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Category Archives: Guest Bloggers

My Mom’s Story in Remembering My Suicide Attempt | [GUEST BLOG]


Today it has been a year since I hanged myself.

I asked my mom if she would tell her story in remembering that day.

These are her words.


A telephone rings, breaking the silence of a peaceful morning.

Still in bed, reaching for the phone and hearing a son’s voice.

Cheerily say “hello” and hear the pain in his voice, trembling, as he asks if I am sitting.

I know in my heart it is news about his older brother, so I brace for the words but not the words I expected.

Maybe words of an accident or broken bones but never the words “suicide attempt.”  Those words were not in my vocabulary. It happened to other people, and other people’s children. Mine were safe from that darkness.

Tears fell with an ebb and flow, trying to know what to do, who to call, how to end this pain and nightmare. Not knowing what lay at the other end in another state 10 hours away, I felt so helpless.”

Dear Lord, protect and bless my dear sons. Both need your strength and healing power.”

Praying gave me a new strength and I embarked on the darkest journey of a mother’s life.

Crying, praying, texting…that was the rhythm of my life as the car wheels turned and the distance shrank between questions and answers.

Distance that took so long to span when all I wanted to do was hold my broken son close.

Hospitals are cold and sterile and meeting my trembling voiced, bad news bearing son helped to bring me comfort at the entrance. Surrounded by caring people, nurses preparing me for what I would see, what lay behind closed doors and long curtains. Friends of my darkness-fighting son were waiting, praying. Soooo many friends, so many arms surrounding a sobbing mother fighting to be strong.

Then the long walk into a dim cave of machines and white robed angel nurses surrounding hurting people in the ICU. Kindly leading me onward to what I dreaded to face on my own, needing the arms of strangers as well as the strong arm of the Good Shepherd.

Is it time yet? Am I there? Do I have to do this? Are you sure I am the one that has to face this?

Yes, yes and yes.

“I have paved the way and am walking with you” were the words I could hear in my heart sent from the Shepherd.

The curtain pulled back gently by another angel nurse and there lay my darkness-fighting son. My heart broke for his pain, his fighting against this all swallowing enemy that had brought him so low.

My son who could make me laugh was now without laughter of his own.

What did he need from me. All I had to give was the mother love that I had for him and his brother and sister.

I took my seat next to him and gently rubbed his tethered hand which lay against the cold steel frame of the bed.

I reached over and gently kissed his brow saying, “Momma’s here now, son. I love you. I will always love you. Together we will fight the darkness. Together with the Shepherd.”

As I said these words I thought my fight was over but little did I know that the darkness was laughing at me. My fight had just begun and will continue until the darkness is diminished and the troops of light are surrounding my darkness-fighting son. He has always been a fighter and his fighting spirit will continue to rally the troops of other darkness-fighting souls of which I am proud to call my adopted children. God bless you all.

 

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Guest Blogger Teaser


Hi, I’m Chris.

And I survive with severe depression.

Since this Monday will be one year since I hanged myself, I’ve asked my mom to be a guest blogger.

I will post her story this Monday night, so please stop back to read what she wrote. You’re NOT going to want to miss this!

Thank you for your support in following surviving the specter and for always sharing your thoughts, my friends. I love you.

X Chris

 

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Who is Matthew Malin? | [GUEST BLOG]


Today’s guest blogger is Matthew Malin of Confessions. Without taking too much away from his intro below, he and I both survive with depression. Matthew submitted his guest post and since I hadn’t connected with him before, I wanted to peruse his site to get an understanding for his content. Matthew’s site is well laid out and I love that he has his topics broken down into different “Confessions”, which include-

♦  confessions for the hurting, lonely, and confused

♦  confessions on love

♦  confessions on reflection, and 

♦  confessions through poetry

Again, if you haven’t read his short story, A Sheep Named Wolf, give it a read. It’s an excellent moral tale of humankind.

