The Black Dog of Depression … Biting it back! In loving memory of Jamie. He deserves to be remembered.

April 1st 2017:

I have re-posted this to honor the memory of my dear friend ‘Jamie’. The anniversary of his passing is tomorrow. He finally gave up his struggle with life.  The pain is still raw, and all the ‘if only’s’ in this world add to that tally.  This post is confronting … because it needs to be.

depression 1

2016:

I find it hard to believe that 3 years have gone by since I wrote the post that follows.

Can it really have been that long?

Three years to the very day and hour. So much has happened in that time. Yet the same wonderful folks that offered me love and support back then are still in my life. How damned lucky I am.

If the reposting of this helps just one person understand the long term problems of living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) then it’s well worth the time.

Here is the original post …

I will update my current situation at its end.

The “Black Dog” of Depression! Biting it Back.

2013:

Fighting back … and biting the ‘Black Dog’ of depression on the Ass. Great title for a blog post. Too easy.

If only it were that simple.

Most of you who have given me the honor of following my life through my books have commented on my strength. I have looked at those comments again and again recently, and I wonder … where is she, that feisty female?

Where did it go, that ‘strength’? Have I lost it? Or was it not strength at all?

Was it more likely my pig-headed determination after all, and not that inner resilience that one can draw on in times of great distress?

You know me well enough by now to know, that rightly or wrongly I have always been my most devastating when threatened.

What the hell happened to that?

There would be no point in even attempting to write this blog entry if I hadn’t decided at the outset to be honest.

Honesty does not always bathe us in an aura of golden light. It can be, and at times must be, clinically cold. It is, and I must be hypercritical of self if the point of the article is to make any sense at all.

So … let’s take a walk together, you and I. Hold my hand, (for I need it) and I’ll guide you through the past five months of my crazy life, in the hope that when we reach today, not only you, but I, will have a greater understanding of depression … and…the self destructive behavior that perpetuates the cycles of darkness when they begin.

This is not a prettied up version of events.

I live in a small two-bedroom apartment with my daughter and 11 month old Grandson.

I have not walked out the door of the apartment for 18 weeks.

Where did the Summer go? When did the crisp green leaves of Summer change to the golden hues of Autumn and fall to the fast growing coldness of the ground beneath? When did the neighbor’s children stop playing ball in the parking lot, and shouting delighted cries of challenge from the pool in the warmth and never ending daylight of our Australian Summer? Where the hell did that time go? It’s lost to me now, I can’t recapture it or relive it, I can only mourn its passing.

When did my darling daughter’s face begin to carry that look of worry?

When did I cease to notice or even care that I hadn’t bathed or even brushed my hair in weeks? When did a few glasses of wine once a week or so become anesthesia to wash away my fear?

Blaming my deteriorating health would be convenient. And yes … my health is bad, very bad in fact. BUT … it has been heading this way for a very long time.

I had a choice to take preventative measures, not to cure, because it is not curable, but at the very least to have given me some sense of control over time spans and a measure of comfort. I refused to do so.

Am I weary of being on guard all the time?…Damned straight!

Am I weary of always being perceived as the tough woman that survived so much? Sure I am. But that is the person I chose to be.
I recognize the presence of fear again.

I have tasted the bitterness of it like bile in my mouth many times in my life.

Why now has it’s presence become so devastatingly present? Why at almost 60years of age am I like the small child I once was with no control of her life in a world gone mad?
Fear is a devastating task master, make no mistake. If you allow it the upper hand it will strip the flesh off your bones with no apologies. I am afraid to look in any mirror, for the ravages of time and ill health show me a face that should be serene … but is not.

I am afraid if the food in the cupboard runs down.

I am petrified if the bills mount up and I simply have to wait a week or two to begin clearing them.I am aware of the vulnerability of relying on a pension payable by a government that has no insight into what it feels like to be at their disposal.

I began to isolate.

Again.

