Every breath is a gift

From the very first breath we take to fill our lungs so we can let out a scream all mothers long to hear, until the last breath we take when we leave this earth. Each and every breath we take in between is a gift many of us take for granted.

No one knows how many times we will take a breath in our lives, but one thing we know for certain, one day we will take a final breath and leave this world. Forever.

In saying that, the gift of life is something we need to cherish, every moment, every single day. No matter how bad we think our day is going to be. We are alive and kicking.

Even though we may moan and groan through our normal morning rituals, we are living and breathing. The other option has absolutely no appeal to me whatsoever. None. Zip. Nada.

But what about the times when things are tough and we feel as if we are carrying the entire world on our shoulders. Do we buckle under the weight or do we find the strength to forge forward?

Personally, I keep pushing forward, no matter how tough it gets. It’s not easy. Every single day is a hard fought struggle. And the struggle is real. It’s not something that I have made up. There are so many people out there who know and understand the struggle. The struggle to keep the black dog at bay.

When we think the dog is safely back in his kennel, we turn around and realise the bastard is nipping at our heels. Snapping away and trying to drag us back into the darkness that can shroud our every waking moment.

The black dog closes in with every step we take. But with the support of our family and friends, we can ensure he stays in his kennel.

Never be afraid to speak up. Others around us may not see how we are truly feeling. And that is the time we are the most vulnerable to the jaws of the black dog.

Is suicide the only way out?

With a number of celebrities taking their own lives recently, I have been left to wonder if that is the only way to resolve life issues. The ending of their life may be the end of their own journey and problems. but what about the remaining journeys of the family and friends who are left to grieve and pick up the pieces.

Loved ones will always be left to grieve for the loss, and will continue to wonder if they had missed the signs or if there was something they could, or should have done to have avoided the loss of a beautiful life.

Without doubt, there will always be a time of darkness and depression in our lives, it’s only natural. We can’t cruise though our entire lives without hitting a few lows. But is suicide the only way out?

Looking around at the people who are suffering and are still with us, it shows there is another option rather than ending it all. There is pain and suffering in their everyday lives. From the moment they wake up, until they go to sleep. There is constant pain. Never ending pain.

It’s a sad thing to know many people are in a place where all they can see is darkness in their lives with no happy future and no way out. Their options seem very limited, and they think death is their best friend. But is it? The fight with the black dog can be a temporary part of life. Death is forever.

In a person’s mind, it may not be the best way to resolve the problem, but in that state, they can’t see any other way forward.

The next week, the next month, the next year might be bad. But none of us know when the tide will turn. And yes, looking that far into the future is impossible, for anyone. Let alone for a person who is depressed.

Family and friends are normally so close that they are unable to see what is really going on under the covers. They may miss the early warning signs and after that, life is like normality to them.

So in many cases, family and friends never get to shine the light and help because they never realize there is a problem until it’s too late. And after it’s done. they torture themselves because they never saw it coming and have no idea why it happened.

Those who feel all hope is gone are very good at hiding their true state of mind from people around them, and those who are closest are often blindsided by the situation. Work colleagues are often in a better position to see the warning signs as they are not as close. Thats why its very important to ask “are you ok”.

In the end all we can do is to be there, look out for the warning signs and help keep the black dog at bay.

If you or a friend feel the need to talk to someone, the following links can help.

www.beyondblue.org.au

www.lifeline.org.au

Never be defined by tragedy. Let it shape you.

When something disastrous happens to us, the very first thing we do is to think, why did this happen to me? What have I done to deserve this?

But in reality, there may have been nothing we could have done to have avoided the situation. Sometimes just being in the wrong place at the wrong time is more than enough for disaster to strike.

So in saying this, I know first hand what it feels like to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Just because I wasn’t doing the wrong thing. I still came out second best when a car cut in front of me as I cycled down along the peninsula on a morning ride.

Metal crashing against metal is one of the loudest sounds I can recall. Especially when the action was upon me and not in the distance.

Having survived a serious cycling accident involving a car, I was devastated and very much broken. Not just physically, but mentally. And in many ways, emotionally.

In this time of darkness, I could have taken the easy way out and given up and not pushed through the pain and frustration. I could have stayed in bed, feeling very sad and sorry for myself for the situation which had been thrust upon me.

But I didn’t. I suffered through every single day until I was able to get out of bed on my own and then fend for myself once again. One step at a time. Slowly I wandered out of the house and to the end of the driveway. Then to the end of the street. And finally around the block.

I’m back to a point now that I am able to complete 10km run and not suffer all that much the next day. I still hurt, but its it’s a good hurt.

What did happen to me has changed the way in which I see things, and it has shaped my life in a way I didn’t expect. It changed the way I look at things and the people around me. I see good in people where others don’t see the same thing.

I see a sunrise in ways that some people would say its it’s just another morning. The way in which I see a sunset is also very different now than it was back then.

It’s because I am still able to enjoy those simple pleasures that are taken for granted.