I encourage you to not only read this post and drop him a line in the Comments section, but to visit his site and do the same. You will fall in love with his smooth writing and his music videos that reach in to the core of your heart and pull out the words that you were struggling to speak.

If you’re interested in being a guest blogger on surviving the specter, please check out the tab at the top of my home page and send me an email with your ideas.

And now. Enjoy Matthew’s post!

*     *     *

Hello to you! My name is Matthew and I am twenty-two years of age. I am a musician, writer, and currently a senior in College studying to be a Pastor/Church-Planter. I have struggled with depression and anxiety for four years now and the aim of my blog is to bring awareness to the subject. I also write daily updates, poetry, and thoughts on life, loneliness, and love. You can find my blog at: mbm1992.wordpress.com


Sticks and stones may break my bones…

It is honestly a baffling manner trying to encourage and/or motivate someone out of depression. I don’t say that out of disrespect towards anyone who is struggling (I, myself, have dealt with this issue on many occasions) but it is the honest truth. The fact is that there are no amount of words that you or I could ever say that would bring someone out of their hopelessness.

It’s just not going to happen.

I have often thought, wondered, and even been asked how one is to cope/help/stir someone who is so lost in their own sorrow. People simply want to know how they can best help their loved one or friend escape from the clutches of their perceived “lostness”. Automatically, one is motivated to speak. An abundance of words would, to most people, be of great use in motivating the depressed to action. My only question is this…How do you, an outside source with no earthly idea the extent of their pain, motivate those who cannot motivate themselves…with words?

Can I be honest in saying that it is highly likely that words were the catalyst to their current state? I mean sure, actions speak far louder than words but language is what affirms the motivation behind the giver. Words add validity to what they are already thinking. Speaking from experience I know that I was never in need of someone to come along and tell me that I shouldn’t feel the way I do (I already knew that). I was never in need of someone to tell me that as a Christian I should be happier because God was in my life (I already knew that). See, I already knew the logical answers. I was fully aware of what I should’ve been feeling, thinking, and doing but my awareness never once deterred my feelings.

It is in these moments that two things must happen.

1.) The afflicted soul must come to grips with the reality that what they are feeling and/or experiencing is nine times out of ten irrational and that’s ok. In order to best move forward we have to know where to start.

2.) The motivational coach of the situation has to realize that they are practically useless here. I don’t mean that rudely or as an encouragement to do nothing but I simply say that they cannot approach this situation thinking that they are superman. The worst mistake someone can make is thinking that they have all of the answers….Simply put, you don’t and there’s a reason…You haven’t taken the time to try and understand where we are coming from.

Talk is cheap but a listening ear is richer than gold to those who are without hope. 

My constant advice to those who are wondering and to myself is this: Listen before you speak. Take the time to try and best understand the circumstance of the other individual, why they are feeling the way they do, and be extremely slow to give practical advice. Odds are, they already know what you’re going to say. The best way for a sad soul to heal is to know why they feel the way that they do. They cannot do such a thing if no one gives them a chance to express it.

But words will always hurt me

Again, a HUGE thank you for taking your time to write this, Matthew! If you’d like to drop Matthew a line, please do so in the Comments section here or on his site. I know he’d love to hear from you.

 

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Guest blogger teaser for Friday night.


Computer_keyboard

Matthew Malin will be my guest blogger this Friday night about 8:30 eastern time (U.S.)

Without taking too much away from his intro on Friday, he and I both survive with depression.

If you would like a great read and example of his writing, check out his short story, A Sheep Named Wolf. It’s an excellent moral tale of humankind.

Don’t forget to join us on Friday as Matthew talks about his experiences with depression and anxiety!

 

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We all have different ways in which we cope. [GUEST POST]


Today’s guest blogger is Paul Falcone of wemustbebroken.com. Paul and I are a lot alike. We’ve both lived with depression since we were about 13. We are both musicians. And we both enjoy blogging about our depression. Though Paul is 21 and I am 41, I feel like we’ve been friends for some time. We met through blogging and I’ve looked to Paul and his words for inspiration, as well as to see how other men live with their depression. Paul is truly a loving servant of mankind and a kind soul. I encourage you to not only read this post and drop him a line in the Comments section, but to visit his site and do the same. You will fall in love with his smooth writing and his music videos that reach in to the core of your heart and pull out the words that you were struggling to speak.

