What Dreams May Come

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Her eyes open slowly.  For just a moment she curses the daylight.  Why did she wake up?  Why couldn’t she sleep forever – the dreams are often kind and welcoming, much more so than her reality.

She takes a jagged breath.  The air slips reluctantly between her lips. The reluctance is not on the part of the body, but of the soul.  There are times when even breathing is painful.

She looks in the mirror at the lines on her face and wonders how they got there.  She doesn’t believe they were there yesterday.  She recalls a song lyric that mentions the lines getting clearer – she understands the lyricist.

Slowly, she drags herself to the kitchen and pours a cup of tea.  The steam clouds her vision for a moment and she begins to wonder whether she’s awake or merely dreaming.  There are times when the line between the two becomes blurred.  This is such a time.

She never knows what will cause these dark moods to settle over her, she has a hard time noticing the change as it occurs.  It’s almost as if she lives two lives – one in the sunshine and the other in the darkness.

This beast has visited her before, it has many names: Melancholia, The Blues, Heavy Heartedness – but she knows it by its clinical name – Depression.  It’s no stranger to her – she’s wrestled with it for as long as she can remember.  For a while she thought she had seen the last of it; alas, she was faulty in her thinking.

As it walks by her side she must do a great deal of pretending.  She must smile and laugh and carry on conversations as if everything were normal.  It is not.  She must answer the tiresome question of “What’s wrong?” with the same old answer, “Nothing.  I’m fine.”  She is not.

Some days she is so disheartened with her actions and words.  There are times when she growls and snaps at those who love her most because the pain is so intense.  She cannot seem to help herself.  She is like an animal with it’s limb caught in a trap.  All she desires is to be free of it, no matter the cost.

Hamlet. Act 3, Scene 1, Line 56.  “To be, or not to be…”  A familiar line which bounces around her brain at times like these.  This day she has decided ‘to be’. This day her companion loses.  Life wins.  This day.

She slowly sips her tea and closes her eyes.  Tomorrow will be better.

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Melancholidays

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Christmas often brings an atmosphere of warmth and sharing and good will in the world. For some, Christmas is something to dread.  It only brings an icy, lonely, sadness…a melancholy that will not pass.

Christmas music that plays endlessly on the radio and in the malls is a reminder of all that is not right with the world for these folks…and they are all around us.

The neighbor who waves to you at the mailbox each day, the coworker whose smile seems to a little forced these days, the friend whose voice sounds a little shaky on the phone  –  they will all say they’re fine, but they’re not.

The emotions tied into the Holiday seasons, beginning with Thanksgiving, only magnify what is missing or problematic for some.  While they watch the rest of the world “Ho-Ho-Ho-ing” and “Merry Christmas-ing,” they are silently weeping.

They may be remembering a particularly tough loss experienced during this season in years gone by…they may be fretting over how to pay their bills, much less purchase gifts and food.  The television commercials portray perfect families with perfect homes and perfect gifts which merely seeks to drive home what is missing in their own life.  Perhaps the threat of unemployment is looming on the horizon.  Perhaps an illness or a relationship that is ending.

Be sensitive to those within your life during this time of year.  Listen to what is left unsaid. Look into their eyes and if you see a profound sadness, give them a hug, ask if they’d like to talk.  Listen.

If you are the one who is hiding behind a facade of holiday merriment, I urge you to talk to someone about it.  A trusted friend, a pastor, your doctor – this is important and you must seek help to get through.  This heavy load you are carrying will be made easier if you let someone share the burden.

There is no better gift which can be given than to help someone you love to get through difficult times.  Even if the one you are helping is yourself.

 

Bad News?

172169521The headlines scream at us everyday:  “Budget Crisis!”  “War on the Horizon!” “Flu Epidemic!” “Job Cuts!”  “Shootings!” It’s enough to make you depressed…and it can do just that.

When we focus on the negatives of life a majority of the time, our mind begins to despair and fear.  We suffer such ailments as headaches and sleeplessness, bad moods, despondency.  This is, indeed, bad news.

We have a choice here, though.  We get to choose what we take into our minds on a daily basis.  According to experts,  one of the number one things NOT to do before bed is watch the news.  It gets our mind on a bad track.  It makes it difficult to tune out and turn off our mind in order to rest.

If you feel compelled to read some news before you go to bed, try the visiting the websites “goodnewsnetwork.org” or “happynews.com”.  They are  filled with stories of encouragement and victories rather than sad news and defeatism.  Give it a try. It doesn’t mean you will see life through rose-colored glasses, it means you are seeking out the positive rather than allowing the negative to come in.

I truly believe that we can choose to see evil or choose to see goodness in any given situation.  Even though there may be a central villain, there’s usually also a hero.

Look for the hero.