I am comfortable in my isolation. That is the deadliness of it. I sit in the early hours of the morning, when my body craves sleep; I sit on the balcony, comforted by the darkness and the lack of necessity to communicate with neighbors who in the daylight hours may have looked up and smiled, or even raised a hand in friendly acknowledgement.

How dare they intrude. How dare they even notice me there? For surely if I sat still and unmoving I ceased to be visible to them … didn’t I?

Caring for my baby Grandson during the day is probably the only thing that gives me any semblance of normality. He demands as much love as I can give.
For my daughter and the little guy that love is and will remain unconditional, but how long can I expect her to watch me slowly self destructing? How long can she tolerate the worry?

My grandson and I spend our days laughing and interacting in play. I am not well enough to take him for walks in the park, or walks anywhere for that matter. Simply walking from my room to the kitchen robs me of breath. Physically I am simply unable to walk far at all. Convenient? Perhaps. Can that change? No. I can’t regain the loss of lung function. But I can and must regain the beginnings of life function.

Other events over the past six months have taken their toll.

Perhaps if everything had not come crashing down at once I would have dealt with it a little better.
Perhaps.
But everything did come at me at once and seemingly out of nowhere and all within a very short space of time.

A long term relationship that I treasured, ended. I hadn’t seen the signs, too caught up with everything else that needed my attention I guess. A poor excuse really, I could and should have seen the warning signs.

I didn’t.

Reason can’t substitute for feeling.

I now have a dear friend still, but no longer my lover.

It took me a while to recognize that the visits were less and less frequent, the phone calls that had once come every day just for the comfort of hearing my voice, suddenly became weekly, and then not at all.

Did I ever tell him that the only time I ever felt truly safe were those times in his arms? The times when I would simply lay there, listening to his breathing and know with absolute certainty that I could fall asleep, safe in the knowledge that he would awaken instantly if I moved. Safe in the knowledge that he would give his own life to protect me if I were under threat.

I miss him.
I shall always miss him.

My writing? What have I written in the past 10 months? Hah! I finished a work of fiction that had been hanging in the back roads of my consciousness for a long time. But it was only one chapter that needed doing.

I wrote 65,000 words of another piece that for reasons that don’t really matter a damn anymore have been relegated to the trash heap. Apart from that… zilch!

Until today.

I need to get this down, I need those of you that have suffered from depression to understand that whilst it is a lonely street you walk…many of us share that same welcome darkness.

Will I come out the other side of this hideous fog? Only time will tell.  Being here cloaked in the darkness of thought, feels safer than coming out of the damned fog and needing to deal with basic day to day necessities, I don’t want to shower for I would then need to look at my body and accept the deterioration.  Even recognizing intellectually what is happening  gives no guarantee that I can act on that recognition and do something about it.

Counseling … thanks but no thanks. It works wonderfully well for many many people and I am thankful for that. It just isn’t for me. I just don’t trust folks enough to go that road again.

I haven’t written a blog piece in six months. Today that stops. I realize that the only way back from the darkness is for me to switch on my inner pilot.
Consider it switched on.

Comment and kick me in the ass if you choose. This is going to take quite some time my friends. The damage runs deep. Hold me in your thoughts, comment as and how you will.

Soooz ain’t dead yet! She just smells that way.

Thanks for reading.

Now an update …

Today is June 29th 2016. I am still here! Color me amazed.

sunrise

I guess I always seem to find some muddle headed way of bouncing back. I think it likely that I am just too pig-headed and stubborn not to.

So where am I at now, where is my life as I sit  in my small office writing this?

I have restructured my life piece by piece in the last few years. I have taken the precious moments and lovingly moved them to the safe place in my mind, and there they remain unsullied by the external world.

I have rejoiced with my child and my grandson.  I have laughed more than I remember doing for such a long time.

I still isolate but not for as long or as often … baby steps.

I pulled my head out of my ass and re-published my books as an indie author after the publishing house that carried my books closed its doors.

