Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue


Mindful Monday: My Life Goal? To Finish

posted by Beyond Blue

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On Mindful Monday, my readers and I practice the art of pausing, TRYING to be still, or considering, ever so briefly, the big picture. We’re hoping this soul time will provide enough peace of mind to get us through the week!

I’m about to confess something that I know will be judged by some as negative or morbid or dangerously passive, but I think a few of you may understand it and might even find it refreshing to hear.

My two main goals in life are 1) to stay out of the psych ward and 2) to die of natural causes … that is, to resist the desire as strong as it is at times, to end my life prematurely.

Those are my two goals.

They don’t include anything about finding happiness, even as I’m intrigued by all the happiness studies. They don’t involve my family (other than being the best mom and wife I can be) or my career (aside from not plagiarizing) or any of the things that define me here on the planet Earth. All I want is to get to the end … naturally … and be somewhat satisfied with how I did: that I tried to help others not truncate their lives, as well, so that they might live out some of God’s plans for them.

I guess my goal for life is the same as the one for my triathlon that I ran two years ago: to simply finish.

I realize to many that sounds as though I’ve resigned.

Trust me, I haven’t.

I work at my recovery as hard as anyone I know. From the moment my eyes open in the morning to the last second of consciousness before I fall asleep, I am working tirelessly toward sanity and serenity. With every breath I take, every job I do, and every meal I eat, I am trying to move my body and mind toward good health. And absolutely nothing I do in my day is done without regard to my recovery program. It is my number-one priority, as I know that if I don’t invest all of my energy into it, I could very easily land in that place where I think that ending my life makes perfect sense.

Mark Twain once wrote that, “Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination.”

I’m not sure I would go that far. I do have many happy moments. But I’ve given up on trying to buy happiness like it’s a sundress on sale at a boutique. I think that some of the happiness exercises by experts like Gretchen Rubin can go a long way in helping us to maintain sanity. And maintaining sanity is really all I’m after. To stay out of the hospital and the coffin for as long as possible.

I’m not ashamed of this anymore. Because I know many people feel the same way. It has nothing to do with not trying hard enough or turning our backs on enlightenment. The mystics and saints … the most spiritual minds in history … came to the same conclusions. Perhaps St. Augustine said it best when he wrote, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

I’m restless.

Click here to subscribe to Beyond Blue! And click here to follow Therese on Twitter. And click here to join Group Beyond Blue, a depression support group. Now stop clicking.



  • Rae

    This posting brought me to tears.
    Thank you, Therese, you do bring sunshine and help to all of who struggle with life and depression.

  • Maria

    I have had to give up on setting goals for the same reasons.
    Letting go of all goals
    I am free.
    I would shout to the sky,
    “No more goals for me!”
    But life can be hostile
    To those who are “docile”.
    So, all I can say is,
    “We’ll see.”

  • Michelle

    I am totally moved by what you have written. I do understand completely because I feel this way many, many times. I too struggle with the thought of ending it all, but know that those who love me will be hurt, not to mention God’s frown on this. I am so grateful for so much, yet I feel lost and alone even with people around. Some days are better and keeping busy is best…but, is the business of the things what I’d really like to do? Compared to others, I really should be wonderful, but inside I disgust me. I hate myself. My hair, my body, my lack of courage to walk away and not feel for others, my weight, my acne in my late 40s. The fact I didn’t finish college…I hope my inability to act. I have a hard time focusing now. So much is at stake, my home, my finances, my job. I can’t seem to focus very well anymore. I don’t know how to explain it. The truth is…no one but God knows how I feel inside because the smile I wear is my mask of normalcy…that all is ok. In fact, I sometimes have myself convinced of it. I hate myself and on some days I can’t shake it. Today is one of those days. God must think I am really ungrateful for his love. Could I be suffering some hormonal imbalance. I don’t think I trust doctors anymore. I wish I could find a good womens MD that I could talk to… mhodgechosenone@yahoo.com.

