"All the best stories in the world are but one story in reality -- the story of escape. It is the only thing which interests us all and at all times, how to escape."
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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Reflection

This is not the usual Dollycas post, no book reviews, no giveaways, just some thoughts.

A year ago at this same time I was in a totally different place in my mind.  I have suffered from depression for years, even before my accident.  It was something no one ever talked about to anyone, with the exception of your doctor, your spouse and maybe a very good friend.

Last year I hit rock bottom.  I didn't allow any decorations for Christmas on the main level of this house.  My son and his wife decorated their apartment downstairs and that is where the kids celebrated Christmas.  I did not celebrate at all.  My kids gave me presents that didn't get opened until after the new year.  I didn't attend any family gatherings or any church services.  There were days I never got out of bed.

The downward spiral started with a doctor's appointment that finally diagnosed the severe pain I was suffering with in my arms.  An inoperable cyst a the base of my neck on my spinal cord.  The doctor prescribed medication the immediately helped with the pain, but told me that a simple fall or turn of my head could cause the cyst to burst.  If that happened the best thing would be death because I would then be completely paralyzed from the neck down.  Thank God the cyst has not burst yet and hopefully never will, but in the past year I have found my faith again and just like I did when I was saved after my accident, I know I am not the one in control.

Then in February when my mom passed away. I didn't handle it well at all and each day got worse.  Her birthday is Christmas Eve and by then I was a mess.

Then in April I lost my job at the church which I truly loved, the details on that would fill a book so I will only say, I totally lost respect for the man that was my pastor and another man I thought was my friend.  The church is filled with other angels that helped me maintain and sustain but not get beyond the pain.  I am still working through this.

Then we lost a court fight with an huge area hospital who had double billed us, using 2 separate account numbers for the same emergency room visit for our daughter in 2006.  Her 6 hour stay with a band-aid and observation cost almost 1/3 as much as my 75 day stay with all my surgeries. Even with a stack of papers over 6 inches high detailing everything we had done, the judge said we did not use enough due diligence to prove our case.  He glibly suggested that if we didn't like his decision we could sue the hospital, like we have money for that.  We did send several letters to everyone from the CEO to the board of directors of the hospital (over 30 people) asking/begging them to please review our case now that they had their money times two, find the mistake and do the right thing.  We sent each letter 3 times even with delivery confirmation and have never received even 1 reply.

The monthly garnishment ordered was almost the exact same amount as our house payment.  Which meant we couldn't pay both and almost lost our house.  Thankfully early this year Jeff was able to get our loan modified and we still have our house, the garnishment is complete and we can pay our house payment.  I guess we were one of the few to benefit from the housing and bank crash. But our credit rating really sucks.

Now back to this exact time last year, we had no money for presents.  I was feeling guilty because of my condition, thinking if I was "whole" that none of the above would have happened with the exception of my mom, but I probably would have handled that better.  I felt our lives would be in a whole better place had it not been for that dreadful accident.  I even had thoughts that my family would have been better off if I had just died and they could get on with their lives without having to worry about me. Some days even wishing to go to sleep and not wake up.

Before and during this time I would spend some time on the internet and had made a few friends.  People I now know were put in my path to save me.  They only knew me through this computer world and built me up when I needed it and told me to get my head out of, well you know, when I needed that too.  They weren't family who treated me with kid gloves.  Don't get me wrong, my whole family and close friends were great, supportive, here for me.  But as my sister often says the Boness women and our daughters too, are a different breed.  We always see the dark, negative, horrible side of things long before we ever see the light.  We know it takes special people to put up with us. Luckily we were both blessed with fantastic husbands. For some reason we handle things better from people we have never met in person, and that was definitely the case here. .

Last year when I was at my lowest, these computer friends encouraged me to start a blog.  I had no idea how to start one, what I would write about and why in the world anyone would want to read anything I wrote.  These friends and I had two things in common, we loved books and loved to read.  We had met on a book swapping site.  So I did a little research and on 12/31/2009 Dollycas's Thoughts was born with this post:

2010 RESOLUTIONS

1. BE A BETTER PERSON
2. START A BLOG
3. READ 140 BOOKS


This blog has grown by leaps and bounds since then and quite literally saved my life. It has made me a better person.  It gives me a reason to get out of bed every morning.  I have gotten to "meet" some truly wonderful people.  I have "met" many of my favorite authors.  I get several books sent to me to read and review every month. (I have read way over 140 books.) I have made some truly awesome friends, many I will never get to meet face to face but are here in this computer world everyday with something to make me laugh, cry, share, communicate, and still give me that kick when I need it.  I have realized yet again what a great gift LIFE is.  It is hard to believe that in 23 days this blog will celebrate its 1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY.

