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The Glass is Getting Fuller

Monday, June 27, 2011

It has been a week of extremes. Physically, environmentally, emotionally, spiritually; everything has had a toll exacted and I’m not sure I’m up for any more.

Last Sunday, we were evacuated from our home because the dyke surrounding our village finally succumbed to the incredible stresses on it and let the river in. Not a little, either…2/3 of our village is underwater and many homes that were underwater will never be able to house a family again. Those that are salvageable will be a long time under renovation and restoration before they can allow people to safely inhabit them again, and they will NEVER be the same.

I have been told I should count myself “lucky”. Our house only had a little water seepage into the basement and yet has remained unscathed. Yes…we’re one of the lucky 20 or so that can come home and just have to mop up a little water.

But it’s not such a wonderful homecoming. The peaceful, quiet, trusting tranquility that we have enjoyed since moving into our house in 2006 has been altered. When we moved here we thought this was paradise compared to the crime-riddled neighbourhood we lived in 2 hours’ drive north of here. Indeed, we had intended this to be a safe place for our girls to continue their teenage years. They, of course, being teenage girls thought of it as punishment because there was “nothing to do”. They still got into trouble. Oh, well, we tried.

This week has been an emotional rollercoaster…the fear of getting everything we absolutely needed out of the house and safely to high ground.

The anger that our house was threatened.

The utter helplessness at the sheer power of nature having her way with us.

The uncertainty of whether or not we would be able to get home any time soon.

The horror at being told our house had been flooded and that nothing was left, further intensified when we were told the whole valley was underwater.

The fury at finding out we had been purposefully misled and that our house was fine.

Utter relief at actually being able to get to our home and finding it, for the most part, completely undamaged.

Hope when we saw the water receding more and more each day.

Terror mixed with righteous anger when we were informed that there were homes being vandalized and looted, and relief again when we found our house remained untouched by the low-life scum committing these unspeakable acts.

Indignation at the disrespect for our privacy when the tourists drive through our community like idiots, pointing fingers, throwing stones at waterlogged homes, asking STUPID questions (How come YOUR house didn’t get flooded?). Helicopters and planes flying so low overhead so that you can read the numbers on the sides of the vehicles, and once almost able to see the faces of the people pressing against the windows to get a better view of the devastation.

Insulted when you realize that there are camera crews on the hill across from your house actually filming you without your permission as you’re trying to weed out your garden, anything to make it look more “occupied”. Since when did my daily activities and comings and goings become such big news?

This is going to be a long ordeal in recovering from this. It is so hard to justify feeling lucky and relieved that your house stands safe while so very many of your friends and neighbours have literally lost everything.

It is hard to remain positive when all these emotions are churning inside you. Myself, I have yet to “feel” much pain, although I’m sure it will come. My poor husband was sick to his stomach on Tuesday. His sous-chef, a sweet young lady who was in another area flooded badly, literally had to take to her bed for two days because she was so very stressed.

And yet, there is now a commeraderie among the remaining villagers that says “I’ll watch your back while you watch mine”. WE have a neighbourhood watch so that the looters won’t have such easy pickings if they come back. We have a collective sense of loss when we learn of one or another family that won’t come back, and still more when we see someone pull up to an unscathed house and load everything they own into a Uhaul, bent on setting up house elsewhere.

We are a community. We’re not what we used to be, but we’re still here. We will fight to protect what’s ours and rebuild and renew where we can.

This is home…and I’m glad we live here.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WONDERFUL2BME 7/10/2012 2:35AM

    So sorry you have had to deal with all this. I hope you are able to regain your peace again.

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TWO_SPARROWS 6/27/2011 8:10PM

    You aren't the only one, Annette. Thanks for stopping by! :o)

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ASRIFFE 6/27/2011 6:01PM

    Emotional roller coaster indeed. :-p I hope it settles down soon.

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Perspectives and Half-Full Glasses

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

This past Sunday, my family was ordered to evacuate our home. Within an hour, we had our camper moved and what essentials we could grab, our pets, and we were out. We don't know when we can go back.

It has been the comment, as I sat in a quiet corner where my husband works having a personal pity party, that "others are worse off than you, so don't feel so bad". I find that an odd comment, especially when we're in imminent danger of actually LOSING our home. It seems the only other people that understand what we feel right now are the other people that are currently in this situation. Our glass is NOT half-full, thank-you very much...we had a perfectly good glass that was as full as we wanted it and now half of all that we wanted in that glass is somewhere else that we can't get to...and it's a horrible feeling.

I honestly wish it would just happen, if it's going to happen...that the water would just take the place. I can't say I welcome this waiting game...will the water continue to rise, will it stop, will it abate only to come back again? At least I know that if the water took the house then it would be done and the next step would be moving forward. It's the waiting that gets to me...will it or won't it?