  • http://psychsurvivor2.wordpress.com mark p.s.2

    My number one goal is the same. I tell it to the voices I hear every day. ” I am not in prison today” (psych hospital= prison, not a criminal prison). Been about four or five years.
    I remember I am in a animal body, in a body very similar genetically to a monkeys, and try to give my animal part what it needs.
    I put my trust-faith in God, I trust that God will end my life when it is supposed to. I’m here to do some work still, and maybe enjoy God’s creations and some serendipity along the way.

  • http://www.heartreflections.wordpress.com Shane

    With tears flooding down my face I say thank you. I am so overwhelmed with wanting to end it all. It seems like the only way out 70% of the time. Yet,just Friday night my husband, a pastor, did a funeral for a young girl who committed suicide. It was awful. He came home so sad and gave me a deep hug of understanding. I envy her. Not in pain anymore. My kids are screaming, the dog is eating garbage, and I’m all alone. Why Lord?

  • Dina Ghandour

    Amazing article. Amazing lady. a wonderful example to follow. Dina

  • Caryn Alpert

    Just knowing I am not alone in feeling this way gives me an overwhelming sense of comfort. I love this article. I also wonder if we may have an hormonal imbalance.

  • http://Yes.... JBird

    Thank you so much for writing this! I feel such deep compassion for what yu wrote, because I feel the same way many days. I have a wonderful, loving family that keep me stroong, but inside, I hate myself too. No amount of prodding changes my mind, I just learn to hide my hate and dislike for being stuck in this body in mind that repulse me. I feel so unworthy of love, so trapped in this analyical mind that doesn’t ever rest. It’s always berating me, and fighting off the demons is exhausting. God bless you, and may we all find the strength and courage to move forward, one day at a time.

  • Ms.Roadie

    Thank you.Today is one of the last summer light days in Michigan was going to take my Grandchildren to the beach but after this I am taking them to my 97 year old Grandmothers house instead for I realize the beach will be there next year my Grandmother might not.She is one of the best women I know and was lucky to have her and her great love of life.Thanks again for changing my day.Susan

  • Sheldon

    Thank you for confirming my feelings. Death completes the cycle. As we approach death, we see life from it’s final vantage point, recognizing that time never changed “who I am”, but only how one perceived and dealt with it. That does not mean I want to die; it means that I – like everyone before and after me must recognize the inevitable and the unimaginable.

  • skylark

    Theresa..this is the BEST so far I’ve read of your writing..I will
    re-read several times today as it contains so many pearls
    of wisdom and so much food for thought! (excuse please all
    cliches..they say so tritely what I want to express but they
    still speak the truth. You are keeping us all on keel..oops!)

  • Ellen

    Good goal. But by not thinking too much about it works best to get there. I was at that place a few years ago, and by observation I realized the old people that weren’t depressed were the ones that did their day by day living and absolutely planned for the next day or next week even though they knew they might not make it there. This is what kept them going. This is what keeps me going. And I really do believe by losing their frustrations, they are content. As I am most of the time.

  • VickiB!

    Therese, to me, you don’t sound resigned at all! It sounds like you are working darn hard to lead the best life for yourself that you possibly can. By doing so, you are helping those around you to have a better life, not to mention how much you help those of us who read your writings! Love and *hugs* Vicki B.

  • Your Name

    Very good approach. I am trying to follow this path – however every weekend I eat what I want (with some moderation) and it works for me. I need however to do more ‘fun things’ like walk on the boardwalk – go to dinner – spend more time with friends (soberly)etc. I enjoyed your article.

  • richard

    God’ chosen one
    ?
    God has a way to pick out the one
    That leaves this world when there job is done
    He has grafted us together and gives us many task
    But we sometime don’t listen and hide under a mask
    We think that life has been so hard on us
    But we make some decisions that puts us on a bus
    The ride seams fun and the view is great
    As we think of it as going on the first date
    When the times get tough and it seams we have failed
    That is when our roots really begin to jell
    As we pick our self up to start over again
    We must remember how are roots first began
    Life is good and the flower is starting to bloom
    That is when God will take us to his room
    So let not be so sad when a love one goes
    And just think of it as they have become God’s little rose
    ?
    Richard Reichwein
    6-13-2009

  • Caribethal

    So true, these have been my same goals for awhile but I have been to ashamed to voice them. I want to be the best wife and mother I can be, and to die of natural causes. I realize I will never be “happy” all the time, but I relish in the moments of happiness I am given. I work hard for those moments and I have also quit trying to buy them. When I am unhappy I try to help someone , anyone I can , to pull yourself out of that moment and focus on another is life’s best therapy.