Thank you to my old friends that got me here. Thank you to my new friends for following, reading, sharing, and posting.  Thank you to every author who has given me the pleasure to read and enjoy your work.  Thank you to my family, all of you who have put up with me through all the years.  Yes, many of you fit into more than one of those categories.  Just know I appreciate each and every one of you more than any words I could ever write.

This year the tree is up, lights and other decorations are being added daily.  Christmas will be celebrated in this house and I will be at the gatherings, with the  exception of my church.  Just can't get past that hurt yet.  Now if I could just find a way to get paid for all the blogging fun I would have it made, :) all the other benefits are priceless. You never known what plan lays ahead. I just need to keep my eyes and heart open for the opportunities that may cross my path and remember that the life I have right now is so much better than my life could have been.  It is truly a miracle.



*************************************************************

I recently received the following from Kathy Carton Willis and am including this as part of this post because as you can see from above Depression is a serious issue and I personally understand the holidays can be one of the most difficult times for people with depression.

Dear Bloggers,

Many individuals will struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts during this Christmas Season. Some studies show that there is an increase in emotional/mental health struggles from Thanksgiving to New Years Day. Author and speaker, Linda Evans Shepherd, understands full-well the added pressures many face this time of year. She has compiled materials to help others find the hope they need to win over depression. Can you help us prevent holiday suicides by posting this information on your blog sometime during the month of December?
Ways you can help encourage the discouraged this holiday season:
  1. Add the GodTest.com link to your blog or website so interested parties can find the site during their time of need.
  2. Send this note to your pastor or church and let them know we are offering this PDF as a church bulletin insert, free of charge.
  3. Mention the link above or the link to your blog post on facebook, twitter, or other social networking site, to help create a ripple effect as we get the word out about this needful information.
Thanks for partnering with us to get the word out about this important issue. Please let us know if you choose to participate in this project so we can report the response to Linda. We will all rejoice in the amount of buzz this gets as we spread the word.
Shining the Light on Him and His,
Kathy & KCWC Team
 ***************************************************************

I was not familiar with this site before the email and it is may not be the right choice for everyone suffering with depression, but it could be a vital starting point.

According to the DSM IV*, a medical reference commonly used by health care professionals to aid in diagnosis, a major depressive episode consists of many of the following symptoms and occurs nearly every day for at least two weeks:
  • Depressed mood most of the day; feeling sad or empty, tearful
  • Significant loss of interest or pleasure in activities that used to be enjoyable
  • Significant weight loss (when not dieting) or weight gain; decrease or increase in appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Agitation; or slowing down of thoughts and reduction of physical movements
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt
  • Poor concentration or having difficulty making decisions
  • Thinking about death or suicide
If you are having any of the above symptoms please contact your health care professional to discuss some or all of the above symptoms with you. It’s important to openly share your feelings with him or her.

I wish all of you a safe and wonderful holiday season and if you need a little help please be strong and reach out.  Do not be ashamed or embarrassed.   Every person needs to reach out for something some time in their lives.  It may be the hardest thing you ever do but the benefits will make it so worthwhile.

Lori/ Dollycas

15 comments:

CMash said...

A pre Happy Anniversary congratulataions!! I am glad that things turned out the way they did and that I had the pleasure of getting to know you over this past year. Your honest and personal thoughts have touched me and you have shown true courage to put those feelings in writing. I look forward to what you have in store for 2011. Hang in there friend!!

Jules@OneBookShy said...

Hi Lori,

Thank you so much for this post. This can be such a hard time of the year even when a person isn't dealing with depression or other issues.

I'm having an exceptionally rough time since losing my Mom in September. I'm having difficulty getting in the Christmas spirit for everyone else. Your post is very timely in letting me know that I'm not alone in these kind of feelings.

