Tag Archives: hope

Dark

depression

I’m in the bottom of a deep, dark hole.  I’m so far down that I can’t see the light shining at the top (my kids’ bright smiles, my husband’s warm hugs).  I kick the walls of the hole because I’m angry and because I feel that somehow it’s my fault that I’m down here.

I can’t cope with loud noises, mornings, daily chores.  The more irritable I get, the angrier I am at myself.  I snap at the people closest to me and I just feel worse.  I’m mad at how long this depression is lasting.  I don’t remember it ever being this disruptive to my life.

The only thing I can tell myself is “don’t give up” and “this will get better.”  I have to keep convincing myself of this (every day, multiple times a day) because I can’t give up and this will get better.

One Day at a Time

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It’s been my motto for a while now.  I have it posted in various places where I can see it often along with visually soothing images (usually with farm machinery involved (I grew up on a farm)).

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Only today did not feel like a one-day-at-a-time day.  It felt like one moment at a time, then it felt like five seconds at a time, then it felt like a complete panic that said “oh shiznick I’m crying in front of co-workers, wipe your tears off with your sleeve and try to keep moving.”  I go on break and I soak myself in mindless youtube videos and for the short half hour I forget where I am and suddenly I’m late punching back in on the timeclock.  (And yes, my job has a literal old-timey timeclock where you put in the time card and it cha-chunks and stamps your ticket.)

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I wiped my tears on my sleeve all day long today and when one co-worker asked if I was okay, I confessed that no, I was not okay.  Yet, I didn’t burst out in sobs as I had expected I would.  She just turned to me and said, “Life, huh?” and I confirmed that yes, I was not fine because of Life and we left it at that.  And I was grateful.

Because the thing is, even with all this depression floating around, I still have to do my job.  And I’m actually glad I have one, otherwise my depression could spiral out of control with no steering wheel attached, or burst out in flames with just the right spark.

I’m glad I have to routinely converse with other human beings, as much as I loathe getting out of bed and have to spend a good 45 minutes talking myself into the entire process of opening my eyes, getting myself into an upright position, and putting both feet on the floor.  And that 45 minutes  doesn’t even include remembering all the other parts like pants, shoes, and socks.

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This whirl of depression has snuck up on me, jumped onto my back, as Winston Churchill’s sneaky ol’ Black Dog will do.  He’ll sit in the corner, tight into the dark, so you become almost unaware he is there.  Maybe he’ll bare his teeth once in a while, growl, or in some other frightening way, remind you of his presence.  But eventually, inevitably, he will attack, always with a ferocity that scares me, sinking his teeth into my neck in a complete ambush, debilitating me.  And I suffer.  And sadly, in turn, my family suffers.

And imagine with this dog on your neck (or for my unlucky readers who have their own Black Dog of depression who already understand and don’t have to imagine) trying to perform normal day-to-day tasks.

He drags you down, you’re bleeding from your neck with a wound no one can see, and you falter at every step.

Take a walk!  Go outside!   Enjoy the sunshine!  Count your blessings!  I would if it would get him off me or even keep him at bay.  Sometimes when I write, I’m able to alleviate some of the pain enough to continue.  So I’ll keep taking it one day at a time.  And I’ll keep my chin up and hope he releases his grip soon.

Please, Black Dog of Depression.  Please, release your grip soon.

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Struggle

I’ve got to make it through this.  I’ve got to be able to carry this and keep going.

Right now I’m using every tool in my toolbox.  Im scrounging around in the very bottom of it, searching for what’s left.  I’ve used up all the ink in my pen, my voice is harsh and strained from all the talking and crying and my mind is drained.  I have very little left.

I’m angry and hurt and I’ve lost the ability to express myself in every way imaginable.  I have no map for this awful terrain.

I’m on my knees begging for help.

I’m going to lay down now and hope that my thoughts dont follow me to my pillow.  Music, tv, any distraction – just please work so I can have one peaceful moment outside this reality.

I have work in the morning, in just a very few hours.  Please just let me sleep and when I wake up, please make this nightmare disappear.

Sun Coming Out After a Long Rain

Wow.  I just read through a few of my last posts.  I’m shocked that I was so depressed.  Especially now that I’m on the other side of it and feeling so so so much better.

I feel like I have a bright new outlook.  And I’m really enjoying my kids, too.  Maybe it was the medication change.  Or maybe it was, um…maybe it was…  I got nothing else.  It was definitely the medication change.

Last night a speaker from the Muslim Outreach Society came to present at my friend’s class.  The class is called “The Psychology of Death and Dying,” and the presentation was about “What Happens After Death?” from people of various faiths.  So I arranged for the Islamic part.  Brother Salim came and spoke.

It was great.  I felt so glad to listen to a muslim speaker, as it has been almost a whole year since I’ve attended any events at the masjid.  I listened to him speak and was reminded of all of the reasons why I am so grateful that Allah led me to Islam.  My thoughts of Islam and Allah are always there in my mind, but sometimes they are close to me and sometimes they seem far away.  Our goal as Muslims is to achieve and maintain a state of God-consciousness.  So just being reminded of that is something I appreciated, as I need more practice.

Heavy Thoughts

I’m reading alot about Middle East politics and current events.  Whenever I immerse myself in the chaos and turmoil happening overseas, I start to get discouraged and beat down – reading about all the civilians, including innocent women and children getting shot, killed, injured, or worse.  I start to lose hope in the fate of the world, disheartened at the idea of changing anything for the better.

