A Change Will Do You Good

Over the past year, I have been hospitalized for depression 3 times.  This may come as a shock to those who know me, but I don’t think of it as being week instead being strong enough to ask for help.  While inside the walls of a cloistered environment, everything is safe.  There is a schedule, people with whom one may talk, regular meals, regular med times, and mind numbing predictability (usually).  Being on the outside is scary.  Without the routine of daily life, one easily slips back into that depressed state of mind.  Some of us sleep life away while the television becomes our best friend.  Microwaved meals make for a very unbalanced diet and unhealthy to boot.  We skip those needed meds and double up to make up for the missed ones.  Routine is a necessity for keeping sanity.

I have spent most of the past year making goals, keeping a calendar, and filling it full of activities to aid in my constant struggle.  Recently, I started implementing those good intentions.  Applying to graduate school will give me a reason for getting up and another date to keep on my calendar.  I even dared to interview for a full-time teaching position, opting for a daily structure, the ability to live alone, keeping a healthy lifestyle, and making myself accountable over sitting in the dark and waiting for my student loans to be canceled.  However, this change toward routine and living life will force me to repay my student loans, take on added expenses, assume more accountability, and actively pursuing life.  My calendar is filled monthly with events to attend, grocery shopping, dr. appointments, school, tutoring, teaching, visits to the farmers’ market, weekend dancing,  religious services, and hopeful dates.

It is easy to fall back into unhealthy patterns, but often times we need that change in order to become healthy.  This isn’t just a mental change.  Everything must change from your view on life to the time you wake yourself up in the mornings.  Being sick and tired has left  me sick and tired, and change, whatever the costs to one’s lifestyle and pocketbook may bring, is the only way to break the cycle.

So, in light of this enlightenment, I encourage everyone to make one change in their life this month.  Make it for the positive.  This year I have changed homes, changed my diet, changed my physical size, aimed for goals, returned to practicing my religion, began dancing, applied for jobs and school, and began tutoring a subject I love.  But this total metamorphosis is not necessary for everyone, only those who like me find themselves in a rut and cannot bring themselves out of it.

Change your hair, change your clothes, change your friends, change your comfort zone.  And in the end, a change will do you good.

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Bee well

I was reading this month’s issue of Skirt! magazine (www.skirt.com) and ran across an ad for Bee Well Wishes (www.beewellwishes.com).  This is a lovely company that developed after a woman had a tumor while pregnant, but due to feeding tubes and allergies, could not accept the loving gifts of food and flowers.  Instead, her favorite gift was a pair of comfy pajamas.  I cannot tell you how many days I have spent in pajamas over the last six years.  When you are severely disabled, all you can do is sit around in bed.

I think that the “bee” design is very poignant.  Bees remind me of the bittersweetness of life.  Sometimes we have to go through a horrible sting in order to get something as sweet as honey.  I even have a tattoo of a bee on my back.  Mind you, Melissa means “honeybee” in Ancient Greek, so it reminds me of something that is near and dear to my heart.  While in the hospital recently for depression, I even decided to make my own “feel-good” pillow case which reminded me of the good things in my life.  On it, I drew a bee.  Little did I know that a company was already out there making blankets and pillowcases with the same design for just the same purpose.

So, the next time you feel the urge to send someone a gift who is ill, please turn to this company.  Believe me, flowers will die and food will be consumed, but pillowcases, blankets, and pajamas will be used time and time again.  And everytime the recipient looks at this lovely gift, she will remember all of the wishes to “Bee Well,” and her spirit will be renewed.

“To Everything There Is A Season”

Tonight I had a lovely chat with my dear old friend who just lost a child to miscarriage.  She has miraculously turned this personal tragedy into a triumph by creating her own foundation called Snowflakes of Hope (http://www.snowflakesofhope.faithweb.com/) for those who have suffered the loss of a child to miscarriage or stillbirth.  Talking with her and viewing her site reminded me of my own loss.

Loss runs deep and wide in my world.  I have lost my health due to chronic migraines and severe Fibromyalgia.  I have lost my chosen career because I was too sick to work.  I have lost my love and best friend because he was unable to cope with my illnesses.  I have lost my independence and moved back home after being ill.  I even lost the will to continue on this path shortly after the death of my close cousin.  Yet, with every loss, I find that there is something to be gained.

When I lost my health, I gained faith.  When I lost my career, I gained hope.  When I lost my love, I regained my family.  When I lost my independence, I gained the world of expression.  And when I lost my cousin, I gained the love of her 10 year old daughter who has come to live with us.  Now I am helping to raise a challenging child, using my talents as a teacher, seeking help for my illnesses, inquiring about returning to school, and attending religious services.  “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under Heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)  Seasons are changing.  I can feel the winds beginning to blow.