Excellent question!

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Life on Laxatives, it’s pretty shitty!

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I realize this is not a “pleasant” conversation and most people don’t want to know about it, but I figured I would write about it anyways.  Who knows, maybe someone who will read this will see that they are not alone and won’t feel so different from everyone else in the world who doesn’t seem to have these problems.  When you have to take laxatives on a daily basis because your intestines don’t work, life is pretty shitty (pun intended).  Your whole world revolves around a bathroom being nearby.  You don’t dare go anywhere that you can’t run to the bathroom if and when the meds work (because at some point in your life this will happen) and you really truly don’t want this to happen and there’s no where to go except your own pants.  Talk about a true walk of shame.

Let me go back a little ways and give you a glimpse into why I suffer like I do now.  As far back as I can remember I have always suffered from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).  This is an affliction that will throw your intestines into a hellish nightmare that rockets you from severe diarrhea to constipation that makes you feel like you have rocks in your intestines and cork shoved up your bum so you can’t get anything out!  People who are usually diagnosed with this are those who tend to stress and worry about everything.  I guess you could call us “control freaks” because we strive to have control over every aspect of life and even though control is an illusion we drive ourselves mad trying to obtain it anyways.  My father was murdered when I was 6 and I immediately took on the role of “the worrier”.  My mom did her best to make sure I didn’t but I still to this day remember waking up one night and going out in the kitchen to find my mother sitting at the table, the lamp over head on and the table covered in bills.  She had her adding machine there and was smoking her cigarettes and trying to figure out how to pay for everything.  Even though I was young I was smart enough to know that there was worry on her face and fear of the unknown in her heart.  I asked her “Mom.. are we going to be able to pay the light bill?”.  She told me that wasn’t for me to worry about, that was her job and that my job was just to be the baby of the family and enjoy my childhood.  She told me one last thing before sending me back off to bed that has stuck with me forever, and to this day I still hear her saying it even though she’s been gone for 15 years now. “Don’t borrow trouble baby”.  I understood what she meant but it never stopped me from doing it.  I think the sadness of losing my dad and the fear of losing my mother set in so deeply that I was destined to be the one who would worry about everything.

Now fast forward many stressful years to the point where I have become diabetic.  This came on as gestational diabetes but because of my weight and my unhealthy eating habits (can we say self medicating) it stayed as Type 2 diabetes after my first child was born.  They put me on Metformin and let me tell you, that pill will fuck you up!  Sorry about the F bomb there but that’s the most accurate way to describe what the pill does to your body.  I stayed in the bathroom.  To say I had severe and explosive diarrhea would be an understatement.  I would go so much that I would literally be weak and dehydrated because of it.  I didn’t lose a pound even though every bite of food I put in my mouth or every sip of water shot out of me like a bullet from a gun.  In fact I continued gaining weight, a side effect from the medicine.  After years of being on that putrid medication I ended up on insulin too.  Oh what fun that was!  After having my second child (being insulin dependent through the entire pregnancy) I reached my all time highest weight of 280 pounds.  My IBS was severely agitated by the excess weight and the massive amounts of medication I was on.  I drank gallons of water on a daily basis but still found myself having trouble going.  I started using suppositories to make myself go, and when I first started using them they would work.. Almost instantly.

A little over 4 years ago, after 18 months of jumping through hoops I opted to have the Gastric Bypass surgery.  My surgeon explained to me that the bypass would be the best solution for me, that with my severe Gastric Reflux and diabetes the bypass would resolve those issue’s the fastest and should have them gone forever.  There was however a small percentage of a chance that the reflux would become worse as it had in some patients.  Well guess who is that .001% patient??? That’s right. this chick right here.  My diabetes is even trying to come back (even though I’ve kept the weight off).  Since my surgery my intestines have pretty much shut down.  I’ve been poked and prodded, tested from mouth to anus.  I’ve been scoped and X-rayed. I’ve had nuclear test done and CatScans and Barium Enema’s and the works. They cannot find why my intestines aren’t working anymore.  It’s heartbreaking and embarrassing and has affected every aspect of my life.  This past January I had a 4th surgery in less than 4 years (the original surgery was botched and we are still trying to fix several other issue’s along w/ the intestinal ones).  This surgery was to check to see if I had a twist in my intestines because that is something they can’t see without actually going in and checking by hand.  It turns out I did not have a twist, but while the surgeon was in there he took out a lot of scar tissue and fixed a few strictures.  He was left just as baffled as every other treating doctor to why I have the issue’s I do.  At his request I stopped working and filed for disability ( like I said there are several other medical issue’s happening right now) and frankly my previous boss was a jerk who would yell and scream at me if I missed 2 hours for a doctors appointment.

