What Holds Me Up


I have struggled with depression for a very long time and it is only because of my faith and God’s faitfulness to me I am still alive. My mother took me to church at a young age, enrolled me in Vacation Bible School, and generally made sure that I learned about Jesus Christ.

I’ve vacillated a couple of times over the years about whether I needed to actually attend church, but I’ve always been secure that my faith would get me through all the fires of life. Not that I am in danger of forgetting, but I have two talismans of my faith that I wear constantly — a malachite cross and a “crown of thorns” ring.

Crown-of-Thorns-Ring Marcasite-Filigree-Cross-Necklace

This is for the weekly Daily Post Photo Challenge to show something you’re optimistic about, or perhaps a talisman that helps you stay positive and hopeful, regardless of what life (and the weather!) throws your way.

How to Destroy a Person’s Sense of Worth

He said if I didn’t behave he would send me to the children’s home; I tried really hard to always be good and behave.

She taught me about God and took me to church; he said I didn’t need to go to church and refused to take me when we moved into the country.

He said I was stupid and would never amount to anything; I spent my life trying to prove he was wrong.

He said if I told anyone what he did, nobody would believe me and they would send me away; I kept quiet.

He told me to watch my siblings in their absence, but I wasn’t allowed to spank them; if I spanked them, he spanked me, with whatever was handy. In fury and frustration, I sometimes banged their heads into a door or wall. My anger scared me.

He made me burn my Writer’s Digest magazines and anything else related to writing as a punishment and hid my mail to keep me from entering writing contests; I still dreamed of becoming a writer.

He forced me to service him on the way home from the prom; I lost the best memories of an important part of my youth.

He said I was fat (I wasn’t yet) and forced me to run a mile every day; I learned to hate exercise.

He so totally controlled my life, that I did the one thing he couldn’t control — I stuffed my feelings down with food.

He made sure I wouldn’t be able to realize my dream of college; I quit dreaming of being a journalist and writer.

My graduation gift was a month in California with relatives. I felt safe and finally told what he did when I got worried I was pregnant. They promised it wouldn’t be repeated; they lied. When it got back to her, I laid in my bed listening to the fight, fearing I would be yanked out of bed any moment and told to leave.

He promised her twice he would never touch me again; he lied twice.

He twisted that emotional knife every chance he got, even when I was no longer living at home.

He made my life a living hell in so many ways for so many years.

And then he died; I lost any chance I had of getting the courage to face him.

After the funeral, I asked if she blamed me for what happened; she said she didn’t, then betrayed herself by saying “I just didn’t see how either of you could do that to me.” Those words hurt more than she ever knew.

Thirty-two years later, I still carry the emotional and physical scars; they will go to the grave with me. Yet I felt guilty for admitting during a spiritual retreat that I hoped he burned in hell.

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She remarried to a man who treated her the way she deserved, with love and respect.

She was widowed a second time; we became close in the following years.

Today was her birthday; she died four years ago this coming April. I miss her every day.

butterfly line3

Ending Up in an Unexpected Place

When I was a teenager, my mother worked in nursing homes. One of those nursing homes was near Floydada High School, which had, to me, an odd system of quarterly and final exams. The exams lasted two hours and were staggered for different classes over several days. Kids with a grade average in a class of A or A+ were exempt from the exam for that class, which gave them two free hours to do as they pleased.

Not many teenagers had cars back then so those two hours were usually spent in the library, a study hall or just goofing around outside. Since the nursing home where mother  worked was only a couple of blocks from the school, when I had those two prized hours free I would go to the nursing home and read to the residents.

Because of my exposure to those residents, I gained an understanding-I thought-of what it was like to age. I became a defender of senior citizens when I saw them being harassed on the bus, a helper when needed while shopping, an advocate to teach others what it was like to age and have vision and health issues.

About four years ago I was talking to a co-worker about this advocacy for the care and well-being of senior citizens. I remember starting to tell her that I would always have a soft spot for seniors. Then it hit me — I am now a senior citizen.

How odd that I would reach this stage of my life feeling that there was nobody to advocate for me.

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This post is part of SoCS and JusJoJan.


Three Ways to Help/Harm Someone With Mental Illness

I have suffered with anxiety and depression since I was a teenager, oh so many years ago. Yet, I rarely equate that with my own thoughts of mental illness. I do know that I am more apt to respond to someone who expresses genuine care rather than just telling me to “put on your big girl panties and get over it.” If it were that easy, I wouldn’t have had to deal with it all these many years.

Which is why this post caught my attention this evening. If you suffer from mental illness or have a loved one who does, it is a post you should read and share. While his list of do’s and don’ts are by no means exhaustive, it’s a good start.

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As an individual who has struggled (and still struggles) through major bouts of depression and anxiety, I can say that there is one issue with Mental Health that always needs to be addressed. That issue just so happens to Mental Health Awareness/Education. I believe that Mental Health is a polarizing topic that divides people into one of three groups:

  1. The Ill
    • This person is the one actively dealing with the Mental Health issue. Mental Health America states that there are over 200 forms of mental illness on record. It is also categorized that at least 18% of the American population deals with some sort of Anxiety disorder on a normal basis (National Alliance on Mental Illness). NAMI also states that somewhere between 6-7% of adults deal with severe depression daily. Safe to say that this is an issue that has huge implications and even greater devastation in the…

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