Perhaps equally disturbing is the state of affairs in the U.S.  The news media’s biased coverage of events overseas, the diminishing of basic civil rights, the NSA’s surveillance of citizens, and the increasing suspicion of anything and anyone labeled “different.”  The general public seems to have accepted (or at least tolerated) these actions and beliefs.  I have read the sentiment that “if you’re not doing anything wrong, then you have nothing to hide.”  This leads us to the implication that anyone who objects to these injustices, must be at fault of wrongdoing.

I’m slightly nervous to even be researching these kinds of things myself.  With the information we now know about surveillance by Big Brother, I worry about my web searches being tracked, worry about my library records being monitored.  Could I myself someday be the victim of an unconstitutional “investigation?”  Would my guarantee of free speech be stripped away from me, my right to a fair trial, all because of the NDAA and the Patriot Act?

And then I think back to my studies at the University of Michigan, how I learned to question what is in front of me, investigate, find the answers, do the research myself, come to my OWN conclusions.  But perhaps even more importantly in my university studies, I learned that I have a VOICE.

But still I wonder to myself, what CAN be done?  What does little ol’ me have the power to change in a world so wrought with corruption and power imbalances?  I read about grassroots movements, peaceful protests, and the sprout of independent media sources that can fuel political activism.  I hear from journalists fighting to protect their right to deliver the information from BOTH sides without being victims of unlawful interrogations or suspected affiliations with terrorist groups.  I realize that there are others who disagree with the government’s tactics and want to bring the power back to the people.

In this, I find hope.

Today as I was walking into work, I watched a duck fly straight into a glass door.  It fell to the ground and I saw it flailing around, trying to right itself, trying to fly away.  It struggled, shook its head in its upside-down position, flapped its wings, wiggled its feet.  It did everything it could to regain itself.

As I watched this struggling duck, it brought me right down to the here and now.  I wanted nothing more than for this duck to survive.  It didn’t.  It died right there in front of me, and there was nothing I could do about it.

This reminded me that Allah is in control of our fate.  Allah knows everything, the All-Powerful, the All-Knowing.  Allah knows what will happen in the Middle East, in the U.S., all over the world.  Allah is our Creator – closer to us than our own jugular vein.

I think often about death and the grave.  A friend of mine from high school died.  He went to Afghanistan to fight, and when he returned, he died.  I wonder to myself if he took his own life.  But either way, whether he did or didn’t, he is now in the grave, his lifeless body deteriorating in his coffin, flesh falling off of bone.  Over time his body will be nothing but dust and bones.  “To Allah We Belong and To Him We Will Return.”  His soul is no longer in his body.

“Live in this world as though you are a stranger or a traveler (passing through it).” (Muslim) ( To read more about the nature of the soul after death, click here.)

I wonder to myself if he has been questioned yet.  I wonder if the grave has been made spacious for him, or if the earth is crushing in on him.  What was it like when his soul was removed from his body?  Did it come out like a drop of water or did it rip and tear like steel wool?  I only wonder these things in relation to myself, knowing I too will one day be in the grave, my body deteriorating, my soul returned to Allah.

When my time comes, it won’t matter what I know about international politics.  The only thing that will matter is my good deeds, my faith in Allah, and the end result of my test here on earth.  It is important for me to remember that this life is only temporary; all the good, all the bad – it is fleeting.  Death is the only thing that is certain in this world.

So where does that leave me?  The prophet himself (salalhu alayhi wa salaam) was intricately involved in the political sphere at the time Islam was being spread throughout the Middle East.  However, I somewhat suspect that the personal is more important than the political, and that the pillars of Islam (shahada, salat, zakat, sawm, and hajj) should be put first and foremost in a muslim’s life.

But then again, Islam rules on all aspects of a muslim’s life, with the Qur’an giving us information on how to act in the community, how to govern, and about the rights of each individual living in a society.  So in that respect, our duties as a muslim include the way we conduct ourselves in and contribute to the greater society.  Does political activism hold a place for me?  Or should I remain focused solely on my personal struggles to adhere to the tenets of Islam?

I feel I can’t ignore the struggles of other muslims and non-muslims here and overseas and all over the world, and in my heart, I want to reach out to the oppressed, the abused, the rejected individuals of our world in the name of Islam.  That urge to protect those with less seems to go hand-in-hand with the true Islam I have come to know and love.

Insha’allah my aspirations and dreams of equality, and all actions I take towards those goals, will be viewed as good deeds on the day of judgement, and insha’allah may Allah guide me on this path and lead me towards good deeds and fruitful actions for the good of others.

Gray Clouds, Blue Skies

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My husband encouraged me to go for a walk around town.

I didn’t want to.  I went anyway.  We pushed the baby around in the stroller, went to the bank, passed the hardware store, passed the bookstore, passed the ice cream shop, went to the post office.  The color of the blue in the sky was brilliant.  The sunlight shone down on our heads, hitting my son’s blond hair and making his eyes squint when he occasionally looked up at us from his seated position, craning his neck just to smile at us.

We got home and barbequed.  I ran to the store to grab a jar of pickles for our burgers and mayonnaise for our beef hot dogs.  I shooed the baby away from the knobs on the barbeque.  We grilled.  We ate.  Stomachs full.

I picked up my other son from school and as we drove home, he talked about his school day, how he played with the fire trucks and got to listen to a new book being read by his teacher.

Came home, Daddy left for work.  We all stood in the backyard and waved good-bye, shouted our love to him, told him we’d miss him as he drove away.

Went upstairs, watched Spidey the tarantula for a while.  Then came downstairs and packed our snacks – crackers, juice, fruit snacks.  Carried it all out to the wagon and strolled down to the park.  Ate snacks, slid down the slide, teeter-tottered and spent some time on the swings.

Blue skies turned to fiery orange as the sun set.  I felt peace in my heart as I laid down for bed last night.  We are truly blessed.