I now use a wheelchair and it affords me the opportunity to get out into the daylight and suck in the air, with my loving daughter steering me determinedly from behind.

I have written two new books and have three more in progress.

All positive things.

I dragged myself back from the alcoholic haze and have been dry (Again) for over two years.

I have ceased to have contact with those that would relegate me to the easily dismissed pile in their lives.

I have lost two dear friends to suicide.

I have allowed myself to cry and to mourn.

I consider myself fortunate to have friends who stand by me.

For now … for today … I am happy.

If you know someone that suffers depression, if you suffer it yourself, reach out to those that can inform and assist you and hold true the belief that you are a human being worthy of being loved and respected.

April 1st 2017.

Thank you for making the time to read this post. Jamie deserves to be remembered,

Here are links that may assist you when the darkness threatens…

Beyond Blue Australia. Information and help

Depression Alliance U.K

Anxiety and Depression Assistance America

Thank you for being here.

Book Review: “Charlottesville” by Joanne Sexton.

 

BOOK REVIEW “CHARLOTTESVILLE” by Joanne Sexton.

book-cover-charlottesville-by-joanne-sexron

BLURB.An American Civil War Love Story

Being a southern belle is hard enough, but it’s even harder if your perspective is at odds to those of your parents and of the times. The Civil War swoops into the heart of the South, taking husbands, beaus, and hope. No one dreams of being a widow, or of harboring a fugitive, but Savannah never was one to follow rules.
There should be shame in falling in love with a Yankee, the very symbol of how she lost her husband and how the South has been disrupted and destroyed, but the heart is free despite being caught in a cage. Love is as cruel as it is kind. Suffering two swift losses, husband and then Jed, Savannah lives with the only thing left; hope.
Savannah hopes she can find him again, hopes he can find her, despite the carnage of war, despite the desecration of law and order. A rebel never surrenders, and neither does Savannah.

 

My REVIEW.🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Fresh, inviting and a good read.

The challenge any author faces when writing a romance novel set in America’s Deep South just prior to the outbreak of the Civil War is huge.

Comparisons will inevitably be made to the book that set the bar so high in this field. Yes, I’m talking about “Gone with the Wind.” Margaret Mitchell’s characters are the benchmark, and trying to erase the visions of Clarke Gable as Rhett Butler and Vivienne Leigh as the indomitable Scarlett O’Hara is difficult if not downright impossible.

Having read previous works by author Joanne Sexton I wanted to see just how she attacked this awesome challenge. I made a concerted effort to read this book as something fresh, new, and set my pre-conceived notions aside.

If you can do that, then you are free to enjoy this fresh take.

The characterizations are beautifully crafted in this book, there are no cookie cutter types here, each of the pivotal characters are fresh. I found myself invested in their lives from the outset.

Meet Savannah. Raised in the Deep South by parents who dared go against the norm, and elected to free their slaves before Lincoln had ever called for it. Her friends are aghast initially; however Savannah’s dignity and sturdy defense of her parents choices win many, if not all of them, over.

They don’t share her upbringing, but she is someone they love and admire. The conflict is well handled.

Savannah finds love and marries; just in time for him to be sent off to fight in a war, he believes is just.

The author communicates the frustrations of distance and uncertainty extremely well. Savannah’s innocence is shattered in the aftermath of his death.

When she takes in a Yankee in the form of Jed all her beliefs are challenged, and challenged harshly. The author allows us to see her inner turmoil; the guilt she carries as she begins to fall heavily for a man fighting on the other-side is handled well.

Jed is a strong male figure. Depicted well.

Ultimately, this book is a Romance. Although the conflict of the setting and the people and their aspirations are clearly and lovingly etched, it is ultimately a romance, and a fine one.

If Romance is what you are seeking in this book, then you will enjoy it. Fresh, inviting and a good read.

Purchase ‘Charlottesville on Amazon .com

Amazon PAGE for Joanne Sexton.