It's funny how water works. It's beautiful on a moonlit night when you're standing on the shore of a calm ocean or lake, looking at the way the moon lights the surface. It's fun when it's summertime and you're a kid jumping through the sprinkler. It's a relief when it falls in sufficient amounts to nurture the garden you depend upon for food. It's a comfort when your throat is dry and you can have a glass of clean, clear, cool liquid.

And on the other side, it can be a nuisance, especially when it falls as rain on that picnic you planned on your husband's only weekend off in a month. It can be irritating when it falls on your head unexpectedly and soaks your brand new clothes before they're even out of the bag. It can be frightening as it comes over the banks of a dyke set up to protect you from the river it was supposed to stay in and slinks quietly and sinisterly through your community, an extremely powerful, hungry, mindless, all-consuming monster. It can be terrifying as it almost seems to be chasing you from your home practically licking at your back tires as you speed away, and it is absolutely heartless when it takes all you own from you in an instant while you stand helplessly on high ground and can do nothing but watch.

This is now our life. The camper we bought to enjoy when we went on our little excursions is now our home for the foreseeable future. Our real home is being encroached upon by water, inch by inch as the water continues to flow at maximum rates from three dams, hoping to relieve pressure so that they don't burst. If they do, there are so many other people that will lose as much, or more, as we are risking. We don't know when we can go home. The house that we have painstakingly and lovingly bought and are trying to renovate to make it comfortable and modern is now at risk of being a mouldy rotting pile of useless timber.

We're frightened, we're worried, we're stressed. We have so many things we want to do and it's all on hold because we don't know when we can get home. I only hope people understand when we tell them: "We're sorry", yet we know so many will just think us selfish and unable to see past the end of our own needs.

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CHAMPAGNEKISSE7 6/21/2011 4:26PM


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Views on Depression

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I just took a quiz on depression, and after it was all done I read the comments underneath. I have to admit I got a little upset with some of the cavalier and dismissive comments left by some people who either don't care or have never dealt first-hand with depression.

I have been suffering with depression in varying degrees all my life. As a matter of fact I almost lost my life in my teens to a major depressive episode that left me severely ill and hospitalized, first in an intensive care ward for a week and then in the psychiatric wing for a month after that. It was NO fun and not an experience I ever want to deal with again.

I am appalled and disgusted by those that took this survey shrugging off the thought that depression isn't a major cause of suicide. Excuse me but, if you weren't depressed, why would you want to do that in the first place? Why would you even think it was an option? Because depression messes up your thought patterns, that's why! Yeah, you can appear perfectly "normal" on the outside and interact with people in general as if there's nothing wrong, but your mental processes are misinterpreting just about everything that is said or done and it affects you so that you react very inappropriately and you make totally inappropriate decisions.

I have since been overmedicated by doctors that think all women are depressional (we aren't), all women are looking for attention and sympathy (we aren't), and that all women will do whatever a doctor says without question (we don't). I have been INSULTED to my face by doctors that think that depression is a reciprocal cause of obesity. No, it isn't. I'm not depressed because I'm fat, and I'm not fat because I'm depressed. I'm fat because I can't afford to eat properly, and my family history is RAMPANT with cases of depression and anxiety disorders. Not one physician looked at my family's medical history, and indeed, only one ever even asked for one.

Finding a friend isn't always possible as nowadays, people are more inclined to find their "companions" online so we don't actually have to see them or, more importantly, show them our true selves. Face it...would you be happy showing your "true self" to a total stranger if you weigh in excess of 300 lbs.? No...we hide behind an avatar or false image of ourselves so the "other person" will want to continue speaking with us. We have a completely negative view of ourselves and how others see us.

This is a multi-layered problem that needs serious discussion, consideration, and compassion. Those that have been or are currently undergoing symptoms of and/or treatment for depression will understand. Those that have a loved one or friend that is dealing with this will understand. Those that have suffered a loss due to depression will understand.

It's NOT a mental illness. Depression sufferers are NOT lunatics, although we feel like it when the disease it at its worst. Suicide attempts are not a cry for attention (I had one social worker insinuate that when I attempted what I did that it was the same as my father getting drunk...a cry for help). Excuse me, if I knew I needed help, why would I do that? Wouldn't I have just asked for help? Father is just an abusive drunk and knows it's wrong (he kept saying so and that he didn't care what anyone else thought). Suicide attempts are a direct result of the lack of self-esteem and hopelessness a sufferer is experiencing.

My point is: Don't dismiss someone just because you found out they're depressed. Their inability to deal with the world around them isn't just an inconvenience for's a terrifying and unbelieveably horrible experience for the sufferer. There were months I couldn't leave my house. There were weeks I didn't get out of bed except to go to the washroom. These extremes have happened more than once.

