Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Some Bickley Poetry: On Depression

I Have, I Can, I Will
Erin Bickley, 2016

Yes, this is depression. Yes, you are depressed.
Yes, hopelessness has returned.
Yes, sometimes death appears the solution, to stop the pain and the burn.
Yes, you are truly suffering.
Yes, you also feel nothing.
Yes, there's a light at the end of the tunnel.
Yes, there is an end to that tunnel.
Yes, it might be far away.
Yes, this is depression. Yes, you are depressed.
Yes, you will get through this.

Yesyou will have to move through it 
Step after step, one day at a time.
Yes, you will think, 
After days, weeks, or months: 
I wish that this life were not mine.
But when the fog lifts, 
And, yes, it will clear,
Pay attention
to how you got through this.
Yes, you will get through this.

You will
one day, 
feel 'normal' again.
You will 
stop feeling this hopeless.
You will
one day, 
feel like you're okay; 
But you'll live
With this diagnosis.

You will
 go through 
depression again.
Again and again, 
ad nauseum.
You will suffer 
through the same agony.
You will, 
once again, 
feel hopeless.
But, you will get through this.

Should all this wisdom
 elude you, 
When depression
comes back to meet you,
(and it will)
Should thoughts of death 
allure you 
When depression 
seeks to defeat you,
(and it will)
Take my wisdom,
take as much as you can,, 
as many times as you need to.
No need to learn this the hard way, 
Somebody learned it 
for you,
before you. 
I learned it 
the hard way
 before you
for you:

Yes, this is depression. Yes, I am depressed. 
Depression does not last forever. 
I will not feel like this forever.
I feel this way right now.
Right now I am in agony. 
It's excruciating right now.
It will not always 
hurt like this. 
I will not always 
hurt like this.
I cannot escape
evade or elude 
This illness they call:
But I know can
 endure what they call,
the 'Episodes'
of my Depression.
So I know will
 endure this Depression, 
because, have 
endured my Depression.
The proof is in the pudding, 
there's evidence on my side;
As long as I remember 
to keep this thought in mind:
I've done it before, 
I can do it again.
I've done it before, 
will do it,
I have felt what we call,
Which proves 
 feel happy. 
can feel happy, 
will feel happy...
when this Depression... 
should end. 
Yes, I have done it, so yes, I can do it, and yes, I will do it again.

Yes, this is depression. Yes, I am depressed.
I'm curled up,
I'm crying.
I wish I were dying.
I'm not even trying
to get up from lying
 on this cold bathroom floor.
But I will get up, 
Though my mind
 is a mess,
Since that's how I've coped
I buckle up,
I white-knuckle up;
Day after day after day. 
Every day when I wake up
I shower, put on makeup
And get ready to face up
My unavoidable chore.

It's painful, it's miserable, 
It's indescribable
But I know that I know 
how to swim,
For I have crossed this ocean,
Again, and again, and again. 
I've done it before; I can do it again.
I've done it before, will do it again.

E.B. 2016

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

[Tuesday Truth-Day] Helen Keller

"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success is in the most trying times that our real character is shaped and revealed."

[Helen Keller]

Friday, January 1, 2016

To Begin: Begin. -William Wordsworth

I. What will be your biggest triumph in 2016?
Completing the second half of my weight loss journey, and reclaiming my body -- back to my normal weight -- by December 31st.

II. What advice can you give yourself for the coming year?
"Take care of yourself. Make the most out of the opportunities in front of you. When opportunities aren't handed to you, go create some for yourself. Life is the ultimate you better not blow it."

III. How will you best improve your finances?
This is one I really need to put a lot of myself into: planning, conscientiousness, and follow-through. Time to put the impulsive online shopping to an end. I've created and set up a Mint account, and I will use it consistently to monitor my budget and stay on track:
  1.  Sticking to my budget when shit gets real, i.e. I accidentally end up on Zulily. I know I should close out of it immediately, but I convince myself that I deserve a glance, seeing as I've been sober from my addiction to compulsive online shopping for months now... I've been sober for so long that it won't even be a temptation; I'm just gonna browse the site, just this once, I won't buy anything, one look can't hurt, can it? .....Fast forward to 2 hours later: I find myself, high as a kite off of "add to cart", strung out on several emails that include an "order summary". Because of my bender (and the ones that would inevitably follow), I am no longer able to afford rent, thereby getting evicted from my house and relegated to living in my car as I continue to attend graduate school, through which I accrue more and more debt due to student loans. See how quickly and easily an addiction can spiral out of control?
  2. Networking with people in my part of town, as well as reconnecting with former clients and tapping into their networks wherever possible, to make new connections with people who need frequent and/or occasional childcare. Book up my calendar, making it as full as possible by working whenever I don't have prior obligations.
  3. Taking on more bookings for photoshoots! I have all these messages from photographers wanting to shoot with me, and I, out of indifference, just haven't been up to it. I want to commit to more bookings and expanding my portfolio because the more I do so, the more experienced I'll be, the more shoots I'll book, and the higher rate I can set as my hourly.  

IV. What do you plan to complete in 2016?
A whole host of SECONDS:
1. My second year of grad school (May 2016).
2. The second half of my total weight loss goal (December 31, 2016).
3. My second round (then my 3rd, 4th, etc.) of the 21 Day Fix (started Round 2, Day 1 on January 5, 2016)
4. Meet Third Eye Blind for the second time (anywhere, anytime, as many times as possible, 365 days/year if I could). ;)

V. What new experiences would you like to try in 2016?
1. Picking up my old guitar -- which was a gift from my uncle when I was 10, and with which I took about 3 months of private lessons before quitting -- and giving it a real go. Even if I have to teach myself with YouTube videos. Actually, that's the only way I can feasibly do it; guitar lessons are definitely not in the budget!
2. NOT RELOCATING! -- with 2012 being the only exception, I have gone through a move every single year since 2005 (that's ten years -- and in college I had to move twice a year: move out of a residence at the end of spring semester, then back into a new residence in the fall), and it's a stressful, excruciating process. Most of the times I've moved, I've done so out of necessity, but this year there will be no necessary reason to do so -- and, more significantly, my goal is to not create a reason (or worse, a situation that makes it a necessity) to move.
3. Buddhism.

