Friday, January 30, 2015

Keeping It Real With Depression

Good day to you, dear ones! I've been home just a couple of days shy of two weeks, and I have been struggling. Missing my grandma in every moment of silence and free thinking; worrying about my family and all the conflicts present; heartbroken for friends with pains I understand all too well; dealing with insecurities and uncertainties in my personal life...so much negativity! The dark shadows of my depression are fiercer and more menacing these days, and it's exhausting having to hold them back while trying to keep my balance on this tight rope I'm walking...over and through this soul sucking bunch of muck! Ugh. So sorry to start off so dismal. Unfortunately, I'm simply keeping it real. This is living with clinical depression and other mental illnesses. I've been doing it for more than half of my life, as y'all know, so I'm fortunate enough to be self aware and knowledgeable about exactly what I need to do to win against these constant battles...

All of my blinds are open and the sunlight is shining bright all over my home. I'm drinking water infused with cucumber, mint, lemon, and orange, and I started my day with a walk and a healthy breakfast. Writing and sharing this with you on my blog is my favorite kind of therapy in dealing with my illness. I'm going to run errands today because I simply can't put them off any longer, and I know that doing so will help me feel better just by being in motion. And! I'm looking forward to spending time with my friends this weekend!

Okay, so I've typed it all out...now it's about getting up and doing these things! So there y'all go...a typical day of a person struggling with depression...let's see if I can do this! All of my readers with mental illnesses, today, just see if you can do something good for yourself; and as always, hugs and love, my lovelies!

Love,
Amy

(random photo of the day...of night time...but still good for the day too...yeah!)


Monday, January 26, 2015

Construction Zone of Thoughts

I'm still trying to get back in to my blogging groove...it has been more challenging this time compared to any time before when I've had long absences between posts. I'm sure y'all understand given the circumstances, but I've missed it, and it's actually a very important part of my life! But damn, I just can't seem to organize my thoughts every time I sit down to write...I guess I'm experiencing a writer's construction zone rather than a block. Yeah. That make sense! So, here's what I'll do; I'll try to navigate traffic! I'll share all the different kinds of lanes that are congested and backed up, and maybe at some point we'll get pass this stop and go movement of my thoughts. Are y'all staying with me here? Sheesh I hope so, 'cause I might just be confusing myself haha! Moving on...in no particular order...

Lane 8. Must lose weight.

Lane 1. Driving from Florida to Oklahoma and back again is the worst drive I've ever had to make. I think it would be better if I had someone traveling with me besides my fur baby, Kakashi, but otherwise, I hate it!

Lane 5. I should be updating my resume right now, but I'm blogging instead. I'll do that next.

Lane 11. Fun times in OK!!! New Years Eve Party with the Browns, moonshine shenanigans with Ana and Zach, karaoke at Bison Witches with Amanda, shots and drinks at Red Brick Bar with Beetle, homemade pizza and Cards Against Humanity with my buddies, Pub W with Des, and so much more not captured with photos!




 Lane 2. Worst timing ever: While driving through Dallas, I was feeling emotional leaving Oklahoma and my family support system. The song "The River" by Garth Brooks starts playing on the radio, and I started thinking about my Grandpa because this was one of his favorite songs my sister and I would sing. Then the worst thought occurs, "My grandparents are all gone. I have no grandparents now." Traffic, memories, and grief are a terrible combo...an emotional drain right off the bat on a long ride back to Florida! Sucky suck situation right there.

Lane 7. Lynch's Irish Pub right on the beach just down the road from me...LOVE! Legit Irish owners with Irish bartenders with Irish accents, super cool DJ, live bands, wonderful atmosphere, delicious tradition Irish food...let's just say HEAVEN for this Irish girl here!

Lane 3. An old friend was visiting family in Oklahoma (while I was still there) and met up with some mutual friends. However I wasn't supposed to know about it; read: I was being avoided. I never got a for sure reason why, but the possibility was that there may have been concern of jealousy from said friend's spouse. Check check check...public service announcement from Amy, The Ro Fo Sho, "I don't want your spouses! I have my own, thank you very much! There is no need to feel threatened or insecure about my friendships! I appreciate your consideration...peace out!" Yeah I might sound like a bitch, but that's not my intention...think indifference instead please haha!

Lane 6. I'm very very VERY happy to be back in Florida!!! It's warmer and sunnier here, and I'm grateful for the mood boost the nicer weather gives me. And I'm happy to be able to participate once again in the Iwo Jima's FRG...great support system! AND! So thrilled to have already spent some time with my pal, Elizabeth and tomorrow Karla! I love my Floridian girlfriends oh so much!