  • http://pochp.wordpress.com poch

    I’m frank with people whom I care about so I’ll be frank with you Therese.
    I think you shouldn’t paint yourself as ‘suicidal’.
    How can you expect people to follow you if that’s the case?
    Nonetheless, I understand because you’ve already explained in the post.
    And I myself am still thinking of suicide from time to time although I’m almost sure I won’t do it.
    Bless you.

  • Ida

    Well written, and well received; made for a positive moment …and a peaceful one. Thank you for sharing.

  • Sky

    I can understand that, the social worker I saw about my daughters adoption was a nice lady, but always going on about goals, goals, what are your goals.
    With my anxiety, Im happy just to make it though the day without a panic attack. My main goal is to still have a roof over my head and some food in the cupboard at the end of the month. Nevermind what I plan to be doing ten years from now. One day at a time is all I can handle for now.

  • Your Name

    Thanks for that moment, Therese – it gave me some peace today.
    Sky, I completely identify with your goal, as it is mine on a daily. AMEN and AMEN again; just do today – tomorrow has enough worries of its own.

  • Sunshine

    Thank you for the posting and for being so open with your personal thoughts. I also struggle with these same thoughts at certain moments of my life. I have also (obviously) resisted taking any drastic measures but have certainly come very close – very, very close. I have taken over my health, eating right and consistantly exercising and recognize that I need my ‘own’ time. This has helped me tremendously to keep those masochistic thoughts at bay. Your blog also help to give thought where needed. Thank you for that. I think you are lovely.

  • Bill

    Well said, Therese. Well said. I’ve only recently discovered your blog, so have no real idea of what you’ve been through. Though, I can imagine your life wasn’t any better than mine was, relatively speaking that is.
    I should have been hospitalized maybe 3 or 4 times in my life, but for sure when I had a mixed episode and tried so hard to kill myself. Still don’t know if I’m too resilient or too inept, but am not looking to find out anytime soon.
    All these times I was as alone as a body could be, so no one could see just how badly off I was and call for help. So, I pray to God for someone to spend the rest of my days with, that I can get on disability and get a service dog, and that I never have another mixed episode again. It plowed through the bipolar meds I was taking at the time like they weren’t even there.
    Anyhow, you have my vote of confidence.

  • linda

    thanks a lot for the share, quite a goal for us with BP, as they say somedays are better than others…so I just keep on keepin on.

  • Your Name

    Amen, Amen! Keep up the Great Writing. I have been following your blog for many months;and as everyone else meaning to let you know how much your blog inspires me. MADONNA OF THE STREETS is coming to fruition. Keep me in your prayers and all the survivors and families that will be served by this Not-for-Profit Organization. A newly constructed site will emerge soon. (This one was my experiment with Web sites; a place to put thoughts and ideas down> :)
    Anyway, May God grant you many blessings and graces for all you do in making life better for all!
    In Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,
    MADONNA OF THE STREETS

  • Alison W.

    Well said, Therese.

  • Kimberly

    I would like just one person in my life to understand what you say. I don’t have that but I have this. Thank you.

  • Randy

    For U Burnsie

  • http://www.myspace.com/darkcloudnj Joe

    I can relate!

  • deb

    Thank you. Life slowly gets better. I more content and less depressed when I just accept where I am. I have the same goals. You are courageous and strong. Peace.

  • Carolyn

    Hang in there!

  • mslea

    I try to do the best i can to go on everyday knowing that God is with me .

  • Rlkl

    It makes perfect sense to me. In my early 20′s, my goal was to stay alive another day. Gradually, I added days, then years. When I was 25, it was to make it to 30. 30 to 35. And so on. In bad times, I still revert to one more year. Right now I am into enjoying life and my family and friends as much as possible, and I am 70 years old. Blessings.

  • Rantine

    How did you so eloquently pen my thoughts and even my goal in life?

