Mental Health is a Destroyer of Dreams…#413

Being an avid reader on all subjects, once I was diagnosed with Multi Myeloma (Bone Cancer), I researched everything possible to make me more aware of what I could do to prolong my life. My son Chuck whom I have featured many times in blog posts, has made mental health one of his top priorities. I found that cancer and mental health many times go hand in hand. My family has struggled with depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember, and while doing this self-study, I had to look back before moving forward.

It has been said that my mother never had a problem, she was tough, and depression and/or anxiety would never have been a part of her makeup. With that being said, I believe that she did suffer from both. She was very good at hiding it because she would have looked at it as a sign of weakness; she was one of the strongest people I had ever known. She was not a good parent by anyone’s standards. She was controlling, demanding and selfish. It would be hard for me to write those words had I not been the one person she seemed to take responsibility for making miserable, a commitment she took seriously. I have written about her topics, poems, and general annotations of my life with her as my mother.

Throughout the years, I have grown to understand many of her actions. Also, what drove her to the actions she thought appropriate. She came from well-off people; however, within time, her father squandered his inheritance on women, whiskey, and being too lazy to work. She eventually turned into his fieldhand, married outside her class or though she thought, and never lived the life she dreamed of having. These all make depression and anxiety a front runner for her problems. She, on the other hand, never felt she had one and openly called anyone who professed to have depression and anxiety weak. She tried to live vicariously through two of her three daughters; she tried and never succeeded in dying without ever reaching her younger goals of wealth and affluence. I believe she masks her depression with extreme toughness, no matter who she hurts. Mental health is a destroyer of dreams.

My daddy was textbook depressive, and I would be an adult before I recognized it. He was quiet, withdrawn, and never reached his dreams, either. A sharecropper and truck driver’s life was not what he envisioned as a young man. Before he married my mother, he lived a colorful life of riding the rails, moonshining, and whiskey runner in the early 1900s. His dream of becoming a baseball player died when he married my mother. Becoming something, he was not shown on his face and in his actions. He wore depression on his sleeve like a suit of armor. He died, never realizing his dream. Mental health is a destroyer of dreams.

My own life was being born to a woman who did not want me, living with relatives until I was three years old, then coming under the control of my mother, who no doubt decided that all of her problems were because of my being born. Living in an arranged marriage to an abuser, never knowing love, unable to break loose from the marriage. Battling health issues, many due to the life led, all could be caused by depression and anxiety. Cancer had to align with all the other issues; the body was ready to be broken. Mental health is a destroyer of dreams.

Depression is known to run in families, genetic influences impact one’s health, and there is a risk of developing this disease and anxiety. Little is known, but the history of some families indicates the possibility.  

I have struggled with depression and anxiety all my life; it has gone untreated and undiagnosed until the last decade, with the previous five years leading up to cancer. Cancer does not just affect your body; it can also affect your mind. I have experienced considerable changes in my emotional health. This past year I have dealt with depression, anxiety, and fear; I am never confident I will win this battle. Yet, it is treatable. Unfortunately, I was not diagnosed until I entered the last stage of multi-Myeloma; there is no cure for this disease. Treatment to date has it in a holding pattern, not remission, holding! 

It is difficult to say if cancer, depression, or anxiety are the problems; all carry the same symptoms, fatigue, insomnia, and decreased appetite, and they all go hand in hand. It is well known that people living with mental health conditions worsen the outcome of cancer. I have read that mental health treatment can change the course of cancer, and I believe that it could.

I have undergone mental health screening and have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety. This diagnosis helps me in making life-changing decisions for the better. I have been lucky to have a family supporting me; I continue to write, paint, and be active when my body allows me to do so.

It continues to be a stigma. I have lost friends and relatives due to being open about depression and anxiety. However, I find that there is a great need to keep the discussion going and speak out whenever possible. In today’s world, we are losing too many young people due to that stigma; suicide is rampant among those who are depressed or experience various anxiety levels. Being open and honest about one’s mental health may lose your friends and relatives who believe you are weak. But, if I can save one person, young or old, it is worth people thinking I am weak.

Go to https://screening.mhanational.org/

If you believe you need help, do not be afraid to reach out to your doctor, the life you save may be your own. This test is free and takes only a few minutes.

Thank you to all of you for reading this post. Being open and honest has saved me many times and continues to do so. Have a great day and “good health.”  E.

Broken Bones and Tainted Blood…#412

Broken Bones and Tainted Blood

The screams are silent in your mind

silent to the world

Instant Insanity

Shattered –

Crushed –

Tainted –

Misery at its worse

Mind open to emotional

Tortured Screams within

Bringing the self-mind to

Unthinkable thoughts

Paranoid and unknown

People move about

Unknown unbelievable actions.

