Depression – Shifting Your Perception

Depression.  If you have ever worn that label, you probably felt a heaviness in your soul just reading the word.  It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue with a magical lightness, does it?

I wore that label on my heart and spirit since I was in elementary school.  I felt the weight of the diagnosis long before it was made.  It consumed me.  I would take flight only to be snapped back to the ground like there was a chain around my soul.  I barely scraped out of my college years with my life.

I hold no judgement toward anyone who has committed suicide.  None at all in the slightest.  Truly.  I remember believing with every fiber of my being that it would be better in the long run for everyone I cared about if I just died.  I understood that they would hurt in the short term, but overall, I believed that it would be a gift of true kindness from me to them.  They wouldn’t be stuck working through all the problems I brought into their lives each day.

I didn’t have a clue about how completely and utterly untrue that was.  If you ever tell yourself that others around you will be better off if you are dead, you are more wrong than you could possibly imagine.

The people who care about you – even the ones who may be angry with you – NEVER stop hurting.  The hollow aches in their chests don’t go away.  They will always feel a heartbreak that will never be mended.  They will cry every time someone new asks about you.  They will have to suffer thoughtless comments from others who don’t understand, and they will then have to go on the defense with searing pain or swallow the unkindness like broken glass.  They will ask themselves every single day what they could have done differently, and even though the clear answer is “absolutely nothing at all,” they will always wonder.  The part of their life that will be better off will never happen.  They may be able to forgive the choice, but they will never be able to be thankful for it.

I did not know this then, but I see it now.  If you have been impacted by suicide by a family member or a friend, my heart goes out to you more than I can tell you.  There are no words to explain the level of confusion and misunderstanding people stumble through when they are at that point. People who suffer depression feel like they are broken on the inside. Like something is wrong with them.  Like they are crazy.

But what if the crazy part wasn’t actually crazy at all.  What if instead of seeing yourself as being broken, you saw yourself as being made differently than the person beside you?  If you were to look at that person and compare them to any other on the planet, I assure you that you would find unique attributes of each one of those individuals – attributes you wanted to have and attributes that you were glad weren’t on your personal shame list.

What if instead of believing that you needed to be fixed, you recognized that the way you happen to think, feel, love and hurt in extremes actually allows you to experience the world itself from a wider emotional range?  When I was younger, my days were consumed by the highest highs and lowest lows.  My eyes were opened again and again to spectacular wonders as well as dark looming tragedy.  The incessant whipsaw of emotions made me tough on certain fronts and softened my heart on others.

I always find it amusing when I hear people say that this person is on “The Spectrum.”  I’m not implying that autism is comical to me.  I am saying is that the term “spectrum” is an interesting word to choose because it encompasses all the colors we can see with our human eyes, but it also refers to colors that are there yet remain invisible.

What if people with depression are able to see the invisible parts of the spectrum?  Perhaps in lieu of perceiving invisible light, they perceive an emotional range that is out of reach of most humans.

I would never wish a diagnosis of depression on anyone.  Never.  But I wouldn’t go back and change that part of myself or my life either.  I have a broader emotional view and intutive sense than many others around me.  I see people who have a complete inability to recognize the depth in another’s tone.  They can’t hear the unspoken message in the other person’s words, but it is crystal clear to me.  I have been in that emotional place, so I feel it with all the tangibility of a wave crashing into the rocks.  My ability to sense more has helped me to guard those I love, but it has also allowed me to see others who need a hand to prevent them from drowning.

You may feel like you are a stone sinking below the waves because of that label.  Just know that the label may be the broken part, not you.  Your perceived darkness may actually be a beacon of light to another.  It may be the very thing that allows you to shine.

Lose the label.  It doesn’t define you.  If you can’t release it now, know that it doesn’t get to steal your brilliance, passion, or ability to see with more depth and feeling than most will ever comprehend.  Take off the blinders when you look in the mirror, and recognize who you truly are.  Release the curse so you can find the gift.

We would never need light if we didn’t have darkness.  They go hand in hand.

 I write these words for those who suffer depression personally and those who have watched someone they care about be torn apart by it.  If you are reading these words, they are written for you.  Know that you are precious beyond measure.  You are dear and important and perfect just as you are.  You absolutely matter.

In love and light always.  Joanna

(Day 19)

Movies – The Terminator – How to Kill a Cyborg & a Classic at the Same Time (Day 18)

Who among us doesn’t think the words “family film” when remembering The Terminator.  Everyone you say?  Well there’s a reason for that, but it’s not the one you think.

Many would assume that this movie has yet to solidify it’s slot in the family film genre solely based on heavy violence, adult language, and visible nip / hiney action.  While those elements do have merit, I have no doubt that the key determining factor that ultimately locked up the R rating designation was that the movie makers had pre-teen / young teen kids of their own and knew that those almost adult humans would ask ten thousand questions during the whole film thus driving the surrounding full adults insane if they were allowed into the theater.

