3:30 AM

3:30 AM

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Is anyone else awake? Anyone else up, fully awake at 3:30 AM?

I’ve actually been up since midnight.  Made the mistake of falling asleep watching TV after dinner, and got enough sleep apparently.  Read half of Anne LaMott’s Bird by Bird and my eyes are scratchy.

Tried taking a sleeping pill at midnight.  Nothing.  Took some Robitussin with Codeine with it (I”m recovering from the flu).  Normally that combo will work.  Nope. Not tonight. Or rather, not this morning.

Took another sleeping pill (melatonin) at 1:30 in desperate hopes. Nope.  Still awake. Tried to wear myself out by playing innumerable games of Candy Crush, Candy Crush Soda, Farm Rescue, Pet Rescue, Cookie Jam.  Nothing.  My eyes are even more itchy and scratchy now.

I’m punchy because I need to sleep, but it’s 3:30 AM and the alarm goes off at 6:30 AM. If I actually fall asleep now it will be worse than powering through the alarm and the workday.

Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

3:30 AM.  The hour of existential angst.  The world outside is quiet. No cars are rushing by, no children are calling out in the park behind my house.  The only sound is from a wind chime as it flutters in the very slight breeze.  It’s not even making a wind-chimey sound.  It’s just dinging; just one chime is chiming.  Is chiming a word? It must be, because my spell checker didn’t get upset.

Two of my dogs are with me.  LeeLee because she is my limpet, attached to me wherever I go.  She is huddled in her cave underneath the table at my feet.  Maggie (my favorite, don’t tell the others!) lays next to me.  She gazes up at me.  She can’t figure out why I left the cozy bed to come work on the computer.  But as is the loyal way of dogs, she follows me.

3:30 AM. Man I’m tired.  I have a woozy headache, probably from one too many melatonin pills.  Did you know that in Europe you need to have a prescription to get melatonin? But in the States you can just buy it over the counter.

Image courtesy of Liz Noffsinger at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Liz Noffsinger at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

3:30 AM. Am I the only one awake?  I check Facebook but no one else seems to be awake.  Lots of requests for Candy Crush lives though. I troll through my newsfeed getting updated on friend’s lives.  One friend is at dinner, another is buying wind chimes made of tea pots and spoons, another is being installed as PSAR president. Another is whale watching and yet another was surfing.

Oh, and it’s Girl Scout cookie time.  How many boxes of Thin Mints shall I buy for the office? I will have to avoid grocery stores in the afternoons for about a month now, as I am committed to a neighbor’s child and a vendor’s daughter as well.

These are the random thoughts I have at 3:30 AM.

Now it’s Your Turn! What do you do at 3:30 AM when you can’t sleep?

[contact_form]

Liz Obert’s The Secret Lives of People Living with Depression

The Secret Lives of People Living with Depression

The secret lives of people living with mental illness Photo courtesy Liz Obert www.lizobert.com

The secret lives of people living with mental illness
Photo courtesy Liz Obert www.lizobert.com

I recently read Katherine Brooks’ op-ed on the Huffington Post “Exploring the Double Lives of Everyday People Living With Mental Illness” by the photographer who chose to open the curtains and expose the dual world people who struggle with mental illness live in.

I struggle with depression and have the meds to help me get through life with a smile, but there are days when darkness covers my life.  I am normally a happy, vivacious person; I’ve learned to find joy despite child abuse.  However, there are days I wake up and don’t care about anything that is important to me — my beloved husband, my sweet dogs, my writing or artwork, my garden —- nothing.  I have what most of the world would consider incredible success —- I have a 20 year marriage, own a home, have my own business, control my time.  Yet on those days I tell myself I am a loser and hate my life.

Photo Courtesy of Liz Obert  http://lizobert.com/dualities/content/Megan_large.html

Photo Courtesy of Liz Obert http://lizobert.com/dualities/content/Megan_large.html

When I try to explain this to others they just can’t grasp it.  How could such a positive person have days of self-loathing and sadness? Well, it happens, it’s true, and depression is an illness, not a moral failing.

So I was thrilled to learn that Liz Obert is courageously illustrating through her photography the darkness that hides within your friends, children, parents, colleagues and loved ones.

photo courtesy of http://lizobert.com/dualities/content/Marie_large.html

photo courtesy of http://lizobert.com/dualities/content/Marie_large.html

Liz Obert has been an artist since she was a child. She worked with painting, mixed media and installation work until a photography class transformed her artwork.

I asked her why she decided to do a photo series on the duality of depression, and she said “I wanted to do something personal with my photography and I’ve always lived this double life of holding a job and then going home and dealing with the depression.  Then the idea came to me to photograph both sides of my personality” She told me that she is inspired by the world around her, whether it is by objects or personal issues.

