For those that help carry the Darkness…#399

My son Chuck has just posted it on his web page, I thought it was an interesting piece and wanted to share it with you.

What Can You Do? by Chuck Murphree

I have often been asked, “What can a family member or loved one do to help someone with depression, anxiety, or suicidal ideation?” It’s a good question, so I needed to reflect on when I was at my low points, my darkest times, or the moments when I questioned if life was worth living anymore, what would I want someone close to me to do or say?

I have been talking with teen groups for the past several years, individual students, parents, friends, and relatives, and have been asked to come and talk with entire student bodies at high schools. I will say, I don’t have all the answers, and I honestly wonder why anyone is looking to me for advice. Well, that’s my schemas talking, those dirty little bastards. They make me question my worth. When I counter these intrusive thoughts, I realize that many are looking for answers, even the simplest response, in order to help someone they care about who is suffering. So, I offer my perspective, experiences, and stories of having trauma, depression, anxiety, and experiences with suicidal ideation.

My quick response to what can someone do to help a loved one who is suffering is the following:

Learn the symptoms of depression and anxiety. They can vary from person to person but in general, they look like this:

  • Feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness
  • Irritability or frustration
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities
  • Insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Tiredness, exhaustion, and lack of energy
  • Changes in appetite — reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain, especially sweets
  • Anxiety increases
  • Slowed thinking or even being physically slower
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, blaming yourself for things out of your control.
  • Self-shaming
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions, and remembering things
  • Frequent or recurrent mention of death, suicidal thoughts
  • Body aches, such as back pain or headaches
  • Numbness. Or the dreaded numbness of not feeling anything.

Everyone who has depression has a higher risk of being suicidal. Here are some of the warning signs:

  • Making statements such as “I’m going to kill myself,” “Everyone would be better off without me,” or “I wish I hadn’t been born”
  • Getting the means to attempt suicide, such as buying a gun or stockpiling pills
  • Withdrawing from people, social media, and wanting to be left alone
  • Feeling trapped or hopeless about a situation, like you cannot get out of it
  • Excessive and increased alcohol or drug use
  • Changing normal routines, like sleeping patterns
  • Doing risky or self-destructive things
  • Giving away belongings
  • Saying goodbye to people as if they won’t be seen again

These are definitely not all of the signs and there are many more, but it is a few to recognize. Some people that kill themselves show no signs at all. Looking back on my friend’s suicide, I now realize that the signs were there, but I didn’t recognize them at the time. There is also the harsh reality, that when someone does decide to take their life and gets to their end, there is not a lot you can do. If they have decided to go through with it, they will. This was difficult for me to accept, which is why I carried around the guilt of my friend’s suicide for years, and still do at times.

So what can you do? Be mindful of the above signs. Educating yourself on what depression, anxiety, and suicide look like is a good start to being proactive and helping someone cope. Listen in an empathetic and compassionate way, but do not feel sorry for them. Listen without judgment and do not try to “cure” them or solve all of their problems. The person you care about may be judging themselves harshly, saying horrible things, it is a normal part of having a mental illness because they feel like they are worthless. Offer them positive reinforcement on the things they do offer or are good at. They may not seem like it but they are listening. Offer assistance, if needed, in certain tasks or things that they may be forgetting or not have energy for. They are probably exhausted. You can also offer them resources that may help them, like going to a therapist or practicing mindfulness. However, do not bombard them with resources or shame them when they do not take your suggestions. They will get help when ready but still offer support.

For me personally, when I am in those dark places in my mind, drowning in the stormy waters, I just need a gentle soul to be near me, never passing judgment, and understanding that I am doing my best. I am doing the very best I can at that moment so please do not give up on me.

You also need to take care of yourself and realize what is and is not in your control. This is difficult for many to accept and understand. You cannot “fix” someone’s mental illness. You cannot stop them from killing themselves. You cannot force them to seek help or practice coping skills. It’s a reality that many do not like to hear. However, the truth is, you can provide all of the support in the world, and do everything I mentioned above and more, but the person who is suffering from depression, anxiety, or suicidal ideation, needs to do the work. They need to find the things that help them, put the coping skills into place, and build resilience. That is the important part. Resilience is key.

The best thing you can do, and society can do, stop the stigmas. We all have a responsibility to stop stigmas that are cruel, and false dialogue about mental illness and bring more awareness. It is a disease, not unlike cancer or any other disease. It can be a killer. Would you place a stigma on cancer? Would you tell someone with cancer that they need to just suck it up and quit complaining? Most likely not, or you would be a pretty horrible person. The same applies to people that struggle with mental illness.