VI. What would you most like to change about yourself in 2016?
Slacking off, rather than working my ass off, just because it's easier to do so. 

VII. What are you hoping to learn in 2016?
1. Wherever I end up for practicum/internship, I have the opportunity to take advantage of the ocean of potential in front of me, so that I can become the best therapist I can possibly be.
2. To transition from a sense of obligation to a sense of enjoyment when it comes to exercise.
2. Better meditation skills. 

VIII. What big risk do you think you will take in 2016?
1. Continuing to put myself out there, with gusto and confidence. I've become increasingly courageous over the past 2 years when it comes to vulnerability, and it's a process I continue to tweak as I strive towards a sense of mastery thereof.  
2. Booking shoots that are more challenging than I'm used to, and that require more focus, energy, and talent--talent that I have, yet have been a little on the reserved side in terms of bringing it out, being proactive, and MYSELF being the one who sets the tone, mood, and energy of the shoot.

IX. What are you most committed to changing and improving in the new year?
1. My bad habit of canceling plans at the last minute and flaking out.
2. Taking Yogi on longer, more frequent walks.
3. Remembering to check myself before I wreck myself when I start to go into "It's All About Me"-mode.

X. What undeveloped talent you are willing to explore in 2016?
I'm great at getting organized...staying organized, on the other hand, needs a lot of work.

XI. Who would you like to get to know better in 2016?
My relatives. As an only child with a small-ish sized family in general, the "FAMILY FIRST" outlook, which I see in so many other people, has never been very prominent for me. I would like that to change.

XII. What brings you the most joy and how are you going to do or have more of that in 2016?
Spending time with true friends, who know and love me inside out--and I, them--just laughing until our stomach and facial muscles hurt. How will I do this? See IX.1 above. 

XIII. Who or what, other than yourself, are you most committed to loving and serving in 2016?
My parents.

IXX. What one word or phrase would you like to have as your theme in 2016?

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Saturday, December 26, 2015

If your brain was wired "differently" like mine, this is my message to you:

Even though I don't know you in person...I am your sister, your teammate, and your fellow soldier, fighting in a war that can never truly be won, to which we have been drafted. But I trust that the Universe knows what it is doing, even though most of the time we definitely don't understand the "why". When I look at the big picture, you and I -- along with the millions of others diagnosed with one or more mental illnesses -- are a fierce team of soldiers who must  seek to incite CHANGE in our world -- we have a duty to be the ADVOCATES, MOUTHPIECES, and even, for the boldest of the bold, the POSTERCHILDREN, who put ourselves out there to keep our motto alive:

End. The. Stigma.

Let us commit to making ourselves vulnerable, so that others may realize that they do not have to carry SHAME about having an invisible illness. I'm quite familiar with the DSM-V, and I believe "SHAME" is not part of the diagnostic criteria for ANY psychological/psychiatric disorder. And I will keep speaking up about this cause until we've won THAT battle, because the ability, courage, and insight to do so was GIFTED to me by an all-powerful Universe...and, again, I trust in its cosmic power. Just know that I am on the front lines with you. I am right next to you, comrade.

Though we are all soldiers, it is my belief that we are made into WARRIORS by way of what we must bravely face every single day. EVERY SINGLE DAY, we make the choice to keep fighting the good fight: to get out of bed and LIVE -- living WITH illnesses instead of IN SPITE OF them.

It is, however, is an invisible and lonely fight. We aren't revered, lauded, or credited when we report for duty. Although we share diagnostic "labels" with others, we are the only ones who live out our own experience with it. Therein lies the paradox: we are in the trenches together, yet we are each alone when facing the opposition. We can lean on our support system for encouragement, and this sometimes helps to dull some of the pain...but no one else can fight in our place. We are called as individuals to carry out our unique orders.

Such is the life of a warrior. We CAN be the captains of our own fate...should we choose -- and continue to choose -- to stand up to what stares us in the face. We mustn't turn away in fear, denial, or cowardice; doing so allows mental illness to become Brutus as we stand in the place of Caesar.

But we need not duck or hide, regardless; we are only the sick ones because we are the only ones strong enough to fight for our health...ourselves...and our lives.

Still strictly yours,

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

[Tuesday Truth-Day] : A Powerful Quote by Don Miguel Ruiz

"Don't take anything personally.
Nothing others do is because of you.
What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream.
When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others,
you won't be the victim of needless suffering."

Thursday, November 12, 2015

9 Ways to Fight Mental Health Stigma

I use ALL of these. So important to advocate for the #EndTheStigma movement. I know it isn't popular, it is still in its beginning stages, and it may feel too overwhelming to take on this movement ourselves; it's easy, too, to become discouraged and feel like we aren't making a difference. But think of it as a domino effect: if we can fight stigma and change ONE person's understanding about what mental illness is (and what it isn't), they in turn have the opportunity to advocate for this movement and perhaps change ONE other person's understanding of it, and one by one, like taking out flies with a swatter, we can eradicate the stigma surrounding mental illness.

We have to be the pioneers. We have to have the courage to put ourselves out there and speak up. We have to be okay with not being of the popular opinion. For right now, what we have to say isn't what people are used to hearing. But if we keep saying it, eventually it will be.


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