So many of my male friends are shocked by the #metoo stories and how many women they know with stories. Somany of them are asking what they can or should do, this is a good read regarding this.

 

#MeToo testimonies are flooding our social media feeds. For men, realizing complicity can be uncomfortable. On seeing this discomfort as a challenge.

Source: For Guys Reading #MeToo Testimonies — Courtney Martin | On Being

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As I walk the streets everyday, I have lots of things go through my mind. I don’t know why yesterday my reflection seemed to be how much I’ve grown. On Facebook, you can see your “on this day” in the past. I tend to look at these daily. Some are good, some are bad, many make me really see how far that I have come.  As I’m looking at these from four years ago, right after my divorce, I was struggling to eat, get out of bed, to go to work. I had done most of my crying before the divorce was final but I was terrified of being on my own.  I had grown so dependent on the ex because he thought he did everything better than me. I had quit trying to do things because it was easier to let him do things than to be criticized for doing things wrong. My self-confidence was in the toilet.  I never thought I could get a decent job because I gave up my career when I got married.  I never went back to college. I was a full-time at home mom for a long time. I loved being home with my kids.  I love the relationship I have with them now, probably due to that but I will always regret giving up my career.

Here I am four years later, I am feeling happier and  more self confident than I’ve ever felt in my life. I think when I first started dating that I was looking for somebody to take care of me. I no longer want nor need that. I’ve had men tell me that I was too strong and independent for them. Who would have thought that would be an issue for me four years ago. I don’t want a man that can’t handle my independence, that can’t handle my strength, that wants to be the man and take care of everything. I will never give up my independence again.  Now I’ve met a new man, the ice cream man, and he seems to really like my strength. I told him about other men saying I was too strong and independent. He said that he doesn’t see that. He likes it.

I have been spending a bit of time with ex-bf/bff  lately. It has been so nice to have time with him alone. I have missed talking to him so much. I have mentioned that he and his girlfriend broke up the beginning of July and he also lost his dog the same week. I was worried about him for a bit but he seems to be doing well now. He has been going to some personal growth retreats and he is really working on getting over his baggage. I sure hope that someday he can truly find happiness with himself so he can find it with somebody else. I will always love him but, unfortunately, I cannot go back to him, even if he asked. We did fool around on my birthday. It was nice to be back in his arms and kiss him again. It would  have been easy to open my heart back to him but I refuse to. As I have said before, I believe that love is a choice. I won’t give my heart back to him at this point and I have told him that. I choose not to love him like that again unless he is ready to let me in. Even then, it would not be a given. I would have to really think about it. He would have to earn me back.  I love how honest we are with each other. I love that I can tell him these things and he tells me that he still worries about hurting me when he is with someone else.

Last weekend, we went on a hike to a natural hot springs. Yes, we soaked naked. It was so nice sitting next in the hot springs with the cold river flowing by.  We have talked so much about our growth since we split up. I know the things he has done and he asked me what I have done. He also thinks that some of what I say is just words because I still occasionally say that I want a man. I have explained to him that those times are actually few anymore. I like my space. I love my freedom. So many times, I hear couples on the street and think to myself how glad I am not to be in a relationship. Even as few as a few months ago, I would sometimes get sad when I saw a couple holding hands walking down the street. Now, I really feel nothing. Not anger and pity, like I felt right after my divorce. I was such a cynic and was sure that they were all making a mistake in trusting and loving. I also, not longer feel sad because I am alone. I feel happy for them and hope it lasts. I do sometimes wonder if I will ever find that BUT it is truly not a concern anymore.

So, what have I done to grow? I have been thinking about that since he asked. One is that I spend so much time alone that I can think. Most of my workday, I spend thinking about my life and reflecting. I also blog here. This is so good for me. Not only is it journaling but I get feedback and see my feelings are normal and others feel the same way. I read LOTS of books and blogs. I am exercising not just at work but weight lifting again. I have loved that since I was a teen and haven’t done for years. I love how it makes me feel mentally and physically.  I am also spending more time with friends and reconnecting with people. My birthday helped with that. When you are content with your life and yourself, a partner becomes less important.

