Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

I had the best pdoc appointment on Tuesday. It was a session of sharing and caring, of experiencing and being in the moment. Yesterday's session felt like the essence of what I wish Christmas could be for everyone.

I am not a "Grinch, but I do not care for what Christmas has become. I am sickened by Christmas's increasingly obnoxious focus on consumerism and how much the gap between the rich and poor, both between people in our well off countries and between our wealthy countries and other entire nations throughout the world. It saddens me to watch so many people struggle when I believe there is enough for everyone if we would open our minds and hearts and learn to share.

While I was raised Anglican, I would not call myself religious. I do however, believe that most religions, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Aboriginal and First Nations Spirituality and the many and beautifully diverse spiritual beliefs people hold can each be strong building blocks for a great world if people listened to the messages the prophets, the gods, the earth and the writings of each religion are trying to teach us.

Every single one of these religions attempt to teach us of love and understanding, caring for others and giving, teaching compassion and forgiveness. They help us remember our traditions and our families. They all engage us in something bigger than ourselves, a collective consciousness of sorts.

My belief is that the essence of most religions, no matter how, on the surface, they look completely disparate, or incompatible, are in their essence teaching humankind the same sorts of values. We are to love and care for one another, Do no harm to anyone and beyond that they tell us we have an objective to make the lives of all the people and beings, whose live's paths we cross throughout our lifetime, better for having met us.

As a bare minimum this objective exhorts us to harm no one. At its best the objectives of all religions endorse the the platinum rule: "First do no harm and then do unto others as they would have done unto them". This means opening our eyes and arms to others beliefs and values. It means recognizing that what we want is not always what someone else may want or need.

Deep in my heart, despite my depression and negativity, I am an idealist. I want so badly to believe we can all make this world a better place for ourselves and others.

The following is a list of people, beings, experiences, places and things that have made my life better for having been blessed with the gift of crossing, or continuing to cross their paths (in no particular order):