I no longer try to take life so serious as all it does is add to the frustrations I already have to put up with on a daily basis as I continue to recover.

The biggest tragedy would have been if I had given up at the beginning, and not continued with my life journey.

My journey had taken a few detours, and there are more ahead. But I’m happy that I have the opportunity to take on the detours that life throws my way.

Darkness

When the sun finally sets in the horizon, we are eventually shrouded in darkness, but there are times in our lives we can also be in the dark when the sun shines and it’s the middle of the day. There is no need for the moon to be out for us to feel as if we are in the dark, or in a dark place.

There will always be a time when we feel as if the walls around us are closing in and the light that’s shining bright is quickly fading, turning into darkness. It is in this situation, we feel as if there is nothing we can do, or no one we can turn to. But thats so very untrue.

There is always a friend close at hand who will drop what they have and stop by for a chat. Even a quick call to a mate is better than sitting in a room as the walls close in and darkness fills every crevice of your mind.

Even though we think we are in full control of our minds most of the time, we all do have a momentary lapse of reason. This may be for an hour, a day, or even a week. But this doesn’t mean we will never be back in control of how we feel and how we see ourselves.

Whilst we are in that dark space, our outlook on life is somewhat skewed and things tend to seem worse than they really are. But once we rise up and see the day of light, our perception changes in an instant.

The hardest part of falling into the darkness is not knowing how long the dark shroud will cloak us, and our minds. Time and friendship is what will help us see the light, and both are freely available to all of us, we just need to look around to see we are truly wanted and loved.

Never give up hope when darkness clouds you.

What makes us happy?


There are times in my life when I have no idea what makes me happy, so I have even less of a clue when it comes to making others happy.

So, does buying a new and updated phone, a new road bike that weighs less than my furry cat or an item of clothing or piece of jewellery put a smile back on my dial and make me happy? And for how long would any of those items keep me happy?


It’s not that I don’t want a new phone that has all the bells and whistles and does everything except make me a cup of coffee every morning. Or picking up a better bike equipped with the best parts that money can buy. A full Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 electronic drivetrain, Aeolus 3 D3 Disc and carbon wheels.


I’m all for that. But in the end, does it bring true happiness? The answer is simple. It doesn’t. At least not for the long term, and that’s the sort of happiness we need in our lives. I know its not only what I need, but it’s what I want.


Although, finding that happiness is like finding a needle in a haystack. We just need to keep trying. 

Brave Face

theatre_masks_happy_and_sad-300x218

There is the face we show the world. And another we keep hidden and only see when we look in the mirror to see it staring back at us.

sad-woman-in-front-of-a-mirror-looking-herself-with-depressed-mood-in-her-face_npwzvqsqe__F0000.png

We tend not to show the world and the people around us how we feel. On the outside we are bright and bubbly, always quick with a joke and ready for a laugh.  But beneath the facade of happiness lies a another part of us we keep hidden.  A part of our lives we dread to show the world.

hidden life

We keep our inner selves so well hidden at times, that even we truly have no idea of what lies beneath.  We are so afraid to let our feelings show, we keep pushing them into the furthest crevices of  our minds until we think they can never rise back and bother us.

But in time they will rise to the surface, and it will happen when we least want them back.  But they are there. Waiting for the right moment to make a reappearance into our lives and bring us crashing back down to terra firma.

hqdefault

Keeping our emotions buried deep will only make it harder to accept the real facts when they eventually surface. We need to drag them out form the darkness before they really do ruin our lives completely.

We can’t continue to dodge a bullet. And that’s exactly what our inner feelings are. A bullet with our name on it. So before the bullet is shot, we need to release it from the gun barrel and let it drop, before it takes us down.

dodge a bullet

As much as we think we can beat our inner demons alone, there is a much better chance of succeeding if we share the burden.  And that in itself is the harder layer, acknowledging we have a real problem.

inner_demon_by_verminlady-d31nrmr

Don’t do it alone, a problem shared is a problem halved.

wp-1479309364645.jpg

Insight to my mind 


Sitting and waiting in the doctor’s office gave me time to think of the past few months and what they meant to me and how I’ve changed due to my cycling accident.


Physically I haven’t changed all that much. I’m a little less flexible right now, but physio and rehab will get me back to a point where I was before I was hit by a car. 

Mentally is a different story altogether I think. I have my good days, as well as some bad days. Small things set me off and I know I tend to get upset and angrier at things that would have never bothered me earlier in the year.


It was when I was lighting the fire, something I can do with my eyes closed and one hand tied behind my back. But this time was different.


The paper lit easily enough, as did the cardboard. And then that was it. The kindling refused to light and I lost the plot. Not just a few choice words, but a full dummy spit.


I sometimes need to admit to myself what happened has changed me. But I hope that most of the changes are for the best.

All I can do is continue with my rehab and hope that all the pieces fall into place before I really lose the plot.

Time will tell…