The mind searches for a way.

Run, run, run away

Fear clouds the mind and

The spirit, you – are hostage

In this place of grief, a

Room with no doors.

Something shredding the soul

Your body is moving objects

Make a sphere of death

cold? I hear and see s line

of trombones soulfully marching

into the distance.

The red rain fills the space and covers

the floor. Finally, madness rules

over the mind. You will swim for

eternity in the bloody vexation of the

soul.

copyright©2022.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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Searching for a Miracle…#410

Searching for a Miracle …

It feels like a cold rain pounding at my heart

these hours before dawn. The grief is

fierce as it raises and consumes my spirit,

assaulting my senses. Memories emerge from

the darkness, becoming one with my soul.

In the depths of my wounded courage, I am

listing in a sea of sorrow, my life filled with

more grief than many can bear.

It is the hard cold times before departing

this misery. I search for a miracle; hope

merges with despair; my destiny is to

leave all I have ever loved. There are times

when I am uncertain and afraid. Hope

has expired. Sometimes waves of anger

and fear hang above me, like a cloud

circulating over the earth.

Many times, I speak of death. Although

much is written about grief, soft words

are meant to calm the grieving heart.

Some will say how lovely words are,

and I doubt this is true. Yet, I sometimes

hear the elderly; talk of death until they

see their own grave beyond the horizon.

Grief is not calm and lovely; the words

do not stop the pain. Words penetrate the

brain, shattering the heart. Most are choked

with emotions under the flesh where the

heart is sheltered by outward suffering;

they close their eyes, hoping to find peace

before disappearing.

The grief therapist in my group believes

the words that enter the ears will have

comforted the unhappiness. Grief has no

place to hide! We all grieve in our own

time, short, long, or forever; we just stop

talking about it. I mourn my daughter,

parents, and only sibling, friends. I miss

them all. I wait, soon, very soon!

Copyright©2022.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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Casualties of the Times…#408

It’s turning cool in Wisconsin; the mornings are damp, with the sun showing its face late in the afternoon. When the day grows dark, the moon looks like it is covered with ice, light in the distance where life does not exist. Then, the body finds comfort in the warmth of the day. Today I watched a TV program about homelessness; it’s crucial to remember that homeless people are our brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles, parents, and children.

(Based on internet statistical information)

©Every night, more than 300,000 men, women, and children in the U.S. stay in homeless shelters. An additional 200,000 or so spend each night unsheltered, whether on the street or in other locations, subway trains, vehicles, etc. Families with children represent 30% of the U.S. homeless population.

I do all that I can financially, buying bags of food sent to my hometown’s food bank. I advocate when possible, for the homeless. I am thankful that my children are adults and have decent jobs. I live in a Senior Housing complex with a food box in our lobby. Seniors here sometimes reach into the box, retrieving one or two items. I put things in this box as well. I wrote how I feel about this enormous problem worldwide.

©Casualties of the Time…

The homeless cannot sleep on winter’s cold nights.

They gather around a burning barrel,

men, women, and children, forgotten, shattered,

and despised, in the distance, a hungry baby cries.

Begging for food, being homeless, no jobs to be found,

families no longer sound, the government talks end

up in contradictions, poverty is the prediction.  

The spirit freezes, the fruit of labor rots, life

squeezes and struggles to persist, bad luck smothers

heart and soul, and hope ceases. 

Shifting winds turn into storms. Will the world

grow wiser or be humbled and beaten into servility? 

Trust departed, a cardboard box in the streets is

where the homeless make their beds, hope disappears,

and the future appears dead.

©2022.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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Queen Elizabeth II is Gone…#407

Before it, all began…

Americas have always been lands of immigrants, lands that have been “discovered” time and again by different peoples coming from other parts of the world throughout countless generations—going far back to the prehistoric past when a band of Stone Age hunters first set foot in what indeed was an unexplored New World.

Christopher Columbus and his fleet of three small sailing ships had left the Canary Islands, heading west across the uncharted Ocean Sea, as the Atlantic was known. He had expected to reach China or Japan, but there was still no sign of land. The Ocean Sea was also known as the Sea of Darkness. Hideous monsters were said to lurk beneath venomous sea serpents and giant crabs that could rise from the deep and crush a ship with its crew.