I also have similar thoughts regarding my blog and the wonderful friends I've made from it and from visiting bloggers like you. I started my blog in July as I was at home caring for my dying mother and needed to be in touch with the outside world. Sharing my love of reading was the perfect way to do this.

I've felt such wonderful support and empathy from so many out there. It has helped immensely. The book blogging world is amazing. Of course, I would give anything right now to still be "stuck" here at home with Mom now. I miss her beyond belief.

Thank you for sharing yourself with all of us. Know that it helps and that I enjoy your blog very much.

Jules

justpeachy36 said...

I've only been following your blog for a little while and participating in your weekly meme, Enquiring Minds, but through that I feel like I am starting to get to know you a little better. My situation is complicated as well and having my blog has really been a salvation for me as well. My blog will be one year old tomorrow. I'm sooo glad that you hung in there and that this Christmas will be much better than your last one! Have a wonderful holiday!

jackie b central texas said...

Lori to say that you have had a hard road is an understatement, thankful to have met you online and truly truly wish you all the best always! Happy Blogoversary way early and you have now gotten to the point of being able to enjoy the tree and all the trappings of the holidays so good for you! Our dearest wishes come true in mysterious ways and if anything ever was more true sharing your feelings and thoughts and hopes and dreams and good days and bad days online with all of us has not only helped you but the people who have found your posts as well!

jackie>_<

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing part of your life with us. Happy Pre-Anniversary congrats!

I found your blog by accident and since then I haven't missed a single posting. I always feel that what you say strikes a feelings in me of like genuiness and love. I felt I had found a friend without the friend even knowing it.

I, too shoulder the problems of depression. When I am depressed, I don't even realize it, I
get weepy, am very sad and don't want to do anything. So, you are not alone.
I have been dx'd with Major Depression. My father had Bi-polar Disorder, my mother was in a hospital several times for depression, my brother succeeded at his first suicidal attempt. You are not alone.

I am very glad that you started this blog. Now I am curious, have you been thinking about resolutions for 2011?
We are all in this together, holding hands across the Internet space.

Carol Wong

Anonymous said...

Lori...the more I read your story, the more I see the pieces of the puzzle coming together. I was reminded of this poem and I hope this poem touches your heart and life. When I lived in Columbus/Beaver Dam I always loved seeing you - you always brightened my day and you know what...you still do. Just remember that He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it. There is a place for you on Christmas eve...go to the stable, rest in the arms and love of the one who came to save the world from their sin. Love you! Marcy
Quilt of Holes

Author: Unknown
As I faced my Maker at the last judgment, I knelt
before the Lord along with all the other souls.

Before each of us laid our lives like the squares
of a quilt in many
piles; an angel sat before each of us sewing our
quilt squares together into a tapestry that is our life.

But as my angel took each piece of cloth off the
pile, I noticed how ragged
and empty each of my squares was. They were filled with giant holes. Each
square was labeled with a part of my life that had
been difficult, the
challenges and temptations I was faced with in
every day life. I saw hardships that I endured, which were the largest holes of all.

I glanced around me. Nobody else had such
squares. Other than a tiny hole here and there, the other tapestries were filled
with rich color and the bright hues of worldly fortune. I gazed upon my own
life and was disheartened.

My angel was sewing the ragged pieces of cloth together, threadbare and empty, like binding air.

Finally the time came when each life was to be
displayed, held up to the the scrutiny of truth. The others rose; each
in turn, holding up their tapestries. So filled their lives had been.
My angel looked upon me, and nodded for me to rise.

My gaze dropped to the ground in shame. I hadn't
had all the earthly fortunes. I had love in my life, and laughter. But
there had also been trials of illness, and wealth, and false
accusations that took from me my
world, as I knew it. I had to start over many
times. I often struggled with
the temptation to quit, only to somehow muster the strength to pick up and
begin again. I spent many nights on my knees in
prayer, asking for help and
guidance in my life. I had often been held up to
ridicule, which I endured
painfully, each time offering it up to the Fatherin hopes that I would not
melt within my skin beneath the judgmental gaze of
those who unfairly judged me.

