Tag Archives: Happy

Clarity is Not for Sissies (and the New WOW)

This is NOT a manifesto against anti-depressants, but tells of MY journey to true clarity and the role that Zoloft (Sertraline) played in clouding matters.

You know that close to four years ago, I stopped drinking.  Haven’t had a glass of anything since November 11, 2013.  (Note:  It gives me goosebumps that I quit on 11:11, which is a power number. It seems the universe parted the waters that day, making a clear path for me to exit tipsy-land.)

Let me re-think the use of the word “tipsy.”  It is a euphemism, as is buzzed, to describe an altered state that numbs you from the pain of life.  

Such words make you feel better about being a drunk.

I quit alcohol because every bad decision or regretted remark or action in my life emanated from a booze-fueled state. Tired of being embarrassed, I no longer wanted to be voted “Most likely to break something” at every party. Some major falls led to a serious reckoning with how simply dangerous it was to navigate steps and life with a high blood alcohol content.

For me, clarity came when I heard in my spirit “If you keep this up, this is how you will die.”

Gulp.

So 2013 marked a new phase of clarity in my life.

Clarity is not for sissies.  You begin to observe things that didn’t bother you before; overlooked slights now hurt.  Suddenly, there’s fight in you, because you start to believe that you are worth better.

Sobriety and self-respect go hand in hand. As my self-worth grows, my capacity to tolerate disrespect shrinks.

Wait, Brenda – I thought you were going to talk about anti-depressants?

I am.

Sobriety fueled my recent life decisions.  What may have seemed to outsiders as a crazy, “Where did THAT come from?” action when I left my marriage, those who know me know I’ve never been more in my right mind.

But that action was just a beginning.

I’ve been on a quest for HONESTY.

As I continued to ask myself the questions necessary to peel away layers of dishonesty, I kept returning to a nagging question mark: My 10-year affair with Zoloft.

In the beginning years of my marriage, we went to Christian counseling.  The only thing I got out of it was a prescription.

Truly, that first 50 mg pill seemed like a magic bullet.  Perhaps psychosomatic, nevertheless, I felt instantly happier, more able to cope, less irritable and more tolerant.

When entering menopause, the script increased to 75 mg. When we moved to Florida, my new doctor upped it to 100 mg.

Patients should obey their doctors, right?

I visited my sister last year and one of my little blue pills fell on the bathroom floor.  She found it and, with trepidation, asked me what I was on.

I thought nothing of telling her – after all, my healthcare provider prescribed the drug!

The counselor had drawn a little cartoon that showed how serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) would build a little bridge to my brain, helping the happy feelings get back where they belonged.

Shirlee, unimpressed by the analogy but without judgment, encouraged me to read about the impacts of these drugs and to consider weaning off of Zoloft.  It took many months, but for me, the evidence was clear.  If I didn’t get off, I’d be on this drug for the rest of my life.

Thus began Brenda Clear Phase 2.0.

My doctor, knowing of my pending divorce said, “Do you really think this is the best time to detox?”

Taking control of my own body and decisions that affect it, I said, “Yes. This is the very best time.”

Since early June I have been on a steadily-decreasing prescription of Zoloft and last week, went to zero.

Clarity is not for sissies.

My body revolted angrily against the disappearing drug. Irritation has returned, flu-like symptoms, aches and pains, sleeplessness, headaches, cramping – yep, it’s been a real joy ride. But here’s the flipside: I FEEL again.

Yes, the difficult feelings were numbed, but so were the GOOD ones.  I now laugh more, cry more, and am more deeply touched by music and words and people.

I am alive.

Eventually, the physical symptoms will disappear.  It’s worth it to plow through them to get to the REAL ME.

I’ve missed Brenda.  It’s wonderful to get to know her again.

Here are my parting thoughts on CLARITY and the new WOW:

Hot diggity! (Wow, there’s a first-time use of THAT phrase.)