When I filed for disability I had to explain the many issue’s that I have going on so that they could get have a full understanding of the hell I go through.  This is the daily routine for just the intestinal issue’s.

Wake up and take a Linzess with a cup of coffee that has a scoop of Miralax in it.

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Wait for the effects to happen.  Most of the time I will get the stomach rumbles, the lower abdominal pains and the bloating followed by the mad dash to the bathroom where I have been known to have to sit there for literally hours!  While sitting there I’m not just resting, my body is expelling what it can with continuous wave after wave of pure liquid lava.  My stomach hurts to the point that I am doubled over and I sit in that position for so long my legs fall asleep.  There have been times that I have started crying because I didn’t think I would be able to stand up and the embarrassment of having to call for my husband or one one of my children to come help me stand up is crippling to me.  When I was still working I would have to get up at 4:30 am even though I didn’t have to be to work until 7:45 am.  I had to have enough time for the laxatives to work so that I could make the drive without them working on my way in (there was nothing but tree’s for most of the drive into work).  There were times that even though I would go at home it would hit me again on the way to work and I’d have to hold it in until I got there then make a mad dash to the bathroom.  There is really nothing more embarrassing then pooping at work.  I know everyone poops but that doesn’t mean you want to do it at your job.

Sometimes however the medicine doesn’t work.  I will go through the pain of the cramping and the rumbling stomach and the “urge” to go but nothing will come out.  On these days I have to resort to the steadfast enema’s, (I have even gotten to the point that these don’t always work either.  I just end up shitting out the clear liquid).

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Now after several hours have passed I can start my day.  I can usually tell if I’m going to have a “bathroom” day or if I can actually get out of the apartment and run some errands.  I try not to go anywhere far from home and I always make sure there is a bathroom where ever I’m going.  In the early afternoon I have to drink another dose of Miralax mixed into what ever I am drinking that afternoon.  Then in the evening I take my 3rd dose of Miralax.  If any of you have ever taken this then you will understand what I mean by this medicine will give you the Mira-shits!  What are the mira-shits you ask?  Well it’s when you go to the bathroom and every time you barely poop, it’s a sticky mess that you have to wipe 9000 times to try to get it all so you don’t stain your underpants.  You can never truly “empty” your bowels.  It’s a horrible horrible thing to suffer through.

The last visit to my GI doctor I was actually told by this moron “Do you know you’ve been on laxatives for 4 years now?”.. Really..you really just asked me if I knew the hell I have to go through on a daily basis?????

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This is what I truly wanted to do to him when he asked such a dumbass question!  I told him “Yes.. I do know that I take laxatives every day and have for 4 years now but without them I can not shit on my own and you guys can’t figure out why”.  His response was.. and yes I’m quoting this because this is the hell in which I live “Well..we know you need them to go but you really need to get off of them.  We don’t know what else to do for you though, but you can come back and see us anytime”…. gee thanks.  No seriously doctor dumbass, thank you for pointing out that I’m abusing laxatives and that it’s causing more damage but that you know without them I would die and you can’t tell me why my body is doing this, but I can come back and see you whenever I want.  Maybe I’ll just make an appointment and we can do lunch one day?

Now you may be wondering why I would write about this, why put out that embarrassment?   Well like I said, someone else who is suffering may see this and feel comfort in knowing they are not alone.  Maybe someone will read this who suffered through it and figured out the cause and will have some helpful advice.  Who knows!  I just know that I’m too young to have this many things going wrong and I’m truly worried.  My mother died of colon cancer so I was already put at a higher risk of having it.. now w/ the issue’s I have I’ve more then tripled the likelihood of getting it.  I get to go have colonoscopies every year for the rest of my life now (which by the way I woke up during the last one.. that was fun).  It’s hell.  I pray that no one should ever have to live through this, okay well maybe there is one or two people I’d wish it on but that’s it.  Hey, don’t judge.