For me medication, I've discovered, is NOT the answer. My husband, bless his heart, actually told me long before we married that if I didn't get off the meds we would be through. I had no life, no spark, no desire to do anything except just breathe. No fun, no laughing, just, well, "nothing". That was it. The medications simply and completely deadened everything, including the good feelings it was supposed to be helping come to the surface.

What I need is to get OUT of the house, to get exercise, to have someone or something with me that loves me unconditionally. I might be allergic to her, but to be honest my dog has been a better remedy for me than any medication. She sits in my lap (she's 41 lbs) and gently licks tears from my face. She comes and lays on my feet if she thinks I need company. She stares at me from across the room, seeming to be assessing my mood to be sure I don't need her attention. I should have named her "Prozac". She sure works better! I've had her for the last 10 years and while she's getting older, she has more than earned her keep just in helping me "keep it together" when I felt my worst.

If you know someone well enough to know when things are "off" with them, don't let it go and figure they will "shrug it off". Be their friend, take them out of the house even if it's just for a cup of coffee, or show up at their door with coffee, or a card, or send them a silly email, or do SOMETHING to let them know they are in your thoughts. You will NEVER know how treasured you are, but trust me...your efforts will be more appreciated than anyone could ever express.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

F.SILVI 2/24/2011 10:20AM

    Thank you!

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TWO_SPARROWS 2/24/2011 8:39AM

    Thanks for the comment.

I think I may have mis-stated my intention. Yes, mental illness is one of the symptoms of depression, I agree with you whole-heartedly, but thinking it's JUST a mental illness and that someone can just "snap out of it" (got told that more than once, that's for sure!) is total hogwash.

There are biochemical considerations to depression, and I'm sure you realize that. For me, getting OUT of the house and being with people that care, getting physically active, even just a daily walk have worked wonders. I have a real aversion to medications, that's for sure, and it's the subject of yet another blog to come, hahaha.

I just wish people were more enlightened when it comes to depression and its treatment, and to dealing with someone suffering with the disease.

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TAPETUM 2/23/2011 10:13PM

    Great post, Two_Sparrows. I suffered from depression ranging from moderate to severe for about twenty years. It is absolute hell that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. For me, medication did help - it gave me enough distance from my thoughts that I could see how irrational some of my self-talk was. And the eventual cure came when I started going to an endocrinologist for completely different reasons. When my endocrine system got straightened out, the depression vanished.

I would disagree about mental illness, though. Depression is mental illness - it's just that being mentally ill is not the same thing as being an utter lunatic. We treat mental illness as if it's a moral problem instead of a physical problem, but it's not. We associate being mentally ill with being violent, even though mentally ill people are far more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators of it. We use "crazy" as if it's synonymous with "asshole". It contributes to the kind of atmosphere you ran into, where people with very real health problems are treated like crap, and also to people avoiding getting help because they don't want that label (like I did for 15+ years).

So yes, depression is mental illness. It's just that being mentally ill doesn't make someone a bad person, or automatically non-functional, or anything else.

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Here I Go Again

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

What a lousy start to a year. Yeah, you read that...negativity all over right from the get-go.

I've gained weight. I've not been to the gym since December. I'm not even tracking anything anymore. So what's wrong with me? The answer is: I have no freakin' clue.

I started out so good and lost 40 lbs. (that's four bags of flour, folks...about 1000 or more biscuits and a lotta cookies and pies!). I was losing size. I was working so hard.

I asked my DH to help me, help me keep on track. His problem? He just wants me to be contented with what I'm doing. His philosphy is: If you don't like something you don't have to do it. So...if I take that a step further...if I do like something I should do it more?

I confess, I'm getting sick of always eating "right". I LOVE the donuts, the cookies, the pies, the gravy, the cheeseburgers & fries, the milkshakes, on and on until I'm the size of the Hindenberg. He thinks that if I ask for it I'm a grown woman, I know what I have to do and if I choose not to do it, that's my problem.

Please don't misunderstand that. My husband loves me and I love him. We were both raised in households where we did without more than we did with, and now that we both have jobs that are paying us properly, we have determined that if we want something, no one should have the right to tell us "NO!"

Problem is...I have trouble saying "NO!" to myself. How do you develop that skill? I can say "NO!" to just about anyone else on the planet, but denying myself of food? Please, you might as well try to cut off my right arm! Don't you DARE stand between me and that cookie...I might have to hurt you!

In my defense, I've fallen off the back of a half-ton truck at the end of November and hit my head on the concrete floor of the shop at work. That set me back quite a bit. I went to my dojo at the end of January and have somehow managed to irritate an old knee injury to the point where ice and elevation were the order. Nice way to spend a weekend "away" with my husband. I fell on the ice just after Christmas and bruised my hip so bad I couldn't sit down on any hard surface, and even soft surfaces were a challenge.

