Category Archives: The New Me

Foggy, Foggy Days and Nights

Over the last couple of years, a  writer I love and admire, Alyssa Day, has opened up about her struggle with depression. Her courage  inspired me to open up about the impact depression has had in my life.

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photo via WANA commons Flickr

I first recognized depression when I was a pre-teen.  I  didn’t understand what it was really, nor do I know if I was depressed prior to this but didn’t recognize the signs.  For the most part,  I battled depression alone. I tried sometimes to talk to my mom, but the language really wasn’t there to clearly communicate what was happening to me. So, I mostly struggled alone with this big, ugly cloud that surrounded me. I flirted with suicidal thoughts, and I believe the only reason I never made a serious attempt was that I’d fought so hard to live. Trust me, it’s a very odd feeling to fight to keep your body chugging along while wondering if living really is worth hanging on to. I learned to look at the little things, the beauty of my mom’s roses, the breath-taking colors of a sunrise or sunset, the sound of all kinds of music. Hanging onto bits of happiness kept me from succumbing to the seductive pull of despair.

That was the beginning of the basis for the rest of my life. Clear summer days of beauty, dark foggy nights of never-ending dread.  Major happiness : like the joy of holding my daughters, from their laughter, watching them grow into beautiful young women. And happiness that came out of nowhere: a beautiful day, the soft sound of rain, a stranger’s smile. Life would seem to be going well. But it was never long before the fog descended again. It was confusing and terrifying, but the only way to get to the good stuff was to hang on through the bad.

A few years back, things got really bad and I was forced to get help. This wasn’t the first time I’d sought help, but it was the time I discovered the perfect therapist. Her straightforward approach was exactly what a straightforward person like me needed. Eventually the addition of medication helped me get through the last of the fog. For a while all was well.

Then we moved to Florida to be near three of our grandchildren.

Moving is stressful at the best of times. For a person with chronic health issues moving can be the equivalent of leaping mountains. Things went wrong, of course. We were robbed by the couple who “helped” us move. We had to replace pots and pans and silverware. They took an old computer—and the irreplaceable photos still on the hard drive. They stole a Bible. We sent them home (not realizing everything that was missing) with the guy whining that we weren’t paying them enough.

All my friends and my family (except for my daughter, son-in-law, and their three kids) were back in Tennessee. I’d lived within 50 miles of my birthplace my entire life. Moving was traumatic. Being stolen from was traumatic. I slid back under that foggy cloud of agony that I’d struggled so hard to get out from under.

Thankfully things weren’t as bad as they seemed. I fell in love with Florida. I love the sun, the warmth, the new friends I’ve made here. And I discovered new ways to cope. Living with depression is a daily struggle, but it can be done. If you feel you might be depressed, please get help. Depression is an illness. It’s not the same as feeling down when things don’t go right. And if you feel life isn’t worth living—call somebody NOW. Live can be great. Honest.

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Confused and Twisted

Apparently the people who designed the ankle brace I’m currently wearing thought the wearer would be able to see behind, under, and to the side of the ankle simultaneously. Now I have Ehlers-Danlos Hypermobility, which means I can dang near do that, and still I almost couldn’t get it off last night. It’s my own fault too, I bought the thing because of the way it wraps around my ankle.

Okay, maybe a stubborn brace is the least of my worries, but I’d rather think about the light stuff, the funny stuff, the odd and crazy of the world. Maybe it’s because I’m a little odd myself. Hey, I’m a writer, being odd and crazy is in the job description.

Anyway, I’m trying to get my ducks in a row but having a bit of trouble.

 

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Do you have your ducks in a row? How the heck did you do that?! Do you use funny/silly to feel better? What are some of the things you like?

Granny Updated

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Yep, I finally did it. Don’t faint, OK? I bought a new computer.

 

That’s all? You say. For me, this is a big deal. First, I don’t have money to spare. To pull this little update off, I had to push my single credit account into the atmosphere. I almost fainted! But I had to. It was time. OK, fine. It was way past time. I kind of use my computer almost every single day.

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My old computer was a little Acer 10 inch that I could slip into my purse. I had everything set up the way I wanted it. I had my favorite, most useful programs all ready. It’s taken days to set up the new one Sad smile It was necessary, though. My computer was about 7 years old. (Yes, 7, stop laughing). It worked pretty well, it still looked nice, and did I mention it was small and cute? But it was slow and getting slower. The cursor was jumping all over the place. The keyboard was looking rough (no idea why…) It was time.

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So I put my cute little baby aside and bought an inexpensive Asus laptop. It’s also black, an 11 plus inch screen. And the dreaded Windows 8.1. I was sure I wouldn’t like 8, but at least it was 8.1, so maybe they’d ironed out a few wrinkles. The weird thing: I really like 8.1. The bigger screen is great too. Easier to see what I’m doing. The keyboard is a bit stiff, but either I’ll get used to it, or it’ll loosen up—or both.

Bottom line, I wish I’d given in earlier. So Granny’s updated.

Wanna brag about a computer you love, or grumble about one you hate? Have you held on to things longer than you should? Traded “up” and wish you hadn’t?

Have a great week!

Cheryel

 

www.cheryelhutton.com

 

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The Price of Freedom

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Photo: WANA Commons/ Lynn Kelley

Today Americans pause to remember those who have given their lives to protect our country. We tend to take our freedom and prosperity for granted. There are good times and bad, but The United  States of America stands as an ideal other countries aspire to. We, along with our allies, represent a way of life that many in our world don’t have.

Whatever else you’re doing today, take a few minutes to think about the price that has, and is being, paid for all you have. We owe a lot to men and women we never met, many of whom were gone long before we were born.

While we’re remembering lost soldiers, let’s also remember those who are currently serving our country. Whatever differences we as individuals have, we should be able to come together in our thanks to those who protect and support our way of life.

To them all, THANK YOU!

 

Cheryel

Great Expectations

As many of you probably know, my husband, and I moved to Florida just under a month ago. While any move is stressful, this one was especially so. We were both born and raised in East Tennessee, and we were leaving everything we knew. Not that I don’t love Florida, it’s an amazing place to live and I’m happy to be here. The move, however was Murphy’s Law in action—whatever could go wrong probably did. Right up to the climatic arrival at our new home and the realization a lot of our things had been stolen during the move.

That was difficult enough, but when I realized I had to face some hard truths about myself, it was a humbling, and terrifying, moment. The three big truths I had to face were: 1) I push too hard. I have physical and emotional limits that I ignore on a regular basis. I feel I have to do whatever needs to be done, no matter how hard, or whether I will be hurt in the doing. Which leads to: 2) It is almost impossible for me to ask for help. It would have been in my best interest to ask for help at several points during the moving process, but I didn’t. Even after we got here, it was incredibly hard to ask my daughter (who lives in Florida) to take me to the emergency room. I spent three days there due to screwed up electrolytes, exhaustion, and stress. I’m better now, but still facing the issue of needing help.  3) I don’t allow even those closest to me to really see the difficulties I face on a daily basis. I don’t want to be seen as “lesser than” other people. I just want to fit in  and be like everybody else. Which, of course, sets me up to overdo and get overwhelmed. I definitely have some things to work on.

Why am I sharing this? Because I know there are others out there like me. People with physical, emotional, or mental issues who spend their lives trying to pretend that they are just like everybody else, that they can do or handle anything anybody else can. Learn from me, don’t push too hard. Too hard and things can collapse around you. You won’t be able to pretend then.

 

Take  care!

Cheryel