Still Asking For Help

Back in January I had my 4th surgery in less than 4 years.  I was told it would be in my best health interest to stop working and concentrate on healing my body and the many many things going wrong.  I filed for disability but have not yet been approved or denied.  All of this is because a surgeon botched my first surgery (we tried to sue him for malpractice but the statute of limitations had run out).  We are starting to truly drown in debt.  We have a 12 year old who has some serious dental issue’s and even though we have dental insurance we still need almost $2000 to pay up front to start the process of fixing her teeth.  This is money we don’t have.  So I am asking for help once again.  It kills me to know that I can’t do it all on my own, but I’ve accepted the fact that I can’t.  So I ask, please help.  Every little bit helps.  Please share this, it may reach people on your page that aren’t on mine.

Thank you for your help.

http://www.gofundme.com/l15zms

If You Need a Little Faith In Humanity This Morning

Good morning world.  When I got up this morning I went on my Facebook page expecting to see more horrible news stories and people being mean.  After all this is pretty much what we all see on Facebook and social media daily.  It’s usually nothing but news stories that are trying to achieve higher ratings, and nothing does that better than stories of murder and child molestation (yes that’s a Duggar jab) and cop hating and so on.  So when I came across this story I immediately clicked the link and when I read the story and watched the video my heart soared!  To imagine that someone so young has worked so hard and has been so dedicated to helping our world was so uplifting I had to blog about it.  https://www.minds.com/blog/view/450715060952633344/the-world039s-first-ocean-cleaning-system-will-be-deployed-in-2016

If you are in a place financially that you could donate to help this young man and his team out, this would be an excellent cause to donate to.  If we don’t do something to start cleaning up the mess that man has made of this Earth, we will kill the very thing that sustains us.

Happy Birthday Michelle!

So my sister’s birthday is this Sunday.  I love her dearly..she’s my only sibling who still talks to me.  I decided to paint her a gift this year since money is always tight for us..  She got it today and I just happened to be on facetime with her when the box was delivered.   Here’s what I painted for her..

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It’s titled “Michelle’s Oasis”… She really loved it and I’m so glad she did.

Poltergeist 2015.. my personal opinion of this remake

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Today my husband and I treated ourselves to a movie.  We really don’t have any extra money but we have been so excited about this remake for so long that we saved up to go see it when it came out on the big screen.  Lets face it, all movies are better on the big screen with the surround sound!  So after months of waiting patiently to see if the a) the clown was in the movie and b) it was just as creepy and scary, the moment was finally upon us. Drum roll please….(go ahead and make that sound while you read this)……

I give this remake a full 1 1/2 stars out of 5!  That’s it.  I’m so disappointed it’s  not even funny.  You know when you go to eat somewhere and the food is horrible and you tell the waitress and she’ll go talk to the manager and they usually offer you something else or they’ll just take it off your bill completely?  I wish AMC Theaters worked the same way and I could have gotten my money back or passes for another movie and I could go see Dwayne Johnson on the big screen next week… and really.. there is NOTHING wrong with seeing that mountain of a man on the big screen.  (Just a side note.. I was disappointed with his Hercules movie but still enjoyed seeing him stand 20 feet tall).

This movie had a chance at greatness, but they failed horribly.  Let me start off with the special effects.  They were seriously good, but ya know what, so were the special effects in the original!  I can remember when they played back the video of the light orbs and you could see people in them!  It was AMAZING.  This remake went a little deeper and went into the abyss that Carol Ann went into in the original.  It was eerie and creepy and kinda made you sad and scared to die if this is what the after life looks like.  In the original they had the scene where the investigator was eating the chicken then was going to eat the steak when he saw it moving and the maggots were in it.  He spit out his chicken and saw maggots in it and ran to the bathroom where he started peeling the skin off his face.  Yeah, those were kinda cheesy effects but it worked.  It freaked that investigator out so much so that he left the house and didn’t return. In the new one, it is the dad who has the “vision” and it was after he took a drink of scotch or whiskey (a brown liquor) and there was no face pulling off.  No, sadly it was just him vomiting worms into the sink then seeing his reflection in the spigot where black stuff kinda spilled from his eyes and nose and mouth and just like that, BAM he was fine.  Now personally I’d be freaking out and running to a real mirror to see my face.