Lane 9. Loved the time I go to spend with family and friends in Oklahoma. I have the best friends a person could ask for! Michelle, Nicole, Amanda, Ana, Zach, Bryan, Andrew, Beetle, Zac Attack, Desirae, Jason, Christi, Ryan, Whitney, Angie, Christina, Pam & Ronnie, Laurel, Brenda, Jerry, Curtis, Uncle Bill, Debbie, Carlos, Donna, Daniel, Joyce, Charlie, Clayton, Jolie, Bekah, mama, daddy, and my nephew, Jack...y'all are my beloved Okies and I absolutely adored hearing from you and the time I got to spend with y'all! Loved meeting Amber and Matty too!




 Lane 4. Must find job ASAP!

Lane 10. My nephew became and IHop super fan...it was super awesome and super fun!





Oh my goodness there are so many lanes of traffic I could share...but, as construction zones often cause for travelers, I'm tired and ready to zoom on through this mess! I guess you could say I'm trying to find an alternative route! Thank you all for being patient with me as I continue to swerve between lanes in my attempt to find my way...also thank you for being patient with my abundance of metaphors and similes and other forms of comparisons and such and stuff and I'll shut up now...

I'll be back soon with updates on my depression, deployment tales, current events, rants, football, and much much more! Stay safe in life's construction zones, dear ones!

Hugs and love!
The Ro Fo Sho

Friday, January 16, 2015

"I don't want to go..."

Hello, dear ones! I wrote the following with pencil and paper, and I wanted to transcribe/share it with you this afternoon on The Ro Fo Sho. Part of it was written with structure and part of it was written freely as the thoughts flowed through me. I hope y'all enjoy my ramblings today!

I've sat down in front of my laptop several time with the intention of writing on my blog, but the words have not come to mind. I realize it's because of the noises and distractions in my parent's home; but I also feel like my mind, heart, and soul are filled and spilling over with thoughts, ideas, memories, and more! And so I'm overwhelmed by the excess and jumble and can't seem to organize them in a way that's enjoyable to write or read. But! When I pick up my notebook and a freshly sharpened pencil, rather than a screen and keyboard, there is a different kind of connection between all the ramblings in my head and my pencil to paper. Here I am on my parent's back deck (which was Grandma's for years), soaking up the sunshine and finally nice weather! The sky is almost clear and beautiful blue and the breeze is gentle and soothing with the occasional whoosh amidst the whispering between the branches and leaves that still cling to them. It is a genuine peacefulness here, and as I write I keep pausing just to enjoy this special kind of feeling...

I stopped, leaned my head back, and closed my eyes; I just listened to the sounds around me and relished the touch of the wind. I spoke out loud to Grandma. No need to share my words to her with anyone, but the experience is something to indulge in with writing. It feels so comfortable and natural to still talk to her; her voice remains clear in my  head and simply remembering how it felt to hug her is almost  a tangible feeling I can still cherish. The tears continue to spill in my quiet moments with Grandma in my thoughts, but they're more for missing instead of grieving. I have described it many times as an uncomfortable peace...I feel a relief that she is without pain and suffering, but her absence is very much an emptiness....the feelings kind of scrape against each other I guess you could say. I remember writing a while ago about needing more time, and how that's what everyone desires as any end approaches. Here's my "nerdyness" showing through, but I actually thought of one of my favorite TV shows Doctor Who (most favorite probably...honestly!). The tenth Doctor, played by David Tennant, has the opportunity to check in with companions and friends of his time before regenerating, and expresses over and over again, "I don't want to go."

The last time I saw Grandma, before those final moments, I hugged her again and again as I was saying goodbye, and I remember my last embrace with her. In my mind, with sorrow, I allowed the thought to form clearly, "This could be the last time I get to hug her." Following it was "I don't want to go."

On Sunday morning I start my drive back to my home in Florida. I've pushed this departure back a few times, and during this time outside with sunshine and wind, pencil and paper, I understand the difficulty in leaving. I don't want to go. I have the comfort of family...I don't want to go. I have the familiarity of my hometown...I don't want to go. I have memories here and all over this town and state with my grandma...I don't want to go! Grandma would say...

"Then don't!" and she would laugh.
"I wish, but I have to!" and I would pout.
"I know sweetie...but we know we'll see each other again soon!" she would respond with optimism; and we would hug one more time but with the comfort of knowing we had something to look forward to...

Grandma's spirit will be with me always and wherever I may go.

