To say that this Covid 19 "stay at home" order has had me in a FRUMP, would be a huge understatement!
I realized, in its early stages, that not being able to communicate face to face with much of my family and all of my friends, wasn't going to "play nice" with me mentally.
In the early 2000s, I spent a total of sixty days in behavioral hospitals. Through my journey with major depression, severe anxiety and passive death wish, I've learned that getting out and mixing with positive, Christian-minded people, is just what the doctor ordered, and is what works best for me!
One avenue that especially clears my mind and soul, is going for independent pool walking at our wellness center. They are now closed! For someone who battles an unhealthy relationship with food, (like myself), this pandemic has created a "perfect storm" in my life.
Rather than using this forced time at home, to draw closer to God, my spiritual life has gone in quite a different direction. I've repeatedly heard the Holy Spirit tell me, "Now is the time" to dig deeper than ever before, in my relationship with Him.
I honestly admit that over the past couple of months, I have rarely sat with Him and His Word. My family and I pray together each night, however, I haven't spent much one-on-one prayer time with God.
Our daughter and granddaughter have lived with us since early November. Our daughter is going through a very ugly divorce. Her own demons of depression and anxiety have been especially cruel, since her separation and during the course of the divorce. It is one thing to deal with my own mental health issues. Even tougher than that, is to see the sadness, heartache and confusion of our daughter and five year old granddaughter. I can deal with my hurts MUCH EASIER than seeing them in such deep pain and confusion.
As a norm, before they moved in with us, I always had praise and worship music playing. I could "get lost in it" and this world would disappear for a while! Nicole finds it too painful to listen to Christian music when she's here. I have honored her wish. I've realized that over the past couple of months, I rarely put my music on, even when she's at work.
I am amazingly blessed to still have my mama and daddy! They are both eighty five years old. My daddy is extremely medically fragile and dialysis is required three times per week, for his survival. During this Corona crisis, I have fretted over not being able to make the hour and a half drive to see them and to risk mixing with them. I've truly worried that daddy will get critically ill and I'll be unable to be with him at the hospital.
My poor hubby must wonder where the aliens have taken his wife! I've not been kind to him recently. Some of us tend to take our "stuff" out on those closest to us, and he surely has gotten the brunt of it! I've been angry, moody, sad, anxious, snappy, resentful, negative, manipulative, overpowering, disrespectful, rebellious, stubborn and selfish, to name a few!
I haven't felt or looked like myself during this pandemic. I would imagine that I'm not the only one here, who finds themselves with increased mental health struggles right now. Be assured that each of you remain in my prayers. I wish blessings over you and yours. Stay safe and healthy!
I had read and heard that approximately seventy percent of couples who have lost a child or children, end up divorcing. I didn't understand that, until we walked in those shoes.
I was graced by God, with a determination to NOT HOLD BACK on using every healthy avenue available, to "more than just survive" my Robby grief. I talked to loving friends, relatives and neighbors. I regularly saw a secular counselor, as well as a spiritual director. I "let myself" FEEL every stage of my Robby grief and to put it into words, for those who were lovingly willing to listen.
When we first started attending the support group for grieving parents and siblings, I heard some of the parents laughing and saw them smiling. Rather than see that as the hope that I, too, might laugh again some day, I started to question if we belonged there. Their laughter caught me TOTALLY off guard. I thought to myself, "SURELY, these parents COULDN'T POSSIBLY love their child who has died, NEARLY AS MUCH as I do! IF they DID, there is NO WAY they could be this happy!
By sharing my intense Robby grief with those bereaved parents each month, was like "dumping a little garbage." I sometimes felt WORSE, for the first week after sharing the most painful aspects of my emotions. Other times, I'd snatch back the very "garbage" I had thrown away, and stuff it way back down into my heart and soul.
For the most part, though, I began to see and feel tiny loads being lifted off of me. I bonded with many of those bereaved parents each month. They DID KNOW WHAT THAT KIND OF HEARTACHE AND PAIN WAS LIKE! THAT MATTERED, A LOT!
