A Lifting

2:10 PM Shonell Bacon 2 Comments

First full week of school kicked off last week. I'm excited, nervous about the semester. I'm excited because every class I'm taking will provide a practical benefit almost immediately to me. For example, my grants/proposal class will enable me to submit a proposal to a conference, to develop a proposal for a non-profit organization, and to develop an academic or industry proposal...with a purpose. Last semester was heavy in theory, in the foundation, the understanding of all the things we will be doing. It got very tedious, very fast with the mounds upon mounds of words to read and dear God, try to understand in order to articulate a fairly intelligent response. I've always been good at doing. Not to say I'm bad at thinking and understanding, but if you give me a task, the task will get done, and usually, done well. So though there is a lot of work to be done this semester, the act of doing is right up my alley.

Having said this, the first week, week and a half of school had been plagued by my depression, which I talked about in my last post ["Battling Depression with the Word"]. I'm surprised I got all work done over this time because my mood was so low, my mind so heavy with negative thoughts I didn't think I was actually moving at all.

But the middle of last week, I found myself doing something I don't do often - I reached out. I lifted a hand, hoping someone would grasp it and help me out of the swirling waters of depression that threatened to drown me.

Typically, I think I'm Super Woman. I don't need anyone to help me. I can do everything all. by. myself. I suffer in silence, and even though people can read me like a book and can see I'm in pain and am in need of helping hands, I will smile and say, "I'm good. I got this."

But I never have it.

And this time, I realized that. This time, I lifted a hand to my daughter-in-spirit and cried to her. She listened to me. Prayed for me. This time, I called my mother and wept, telling her how I couldn't fight the thoughts in my head alone. She listened. Offered advice. Told me we would get through this. Later, she called me just to say, "I love you." This time, I called a sister-in-spirit who acknowledged that this was the first time ever that I opened up about anything and showed my angst.

I never, NEVER want to burden others with my problems. It's the number one reason I've kept feelings to myself...usually until they explode in long-running, painful, depressive episodes.

But this lifting of hands, of eyes...this silent askance of help has been the biggest, best thing I've done for myself. Letting others in, others with stories to tell, with advice to give, with love to share has lifted me out of this current battle of depression.

This is the fifth day in a row in which I have not cried. This is the fifth day in a row in which I have not had a depressive, painful thought. Does this mean the depression is gone? Probably not, but it means I'm learning new ways to manage it so that I can be productive and, dare I say it, relatively happy.

As I've said in other posts, my writing here is not generated to bring forth pity, sympathy. I write to reveal myself to myself. If it helps others, that's an added blessing.

If you're in the midst of a longstanding depression, lift yourself -- a hand, an eye, a word -- to someone who will willingly and lovingly lift you into the light and help get you back on your right path.


Battling Depression with the Word

1:50 PM Shonell Bacon 2 Comments

Earlier today, I was trying to get up the energy to leave the house and run some errands when my baby bro called. I plopped onto the sofa and chatted with him about his new license and his need for insurance for his new-old car. After the conversation ended, I remained on the sofa, kneeling upon it, arms resting on one of the sofa arms, just being.

Then I saw it.

The bible.

It sat on the end table. Dust laid on its cover. It had been awhile since I had opened it.

Though I felt something jump within me when I saw it, I wasn't sure I wanted to touch it.

I always got this way when I was depressed.

For nearly three weeks, I have been battling depression, and every day, the anxiety and issues that come from it have increased.

I've battled depression most of my life though it wasn't 'til about nine years ago that I was diagnosed with clinical depression (or Major Depressive Disorder, specifically Atypical Depression. I went through three years of psychotherapy and the taking of medication in the early 2000s and learned ways to help keep my head above water without a counselor or medication.

But it always creeps back.

There's always this low level of sadness that exists and a lot of performing on my part so that the world thinks I'm OK.

It gets tiring. And only adds to the depression.

When I saw the bible, I thought about all the frenzied thoughts that have been racing through my mind, all the issues--real and imaginary--that have plagued me over the last several weeks, and how there was still some part of me that wanted this depression to go away because I was still putting up my scriptures, I was still reading the scriptures in my daily planner, I was still offering advice to others and praying for them, I was still--every once in awhile and out of the blue--saying, "God, help me."

