Sunday Morning Coffee Musing: Suicide, Self Love, Love for Others and The Creator’s Love

i-love-you-wallpaper

With two people I admire in the world, Kate Spade for her vibrant fashion and Anthony Bourdain for his honesty, adventurous spirit, and good looks, gone through the chosen vehicle of suicide, I had to speak up and out just a little bit louder.

I thought long and hard about what I wanted to say and what I wanted to share. Let me start by saying from experience, depression is hard to live with. From experience, anxiety is hard to live with. From hands on experience with mentally challenged adults, bipolar disorder is very hard to live with. I feel as though people who “just don’t understand” it, don’t want to understand it. They don’t want to take the time to understand it because Google is right at their fingertips for everything else they don’t understand. If they can read, comprehend, then they can understand depression and anxiety. There are different types of depression and anxiety.

I’ve attempted suicide at least three times in my life and I use to think about it all of the time. Society didn’t make it better. Being African American made it worse. Anxiety and Depression is “crazy talk” in my community. We are slowly coming around to understanding that many of us, many African Americans, many people in our family, past and present, lived with untreated depression and anxiety. All because of the stigma that African Americans are strong and we don’t get depressed or have these mental issues that White people have. This is the dialogue I was fed for years. I think to myself, “Right, because slavery alone couldn’t have carried any long term, generational, mental and emotional consequences. And not to add just being a part of the human race alone and living life…nah, we couldn’t possibly show any signs of mental and behavioral disfunction. We made it through slavery, civil rights fights and Jim Crow laws, of course none of that affected any of us. And if we can make it through that how could we have depression and anxiety. Right?” Wrong.

There is so much I could I delve into but, the main things I want to convey is how I stay anchored to this Earth living with depression and anxiety. I went from not knowing I had it, to denying that I had it, to acknowledging I had it but, dealing with it on my own for years to finding a good psychologist that helped me understand depression and anxiety. In the midst of all that I took a journey of self love. A true and growing, deep, deep dive into self love coupled by actions that proved I loved myself that moved beyond manicures, pedicures, and shopping. It involves making choices that reflect my love of self and always remembering that “Self love is self preservation.” Self preservation also involves preserving my peace of mind and body.

Somewhere in this journey I began to understand and to feel God’s love for me. Oh I song it as a child, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” But, could I feel it? I couldn’t. I couldn’t understand it either. How could God possibly love me and allow all of these bad things to happen to me? It was not until I began to understand love from a Higher Power is different from this earthly love. It wasn’t until I began to make sense out what it is to have life and what is life. I am talking about what makes sense to me and not what others have fed me. I gathered my own information about life from a spiritual perspective and learning hard lessons from my own poor choices and just life experiences. It wasn’t until I started looking for my purpose. It wasn’t until I realized that my perception of life and it’s meaning was personal and universal. It wasn’t until I realized my idea of life will change and broaden. It wasn’t until I had a solid perception of death. It wasn’t until I understood that in order to feel God’s love I had to have a personal and deep relationship with God and that my relationship with God wouldn’t look like the church or others told me it would or should look like. God, the Creator, the Universe, loves me and that love is greater than the love I have for myself and the love that others have or do not have for me. Other’s not having love for me, falling out of love with me, does not give me a right to take my life. My precious life. Nothing, no pain, no tragedy, none of these illusions that make me think I can’t handle it, gives me a right to take my life. Not anymore. I didn’t say I don’t think about it, I said it does not give me a right. I choose life.

But it gives me understanding, why others do.  It gives me compassion for their souls. And I do not see them as weak. I see them as strong, fighting all of this time. I see them as not understanding things as I do or as others do. They are not me. I am not them. We do not, did not, will not, have the same experiences and carry them in the same way. We have other factors that weigh in. It is not my call. It is not my trial to judge. And I don’t do sending people to hell well either for suicide.

All of the love, all of the sadness, all of the inspiration from these two souls, that touched people from all over the world, they couldn’t see it or feel it. They couldn’t see it or feel it from their own friends, associates, and family. I couldn’t either. So, I understand what it’s like to be blind to all that is around you, to walk empty and to smile, to go through life like a robot. I understand how pain and not knowing how to deal with it, manage it, thinking irrationally, can send you to the edge over and over and over. So many things factor in. Too many unseen and unspoken for me to judge.