Let’s be INSPIRED this week.

Oh, and if my anti-depressant story has tugged at your heart, let me add that you should never cold turkey SSRIs.  There’s a careful way of weaning that your doctor can guide you through.  If INSPIRED to make a similar decision, I’m rooting for you.

And if you are not, please do not feel judged.  Everyone is on a different journey.  Some people have experienced great relief in temporary use of these drugs to get over a rough patch.  However, in my case, I found myself ten years later using the drug as an emotional crutch.

After finally ditching the crutches, I am learning to walk – and I hope to eventually fly.

xooxoxox

Love,
Brenda

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A Resolve to be Happy (and the New WOW)

Some people hate the whole resolution ritual. To me, it’s a tradition that sort of forces me to establish my priorities for the year and resolve to take steps in support of them.

Hmmmm…that sounded a bit too much like a corporate memo.

Take two:  I think about the stuff I want to happen and dream about what I can do to make them burst forth into reality!

I really wish I had learned this earlier in life.

My approach through my teens, twenties, thirties and most of my forties was to “wish, want, hope, pine, yearn” with feeble faith that I could impact any outcomes.

Something clicked in recent years. I was acting like a tennis ball, being directed by forces beyond my control instead of being the tennis racket and directing my life in the way I wanted it to go.

This does not preclude my dependence on God, the Holy Spirit or Jesus. But I do feel that the heavenly host has been sitting in the bleachers all these years saying, “Will you finally take a swing? We can’t do it ALL for you!!!”

Well, when you put it THAT way, Jesus…

We’ve got the equipment. We were BORN with it.  Our gifts, our talents, our special sauce – it’s all there, waiting to be whipped up into a unique and remarkable treat for the world -and us – to enjoy.  But too often we spend time focusing on what we DON’T have when it’s actually irrelevant.

If we don’t have it, we don’t need it to fulfill our calling.  We are completely equipped for our purpose in life.  And if you read this and start to protest, ask yourself, “Why am I fighting?”

So you’re flawed.  Join the crowd.  So you think your flaws or ailments disqualify you from certain joys in life?  Only your faith in that faulty line of thinking keeps you there.

My resolve every year is to be happy.  And I am.  Annoyingly so!  (Except to those who also are fans of happiness.)

Some people are as devoted to being miserable as I am to being happy.

Every ache or pain or bend in the road is a license to complain or make excuses or blame someone for their station in life.

Seriously, how’s that working for you?

No, I do not live a perfect life. I’ve had my share of broken hearts, physical challenges, disappointments and paralizing fears.  I choose, however, at this later stage in my game – with time fleeting and tomorrows not promised – to see the disappointments as a detour because something better is coming my way.  I acknowledge my fears and then do the work to get back to love because I don’t to waste one moment of this beautiful life living like a deer in the headlights.  I have a weird bump on my leg that needs to be biopsied next week and I am positive that it is either nothing, or if it is something, I’m going to beat it.

Can you tell I’m fired up this week?

I put some of that energy into this week’s message:

Isn’t that sweet?  What a lovely way to start 2017!

Be gentle with yourself first, my friends. It makes it a heckuva lot easier to then be gentle with others.

Hello, 2017.  I welcome you with open arms, an open heart, and a full expectation that you will be my best year ever.

And I wish that for all of you, too.

xoxoxoxo

Brenda

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A Merry WOW to End the Year!

Merry Christmas!  (Or whatever you celebrate, I hope it is super merry!)

It occurs to me that we don’t use the work merry enough in regular life.  It tends to pop up only around Christmas.  But I think I want it to be MY word year-round.

Yes!  Extra doses of MERRY all year – for ALL of us!!!

Since I was headed to PA for a work trip, I knew I would have the pleasure of staying at what I affectionately call “Kamp Kantor.”

I’ve written about my dear friends, the Kantors, many times before.  Back in 1994 we became next door neighbors.  As 2017 approaches, we are not just the best of friends, but are family to each other.