Liz Obert’s work can be seen in Portland in June at the Olympic Mills Commerce Center and in McMinnville, Oregon  in September at the Linfield College. Her work “The Secret Dual Lives of People Living With Mental Illness” recently won the top spot in the Top 10 most popular Photography Posts of 2014 in Slate Magazine

http://lizobert.com/dualities/content/Wil_large.html

http://lizobert.com/dualities/content/Wil_large.html

I am glad to see that more people are “coming out” and acknowledging they suffer from depression. For too long it has been looked at as a personal failure, an inability to suck it up and be happy, a self-indulgent habit of weak-minded people.  Depression is anything but that.  People who struggle with depression yet get out of bed on the good days, suit up and face the world and contribute to is, truly are spiritual warriors.  They struggle with an incomprehensible inner pain that provides no warning before it arrives, and they get through the dark days anyway.  In many ways, people who struggle with depression and then work in the world are probably some of the most optimistic people you will ever meet.

I’m glad I had a chance to connect with Liz Obert, and I look forward to seeing more of her work.  You can find Liz at www.LizObert.com

Now it’s Your Turn!  Go to Liz’ site, and tell us which photographic montage speaks to you the most, and why. [contact_form]

 

In Spite Of… #InSpiteOf

We so often live our lives as victims of others. #inspiteof  Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We so often live our lives as victims of others.
Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Guest Blogger Wendy Whitmore MS LMFT & LIFE COACH

As a survivor of neglect, abandonment, rape, molestation, racism and discrimination,I stand firm in my belief that you can overcome your tragedies, trials and tribulations. I am a firm believer that #INSPITEOF the barriers put into place, failed marriages, partnerships and relationships; it is still possible to succeed at love, your career, and everything in between. Many times when barriers have been put into place, your marriage fails, or your partnership dissolves, we find ourselves wanting to blame the world for our unhappiness.

Many of us will choose to play the victim role and not hold ourselves accountable for the part that we played in the things that are bringing us so much unhappiness. When tragedy strikes we naturally have a tendency to “fall apart”, and when trials and tribulations cause barriers to pop up in our lives, hindering us from being successful at love and in our careers, we look to place the blame on our partners, co-workers, mates, friends and family.

#inspiteof We can blame others or accept our roles in our life's situations. Image courtesy of marcolm at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We can blame others or accept our roles in our life’s situations. Image courtesy of marcolm at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yet the truth is we are capable of withstanding all the negative, hurtful and disappointing things that may come our way. We have to choose not to be the victim. As a young woman I consciously made the choice to succeed and triumph #INSPITEOF the tragedies, trials and tribulations that occurred in my life. I chose to not label myself as a victim and to stand tall and proud in the fact that I was a survivor of neglect, abandonment, rape, molestation, racism and discrimination.  I chose to focus on my strengths instead of my weaknesses. I chose to embrace my flaws, imperfections and shortcomings and use them as a learning tool for both myself and the people around me.

You can choose to win and not be a victim! #inspiteof Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You can choose to win and not be a victim! Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I learned that choosing to live my life to the fullest meant that I had to accept my past and my mistakes and not allow myself to play the ‘blame game’ or to be hindered by the barriers, tragedies, trials and tribulations that occurred in my life. Choosing to triumph #INSPITEOF all the bad that may have taken place in your life, is the true definition of success and happiness.

 

Wendy Whitmore M.S. LMFT & Life Coach #inspiteof

Wendy Whitmore M.S. LMFT & Life Coach#Inspiteof

Wendy Whitmore MS LMFT & LIFE COACH

www.truthhealingevolution.com

Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

Ylang Ylang is a delicate, exotic flower used in aromatherapy

Ylang Ylang is a delicate, exotic flower used in aromatherapy

Ylang Ylang.

Just the name sounds exotic and evocative of a moonlit beach in the South Pacific. The name ylang ylang is derived from Tagalog, from either the word ilang (wildness) or ilang-ilan, meaning rare. Rare wildness. Just knowing that makes me want to try it!

It has a delicate scent that is often used in perfume, most notably Chanel No. 5.

The essential oil is derived from the delicate, greenish-yellow, starfish-shaped flowers of the Ylang Ylang tree.  It’s scent is similar to jasmine, and has long been used in religious and wedding ceremonies.  Ylang Ylang is often used to reduce stress and help restore a positive outlook in life.

Here are some fun ways to use this deliciously-scented essential oil:

  • Use in an aromatherapy facial to refresh your skin
  • Use instead of chemical-based perfumes. Dab just a little on your wrists.
  • Mix Ylang Ylang with Epsom salt and enjoy a perfumed and relaxing soak.
  • You can add Ylang Ylang to Fractionated Coconut oil for a wonderful hair conditioner; again a natural replacement for chemical conditioners. After all, if you can’t pronounce it, should your really be putting it on your body?

Add an enticing scent to your day, and at the same time start weaning yourself from harsh chemicals by substituting essential oils.

Now It’s Your Turn! Tell us what your favorite essential oil is and how you use it.  [comment_form]