Lets move onto the clown.  Okay, now this was good.  I thought the clown was creepy to a point.  The original had only the one clown.  The remake had an entire box of clowns.  Why?  What did this signify?  Nothing!  They were just trying to scare people who already scared of clowns (ie my husband).  There was no use for the additional clowns that were found in a small trap room that wasn’t explained at all!  It was all just thrown in there for the “scary clown effect” so boo to them on that!

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The movie itself was a lot of unanswered questions to me.  In the original you became invested in the family.  The backstory played out in front of your eyes.  Carol Ann was born in the house so she had a special connection to the spirits.  She was the one who “communicated” with them first.  She was the sensitive and the main person in the story.  Of course we go on to find out later in the series that the mom was a sensitive as well as the grandmother.  We learn in the original that the family was established there, the father sold the houses in the development.  It shows us the progression of the poltergeist coming out.  This new remake did a horrible job at this.  There is no back story.  They don’t explain things.  It’s frustrating.  In fact, the more I think about the movie itself the more agitated I become.  This is a new family completely, so different characters.  Okay, I can deal with that but… it starts off with them moving into this house.  We know the father is out of work and the mother doesn’t work so how are they affording to buy a house?  Now before you go say, “Well Shannon, maybe they had money saved up”.  They don’t.  At one point he tries to use his credit cards to buy a trap for a squirrel that’s in the attic bedroom and 2 out of 3 of his cards are maxed out. We know they are maxed out because the very rude cashier points out to him that they are.  Now I did miss a split second of something they were showing ( I was looking but apparently I missed what I was supposed to see) in the scene after he finally gets a card to work and goes to his car.  He gets angry and starts hitting the horn then he looks in his review mirror and see’s something.  Then he shows up at home with Pandora jewelry for his wife (which isn’t cheap) a brand new IPhone for his teenage daughter (again not cheap) a flying drone for his son (still not cheap) and pizza for the little girl Madison (Maddy for short). The wife asks how he bought it all but it’s never explained.  Kinda annoyed me.

I kept hoping through the entire movie that I would become “invested” in this family but I didn’t.  What they did in essences was tell the complete “original story” (minus the daughter being born in the house to establish the connection and the dad selling the houses) in 10 minutes and went straight to the strange happenings.  The middle child, the boy “Griffin” in this version was the main character and was the sensitive.  The tree scene was too… well.. just too!  It seems as though they added it with the face melting scene just so there was some resemblance to the original.  In this version it was a man who came to “Clean the house” instead of a female which was fine.  He did an okay part, nothing award winning.  He was a reality show star who “cleansed” houses and places.  In one scene he and the father are in the girls room at the closet, the rope has been thrown through the porthole and they are trying to get Maddy back.   When the camera leaves the room and goes downstairs he is standing there holding the rope w/ the father who is telling him “Don’t let me down”.  When the camera comes back up to the room he is lying on the floor behind the father.  WHY?  WHAT HAPPENED?  Did I blink and miss something?  I really hate unanswered questions in movies.  It’s very annoying.

At the end they get the girl back ( I won’t tell you how) and try to leave but the house won’t let them.  Of course the “ghosts hunter” helps them to get out and as the family is driving away the house is exploding with the souls shooting up to the Heavens above.   But the house doesn’t close in on itself and disappears.  Next thing you know the family is driving a new vehicle looking to buy a new house.  Now you do see that the father has taken a job (I won’t give away what) but still.  They left so much out that you leave kind of feeling like they damaged the memory of the original.  I guess if I had never seen the original this one would have been a good movie.  Maybe the younger people will see it and think it’s cool and spooky but those of us who grew up having seen the original we know better.  This movie did no justice to the original.

So there you have it.  I’m sorry to have to tell anyone who was waiting to see how good of a remake this was, it’s not very good.  The special effects were good but that’s all.  They worried to much about them then the story.  Don’t waste your money, wait for it to come out on the pay channels that you most likely already pay for and watch it then. If not, wait for Red Box to have it for a buck!

I’m so disappointed.  Maybe I will go pull out my clown collection and play with them to make myself feel better!