Finally, the men demanded that Columbus turn back and head for home. When he refused, some of the sailors whispered of mutiny. They wanted to kill the admiral by throwing him overboard. But, for the moment, the crisis had passed. Columbus wasn’t the first explorer to “discover” America. His voyages were significant because they were the first to become widely known in Europe. They opened a pathway from the Old World to the New, paving the way for the European conquest and colonization of the Americas, changing life forever on both sides of the Atlantic. Five hundred years before Columbus, a daring band of Vikings led by Leif Eriksson set foot in North America and established a settlement.

In the early 1600s, the British king began establishing colonies in America. By the 1700s, most settlements had formed into 13 British colonies: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina. British America comprised the colonial territories of the English Empire, which after the 1707 union of the Kingdom of England with the Kingdom of Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, became the British Empire in the Americas from 1607 to 1783.

There was no hope of conquering America — the territory was too big, and available resources too meager. At the outbreak of hostilities, the British Army numbered just 45,000 men, spread over a substantial global empire. On September 9, 1776, the Continental Congress formally declared the new nation’s name to be the “United States” of America. This replaced the term “United Colonies,” which had been in general use.

The ancestors of the American Indians were nomadic hunters of northeast Asia. They migrated over the Bering Strait land bridge into North America probably during the last glacial period (11,500–30,000 years ago). Before the arrival of Europeans, the Native Americans lived as autonomous nations (also known as tribes) across the continent from present-day Alaska, across Canada, and throughout the lower 48 United States. These were my ancestors, North Alabama band of Chickasaw!

This brings me to today, we lay to rest a grand lady. Had things been different today, we may have all been speaking with a British accent and flying the Union Jack.

I wish King Charles the best, may his reign be long and successful.

E.

Thought’s in the Day of a Writer…#405

I am in my second year after being diagnosed with Multi Myeloma (Bone Cancer). The life expectancy is as low as 2.5 years and tops 4 years. I kept the depression and anxiety levels down the first year, not because of denial but the sheer strength of my mind. In the second year, the depression and anxiety returned with a vengeance. I have gotten weaker and fatigued and have this sense of urgency about accomplishing what I have wanted since retirement: writing. I have published several books of poetry, including an autobiography about my daughter, who passed away in 2010. I have begun my own life story this past year. Then this cloud that many carry above them, depression, and anxiety. I have found that poetry is making a comeback, but slowly. Sales have not been at the top of my money chart. Another worry is that I am starting something that I will not have time to finish. My life has been long, more of a saga, filled with bits of happiness given to me by my children and emotional and physical abuse woven in and out throughout the years.  

The urgency involves my writing. I have been writing since I could print words, simple words. Poems for my aunt and daddy, which she would destroy if found by my mother. I had been told since I was old enough to remember that I would never be anything because I was not as beautiful as my sister Billie nor as bright; all I could hope for was to marry and have someone take care of me. This non-encouragement caused me to work toward good grades and educate myself if schooling was not available. Like many southern girls, I was married “off” to someone much older than me, an abuser. I never gave up wanting to write. I was a closet writer until I retired from the public workforce, fearing that it would be destroyed if it was found.

This brings me to when I give thought to be a writer. Also, what type of writer did I want to be. I have always loved poetry; my poetry books are filled with heartache and anguish that was my life. Many have said that it was “dark” poetry. It was mainly dark as it was given birth from that dark place within me. Many have suggested that I seek help and counseling. Don’t we all need counseling in some form, depression, and/or anxiety?

To be a writer, one must have good communication skills and be able to share a point concisely and clearly. I began years ago by keeping a daily journal; with this journal, I could draw upon incidents in my life that would allow me to put them into my poetry or short stories. I have been told that writing is never a lonely activity; for me, it was because I have always thought of myself as a loner. I turn within, thinking about what I wanted to say, how I wanted to write it to bring others into my “dark” world of reading what I wrote. I know I am not alone; many carry the same burdens that I do, much worse than mine. We may not be alone, but it is a lonely world for me. A world where I can hide and play the part needed to be played.

I have never looked at my writing as a job, one I could make a living regularly doing; be another Sylvia Plath or Grace Paley. That was why I waited until retirement to pursue my desire to write. I write because I love to create, to share with others. Yet, to share those, others must buy my books; maybe poetry was not the best choice. Perhaps a collection of short stories would have been more profitable? However, once again, urgency raises its worrisome head. There are constant changes in publishing and marketing, and I try to keep up with those when necessary. Writers must have adaptability when needed. Discipline is something that comes naturally to me. However, with cancer, treatments and the side effects that come with it does override discipline. It overshadows time, fatigue takes over no matter how committed I may be, and my challenges are health problems I have no control over.