If you’re interested in being a guest blogger on surviving the specter, please check out the tab at the top of my home page and send me an email with your ideas.

And now. Enjoy Paul’s post!


paul_falcone_001

Paul and his girlfriend, Evelyn

Tragedy can often leave the strongest people on their knees, resulting in desperate attempts to do something, anything, to make whatever pain they’re feeling go away. Even if it’s temporary. Some of these things however, can be destructive. They can develop habits that walk next to them for the rest of their life.

Have you ever lost someone who you loved?

How far did you go to numb that pain?

If you’re one of the people who has experienced this already, can you remember what that felt like? The complete loss of care or self worth, filled with sadness, grief, maybe even anger? And at the time there’s nothing anyone can really say to help or make those feelings go away. It’s something that takes time. But in time you learn to live with the fact that they are gone, and you do little things to remember them by. To carry their legacy, you move forward.

Now, imagine feeling that kind of helplessness a little more regularly. I won’t go as far to say that depression feels like the loss of a loved one, but I mean it when I say at times it does. It feels like a piece of you is missing. And when that feeling of helplessness and grief continues for extensive periods of time people can begin to seek means of numbing themselves. Drugs and alcohol probably come to mind first. But there are so many others that sometimes aren’t even realized. Sex, binge eating, and extensive use of finances and materialistic things can all be methods in which people cope to numb feelings they have (or feelings they don’t have, apathy is also all too common).

But why am I writing this?

Because I suffer from depression and anxiety.

Often times I’m asked what it feels like when the depression hits. Is it just sadness? Do you just want to isolate yourself and be alone? I mean yes, it is. But theres so much more. It feels like there’s a hand inside of my head that is pulling on the back of both of my eyes, slowly encasing me in myself. It makes you feel like you want to cry, but for me, no tears ever come. It’s like there’s a black hole sitting in the middle of my chest that is sucking any little bit of life that I have out of me. From the tips of my fingers to the bottom of my feet, I feel everything start to retract. And I go numb. It can happen when I’m in a room full of laughing people who I could consider my best friends. And out of no where it’ll hit me like a truck. And often times all I can do is watch as the truck approaches, caught like a deer in the headlights. I’ll start to slip. And my mind feels heavy with pressure as doubts flood in and I start to question even the most concrete parts of my life.

 Am I actually a good friend? 

Does my girlfriend actually like me?

Have I let my family down? 

Now multiply this times a hundred and you get a lot of sleepless nights. I shut down. I often joke around that I feel like a robot. Programmed to go through the motions and react to things a certain way but I stopped feeling genuine. Especially when I was in those droughts when the depression was harder. I’d be lying if I said I enjoyed this being a part of me, but I can one hundred percent say that I’m on the path to accepting that this is part of me, and that’s okay.

When it comes to coping personally, I have a few methods I have tried and integrated into my life over the years. The biggest thing for me is to exercise myself creatively. Writing is one of the biggest ways to help me feel better. Getting my thoughts down on paper can really help me see two things.

1.) This is what’s going on in my head. It’s all sorted out now. It’s not so bad.

2.)  These thoughts are really irrational and I just didn’t realize it until I put it down on paper.

I know I’m good to my family. And I know I have a girlfriend who really cares about me. But those thoughts do pop in my head. No matter how irrational they may be. That’s what depression does. It tells you that you can’t instead of you can and that things aren’t working when they are.

Apart from writing, music helps me a lot too. Over the last 5 or 6 years I’ve been writing music and a part of several bands. Putting out two cd’s in the process. Those cd’s actually became the titles for my blog, Dear Hope and We Must Be Broken. Both albums cover a lot of personal struggles with identity and depression, and the music was a creative way for me to outlet a lot of what I was feeling in a healthy way. Lyrics, poems, stories and music all became a way for me to put my emotions somewhere, and it’s helped me extensively.