  1. My Mom. I am blessed to have experienced her complete and unconditional love. To me, my mom was a goddess personified. She was so loving, kind, caring, passionate, available, hopeful, helpful, trustworthy, honest and compassionate. It is impossible for me to imagine anyone having had a better Mom. I miss her so much.
  2. My sisters, both of them. They are both like my Mom in so many ways. Our love for each other is unbreakable. They are both beautiful examples of what it is to be a good person: to their children, to me and to their friends and even to people they do not know. I love them and their children more than I love anything in this world.
  3. My four nieces: S, J, J an A. From 5 years old to 10 years old, they all are incredible examples of children at their best. They are loving and caring towards me, their families and friends. All of them understand the importance of giving to people they do not even know. They each understand the principles of compassion and sharing. They are adorable little girls who have made my life much, much better than it would be without them.
  4. My appointments with Dr. X. and the man himself. I often feel this blog is a testimony to how much he means to me. He is so kind and thoughtful that he feels like a family members to me. He has enhanced my life in so many ways it is impossible to list them all. I know I have said this before, but it needs to be said again: He has been the one person in my life I can be entirely open with. He is the person in my life that helps me continue to choose to life over death, despite my depression and anxiety. He even takes it further than that. I both choose life and my life becomes more and more enriched through each of my experiences in therapy with him. He is engaging and easy to talk with. I am blessed to have him as a psychiatrist.
  5. My husband...While we have some difficulties in our marriage...(who doesn't?) I love him and he loves me. There is a great deal of caring that goes on in the relationship. He is a caring, loving man. He just has a difficult time expressing it.
  6. My friend H. She has been my friend since I was 19. I love and value her with all my heart. We do not always agree, but that would be boring. I love her more than the differences could ever divide us. She is intelligent, artistic, creative, caring and a great friend. She really makes a difference in my life. I love you H.
  7. My friends V and R. I met both in a Group therapy program years ago and I feel close to them even if I have not seen them for a long period of time. It is easy to meet with them and just begin from where we left off. Beautiful people.
  8. My friend E. She is so thoughtful, kind, artistic, interesting and very thoughtful. We are helping each other in practical ways, like her helping me go grocery shopping, and me phoning to wake her up. Her help and her friendship are and have been priceless.
  9. Each of the people who read my blog, whether you comment or not. The commenters engage me, support me and help me move farther forward with each comment. Both commenter's, and the people who silently read, provide me with a sense of purpose and meaning in my life. I hope my writings reach others. I sense from the repeat visitors that there are others out there who I share experiences with. I hope we are helping each other learn we are not alone.
  10. My puppy...his love and companionship have enhanced my life significantly. He MAKES me get outside a few times a day. My desire to care for and love him provides me with a sense of meaning and purpose. He makes me laugh, even when all I want to do is cry. He is adorable, cuddly, loving and best of all he loves me absolutely unconditionally.
  11. The ocean...It calms me to walk by the ocean. My husband just bought a boat, so soon we can be ON the ocean. I can't wait.
  12. My new car. It is reliable, great on gas and I love driving it. It has taken a lot of stress out of my life knowing I have a reliable and enjoyable means of transportation.
  13. Living on a farm...It is so close to the city, but is also away from the cacophony of the city. It is peaceful to walk through the fields
  14. Learning to paint. Wow. I cannot believe I have an artist inside me. I never in a million years would have thought I could paint, or draw. Both calm me and I feel a sense of purpose and meaning in the activities.
  15. Teaching drawing, printmaking and some of the other classes I teach at the Art clubhouse. I am learning to believe all is not lost to my illness. I have talents and skills that are transferable from my previous job. While I stress out every time I have to teach, each time is a little less difficult. I hope one day I can believe in myself enough, and be well enough, to take what I learn from teaching and make it a job.
  16. The people whose blogs I read: (see my blog's front page for a full list) Off the top of my head: My pdoc's is so interesting and helpful...I feel a connection is always there because the blog is available 24/7 , Dr. Shock, Jcat, Polar Bear, Lola, Sara, SV, Deepblue, James (AKA HBW), Jazz, Tamara, Hannah, The last Psychiatrist, Postsecret, Dr. Jest... the list goes on...Each of your blogs, ideas and writings enhance my life each time I read them.
  17. My friends at the ART Clubhouse. The people I have met through their are so great. It is a powerful type of therapy to watch people who are having the same level, or more difficulties than me, succeed and be such great teachers, mentors and artists.
  18. My country and the freedom, democracy and protection it provides me. I believe I live in a great country. Not perfect, there are lots of things that could be better, but most of us have a pretty good experience in this country. The one thing I would like to see get better is ease of accessibility to both physical and mental health care, not just the people to help, but the means for an patient to figure out how to get help, to understand what is available for them and a more easily dealt with bureaucracy.

Merry Christmas to everyone in the world. My Merry Christmas message embraces all people, of all religions and cultures, all beings, all plants, the entire earth and the universe.


Dr Shock said...

Marry Christmas to you dear aqua, thanks for your interesting and inspiring posts. Dr Shock

Dr Shock said...

By the way, your dog is fun to watch.
Dr Shock

Border Life said...

I love the ocean, too. I'm so glad you had a great appt. What a great post on what sustains and enriches your life. Merry Christmas.

Lola Snow said...

Merry Christmas Aqua, I hope you've had a lovely day. I truly hope that 2009 us a better one for you.

Lola x

s said...

It was really nice to see such a warm and positive post from you, it seems to be radiating the message that you are doing better.

Aqua said...

Dr. Shock: Merry Christmas to you. I always love your blogposts. You strike me as a man who cares in a similar fashion to my pdoc. The world needs more psychiatrists like both of you.

Border Life: Merry Christmas to you as well. There is something huge and soul enhancing about both the power of the ocean and the sustenance it provides to so many living beings. I am happy to hear there is another ocean lover out there.

Lola Snow: I hope 2009 is better for both of us. I did have a really good, relaxing, and accomplish filled Christmas. I hope you had a great day.

Sara: I am going off my medication and decided the only way of Valium for me is FAST. So stopped it in 4 days. This has left me sleepless, which in turn seems to have lifted my mood...strange that. I have tried sleep deprivation as a therapy before, but unfortunately its effects, though sudden and prominent are short lived....but I have felt better the past week. I hope you have a Happy Holiday season. I always look forward to reading your posts.