The worst thing we can do is not talk about mental illness and suicide, ignore it, and brush it under the rug as if it doesn’t exist. Yes, the conversations are difficult, but we are in desperate times where anxiety and depression are on the rise. We need to normalize talking about it. There is no other choice and we can no longer wait. There are too many people, especially young people, that are experiencing depression and anxiety, that are taking their lives. Silence isn’t an option anymore.

We are entering a time in our existence as humans where anxiety and depression are at crisis levels. There are not enough psychiatrists, psychologists, or counselors to help the increasing number of people that need assistance. That is why we need to make mental illness and suicide a part of our conversations. We need to be transparent and not be afraid to speak up or feel shamed and silenced by stigmas. We need to learn from other people’s experiences. If it helps you, I will always be transparent about my experiences with trauma, depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation. If I can help one person cope, become more resilient, and survive, then I have fulfilled my purpose.

#Mental Awareness

A Path to this Moment…#387

A Path to this Moment

Reflection upon conception, an unwanted Soul, cast away because of greed.  An image of the future, lost in time, starvation, did not kill the seed. It lived; it did not go away, destiny or fate, life without love surrounded by hate.

Yoke around the neck at birth, emotional scars during its journey on earth. Tomorrow’s path is long and steep, search for the past, a need to prove why hurt and anger ran deep.  Truth in abandonment can be found; sanity and sorrow are closely bound. 


Books by the author at and Barnes&…

A Clandestine Life…#382

A silhouette in the darkness is walking away, a worthless human being believing love exists on earth.  The fear of parting hangs heavily in the air.  A clandestine life is finally revealed, and no one cares!


Books by author at and Barnes&…


My life has consisted of stolen moments whispering voices descending from yesterday’s clouds waiting for the winds of tomorrow. They gently caress the heart, trying to take away all pain and sorrow. In the quiet twilight, a glimpse at dominant emotions and the spirit cries yesterday will never return, and the life of painlessness will never come.

Will the soul ever be free! Evolving into the now from a world of pain, time journeys onward, and the spirit understands life stays the same. Emerging from a life that only the mind and body know, and then there is the never-ending wait for a new life without pain to begin, yet there will never be a new beginning.

Tears no longer fall upon paling cheeks; truth stays hidden deep within the soul; finally, I realize that the true story may never be told. Living alone day after day becomes a way of life; the cocooned pain keeps away sorrow and strife. I wait for the pain to end!


Cutting a Toxic Person from Your Life…#350  

Image result for toxic people image

Recently, I made the decision to “block” an individual from my life. This was not easy! I felt it necessary as I do not want nor am I able physically to deal with the drama. In doing so I gave careful consideration to what it meant to be “toxic”. They met all of the criteria, and the drama was draining me of what little emotional energy that I possessed during this difficult time of my life.

The time I have, I want to put toward completing the book that I am working on, and trying to put those in my life that wants truth and not lies. A life time of lies have been overlooked, and much of it does not help me conserve my strength. I have not posted for awhile, but felt this was a good subject, there may be others who have held onto toxic situations and this posting may help them to turn loose.

Toxic behavior is generally defined as any behavior that negatively impacts others. The greatest one I believe is taking everything too personally.  People are toxic to be around when they believe that everything happening around them is a direct assault on them or is in some way all about them.  Toxic people are unhappy and unhealthy on the inside. Common traits of a Toxic Person are, they always want to be “given”, they live in a crisis mode, all the time.   

Common traits of a Toxic Person are, they always want to be “given”, they live in a crisis mode, all the time.  Nothing is ever their fault, they never follow through, and they lie about things that do not matter.  They have no empathy for others.  

It is not wrong to eliminate Toxic People from your life, you cannot be firm or set boundaries, it is not your job to save them.  When it’s done, it’s done; treat it like a breakup that it is.  Toxic people will do their best to drag you down.  It is you that feels the anxiety, it is you that blames yourself on your communication skills.  Toxic people will drain you of your energy.  

If they are doing this to you, cut them out of your life for good.  It’s not a sentimental journey, delete, delete, delete.  It’s time to put yourself first.  The behavior of a toxic person will affect our mental health and well-being. They have the power to sick the joy and happiness from within you and replace it with stress, anger, sadness, and other unwelcome feelings.  