Also, besides exercising my creativity, exercising in general tends to help me out a lot too. Which is unfortunate, because when I’m depressed this is something that can be extremely hard to do. It’s hard enough to get out of bed sometimes, let alone go for a run or start lifting. But here’s me being honest with myself for a second. I feel better when I’m being active. Even if it’s just a short run to clear my mind. I used to be an athlete all throughout high school and was in really good shape (not the case anymore) so sometimes I feel like I’m never going to reach that point again. I probably won’t honestly, but I need to look at it as something that’s going to make me feel good. Even if I’m not into the full hardcore fitness anymore. Exerting those emotions and sadness into a physical burning when you’re working out can help extinguish some of those heavy feelings.

And as hard as it is to do sometimes. Being around people is often the best cure. Having a strong support group is something that I have been blessed with and believe me when I say there are days I want to stay in my room with the lights off and have no one talk to me. I want to isolate myself and just stay in the sadness. It’s familiar. It’s comfortable. It has become something I’ve gotten so used to that I just accept it sometimes without trying to fight. But on the occasions I do, and force myself around friends and laughter, sometimes I can snap myself out of it.

These are the positive ways in which I cope. But I have had my share of negatives. There was a cutting incident when I was thirteen back when I had less of a grip on what depression was and what I was feeling that I regret. I think it was more a call for help than anything else. I try my best to stay away from drugs and alcohol or binging on either. I try and live life without a crutch, and I want to be able to say that I can be comfortable with who I am before doing something to numb me. But again, I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t drank to numb before. A last one is food. Food is always my weakness. In fact, it’s one of the only senses I can still feel when I’m depressed. Often I’m reduced to an apathetic state and taste is the only thing that still works. So I eat. And eat. And eat. What can I say, I love food. Even when I’m not depressed. But I do realize how unhealthy this is. And I’m trying to be better with it. And I think that’s the important thing to remember. Be aware of your pain, and be aware of how you cope. In the heat of the moment it can be hard to care if the choice is a negative or positive one, but when you keep it in the back of your head you get stronger everyday. I fight almost daily still, but I’m getting better.

I know I am.

And you can too.

Always remember you are not alone. And you are loved.

PF

Again, thank you for taking your time to write this, Paul! If you’d like to drop Paul a line, please do so in the Comments section here or on his site. I know he’d love to hear from you.

 

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Guest blogger teaser for Friday night.


Guest blogger, Chelise and the author of Surviving the Specter.

Chelise and I, at her birthday party,

I have a VERY special guest blogger tomorrow night!

Her name is Chelise (pronounced shuh-lease) and as of tonight, she is new to blogging. She is building her site but stop by and drop her a line to welcome her – https://caterpillarandthebutterfly.wordpress.com/about/

Chelise will be blogging on topics such as boundaries, codependence, and relationships.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow night to find out why she is so special to me. You’ll be shocked by her story.

 

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Who is Morgueticiaatoms? [GUEST BLOG]


I asked several bloggers whom I’ve become acquainted with if they would do a guest post on Surviving the Specter. They have all graciously accepted, and I am really excited to feature them over time. They have in one way or another, inspired me, made me laugh, made me think, told it to me like it is, been supportive, reached out to me, and been there to pull me through my rough stuff. They are beautiful people and excellent bloggers. They have so much to share and it would be a dishonor for me to hoard them all to myself, haha.