And now, I had to face the truth. My life was
what it was, and I had to accept it for what it was.
I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares of
my life to the light.

An awe-filled gasp filled the air. I gazed around
at the others who stared at me with wide eyes.

Then, I looked upon the tapestry before me. Light
flooded the many holes,
creating an image, the face of Christ. Then our
Lord stood before me, with
warmth and love in His eyes. He said, "Every time
you gave over your life
to Me, it became My life, My hardships, and My
struggles.

Each point of light in your life is when you
stepped aside and let Me shine
through, until there was more of Me than there was
of you."

May all our quilts be threadbare and worn, allowing
Christ to shine through.

dollycas aka Lori said...

Thank you all!

This is what happens when I don't have a review ready to post. What started out as a simple posts grew into what you read above.

I am blessed to know everyone of you and while you get to know more about me I get to know you each better too.

As I told Cheryl (CMash) we were all destined to meet support each other in any way we can.

Marcy, thank you for the poem, it may turn into a poster on the wall in front of me.

Jules, it does get a little easier but I miss her everyday and my dad who died in 1988 too.

Jackie, I am learning "what doesn't kill us makes us stronger", but it is much easier with some friends along the way.

Deb, Congratulations and I love the snowman header on your blog!!!

Carol, as for 2011, my biggest wish is to sew again and make my grandson a quilt. We will see what happens.

As for Resolutions, I am pondering a few but the main one is a biggie for me after a situation this past weekend. Words hurt and you never know when the last thing you say to a person that day may be the last thing you ever say to that person. Luckily everyone involved is still on this earth. But I have resolved to say positive things to each member of my family as they leave the house each day or if they leave before I am up to send them a positive message via Skype, email or Facebook. I saw some faces Friday night after our boys basketball team lost their game and their coach yelled at them for 25 minutes before a long 2 hour bus ride home where no one was allowed to talk. I know a coach has to sometimes yell to get his players to do what he wants, but the looks on those faces broke my heart. They won last night 57-25 but the 1st part of the first quarter was rocky as the players were afraid to make a mistake, as the game went on the played a great game offensively and defensively. I do not think the played better because of the tirade Friday night, I think they played well in spite of it. I have never been a coach but having parented 4 kids who played sports I know when they screw up they beat themselves up worse than anyone else, they don't start a game thinking boy I hope I really make mistakes tonight.

Positive, Encouraging Words to me work a lot better than yelling. This is high school sports, it's supposed to be fun. So my goal is to learn from what I witnessed and be a more positive, encouraging person now and in 2011.

John Betcher said...

Thank you, Lori, for sharing your story and this important information. I consider you my dear friend, and am thankful for our "virtual" friendship.

Merry Christmas!

Nise' said...

Lori, while it is hard to reveal parts of our lives, I applaud you for doing so. Many times we help when we don't even know it. This year has been hard for me as well, adjusting to my youngest graduating high school and how my role has changed. May your Christmas be filled with joy and laughter!

Maria Zannini said...

Lori, you've had more than your fair share of misery. I'm glad you found the will to persevere and rise above it.

I only started following you recently, thanks to Jackie Burris, but I've truly enjoyed following along. Happy Anniversary. Looking forward to another year.

Amanda M. said...

Amazing and beautiful post.

Julie P said...

I am so happy you are in a better place, Lori. And in addition to what you "get" from your followers, we also "get" plenty from you! Love your blog and look forward to following you for another year....

Ellie said...

I just recently found you and have been following since.

I had a bout with depression for years when I was younger and know how devastating it can be.

Thanks for this post, there are so many out there that it will help.

Many Blessings to you and your family.

dollycas aka Lori said...

All of your words make me glad I wrote the above post and that sometimes it's ok to put yourself out there. I love writing this blog and the luxury of it is there is no boss looking over my shoulder saying "you can't write that!" We are all able to be ourselves flaws and all and wonderfully make new friends everyday. The meme I do on Thursdays is to help us get to know each other better, but sometimes 3 questions just doesn't do it. It is posts like the ones above that we can learn the most about each other, traits we share, dreams and wishes. I am blessed by each one of you!!!

purplume said...

It's amazing what you have accomplished in a year. Bless you and yours.
Merry Christmas and have your best year ever!