I anchor myself with love for myself (which includes therapy!), love for others, and love from God. I unhook that anchor sometimes…I get out there in the deep, but love…one or all of these loves bring me back in.

~Nikki

love-photos-wallpaper-5

 

Advertisements

Morning Self Pep Talk: You Can’t Turn This Train Around

3779e64a49fd495ab953d23a4feafd20
Illustration by Megan Hess

Morning Pep Talk to Self: “Ain’t no turning this train around. Where you gonna turn it around at? On the side of some mountain (problem/situation)? To turn this train around in the midst of adversity would be disastrous. To lose faith, give up, right now, right here would be a major set back. Power through baby. Full speed ahead.” -Nicole to Nicole

 

 

RA BLOG/Anxiety: Walk With Me

d2f78874e93667e18a7ed89e3f9383a3

It’s Saturday evening and suddenly things begin to spin out of control. I am flustered. I can’t breathe. I am becoming irritable. I have things to do and many of those things won’t get done. I have only been gone for 4 hours and it feels like I have done a full day of labor. I hate Rheumatoid Disease and Fibromyalgia. I am frowning and I remember I took a prednisone pack and this has the propensity to change my mood dramatically but, no, no that’s not it. Thoughts swirl in my head. I am dropping things, the door jams, I curse, I get into the house and I see things are getting junky, I am angry that I seem to always run out of energy before I run out of time.

6dc6075e62a87557cbefdc64b14aa1ce

When I worked for an adult mental health agency there was this phrase said to a patient after a “meltdown” subsided in order to move the patient from one area to a calmer environment. That phrase was, “Walk with me.” After I made my sandwich I sat down and I took a deep breath. Why are you so angry? I asked myself. It’s because I am so tired and I was thinking in the car not only about being fatigued, and all that I needed to do but, also about my current situation and what will I do if…you know…things don’t work out. Where will I stay? How will I survive? I started to imagine myself broke down like those who sacrificed their bodies to provide for their families. I felt sorry for them and then I thought they were mothers and fathers with illnesses, too. I thought about how sad and depressed I would be. Then I started to get angry with God for letting that happen even though it has not happened.

Walk with me…

5957a965390079e4e5f5f3d8270d7c1d

I ate my sandwich. I saw this photo I saved and I thought there is where I want to be at the end of days like this. Walking on the beach at sunset. Sending all of my thoughts and cares of the day on the waves. And then what would you do?

I would no doubt feel peace. I would return to my beach home and prepare for the night and the next day (Sunday). What would you cook? I asked myself. It surely wouldn’t be a lean cuisine warmed in the microwave. I would make a salad, pan sear some salmon, steam some veggies and pour some strawberry lemonade. Sounds good.

Walk with me. If you can steady your thoughts by steadying your breath and just take a mental walk somewhere else. Find a photo of where you would escape to and just imagine what you would be doing. So, as I came back to present, I decided on what needed to be done and what must wait. I feel so much better I didn’t go into a full anxiety attack or need the inhaler or remained frazzled and angry the rest of the evening.

#Expansion2018

~Nikki

 

The Language & Attitude of Believers:Oh Ye Tares!

lessons-from-the-parables-the-parable-of-the-tares-gods-field

The language and attitude of a believer in the body of Christ should be a language and an attitude that reflects Christ. It should be evident that you are absorbing the teaching and preaching going forth in that church. You represent Christ. You represent your church. You should want to represent the best version of yourself.

If your language and attitude is baptized in negativity it is because you have heartened your heart and the Word of God can not penetrate your rocky, stony heart! Every time the church or others want to do something you open your mouth to speak: “That will not happen. They don’t want to advance. They will never be able to do that! This church is not going anywhere!”

Dear, tares of the Church, don’t you want to be a wheat? We are going to grow up around you and God will remove your negative, bad energy spirit. How God will do it? I am not sure. But it will be done.

I wonder why these people sit in a church with such a terrible attitude and such language of gloom and doom. And as I mentioned it is because their hearts are hardened, they do not allow the Word of God to penetrate their heart, they are tares! Either you are going to continue to speak this way and produce this in your own life and in your church making it difficult for the church to advance or you are going to do the WORK of changing your stony heart and funky disposition. Don’t be a HINDERANCE to the body of Christ, be a HELP!