Let your minds, hearts and souls be open, dear ones.
Hugs and love, my lovelies!

Love,
Amy


Friday, January 2, 2015

"Ok, Grandma..."

I drove from Jacksonville, Florida to Norman, Oklahoma to see my grandma. It was one of the worst drives I've ever experienced! I hadn't even gone 40 miles before I was completely stopped in traffic for a good 2 hours. The panhandle of Florida seemed to go on and on forever, and I felt like I was in the twilight zone driving and driving and getting no where. Alabama and Mississippi were quick states to drive through and so I felt a wave of relief and a new burst of energy! Louisiana took so long to drive through...only 55 miles per hour speed limit most of the state, no gas stations for hours it seemed, and no sign of civilization for miles...it was another twilight zone kind of feeling. By the time I was ready to stop for the night, it was another long stretch of nothing before finally arriving in an actual town and getting a room. But as exhausted as I was I just couldn't get to sleep, and 5 hours later I was back on the road. The Dallas/Ft. Worth area was a complete and total nightmare! Normally, coming home to see my family is an exciting and happy time. But the closer I got the sadder I got...I knew I was on my way to say goodbye, and my heart was crumbling.

I finally got to my grandma's place and knelt beside her recliner. The nurse had just given her morphine and she was slumped forward with her head hanging. I held her hand and started talking to her about my drive, and I told her that I had been missing her...told her I loved her. I told her that Dallas was a shit show, and I tried to be funny about the morphine making her drowsy. She opened her eyes for a moment, and I believe that was when she realized I was there beside her, and she closed them and breathed out like a sigh of relief. I was about to suggest reclining her chair so that she could maybe feel more comfortable, but in just a few ticks of time she opened her eyes and her soul left her earthly body while I was still holding her hand. The nurse checked her pulse and listened for a heartbeat before turning to us and saying, "she's gone." I stood and stared in disbelief with my hands over my mouth and the tears rising, pooling, and spilling from my eyes...I walked away so my mama and her sisters could be next to her. And I knelt and sobbed saying "no, no, no, no" over and over..."no, no, no, no..." I went outside and fell to my knees again with my eyes toward the sky praying to God, "please take care of my grandma and please help us to feel peace knowing that she's at peace."

Time slowed so much it felt like it wasn't even moving...it felt like hours just sitting and crying and praying in grandma's apartment...her body leaned back in the chair like she was only sleeping. Everyone left and my sister and I stepped outside when the people came to take her...

She looked more alive and well lying there in her casket than she did in those last few weeks of  her life. My only thoughts were that she should just wake up...she's going to open her eyes...she's only sleeping. At the family visitation time, at the funeral, and all the way up until they closed her casket for the very last time, I kept thinking that she should just wake up...just wake up, Grandma...

I stayed in the townhouse where she and Zac lived until the end of December. I wrapped gifts and spoke aloud to her...I even sang to her...I talked to her and made comments about everyday things. Every time I came down the stairs in the morning, my heart sunk not seeing her in the recliner drinking her coffee. Every time I walked through the front door, I'd feel disappointment that she wasn't there waiting. A picture of the two of us is on my locked screen of my cell phone, so I've seen her face every day. I've gone more than a week and sometimes longer without feeling the loss, and then at the most random times it washes over me and I am overwhelmed with my grief. She is gone. But it still feels like she is here. And so it is a constant feeling of confusion, denial, and let down. I miss my grandma.

I started writing this a couple of weeks or so ago. I had more to say when I began. I still want to share more about my grandma, traits and quirks not everyone may know...the different sides of her I feel so blessed to have known. She was an incredible person...more remarkable than I think most people realized! I could write it all out now, like a tribute...but the thought alone is a wrench to my heart and soul! Instead I will share all that made up my grandma in pieces here and there...how who she was and what she taught me and what I learned from observation of her has affected and will continue to affect my life.

What I've learned, observed, and known about my grandma will be shared in no particular order...I couldn't even begin to organize them all chronologically! So...Grandma's first lesson: toughen up! There is much to be elaborated on about it, but for now and in this moment, this is what I know. Grandma would tell me to be stronger now. She would understand the loss I feel, but from her practical point of view she would advise me to start thinking about the future. Time to think about driving back to Florida; time to work on your resume and have it ready for the job hunt; time to get back to your daily routines. She would say, "Listen to Grandma!" and I would very stubbornly reply, "OK, Grandma!"

Time to toughen up. Okay, grandma...