One of the things that I thought about the other day is WHY am  I so content alone right now? Of course, there is the standard, I can do what I want, when I want, without anyone having any say or worrying about being criticized for my choices and feelings as I did for years. My big AHA moment came the other day though. I had been dwelling on this for days and it just popped into my head. For the first time in my life, I am taking care of ME only. I am 50 years old and don’t need to take care of anyone but me and my puppies. Of course, I am still here for my kids but I am my priority for the first time. It is such a free feeling. I can go hike with my ex-bf, get naked and sit in a hot spring. I can go have beer with a friend. I can sit on my couch naked and blog. I can go to bed at 7 or at midnight. I can have ice cream for breakfast or dinner, if I choose. I am fifty years old and feel better physically and mentally than I did at 35. I am healthier. I am fit. I am sexy. I am beautiful and strong. I am independent. I am not lonely at all. I plan to continue growing and getting better with age. We all should.

http://thoughtcatalog.com/holly-riordan/2016/06/my-world-would-be-so-different-if-you-were-still-alive/

I know my last couple of posts have been downers but it has been a difficult few weeks here in our area. In the past two weeks, we have had three suicides in our county in the past two weeks. The youngest was 14, one was 22 and graduated with my second kiddo, and the other was a young mother. We have had nine in our county this year already and several more in our area. A friend of mine had a coworkers son in the neighboring county kill himself on Facebook the other night. It is becoming rather frightening for all of us.

For me, my middle kiddo having a classmate kill herself was very difficult for me to handle. She has been suicidal in the past and definitely been depressed off and on for a few years. When I heard about her classmate, I had no idea how close they were. I knew she had to know her. They had to know each other as our town is small and we are all connected and the kids all know each each other in school. I was so worried about her all day. I was so relieved to know that they weren’t close at all but still have had concerns about her since. She appears to be okay but studies do show that suicide is contagious.

I spent all day wondering who was next. Why it is contagious. Why do people get permission to go ahead and go through with it when other people do? I have always wondered that. I have never understood that but it is true. I have read a lot on theories of why this past week but I think I have one idea why. One of the reasons I never acted on my plans was I was afraid of failing and having to live with the consequences of that. I didn’t want to live with people upset with me for attempting to die. I think one of the reasons that it is contagious is we see people  succeed and think maybe we can, too. Is that one of the reasons that there are more attempts after a suicide in an area? It is a theory of mine. There is a town summit on Thursday addressing our crisis and where to get help, what to watch for, etc. I imagine that it will be highly attended as this is affecting our small community so hard. I hope that we can stop this from continuing in our area.

Don’t worry, I am not depressed or contemplating at all at this time. I am just saddened by all the recent deaths. I am grateful that I haven’t been close to any of the people that have died but I have friends that have been. Survivors have such a hard time.

Depression….. aah that horrible subject that is taboo. I have to talk about it periodically. I refuse to be silent anymore.

Depression entered my life when I was fourteen. By all accounts, I should have been happy. For the most part, I had a great life but I was lonely. A lonely that made no sense. I was sad. A sadness that made no sense. I no longer wanted to live and that made no sense. I felt guilty for feeling the way I did, which made it even worse. I couldn’t talk to anyone about it. I felt shame for having my feelings. I knew that telling my mom would just make her upset and she would tell me to pull myself up and get over it. She wouldn’t be being insensitive but she didn’t understand depression. She truly has no concept of it. I read a book called Lisa, Bright and Dark. The girl was going crazy and then I wondered if that was what was happening to me. I must have read that book a dozen times. I related to her.  Why was I so sad for no reason? I would pray to my god every night to not let me wake up. This went on for years. I got involved with smoking, drinking, drugs, even sex to try and make me feel better. Every day I thought about dying and how I didn’t want to live anymore. I thought about ways to kill myself. I had a knife to my wrist more times than I can count.  No one would listen I was supposed to be happy so I faked it the best I could. Eventually, I went to visit my dad and he took me to a therapist. That man was the first to save my life. I didn’t see him long but enough to give me tools to keep going. I continued my destructive behavior for a long time but no longer was praying or wishing to die daily.

