Thank You

A little over a year ago, I started this blog because I wanted to document my journey through this bout with clinical depression. I’ve had two prior battles so, even as I felt overwhelmed by darkness, I knew blogging through it might help others gain a better understanding of what depression is like. It’s become so much more, as I’ve continued to heal.

As the one year anniversary of Survivingsara.net arrived, I considered ending my blog; but when I logged in that day, I had a new reader. Seems like one or two people choose to follow my blog each week. I am so grateful for all of you who’ve had at least a kernel of interest, enough to hit the button. Including folks who follow through email as well as WordPress, I now have 80 readers! It continues to be a pleasant surprise each time anyone reads my writing.

Thank you so much! I appreciate you and you inspire me to continue. ♡

Survivingsara.net

Refining Fire

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For the life of me, when Anthony Scaramucci and Michael Cohen warned that DJT would burn everything to the ground if he wasn’t reelected, I considered it hyperbolic. Irrespective of the numerous opportunities I’ve had to learn not to underestimate the depths of DJT’s pathological narcissism, for some completely unsupported reason I once again thought, “He’s not going to burn everything on his way out. He’ll have been beaten in an election. He’ll be a loser, which will deflate him entirely. He will finally be humiliated and limp away.”

Well, we’ve seen how wrong I was. It’s been so much worse. The madness has built, layer upon layer, to an apex where we have to dispatch extraordinary security measures in order to keep our incoming president safe from the armed militias of the outgoing. That is mindboggling. President #46 has to be protected from #45.

Our country has endured years of chaos, in part because the person elected to the office of the presidency loved turmoil. No need to recount specifics; from this side of his term, recitation of the many ways he offended, injured, denigrated, and even killed Americans would just be wallowing in the madness.

We have enough difficulties ahead to occupy our time, energy, and resources. Vaccinating all of America will take months, and in the meantime we’re going to lose more loved ones, sometimes whole families. I’m under no illusion that removing DJT from office will be the last we see and hear from him and his mob.

We will move through the fire together, though whether we will be united, unlikely I know, remains to be seen. The challenges ahead could give us common purpose, burning away the fear and mistrust. The USA is so much better than this. I hope we come out the other side of the coming months a humbled, stronger, and more tolerant people.

Politics vs Governing

[I wrote the following paragraphs as I continue to grapple with exactly what has happened and worry about what’s next. I got as far as I did but then thought ‘blah, blah, blah.’ The writing is accurate but not viscerally connected to the current turmoil. That’s what I want to explore. Posting this now. Next one to follow will be my attempt to somehow harness what it’s like, for me, to live in these strange days.]

An interesting conversation on Twitter reminds me that many people don’t understand the difference between party allegiance, and the importance of leaving that at the door, and the work of governing. Of course, that’s a very blurred line if not almost completely erased.

In the past, representatives and senators spent more time in DC, even socializing together. They got to know each other much better than pols who now fly in on Monday and go home on Friday. The calendars didn’t include such frequent periods marked out weeks at a time for vacation.

I’ve seen a lot of politics throughout the years but, at the same time, there were standards of behavior to reinforce the foundation of our democracy and strengthen our identity as one nation under God. No one aired our political dirty laundry when abroad. During a State of the Union address, it was unthinkable that someone would shout, “Liar!” as the president spoke.

Gone the way of polite social discourse, the separation of getting elected and legislating has all but disappeared. The most egregious example I’ve seen is Mitch McConnell promising he would block everything President Obama presented. Not opposing one or two agenda items based on principles, but announcing nothing would pass. He was true to his word. He refused to bring most of the judicial nominees to the floor for vetting and voting. He promised the same for President Biden, but the power was taken out of his hands when Georgia voted for two democratic senators.

[This is where I realized it was just blah, blah, blah.]

These Days

Well, 2021 is certainly a disappointment out of the gate with strange days I never thought we’d be experiencing in the USA. Since March last, the whole world has been suspended in uncertainty, every single person on earth, old enough to comprehend, simultaneously.What energy has been released and where the hell will it take us?