~Nikki

Hope

ce355a8ad06093c2be9e128531c61a4c

Hope anchors the soul of the anxious and the depressed. -Nicole Jackson

Life is In (A Life and RA Blog)

87e5d67fba2d12dde68f5457ad85ae5e

Whatever or whomever you believe to be your higher power is what sustains you in times of despair. I live a life that is often filled with physical pain, continuous doctor appointments with specialists, an ongoing fight mentally and emotionally to stay grounded, steady, and balanced. Add in your regular and unpredictable life plans. I am sure you have your own battles. So, you know where I am coming from to some degree we can agree that things get hectic.

One scripture that comes to me when life seems to put pressure on me, when the thing I am dealing with at hand attempts to snuff out my life (my joy and happiness, my optimism, my faith), suggest I’d be better off dead, or just weighs me down is this one: “In God I live and move and have my being.” It empowers me. It says, whatever it is that is making you “feel” this way, has no power over you and it is not what sustains you or keeps you alive. It says, “Move in me, with me, within you there I am, giving you this energy and power to LIVE (AND NOT DIE), MOVE (KEEP GOING/PRESSING FORWARD), AND BE (EXIST).

The ability to tap INto your source, God, and connect to something higher than yourself or your higher self (I’m not big on defining God for people as I believe in freedom of choice), in difficult times keeps your feet grounded to the Earth and your head or thoughts aligned with your divine mission. The fact that you have to reconnect or reaffirm, only suggest that you got so caught up in what was going on around you that you had a brief disconnect from Source. You “almost” forgot that God, Source, Divine sustains you. Or perhaps, your connection was weak and had gotten loose by the yanking and moving around of the cares of this world. Your thoughts. It happens sometimes.

I went for a walk today and walks are suppose to be peaceful. Yet, as soon as I stepped out of the car I felt pain in my left hip which I’ve been having trouble with at this young age of 42. My walk was not as fast and then my hands swelled half way. I was agitated and frustrated and please don’t tell me not to be because I think it’s necessary to feel so you can address it. As I thought “I am so sick of this! Sick of it! Sick of it! Sick of it!!!!” I really wanted to yell that out at the park. I kept walking and speaking to walkers and runners, the few that were on the trail. “I just want to give up.” I was walking my normal pace. And by giving up I meant trying to improve my health. “Flush all the pills. And just let RA run it’s course. Why would I get this at 8 years old. Like…for what?” Then, the scripture that caught my attention from the first time I heard it, and that comes to me often “In him, God, I live and move and have my being.” Next thought was “Right. RA has no power over me. It does not determine my destiny or “run” my life. It is not the boss of me. It does not get to take me out without a fight. It is not my life sustainer. I am. God is. I do my part. God does God’s part. I finished my walk.

~Nikki

Reaching Beyond What’s Broken

background-broken-plates-wall-ceramic-colored-fragments-74512299

What is it that is broken in your life? I have heard that when you are at the end of your rope you should tie a knot and keep hanging on. But don’t your arms (strength) weaken? Does not your hands (heart) have blisters? I’ve asked God what if I let go? And God responded that he (she) would catch me. Yet, God has informed me this is not the time to let go. No, not in this situation. So, how do I reach beyond what is broken?

Imagine that you drop a very fragile dish right before you. Did you curse? (lol) Did you get angry? Are you irritated and agitated? You felt something. When something breaks in our lives, we feel something. The first thing you do is STEP OVER the broken porcelain or glass. And guess what? That’s it! Mind you, we are only talking about how to reach beyond what is broken. As long as you are standing there in the midst of brokenness you can’t begin the clean up. And let’s say that sometimes what is broken is so bad, the Creator has to reach over your brokenness to get you the other side of safety. You know, like what may have been done by a parent to you as a child. “DON’T MOVE!” they say. Then they reach over the broken glass to get you away from the danger of sharp edges. Because that is what a caring parent does. They realize you can’t get yourself out without the risk of being hurt even more. And then they clean up.

You see, sometimes you will be the one that has to step over what is broken so that it can be fixed or left behind. And sometimes, God will reach in and carry you over the brokenness. Either way you move beyond what’s broken and only then can you determine what is next.

I say to myself this morning: What’s next?

~Nikki