A Never Ending War

Depression… it’s a battle some fight every day of their lives.  It’s not that these people “choose” to be sad.  No one wants to be sad and honestly no one really wants to spend every day being told things like “Just get over it” or “It’s not really that bad”.  I came across this article today and I wanted to touch on each item.  As someone who suffers severely from Anxiety Disorder and Severe Depression I wanted to put a “real like person” perspective on each thing.

http://thoughtcatalog.com/koty-neelis/2015/04/13-things-to-remember-when-you-love-a-person-who-has-depression/

The first thing in this article is Depression is not a choice.  Honestly depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain.  It’s a trained way of thinking.  It’s being told for years how worthless you are.  It’s having everything going wrong all the time.  It’s all of these things.  No one chooses to be depressed and trust me when I tell you NO one wants to go through days upon days of hearing their own inner voice telling them how much better it would be if they just died.  No one wants to feel so worthless.

The second one is “Saying things like “it’ll get better,” “you just need to get out of the house,” or “you’ll be fine” is meaningless.  I know that when loved one’s tell me this that are truly just trying to help me and are genuinely concerned for me, but the fact is these things don’t help.  In fact they do more damage because what we hear is “an idiot knows that just doing these things will help, are you so stupid you can’t see it to be true?”.  We know that spending the day in the sunshine and fresh air will make us feel better, for a few hours at least but sometimes the depression is so severe that you literally can’t muster up the energy to get dressed more or less actually go out in public.  Honestly if we go out without putting that mask of false bravado on people give us the “OMG did she just escape from a mental institution” look.  It’s hard work to hide the pain.  This article says that you should avoid offering advice and just let the person know that you are there for them.  I will go one further… not only let them know that you are there but do everything you can to make sure they know they are not a burden to them.  That you understand they are fighting a disease, not just whining and complaining.  If they trust you enough to tell you how sad they are or stressed or anxious take that as a compliment.  It means they are trusting you with their very souls

The third thing is “Sometimes they have to push you away before they can bring you closer”.  This one says it best. it’s exactly what I was saying on the previous one.  Here is what the article says “People who suffer from depression often get frustrated with feeling like they’re a burden on other people. This causes them to isolate themselves and push away people they need the most, mentally exhausting themselves from worrying about if they’re weighing their loved ones down with their sadness. If they become distant, just remember to let them know you’re still there, but don’t try to force them to hang out or talk about what’s going on if they don’t want to.”  When we get to a point that we have pushed everyone away we are so mentally exhausted that suicide soon looks like the only way out of it all.

The fourth thing is “You’re allowed to get frustrated”.  Dealing with someone who suffers can be exhausting for anyone near them.  We know this (which is why we tend to push people away).. it’s perfectly okay for you to take care of yourself.  If you are in fear that your loved one is to a point that you are driving yourself to an early grave worrying they are going to commit suicide, all you can do is tell them to get help and start helping themselves or you will have to walk away.  I have had someone tell me this in the past and it shook me into reality. If we are not willing to help ourselves, no one else can.

The fifth thing is “It’s important to discuss and create boundaries”.  This one is tricky but can be done.  Let your loved one know “hey listen.. I know you are suffering, but I’m not going to sit at home every day with you wallowing in self pity.. I have a life too.  I’d like you to be a part of it but If you can’t I won’t force you.  But you have to understand you can’t force me to be where you are either”… yeah it sounds harsh but the fact is you only have one life.. don’t live it to a point where you look back and think of all the time you wasted on someone who wasn’t willing to try.

The sixth thing is “They can become easily overwhelmed”.  This is so very true.  I remember one time during my very long and drawn out and painful 2 year divorce I hit an all time low.  I just wanted to sleep.  I still managed to work 4 jobs but as soon as I got home I just wanted to sleep.  One night I was on the phone/computer with my now husband and he was all cheery and upbeat and wanted to talk and share about his day went and how my day went and I was so exhausted I couldn’t do it.  I remember crying to him begging him to just let me go to sleep.  I didn’t want to talk on the phone with him, I wanted to put the kids to bed early and just sleep.  He finally saw how exhausted I was and let me go and I was almost instantly asleep.  I slept in until very late the next morning.  My sister in law was supposed to be coming over to take me shopping and I was talking on the phone to my now husband and literally fell asleep while talking to him and waiting on her.  She finally got there and I was like a Zombie through the mall.  She brought me home early because she could tell I wasn’t going to make it long and as soon as I got home I was asleep again.  I slept most of the day and all that night and most of the next day.  It didn’t matter how much sleep I was getting I was still so very exhausted.  I could have slept for a month.  I’m currently fighting it again, and all I want to do is sleep except this time I can’t seem to sleep at all.