Personally, I’m so happy to report I have cried very little since Christmas. My sense of humor is returning, although my husband may beg to differ. 😁 Today, I stayed out on the couch in the living room for the entirety of my Seahawks’ loss to the Rams. ☹ Following massage therapy yesterday, I felt relaxed for the first time in months, and the feeling is still with me. Getting stronger.

Georgia On My Mind

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How naive I was to think all of the hullabaloo would end after November 3, 2020, election day. It was going to be over, one way or another. We weathered the SCOTUS election decision involving W. Bush and Gore. We thought that was extraordinary!

The winner was clear. President-elect Biden won both the popular vote and the electoral college by a solid margin. Trump refuses to accept the people’s choice. He thinks he can bully his way to a second term. Just enough republicans form the mob behind Trump, as he carries the torch, searching for the ever elusive ogre of democratic election fraud, chanting “Stop the steal!”

Weary of COVID already, reasonable Americans of all types now just want Trump gone. Back in 2016, we wondered what kind of a president he would be. Could he remake himself, reaching to behave presidentially, as he had assured nervous voters. Sending Sean Spicer out the first day to spit crowd size numbers at the press corps, that were easily and immediately refuted, set the tone for the next four years. Trump wasn’t trading TrumpWorld for a turn as president of the U.S. He was bringing TrumpWorld to DC and expected everyone else to celebrate and idolize his vision.

We’ve come full circle. Trump has lied to us from his first day to his last, tens of thousands of lies. Who let him run amok? Mitch McConnell. Early on, Mitch agreed to allow Trump’s nonsense as long as Trump let Mitch control federal judiciary appointments. He could have reined the president early on when absurdities came to surface, but he stood by silently.

Our best hope now for moving forward with a clear, productive path is for Georgians to vote for Ossoff and Rev Warnock, giving Democrats a one seat majority in the US senate. They won’t be able to make sweeping changes on their own, without republicans, due to such slim majorities in both sides of Congress. Whereas, if Perdue and Loeffler, monied and out of touch, are elected, Mitch and the republicans will spend the next four years doing nothing more than obstructing anything President Biden and Democrats try to accomplish.

Georgia, it’s all in your hands. Please, for the love of God, defeat Mitch McConnell’s negative, do-nothing agenda by voting for Reverend Warnock and Jon Ossoff.

“Georgia, oh Georgia, no, no, no, no, no peace I find. Just an old sweet song keeps Georgia on my mind,” James Brown.

Another Trip Around the Sun

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There have been past years to which I was more than a little excited to say goodbye. But this, this ending of 2020, garners an international sigh of relief. Yes, we’ll all welcome 2021, hoping it brings with it a new day. The light at the end of the COVID tunnel seems to be on the ’21 calendar. Not even going to say ‘2021’ because I’m so done with 20. President-elect Biden will take office despite the current administration’s unprofessional actions to make the transition more difficult than it was already going to be, as we wait for a federal vaccination program to be implemented through state and local health departments.

The other, hugely important societal eruption was the cry of people all over the country demanding change to concretely address racial injustice and inequality. Nothing seems to have changed significantly, from my perspective, but I’m confident President Biden and VP Harris will be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. As millions of people receive the vaccination, work will continue to address racial and economic disparities.

Personally, I haven’t shed tears in several days! That’s big for me. I’m enjoying this and taking one day at a time.

Happy New Year, may it be so. ♡

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Dream a Little

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What is life going to be like after widespread vaccinations? It’s doubtful we’ll snap back to where we “left off” before the pandemic. So many loved ones will not be with us. Many businesses haven’t survived and won’t be available. For me, although not involving COVID, the past year has been difficult with my physical and mental health seriously declining even further from a pretty low baseline.

We will never turn our family room into a classroom for pre-k and I’m not going to be able to hold a job, because I am not consistently strong or well enough to be reliable. What will the future hold?