When you go through life believing that you are owed something, you will suffer endless deficiency; this is true of a toxic person.  Toxic people blame everyone but themselves for their so-called “woes”.  Toxic people act without sincerity, integrity, and honesty.  Their world is made p of chaotic and unpredictable problems.  A toxic person needs constant attention and will go to any length to get what they desire.  

A toxic person’s life is filled with dama.  They believe that the worst will happen to them so they cannot enjoy their day-to-day living.   Their negative thoughts lead to negative actions and soon find themselves in a downward spiral to a bottomless pit. yy never follow through, and they lie about things that do not matter.  They have no empathy for others.  

 It is not wrong to eliminate Toxic People from your life, you cannot be firm or set boundaries, it is not your job to save them.  When it’s done, it’s done; treat it like a breakup that it is.  Toxic people will do their best to drag you down.  It is you that feels the anxiety, it is you that blames yourself on your communication skills.  Toxic people will drain you of your energy.   Their negative thoughts lead to negative actions and soon find themselves in a downward spiral to a bottomless pit. 


Elizabeth Ann Johnson Murphree | Barnes & Noble® (

Beware of the Politician…#348

Image result for Funny Politicians
Beware of the Politician...
In this tedious, disastrous land
We must be doubtful of the
Political ignorant.
They seize my senses in how
They deceive and when called
Out they act belligerent.
They are slowly taking from us
The values we hold dear.
Beware the politicians
Control our lives and rule by





Elizabeth Ann Johnson Murphree | Barnes & Noble® (

Recalling Time…#347

Image result for recalling time images

Micro Poetry – Recalling of Time

Memories, the past has many doors to open, one could spend a lifetime in these corridors of time.  Rooms bulging with stories good and bad; they rise to fill our minds with happiness, joy or sadness.  Like soft petals falling to the ground, so does the memory of our life fall gently upon our hearts?




Elizabeth Ann Johnson Murphree | Barnes & Noble® (

A Life Unrepressed…#345

Image result for image of typing on my computer

Today, I feel blessed…

I have spent the last three weeks in the hospital and one in a rehab/nursing facility, four weeks..  I fell! I was transported to the hospital.  Within the one week that I was there I was diagnosed with bone cancer, severe anemia and the fall broke my back and right foot.  I am on the mend; cancer will never go away, a rare one with no cure.  The anemia will hopefully at one point change and the broke back will mend.  I have a back brace that has to be ultra tight on me, and I must wear a brace for the rest of my life.  Oh well, I still have my sense of humor!

That’s the bad news; the good is that I have mega writing time. I feel stripped of both worlds.  Only my computer gives light to my days and nights, creating reality and chalets the world of imagination.

I want to share the meaning of creating poetry.  What I see in a poem, it is an image in my mind that must have all the words come together to creates a story.  When creating a poem it becomes the center of my existence.   A writer, actually lives in two worlds, one of reality and one of make believe.  There are times when they meld together; I fear one day the latter will become my only world.  This may come with senility?  At my age, I doubt I will ever see that stage of life.

Currently the world of make believe, fiction, blogging and imagination serves me well.  It masks the pain!  My site, gives me an outlet to create in my poetry how I feel emotionally too.  The realm of imagination is one of quiet periods of reality and fiction join together to give the strength to find a reason for existence.

Peace and Love to each of you.


A Life Unrepressed
Lighting surges through a war of disrespectful words, tears descending, wet.  In times of uncertainty, an unknown sadness is out of control, a smile, a gesture; or fear clings to a receptive body.  Words may not bring rest or smiles, the soul deep within knows.
There is no one that can unlock the heart, nothing that can be said or felt.  Thoughts, do not reveal or conceal, disguise the lack of sympathy, place blame and criticize.  Alienate the voice, if only for one moment feel free.  Fate, possession, strife, and life.
The genuine self, forced to obey, despite and un-regarded life blind to the hurt of others will embed hate eternally.  The knowledge of life fire and force, walking down a rough path; deep pain.  No spirit, hate has the power to control, nameless feelings that have conceded to a life unrepressed.  Speak and act so no one will know hidden damage floating down to the soul.
The hidden self, inward strife and following demands; in return, a thousand nothings, all-miraculously give power.   Hide in the depths of the soul; echo speaks of pain.  Lackluster eyes stare, glare, and the words unspoken deafening creating fear.  A bolt of tones, frightening, is piercing ears.
No feeling stirs, the heart laid plain, unaware of a life winding down, no meadows of flowers, no sun, no breeze, and the madness is elusive to all.  No feeling, no respite.  In quietness, the war of mocking words; the tears, the sadness. The thoughts of the sea, the crashing waves; soul and spirit sinking within its wet madness and always stay, stay, and stay.
Too late, love revealed itself in death, and the heart has nothing to say.  Living and moving in disguises, alien, until the end.  Life had nothing to possess, strife, identity.  Blind, uncertainty, life no fire or restlessness, a thirst for the mystery of it all, nameless feelings lived in vain.  The loss, the heart lay open for all to see, the hurt hidden twisted among the rubble of pain.  Yet, after all that, there is tomorrow.  