The Seventh thing is “It’s not about you”.  It really and truly is not about you.  It’s how their brain is processing their own thoughts.. it has nothing to do with you.  You can’t blame yourself for it.

The Eight thing was “Avoid creating ultimatums, making demands or using a “tough-love” approach”.   If you’ve done all you can do and you’ve exhausted all means in you to help and you find that you are losing yourself.. just walk away.  You are not responsible for someone else’s mental disorder.  Telling someone who suffers “change or I’m leaving” is only going to cause so many more issue’s that it is truly better if you just walk away.

The Ninth thing “They don’t always want to do this alone”.  Yes, we tend to push people away.  We do this so that you don’t have to “deal” with us and our problems.  We don’t want to be a burden and we believe that we can do it all on our own.  The truth is we have been dealing with it on our own for our entire lives so we get to a point where we know we don’t need anyone else but that’s not true.  Sometimes the best thing you can do is go and get your friend/loved one and take them out.  Nothing major, no big sporting event or loud gathering.  Just take a drive, go to the beach for the day and stroll the boardwalk.  Find a farmers market or maybe a movie (nothing depressing).  Just by letting them vent a lil then helping them take their mind off of their problems for a few hours can make the most amazing difference.

The Tenth thing is “Try not to compare your experiences with theirs”.. this goes for anyone, not just someone with depression. Everyone deals with sadness and depression/grief anger whatever differently.  We all deal in our own ways and trying to show someone who is suffering how easily you got over something will only make them feel worse.  You can tell them your story, but don’t say things like ‘If I can do it you can to”.  That just makes us feel so much worse.

The Eleventh thing is “It’s okay to ask your friend where they are in their feelings”.  This is not only okay but it’s crucial.  Sometimes people just assume that someone who is suffering is just being their normal selves and don’t give it a second thought, then they do the ultimate thing and it leaves their loved one’s wondering why they didn’t do anything to help.  It’s okay to sometimes ask them “hey… should I be worried about you?”.  At the lowest point in my life I picked up a bottle of pills and popped the top and sat there thinking about how easy it would be.  I had just lived through something seriously violent and just wanted the pain to stop.  My friend who happened to be there helping me heal took the bottle out of my hand and asked me.. “Tell me every feeling.. every thought in your head right now”…He didn’t condemn me for my feelings.. he didn’t say anything to make me feel worse.  What he did was walk me thought the consequences of what my actions would have been in a moment of despair.  I’m still here today because he did that.

The Twelfth thing ” Schedule time to spend together”.   This is a major help.  We may try to get out of it, we may say we are sick or whatever but don’t let us out of it.  My husband schedule a hike for us this past week, and even with as grouchy as I have been it did me a world of good to get out and do it.  We ended up hiking 6 miles that day, and at one point I pretty much decided they would find our corpses on the trail because we were never going to find our way out of the woods, but we did and even though my legs/hips were sore I felt better.

The Thirteenth thing is “Just because someone is depressed doesn’t mean that they’re weak”.. It usually means quite the opposite.  Usually those who suffer the most with depression are the one’s who have walked through the fires of hell and managed to come out the other side.  We are usually the one’s who have sacrificed our own souls for others (and usually had it thrown back in our faces).  We are the one’s who try to keep everyone else happy, never working on our own happiness.  Then we get to a point where we see others who are “happy” and it’s a level we just can’t seem to reach so we start feeling inadequate and that happiness is something we cannot achieve.  Society has told us what happiness is, and since we can’t fulfill that picture perfectness then obviously we aren’t deserving of it.  Which is the furthest thing from the truth. We need to learn that our happiness is something totally different then someone else, and accept that when we are happy that is the PERFECT level of happiness.

It’s not easy living with and loving someone with depression.  You can tell them they need medicine’s but the truth is the man made pills are just band-aides that usually cause more problems.  The side effects generally outweigh the con’s of the pill to begin with and traps them in a vicious cycle of needing a new pill to counter act the other pills side effect.  All you can do is your best in trying to help, and like I said if they choose to not help themselves then there is nothing else you can do.  It’s not your burden to carry, it is ours, it is mine.  Just love us (me) for who I am and let me know that you are there.  Leave the rest up to me.