Thursday, August 14, 2014

The black hole that is depression.

Due to the passing of Robin Williams, depression and suicide is hitting the headlines. I've seen many videos and links going back and forth on the internet, on Facebook and Twitter, explaining what it feels like to be depressed, or what depression is or how many people it affects etc etc...and I find myself amazed that there are so, so many people out there suffering from this disease, needing to talk about it. And I think even more so, there are millions of people not suffering from it but that need to understand how real and dangerous a disease it is.

It's a strange disease. It comes and goes with no warning, sometimes with no trigger. I could be living the perfect life, in the perfect moment, and yet it feels like I have nothing worth living for. It could feel like dying might be a bigger adventure than living. When I'm 'up', I don't understand how I can feel so low. I don't understand how someone can take their own life. I don't understand how gratefulness does not come into the picture. But then I hit a low and suddenly it all makes complete sense. I know how someone just no longer can face that feeling, can face that emptiness, can face that loneliness, even with all the people that love you surrounding you. Nothing feels real.
Your confidence in who you are is gone. Your belief in the love of your family is gone, and somehow you can convince yourself that they will be better off without you. I always believed suicide is one of the most selfish acts a person can do. Yes, I still think so, but it's because that's what depression does to a person. All that you can think about is what to do to get away from yourself, from what you've become, from the feeling that's eating you alive. And because of who you think you've become you convince yourself that the world would be a better place without you. That your children and wife/husband, your siblings and parents would have a happier life if they didn't have to deal with you and the darkness you carry inside of you. There's nothing than any of them could do to convince you otherwise. It's not their fault. But suicide is not the answer. Many many people overcome depression. You need to learn how to handle it, how to deal with it, how to control it.You can do that by seeking professional help. South African Suicide Hot line: 0800567567


 Suicide ruins more lives than not. It is an inherent selfish act as you don't consider the consequence and affect it will have on those left behind, on those who love you, even though you find it hard to believe that anyone does...Suicide is a cop-out. I empathize with those who could not find it in themselves to just live one more day, to just ask for help, or talk to someone rather than end their life.
I sympathize more with the families and friends that gets left behind. There was nothing you could've done. Someone set on taking their own life will not let you know. It's hard to explain how void and cold you start to feel when you suffer from depression, and how unloved and un-cared for you feel, even when you're being told a million times a day that you are loved.
My heart aches that people fall into the pit and cannot see themselves get out....if you're reading this, and death looks more attractive than life - get help! Talk to someone, anyone. Just put your feelings out there and believe that you are loved. South African Suicide Hot line:0800 567 567
 You want to wallow, but you want to be happy. You want to lock yourself in a small room, but you want to interact with the people you love. You want to never get out of bed, but you want to have someone just hug you. You're at constant battle with yourself and the darkness within you.

I think that depression affects more people than we realize, and I think that each person deals with it in a very different way.
The mom dropping her kids of at school, smiling and waving at everyone, yes, she suffers from depression. The pastor preaching on the pulpit every Sunday, giving wonderful messages and encouraging words, yes, he suffers from depression. The little girl, playing on the jungle gym, giggling when you tickle her, yes, she suffers from depression. The teller ringing up your groceries, smiling at your children, yes, she suffers from depression.
It affects anyone, no matter your income or social standing.
 It's not a 'situational' disease, although there are certain situations that can dump an otherwise cheerful person into a state of depression.
But mostly those bouts of depression gets worked through and people move on.
 People who suffer from depression as a lifelong struggle though, are a little bit different. You don't have any sad situation or reason to be down - but you are. Constantly. As perfectly illustrated by Robin Williams, you can have all the money you could need, a loving family and a whole world thinking you're a great human being, and depression can drive you to not see any of it as worth living for. A funny man, who probably also realized that it's easier to make light of depression than to talk seriously about it. Most people don't really know what to do or how to react to depressed people...and why would they? So, making light of it is easier.