For other parents reading this, I have a few comments I would like to share.  First of all, my husband fell on his sword and hung out with our tidbit kid in the other room as she watched a painfully bad kid cartoon.  I have reached max capacity on my cartoon swine viewing limit and have determined that life is too uncertain to spend one more second of it with that freakin’ pig.  Take Peppa back England!!!

So it was just the bigs (the older kids) and me watching The Terminator.  Once again take a deep breath judgy parental pants because we are actually pretty strict on what we let our kids see.  There is a high lame factor present on their shows.  However the Terminator and Alien were the first R rated films my parents let me see two hundred years ago, I didn’t die or go on a killing spree (yet…), and I am following the tradition.  These movies are kind of like R light.

I don’t sweat some bad language here and there.  Although my husband and I weave in and out of our own personal mine field of F bombs, we are careful to keep the verbal arsenal under lockdown until the kids aren’t around.  But these kids do go to school with lots of other kids, and we recognize that they hear the words daily.  I’m not indifferent to it, but there comes a point as a parent when you have to wake up and smell the fochaccino.  I think of it like someone talking smack about me behind my back.  If I never catch them, then I don’t know and I will remain peacefully oblivious.  But if I do…

Watch.  Your.  Back.

On the sexuality front(al), my kids know where babies come from (adult humans obviously pollinate), but we still steer them away from anything super steamy or laced with heavy innuendo.  I had already seen the movie multiple times before and therefore knew when the film was going to get all nudey booty.  Miraculously there just happened to be freshly baked cookies exiting the oven in the kitchen at the same time!  It was as if a mystical force knew what was about to happen and planned it that way.  And by mystical force, I mean me.

As for the violence, The Terminator was hard core violent in it’s day.  However it would barely scratch a PG-13 rating nowadays.  So that’s the dish.  If you are still annoyed, why are you continuing to read this?  Look away!

And now, after all that, I’m going to give you a small sense of what it was like to watch this action classic with them.  I will walk through the key scenes of the film, but this will be done via telling you the questions they asked  me and the answers I gave in return.  I’m only going to share a teeny fraction of these as I don’t have the patience to type them all, and the internet isn’t big enough to encompass that much data anyway.  This is a novella of a post, but I want to document this now.  I need to know exactly what to teach my grandchildren to say as payback years down the road.

***Spoiler alert – If you haven’t seen this movie, what is up with that?  Also I will be loosely telling the tale, but I’m absolutely going to ruin the whole thing for you if you keep reading.  Given that this is exactly what my kids did to this movie for me, it only seems fair.***

I didn’t write that text.  It was part of the shot.

(Opening scene – intro shot)

KID 1 – Is this in the future?
ME – It says 2029 A.D. on the screen.  You know what that means.
KID 1 – So yes?
ME – Seriously?
KID 1 – So yes?
MY HUSBAND (We are one minute into the movie yet he clearly can’t take it anymore and thus sticks his head around the corner) – It’s 2017 now!  Yes – it’s in the future!!!

(Fast forward to present day which happens to be the 1980s at that point – naked Arnold a.k.a the Terminator appears, flashes his hiney, and goes on the hunt for some threads)

Because of course Arnold would definitely wear the same size clothes as any of these string beans.

KID 2 – Where are his clothes?
ME – He’s from the future.  I guess he lost them in time travel.
KID 2 – They don’t wear clothes in the future?
ME – I can’t go into the delicate nature of time travel right now.  Please just watch the movie.
KID 2 – But he’s from the future?
ME – Yes.
KID 2 – Why is he there?
ME – Please just watch.

(Other naked guy soon to be known as Kyle Reese appears)

And in another lucky happenstance, he meets a homeless guy with perfect sized pants just waiting to be stolen – praise be!

KID 1 – Another naked guy?  Is he from the future, too?
ME – Yes.
KID 1 – Are there going to be more naked future people?
ME – No.
KID 2 – So he’s from the future?
ME – I just said that he’s from the future.
KID 2 – But why doesn’t he have clothes.
(Beats the heck out of me kid but I will say anything to make this stop.)
ME – They burn up in time travel.
Kid 2 – Oh….

(***Addendum to post – My husband read this entry after I wrote it.  He said that they explain in the movie that you can’t take anything with you when you time travel, so that’s why they are sans underoos.  I probably would have heard this explanation as well had I been watching it in a kid-free zone.)

(Both men have donned their totally tubular 80s fashion, and it’s time to search for Sarah Connor.  Lucky for Sarah, she is already fully integrated into the 80s look as can be evidenced by that hair.)

And this, kids, is what we call the feathered look.

KID 2 – Is she from the future?
ME – No.
KID 2 – But he is from the future?
ME – … (staring blankly and locking the words from my mind in my mouth)

Hey baby. You come here often??