Thank you for the patience in my absence dear ones, and as always,
Hugs and love, my lovelies!
Amy

Flowers for Grandma

Monday, November 24, 2014

Fall in Florida

Autumn has always been my favorite season very simply because 1. My birthday is in October, and 2. I love the colors! However, as I grew older, the Fall time seemed to become shorter and shorter, and the winter began arriving sooner and sooner. There is beauty in the winter, but with age, my tolerance for the cold has diminished; and it's really not a good season for people with depression because of the lack of sunshine and being stranded indoors so often! I think I'll feel better this winter in Florida...I know it gets cold here, but I've heard that the winters are shorter in comparison to several other states. So I'm hopeful that it will be brief and that I will barely be affected! When I found out we were moving here, I was excited for warmer temperatures but anxious about my favorite season. I had heard that the leaves don't change colors here as dramatically as they do in places I'm use to, and this really kind of bummed me out! The leaves are definitely not as intense here as other places I've lived, but, luckily, there are plenty of spots of gorgeous color to enjoy! Plus there's also the added benefit of the much more pleasant temperatures! I took a little stroll around our condominium complex and took a few shots of those lovely little spots...I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt just so y'all know how nice the weather is haha! Anyway! I couldn't pick between some of the shots because of differences in composition and exposure and such, so you'll see some repeats! I hope you enjoy the sights on my walk!

Happy Fall and hugs and love, my lovelies!
Amy

(Images shot with Canon T3i and 18-55mm kit lens. Manual setting, ISO 800, white balance Sunshine. Some are SOTC straight out of the camera, and some have been post edited such as brightness, contrast, levels, and cropping.)


















Friday, November 21, 2014

Prayer Warriors and Loving Thoughts

I've called my grandma a few times these last few weeks, and every time causes me to miss her more! When we talked a few days ago, she sounded so defeated it broke my heart. However, along with that defeated tone, there was an undertone of anger, which was encouraging knowing that her spirit is still of the fighting sort! This morning, she was her usual upbeat self, always answering my calls with, "Hi, sweetie!" She wants me to come home right now, and I definitely wish I could be there with her. Finances and a variety of this and that really complicate the desire to visit family more often. I'm praying that she stays strong and determined for as long as possible so that when I am able to come home, she and I can have some more time together...good time. There it is...what everyone wants...just a little more time! One thing I do know and have witnessed is the power of prayer, and I'm so grateful for all the prayer warriors raising her up to God. And I'm grateful for the people who don't pray but instead send out positive and loving vibes and thoughts for her as well!

I want to write about other things, but I will share them in another entry. This one needs to just be for grandma! Thank you again for the prayers and positive and loving vibes and thoughts! I know they give her strength!

Hugs and love, my lovelies!
 Amy

photo from 2012




Sunday, November 16, 2014

My Grandma's Stories



My grandma is dying. Worst sentence I've ever typed, worst thought, worst feeling, worst everything. I'm having trouble writing this; I don't know what exactly to say...I feel so...numb. But I can still sense the overwhelming sadness and well of tears just waiting behind the numbness...the weight of it is pushing against my current somewhat dazed state of mind, and I'm voluntarily fighting it back. I'm not ready for the flood that is waiting to spring. I'm not ready for my life to be without my grandma...

Right now I need to be grateful that she is still here; no grieving yet. I want to remember the abundance of wonderful memories I have with her. I've been typing and backspacing for the last five minutes or so...everything I want to say is sounding like a tribute. She deserves that, of course, but writing it out right now feels too final for me...and too hard in my frozen thoughts. So! Time to walk away from this topic for now; I'm clearly not ready for it! But I do want to share the videos I'm so fortunate to have from my last visit home.

These videos were recorded in April 2014 shortly after a stay in the hospital due to breathing problems. She was not doing well at this time (not as badly as she is now), but I was upset with worry! So I told work I had to go whether they liked it or not (they were understanding), and I was in the car and on my way in just a couple of days! I spent almost a month with her doing little things like getting her coffee pot ready for the next morning to helping her bathe. Before I left, I cried to my mama and sister and told them that she needs constant care and asked if they could please promise me that they would take over what I had been doing. They hugged me and assured me they would, and I'm so grateful to my sister for taking over that role. It's the most emotionally awful feeling in the world being 1,400 miles away from my grandma. I'm eager to be home and near her again, but at the same time, I know it may be my last moments with her. But again, for right now, she is still here, and I can still talk to her! And I have these videos...I hope y'all enjoy! I included the video I shared before for those who may want to watch it again.

Cherish your loved ones, dearies! Hugs and love, my lovelies!

A loving granddaughter,
Amy