My guest blogger today is Morgueticiaatoms. She is a whitty and sarcastically beautiful person. Please visit her blog and drop her a line in her Comments section. Unlike me, she is really great at holding dialogues! Check her site out – https://morgueticiasmentalhealthmausoleum.wordpress.com/

And now, I’ll turn it over to Morgue’…

My name is Niki aka Morgueticiaatoms. I am 42.  Bipolar, seasonal depressions, and anxiety are my biggest demons. I have a daughter about to enter first grade and she is happy and healthy, which proves mental illness is not contagious. I struggle daily and feel the sting of being on disability as the stigma of mental illness does takes its toll. Especially when you know you’re for real, not some scammer too lazy to work. I enjoy long walks on the beach, sunsets, and poking dead things with a stick. Okay, that’s my macabre humor but it gets me through. I like writing, reading, watching TV shows, blogging, and am addicted to the game Word Poker on neopets. (No, I feel no shame.) For the most part, I consider myself boring. Occasionally amusing. Blogging has been a lifeline for me, especially after being told “no one wants to read about your mental crap” by someone close to me. I’ve found a supportive system of people through blogging and I am grateful for each reader, each like, each and every comment. I am also grateful for the chance to spew my demons in blog form so they don’t systemically poisoning me. Venting is good.

1.   How long have you been blogging?

Off and on for about eight years, four years steadily. I also have boxes of old school pen and paper journals I’ve kept though the years.

2.   What is the focus of your blog?

Life with bipolar and anxiety disorder, for the most part. How I cycle, how I react, for better, for worse.

3.   Is there a particular time that you write/post?

Nope. Whenever the notion hits, or more like, possesses me.

4.   Where do you get the inspiration/ideas for your blog posts?

From outer space. Seriously, it could be anything, what’s going on in my life, a TV show, an ad, a song, another blog post, a book, or just some random spark. As unpredictable as bipolar, creativity is.

5.   From your experience, what three pieces of insight/wisdom can you give to new/growing bloggers?

Be honest, use your own voice, and if your goal is readers, learn to use the tags appropriately. It counts as to quantity of views though for me it was more for quality, weeding out the flotsam and jetsam trolls.

6.   What mental conditions (“illnesses”) do you survive with? E.g., depression? PTSD? anxiety? self-harm?

Bipolar two, generalized anxiety disorder, seasonal affective disorder, ADD, panic attacks, personality disorder not otherwise specified, chronic depressions related to seasonal affect

7.   For each condition, what is at least one coping mechanism you have found to be successful?

Sarcastic humor. If you can mock yourself even at your worst…You’ve got signs of life in spite of it all.

8.   Do you have a personal story you would like to tell? One of success? One of growth? A story that tells about your rough stuff?

I was improperly diagnosed for ten plus years. They gave me anti depressants, which just made the bipolar worse. It resulted in a lot of instability, impulsive decisions, and burned bridges with family and friends. Followed by an interaction to an MAOI that landed me in the hospital and they were unsure if I would come out of it. I suffered brain damage, to a small but still relevant extent. I was granted disability after that. Took three more years to get proper diagnosis and so much finally made sense. I proved med resistant as far as the anti depressants went. But in spite of it all, I managed to have a gorgeous daughter who is happy go lucky so you can be a parent with mental illness. Kids need love, not perfection.

 9.   From your experience, what three pieces of insight/wisdom can you give to others surviving with mental illness?

The best counselor I have ever had told me, “Some days you just have to accept you feel the way you feel. Happy, sad, depressed, anxious. Accept it because fighting it makes you feel defeated if you fail. Set one small goal for the day, accomplish it, and LET yourself feel the way you do.”

Do NOT ever let societal pressures, resistance to medications, chronic cycling,or self doubt dictate your self worth. You LIVE your truth, and if others aren’t accepting and supportive, it is hardly your fault.

Remember that in spite of all our programming, doctors are humans and fallible and prone to their own biases. You can respect a doctor without having to agree with their every word, especially when it comes to the medications you put into your body. Don’t be a people pleaser when it comes to your mental health. Politely but firmly assert yourself or the doctors are prone to treating you like just another file number.

Again, thank you Morgue’ for being a guest blogger and taking your time to write this! Such powerful feeling and useful information here for all of us. X

Please be sure to drop over to Morgue’s blog and leave her some comments on this wonderful post. 

 

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