I am organized, have a designated workspace, and have all the proper writing tools; I research what is needed to put out the correct information. I edit, edit, edit…I know what I want to write. I follow all the principles and have proofreaders. I copyright my material. I have had this blog for years. I am a people watcher, listen to tones, and am always mindful of syntax. I try to switch topics, poetry, short stories, newsworthy information, and opinions in my blog. I try to think critically, change styles, and learn new techniques. I follow some social media. However, I am a loner and a lone thinker.

There are two things that I need to observe. Slip away from fatigue and pain; my work may be more productive. Secondly, sales!

It has been a very long day for me, so I will leave you with this, never give up on your dreams.

©2022.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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The life story of Charlotte Jean Murphree 7/13/1958 – 7/21/2010

Searching for a Miracle…#403

The hours before dawn, and a cold rain pounds into my heart. The grief is fierce as it raises and consumes my spirit, assaulting my senses. Memories emerge from the darkness, becoming one with my soul. In the depths of my wounded courage, I am listing in a sea of sorrow, my life filled with more grief than many can bear. It is the hard cold hour before departing this misery.

I search for a miracle; hope merges with despair; my destiny is to leave all I have ever loved. I am uncertain and afraid. Hope has expired. Sometimes waves of anger and fear hang above me, a cloud circulating over the earth. I do not speak of death. Yet, the elderly where I reside; talk until they see their own grave over the horizon.

Much is written about grief, soft words meant to calm the grieving heart. There will be those who say how lovely these words are, and I doubt they are all true. Grief is not calm and comforting; the comments do not stop the pain. Words penetrate the brain; they shatter the heart.

Most are choked with emotions under the flesh where the heart is sheltered by outward affliction; they close their eyes, hoping to have the scene before they disappear. Grief has no place to hide! The speaker believes the words that enter the ears will comfort despair.

©2022.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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Cleansing Waters…#401

Cleansing Waters

raw is this father

and motherless flesh

life in troubled times

blues gone to grays

why do some people

cause others pain

in this all too familiar

love-hate game as

the red around me

spreads, I prayed for

cleansing waters then

suddenly came the rain.

©2022.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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Altered Senses…#400

Altered Senses

Existence, scene after scene,

characteristic of life

environment, genetics, and

promises that reveal nothing,

the past descends like rain

from the sky, washing away

all dreams.  Phantoms of

youth chanting within the

soul, paths blocked; evil has

spread across the landscape

of a lifetime.  Loneliness limits

love and happiness; boundaries

set slow down the process

of moving into the future…

nevertheless, the future may

be shrouded with abundant

solitude from where there is

no escape.  Rethink the future!

©2022.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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Time to Relax…#397

August 2 thru 4 was spent with my two sons. It had been planned for some time and I prayed that I would be able to go. The pain was unbearable at times, but this did not stop me from enjoying every minute. Sometimes we must push through the pain in order to get into the realm of laughter, togetherness, and love. I had trained all my life for this very thing and the time was beautiful.

Cabin at Indian Trails Campground…

Inside the cabin…

It was a beautiful setting, surrounded by a fence, which took away from the “campground” effect. We arrived on a Tuesday. It took some time to get everything settled, then darkness came on quickly.

I had a walker which was difficult to maneuver over the gravel road. However, I also had my big battery-powered wheelchair that could tackle any road and win. As I look back, I can barely remember doing a 5K with Chuck and Karen only a few years back. Walking 6 miles every day and eating “right”.

That was with heart surgery and many other complications that “old age” will throw at you. Then, it all ended when I fell and broke my back! One year and three months ago the big “C” was a diagnosis that I did not ever want to hear. The days go and come with me fighting it every step of the way. Over this past year, I have gone from cane to walker and wheelchair. Thus, this brings me to today.

I did go to Door County, a big attraction here in Wisconsin. If I was going to wait until I felt better…that was not going to happen. Three days there with my granddaughter and my 10-year-old great-grandson. That was not a vacation, but a few days of seeing how undisciplined he was most of the time.

So, the three days in the cabin were something I needed badly. What a peaceful time.

Here are the two that made that possible and what a joy to have time without drama. I must tell you that I have two of the most wonderful sons. They took time out of their busy lives to give me those days.  We went to an Amish Bakery, you have not lived until you have baked goods from scratch, with no preservatives. I laughed more than I have ever laughed and felt nothing but respect and love. The tallest is Carl in management with a large company. The shorter one is me! The other boy is Chuck a special education teacher. Chuck is also a writer as is his mother. He has published two books on mental health, and he is a speaker in mental health as well.  

We pushed all we could into those short three days. We vowed to go again next summer. My wish is that I can, and if not, I had them promise me that they would get together every summer, just the two of them.

Have a great weekend, and I hope to return shortly.  E.

©2022.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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