You will find Joanne on Twitter at @JoWritesRomnce.

Joanne Sexton on Facebook here

Book Review: ‘The Hearts Journey Home’ by Natalie Ducey.@NatalieDucey #RRBC Poetry For The Hungry Heart.

BOOK REVIEW THE HEARTS JOURNEY HOME NATALIE DUCEY COVER

Hello and welcome to my review of “The Hearts Journey Home.” By Natalie Ducey. An Inspirational work of Poetry.

Meet Natalie.

Natalie Ducey Author Pic

 With a BA in Psychology, Natalie has had the privilege of working in the counselling field for approximately 15 years. Through her work and personal journey, she has witnessed the remarkable power of the human spirit.

In her own words she explains, “The potential of the human spirit has always amazed me. Through poetry, I try to capture the essence of the fragility and the resiliency of our hearts – the brilliant beauty of life’s journey. I believe we are connected by similar and relatable experiences. We all love/loved deeply and most likely have been on both sides of goodbye. We know the exquisite and profound beauty of love. We know the immobilizing force of grief and the anguish between letting go and holding on. We know the acute distinction between second chances and new beginnings.

Life…
It’s majestic and mystifying, and every day we are granted the opportunity to begin again. Let’s enjoy the Journey!

Natalie was born and raised in Newfoundland, Canada, with her two brothers and twin sister. She now resides in Ontario, Canada, with her husband, a Soldier in the Canadian Armed Forces, and their little dog, Bella. She enjoys kayaking and the freedom and serenity of being one with water. She is an avid reader, passionate writer, and seeker of tranquility along life’s mystifying journey.

In February 2015, Natalie published her first book of poetry – The Heart’s Journey Home, a collection of 23 poems celebrating the brilliant beauty of life’s journey.

To contact or to learn more about Natalie, please visit her website: WEBSITE

 BOOK REVIEW THE HEARTS JOURNEY HOME NATALIE DUCEY COVER

The Hearts Journey Home by Natalie Ducey.

Poetry for the soul. The Heart’s Journey Home is a collection of 23 poems that capture the essence of the fragility and the resiliency of our hearts – the brilliant beauty of life’s journey. We all love/loved deeply and most likely have been on both sides of goodbye. We know the immobilizing force of grief; we experienced hardships that have brought tears, revelations, and self-discoveries of strength unknown. These trials could easily dishearten us, but instead we choose to be more loving, compassionate, and kind. That is worth celebrating.
The Heart’s Journey Home is a celebration of our heart’s journey through life’s majestic beauty. The collection includes 23 poems titled: Reckless Words, Borrowed Angel, Nobody’s Fool, Silence of the Heart, Love’s Illusion, Fallen Angel, Let’s Dance, Where Does the Love Go, Young Love, Small Town Girl, Winter’s Gift, Destined to Fly, Eternal Love, The War Within, To my Sister on our 40th Birthday, Goodbye without Warning, Old Oak Tree, Names in the Sand, Can’t Let Go, Memories Linger, Caged Bird Sings, Surrender, and Heart’s Journey Home.

MY REVIEW: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

An inspiring read that touches the soul!

BySoooz Burke

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

Author Natalie Ducey has penned a poetic journey here, and she has done it in a way that allows us to not only glimpse her private journey, but to celebrate and reflect on our own.

Each poem is written with a pen dipped  deeply into her heart and her experiences.

The comfort of reading poetry such as this can’t be overlooked. I found comfort in the knowledge that I am not alone in experiencing loss, love, and the pain of letting go.

Author Natalie Ducey reaches into that secret place we all try so hard to shield, and with her words she invites you to remember, laugh, cry, and say goodbye.

I purchased this as a gift to myself. I will be purchasing other copies as a gift to dear ones I hold close. Such is the measure of my pleasure in reading this work.

Purchase The Hearts Journey Home on AMAZON here.

Natalie Ducey On Twitter

 

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