Clinical Depression

In 1993 I suffered severe clinical depression. It took years to find the “…and that’s good because” of that illness. At the time I felt ashamed of my inability to be happy. I had all the trappings intended to make for a joyful life. I had–and still have–two beautiful, healthy kids. My son was thirteen at the time, my daughter was ten. I lived an affluent life in a gated country club community. Fancy cars, fancy clothes, fancy travel.

But I couldn’t stop crying. No one knew I was so ill. I was the master of slapping on a smile and faking happiness. Sure, there were signs that old friends would have recognized, but we’d moved away from old friends shortly before the illness began. New friends commented on how much weight I was losing and how good I was looking. Ultimately I became concentration camp skeletal.

I was suicidal.

Each day I would fake being happy mommy long enough to see my kids off to school. Then I would crawl into the bed and curl up in a fetal position. I made it my rule to stay on the bed, reasoning if I got off I might make a fatal choice. When they arrived home, I resumed that odd grin until they went to bed at night.

Ultimately I was hospitalized. Upon arrival attendants took my picture. The result showed a shrunken woman, hollow cheeks, sorrowful eyes. She was wearing a strange toothy grin.

Shoelaces were confiscated, as were make-up mirrors and any other items possibly used to inflict harm upon ourselves. All medications were put under lock and key.

My first night I had a nurse seated by my bed throughout the night to make sure I didn’t suicide. The following morning I was awakened by frightening, deafening pounding from the room next door. Anger management class. The pounding was rubber bats against pillowed chair seats.

The following three weeks were a series of classes.

Anger management–I did my fair share of pounding. I found it was very therapeutic.

Art therapy–I used only black pens. Sometimes I slammed the pens so hard the felt tips were ruined, other times were weak little scribbles.

Group Discussions–Patients were seated in a circle and would take turns discussing our feelings. I had long since forgotten how to feel my feelings. I was unable to feel joy, only just learning to feel rage. I had stuffed my feelings. Piled on top of them was a boatload of pain. One man never opened his eyes. I wondered how he navigated the hallways. I have since tried his technique and now understand how it is a brilliant coping skill. One more way to keep the world out: Just don’t see it.

Sing-a-longs led by a jolly guitar playing minister. All the songs were Christian. I remember one, “This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.”

Private counseling– One on one with very gentle psychologists.

The patients included a long distance truck driver, John, who blamed himself for his son’s death. John had given his son a new car. Days later his son was killed in that car trying to beat a train.

Laura, who was committed for a mandatory three days. She had attempted suicide following an affair with her boss. The man rejected her. Her Jehovah’s witness family shunned her.

Doris, who had run away from an abusive home at thirteen. By fifteen she had given birth to a baby who died shortly after that. She was anger personified, often skipping classes or, if she did come, she flounced into the room with a scowl and contributed nothing.

One woman, whose name I have long since forgotten, had to spend her first night in a padded room. Her hands were bound so she couldn’t scratch herself. A camera on the wall recorded every movement to a television posted at the nurse’s station.

She was suicidal over the loss of her teenage son. Each visiting day her husband and pre teen daughter would come. Dad would spend time with his wife while the daughter would sit, stricken and alone, in the visitor’s area. My heart broke for that young girl. She must have felt she alone wasn’t a loveable enough child to make her parents happy.

For years I experienced intense shame about having been in a mental health hospital. It was embarrassing to have become crazy.

Now I’m coming to the “this is good because….” part of my clinical depression journey.

The mental health hospital I was committed to offered two treatment options. One option looked to me like a nut-hut crazy madhouse. The other choice a spiritual Christian model. I now understand my nightmare hospital experience was the first step in my journey to belief in a higher power.

That three-week experience–two weeks inpatient, one week out—was a turning point in my life. Sure, there were still miles and miles to go before I learned to trust my higher power and live the life I now have–A life filled with abundance beyond anything I could have believed possible back in 1993.

There were years of therapy following my hospitalization. Robin, my skilled psychologist, gently guided. She taught me assertiveness skills and how to recognize my feelings. She told me to close my eyes and imagine situations from several sides. Following each assessment, I was to take stock of my physical self. Were my shoulders tight? Was my breathing shallow? My body’s tension or lack thereof would give me answers my mind couldn’t manage.

Eventually, I made the most important wellness choice–leaving my twenty-eight-year marriage. Which led me back to church, back to prayer and back to simply breathing in and out. I learned to be quiet. I learned to trust that God put me here for a reason. I don’t know the reason. I don’t have to. I just have to say, “Hey God, put a neon light over the door you want me to walk through.”

And God always does.

Easter in Florida

We got REALLY lucky when we moved to our little patch of Florida.  We stumbled  into a house across the street from Lynda and Rusty Kelly. Their family, for reasons explicable only to them, have decided we are family too.   We get invited for every birthday, holiday,  and family occasion up to and including both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Lynda’s mom, Erika, is a little German lady.   One day while outlet shopping,  Erika leaned into my ear and whispered some gossip. My old deaf ears can’t compute her accent very well, so I didn’t understand a word of it.  Following her shared secret she put her hand on my arm and said,  loudly,  “I vouldn’t tell you zat, but you are family.”   How great is that?

This is Lynda’s two-year old nephew, Rowan.  I got him those  glasses at the Dollar Tree.  Only the best for my friends!