When I was very young I had a 'low curve' in my depression/happiness cycle, as my doc explained, and I was not completely suicidal, but I had a death-wish. I would walk into oncoming traffic with no care whether I got knocked over, and just in general do things that wasn't looking after myself. I got onto medication and started feeling better, and then went off the medication. I've been without medication for 13 years!
I thought to myself that I have only had an episode, and that the doc who told me I would have up and down curves throughout my life was ridiculous. I was fine. Until I hit another low curve....and there I was. How long would it last this time? Before, I was young and single and I really didn't have to deal with my depression affecting anyone but me. Now...well, I am a mother of three little girls and I have a husband. I have to check myself, I have to not just take care of me but take care of my children. I guess it helps having little ones that I feel responsible for, that I love and that I want to grow up into healthy human beings. I am grateful that I have an understanding of depression and how it affects me and how I need to act and what I need to do to make myself get better, without always grabbing a bottle of medication.
I am grateful that I am a believer and that I can look to Christ as my Saviour and rely on Him to give me strenght when I feel like I have none.
It doesn't mean that I am immune to feeling those black hole days. Those days that it feels like even God doesn't care, that He has forgotten me. And then I have to remember a statement I read a while ago that kinda helped me without me realising it at the time. Faith isn't about feeling, it's about knowing. I know God loves me, even when I don't feel like He does. I know that God gives me joy, even when I don't feel like He does. I know that my family loves me, even when it feels like they don't. It's difficult to believe these things when all you feel is darkness and emptiness and loneliness, but you have to convince yourself, because no-one else can. I haven't yet found anyone or anything that can cure my depression. Only I am in some kind of control over it, when I stand up and say that I WILL admit when I struggle, that I WILL NOT be ashamed to admit that I struggle, that I will accept help when it is offered and that I WILL strive to carry on living a happy life! Thought about death is always prevalent, and my sister commented that I always talk about my funeral, and that it seems that I'd rather be dead than alive. Perhaps, at times dying seems a better option than living, but I will always try and envision a future life - with me in it!

Talking about what you feel helps! Even if it's just to a friend or family member.
 I keep putting it off to go talk to a professional, maybe I'm just too scared to get myself officially labeled again...but it's on my to-do list.
Happiness is all we want. I struggle with just grabbing a bottle of medication to help me feel "happy".
I feel better for a day or two or three, and then I think - oh, why do I need help, it's over now...and then I wake up and I can't convince myself of any reason to be happy....

Anyone that struggles with depression will tell you that there are good times and bad times....when the bad times start outweighing the good times, well that's when we need help...different help for different people...but help. It's not a joke, even if we make it off to be...

South African Suicide Hot line: 0800 567 567

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Music Monday - maybe I should move it to Tuesday...Josh Kaufman

We are running a bit behind with The Voice here in Africa, so I'm sure everyone but me knows who the final winner of this years' The Voice was, but I'm choosing not to spoil it for myself and actually just follow the show as it progresses, and this week's favourite performance for me was Josh Kaufman's "Stay with me"....
I really do hope that he makes it far, far into this competition....I love the range of his voice, the fact that he looks nothing like he sounds like, the passion that just oozes out of his singing....I could go on and on...but maybe you should just have a listen for yourself...enjoy!


Monday, July 21, 2014

Music Monday - The Fray

Ok, so I'm a day late, but in all fairness, it's Monday somewhere in the world right?
We just happened to be listening to some music last night on DMX Adult contemporary channel on DSTV and whilst chatting this song started playing and we couldn't help but tap our feet and bump our heads...I love it when a song just kinda surprise you and even though the song is already a couple of months old, this is the first time we heard it and the first time I even seen the name of the band....so here's THE FRAY - LOVE DON'T DIE - the end of the video is worth a giggle, and I'm not one to promote violence, but this video makes a bar-fight look like fun ;-)


Monday, June 16, 2014

Music Monday - Bria Kelly

It's season 6 of The Voice over here, which seems to be quite a couple of months behind the States, but nonetheless, so much talent! I've seen The Voice maybe once before, and only half an episode, but now I'm completely stuck on this show! So much better than having to sit through the deafening horrendousness that Idols can deliver....and since it was Father's Day yesterday I thought I'd give this weeks Music Monday to my husbands favourite on the show thus far: Bria Kelly!! I loved her powerful voice, her raspyness and her control, and so here's another song she did a cover for...I don't know how far she makes it on the show, but I do hope that regardless of winning the competition she makes it far as a musician! Go Bria!!

But first her audition of "Steamroller Blues" on The Voice:



Thursday, April 24, 2014

Elections are looming....