It was a week of sleeping around! I was also able to spend one night at my sister’s home in Ventnor, NJ.

Both the Kantors and the DiBaccos have beautiful homes, but what makes them both my favorite places on earth (aside from my own home) are how filled they are with LOVE.

I found myself thinking throughout my whirlwind trip, “What did I ever do to deserve this kind of love?” 

And the answer is even better: Nothing.  Because this is the kind of love that is truly without conditions.

If I’m at my best or at my worst; through thick (or thin – literally), these people LOVE me.

And isn’t that the best present of all?

It was in my heart to ask my camera-shy friend Renee to assist me with the new Word of the Week to end 2016.  After all, she is the one that introduced me to her Angel Cards many years ago – and I was thrilled that she agreed.

The video is a little dark and the audio a little light, but turn your speakers up because the word my dear friend picked COULDN’T BE MORE PERFECT to end a year and start another:

My wish for all of you is that you snuggled up somewhere with someone you love (even if it is a furry, four-legged friend) and that you are so busy counting your blessings that you can’t even remember the things that didn’t go your way this year.

(I mean, counting your sorrows?  What good did THAT ever do anyone?)

Someone once suggested that to start a new year, make a practice of keeping a blessings jar.  Every time you have a blessing, write it down…and at the end of the year, go through them all.

I didn’t do that this year.  But my heart is full.

My cup runneth over.

I have a VISION for 2017, and it is lavish, abundant, joyous, FREE and happy.

What’s yours?

xoxoxoxox

Brenda

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Getting Your Hopes Up (and the New WOW)

Are your hopes UP?  Or are they DOWN?

The nice thing about hope is that it is elastic enough to spring UP when it has been in a deflated state.

If you are like one of those inflatable Christmas ornaments that sits in a puddle on the front lawn during daylight hours…it’s comforting to know they don’t stay there.

 

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Here’s a little funny:  I didn’t realize that those puffy Santa’s and snowmen intentionally deflate during the day.  For years I decried the horrible Grinches that slashed them, ruining peoples’ decorations and rendering them flat.

Then I discovered it was just how those decorations roll.

So it is with life.  You might feel like a puddle on the ground, but mark my words, you’ll only stay there if you commit to the fallen state.

A good word, a card in the mail, a compliment from a stranger…next thing you know, your vibe is high again.  Or, for the savvy CEO of their own love tank, you talk nice to yourself. You give a stranger a compliment.  You bake a loaf of bread and welcome your new neighbor to town.

Voila!  Your love/hope/faith tank is full again.  You’re doing the Snoopy happy dance again.

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What is the quality of your hope?  Is it an “oh me oh my” Eeyore kind?  Or is it a Tigger-ish “yippee it’s on the way!” kind? 

Both are in a waiting mode.  One is just much happier waiting.

All of my single years (two whole #$%@in’ decades) were spent in Eeyore mode.  Instead of enjoying the freedom of being un-beholden, I focused on “What was WRONG with me????” Too many woe is me holidays were spent feeling “less than” because I was unattached.  I didn’t enjoy the love of those that WERE around me because the love I WANTED hadn’t yet arrived.

The older you get, though, you realize that life is too short to waste on sad yearnings.  

You get busy loving the ones you’re with…and that gratitude spills over and next thing you know promises keep popping up fulfilled without a single tear shed!

For the hope-filled (who are the faith-filled), life is a profusion of blooms.

That’s why I say, “Get your hopes UP!” Expect something wonderful to happen.

Here’s a bit more on that topic, and a new WOW that is the peanut butter to FAITH’s jelly:

 

Let’s all be rubber bands this week, shall we?

If you are traveling, be safe.  Sing carols at the top of your lungs instead of screaming at the traffic.

Enjoy the journey.

You may not be there YET —- but you ARE on your way.

xoxoxoxoxo

Love,
Brenda

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