That very same principle is how this Focus Clubhouse helps you and I! I may not know HOW YOU FEEL, but I DO KNOW AND HAVE LIVED THROUGH, the journey of mental illness. I won't claim to know what it's like to deal with mental health diagnoses I HAVEN'T been diagnosed with, however, I offer my love and support to each and everyone here!
Sadly, as I was noticing the small bits of healing in my own Robby grief road, my husband was STUCK where he had been since Robby's death. He hadn't found the courage to take the grief horror from within himself, to put it into words and start healing. He rarely cried. He became robotic. He was only a shell of the man he had been. He walled himself off from EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE. He was frozen in a zone of unimaginable pain, denial and unmerited guilt over Robby's death. Much of the husband I had married, seemed to have gotten buried with our Robby.
After eleven years, our marriage seemed lost. I wasn't willing to live without the physical relationship, friendship, conversation, humor and hope that he had given up on.
We separated three times. In 2000, we planned to divorce. THAT was when the diagnosis of "passive death wish" was added to my depression and anxiety. I had no plans to take my own life, yet I prayed constantly that God would take me home to Himself.
I am forever grateful to God, for NOT leaving me where I was in those days! He won't leave YOU in your pain, either! Let Him carry you! Know that you are NOT ALONE! YOU ARE LOVED! YOUR LIFE MATTERS! We weren't brought into this organization by accident. You are HERE ON PURPOSE, FOR A PURPOSE!
May God grant each of your needs!
Hi, new friends! I am delighted to meet you here! At exactly the same time that I was praying for God to show me WHAT TO DO about my "corona virus funk," I was approached by a dear friend, J'Lynn, about your wonderful organization! Jesus is GREAT that way! He often use ones of us, to answer another's direct prayer!
I look forward to sharing my personal journey through major depression, severe anxiety and passive death wish. I was originally diagnosed with the depression and anxiety, in 1981. It was brought on by the horrendous bodily pain of fibromyalgia and the life-sucking exhaustion of chronic fatigue.
One year later, my husband, our birth daughter and I, welcomed a precious baby boy into our lives, by way of adoption. Robby had been abandoned from birth. The experience of being chosen by God as his family, was one of the biggest blessings of our lives!
Robby was blinded by the level of oxygen required to survive as a 2.9 pound preemie. Over the seven and a half years that he lived, I stayed with him in hospitals across Louisiana, for ninety days at a time. Before that, my "norm" had been a wife and "stay at home" mom, to our six year old daughter.
I was heartbroken over spending so much time away from my husband and our daughter. To add to the mix, Robby's ninety day hospitalizations took a physical toll on my body. The combination of both, caused my depression, anxiety and fatigue to skyrocket!
The medical professionals had predicted Robby's life expectancy would be one to two years, at best. After his third and fourth birthdays came and went, we began to think that we might have him into adulthood, after all!
At least every few months, Robby's condition would go rapidly from "fair" to "critically ill." We repeatedly were told to call everyone in, to say their goodbyes. As quickly as we could wrap our heads around that scenario, he would bounce back to being "fairly" healthy. The physicians nicknamed him the "Comeback Kid!"
We were blessed, beyond measure, to have that precious angel of God with us on earth until he was buried on Christmas Day of 1989.
When Robby gained his angel wings, we found ourselves living as a totally shattered and broken family. Our "new normal," without Robby's human presence, emotionally and physically made even breathing extremely difficult. We never, in our wildest of imaginations, knew that this depth of grief pain existed!
My husband and I had NO IDEA how to NOT BE Robby's earthly parents! Our daughter couldn't begin to figure out how to NOT TO BE his earthly sibling.
It was at that time that our family joined the first support group we had ever been members of. THAT was when I realized the invaluable help of sitting across from others who TRULY knew our kind of pain. God lead us to those treasured members of the Compassionate Friends support group.
It was through our faith in God, the loving support of friends and family, AND the Compassionate Friends organization, that we learned how to begin the process of inhaling and exhaling, once again.
That, my new friends of Focus Clubhouse, is how I KNOW the VALUE of you and I sharing with one another here! Be blessed! Stay safe and happy!
This page has been dedicated to Members of FOCUS Clubhouse to share their thoughts and experiences with each other and our viewers.