Friday, August 02, 2013

This Too Shall Pass, and So They Say...

There’s not a whole lot you can say about someone else’s circumstances and how you think they should handle them. Everyone has a cross to bear and there is no way we can spew off cliches like, “This too shall pass” and other type of comforting words to try and soothe someone who has finally given up on life. A friend of mine wrote a piece about how people use the term, “I feel your pain” more time than necessary. No one can feel your pain, even if they’ve been through similar situations. This morning, I found out an old friend/acquaintance of mine had taken her life yesterday afternoon. I’ve lost a few friends this way and you always think, “What could have made them do such a thing?” There’s no way to get inside somebody’s head, but there are signs. It’s tricky, because sometimes “signs” are just attention getters, and while that may be true, you may actually give attention to someone who ‘may have’ gone downhill if the attention wasn’t given. You always have to think of it that way. Always take the signs seriously. It’s a shame when there was actually something that could have been done, but unfortunately took a turn for the worse. Believe me, I know what it’s like to lose a job, lose a lover, lose all hope. I have been through extreme pain, chronic pain and still go through it. I worry...a lot. I go through depressive phases and wonder about my own fate, but luckily, my faith always tells me ‘this too shall pass’, because it’s true: it does pass. Easier said than done?

I always think about people who say, “Well, he/she has it so easy.” And while it may appear that they live the “perfect life”, or have it easier, the more perfect their life may seem, the more traumatic it may be. Beneath the surface: stress, inner turmoil, sleepless nights and depression may be underneath that happy smiling face. I remember hanging out with a group of friends one night, and one of the girls said, “She has it so easy. She doesn’t work and have any responsibilities while her husband is out there struggling to make ends meet.” I chimed in, “Well I certainly wouldn’t want to trade places with her. She has to take care of three kids, make them breakfast, send them off to school, get groceries, pick the kids back up at the bus stop which is a mile away from their home and then has to make dinner, bathe them and make sure she has them in bed at a certain hour. On top of that, she has marital problems. You think that’s easy?” Everyone went silent. These group of women happened to have a relative or a live in maid to help take care of the kids if they had any, and one woman just had herself, her great job at the office and happy hour after work. I’m not saying that any of these lives are completely content, but every. single. person. struggles. It doesn’t matter if someone has the job you have or what you think they should have. I wish judgmental people could just jump into other people’s shoes for just one day. I’m sure they would have a totally different outlook - to experience their anxiety, their sadness - to just be them ----period. Sometimes, just “being them” is more than a job alone.

Be free of judgments. Be free of your own mind.
When I started climbing into my late thirties (and thankfully my nieces think I’m still in my teens) - I realized that it doesn’t matter what people thought of me. When I was in my teens, fashion and who you hung out with mattered. In my twenties, job status and who I dated mattered the most. In my thirties, it was all about high school reunions and how much you’ve accomplished as a person in society and if you had a husband and kids. I didn’t fall into any of those categories, gratefully. I was just “me”. After having been through the corporate wringer, dated a few doozies and tried my best to even think about having kids, even in my thirties --- “status” meant shit to me. It was now about overall happiness, health, love and family --- whatever “family” means to you. My immediate family, my family of choice and my wife. (And of course, Lola my Chihuahua.) When I decided to freelance write and produce promotional videos, it was the best decision of my life because I could work from home, do all the things I couldn’t do if I was stuck in some cubical. But, some people even feel that my life is an “easy life”. It’s not. I don’t have kids to tend to or school PTA meetings. I don’t have the responsibilities of making sure my kid(s) are out of trouble or that my job is in jeopardy because I’m constantly late due to the traffic jams on my commute. I don’t have those stressors. What do I have then? I have pressures of if I don’t hand in my work or produce quality film for my clients, then I don’t get paid. I struggle with anxiety and depression. I suffer with chronic pain that then trickles into depression. I’m in and out of hospitals in complete agony getting tossed a dozen and one pain relievers that are addicting, and thankfully, I don’t have an addictive personality that would make me take them for long periods of time... but what if? What if every other non-addictive personality got surprisingly hooked on them, because well, they actually had quality of life from no pain? See how that works? It’s easy to fall under these dangerous circumstances.

On a much more relatable note, losing a parent isn’t something so easy to deal with, as some of you probably know oh so well, especially if you have a close-knit family. The constant caregiving and playing EMT/ambulance while Dad was sick was very stressful. The anticipation of that midnight call from my mother in distress, “Yer’ fatha’s sick again, can you come down?” And off we went, to spend an endless night in the ER to make sure he was admitted. Before and after his passing were horrifically stressful on so many levels - so many: emotionally and physically. It took a toll on my mother health-wise due to all of her worrying and anxiety levels. I do believe that God won’t give you anything you can’t handle, but sometimes you think, “Wow, this is one. huge. challange.” You also wonder if you’ll make it through yourself. While driving my mother home the other day, she was telling me about some dentist who had a nervous breakdown - an old term used back in the day. I asked her, “What exactly defines a nervous breakdown?” And she said, “When someone loses it, screams on top of their lungs in a crisis situation and can no longer cope with life. They barely leave the house and they just. stop. living.” She looked over at me, remembering a time when I once did that. I was there. I had one, or two. But, I’m still here pushing through and believe there IS hope, that there IS a way out of this chaotic world we set as “society” - the way they think, the way they judge and ridicule. All of that shouldn’t matter. Fuck everyone and focus on YOU and your accomplishments. My sister Cathy posted something really awesome on her Facebook. It said, “You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.” How many times have we dropped our faces into the palms of our hands in total defeat all because we couldn’t do it all? And that’s when all hope is lost.

On my iBook, I have Joyce Meyer’s books and read them frequently. I want to quote part of it that relates to this. “In the beginning chapters of the book of Genesis we see a prophetic word that things will 'come to pass'. In fulfillment of this word, the expression, ‘it came to pass’ is used hundreds of times throughout the King James Version of the Bible. For example, in Genesis 39 KIV, which describes some of Joseph’s experiences in Egypt where he was sold into slavery and rose to second in command of the entire nation, the phrase, ‘and it came to pass’ appears eight times. The last book of the Bible, Revelation, speaks of ...things which must shortly come to pass... (Revelation 1:1 KJV). That should tell us in this life whatever exists now, or will exist in the future, is not permanent, but temporary. The good news is, no matter how dismal our current situation or outlook, we are assured by God, ‘This too shall pass.’ Life is a continued process in which everything is constantly changing. If we can grasp that truth, it will help us make it through the difficult times in which we find ourselves. It will also help us not to hold on too tightly to the good times, thinking, ‘If I ever lose all this, I just can’t make it.’ God wants us to enjoy all of life ---- not just its destination but also the trip itself.”

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!