2014. Election year in South Africa, and an important one at that...After the booing of Jacob Zuma at Madiba's funeral I reckon the ANC has to realise that they are not popular with the nation, even with their followers. So many ridiculous things have been done and laughed at by our current president that most people can't bring themselves to even say "President Jacob Zuma". He's a clown distracting the masses from what is happening behind the scenes, the corruption and the stupidity abound.
It is time, we as a nation - Madiba's Rainbow Nation, full of colour and culture, stand up and stand together and stand fast to what is right and what is ours. Yes, many things have been done wrong by various governments in the past and our nation has always come out fighting against them - isn't it time we start fighting against the wrong that Jacob Zuma has done? A rapist and a fraudster is not fit to lead this country!! How can we expect to have a healthy, honest nation, a legacy of caring and forgiving people if we allow a person that is the opposite of everything we stand for to stay in leadership?

It's tough to decide who to vote for, yes - every politician seems to have something up their sleeve...some only points fingers to what others are doing wrong instead of voicing their own solutions to the current problems. It sometimes seem that the problems that has been created by the current leadership is so vast and insurmountable that any new leader would be afraid to commit themselves to a solution. Can they even fathom the amount of work that lies ahead in fixing the messes left behind Zuma...are they up for fighting to achieve justice on behalf of the woman he raped, on behalf of the government officials who's pensions got used for the e-tolls, for the taxpayer who's money has to pay for a "security fire pool" at his private residence...the list goes on. How can we, as a proud African nation just let this carry on? Do we really want to leave our children in the wake to deal with another situation like Zimbabwe? I am not a doomsday prophet but if we as South Africans just keep laughing at our current president and don't dethrone him then what's to stop him from just keeping on doing as he's been doing? He doesn't take any responsibility for anything he does - he just smiles and waves and the rest of the country is left wondering how on earth he can justify spending all our money?
I urge everyone who reads this post to vote. Not for Zuma or the ANC. No, vote for someone who is going to make a difference.  Vote for someone who is going to be brave enough to face the masses and take responsibility for their action, vote for someone who cares about the poorest of the poor and can use the richest of the rich to help the poor. Vote for someone who isn't afraid  to clean up the mess the ANC has made. Vote, because it matters - it matters today and it matters for the future of this country. We have such an awesome country, such an awesome nation. So diverse and yet so similar. We all love to laugh, and maybe that's why Zuma has been in power for too long...he makes us laugh. But it's time to stop laughing and start building. Build a future nation that our children can be a proud part of, not a shameful part of. All cultures and races in our country need to band together against being used and abused to reach selfish governmental goals.
It's time we stand up and say that we look to the future for our country and that's how we make decisions, not to our past.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Music Monday - Paloma Faith

What a wickedly weird music video....One of the reasons I love The Grahma Norton show is the musical addition in every episode. And in this epic episode The Graham Norton Show - S14E18 he has Paloma Faith do the honors....loved the funky beat and you can just see the eccentricity of this lady come through in her performance and her music. She's got such a big voice that while performing she seemed larger and taller and only once she sat down did I realize how petite she is! If watching the whole episode of TGNS is too much for you, check out this wickedly weird music video of the song she performed on the night:

I just can't rely on you - Paloma Faith






Monday, February 24, 2014

Honesty

I've always strongly believed in honesty being the best policy...even if it hurts, even if it is risky...maybe because it's risky. If you can't  be honest with your friends then who can you be honest with, right? The saddest thing though is that once you've been honest you suddenly realise the strength of any given relationship, and sometimes you overestimate the strength of a friendship and kind of ruin it with honesty....which is just sad that honesty should ruin a friendship rather than strengthening it right? Then you almost, but just almost, feel like apologizing for being honest....but then you realize that you'd rather build friendships on mutual respect earned through equal amounts of honesty. I'd rather have friendships worth fighting for, over and with than someone just merely being politely friendly with me - how am I suppose to trust someone like that to have my back? I've got my best friend with whom I've fought with about celebrity gossip to marriage to raising kids, and I've gone through months of not liking her and her not liking me because of some disagreement but we've always gotten back together and always will - because we understand that to build a friendship we need to be honest about the things that matter and sometimes that hurts, but that's why we're friends...to have each others back, to point out when we've done someone wrong and be there to help each other not be complete asses. Friends don't let friends be bitches! So, if I've ever argued with you or bitched at you over something you did or didn't do...it's most likely because I consider you a close enough friend. If you didn't fight back, well I guess I then overestimated our friendship. Offence is a killer...