Getting to the gym has been tough through all these injuries. I have to admit, though, that it was pretty disheartening to walk into the place after 3 weeks away and they didn't even notice I hadn't been there. Makes me wonder what they're more interested in. My money or my progress? I'm leaning toward the former, but I could be wrong. They started a Zumba routine during the workout, I'm told, but even though my name was on the list, I wasn't given a phone call to inform me it had started.

I looked to this as a social outlet because I've got such a hard time meeting REAL people. I didn't grow up around here and, essentially, don't know a soul.

I think I hit on part of my problem. Do you think loneliness is a factor in your healthy lifestyle journey?

Maybe I should research this a little more. Could be some scientific data in there I can use!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WONDERFUL2BME 2/22/2011 4:30PM

    I hope your injuries have healed. I am so glad you are getting back on SP. I love the foods you mentioned as well and can't even have them in the house or i will make myself sick on them. I have decided that being fit(ter) is better than what those foods taste like. I have had a recurring knee problem. It can be so painful to walk and I'll go to the gym and use the elliptical and it seems crazy, but it actually has helped my knee to heal. It is when I don't work out that i start having issues with it again.
Here is to you!

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KARATE_KID 2/8/2011 11:45PM

    Maybe if you don't want to say "NO" to yourself you could say "Later"? Often cravings go away if you postpone things a bit.

One other thing that works for me is to try new, healthy foods. Last summer I had a goal to try all the different fruits at the produce store. Pomegranates and mangoes are my new treats!

Sorry to hear about all your injuries - that's discouraging when you're trying to do something good for yourself. Give yourself time to heal and don't stress over it. Start with gentle exercise and add to it when you feel better.


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RESOLVEDTOWIN 2/8/2011 11:32PM

    Maybe you just need to rearrange the players?

What you REALLY want is not that cookie, it is a healthy, attractive body that you can be totally proud of.

The villan in your way is the -*FOOD*-! That cookie is trying to lull you into a sugar-induced daze during which his friends, the pastries and pies, can sneak through your defenses and steal from you that which you want so badly.

You sound like a person who is not at all afraid to go full force for what you deserve. You deserve a great body, so don't let those sirens on the rocks trick you into thinking that a good sugar buzz feels better than a great weigh-in. you're too smart to be taken in by those lies!

(Hope this helps - I have a colorful imagination and occasionally need to relabel my players also :))

Comment edited on: 2/8/2011 11:33:34 PM

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Gift to Myself

Monday, January 03, 2011

I have to admit to being far too harried and hassled this past holiday season to even think about much more than what's happening past the end of my own nose.

Neither my husband or I felt much like celebrating much of anything this year. We've had a rough couple of months and my step-daughter moving home in September with another dog and a cat haven't helped much. We both agree she's mean and inconsiderate to the animals, but she's an adult and thinks she's some kind of animal handling "guru". We've tried repeatedly to make her understand that the only reason the dog listens to her is because he's terrified of her, not through blind devotion.

I only mention this to show you that this was the basic tone for our pre-season; stressed, unhappy, and on edge. NOT pleasant, and very hard to feel like not doing anything else but eat myself through the fiasco. Which I tried not to do, but I did have some pretty frantic moments.

I was cleaning out a corner of my basement here a little while ago and came across a bag of clothes I had frankly forgotten I had. These were still in good shape, even if they did need a good bath. I figured I was going to give them to the Salvation Army, Goodwill, Value Village or somewhere that could use them, and donating clean clothes makes a whole lot more sense to me than something that stinks. I stuck them in the washer, they made their way to the dryer, and somehow ended up in my closet. Husband is "helping" again....gotta love him in spite of it. He tries. *sigh*

ANYWAY, I was half awake here about a week ago and needed a pair of jeans to go out and do my running about. I have been off work for 10 days and trying to get a sweater made, so not a lot of concentration has gone into much more than that.

I grabbed a pair of these pants that I can't remember wearing past 2002, when I was much slimmer. Put it this way...they are of the style that was popular when full-rise jeans and straight legs were still popular.

If you can believe this....THEY FIT!!! I didn't even have to lay on the bed to zip them up! Bonus...they're even a little loose in the seat!!!!

I met up with my husband that afternoon when he took his break and asked him what he thought of the pants I was wearing. His face told me he appreciated the view.

Merry Christmas to ME!!! What an incentive to be even more dilligent in 2011.

I couldn't have done this without any of the support from Sparkpeople or my Sparks here. Thanks so much to all of you! You've all helped and had a part in this wonderful gift I've given myself!

Yay YOU!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MINIDRIVER63 1/3/2011 11:16AM

    Congratulations! I have a great time "shopping" in my old clothes. It's like meeting old friends.

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