This year there were twelve for dinner.  My contribution was Ina Garten’s Potato Fennel Gratin.  I put it together in my big Le Crueset four hundred pound casserole dish.  The lid alone weighs more than our chocolate-brown lab mix,  Bronson.   There will come a day when I have to stop  using Le Creuset as I’ll be too weak to haul it out of the oven.  Daughter, Mo, will happily inherit my growing collection.   Le Crueset is expensive, but so worth it and guaranteed for life.  I managed to destroy a dutch oven by putting it on the grill.   We sent it back and got a brand new beauty in no time!

Ina’s potatoes were so well received I have decided to double the recipe next year.  We will need to borrow a dolly to lug them across the street.

I’m deaf, and this is good because…..

Jen Sincero writes that we need to think positive thoughts in order to manifest all great things in our world. If there is something negative in your life, you tack on the words, “….and this is good because.”

Tried it with my husband, Jim. His was, “I’m bald. And this is good because I don’t have to comb my hair.”

I’m deaf. I’ve been deaf for about 15 years. Lost my hearing when I had pneumonia.

Being deaf is good because…..

Loud noises don’t wake me up at night.
When I read I simply take out my hearing aids and instant quiet.
I get attention by saying, “I’m hearing impaired.”
I’m learning to lip read.

Try this little exercise! Last night I talked to a great friend who has very little money. She tried it. She said, “Being poor is good because I don’t have to worry about fluctuations in the stock market.”

Keeping the positive vibrations flowing. So, all of you, go forth and prosper. Have a beautiful positive day. Hooray for today. Is anyone reading this? Maybe not many, but eventually the multitudes will discover my blog and yay yay hip hip hooray I’ll be rich and famous and tall with long legs.

jen sincero    Go buy her book!  So great!

Day Two of Manifesting my new reality

My “Big Dream” has been to be a writer. Published, read by many, loved by most, making lots of big fat dollars and having fun doing it. My sister and brother-in-law have nipped at my heels to do this for years.

But those damn doubts always crept into my brain, “Why me, God?” Now I’m saying, “Why NOT me!” During my meditations I have asked BF (Benevolent Force aka Higher power aka God) to use me, put me where I’m supposed to be. I’ve started this blog! That’s writing, isn’t it? I’m writing for the Universe who will eventually stumble across this. Lots of them are sixty-five too.

I figured my blog would be all the writing I would be doing for the foreseeable future. Then, last night, my thirty-three year old daughter, Maureen (aka Mo), called me. She and I gabbed about this ‘n that. She told me she and her husband, Stephen, had watched the movie 20th Century Woman. Something about a single mother rearing a child through the 50’s and 60’s. Following the movie Mo and Stephen had a discussion about how they don’t know their parents. They know their mother. They know their father. However they don’t know them as humanoids outside of their roles as mom and dad.

She then asked me to—Drum Roll Please—WRITE! Yup, I asked the BF to use me. I asked BF to put me where I’m meant to be. And BF responded by giving me this blog, followed by giving me a request to write even more.

Possibly that little whisper inside my head, the one quietly repeating, “please please please write….”,
KNEW what my path was to be. I simply had to get outta’ my own way. Now I have.

Later today I’ll write my first few pages for Maureen.

But first to manifest a shower 🙂

All of you out there, have a great day! Dream big and believe. The Universe will give you all you want if you have faith.

Sixty-Five! And this is good because….

Most people aren’t thrilled about sixty-five. They think of it as the beginning of their last chapters on this planet.
Whooo Hoooo! I’m sixty-five! I’ve been sixty-five since November 28th, but only recently embraced it.

Sixty-Five is a turning point age. Like thirteen, without acne. Or sixteen, but already have a driver’s license.
Other turning point ages: Eighteen, Twenty-one, Forty….then they sort of go along for decades until you hit SIXTY-FIVE!
But here is why I have embraced sixty-five (other than Medicare): I read a TERRIFIC book and I’m planning to use the tools in that book to manifest the most awesome rest of my life possible.

The book, you ask? (Yes, there are many “yous” out there. Eventually, you will all find this brand spanking new blog and possibly ride along with me now and again.)

The book is You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero. It’s a fun read and quite convinced me that I can manifest anything I want in my life by the amazing wattage of hooking into my higher power. I think of my higher power as “BF”—aka Benevolent Force. Sometimes I call BF God. But mostly I call BF “best friend.”

Check out Jen’s best selling book at

This refreshing down to earth fun funny little book is my starting point for rocking the rest of my life.
She maintains we can manifest anything we want in our lives simply by the power of our thoughts! Everything we desire is already HERE, we simply have to believe and BF mixed with our beliefs will pop that no longer elusive marvelous item right into our world. How cool is that?

I tested this yesterday in the packed parking lot of our local Publix grocery store. Not one single open space to be found. So I said to myself, “Yes there is. There is an open space quite near the entrance.” Lo and Behold, just as I thunk it a car pulled out of the exact perfect spot and we pulled in. Now that is quite the ideal litmus test, eh?

There’s lots more. Like the little line “….and this is good because.” More on that tomorrow. Now I’m off to manifest clean laundry. 👏20170326_192704     go buy the book!  It’s terrific.          jen sincero