Angst Girl

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Suicide With Dignity

Hang on, folks; it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

I am a supporter of the choice of euthanasia for people. I’ll go even farther and say that I believe people without life-threatening physical diseases should also have the choice of when to die. The only thing we truly have is ourselves and it should be our right to choose to end that life in a peaceful, mindful way. Why do we force people, who want to end their lives, to do it in such an awful way when we afford our pets a more dignified death?

If you’ve read this blog at all, you know I’ve suffered from crippling depression for most of my life. There were many times that I wished I could find a way to end it all without having to resort to a messy, secretive mode of death. It took me many years to find medication that helped even out my brain chemistry to a point where I can stand to be alive. I’m currently on medication that helps diminish the effects of the depression, but if this cocktail of medication ever ceases to be effective I would probably once again be put in a position to want to end my life.

I’d done some research in the past regarding the best way to commit suicide. There aren’t many options, people. I don’t own a gun and would hate to go out that way anyway. I have medication but not the information to know if an overdose would kill me or just make me brain dead. The best way I found was using helium because you go to sleep before you pass away. The problem, of course, is how to get it inhaled sufficiently to do the job. And I can’t ask someone to help me because I would fear they would be charged with a crime.

We still are squeamish about helping someone who is dying of an incurable disease to die. I do believe that we will come around eventually on that but I’m certain we will never give people with psychiatric ailments the same opportunities. People say that someone who isn’t in their right mind can’t possibly make a decision like that. But I firmly believe that people know if they’re enjoying life and are contributing to society.

One of the caveats that people have placed on euthanasia is that there must be someone else who makes the ultimate decision about whether the person deserves to end her life as she sees fit. Some people feel that doctors should make this important decision but why should a doctor be entrusted with that kind of decision? If someone is suffering, whether physically or mentally, it should be up to THAT PERSON to decide when her life should come to an end. We shouldn’t have to convince some gatekeeper that there is a good enough reason.

It’s my life and I should have complete control over it. Of course there are details to be ironed out, but there needs to be an option for people who no longer want to be alive.

Julia

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Depression

In addition to my other numerous acquaintances, I have one more intimate confidant…. My depression is the most faithful mistress I have known – no wonder, then, that I return the love.

– Soren Kierkegaard

It is a demon always looking over my shoulder or standing in between my life and me. It is dark and mysterious and the scariest thing I’ve ever encountered. I am in constant fear of being consumed by it and that is a rational fear because it has certainly consumed large quantities of my life and energy and spirit. Not only does it steal your life while you’re living it, it affects your ability to be able to remember your past. When it is present things literally look, smell, and sound different. What is this monster forever lurking in the shadows? My depression.

In moments of strength I realize that my depression cannot do anything to me that I do not allow. But when I am sliding down a steep slope into complete despair that is not how it feels. For most of my life I have felt completely controlled by clinical depression. It has been both a shadowy monster constantly hovering over me and a comforting friend who is always there; I have let it define me for most of my life. It has been a burden to me and those who love me but I was never quite able to shake it and chase away that monster. I have been on medication and off medication, in therapy and out of therapy and still it bedevils me. Sometimes it is content to watch me from afar and I can feel its eyes on me. Other times it inhabits my soul and rearranges my thoughts. And, oddly, at times its presence comforts me.

It is insidious and has affected every aspect of my life. It has threatened my ability to work and certainly forced all the joy out of my life. It is an illness that affects not only the person suffering from it, but also the people who love her. I am thankful that my parents were so supportive but there is only so much other people can do. I have suffered from depression since I was a little girl and it has stolen large chunks of my life.

I often look back on the little girl who I was and mourn for her. Instead of waking each morning, eager to explore the world, I would linger in bed trying to summon the desire to face the day that lay ahead. Even as a child I dreaded every day that I was alive. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been depressed. When I was little I didn’t have words for it, but as I look back I can recognize it for what it was. Although I did not have a name for it, I definitely saw the world through a curtain of gray.

(This is an excerpt from my book, A Life Less Lived. I am happy to say that this is just the beginning of my story.)

Julia

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Loosen Up, People!

It’s that time of year again. When silver bells ring? No. When it’s a marshmallow world? No. It’s that time of year when some people get their panties in a bunch over what kind of seasonal greeting you offer.

Personally, I usually say “happy holidays” or “season’s greetings” to people I don’t know because those include everyone. But primarily I don’t think a whole lot about it until I hear someone bitching about the absence of “merry Christmas.” Yes, I can only recall hearing complaints about the kind of greeting from what I assume are Christians because they are offended that someone said something other than “merry Christmas.” Their complaints can range from such platitudes as “Jesus is the reason for the season” to “keep Christ in Christmas.”

I’m not a Christian hater. I don’t have anything against any religion. I just find it odd that some people, who reportedly claim to want to be Christ-like, are looking to divide people. Don’t we have enough that we already allow to drive wedges between us? Supposedly this time of year should be full of love and caring so, especially at this time of year, shouldn’t we be looking for ways to respect ALL people? Isn’t society in America based enough on Christianity? Do we really need to make sure we use a greeting that may be against our beliefs just to coddle some people?

All that being said; lighten up, people! No matter what religion you are or aren’t, accept the greeting in the spirit in which it was given. Who cares if it doesn’t reflect your beliefs? The underlying message is one of well-wishing so accept it and move on with your life. I choose to be inclusive but don’t get all upset if someone is less inclusive. Why do we have to be so offended by stupid crap like this?