Flash forward a few years. I was doing much better until a boyfriend and I broke up. We were going to get married. I was the one that decided to break it off but it was so painful. I just knew that no one would ever love me. I was unlovable and always had been (in my mind). I remember being in my apartment in school and just sobbing that I wanted to die and crying out for my former therapist. Somehow, my roommates and I tracked him down and I called  him across the country. Funny how I had seen him in the Philippines and this was preinternet but I found him here in the states. He and I are still in contact to this day. I was is patient in 1984.

After that incident, I managed to plug along with very little depression and few if any suicidal thoughts for years until 2008. Things collapsed for me then. In 2007, we had a string of deaths in our lives:  One of my favorite football players was killed Jan 1st., Dr Bustamante, Kieth, Carly, Ray, Sam, Mrs Faust, My grandfather, Kit, my cousin, and even my dog.  I actually think there were a couple more but I cannot think of who it was. It was emotional turmoil. I was struggling so hard to manage and survive all the pain and heartbreak around me. The first week of January 2008, my husband told me that he no longer wanted to be married to me. That was it. After a year of crying for deaths, I felt like my life was over. I told him he could have the kids because I knew I would die. It wasn’t very long after that I was making a plan. I was drinking almost a bottle of wine every night. I was researching all my meds to see what combination would definitely kill me. I did NOT want to fail this too. I had failed everything in my life, or so I thought. My husband would yell at me daily to pull it together. That just made me worse. My eldest kid had no idea what to do. My husband would yell at me to go get help when I told him that I wanted to die but he never took me for help. I have no idea how many times I TOLD HIM THAT I WAS GOING TO KILL MYSELF. He never took my pills away, never spoke to our doctor, never asked anyone for help. Maybe he was hoping I would do it. I don’t know.

My turning point was being in the car with my youngest. Someone was passing someone else in front of me. I had to put on the brakes to avoid them. My first thought was to hit the gas and unbuckle. That would have been so easy. I had thought about driving off a mountain so many times. I didn’t want to fail my suicide. The only reason my brakes were used is my son was sitting next to me. That was my wake up call. I went to my doctor and was put on antidepressants and started working with the tools I had learned all those years ago. The ex got  angry that I “only went on meds” because he didn’t understand that I already had the tools. I gradually got better and when he eventually filed for divorce, I swore to him that I would not let him kill me.

Last year, I got my semi-colon tattoo for suicide awareness and prevention. My story is not over yet and I am determined to never let that demon take over in my life again. I will speak LOUDLY and PROUDLY of my success. I will be here for anyone that needs to talk. If I can save one life, it is worth the tears I cry every time I recall that pain and loneliness. I no longer am ashamed of having depression. It is not my fault. It is not a weakness. It should no longer be a stigma.

and I felt great!! If you have read my old posts, you would  know what a mess I was. I was suffering from chronic pain for years. I thought that I was going to be in pain every day for the rest of my life. Getting older  scared the hell out of me. I was depressed and suicidal. I was actually working on a plan. I had started getting better when the ex-husband filed for divorce. At that point, I remember standing in my bedroom  door and telling him that he was not going to send me there again. I had come too far at that time and did NOT want to go backwards. It has been a long and difficult journey but I am healthier both physically and mentally than I have been in probably fifteen years.

The person I ran into was my former therapist from when I was going through the divorce. I haven’t seen her in a few years. Last time I saw her, I was having anxiety attacks for the  first time in my life. I  was such a mess. The divorce wasn’t over yet but I only got eight free sessions and couldn’t afford to go back. The next year, I chose not to. We talked for a bit and I filled her in on the past four years. She told me she couldn’t believe how good I looked. She actually stated that I look ten years younger. We finished our conversation with a hug and the tears started flowing.

As I walked away, I realized how good that felt. She was the person that I had shared everything with and I was able to honestly tell her how happy I currently am. I had nothing negative to tell her except the normal money and worry about your kids stress. It is so nice to have that be the only thing that I worry about.