the month, after brothers and sisters had spent the entire day visiting with Mom (and I'd just gotten home from the Rx with my prescription) .... After I was so miserable with pain, I'd also taken a hit of morphine (ever a bit of an addict, yes) to knock myself out, that I might awake pain free and somewhat "better," I got a call from one of my brothers who told me mom was, in fact, dying ... and not expected to make it through the night.

It was 9 p.m.!

I raced to the nursing home to find one sister remaining.

Mom was also getting morphine. Every hour. She was comatose and unresponsive, and her hand ... which I held ... was limp and cold.

Katie wanted to know if I wanted to write in Mom's journal. You know, a list of remembrances. The things I valued and treasured. I stared into her face ... incomprehensible. No! I just wanted to spend some time looking into the face of the first person I'd fallen in love with.

"Mom ... Mom! Can you hear me?"

Her eyelids flickered.

Katie then said she was headed home. She urged me to leave, as well, and again: I was incomprehensible. How could anyone -- everyone! -- leave Mom alone on a night such as this?

I went home to get a pillow and blanket. I grabbed my favorite stones and a Bible. I called my son. I was ... not quite hysterical ... but certainly distraught.

I brought my Xanax, too. (Ever a bit of an addict.)

I was scared. I was sick and in pain. I was deeply bereft and lost. "Mom! Mom?"

Her bed lowered as a precaution against falling ... not that she would fall on a night such as this, I spent the night on the floor holding her hand -- waking to talk with nurses every hour on the hour as they stepped over my form to give Mom more morphine.

When I awoke again after that "last hour," about 5 a.m. ... she was gone.

I got into bed with her and held her. I shivered and shook, and a nurse tucked me in. It was the 1st of March. I hadn't seen my mom in 12 days. I was absent from her side during the more grueling and troubling part of her journey as she readied to let go of this life and step into the next.

* * * * *

Then began the horrible malaise of coming to terms with her loss. The weeping. The sorrows.

Volumes of poetry, my outer consciousness and workings in a bit of a stupor, I didn't wash my hair for ten days. (I don't know how my students managed in the presence of such a vacant woman.)

I wrote poetry. I strummed the guitar and sang songs.

It was incomprehensible to me.

* * * * *

It is also incomprehensible being witness and party to the dismantling of the homestead. The sister who is even more hateful than myself ... ever so hateful, has lined up all the antiques in a procession that leads to the front door.

The sister who is the executor favors her. As does the other sister. (And the two brothers who serve as "bookends" in our remaining family of six.)

Such in the indelible mark of childhood abuse. The "victim" becomes the thorny presence of truth that challenges the myth of happy and intact family.

We are ever those who walk alone ... sometimes despised ... more often, misunderstood.

* * * * *

It is helpful to consider or remember ... if you have ever offered any form of the "prayer of the Bodhisattva," offering your life in vows or prayers to be of service to God and (wo)man ... to realize ... you might, indeed, be required (by God and (wo)man) to experience suffering -- as I have stated elsewhere -- that there might be the presence on this very earth -- of one who has suffered (and one who can offer genuine and authentic compassion), when looking into the hearts and faces of other, suffering, someones.

Let us pick up our beds and walk.

There is so much important work to do.

Blessing all who visit here,


* * * * *

In Honor of my Mother

let there not be a room unlit

or a silence unbroken with the call of your name

but an opening to your enduring presence

a lifting to a higher hearing, seeing, knowing and

the awakening to inspiration

for more delightful ways of

sharing the love you inspired

april 7 2008

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Reading what you wrote when you explained your last hours with your mom brought back my memories of my last 5 hrs with her. She was in a rest home, laying there unresponsive. I did not know if she could hear me but I spoke to her. I let her know it was ok when she was ready to go, and she did. After she died, I kissed her lips, something I never knew I could do before. But I did, at least a dozen times during the days before her funeral.

Temmie...I feel your pain and your loss. Thanks for sharing.

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Wow, this is really bringing it back. The nurses said she could possibly last through the night. If so, I would NOT have left her side. All of us were beside her as she took her last breath. I said to her: Mom, you were with each one of us kids when we took our first breaths and we were with you when you took your last. Thank God for that.

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I had a very hard time reading the poem to honor your Mother...but I did get through it. I think they are the most beautiful words I have ever read. I hope you feel comfort knowing you were with your Mom in her last hours. I went home from the hospital with my family, feeling in my heart...I should have stayed...although hoping my Mom would be okay in the morning. The nursing staff did not offer us much information at all and I actually believed or wanted to believe that she would get more rest if we were not there. I didn't listen to my heart, as I have not done in the past and have suffered dearly for it. I wish I could go back and change what I did, but we know I cannot. As painful as it is reading about all this sadness, I do believe it is helping. I don't feel I can share my thoughts with my family as I think they have already 'moved on'. And I cannot. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and caring words.

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Temmie - your post brought tears to my eyes. How beautiful, open and sharing it was! My mother, brother and I were with my father when he died. He had a massive stroke, and when we took him off life support, just sat and held his hands and talked to him as he faded away. I did the same with my husband, 7 months ago - his two kids, our niece and I surrounded him, stroked him and talked to him until he took his final breath. What heartbreak - it's indescribable. From the seemingly bottomless well of my sorrow, I acknowledge and understand what you say - the simple things - help someone else, really listen to people when you sense their pain, try to forge forward in a positive way - all true. Thank you for sharing your feelings and thank you for helping me today - Peace, Marsha

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This writing is just too miserable to leave public. Sorry. I'll be back when I can, T.


I have followed all of your postings here and my heart has ached for you so. I've had computer issues and no access to respond until now, and I've wanted so much to respond to your pain. Know that we're here (always), we're ready to listen, we're holding you in our hearts because we do understand. You have a path that has to be traveled. We're on that path with you...you are not alone. Stay with us and we will all work on nurturing you through your pain.


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I am very worried about you. I too lost my job because of the loss of my dad and now realize that I really needed 2 solid weeks of sleep and rest and just time for me when the family is at work. We went out tonight to a community theater production of father of the bride that was free and that was a huge victory for me to be out in public, with friends,,,,,,and I cheered when we got back into the car...remember, one day, one hurdle at a time...you can do it, I believe in you gal!

You need to stop focusing on the little things that you don't get right and rejoice in what small victories you have each day. Trust me that it does work, one day at a time.

Learn to take the grief out once a day, when you are able to handle it and then put it back away and do something fun, something simple like a walk...

I worry about our bills and money, unemployment is out there and mac and cheese is awesome....try it with tuna and peas...the whole thing feeds 3 people for under $1.00.

With the full moon, take a great trip down memory lane a just go out and lay down on the grass and look up and know that you will never be alone ever.

Glad to see that you are back here, because we all care about you and are here for you to be human.

Keep the wind at your back and believe in baby steps! :rolleyes:

Lots of love,


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