  • Leeann

    Thank You for sharing that, many days I could say that those two goals you have described are my goals exactly for that day. The second is always on my list. These days my sanity is first and then others come next under sanity such as everyone thinking I am losing it because I am in fear of my life since the 4th of july weekend and I don’t mean hurting myself. Really who goes as far as calling up their ex husband who left them with a 1yr old for another woman who was 16 years old over 15 years ago and has done nothing but given me grieve and headaches and brainwashed my daughter to ask for his forgiveness and to promise me he will if something happens to me to help encourage her to continue to follow her dreams. ME thats who
    God Bless you Therese and to your family

  • Marian Paul

    Ah, I remember sobbing when I read that from St. Augustine. Finally a notion that met my feelings. SO RESTLESS!
    You are a special person, God bless you!
    Marian

  • Michael

    Thank you for sharing,I too struggle daily to get there also.Life has been very hard both physically and emotionally,but I do not want it to end so i keep trying. Please keep sending your thoughts,and i will keep you in my prayers. Please pray for me also. God bless you, michael

  • Lori

    Speak life.
    I clearly remember feeling like this. I had a tear off daily calendar that took all effort and I was surprised when I reached the end of that year. I needed that goal then.
    today, I also focus on recovery, but I have chosen to focus on wellness, not illness. Which is why I quit reading this post for a long long time. I didnt want to focus on illness, but life. My friend says, garbage in-garbage out. True in all things.
    I think what I focus on,manifests itself in me.
    Speak life, focus on wellness and health in all ways.
    I guess what I did, was ask for desire, as I had none.
    I am diligent about recovery, but my focus is life. and it is now pretty easy to live.
    I am very grateful
    and that is what has worked for me.
    careful what you read, hear, focus on. But your body believes
    every word you say. speak life.
    Lori

  • Nicole

    Therese,
    Thank you so much for this post. I completely understand and am relieved to hear that someone else feels the way I do.
    People don’t quite understand how hard it can be for depressives to try to make it through the day, especially with all the negative messages we all receive daily from society, as well as the crap that’s often rolling around in our own heads about ourselves. The best we can hope for at times is to just make it through the day, to survive.
    It would be great if my family could understand this and not call me morbid, but at least I can read Beyond Blue and feel safe in the knowledge that I am not alone.
    Thank so much, Therese.
    Be well and Be blessed!

  • Dianna

    Ah, this was sweet to read; it helps me to recognize you, precious Therese, as human-flesh, blood, tears, feelings, synapses, gaps, as me. I needed this one, certainly. I do a lot of “research” on my “devil box” and some of the things I have come across have also comforted me in my survival. I want to share with you this one: when viewing the definition of schizophrenia, it is mentioned there that some believed that there was/is a divination in this “mental condition”–and in proof or non-proof of this that I am jumbling about, we can view the definition of shamanism. What I like or what keeps me going is that I sternly stand by my rule that I am not responsible for another person’s perception of things, nor am I responsible for their interpretation. I am responsible for my manners, my survival techniques, my etiquette, those such things that I do to contribute to society as a functioning person. I can be labeled by the medical system anything they so choose, but I know that I know what I know and that is that God has created me as an Emotionally Intense person; I rather would feel deeply and know love and hurt, than to not taste those joys ever.
    God bless you and yours Therese!
    Sincerely His,
    Di

  • Your Name

    Saint Augustine had a point…our hearts rest best when we rest in the LORD…whether we fully understand what God is doing in our lives or not…that aside…it is an interesting perspective…and you have a right to feel as you expressed…since your desire for happiness is dirived from staying sane …you must be happy daily…God knows his creation…and i do not believe God desires for us to be less than a reflection of Himself…and my God is not insane…depressed…or any such thing…however i’m learning..more of Him and thus myself…Solomon summed it up best in Ecclesiastes 12, after he tried to find happiness in money, accomplishments, and even wisdom: “Fear (reverence) God and keep His commandments this is man’s all” i.e…this is the fulfilment for humanity…this is my own personal goal…though i need His help dailly….thanks 4 ‘listening’ God bless.