Not a futurist by nature, I can’t predict long-term societal changes that will shape our world post-pandemic. With the rollout of the vaccines, I am pondering what will be ahead for me. In the short term, my husband and I plan to travel to the coast, renting a privately owned beach cabin for a week at the end of February. We’ll be practicing all protective measures as we travel, but I do think the fresh air and openness of the ocean will be uplifting and healing for me physically and spiritually. My one other dream, at this point, is that I will be interested in and capable of a wonderful season of planting beginning in the late spring. I’d really love to be able to stroll the garden departments and nurseries myself, choosing herbs, vegetables and flowers. That’s as far as I can see, and these two sweet dreams becoming reality would be enough for me.

Recalibrating Good

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“Have a good day!” “How was your day?” “Hi, how are you doing?” “Did you have a good day?”

What is good? What’s going on in your life when you’re pretty sure it will be a good day? How might a day unfold that results in you considering it a good day?

For me, personally, a “good” day used to be one where I had a positive experience with a customer, no big problems at home or work, and actually had a dinner plan with all necessary ingredients.

Currently, I’m home alone most of the time and, many days, fibromyalgia leaves me pretty much debilitated by pain, vertigo, fatigue, brain fog, and/or terrible headaches along with depression and anxiety.

How do I have a good day? What makes up a good day now?

I need a different meaning of ‘good’ for me. For a while, how my day went depended on how bad symptoms were. I don’t want that to be the focus. It definitely can’t be based on where I went, what I did, or with whom I’ve interacted. It’s hard enough to accept the physical toll required just for life’s regular bumps and bruises, slips and trips, without having to come to terms with chronic illness and pain. That is the task at hand for me, accept my circumstances and see things with a new perspective. I’ll be recalibrating what a ‘good day’ is for me. My purpose hasn’t changed; I will continue to weave love and compassion into the fabric of life. Just need to figure out how to do that from here.

Accept This

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You know, the part of the Serenity Prayer about “grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change”? Many current circumstances provide opportunities to practice. I am endeavoring to accept these situations as they are:

  • Pandemic
  • Isolation
  • Distance holidays
  • Presidential transition
  • Changes in plans as virus goes viral
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic pain

There are a few things I accept but continue efforts to handle, minimize, or otherwise improve include frequency and intensity of pain as well as the need for regular stretching,

It’s hard enough to accept the physical toll required just for life’s regular bumps and bruises, slips and trips, without having to come to terms with chronic illness and pain. This is where I find myself, at the start of a new chapter. Current focus is seeing myself as myself with some extra consideration needed for activities and plans rather than my recent view of myself as a patient, defined by illness, injury, and pain.

The Last to Know

(Revised 2:30 p.m. PST)

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Turns out ostriches don’t actually bury their heads as some kind of response to an unknown threat. Females dig holes for eggs. Mothers put their heads in the holes regularly to rotate them. This is the image that led to the reference of burying one’s head in the sand.

Like an ostrich mama, I thought I was preparing a treasure for the future. I’ve dreamt of having my own pre-k class in my family room. I hoped to enroll students for Fall of 2020. The variety of centers, set up of the classroom, and curriculum rotated through my mind.

Then, an unfortunate series of events delayed the fruition of my dream: suicidal depression, extreme aggravation of fibromyalgia, and COVID. As my world changed drastically, I continued to mull over starting my pre-k class in a much smaller way in Fall of 2021.

A few days ago, my husband asked if I wanted to donate toys and center supplies I’ve purchased for my classroom to a charity providing Christmas gifts to families during this terrible time. Tears sprang to my eyes. We talked. I’m lucky if I get a couple good hours and odds aren’t great they’ll arrive on schedule.

I texted family and a few friends to let them know I was letting go of that dream. Responses included, “I didn’t know you were still thinking about that,” “I’m sorry you’re feeling sad about this,” and “hard time to start a new business.” I hadn’t buried my head in the sand, but I had continued to mull the plan over in my mind, visualizing, even while acknowledging at other times that there’s no way I’m physically capable.

The truth is the pre-k class will not work, and it’s time to find a new dream. Turns out, I was the last to know.