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Inadequate

I watched a documentary on PBS on Monday named “Flying” and it left me feeling inadequate. In fact I almost stop watching it, even though it was interesting, because I was feeling bad about myself. It chronicled the life of a forty-something woman who is a filmmaker and travels the world. She has a ton of friends from different countries and backgrounds. She was living an exciting life and I found myself to be jealous of her. I have a very small circle of friends and am currently unemployed but have always had desk jobs. I don’t travel that much (although I’m on the final countdown to my European trip!) and would like to travel more. She was able to be very introspective and looked to her friends for context and feedback and is able to take negative feedback and make it an opportunity for personal growth.

I found myself taking stock of my life and not really liking what I saw. I’m still fat, I have few friends, I’m on disability so I have no job, I’m not spontaneous, and I’m just not comfortable in my own skin much of the time. I finished the documentary in tears. I know I shouldn’t covet someone else’s life but I just couldn’t seem to help it.

The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that I just couldn’t live that life even though I wanted to. I’m an introvert (see THIS LINK. It completely describes me) and I need to get comfortable with that. It’s who I am. I’m working on losing weight, I’ll eventually have a job again, and I have little need for a large circle of friends. I need to find a way to be okay with where I’m at in life but it SO wasn’t what I imagined it would be. I mourn for that loss. But I need to stop getting stuck in the mourning period and move on with life as it is or make the necessary adjustments to change it.

I also need to cut myself a break. I’ve had difficult things in life to deal with (as we all have to some extent) and I’ve been able to come out the other side still intact. Depression consumed many years of my life and being overweight has inhibited me from reaching my full potential. As a residual effect of the depression, I tend to get stuck in the past because for so many years I didn’t see a future for myself.

The facts are that I’m a very compassionate person, I’m smart, have good common sense, love deeply, I embrace the differences in people, am a good problem-solver, and I am creative. I need to embrace the good in me and live from a place of gratitude and self-love rather than jealousy or grief. I couldn’t live her life because I am me and have different strengths and struggles.

I can intellectually realize all these things but have never been able to absorb them and believe them. It’s something I’m working on and will continue to work on the rest of my life I’m sure. With what do you struggle?

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Slowing To A Trickle

I’ve been keeping my eye on my book sales (although not as closely as I used to; I was a little obsessed at first) and they’re slowing to a trickle. It makes me wonder why the sales were good (well, good for a first book from an unknown author) and now they’ve dropped off. I wonder if it’s moved down the list when people do searches for my key words. Who knows. It’s done a little better than I thought it would so that’s good. So far I’ve made about $65.00 from it, not that I was in it for the money. One thing I have mixed emotions about is the lack of feedback on Amazon. I had two very nice friends leave feedback but no one else has. In one way I’m glad because I don’t know how I’d react to a negative review but it would be nice to know how the book was received. I look at it this way, though: feedback comes from people with strong feelings about something. Apparently no one was terribly disappointed in the book but that also means that no one was blown away by it, either. And that’s ok. I didn’t expect people to be blown away by it; I just wanted to write a book for myself in hopes that it would help someone else through a tough time. I read a book when I was really depressed titled You Are Not Alone and it helped me just knowing that there were other people out there suffering like I was. It was a collection of reflections from people who were suffering from depression and it was nice to read things that mirrored my own thoughts and emotions. I felt a little less crazy after reading it. I just hope someone who read my book got some good out of it. That’s all I was really looking for. If you read my book I welcome your feedback; positive or negative.

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Honesty

A fellow blogger recently posted about something that made me think about honesty. Her post wasn’t really about honesty but it put me in mind of sharing opinions about things. I am not talking about the kind of honesty you offer as a result of being asked an opinion; I am talking about sharing your honest feelings that were not solicited. First of all, I value an honest opinion when I ask for one. If I don’t want an opinion, I don’t ask. But the latter kind of honesty is tricky. Unless it’s positive, feedback that was not asked for is rarely received well and you run the risk of alienating people. I have a friend who is very honest and generally says exactly what she’s thinking; there’s very little filter there. I value her honesty but there are times when it is not very welcome. I’m a very sensitive person (something I’m working on improving) and sometimes her feedback hurts my feelings. So when do you just keep your mouth shut? And when do you share an opinion that you feel is for the persons own good? I have a pretty strong filter and am able to, mostly, keep my opinions to myself unless asked. Because of this, people generally feel very comfortable telling me their deep, dark secrets. I love that people feel that comfortable with me. But there are times I wish I had the courage to stick my neck out and risk a little anger on the other person’s part. I think there are times when unsolicited feedback is necessary and you need to have a thick enough skin to handle a negative reaction. At least I think I think that. This is all coming out in a jumble because I have so many mixed emotions about it. I’m very much a “live and let live” kind of person and rarely stick in my nose where it doesn’t belong. Am I just being a wimp? I should clarify that I DO say something if someone is being bigoted. I firmly believe that saying nothing in those situations is just like being a bigot yourself.

One thing I hate is when someone gives an honest reaction to something that does nothing other than hurting someone’s feelings. I have an example. I make greeting cards that I either sell or give to friends and family. I once made a card for a woman and I believe she thanked me (I recognize that I probably have selected memories of the situation) but she followed up with a negative comment about part of the card. Now why was that negative comment necessary? It did nothing but hurt me and, obviously, that’s stuck with me. Again, I realize I am overly sensitive at times but I refuse to believe that a comment like that would do anything but cause hurt feelings. That kind of honesty is unnecessary in my opinion. I never ask people if they like my cards because I don’t want to put them in the position of either having to lie and say they like them or be honest and risk hurting my feelings. I did not ask this person for feedback so I was surprised when I got it. I’m hoping if I write about it I can let go of it because it’s not doing me any good to hang on to the negative feelings it causes.

What are your feelings about honesty? How about opinions that are not asked for? Are you able to take feedback well, even if it wasn’t asked for? Perhaps this is a weakness of mine and I need to work on it. Or maybe I am being conscientious about their feelings and that is a valued trait. I don’t know; I’m confused. I’m now asking for your feedback.

 

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