What I've Learned So Far...

Everyone is here to fill a much needed space in life, whether it seems so or not. Some people are here to teach us a lesson, while others are here to test our own sense of character. Regardless, we learn from both through our own reactions. Some people are here to just piss you off. It's your reaction that counts. As I always say, you don't have to attend every argument that you're invited to. I didn't learn that until I was in my 40's. My reaction to a destructive situation may hurt me now, and I may voice my thoughts and opinions about it, but it's highly unlikely I would seek out revenge as I would've done when I was younger. As I've grown more mature in my faith in God, my relationship and communication with Him, the more I understand the reasoning behind all madness. People hurt. And hurt people hurt other people. It's just a law. But if those people can realize that their past hurt can be healed, or used constructively, life would be much more peaceful. But there's this attachment to the hurt. Some people find a gratifying sense of contentment with staying inside that dark sadness and pain. This is why some people would rather listen to sad music when they're depressed. It amplifies their own misery -- justifies their sadness -- like, "Hey, this song really speaks to me" -- it's about relating to their sadness. It's also about misery loves company.

People who have past emotions that still currently torture their everyday existence are dealing with what's referred to as "pain-body." Eckhart Tolle's definition of the pain-body is this: "The pain-body is my term for the accumulation of old emotional pain that almost all people carry in their energy field. I see it as a semi-autonomous psychic entity. It consists of negative emotions that were not faced, accepted, and then let go in the moment they arose."

This is why some couples will bring up the past in an argument -- something that has nothing to do with the present moment, or what they were initially arguing over in the first place. Someone with a deep pain-body may also seem to insult or attack you more, merely from feeling its existence from within. You're the target, but the reasoning is their own past emotions which are triggering their attack. Have you ever taken something out on someone just because you were angry over something else? I have. And these days, I catch it. It can come on so quickly too. There are some people who exude their negative energy to such a degree, that once you walk into the room they're in -- you can feel that tension -- that overwhelming sense of anger, dread or depression -- and it sucks you in. It's up to your own pain-body whether you want to dwell deeper into it, or slip out for your own well-being if you are conscious enough.

Negative thoughts results in negative actions and reactions. A negative will never prove a positive, however, a positive can always encourage a negative, if it's not already drained of its power. For instance, I've been suffering from anxiety and depression for a while now. It's mostly anxiety, but lately, it's been depression that has been attacking me. I'm grateful that I am conscious of my thoughts most of the time, but if I am not careful, I can slip into a deeper state of sadness, which makes me sleep 12 hours in one night. This morning, I woke up after 12 hours of sleeping and wanted to just pull the covers over my head and sleep some more. So I started to think about positive things: the beautiful day that awaits me, my cute little dog cuddled up next to me, and of course: COFFEE! So I made some coffee and sat outside and prayed to God about it. Just by telling God my problems (even if you don't believe in God -- the act of confessing and acknowledging the pain, is enough to turn your thoughts around. Your mind is extremely powerful. Remember, one negative thought turns into another negative thought, and then possibly into an action. The same applies with positive thoughts. I started thinking of the beautiful day, my dog, my coffee, sitting outside and praying. It snowballed into better things.

I'm still struggling -- but it's not a bad thing. I know what to do. Depression can also be a chemical imbalance, and it can also be circumstantial life occurrences in your life. Sometimes, God gives us rest through (what we think) is depression. The symptoms, like oversleeping, fatigue or just a lack in activities, etc... Realize it for what it is, and pray. It may just mean: HEY, take a break! If I am overwhelmed with too many people all at once, sometimes I have to step aside and take a breather. Too much interaction for me leaves me fatigued. I'm pretty sure I'm an empath -- I absorb everyone else's emotions and overall pain they're experiencing. I can try to help so much, but after a while, my entire body and emotional state is completely drained. But inside, I am grateful and happy in a sense due to my gratitude for life. It's just that I'm tired, which can be confused with depression.

Also, be careful when dealing with psychiatrists. They're quick to try and medicate you, leaving you with a week or more of no contact. It's not a fair practice for most of them. They're only human. They never seem to flow outside of their "textbook psychology" which is a conditioned mindset. Because let's face it -- every single one of us are different. We can't all be diagnosed with depression or labeled into a diagnosis that's absolutely meant to give a wonderful payday for the pharmaceutical companies. When a doctor gets kickback from a new medicine, it's time to rethink their sincerity of their personalized treatment. Luckily, the psychiatrist that I see doesn't believe in all those antidepressants that's being flung at everyone. He will prescribe an oldie but goodie -- but only if you request it. He'd rather have a constructive therapy session or give you some sound 'outside of the box' advice.

The best therapy I can suggest is a good friend. I've met a couple of really good friends this year who have helped me tremendously. We share one another's struggles in our daily lives, making sure we don't possibly drain each other. It's a beautiful balance. Always make sure you're not being an emotional drain on someone else. It's sometimes hard when you're going through the worst experience of your life, but in the midst of your friend being there for you, make sure you provide something back for him or her, even if it's a heartfelt thank you, and maybe a homemade dinner! Whatever you expertise in, show some love in that area. Friendship is a give and take. It should be balanced out and appreciated for what it is. Your friend is not your therapist. He or she is there to share life with you. That also goes for being with someone intimately, like a spouse or a partner. Make sure their needs are being met too. I know that at times I can be a pain in the butt to live with, but I am thankful for my wife and how she stands by me all the time. I try to be there for her, cook for her, make sure the house is clean and everything is paid for. But most importantly, I try to listen to her too. Between seeing my father fall ill and passing away, to dealing with another parent falling ill to cancer, it hasn't been easy on either of us. She sometimes finds me crying hysterically in the middle of the night in the living room with Kleenex crumpled up all around me. I don't know what I would do without her.

Although I still don't know why I'm here or what's to come, I know that somewhere, somehow, God put me here for a reason. I have a strange little existence here in this world -- not to be mistaken as a bad thing, but it is what it is. I would never want to change places with anyone. Whether I quit school or graduated from Harvard, whether or not I have a high profile career to just being a freelance writer at home, or even nothing at all -- we all go to the same place -- we all start pushing up daisies eventually. Our purpose should be greater than a degree, greater than wealth or materialistic things. It should be more about how you treated people while you were here on this earth. It should be how you treated YOURSELF while you're here alive and kicking. It should be about family, friends, laughter, giving, inspiring, loving --- TIME --- because time spent is priceless. A hospice nurse once interviewed 50 dying patients and asked them if they ever regretted anything in life. Not one patient said that they regretted not working enough hours at their job. They all said that they regretted not spending enough time with their loved ones.

Let that sink in.

Life is so much more than we think it is.

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!