There is a constant battle in my head; I call it The Battle over Life and Depression. There is the Shonell that has lived with depression her whole life, who can call up at any time the saddest moments of her life because she wants to revel in the sadness. Besides, it helps her conjure up the future depressive moments that will surely ruin any form of happiness that comes her way. This Shonell can sit, for hours on end, and do nothing but stare blankly and listlessly, barely feeling the cadence of her heartbeat and then "wake up" from her catatonic state hours later, more depressed because time has eluded her and she has even more stuff to do now. This Shonell fears anything that the "Life Shonell" does.

The "Life Shonell" goes to school. She writes. She publishes books. She laughs. She seems to have a personality. She plans for the future. She can actually envision a future in which she might actually be happy and bring goodness to the world.

When these two are doing major battle or when Depressive Shonell invades the body fully, there is no room for God. God means hope, and for Depressive Shonell, that word does not exist.

But Life Shonell waits, waits for that moment when her worse-half takes a nap, looks the other way, and she is able to whisper a "God, help me."

And that brief pause occurred when I saw the bible today.

I wiped my hand along the cover, erasing the dust. I rifled the pages of the bible, never once lifting it to me. I closed my eyes and allowed myself--though I could feel the battle within--to get deep and dark and quiet.

And I stopped rifling.

And I quietly prayed for God to show me something.

And he did.

I opened the bible and came to a discussion on Ezekiel 16:6, and I read Ezekiel 16:6-14, which states:

6 “And when I passed by you and saw you struggling in your own blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ Yes, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ 7 I made you thrive like a plant in the field; and you grew, matured, and became very beautiful. Your breasts were formed, your hair grew, but you were naked and bare.

8 “When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; so I spread My wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine,” says the Lord GOD.

9 “Then I washed you in water; yes, I thoroughly washed off your blood, and I anointed you with oil. 10 I clothed you in embroidered cloth and gave you sandals of badger skin; I clothed you with fine linen and covered you with silk. 11 I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your wrists, and a chain on your neck. 12 And I put a jewel in your nose, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head. 13 Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth.

You ate pastry of fine flour, honey, and oil. You were exceedingly beautiful, and succeeded to royalty. 14 Your fame went out among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through My splendor which I had bestowed on you,” says the Lord GOD.

And I cried.

And I smiled.

And I whispered, "Thank you, God."

Today, at least, as I battle Depressive Shonell, I have a better chance of winning because God revealed to me how special and precious I am. And because God brings people in my life like my sister from another mother, my mother, and my daughter-in-spirit -- who all rallied around me last night and helped me get through a dark moment, I know that I can overcome this.


New Year, New Possibilities

2:23 AM Shonell Bacon 1 Comments

Happy New Year, Everyone!

I've been on (and still am on) vacay, so I was away from the blog, but I plan to get back into the swing of things - especially with me going back to Lubbock at the end of the week and with school starting next week.

If you follow me on any of the social watering holes like Twitter {I'm HERE}, Facebook {and HERE}, and MySpace {and HERE, too!}, you know that the semester ended pretty well for me. Despite my issues and wishes to flee Lubbock for Lake Charles, I finished the semester with great grades and even a few papers that sparked me into General Dissertation Thoughts. Always a good thing.

The biggest thing I learned over this semester was if I could succeed when I felt so overwhelmed, so unstructured, so unprepared, so un-everything, then with more organization and preparation (and heavy, heavy doses of God and prayers), I can shoot for beyond the stars.

I'm nervous and excited about the new semester. Why? Well, though I'm happy to be taken one less class than last semester, this feels like a "crunch time" semester for me. Need to get my committee together. I need [more want than need, but need is a close second] to get my dissertation idea firmer and be able to articulate some research questions. I need to start thinking about grants and fellowships and research and ideas for papers for conferences.

OK, moving on. LOL Will drive myself crazy thinking about it. Let's just say that spring 2010 semester will present new academic challenges for me.

Besides, there are more NEW challenges, possibilities before me for the twenty-ten [yeah, don't overall feel this twenty-ten thing, but I'm going to use it].

I finally connected with a bit of creativity while home. I scoured through story ideas and the two unfinished books I have and chose one of the unfinished books as my next project. I did a bit of organizing and planning of my writing agenda for 2010, and I'm excited for all the things that will be coming up - through my new writing, the release of my debut solo project, Death at the Double Inkwell in June {pre-order HERE!}, the development of my The Write Life for You series of books I plan to indie-publish and go live with the first book in December. The possibilities right now, literally, feel endless.

Although I'm anxious and a bit rattled and nervous, I'm also confident that once I get over myself and get on with it all, I will conquer every obstacle set before me and succeed...yet again.