(More movie stuff as the Terminator methodically tracks down every Sarah Connor he can find in the phone book and pops a cap as needed.  Meanwhile I get to explain the mysterious “phone book” concept to my kids, and their reaction is one of shock, awe, and palpable embarrassment for all that once was.  More movie stuff.  We see Kyle Reese is also Desperately Seeking Sarah.)

KID 2 – Why are they looking for her?

(Kid 2 broke me at last.  I could no longer endure the endless questions while I waited for her to see what was going to happen.)

ME – Okaaaay so the big guy is a dangerous robot from the future who is trying to kill that lady.  The other guy is trying to save her.  In the future, the robots take over the planet.  She will have a kid that will help save the humans.  The big robot guy goes back in time to try to kill her before that happens, and the other guy is trying to stop him.
KID 1 & 2 – He’s a robot!?!?
ME – Yes.
KID 2 (in regard to Arnold on screen) – Is he a robot?
ME – Yes.
KID 2 (in regard to Kyle Reese) – Is he a robot?
ME – No.
KID 2 (every few seconds for the next 15 minutes whenever any guy appears on the screen) – Is he a robot?  Is he a robot?  Is he a robot?  Is he a robot?  Is he a robot?  Is he a robot?
ME (in response back every few seconds) – Yes.  No.  Yes.  No.  Yes.  No.  Stop asking.  Pleeeaaase.  I’m begging you.

(Fight scene in club.)

Watch me whip…Now watch me nae nae…

Excuse me but did you just pull a “stop short” move?

(Escape.  Car chase.  Escape.)

I’ve got my eye on you!

(I’m not even going to begin to run through the eyeball removal questions. Needless to say, there were no further inquiries regarding the Terminator’s robot status after that.)

I’LL BE BACK

(A few minutes later, Arnold delivered his famous “I’ll be back” line.  I explained the significance to the kids.  Now the only people who have used the words “I’ll be back” more than Arnold would be my children. Throughout the rest of the film. End. Less. Ly.)

Used homeless guy sweatpants AND a tie-dyed top? Save some sexy for the rest of us!

(More escaping amidst many more painful questions.  Sarah and Reese hideout in a swanky roach motel.  As he starts to reach for her cookies, the timer goes off and we head to the kitchen for a few minutes to get ours.)

(We return from our brief cookie hiatus to find the couple running from the Terminator yet again.  I run through the “robot from future going after girl from present as guy from future attempts to save her” dynamic for the twentieth time.)

(More running…  More escaping…  More running…)

KID 2 – Is he ever going to die?
(Seconds later)
KID 2 (again) – He’s never going to die.

(At least she asked and answered both parts of that one.)

(Cue the countless “why won’t this thing die already” scenes.)

Arnold had to lose a lot of weight for these last few scenes.

KID 1 – What!?!?
KID 2 – I toooold you.

(More running and then we enter the factory with other big machines.  The irony hangs out just waiting to do its part.)

Don’t leave me future sweatpants guy!

(Kyle kicks the bucket in a last ditch effort to blow up the cyborg.  Fail!  Half a cyborg body remains and drags it’s torso after Sarah.  Since captain sweatpants didn’t finish the job and managed to leave her with shrapnel in her leg (as well as one other parting gift she won’t soon forget), she can’t run and therefore crawls away in turn.  She pulls herself through a huge machine clearly used to press large somethings (I believe that mechanical engineers refer to these giant pieces of industrial equipment as “those really big thingies that smoosh other not quite as big but still really big thingies.”).

KID 1 & 2 – Noooo!
KID 1 – Oh come ooooon.
KID 2 – Oh yeah.  She’s gonna smash him!

(Sarah climbs out of the mega smoosher.  As the torso of the cyborg reaches toward Sarah, she pushes her body back from his clawing hand.  She desperately feels (blindly) around a wall (that she cannot see at all in the slightest) because that’s (naturally what you do when you are terrified out of your mind and have access to a massive piece of industrial machinery that only two people on the planet have a clue how to use and that’s) where she locates…

My bet is that he was just trying to style her bangs differently.

…and presses the button.  The smoosher smooshes away the last of his scrappiness.)

(Get it?  Because he is now scrap metal and before he was scrappy.  <— This is what it would have been like if we had watched a comedy instead.  Nothing says humor quite like a five minute joke explanation to break out why a two second line is funny.)

KID 1 – That hand is gonna be like Thing from The Adams Family.
KID 2 – Yay!
KID 1 – So there is no more future now?
ME – … (dead pan stare as my jaw hangs slack)  (I had explained it too many times already.  Here we were at the very end, and they still missed the whole damn story.)

(Final scene – a few months down the road)

KID 2 – She has a doggie!
KID 1 – Awww.  Wait.  Why is she pregnant?
ME – Hmmm.  I don’t know, but the movie is over.  Who wants the last of the cookies?

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