  • Joan

    forgive my directness…Jesus heals…i believe God..and it is my prayer you also believe in the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. There is indeed nothing too hard for God…Jesus told a woman according to your faith be it done unto you… it is my belief that you will be healed permanently from any mental ailment..and that you will come to know Jesus Christ in a more intimate way for yourself..because his burden is easy and his yoke is light and you shall find rest for your soul…i do not doubt God..i too was healed from many ailments some the doctors wanted to operate…now i put God on the job…pardon the expression God afforded me the opportunity to see his miraculous work..simply because i believed…my confidence was and is in Him…i’m often amazed at God..i stand in awe of His sovereignty and his unsearchable understanding of our human frailty…shortcomings, idiosyncracies, etc. Be healed in Jesus name. God bless you.

  • Your Name

    In response to Joan’s response. For those of us who have been born again Christians and prayed for deliverance from the Hell of depression, it isn’t that simple. The more I prayed, the sicker I got. I couldn’t enter a church without having a panic attack, needing to throw up and find the nearest bathroom. My path led me away from narrow minded conservative Christianity to open, loving spirituality. This was in the 60′s when “If you were a good Christian, all you had to do was be a better Christian. God forbid that you see a psychologist who would lead you away from God and CHrist and instead to modernism. God didn’t let me down. He/she used my sickness to liberate me from narrow, judgemental thinking.

  • Anonymous

    HI Therese- I am totally with you about getting to the finish line in decent mental and physical shape, having suffered from a low grade depression all my life, I have had to work hard at dealing with it and I realize after therapy, trying an assortment of medications that this is the best I am ever going to be, as I turn 50, I just want to finish life – get to the finish line without quiting. I am going to run a 1/2 marathon soon and really it is all about getting to the finish line, MG

  • Meg

    I just want to say I agree with you Theresa, having suffered from a low grade depression my whole life and tried various therapies, medications, I realize now that this is “as good as it gets for me” and I just want to get the finish line too, by natural causes, and not by my own hand. I figure, giving up now, as I turn 50 is the wimpy way out, like the 1/2 marathon I am going to run soon, it is all about finishing the life I was given, good or bad, meaningful or not, it is mine to finish, and I would rather do that than quit now.

  • Jim R

    Amen Therese.

  • Flavio

    God bless you for the courage to say (or write) what you did.
    And thanka a lot, you explained things I’ve been feeling for several years and gave a new strength and tool to face this situation.

  • Theodore

    that is an amazingly honest statement….
    those of us who have lived with the threat of wanting to give up for so long and may have tried so many times either intentionally or unintentionally so many other times can feel the release that such a carthartic statemeent can bring forth.
    I can think of so many I’ve met in my travels who have lived behind beliefs a fears such as you have brought forth.
    Bless you
    Theodore

  • Anonymous

    Therese – I respect your honesty. As someone who has depression, I found it enlightening to work in a psych unit for 15 years. So I have been in one, locked up, but I might add working. What worked for me and the patients I worked with was involvement. When a patient would want to vegetate in bed, not eat, not communicate — it was important to get them out of bed and their room. Myself, I would reach out to friends (even ask them to call me back so I was strong through tough times), make myself get out of bed. To me, bed was the place to vegetate and let the world go by. Phone calls, plans, even the trials of friends get me moving. I want to make a difference and like your talks, some times I feel a few minutes spent with another going through a problem is what I am meant to do — being in the right place for someone. Thank you for your help for so many – YOU make a difference to so many — keep up the great work!

  • Hope McCormick

    It’s nice to know I’m not alone in feeling like this! I have bipolar, and I’ve been hospitalized twice for depression in the last year. Not something I want to repeat, but both times I checked in to keep myself safe because I was thinking about suicide seriously enough to scare myself. So I can get behind both of these goals.

  • Your Name

    I really appreciate your honesty. This is a subject many of us try to avoid. I myself have given up on that elusive happiness. When I did experience it, it came from my high end and not properly medicated Bipolar. Unfortunately always followed by a suicidal depression. I like the 2 goals, they are mine also and what a relief for some one else to admit what I have been thinking. Thanks Tom

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