Elizabeth Ann Johnson Murphree | Barnes & Noble® (

Why are we leaving it up to the children?…#342

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A Free America

Why are we leaving it up to the children?

Do you know your country, or do you only

Know what you are told by the media, or

Local gossip?  Everyone of color has been

Discriminate against, the whites have yet

To understand that they are privileged.

The status of your existence is unimportant

If you are poor and white, you still have

Priviledge over anyone of color.  You live

In America and you think that you are free!

Silence is our words, the stories we tell

Are not true; they are made up of all that

We wish to be.  The dead of the past are

All hero’s and we sing the praises of their

Names and their conquest.  Silence our words

For they are only half truths. 

We continue with our lives as if we know

Where we are going and what we are doing,

But do we?  Were we meant to be ruled by

A group of people that are out for themselves

Only?  They rule over all of the people.  Yes,

We voted them in, do we even look at who we

Put into office?  Are they fit to be an official?

Of the United States of America?  What is

Their personal life that will start the question

As to how they will act in their government


We, the people of our generation are lost, we

Have let the government get too far into this

Mockery.  These people we elect are in the game

For themselves and do no care about the people. 

They do not think about the children of today or

Of those that will be born tomorrow.  Will they

Have a tomorrow? Or will America turn into a

Third world country?  Will our farm lands be

Baron waste lands?

The land of the free and the home of the brave,

Will be a thing of the past.  Hopefully, someone

Will remember as there will be no books to read,

There will be no memorials to see, no places to

Visit with the family.  Those who still fight for

Freedom will do so underground.  They will be

Called the enemy, and they will be treated as


There will be no government, but there will still

Be the fine places for the politicians to rule from,

And they will still live in the finest homes, their

Children will not be hungry.  Yours will.  Our

Military will be those who guard the officials and

Keep in line the people; keep the peace so to speak.

The people will live on little as the government will

Take the largest portion of your hard earned money.

Your children will go hungry!

You will live in unawareness, you will believe that

The present is all there is, you will be passive in

All things.  Yet, there will still be those few who

Believe in what America once stood for, they will

Be the ones who continue to see it as a free nation.

They will fight to live in a nation that is for the

People, by the people.  These Fighters for freedom

Will never go away, you the Government will not

Sleep at night for you will be Afraid that the

 “Freedom Fighters” will come to Take back their


It is time that you, as adults stand up and fight for

Your children.  Leave them a government that is by the

People, and for the people.  You cannot bring back the

Books that have been band, you cannot bring back the

Statues, the many memorials torn down, you cannot

Bring back the land that has been desecrated.  But,

You can see that they have a government that will

Have the people In their sights when voting on issues

Of importance.

It is time to vote in decent human beings, those who

Truly believe in a free nation.  Let’s, start at home,

Bring into the lives of our children a freedom that they

Will pass down to their children.  It is not about us,

Those that will not be here to know that they are free.

It is about the children, those unborn that will inherited

This land called America.


Love and Forgiveness…#340

Art by Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree

The hospital room has become a sanctuary of darkness and light.  My Angels are living here with me during every sleeping and waking moment.  Their love and kindness are teaching me patience; the pain cleans my soul showing me the way.

I do believe that their light shines upon me.  They also with the pills made available takes me from the darkness and pain, the pain is leaving me with a certain wisdom that I have never known before.  Maybe this road that I must now travel is a blessing in disguise.  Bone cancer, will do this to one!  One where I can see the truth and bring it to others in my writing.

If this newly found wisdom brings me closer to home, it will all be worth it.  My Dixie is another Angel in my life, so loving never meets a stranger, never mad always happy and she loves her mama.  When you are looking death in the face, you either embrace it or try to hide it.  I am trying to be open to this new chapter in my life and share it with all who will read my blog.  It is hard to explain how beautiful life can be if you remove yourself from toxic “things”.  Love and forgiveness is truly the right path to journey upon.  I will continue to write my fiction, to create my poetry and prose.  Please visit often.    EAJM